Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The "Me" I Allow You To Know...

"The majority of what you think you know about me is nothing more than what I allow you to know about me”

How honest are we really? How authentic do we allow ourselves to be?

A couple weeks ago, I had a day off and spent it at home. I wore my girly boxer shorts, a little tank-top, had my hair looking like a mini bomb had exploded in it, all the while postponing a long overdue shower (oops); a look that only “the hubby”, my kids and a handful of extremely close friends and family are preview to. Dishes overflowed in the sink, and a few dust bunnies were floating freely but I was being proactive writing blogs on my dining table. “The hubby” was in our bedroom on a phone call and my son was in his room… That’s when it happened…..

Looking outside the window, I saw a car attempting to park in my driveway and I immediately went into a panic. I jumped up, ran into my bedroom and asked “the hubby” if he was expecting anyone and very nonchalantly he answered, “Yes, one of my “brothers” was stopping by.”
“Stopping by??? How in the world did you NOT tell me??? Look at me!” I was freaking out, trying to find something to wear, while trying to tame the hair as I knew the door bell was about to chant any second… “The hubby” stood, stared at my frantic self and blurted out “My bad”…and that’s when I seriously contemplated murder!
His “brother” came in and I was all smiles. I greeted him, and although internally I was boiling, externally I had managed to make my appearance up to par… Even though I’ve known his “brother” for over 15 years, and didn’t care one bit to impress him, I still didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of him seeing me as I was, instead of how I wanted him to see me. This was not so much in the name of vanity but more so of my privacy.

We like to say to friends and family members that our door is open to them any time they see fit, with no notice, but do we always mean it? In making that statement or invite, doesn’t it mean that we don’t care what our appearance is at any given time? Are we always ready to grin it and bear it? I don’t think so; while “all that glitters ain’t gold”, all gold is not meant to be flaunted at all time!
When I want to be lazy, look dishevelled, scruffy and uncombed, it doesn’t mean that I’m okay with “you” seeing me like that…

Home is our sanctuary, where we relax into being ourselves, play with our inner child, paint the walls green and pink, dig in the dirt, grow something, love somebody else, love ourselves even more, snuggle with a warm blanket on a Sunday afternoon, hang "go away" on the door whenever we want, clean and tidy often... or never, launch from and return to, are truly ourselves.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

How authentic are we really on a day to day basis? We like to say “what you see is what you get,” but is that the real truth? All the pictures of me that you see on Facebook, Instagram and all the social media outlets, are carefully selected to depict the best of me; the “me” I want you to see (which is still part of the true “me”… the visual best of me!)
Granted, I like to voice how open I am with my thoughts and opinions, but don’t get me wrong, I’m still a very private person who chooses what she wants to share and display to the world and outside of the comfort of my home. 
“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

The “me” you think you know may not be the true “me”; does that mean that I’m lying, concealing or masking the true “me”? No…it simply means that you don’t get the whole me; you need to make sure you look through the appearances without necessarily being able to “see” beyond them.
We all take pride in our appearances and need to remind ourselves at all times that the good-old first impression leaves a lasting impression. However, in many cases this causes the preconceived ideas that people build about us (according to what they see) and their expectations of us as opposed to the substance of the true “me”.

I don’t believe that appearances are deceiving; it is our perception of what we see that is deceiving. Remember the best Sunday outfit doesn’t open the door to heaven, the soul behind the shell will determine your final home.

What do you think? Is semi-disclosure making us dishonest? Is privacy a screen wall to picking and choosing what we want to share and is there anything wrong with that? How raw are we willing to be?

To the glimpse of us...
Picture: Neal

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

"Forgiveness is a promise not a feeling. When you forgive other people, you are making a promise not to use their past sin against them."  ~Unknown

Forgiveness is a decision we make to allow us to live a peaceful, balanced, tranquil life. When we hold on to past hurts and disappointments, our emotional energy is used to maintain resentment and anger instead of letting us live life fully and in serenity.
Know when we contemplate forgiveness, ultimately it is not for others but for ourselves and our peace of mind. If you need to be freed from the pain, you need to forgive.  At the end of the day,you will see that forgiveness is an act easier to accomplish than holding on to the hurt.
Remember, more time than none, the person who did hurt you has long forgotten their damaging actions toward you, leaving you alone in emotional turmoil…

To serenity in our lives...

Friday, July 27, 2012

If The Sky is The Limit... Infinity is A Possibility...

"My Son… Watching you grow has been the delight of my life. I look at you and wonder what dreams you will dream, what mountains you will climb, what joys you will have. I know there will be tears and struggles as well, but my prayer is that you will grow into the man you are meant to be.”

