Friday, August 31, 2012

Finding The Good in Goodbye...

“Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time
to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work.
A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours
when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine.
No more busy work. No more hiding from success.
Leave time, leave space, to grow.
Now! Not tomorrow!"
- Og Mandino

While our main focus in life is usually to seek happiness (and the things that help bring that feeling to fruition), many times, once we’ve found the way to fulfilling that need, we hang on to the objects that facilitate that happiness as if our life and future depend on it. As a consequence, we tend to rely and base our happy moments on circumstances, objects, and people. Our lives quickly become cluttered by memories and possessions, and although they may be no longer relevant to our lives, we hold on to them only for the sentimental aspect of it.

While hanging on to the memories, familiarities, and objects responsible for the positive feelings, we leave a slim space for new opportunities and new experiences (as we believe we have the recipe for the happiness we need). We give less of a fighting chance to today and tomorrow’s possible joy and gifts. We have to let the trials of novelties have a chance to bring and let happiness in.
I have taken inventory of my life’s belongings (which I have accumulated), feelings (good or bad, that I hold on to), attachments (which I cherish), and experiences (which I swear by). While I realize that, combined, they are the sum of the artist that made the master piece that I am, I also realize that they are preventing me from growth, and new opportunities…

The desire and need to de-clutter my life has been building slowly, making it easier to take on the act itself and clear path…
Overcoming nostalgia (and maybe a small bout of hoarding) is not a simple task, as your body and mind yearn for the past. Sometimes your attachment to the material belongings prevent you from disregarding. Is our self-identity defined by the “stuff” we own and the things we’ve gone through?

Finding “good” in goodbye…

De-clutter the unnecessary belongings to make room for “good” new space…
What happens today; accept it. Deal with it for what it truly is, and open yourself up to experiences, without dragging a chained-ball of past attachment. Today, this moment is your focus! Don’t try to make it what was when challenged; don’t try to control it and salvage it by trying to recreate past success. Fully embrace, appreciate and enjoy today’s experiences and challenges, as they can and will be the new memories you will want to hang on to. Good experiences will never feel long enough, so while quantity will never be reached, focus on the quality of the moment… Replenish your life with newness, while maintaining only your core beliefs.

Make space for new “good” relationships…
Sometimes we hang on to people because of the way they make us feel, and because of the sense of security the give us. This is either because we want to maintain a certain amount of people around us (to feel love and a sense of value) or just to avoid loneliness and facing ourselves. Nothing is guaranteed to last forever. Knowing that, don’t hold on too tight or exclusively, as you would never want to feel lost if they depart from your life. Be open to new and different points of view… don’t limit yourself.

Give up on the redundant; welcome unpredictability for new “good” experiences…
Just because you failed at something in the past, it does not mean that trying again will prove to be disastrous. In the same vein, just because something was once successful, it does not guarantee the same outcome when repeated. Embrace your past, and learn from it but let it go. Don’t fear what’s ahead; run towards it. Open your mind to new situations and welcome the effects that they will have on you today (in moving away from yesterday and changing your tomorrow and the only way of successfully accomplishing that is to welcome the new).

Finding the “good” in goodbye is not always easy, especially when there is no real reason why you should say goodbye to anything or anyone. To belong, we feel the need to attach ourselves to people, ideas, places and duties to maintain those bonds. However, when we understand that we have a choice every night to be thankful of the ending day (closing your daily book for a new sequel to start tomorrow) and every morning to be thankful to be part of the day starting and the new opportunities at our door, the lesson to learn is that we have the ownership of our daily outcome and to be fearless of the HELLO(s) life has to offer.

How about you? Have you ever felt the need of a "spring cleaning" of your life? Make your mind and life clutter free? Make space for new?

To finding the "good" in goodbye...
This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

Image Courtesy of Google Image Search

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Answer to An Anonymous Questioner...

"If a story is in you, it has got to come out."
William Faulkner

I was sent an anonymous message on my blog asking; why do I feel the need to write so much and share my opinion on everything? Ummm…

My first reaction was to take the question in a very negative way (and my mind did go all the way up in there!), but then when I started to think about a “tasty” reply, it dawned on me how legitimate the question was and re-thought taking it negatively.
Maybe it was because many times I had asked myself:
Am I intruding?
Am I bothering?
Am I sharing too much?
Am I too present?

Someone once commented with, “Rose, you are a prolific writer.” I took it as a compliment because I knew who it was coming from. I knew that it was only a measure of love sent my way…
But sometimes I wonder…sometimes I question myself. Is being overly creative, at times, more of a nuisance; taking away the depth and meaning of my stories?

I’m not a “fictional” writer (I don’t have the imagination required). I write from personal experiences; I write base off emotions I feel towards something or someone. It works because most of the time, these emotions coincide with a message or a moral to the story…to myself!

The aim in my writing is never to intrude, bother, be too present, share when not asked, or to teach anything… it is simply for the meaning and mostly for the love of it
It is a way for me to see more clearly into a situation and present another perspective.
Dylan Thomas said when someone asked him what message he was trying to deliver in one of his plays “Message? Message? What am I? A bloody postman?” LOL…
“I’m not trying to deliver a message, I’m writing about the direction my moral compass takes me and the why to certain actions. I’m writing about the message to myself. I like to think that I’m unique but I know that out of the 6 billion + humans on this earth, there’s bound to be at least a handful that think, act, and feel the way I do. And in return, I’m interested in how the rest of the world thinks, feel and acts in the same given situation”.

The reason why I can’t take offense to the question (and this unless, of course, someone bluntly tells me, “RosieSandz you suck! Enough already…” even that I would have to respectJ!) is because I know most of you who take the time to read, or are receiving my notifications and updates, are friends and people who have known me for many many years. Most of you are rightfully taken back by this “new side” of me. Believe me when I say, I’m not trying to provide moral guidance (I have lots of personal clean-up to do before I even contemplate the thought…). I, myself, am still working on being consistent in practicing my lessons learned. Laying it down on cyber-paper is more therapeutic for me than catered for anyone else’s enlightenment.