It is an amazing feeling when (as a parent) you are being taught about life’s limitless possibilities, which most of the time you think are out of reach, due to your circumstances. My son just taught me that your circumstance is not strife to disable you; it is a mere present condition on your road to greatness…

While all his friends were getting ready to end the school year and take on the summer break, he was running left and right after his dad, me, and his teachers to fill out applications, forms, and testimonials (or recommendations) to make sure he could be chosen to participate in the “Prep@Pingre” Summer Program. While family and friends joined us for the July 4th holiday and the stayed the following days for celebration and fun, he woke up every morning to be at his bus stop for school at 7:30am.
While his sister is in Florida, enjoying days of fun, he gets back home after 4:30pm, with homework and exciting tales of what he learned.
While he could choose to rest on his laurels, he is already 100 steps ahead. He’s maximizing the opportunity he has been given; maximizing that “foot in the door” break he opened for himself. And he knows our present situation; he knows that no matter how hard mom and dad work, we can’t afford those high schools (which carry yearly tuitions that are double our yearly mortgage payment). The silver lining is, in keeping up with his excellent academic results in his upcoming last year of middle school, it will most certainly guarantee him a scholarship to some of the best Prep schools or Academies in New England

Today he came back home excited, as he got the opportunity to interview representatives from some of those top institutions. He got to determine and select his first 5 choices and filled in all of his requests form. His eyes are on the prize, his focus is on his future, and his commitment is to achieve his very best…
Pride doesn’t come close to describe what I feel for my little big man. His dreams are just as large as any of the ones I mastered up for him, so to see him single handily and candidly put in motion the wheels to make them a reality, a story to live, leaves me in reverence…

I am proud of my kids for every new milestone they have come through unscathed thus far, in their short lives. I also get excited every time they demonstrate their own little independence by showing ownership.
My son is on the brink of turning 13, gets excellent grades, manages to have a busier social life than mine, is kind to ALL, cares for others and does for others. Pleasing people is one of his biggest sources of pride. At times I worry that his focus on making others happy will take the back seat to his own happiness, but he always goes and proves to me that unless he is happy, he couldn’t offer it to anyone else.

I’m a mother immersed in the love I have for my child. Although the person I see every day in front of me, the one that gives me over 20 kisses in the course of a day, the one that always reaches for my touch and the one who always speaks his love for me freely is only a glimpse of the man he’ll turn out to be; I’m in admiration and full of respect of what his personality and character are shaping him into. He is appreciative of the core values we are giving him. Not only that, but he looks further than the ground the “hubby” and I laid for him, worked and are still working on to keep firm and solid in his road toward manhood.

"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. If you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes."
Author: Walter Schirra Sr.

To one of the constant teachers in my life…my son


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Never Give Expecting Something Back...

“The Snake, The Farmer And The Heron"

A snake chased by hunters asked a farmer to save it's life. To hide it from its pursuers, the farmer squatted and let the snake crawl into his belly. But when the danger had passed and the farmer asked the snake to come out, the snake refused. It was warm and safe inside. On his way home, the man saw a heron and went up to him and whispered what had happened. The heron told him to squat and strain to eject the snake. When the snake stuck its head out, the heron caught it, pulled it out, and killed it. The farmer was worried that the snake's poison might still be inside him, and the heron told him that the cure for snake poison was to cook and eat six white fowl. "You're a white fowl," said the farmer. "You'll do for a start." He grabbed the heron, put it in a bag and carried it home, where he hung it up while he told his wife what had happened. "I'm surprised at you," said the wife. "The bird does you a kindness, rids you of the evil in your belly, saves your life in fact, yet you catch it and talk of killing it." She immediately released the heron, and it flew away. But on its way, it gouged out her eyes.

Moral: When you see water flowing uphill, it means that someone is repaying a kindness.” 

-An African Folk Tale

I stumbled on this tale last night and had to read it over and over again before I finally understood  the moral of the story. Although I could’ve broken the story down in a more simplistic way, I now love the euphemisms used and the brain-jerker that the whole tale was.

When will you ever see water flow uphill? Never.
The tale lets you know that since you will never see water flow uphill, you will never see kindness being repaid. Cynic isn’t it? But I think there is a deeper lesson to be learned from this, if we push further beyond how disparaging the concluding statement is. The lesson that I believe is also coming to surface is that measuring one’s act of kindness is behaving in a selfish manner, instead of embracing selfless-ness…    

“So that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you openly.” ~ Matthew 6:4

Traditionally, we have all been taught the golden rule, which states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So, what happens when this isn’t the case? Why can’t it simply state, “Do good unto others”…That way, when someone does something nice for you, you aren’t immediately entered into their mental pocket, waiting to be called upon to return the favour. It’s so hard to determine the true character of the person you are asking the favour from, and in return it’s seemingly hard to make sure our own motives are pure when we offer our services to others. Do we really give without expecting reciprocity? In modern culture, it’s all about “What have you done for me lately?” We have become so self-centred as people, that even the thought of giving something away without expectation of better coming, frightens us. This has certainly translated into all areas of our lives. We do for our companions, in hopes that they will meet or supersede what we’ve done. We do favours for friends, in hopes that they will do for us when we need them. We even try to do things for our churches/temples/etc., in hopes that our God will bless us down here on the Earth. 

Why not just give? Is it so hard to think that we can just give to others out of the goodness of our hearts? I believe so. I think we can be moved with compassion for someone, and go out of our way to help them, without secretly keeping score in our minds; without laying wait for them to be in a position to return our kindness, and pulling their card. I have to believe that as humans, we’re not just selfish, self-centred users. We’re better than that.

When you genuinely offer kindness to someone, please offer it up without expectations of returned favours or recognition of your act. Not because the recipient will not be appreciative but because if he/she is not appreciative, or returns the gesture in a way you see fit, you won’t be disappointed. Consider all your good deeds as an investment towards self-reward. While a “thank you” or a gesture of appreciation may serve as a worthwhile repayment on your act, remember that what you put forth the universe will acknowledge.