I do it for the love of it… Hope I answered your question…

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Black Caterpillar...

Wait... Don't judge my cover. Give me a chance...
 I am in the process of turning into a beautiful butterfly...

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

There is always a beginning and an end of any organism, action, feeling, and story.
To arrive at any result, or for it to be “THE” moment you are at now or the end of your road, there is an evident passage which is a common walkthrough one must take; the aging process.
And then there is the process that differentiate us, that makes us all unique, that brings judgement; the building of character and personality.
However, our journey is never this simple…
Why is it that on this road to discovery and construction of who we are, we are rarely looked at based on our possibilities and potential, but merely on first impressions…

First impressions are made when situations or people are being judged by what you see on the outside, or hearsay. For people, typically, first impressions are made based on appearances, behaviour and demeanour. These are all preconceived, superficial assumptions.
While we can’t negate the fact that we all are guilty (to a certain extreme) of being judgmental and base many of our (re)actions and relationships on that first impression, and while we can also agree that first impression is the lasting impression we need to make a conscious effort to not let it be the last impression.

Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a metaphoric quote, that simply encourages us to be more tolerant, patient, not so quick to “pull the trigger” and give in to misconceptions but see if there is more depth to the person (or situation).

While on the way to catching the bus to the ferry that would take us to Cape Cod, my daughter stopped us, screaming about the ugliness of “this weird ugly bug” that was crawling on the ground. My friend, my niece and I converged around the creeping bug, stared and finally realized it was a caterpillar. Then it dawned on me; aren’t caterpillars supposed to turn into beautiful butterflies? It was just at the beginning of its journey. I hurried and took a picture but then I realized that I would not be there to see the transformation. I will never know what colour of the rainbow it will turn out to be but I knew, that day, it wasn’t at its full potential…
My niece and daughter both asked me why I bothered to take a picture of an ugly caterpillar; I told them, “I’m taking the picture because I’ve learned a lesson. I will blog about it and call it Black caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly…”
They both giggled and I smiled because truly I had learned a lesson…

We are all worth having the chance to reach our potential, regardless of the baggage we carry; from mannerisms, characteristics, appearances, circumstances and predicaments which all are not reasons enough to label and put anyone on the short list.
It is definitely a bad habit (judging) that I personally need to conquer. I need to learn to see beyond that first interaction and to not be so hang up on the “first 7 seconds rule to make a good impression”.
We all need to be cognisant to always remember “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

To the beautiful caterpillar within us…


Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done,
we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change.
So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger,
but in wisdom, understanding and love.”
~ Jennifer Edwards


Photograph by Elizabeth Kamm

Friday, August 24, 2012

Don't Get it Twisted... Life WILL Go On Without Us...

“All the cemeteries in the world are
full of indispensable men”
~Charles de Gaulle

What did I do to get this little piece of advice? Or should I say what did I not do?

The older we get, the more responsibilities we take on; and the more we allow people and situations to rely on us for their everyday function-ability. And we falsely believe that we have things under control; that no matter what, we are first and foremost … we are sometimes delusional in thinking that our priorities are in proper order.
And little we know…

During July 4th weekend, I organized a roller skating “challenge” with my relatives. There was my side of the family (the Euro/African contingent) and “the hubby's” side of the family (Detroiiiiiit represent!). Should I even say that from the time I concocted this “challenge,” I knew our fate…Shoot, no one on my side even knew how to skate and the “intense” class sessions we took just gave us the mere ability to perpetrate and talk s*** on the skating rink. The whole while, I knew darn well we were doomed! J But if there's one thing we're good at, it's being a good sport and staying competitive!
There wouldn’t be any purpose of this story without telling the highpoint (or should I say, "Low-point"); which was me (in all of my glory) being bulldozed on the rink by little kids, falling hard to the floor and twisting my ankle pretty badly. And there was my chance for the gold, rushing painfully down the drain!
Let me now elaborate on how I got my imaginary degree in General Medicine with a concentration in Radiology… Age… Age simply gave me the wisdom to be able to assess every ache and pain, and also gave me the wherewithal on how to treat those situations, it also gave me the opportunities to observe and apply all my “findings". And then there was luck…(yes luck), that kept me and mine alive!!!!
So here I am, almost 2 months after the “epic fall” in the skating rink, with an ankle that has a mind of its own; an ankle which after 1 ½ weeks of being kept elevated and in a soft brace, feels as if I wasted my time. I have an ankle which doesn’t allow me to contemplate any exercise, which swells at the sight of a high heel shoe, which at sunrise looks like a size 2 but at sundown looks like a size 14, which has developed a heartbeat of its own, that the pulse and throbbing keeps me in discomfort at night…and yet, through all of this, I still don’t see the need to go see a real doctor!

Simply because I’m needed, and simply because I’m indispensable; I’m essential to my surroundings and I believe nothing will get done the way it needs to be done (which is my way) if I were to be taken out of the equation… So I believe…

I was catching up with my "sistergirl" and giving her the rundown of all my physical troubles and then she asked me, “What are you doing about it?” After giving her the spiel about why I couldn’t and didn’t do anything about it, I had to admit (in shame) that I had self-evaluated myself but that I’m realizing that I might have been wrong.
That’s when the sermon…the word of wisdom befell on me…
(if anyone generally speaks in a language different than their first dialect with people that do speak your first dialect, when you want to make or stress a point you revert, at that moment –like a punctuation- to speaking your first language).
She said “Rose, ma grandmere me disait toujours pour me remettre les pendules a l’heure, les cimetieres sont remplis de gens indispensable…”
Meaning: “Rose my grandmother used to always say, to get me back on track, cemeteries are full of indispensable people…”

Wow… She went for the jugular! I suddenly could picture myself 6 feet under, my kids living their life beautifully and “the hubby” as true to himself, looking ahead and not behind…and yes, life would go on without me…maybe differently, as to be indispensable is a twofold perspective. Me with all my being, I’m a disposable commodity like every single one of us. It's a twofold perspective because even though the participants and inclusive beings in my everyday life rely on me for direction and solutions, there is nothing on this earth any one couldn’t accomplish without me. It might not be the way I would or would like it to be done BUT it will be done!

The sun will rise and shine every morning… The earth will continue to rotate… Children will continue to grow… Organizations will recoup of any disruption… Hurts and pain will dissipate… Memories will take the backseat with seldom reappearance…

So let’s learn to be first and foremost in our lives by taking care of “me”, making “me” happy, and by committing to loving “me” first before anyone else. A little healthy selfishness goes a long way. We need to realize that the idea of being indispensable is just that…an idea, that can be crushed as fast as it took for you to believe it!
When you finally realize that you are not indispensable, you can live and will be able to leave this evolving world with a clear conscience and peace of mind; knowing that your loved ones will be able to live on and continue to blossom without you!

Ode to the Indispensable Man

Sometime, When you're feeling important
Sometime, When your ego's in bloom
Sometime, When you take it for granted
That you're the best qualified in the room Sometime,
When you feel that your going would leave an unfulfillable hole
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how it humbles your soul
Take a bucket and fill it with water
Put your hand in it up to the wrist
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
Is the measure of how you'll be missed.
The moral in this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can
Be proud of yourself but remember
~by Saxon N. White Kessinger

I promise that I will take a better care of myself, my appearance and I'll do this by first getting my ankle properly assessed and treated (which I know will make “the hubby” happy that finally it will get done but upset as he has been telling me repetitively to get it checked and was ignored. Then again, no one has a hubby like mine, who makes sure the monthly investment we make into our healthcare is being used to the max!)

I like to tell people who seek advice about their job commitment, the next step; I like to tell them, “Always remember that you are expendable and replaceable. When making your decisions, think about you, your needs and what will fulfills you. Because, not only will the company survive after you but if they no longer need you, they will have no qualms about getting rid of you”. Well in a less cynical way, this applies also to our personal lives. So I’m going to live what I preach; enjoy life when doing my very best in my role as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend; understanding that I can’t be and shouldn’t be the “literal everything” for anyone  while psyching myself out of the realization that I’m not the center of the world.... L

To accepting the possibility of being “dispensable” so my present can be rich and fulfilling without the worries of possible tomorrow…


Photograph by Bruce Dale

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Building Your Life While Your Joy is Being Stolen...

This post was first published at

Many people live their lives crucified between two thieves – the regrets of yesterday, and the anxieties of tomorrow.  ~ Erwin Lutzer

So many times, my happiness and joy have been stolen by negativity, pessimism and nihilism…
I take a look at my life and can’t help but think about my “now” and how I got where I am today. I look at the hurdles, the pains, the doubts, all the times I revisited and re-evaluated decisions I’ve made, all the times I wanted to give up and give in to pressure, and all the times that I thought, “This is it, it’s not for you, move on…” The tears…the endless tears because my 100% wasn’t enough, it wasn’t a guarantee. Then I had to learn. I had to learn that even if my joy was (seemingly) being stolen from me, I had to keep on building my life. Anything taken away is ultimately a temporary state; all can be replaced and enhanced for deeper joy and appreciation.
Life is made up of so many components. Some are obvious and expected, while some are hidden under invisible folds that catch you by surprise. Either way, on whichever side of the scale of what predominantly happens in your life, we need to accept and understand that life is made of good and bad moments and know that without the bad, the good wouldn’t be so rewarding…

Don’t cry because of what you are going through…smile because it happened and now it’s gone…
Although it’s normal to feel discouraged and down after experiencing and holding on to anger, resentments, and emotional upsets.  Let go, free your heart! Forgive the thieves, forgive the wrong doers in your life and make amends with whomever you need to; what you will experience from forgiving will be rewarding and joyous.
But most importantly, you need to remember that you are not perfect. Your mistakes are part of your growth, so learn to forgive yourself and embrace your imperfections.

When being deceived and surrounded by negativity, everything at that moment takes on a greater proportion than what it really is. Looking back on what you considered to be your biggest challenges, in retrospect are now mere particles of your life’s puzzle… small stuff. When put in perspective, you realize all those “small stuff’s” combined, are part of life. They are what helps you build your character and find the strength to take on more…
I’m not saying to live life expecting the worst at all times, but what I am saying is to live life knowing challenges may/will happen and to be ready for the lessons.
You have the power to hold on to your life, happiness and joy…build your life and decide on the behaviour you want to display.

While building our lives, we are not always in control of our circumstances. Understanding that and the fact that many things can happen, while stacking up the walls of your existence, are out of your control. Having a vision and shaping your future is always a positive and joyous project. Making it happen is where the challenge is, as the chasms on the road can be very treacherous. Some past events will shape part of the unforeseen future.

“There’s nothing so bad in this world that it couldn't be worse” –Irish Proverbs

Keep building your life through a mixture of circumstances and in the process don’t let your joy be taken away. Hold on to it! What you will come across down your path and around the corner will require and generate more joy!

Image Courtesy of Deviant art

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Value of Another's Life... Do We Value it At All?