Don’t let anyone chastise you and make you feel obligated in doing for them. Being kind, feeling empathy and wanting to act upon it does not mean you have to be a pushover!  

To giving with no expectations,

This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Deceiving Rainbows of Our Lives...

How do you recover from what was promised and then not given? From what was taken for granted as an ending but then ended differently?
How do you keep believing?
How do you stay positive when disappointment overwhelms you?
How do you buck up and search for another rainbow?

So many things, so many goals, and so many objectives that seemed to be achievable and at the reach of your fingertips… few more steps… so close that you can “smell it” and you give it that last bit of push…and nothing.
Your expectations are not met, the results are far short of what you imagined, the potential is second-rate, and your hopes are slowly disintegrating like crushed ice under the sun…

Everyone has heard of the Irish Fable about “The Pot of Gold at The End of The Rainbow.” One version of the fable is that, “a leprechaun granted one wish to a couple who were very poor and had little. They asked for riches of gold and silver. The leprechaun was angered that the couple would be so selfish, but as a hint, told them he put their riches in a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And as the story goes, the couple is still looking for the end of the rainbow to this day.”

Are most of us like the couple in the fable; looking, searching and striving for what is not, what is never meant to be?
I like to think not…
Without a dream, and without something to look forward to, what would be the purpose of our existence? We need to realize and accept that there will never be an end of a rainbow. No matter how far we reach, and no matter how close we think we are getting, it will always be the same distance away. And we need that, we need to accept that as a rule so we can be motivated to push, and to seek greater than this moment. Our growth is made of consecutive occurrences of challenges. While some we will achieve, we need to not be complacent but keep ourselves motivated for better, higher results. While some we will not accomplish, we need to learn to not wallow in doubts.
Let go of the negative and rhetorical questions about yourself and your capabilities. Look for the positive. Angst and stress is all that will come about if you challenge the unchangeable and refuse to accept the “what is”. There is always something that you can do to make the situation brighter and better. There is always an underlying lesson that will help you move to the next “level” in the game of life…
At some unknown time in the course of our life, we will all experience life altering situations. They will impact what we believe our progression was or needed to be, but remember; no matter how much you get discouraged, no matter how deep in darkness you submerge yourself to avoid the storm (giving up), the sun will shine again and a rainbow will guide you…

So what do you do when the pot of gold is not at the end of the rainbow?
We get up and search for the end of the next rainbow…

“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”

Images: Val West

 To chasing rainbow,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Yesterday you said tomorrow. Well, guess what today is?
You guessed it. Now do something about it!”


How many of us are guilty of saying that?
This resonates so deeply within me as I know I rely on tomorrow as if tomorrow is a given…

Stop putting things off, stop procrastinating. Stop over-thinking, stop stressing about it.
We got an inner time clock which doesn’t pause or stop every time we don’t “feel like” doing something. Life is not a trial run; life is not endless. 
Don’t let the boat sail away from you thinking tomorrow you’ll be able to get on board. Live life as if today is your only opportunity; picture it as if there is no tomorrow so you can give it your very best.
Today is here, it’s time to keep promises made to yourself and hold yourself accountable for what you said…

To living the moment to the fullest,

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Blaming Finger...

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But, it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!"
- Movie quote: "Rocky Balboa"

One of my favourite things I say to my kids when I refuse one of their requests (which all of a sudden make them feel like they’ve been cheated out of everything) is, “life is not fair…you’ll lose some and will manage to win some…but you’ll learn to deal with it!”
It’s such a cop out statement but one I need when at times, I myself can’t explain or understand the rules of this world; the unfair advantages that some have over others, the uneven inheritance of advantages, the unequal start of life…
Why are some born healthy and some are not? Why are some born attractive and some not? Why do some seem to skip over hurdles with ease, while some are never able to overcome any? Why does the same amount of work and dedication bring success to some but not others? Who is to blame? Whose fault is it that you got the short end of the stick? Who has done that to you?
All wrong questions to ask… all, the wrong focus of your time…

Although when looking outside our spectrum (or our immediate vision) it may seem that it’s greener than where we stand, we have to learn to appreciate what we have and make the best out of it. We have to enjoy each and every minute of what’s given to us and what we manage to achieve. We need to condition ourselves to be content with the lives we were given and have built, while seeking better and more for ourselves. What matters is what you do with your life and not what you are given or think you are owed!

Someone said, “We are 99% responsible for where and what our lives are. Our actions, past and present, determine the journey of our lives.” So we need to be honest with ourselves and ask, “What have I done that has me standing right here, right now, in this predicament…
We are responsible for our own happiness and we can only achieve it by not expecting others to make us happy. Blaming others for our un-happiness or our lack of “anything” is admitting that we are helpless bystanders in our own journey. In doing so, we are letting life overcome us instead of making “the life” we are deserving of.
Take responsibility, control and power over your life so you can shape it the way you picture it to be.

"Yes, there are times when something is legitimately not our fault. Blaming others, however, keeps us in a stuck state and is ultimately rough on our own self-esteem."
Allenbaugh, Eric

Remember; while someone might be prettier, beauty fades away. While the rich are blessed with everything (tangible), money will drain. Most of all, never forget that we made the nasty cake, the cake did not make itself! So use all opportunities that come your way…

Look at your life and the things you wish you could have done differently or change and ask yourself, “Am I holding myself fully responsible? Am I allowing myself room for growth and improvement, or am I choosing to leave that option to those I hold responsible for my failures, hence negating any chance of improvement or seeing new opportunities?”
When all seems to be working against you and you feeling defeated, have another look at the situation in a less self-critical way and find a place to learn, grow and make changes from…

"If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life."
— Leo Tolstoy

Picture Source

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When Reaching Rock Bottom is Not Enough...