“Even though human life may be the most precious thing on earth, we always behave as if there were something of higher value than human life.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Simply turn the TV on and what do we see?
Headlines about a mass shooting in Colorado: 12 people murdered, and 58 wounded at a movie theatre.
Headlines about a Wisconsin Shooting: 7 People Killed at Sikh Temple.
In our own backyard (of Boston): Five slaying in four days; 3 innocent young women passengers in a car and a man (in a separate incident) on God’s most famous praise day of Sunday. A couple days later, the execution by stabbing of a man standing at a bus station…
They were all at vulnerable moments in their day, time and life…

What happened to solving issue with class, dignity, and honor? What happened to the good ole’ days, where if a man had an enemy, he would challenge him to a duel; not act as a coward, and gun/stab him down while he wasn’t prepared? What simply happened to valuing each other’s lives?

Human life has a value but yet we act like it is not worth the s*** we step on…
Human life has a value and yet it has none as we fail to make the time, as individuals, to determine what that value is…

Let’s all take a moment and turn from our usual thought process, “I don’t care about that person (or this person), why should I? I don’t know them, their lives doesn’t affect me.” Let’s take a moment and instead of judging the worth of someone else’s life based on their effect on us or lack thereof, let’s turn things around and imagine the value they place upon their own lives…

Let me humour you…
Stalin said “One death is a tragedy, but a million is just a statistic”. Humour you, because I’m using a quote by someone responsible for the deaths of about 20 million Russians in labour-camps. This quote, in no uncertain terms, does not minimize the monstrous magnitude of his actions. The reason why I’m bringing up his quote is, ironically and unfortunately, I feel that in the current era we live, one death has become just as much of a statistic as a mass killing. With mass killings, we connect with the location, with the magnitude and scale of the event more so than the actual individuals who were slaughtered and this only because the amount of casualties are overwhelmingly surreal. For people with love one’s that lose their lives in those “mass killings,” they will feel the tragedy as they are affected on a deeper and personal level …
It is easy to connect and personalize with 1 death and somewhat disconnect to a large number of deaths at one time, in one moment. I feel this way because to anyone sensible and “normal,” it is an occurrence unfathomable. However, now it seems that things (or mentalities) are heading in a backwards direction and we’ve come to a stage where we can’t even connect or be affected by 1 death. It’s not because it’s unfathomable but because we are getting desensitized due to the repetitiveness, making 1 death, 5 deaths or 20 deaths just a statistic.

“We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
~J.K Rowling

Be it far from me to say that the value of a life should be less than of a mass, but that if we could learn to value life not only by our “standard” but also by the owner of that life’s perspective, we would connect and prevent many tragedies.

Many tragedies are generated from a lack of self-esteem, lack of self-worth, a bruised ego, power struggles, and envy… There’s absolutely no regard for another person's life. As a whole, we have become uncaring about the pain and suffering we inflict on others. Human history is filled with violence towards one another, however we are reaching an alarming level in its occurrences (outside the war spectrum).

Some kill out of betrayal.
Some kill for revenge.
Some kill for sexual pleasure or dominance.
Some kill out of curiosity.
Some kill for fun.
Some kill for money.

Crime in this country is out of hand and needs to be undoubtedly attended. And while our leaders and the governments they oversee need to protect the society we live in, their job is not to raise it!
I believe society allows us to behave the way we do. It encourages the selfishness in us, which isolates us by making us think first and foremost about our own selves.

Since when is it okay to rape, abuse, molest, torture and to take someone else’s life? The senselessness of using violence and power as a conflict-solving option, damages the spirit of society. Showing regard for your fellow humans will extend and allow for longer lives.

So what is the value of life? The value of your life is something that you, yourself put a value on. You can say that another human is expendable and not worth your time, day and the air you breathe or you can say it’s a priceless gift…The only way you’ll be able to determine the value of someone else’s life is by valuing your own life and of those connected to you. At the end of the day, the choices we make will determine our actions and tolerance or rejection to others…

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don't know it, all of that doesn't even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It's not like you have forever, so don't waste any of your seconds, don't throw even one of your moments away.”
~C. JoyBell C.

What is your perceived value of someone else's life? How do you value your own life? What and who is to blame for people selfish behavior?

To valuing our most precious gift… Life…

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

The Happiness of my life

The happiness of my life is…my life.

What is the happiness of your life?
Think about your answer(s) and then make sure that whoever brings upon the things that make you happy, you shower them with gratitude because they are the one feeding your soul…

To happiness,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meaning of life vs. purpose of life: The discovery...

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. 
You will never live if you
are looking for the meaning of life.”
~Albert Camus

This morning, I awoke suddenly around 5am and started to think about and examine the day I just left behind. I just celebrated my son’s 13th birthday…
7 hours prior, I was in my living room with my brother, sister in law, and their 2 “adult” children, waiting patiently on “the hubby” to get back from picking up the birthday boy and his “crew” from a late showing of “ Batman: The Dark Knight.”
“Wow” I said, while waiting and getting the cupcakes ready with the 13 candles. I then went into a little monologue; “Jay is 13!!! I don’t know if I’m more amazed by that realization, or by the fact that I, Rose, am a/the mother of a 13 year old…I remember myself at 13… I remember myself at 18, at 21 and no… I would have never imagined this life I have; that this life I’m living was going to be …” Then I looked at my sister-in-law (who knows me since my early teenage years) and asked, “Would you have ever imagined?”
So I woke this morning and tweeted, “The meaning of life is to understand you will never know its true meaning until the end of your journey. Be ready for your discovery. #LIFE” I read my tweet over and over, thought about it a little more, than I followed up with another tweet, “The meaning of your life will be the summary of all “meanings” you found and lived thru your life. It is the combination of purposeful moments.”
In my thought process (between the 2 tweets), I realize that there is a difference between finding one meaning of life and finding meanings in one’s life…

Who we are today is far different than who we were yesterday. Trying to define and call out the meaning of our life’s journey (including the tomorrows to come) is limiting ourselves and preventing growth and discovery of all the many possibilities.