When hitting that brick wall doesn’t hurt or even faze you enough to make a necessary life change, when stubbornness leads you to self-destruction, and when the need to “win” leads you to lose yourself; what is the price you are willing to pay for guarantee unhappiness? What mirror do you need to walk in front of, to catch that mere reflection of the essence of the real you… of what used to be you?

I find that there is an interesting disconnect in the way some of us perceive ourselves. How can you fight so hard for someone’s (exclusive) love and attention because you feel you are good (or you are “it” for that person), but you can’t love and care for yourself enough to know you deserve the same, if not better? Love should see you evolve and not regress. While the love you feel for someone should encompass the majority of your thoughts, you can never let it make you forget that you are your first priority. How much are we willing to lose of ourselves, for a mockery of love; for a parody of a relationship?
Reality can’t be that blind when the pain is screaming shamelessly…

Love should be chanted and proclaimed on roof tops and not whispered as a best kept secret between two lovers…when real; it is a gift to truly celebrate. Love is both substantial and generous. I just posted not too long a go, “When Love Doesn’t Mean Everything”, where I stressed that love is not meant to last forever, *UNLESS* you put in the work, effort and commitment to make it everlasting. However, before thinking of the forever you need to make sure that what you are feeling and receiving is not a dream; which means that it is always real, not imaginary, and shared, not imposed.

When the “love” you feel for someone else takes over the love you have for yourself, you know you are treading on damaging ground. Be independent, selfish but selfless, assert yourself and value yourself… the standards you hold yourself up against need to be higher than what you hold him/her against.

Most of us have been there; where we thought “this is it!”, “this is the love of my life!” and “this is the person I was meant to spend my life with!” How many times over the course of our lives can we look back and wish we hadn’t made that proclamation? It’s easy to get wrapped up into a comfortable lie, where we ignore the many warning signs, the sound advice of those who care about us, and even the many examples we see all around us. You can spend half an hour watching any popular “Jerry Springer” type show, and clearly see that lies will always be brought to the light eventually. Just because we convince ourselves that what we have is real, does not automatically cause a shift in the universe, which will allow us to re-write the facts. As good as it might make you feel, it is simultaneously ripping you apart. You’re losing a piece of yourself with every moment that passes by, and eventually you become unrecognizable. How sad would it be to wake up one day, look around and say, “Who am I?” You have gone beyond your limit. You’ve already been given your last warning. You’ve already been told by life that this was your last chance to make things right, but deep down inside, you still feel like you need this. What do we do when we find ourselves there?
Love is actual, yet not always powerful, due to the fact that love can also be weak; as such is the nature of the heart. As a child, you’re told to “follow your heart”. How funny is it then, that some of the most simplistic advice on earth can lead to our ultimate demise. Yes, following your heart is right, as long as it’s being lead by your rationally thinking brain. That said; don’t follow your heart after you’ve had 4 drinks. Don’t follow your heart after you’ve been fired, and it’s telling you to jump off a building. Don’t follow your heart after you’ve caught him/her cheating, and it tells you to shoot everyone. Certainly, don’t follow your heart when it’s telling you to go home with that shady character you just met. Don’t always follow your heart. Instead, follow sound judgement. Listen to your heart, and measure it against what you know to be right, that’s the winning recipe.

When reaching rock bottom isn’t enough, you’ll find yourself in something worse; your own personal Hell. If you can’t find the necessary self-love to walk away from the thing that’s killing you from the inside-out, then do it for those who care for you the most. The one’s who have invested time, energy and love in you deserve to see you succeed! They should see you find the right kind of love and success, not witness you fall deep into a bottomless pit of depression and self-abuse. If this is you, and you’re reading this, I am no expert. However, I have observed a certain truth; anything celebrated in the “dark” will usually leave you empty. Take the necessary steps you need to take. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. You deserve better. Do you agree?

Tony Robbins once said “there are two things that motivate people to make dramatic changes in their lives: inspiration and desperation. 

Believe it or not, there is incredible force that generates from hitting rock bottom; so be inspired by your desperation and turn the debilitated comportment into a stronger you…
Rock bottom is the dead end you couldn’t avoid but the beauty in reaching that place is knowing that it is your opportunity to turn things around and start over toward expectations that can only be higher and bigger than that lower-point you are willing to leave behind.

To loving you first, 

Photo by Neal

Monday, July 16, 2012

The "Unforgivable" Sin

Matthew 12:31-32, Jesus says to the Pharisees:
"Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come"

It is unmistakeably clear that in understanding this scripture, the only unforgivable sin is permanently rebuffing and talking against the Holy Spirit; which is equivalent to simply rejecting Christ with no possibility of repentance.

Before reading more, please watch the video on the bottom of the post...