What we also need not to confuse, is the difference between the meaning of our lives and the purpose of our lives. As I said earlier, my belief is that we won’t truly know the meaning of our life until we come to the end of it and balance out our life’s check book. The purpose of our life seemingly is something we are able to determine, choose, and apply so we can have direction (i.e.: if you feel like your purpose is to serve God, you will gear up your life toward anything theological… if you feel your purpose is to heal and save lives, you will focus your life on medical goals…if you feel like your purpose is to teach and educate, you will concentrate your life on pedagogy, etc.).
Someone’s purpose might have been to protect their country but I don’t believe that if they die while doing so, that was their purpose in life; to die. However, I believe that was their destiny. I said in a previous post that our fate and destiny has been long written for us, and our journey is to uncover and live our assignment. 

“There are powers far beyond us, plans far beyond what we could have ever thought of, visions far more vast than what we can ever see on our own with our own eyes, there are horizons long gone beyond our own horizons. This is courage- to throw away what is our own that is limited and to thrust ourselves into the hands of these higher powers- God and Destiny.” ~C.JoyBell C.

Life is truly a discovery. If I circle things back to me… I know that this moment in time is a moment that I may have pictured for me as a generalisation of anyone’s normal course of life (getting married, having kids…) however, I could have NEVER imagined the events I encountered, the hurdles and challenges I did overcome, and the blessings that were poured into me. All those things gave me purpose to exceed, meanings for “what is now” and “why now”, the knowledge of the “next” is to come, and the ultimate anticipation of the sum of it all…
MY take on one’s meaning of life is the accumulation of a series of random events entrenched in numerous and different circumstances that befall our path (which we don’t have any control on their occurrences). The way we deal, accept, use, live and resolve them is what ultimately shapes our lives and defines our bottom line. I like to believe that we are all here to make a difference in some way, when we apply ourselves. However, to sum up that difference, the impact of it can’t be measured until the end of our ability to process and react.
Find an interest; build it into a purpose which will then give direction in finding meanings in your life. THE meaning of your life will be the combination of all the outcomes…

When I entered “what is the meaning of life?” in my search bar, it just highlighted to me how eclectic and subjective this answer can be…

So I ask you, why are we here? What's life all about? And what is the meaning of it all?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wabi Sabi...

“In nature everything looks so imperfect and unscaled, but the formation is so beautiful”
- Bhavesh Chhatbar

“Beautiful isn’t perfect” is as true of a statement as “there is beauty in imperfection.”
Perfection is a concept, not a reality. It reflects things the way we want them to be, and as we deem them to be, making the concept relative to one personal definition of what’s perfect (therefore, not a set universal science we can all base and define perfection on). Beauty comparatively reflects things as they are, and because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it can be imperfectly beautiful. Accepting imperfection as beauty allows the true beauty to shine inside out…

Beauty is not perfect…
Life is not without suffering…
And a piece of writing isn’t flawless…

How can we appreciate anything good if we don’t know what bad is?
How can we appreciate anything positive if on the road to achieving it, we don’t cross paths with negative?
Seeking the ephemeral that is perfection, overshadows the beauty of life that surrounds us; in all its complexity, in all its bumps and cracks, and in all its diversity…
Life is beautiful because we breathe, we feel, we love, and we hurt; beautiful because we exist…because we ARE. Despite the fact that beautiful isn’t perfect, all that is perfectly imperfect around us makes beauty.

Breathe… No pressure… Enjoy your imperfections, and your quirkiness. Be original, don’t conform, and let your inner self be the image of you. You might be judge as “odd”, but your beauty will be defined by your genuine, unaltered uniqueness…

Have you heard of Wabi Sabi?

“Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind.
Wabi the “humble” alongside Sabi "the beauty of the natural progression of time” is the art and practice of honouring the imperfect. To its bare essence it means to leave behind the pursuit of perfection while bringing appreciation to the simple, unaffected beauty of things as they are.”

When we are “Wabi Sabi”, we are simply beautiful because we exist. 
So to embrace a beautiful life where perfection is outshined by the beauty of the flawed, blemished and inconsistent, is to come to terms that life is not a given fairy tale. There are no illusions or delusions. There are simply facts, bumpy surfaces, and true reflections.

To enjoying being beautifully imperfect,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

"Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her.
But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide
how to play the cards in order to win the game."

I sometimes try to find someone to blame when my life doesn't unfold the way I pictured it.... but quickly I buck up, get back on the saddle because NO ONE but me is the  master of my destiny. I am my mistakes just as much as I am my accomplishments, there is not one without the other and there wouldn’t be ME without either… Where I am is where I led myself, where I’m going is part of the plan I’m shaping and unveiling as I go…

Do you realize that when you are held back it's because you want to?
Don't under estimate the power of your will and ability to achieve. That's my motto…

To Finding and mastering the opportunities in your fate,

Friday, August 10, 2012

It is Well With My Soul...


“What I have learned in life is that, what we are today, are not the compromises or sacrifices we made in life. We are the product of passion in priorities we make to enrich our as well as other's life. Indeed, you are only growing and evolving in your life with your tough decisions.” 
~Rachana Shakyawa

Have you ever been in the position of having to make a hard decision? I’m talking about the kind of decision that rips your inside, and that provokes tightness in your chest. It gives you an uncanny desire to just turn around and act like everything is okay, and then bury your head (all the way down the shoulders) in the sand, so that you wouldn’t have to make “the decision”? Did you ever have to make a hard decision that was the right decision?