And then I listened to what Jefferson Bethke said about most of us Christians. We think that we are within the grace of God no matter what negative things we do. We allow ourselves to commit inhumane and uncaring acts, with no significant worry of repercussion; simply because we know that we are not doing the unforgivable. We are not committing the ultimate sin, yet along with that, we’re doing nothing at all to help our neighbour…Christianity has become, for most, a game of pick and choose of what we personally feel is behaving within and toward the grace of God. 
We easily lose sight of what’s outside our four walls and the life we were all meant to have. We concern ourselves with the irrelevant, inconsequential; we focus on the petty and futile. It’s sometime hard for me to remember that I’m not only liable for doing right by my family, friends and those I’m in immediate contact with, but also to those I don’t know but who are in need (with either emotional or tangible needs). So when I watched this video, Link to video "unforgivable sin", it hit me hard because although I know I’m a good person, I realize I’m not the Christian I need to be. I use repentance every time I see fit to guarantee my salvation but how about being humble and of servitude? 

While empathy is intuitive, and generosity is instinctive (or innate), altruism is learned. The space between the three is wide as the world we live in. While not many of us will master and embody altruism (i.e., Mother Theresa), most of us will feel empathy and perform acts of generosity daily; the path “towards” altruism is learning to extend those same 2 qualities towards those we don’t know… meaning, being charitable.

So while I’m writing this post, I’m counselling myself concerning the changes (there you go…1 more thing I have to work on J) I need to make.
Charitable behaviour needs to not only be towards my circle and immediate surroundings, but I also need to give freely to others. I need to have it available by seeking out the ones I don’t know, not in direct connection or contact to me.
Charity is opening your heart to anyone in need… While most of the time we think that satisfying someone’s need is giving material goods, we need to realize that it is not necessarily so. At times, your presence, your shoulder, and your listening ears carry more weight than money. It doesn't necessarily have to be something material. Sometimes just being there can have much greater value than money or actual possessions.
Genuine charity with no expectation of return shows compassion for the people around you. We spend so much of our time, criticizing and judging others’ behaviour, actions and lives without looking into the why. If given the choice and the ability, I doubt that “poverty”, “pariah” and “ dependent on society’s welfare” would be popular career paths chosen by individuals. I think that we need to think twice about our views on what some consider the “global community”. When we spend time caring for people who may not be as fortunate as us, act like us or even speak the same language we do, we will truly be making a difference; and isn’t that what the world need now?

“Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give, it will be measured back to you.”
----Luke 6:38


Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.”
― Chuck Palahniuk


Live your life not for the past as it can no longer be changed…
Live your life in the present as this is your opportunity to shape, discover and enjoy what you were meant to be…
Live your life for the future as your legacy, your stamp on this world is one your inheritor(s) will build from…

Five Unworldly and Undeniable Truths
1. If life was meant to be easy it rarely turns out that way… The journey will include suffering, pain, loss, hurt and heartache but remember that what doesn’t kill you will ultimately make you stronger.
2. You are not in control of your outcome. You are not in control of your destiny; all you have power over is the way you will live the journey toward your fate.
3. Death is a promise. When and how is a unknown
4. You are not all that important. In the big scheme of things you only matter to a small group of people; the imprint you will leave in the world will also be short lived. While your survivors will be acknowledge for the work or legacy you’ve started, you will be forgotten real fast.
5. Your life=Borrowed life. Your life is not about you. There is a great story unfolding before you. You are a small player in that story, but the story is big, cosmic, sacred and your job is to find your predestined role in that story

Live your BEST life to the FULLEST...


Friday, July 13, 2012

When Love Doesn't Mean Everything...

Isn’t love supposed to make things better? Isn’t love supposed to salvage any damages and overcome every obstacle? Isn’t love supposed to withstand the test of time? Isn’t love the remedy to all aches? Isn’t love the solution to all of our problems? Isn’t love supposed to conquer all?
We invest so much faith in love and its ability to cure and defeat all, but we forget that just like a good investment in the stock market, we have to keep a watchful eye on the stock’s movement so it doesn’t lose its worth…
I’ve said it so many times; nothing is ever meant to last forever, unless you put in the work, time and commitment required to nurture the relationship.
Love is a feeling that needs attention; it needs to be nourished, stroked, and romanced to grow strong… Love hurts. Sometimes, love wants or needs to give up and give in. Love walks away to never come back, and love sometimes just don’t know. So when you find it… then what?
We see so many people come and go through the doors of our life. Some we instantaneously connect with and fall for. There are some who, little by little, you let take over part of the priceless real estate that is your heart. Most of them, you think will stay and be a part of your life forever…

Nothing is meant to last forever, not even the "good and happy" relationships, which only guilt is the showing of use from years filled with love and time spent. Nothing needs to happen for the vision of the end to sharpen and slowly erase the idea of what you knew as forever...
Nothing is meant to last forever but the experience is supposed to stay with you forever... ~RS

In friendship, and in intimacy you’ve found love…what now?
Is it really the key to forever or is it a guarantee for right now? Is it the foundation of all that matters or is it the uneven ground on which the “possibility” can be built?
Love will give you wings. Love will make you a fighter. Love will make you an optimist and love will make you confident. But sometimes, love won’t be enough to take on and confront all the chasms in your life’s journey. That’s inevitably when heartbreaks will happen, deception will creep in, doubt will cast its anchor, years will bring changes and main roads will create many little trails pushing us towards different directions. These turns lead you to do something you didn’t start thinking you would have to do… thinking your way out of love.