From having to part with a lover as love is just no longer enough
From having to leave a place of comfort, a place of “known” for the unknown of other opportunities, other possibilities
From having to discipline your child when all you want to do is hug them and wipe their tears
From having kids or not having kids

They say, “Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten.” Although a bit extreme, I totally understand the concept; it’s all about proving the point. Once the rule, idea or concept you are trying to get across is deemed “negotiable”, it loses its validity. Hence, you have to stick to your guns when you make a tough decision. If you don’t, the next decision you make will not be taken seriously…
As I sit here, I can think of some “tough love” I had to share with my daughter. One day, my family and I were getting ready to head out to my friends house for the evening, and just before we left, I requested that my daughter do her simple chores, which I find myself repeating time and time again. Of course, she again categorically ignored (or overlooked) my request, so I had no choice but to teach her a lesson. I mean, what am I supposed to do? In general, if you don’t show the people that you’re leading that serious, they won’t take you seriously… It wasn’t really about her not doing what I asked, but it was more about her thinking it was okay to not do it. So anyhow, I was infuriated at the fact that she had not done what I requested, and I decided to hand out a punishment. I told her, “YOU’RE STAYING AT HOME ALONE. YOU’RE NOT COMING WITH US, AND YOU HAVE TO STAY IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL WE GET BACK. YOU ARE NOT TO CALL ANYONE, NOT TO ANSWER THE PHONE, AND NOT TO WATCH TV!” She immediately started crying, pleading with me, and although she was resolved that her punishment couldn’t be reversed, she continued to plead her case. Through her tears, she apologized, hugged me tighter and tighter while asking for my kisses. She must have said goodbye 100 time… I couldn’t count anymore, my heart was breaking. So we walked out the door, headed to the car and pulled off. I was crying the whole time, a silent cry which resonates louder than howling ; I couldn’t believe I took that decision and I had to follow through. “The hubby” was trying to figure out what in the world was going on. He rightfully questioned my plan, pointing out how upset I was and what would happen if something went wrong at the house. Even though this was my idea, I couldn’t believe I had left her by herself, but I couldn’t go back. If I went back, the lesson would not have been learned. It would have all been for nothing. She would never believe me next time I hand out a punishment. So we decided to call my sister-in-law, and ask her to go by the house. She was given specific instructions to not divulge any knowledge of the situation, but to simply act like she was stopping by for a visit. This would work. It would teach her a lesson, and keep me out of jail if something actually happened to her while we were off having fun. Come to think of it, I was having no fun at all. I was so busy crying and worrying about my baby girl, that I might as well had been parked around the corner, monitoring the house. So in the end, everything worked out, my sister-in-law had to beg her to leave the house with her. I had to go through with my decision to leave, even though every part of my being wanted to just bring her to the car and give her a hug. But, I had to leave. The decision was made, albeit a difficult one to make, it had to be seen through to the end. After that day, we never had that problem again. J

When you care, you make hard decisions. When you seek growth, change and improvement, you make hard decisions and sometimes you have to make them for others. The goal is not to generate a feel-good result (that shouldn’t determine your decision making), because most of the time, the decisions that provokes incertitude, turmoil and hesitation are those that make you feel “bad” and guilty even though you are making the right choice…
Committing to making a decision is half of the battle; sticking through your choice regardless of all the negative feelings the decision brings to light will determine your success. This is not necessarily because that was the right decision, but mainly because you followed your gut in what you thought was the right thing to do. If it turns out to be a mistake, you’ll embrace it as a lesson learned (rather than to never have known)…
Mistakes and trials are what shaped you and are still shaping you. They are also the roots of all success; don’t fear them, embrace them as you will never know better without trying…

Not making a decision is deciding to not take a stand, however, a better solution when you are torn is to follow your gut and no act on the whim. A better solution is to not stay stuck in your comfort zone; it is to challenge yourself, give up on your “crutches” that enable you to stagnate and fester in a place of false happiness, of false contentment.
Let go, and face the change you NEED to make, not only for yourself but also for those you hold back by settling and those who believe in you… 

"Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made, nothing happens.... Decision is the courageous facing of issues, knowing that if they are not faced, problems will remain forever unanswered."
~Wilfred A. Peterson

Today I had to make a decision to let go of someone dear to me. It was a hard decision. It was a sad decision and although I am unhappy that we (me and the other party) didn’t have any other conceivable recourse as I had ran out of chances to give, reality needed the sink in, and for that person it will come with time and focus. I sit here with 8 years’ worth of memories, with the certainty that I couldn’t have tried 1 more time; that I couldn’t have fixed things 1 more time and in peace because we’ve made a decision… a decision that wasn’t a “forever goodbye” but just “un aurevoir” until better things, into better days.
And that is well with my soul…


Don't ever regret taking time to make a hard decision when it’s the right decision…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Unneeded Sacrifice...

Becoming a parent means, in more aspects than not, becoming second. It often means that making sacrifices for your child(ren) is a given, as the welfare of the life you have created and brought in this world takes priority over anything you might want for yourself. Your wants and needs become meaningless and take the backseat to what you want for your kid (stay with me when I say “things YOU want” and not “things THEY want”). While good parenting should be selfless, it should not be taken to martyrdom state!

“The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher”. 

~Robert Brault

If any of you are my Facebook friends, you’ll remember that a few weeks ago I posted a conversation that happened between me and “the hubby,” where I suggested he put a tattoo of my name on him. Before he was able to interject, my daughter, very matter-of-factly, asked me why her dad should ever do that, as there are no guarantees that we will be together forever. Then, she ended her rant by saying she would never do such a thing…

I’ve been thinking about that conversation quite often, not only because at the time it had left me speechless, but on one hand, I was glad to hear that (at her young age) she had already formed an opinion on a matter which I actually truly agree with. On the other hand, I was very saddened that she would be (and sounded) okay with the idea that no relationship is meant to be forever. But the more I thought about it, I started wondering why my 9 year old was able to put coherently, nonchalantly and with ease, thoughts together that would summarize the possibility of her parents not being together any longer. Was it because she felt unaffected by the possibility of “forever” not happening or was it because she felt so secure in our relationship and commitment that she could easily speak about a possibility that would never be? The latter reason appeals to me more…

The more I dug deeper into what happened (into her reply), the more I realize that kids thrive and glean things from both parents, not as 1 entity but as what we are; 2 bodies, 2 minds, 2 souls, and 2 characters… All this, while bound together by 1 commitment, we are still individuals.

Children learn about relationships and behaviour within a relationship by looking at us. It is a fact that they will either emulate your conduct (right or wrong) if it rings true to them or they will do the complete opposite. However, it is also factual that as their parent and their role model, your behaviour will shape theirs…

I strongly believe the reason why she felt so comfortable saying and not thinking it, is because she feels and knows that in our lives (the hubby and I) they come first and their security and happiness wouldn’t be second with either mom or dad. She knows that, even if mom and dad weren’t together… and that she doesn’t have to worry about either one of our well-being’s if not together…

Let me explain my point:

I believe children feed themselves with vibes and moods that we project; if you are unhappy or happy, if you are hurt or in pain, if your emotions are up and down like a roller-coaster; their emotions will be in tune with yours. If you have low self-esteem, if you are dependant (in all aspects, but especially emotionally) on your spouse/partner, your child will also sense that and feel as though they need to be protective of the weaker half of the team and hold the stronger half responsible of all.

I’ve always believed and stated that parents in relationships (marriage or common law) should never stay together and enact a parody of happiness and togetherness for the sake of their child(ren). We do owe it to them to try and work through whatever troubles and doubts we are having in our relationship. We owe it to them to unfold and look into any glimpse of “maybe.”  We do owe it to them to make sure that there is no hope for recovery left. But mostly, we owe them the commitment of keeping their welfare and happiness our first priority. That for me doesn’t mean staying in a relationship where anyone involved is miserable and unhappy; it mean keeping a level of respect, communication and compromising between the adults involved in the failing relationship. That would allow the kids to not witness any bitterness, any resentment, or any ill will (if present), allowing them to feel confident that if mom and dad are not together any longer, there are both okay as single parents, which would make them also okay…
Of course a child’s first organic choice would be for their parents to be and stay together, however, as parents we also have to realize that our children are very intuitive and more resilient than we think, and be very careful of the message we send in any decisions we make…

Talking with a good friend of mine about the subject, she shared with me how that now in her adult life, she is still affected by the unhealthy relationship her parents had and how they had them (as kids) openly witness all the ugliness within the relationship. As a consequence, her view of relationships is quite skewed and is a scary territory to proceed into. This proves my point that in most instances, although to stay together and be together is the ultimate display of commitment, we should show our kids it is not always the healthiest one. A two-parent home dynamic does not guarantee healthy successful offspring; single parent homes at times, are just as much if not more successful.

In most circumstances, sacrificing yourself for the “sake” of your kids happiness is a selfless act we naturally display almost as a reflex but in the case of maintaining the “home” front appearance, that would really have ramifications more damaging on yourself and eventually on your child (the guilt of knowing mom and dad stayed in an unhappy relation just for me)…
While we all want what’s best for our kid(s), we should gage the limit of the amount of “covering up” we do to “spare” them, as they might grow up to think life will always be perfect      and the world will always rise up to their needs and wants…and we know when that wake-up call happens, it will be a hard one…
The lesson is to not self-sacrifice but to show strength which is what you want them to feed off of…                                                                                                                                                                                                                

It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.  ~Joyce Maynard


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

Monday, August 6, 2012

Accepting that love is color-blind? Or is it no longer the issue…

“We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don't share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.”
~ C. JoyBell C.

In a nightclub, a group of cute coffee-brown to high-yellow skin toned (and carefree) girls were walking around the crowd and dance floor, when one of them stopped. Her attention became focused on the middle of the dance floor and that attention quickly became a stare; a stare at this tall, light-skinned, gorgeous black man with easy dance moves.  Their eyes connected for a brief moment. He kept on dancing and she kept on staring. Her attention shifted to his dance partner; the person that had kept him on the dance floor for the past 6 minutes she had been staring. She was white… and that simple fact (at that exact moment) didn't sit well with her. She was pretty… but she thought she was prettier. She could dance… but she knew she danced better. But the obvious was that she was white… why wasn't he giving his attention and time to some of the black girls in the club? By now her stare had become obvious and intrusive, with sole objective being to generate a reaction from this handsome guy. He stopped dancing, and then whispered in her ears; they laughed, hugged and parted ways…finally. He turned around, stared back and started to walk towards the girl and her friends who had been watching him. Confidently, he stood in front of her, extended his hand and asked her to dance. She smiled, put her hand in his and they made their way to the dance floor, complete with a background full of giggles and laughs from her friends.
Was it a subconscious challenge that she had just won? Was it just the satisfaction that her assumption that this “black man she didn’t know would only like white women”, had been proven wrong? Whatever the case was, they danced all night long and today, 21 years later, they are still dancing…

That young girl who felt entitled to this black man’s attention, and that young girl who for the first time saw the “white” in white and the “black” in black as being different (just because she needed any reason to dislike the person taking the attention away from her); that young girl was me… And boy, was I silly.

What is it that leads us to evaluate people based on race anyway? Why do we care so much about the ethnicity of others? Are we that petty, or are we taught early to stay within the realm of our environments, and not to stray too far from people who look like us? Let’s delve a little deeper…..

“It is when we think we can act like God that all respect is lost, and I think this is the downfall of peace. We lie if we say we do not see color and culture and difference. We fool ourselves and cheat ourselves when we say that all of us are the same. We should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us. Rather, we ought to glory and shine in all of our differences, flaunting them fabulously for all to see! It is never a conformity that we need! We need not to conform! What we need is to burst out into all these beautiful colors!”
~C. JoyBell C.