To say that love is everything is extremely unrealistic. It is actually a romantic statement that covers a lot of grounds. What is love without trust? What is it without respect? True love can endure a lot but it can't always be enough. Love doesn’t conquer all. Your attitude and your willingness to keep pushing and working at it will help you overcome the challenges, but to be successful, the parties in the relationship have to want it just as much and be equal in the desire to maintain the love.
Love starts by being blind but can’t escape reality when you realize that it does not feed, clothe or shelter. It doesn't solve problems or predict issues. Love is not enough in most settings but life is undeniably not worth living without experiencing it…
Love is the beginning of all and can be the end of all.

Do I believe that love is the core of everything worthwhile? Yes.
And that it conquers all? No, I don't believe love conquers all, but it's the best and strongest foundation to build everything in your life on.
You need to foster and create healthy relationships but love is just the foundation. It takes a lot more than "love" to be invincible and be forever. Love is the cement that keeps respect, trust, kindness, communication, interest and chemistry together…

"We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness."
— Ellen Goodman

To love,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You Are My Sunshine...

“A mother's treasure is her daughter.” 
~Catherine Pulsifer

I always knew I wanted a child. I didn’t know exactly what kind of mother I would be, but I knew I wouldn’t be complete without creating and bringing to life my child.
I remember at, 19 years old, bonding so tightly with my first niece Anais. We would spend our days together lying in bed, playing and trying to teach her how to say “tantine”, before she could say “maman”.
At 10 months old, she took her first step towards me. Later that same week, she left with her mom and dad for a short trip to Germany and never came back; she wasn’t a year old and a car accident had taken her away. I cried so much. I remembered one night, a couple days after her passing, I was crying in my sleep and woke up because I felt her crawl up from the foot of the bed underneath the sheets. She crawled all the way up to me and tried to amuse me by doing “peek-a-boo”, like we used to and make me laugh. That was the last time I saw her until her funeral. My heart was broken and seeing the pain in my sister’s eyes (a pain that never went away) made me hesitant in wanting to give birth and become a mother myself because…what if…

Years past, and there came many nephews and nieces to run after, love and unconsciously help me heal. I’m not sure how much fun I was as an aunt but I know how much joy they brought into my life and it brought back the need for me to conceive. 

When I meet “the hubby”, I knew he would be the father of my child…
I wanted us to have 1 child, a boy that would look like him, with my personality and shortly after my wish was granted; my heart was filled and over-flowing with love. I was more than content for the next 2 years but then I started to think of my life, 10 brothers and sisters, constant support through tragedies and through good times, always someone to talk to. The selfless side of me started to think I had to give my son a sibling but I couldn’t deny the selfish side of me who started to miss a baby in my arms; the dependency that my son was slowly but surely growing out of.
Although I knew I wanted to give my little boy a sibling, I had a fear of “How will I be able to love a new addition to our trio when my heart was already 100% taken?” I knew it was feasible looking around me but I just didn’t comprehend how… How do you pull from 1 child to give some to the other? Does your heart suddenly expend to give room to a new baby and more love?

My baby girl was born and sure enough, my heart expanded… Who knew I had so much love bundled up inside of me… they brought purpose, direction and focus to my life…I found myself in a constant state of “being in love” and immensely blessed.

In a few weeks, my favorite son will be 13 and my favorite daughter will turn 10. While I’m looking proudly at my son turning into a wonderful handsome teenager and already thinking of the lucky girl that will snatch him away from us, I’m looking at my baby girl (who swears that she will never leave me) and the bond we have. In a major selfish way, I’m reassured and happy of that thought J

I wonder if this Irish saying is true,A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life”…

I saw her off to Florida with her aunt, uncle and cousin this Sunday and even before she got to the car, my heart was in pain and tears were flowing. I was missing her already; missing the unstopping, repetitive sound of my name/title, missing her inquisitive personality, really I was missing my sidekick, my mini-me… What will happen when the natural course of life takes place and she realizes that she is ready to leave the nest; for college, for a job, or for love? Why am I getting ready for those steps with my son (I think) and not with my daughter?
I’m teaching and instilling values in her that I feel are important and I’m doing that sometimes with patience, sometimes with understanding, sometimes with an open mind and open ears; but always with lots of love and kindness... and for all the other times where I wasn't patient, responsive, perceptive and a bit intolerant but again always with love, I wonder…

I wonder if when the tables turn, in a few years, she will remember her journey with me. And if she does, will she mainly remember my sometimes, my other times or will she remember my always?
When she has to slow her pace and wait for me because my stride is no longer what it used to be, will she be patient?
When I ask her a thousand times, the same question within a 10 minute span, will she understand that my mind is becoming forgetful?
When she has to hear the same story over and over again, will she take the time to listen?
When I can no longer keep up with the world's new ways of communicating, will she take the time to teach me?
When helping me to take care of myself becomes a challenge more than a pleasure, will she continue to be there to lend me a helping hand?
When she notices me getting old and all I want is to have her around me... will she keep me around?

A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of herself. And mothers are their daughters' role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.
 ~Victoria Secunda

To a bond that leaves you breathless...


Monday, July 9, 2012

It Comes with The Territory...