I always have a good laugh when in the midst of a certain discussion. There were some Caucasians being questioned about not being honest about their feelings towards black people. They were saying “I like black people… I have 2 friends that are black and I let them come to my house…”
But at this moment, reading my intro story, I feel very hypocritical. I feel just the same, as I wanted to say at that moment in time, and certainly now, I had and have plenty of white friends; I’ve even dated a white manJ. Yet still, I had an undeniable pinch in my heart, for the first time, when I looked at the mixed couple as they were on that dance floor…
In hindsight, I realize that race had absolutely nothing to do wit hit. It wasn’t necessarily what she looked like and the color of her skin that upset me, but the simple fact that it wasn’t me on that dance floor with him… The fact that “she” was on the dance floor with the object of my desire, made me want to find something wrong with her… and unfortunately the only thing I could find (and the most obvious thing) was the fact that she was white. If he had been on the floor with a black girl, I’m sure I would’ve found something wrong with that picture also. Maybe she would’ve been “too Ghetto”, or maybe I would have called her a “No-good tramp”…. Who knows? It could have been one of my friends dancing wit him; that might have burned me to the core too. So, I’m hypocritical for snarling when Caucasians are on the defensive and trying to justify or prove their alliance to blacks, but I’m definitely relieved that (in spite of my silly fixation back at the club) I’m not a “closet racist”!

I was brought up in an atmosphere that had us believe that you shouldn’t get into an intimate relationship until you’re ready for marriage, and where it was a given that me and my siblings’ mates would be black. It was an assumed, unwritten rule which we quickly overlooked, with few of my brothers dating white women and one getting married to one. I gradually learned that attraction is far bigger and beyond race. We are attracted to characteristics, things that are not specific to a particular race. We like to focus on only a few specifications that don’t necessarily guarantee us finding a good mate. We all have our preferences and definition of what’s attractive to us, so shouldn’t we be able to focus on what’s appealing to us without exposing ourselves to criticism as our spectrum is self-limited and self-defined?

Why is there a feeling of that big “elephant in the room” when referring to interracial couples? Why the big controversy? Why do interracial relationships still stir up bitterness? Is it insecurity that makes us dislike the mixing of races, or is it simply (and sadly) the result of a history. which created this palpable interracial antipathy?

Early America showed an indifferent attitude towards the mixing of races with whites, blacks and Native Americans having children openly (the first bi-racial offspring was born in the 1600). However, things changed completely and quickly when institutionalized slavery was introduced, followed by anti-miscegenation laws that banned any union between the races and then stigmatized them. Laws didn’t stop the raping of African-American women by powerful whites and plantations owners (who were considered the superior race) while black men would be killed in a ruthless and inhumane manner for just looking at “the white woman.” With many States opting to accept and legalize mixed race unions and interracial marriages, in the US the act became all the way legal in 1967. That’s when the Supreme Court reckoned that anti-miscegenation stood to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Even though marriage is part of everyone’s civil right; “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State,” the fact that anti-miscegenation laws were in place until well into the middle of the 20th century, kept the relationships under stigma and reserved attitude.

So what are we left with? What did history give us as baggage to carry and overcome other than bitterness and resentment? What do we have, other than the need to have to fight tooth and nail for what we believe in and our freedom?

While interracial relationships have become widely accepted and enshrined, there are many myths and stereotypes that have surfaced. These myths cast a shadow on couples involved and sometimes prevent them from being fully comfortable open about it, like same race couples.

Here are some of the myths and stereotypes that have been floating around for years:
  • ·         White guys treat black women better
  • ·         Black women treat black men too harsh and that’s why they stay away and refuse to deal with them (black women)
  • ·         White women let black man get away with more (are more accommodating)
  • ·         Black men think of white women as a prize
  • ·         White women are “easier”
  • ·         Black women are insecure about their appearances and try to get “white people looks” i.e. straight hair, skin bleaching…
  • ·         White women get into a relationship with a black man just to spite black women
  • ·         All successful black men date white women because they are socially better, as they “know how to act” and will help their economic stature
  • ·         White women are with black men because they have low self-esteem or want to rebel

Are we ever going to be in the position of accepting that love is beyond color and laws?
I don’t think these stereotypes are what Mildred and Richard Loving fought for (against Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law in 1958) and ultimately bringing their case in the US Supreme court in 1967. I believe they defy the laws because they believed that blacks and whites are not opposed or incompatible, and that love is a human experience beyond race. We need to learn from the legacy of others and their experiences so we can appreciate and respect each other’s choices instead of hanging on to past wrongs and belittling those who dare follow their hearts. People are always going to judge you on everything and all the choices you make.  Stay focused on what makes you happy. Choosing who you want to be with is a matter best left to the heart and not to general opinion; and definitely not to race.

“I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being neither white, black, brown, nor red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.” 
~ Malcom X

…But at the end of the day isn’t there only ONE race?
There’s only the human race. And within that race, there are different ethnicities, diversity in skin colors and different physical characteristics…

So my belief about interracial relationships is that whatever your heart desires should be dictating the course of your love. We should not base our relationships and love base on pigmentation, melanin and certainly not on someone else opinion. But have no fallacy on that matter; the acceptance from others concerning your relationship is not the biggest problem you will face. YOUR biggest issue (and the only that should matter) will be your ability to deal with and overcome culture clashes as the issue of interracial marriages/relationships is so much deeper than dealing with one’s color.
Picture a Muslim in a relationship with a Christian or a Irish person in a relation with an African… the relationship is possible but becomes more of a intercultural relationship which requires acceptance and concession of some of your core values; of what was ingrained in you from the start.
Imagine a blind person in a relationship, unless you let them know of the color of your skin, they would never know; but given some time, they will be able to assess like everyone else the cultural compatibility or lack thereof…

Let me ask you, have you ever been in an interracial relationship? If so, what was the “response” to your relation? Where your family and friends open to the relationship? Do you think most people date different race for experience or out of genuine attraction? Would you be upset if your child, brother or sister dated/married outside your race? Why or why not? Are you like me and think that most issues interracial couples face are more culturally and socially base than racially base?

To the freedom of love and acceptance,


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