“What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important.”
– Unknown


Its 1:00am and 90 degrees outside. This is the second consecutive day of this heat wave; I finally put my head down on my 2 pillows, stack up another 4 pillows under my feet to keep them elevated and close my eyes…
I hear, “Hey, you are taking all the pillows!” …coming from the other side of the bed.
“I’m sorry baby, my feet are swollen. I dropped an extremely heavy mannequin base on my feet, I’ve been up all day on them and my circulation is very bad. Go ahead and take one from underneath my head if you want,” I reply.
“No its okay…don’t worry,” says the hubby (always so considerate  L J)
He opened the door to a very late night conversation…
“I’m exhausted… There is not enough time in the day… I just can’t breathe… I have not touched my “book” in over a month,” I said.
He then says, “Rose, what do you expect? You wake up at 5am to exercise, and then get the kids ready for their day. You go to work, and get back home whenever you get back. If you’re lucky, they’ve already had dinner at your brother’s (house) and if not, you have to figure that out. You proceed to get them ready to turn in for the night, and then you have the nerve to want to keep yourself on a tight schedule for your blog…and book… When do you think you would have time to do anything?”

And that’s when and where everything goes wrong. When you wish you had just kept your mouth shut… I mean, I know my schedule… I know I over extend myself and this is certainly not what I wanted to hear. Heck, I don’t know what I wanted to hear, but it sure wasn’t “the hubby in a matter-of-fact tone, breakdown the obvious and be right about my unrealistic superwoman syndrome”… Maybe I wanted him to say, “Its okay babe, how many hours do you want me to add to your day to make things better and more manageable for you?”
Well, right about this time its 1:30am and if I want to be productive in my morning exercise routine, I better shut the door on this “extremely failed attempt at venting” and go to sleep…

Why can’t I attempt to tackle and manage all I things I can and should accomplish in a day, week, month? Isn’t that what we do? Isn’t it what we (as women) have done for the past…..hundreds years?
Well, that is what I do!
Granted, I’m obviously not quite successful at it (but sometimes yes - to my detriment most of the time) but that’s what makes me “me.” The challenges, the goals, the satisfaction of a job well done or for giving it a fighting chance, the purpose in every moment, and the everyday drive… All leading to accomplishments or to failures but leading to something…
In my world 24 hours will never be enough to meet my own requirements and expectations, in addition of those imposed by society. While I would love the dream of a few more hours added to my days to be reality, I really don’t believe that would be the solution to my problems. Actually, it would probably accentuate my problem by giving me the opportunity to add more to my workload that I already have a hard time managing! If I want to be honest with myself, I need to admit that my issue is not the amount of projects I take upon. I need to manage myself, and my time better… I’m totally out of sync, out of balance. I need to juggle my lifestyle, my commitments and society’s necessities or change them!

I am a wife
I am a mother
I am a daughter
I am a sister
I am a part of the workforce
And more often than needed, I suffer from the “Superwoman Syndrome”

That’s when I start to lose balance. I need to realize that I don’t have the time to be overzealous. I need to realize that it is costing me time and my health. The stress level is affecting my personal and financial welfare. I’m letting go of perfection. I’m learning to comprise with others but mostly with myself. I’m using my family and co-workers as teammates and learning to be more comfortable delegating…
While I don’t function to be the “supergirl”, or the “goodgirl”, I don’t know how to not be with a plate full. My full potential is out there and how will I achieve it if I don’t try to achieve all? Again, finding the right balance is my solution, staying off of the never ending treadmill called society’s expectations and keeping life simple will be my salvation!

What about you? Do you feel the need to do it all? Do you let yourself get overwhelmed by responsibilities? Do you feel the need to do everything for everyone? What overwhelms you?

To keeping life at a full minimum, as time is all you have… Master your time and you will master your life.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Living Your Life or Living A Life Of Lies...

“We tell lies when we are afraid….afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” ~ Tad Williams

Who can stand without an ounce of hesitation and proclaim that their life is free from speaking or spreading a lie(s), either maliciously or innocently? I believe that we all are guilty of that fault to an extent; not to say it is right but sometimes you can’t avoid it. Like when you want to spare someone’s feelings, or when preserving the lines you can’t rightfully cross while dealing with your superiors or elder.

I strongly believe that all truths don’t deserve to be told (i.e., keeping quiet) but when an answer is demanded…half-truths are recommended and a lie… a little “white lie” is occasionally apropos.

But when do you draw the line? When do you stop hiding behind the excuse that, “It is not for me or my benefit that I’m lying but for you and your protection?” When do you jump from occasional to everyday big lies; the ones that recreate you from your desire to be and not from the reality that is, ones that portray you as a person you’re not, and ones that put you in a light that doesn’t shine true… How do you go from the “occasionally” to “living the life”…living the life of lies? When does integrity lose the battle against ignorance?

The main reason any one chooses to lie is to project a better image or another life than what’s truly theirs. It is the lack of self-esteem and respect for who they are.

We all have the capability to understand and distinguish what’s right and what’s wrong; what’s considered acceptable in the society and environment we live in. Some may call it peer pressure, while wanting to adapt and fit in, but most would call it just synching in with society’s basic behaviour. However, free will is our given right. It is our opportunity to freely choose and decide the road you want to follow. We all have the choice to decide the path we want to take, even if that path is completely against the spectrum of what’s morally and socially acceptable. So why do some of us choose to live a life of lies, instead of living our real life?

Living a continuous lie (being unable to share what’s truly going on in your life, perpetrating a certain ideal other than the one that is truly yours, etc.…) or doing something in the shadows, that feels right for you when consciously knowing that anyone would think it is wrong and indecent behaviour is living a lie… “Living a lie” is doing something continuously that no one knows about or would approve. Living a lie is simply living a live that is not yours…

“Life is not a stage, where you get pay a fee to play pretend for a few hours of your day…”

Life is all about personal choices. What people fail to do is take a look into the future, weigh the consequences and impact of their decisions (good and bad) and the aftermath that these choices will bring. A happy life is living one where acceptance of all your decisions (right or wrong) is a given.

I’m not trying to promote bad behaviour and embrace it with an “F-you” attitude to the world. It’s not as if that is all it takes to be happy and finally true to oneself, because at the end of the day, even when you decide to live your life (live your choices, regardless of others opinions or advice), you will have to be strong enough to face the looks, the criticisms, and your own morals and values…

The truth which can at times bring misery will always be a better option than ignorance…

“Truth allows you to live with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the Truth.” ~ Oprah Winfrey  

To a true life of truth...
This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Plague of The Caring Leader...

When the only cure to wiping out the plague of caring is to stop caring, you realize that some diseases are worth dealing with, rather than fighting against ~RS


"It is not the critic who count;: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic," speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910 ---------Theodore Roosevelt

To a certain extent, we are all co-dependent on our entourage and the people in it. The idea that someone else needs to be the main source of you feeling as though you matter and are worth something is absurd. Our motivation behind every action should not be to impress or to be praised, but at best, simply (organically) sometimes seeking to be recognized… this is mainly in our professional environments, as it will determine the growth potential within the institution you represent. I believe this is a basic human trait. Nothing we do and work to accomplish is in vain, and although I don’t want to make this a focus as many around me do very well their daily grind, donkeywork without any ballyhoo… I’m also very observant of people’s perception of those who always seek appreciation, as it really translates to a lack of self-awareness and self-worth. I think it is important to understand that in the real world, most times people are NOT going to recognize your work or accomplishment, as it is what’s expected from you. You have to have a strong regard and belief in yourself and your capability to accomplish things, without the praise of others. You also have to ultimately be able to assess when you are challenged and can’t accomplish the task at hand. You shouldn’t need anyone to point it out to you. Inner-personal strength is necessary for our day-to-day functionality.

You have to have inner strength to control emotions; keeping them in check, and keeping your poise. Negativity towards you has to generate strength which will allow you to use the emotions and energy to make yourself tougher, to learn from and conquer. Your soul cannot be shaken and put into doubt. Staying enthusiastic, positive and confident determines (and will define) your character and the type of person you are when faced with adversity…

I’m on my flight back from our annual manager’s meeting, a wonderful experience. It was a great get-together with well experienced professionals, passionate and motivated individuals. For some of us, confidence was shaken as a result of a survey/analysis of our performance as managers, taken by our staff. While it was very insightful and enlightening to see how the people we manage on a daily basis thought about and perceived us, it did prove to be an uncomfortable chair to sit on while on the receiving end (Have we ever stopped to think about how many times we are the one judging and how easy it is to not have to walk in their shoes…).
As I am very well aware of the kind of manager I am, my strengths, my success and my challenges, I do not expect to be applauded on my successful ways from my staff and was definitely caught off guard by how in tune they were with me (and identifying my flaws).
A few of us, although well aware of the image our staff had of us, were taken back from the results…good or bad.
Every day in any job, the idea is to go into it giving it your finest while there. One should care about the responsibility he/she holds no matter the level, but as a manager you should strive to be the best role model… but sometimes, when the perception of others takes on a bigger role than face value, or when your best is not (for others) good enough in its totality, for you it should be enough in itself as that’s all you can give.
Ultimately, only you can say whether or not your best was good enough…

Sometimes criticism is constructive and sometimes it is spiteful; either way, it should never sway the core and the authenticity of who you are… negative or positive, it should enhance the person you are…and ultimately that is your choice. Setting ourselves in a position of influence on others exposes us to the opinion and judgment from others, as everything we do (generally or at one specific moment, even if not obvious) will affect someone else or several people in different ways.

Often we don’t dare to be ourselves and behave in what we believe is “best” because we are trying to meet other people’s expectations. We often worry more about what other people say than about what matters to us. Listen and learn from critique, but don’t move too far from who you are. Accepting feedback doesn’t mean compromising who you are; it is showing strengths and the capability of growth and learning. Living someone else’s life is a bad way to live your life. Managing others without setting personal structure, vision, beliefs and a game plan is setting yourself up for failure. Don’t choose to play it safe with the objective of pleasing... And while "learning from others" don't compromise under pressure...

There are three types of people:  Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, “What happened?” Which one are you? Do you worry more about being loved than being what you love? Do you choose what is right rather than what is safe or the other way around?

To an open mind

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give, it will be measured back to you.”
----Luke 6:38

Charity is the ability to do good for others, and being of servitude to others.  It’s knowingly putting us last, selflessly. Charity doesn’t have to be grandiose to be worthwhile and meaningful. Although charity displays itself in so many ways and inclusive to all it is one of the hardest act to exemplify.
Money is the easiest route to display charity (but not available to us all), time is equal to money (if not more valuable) however you can’t write off money but your time is irreplaceable…

Let us all make a conscious effort to show empathy and charity…

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