Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Regret vs. Remorse

Don't you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone! - Saito (Inception)

In my last post, I mentioned that I do not have any regret in my life. That is because everything that has happened has happened for a reason. I do not live in the past in order to find solace or answers because my life is what it is. I know that my experience have shaped me into who I am right now. The question that I got yesterday was...do I feel remorseful for all that has gone wrong? Well, yes I do. But, there is a difference between remorse and regret.

If I regretted anything then that would make it very hard to live for the moment and plan goals for the future the way I do. Remorse is more of feeling bad due to a sense of loss. Trust me, I lost a lot. I have lost a marriage and a certain way of life. That itself was so hard to deal with for such a long time but, all things get better with time. It is my opinion that regretting the end of my marriage would mean regretting getting being married.

I am a culmination of my experiences. A total of my decisions made and not made. I cannot think about "what ifs" because there is no point. Of course, there is the fantasizing of what could have been, but many times that may hinder life in the moment. Perhaps it is better to just believe there are millions of parallel earths where anything that could have happened does happen. Which means that the reality that we live in right now is the one we need to deal with.

I do not want to live a life of regret. That would just not be the way to go. We all have peaks and valleys in our experiences. A life without issues would frankly be boring. There is nothing to learn if we did not have stress to overcome. It is ok to remorseful for a loss of a love, a loss of a job, or a loss of a dog (I still think about Rusty and I still, to this day, cry just a little bit...). But regret? Where does that get me?

I love the fact that I have had the experience I have had. I have been in love so many times and have had my heart broken many times. I have lived through the horror of 9/11 first hand. I have survived rolling my car and totaling it. I have seen the beauty of a glorious sunset in places that are not in this country. I have pulled people from a car wreck. I have let people cry in my arms and I have cried in others. How can I regret living a life that allows me to express my emotion through writing?

I am not saying I do not have a heavy heart. I love hard. I just could never love right. I am trying to use every last bit of experience to do things the right way. So, I can love my family the right way, so I can love Rocky the right way, so I can love the next woman the right way, and maybe...just maybe..if I get lucky enough, I can love a child the right way.

See, I cannot regret my past. Everything and everyone has played a critical role in my life to get me where I am today. So that I can love myself and have the courage to go out and get what I want from life. So I do feel remorse for what was, but I cannot let that feeling own me because then that would lead to regret for what could have been.

I am not saying that I need to forget the past but I refuse to let it own me.

"I miss you more than I can bear, but we had our time together. I have to let you go." - Cobb (Inception)

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Please cue up the 1980's theme song to the A-Team. I have to tell you that I should treat my life as if it were an event. This way I can plan far ahead and situate all the details in such a way that when it comes down to it, all the pieces come together flawlessly.

Yesterday, the next stage in my plan to conquer my life has been set in motion. My 2nd roommate has arrived and is all moved in. I have already been paid and life is so good right now. I have been trying to get my life back on track financially and it has taken me longer than I has hoped. But, as I have come to learn this summer, things happen when they need to.

The best part about all this to me is the simple fact that both roommates are young adults. Which means they are young enough not to think that life sucks thus they are not stuck in this house and yet old enough to have a job which makes them appreciate a roof over their heads. I believe this works in my favor because I do not have to worry about things in terms of inconsiderate behavior, especially considering that they are both friends. Although, I need to be careful because I am such a night owl that I make wake both of them up with me just fumbling around.

Let me not forget that both of my roommates are like brainac level smart. Which is great when it comes to computer issues and nerdy conversations (which I am ALL about). One thing I did not need is having people that are not interesting live with me. I seemed to get all kinds of people when I posted on Craigslist.  So, I am glad for the choices I made.

The plan is coming together. Phase one was to get the roommates in. Phase two is get this divorce final (damn New York State takes their time). Phase three is to get out of Syracuse and back to my hometown of New York City, which means either getting a job or going to grad school full time. Phase four is to get published (and this looks like this may happen sooner than expected).

Of course even the best laid plans do not always come to fruition which is why things seem to take longer for me. I equate it to writing and rewriting drafts. The first one doesn't seem to come out well thus the second draft comes out better than the first. While I will admit that I may be in my first phase, this is just a small part of a larger plan to get my life to where I want it. In the beginning of the year, I was in a different mind state all together and with patience I am where I am now.

This is why I say that I do not regret my past. I have made choices for the good and the bad and no matter how things may have happened...I am who I am because it. To regret the past would be like regretting who I am as of this moment and I simple will not do that. So I keep my head pointing north and plan for the future.

P.S. I still live in the moment....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Next Step

I have talked about omens and how we need to learn to see them and act upon them and yet this is hard to do for some of because the possibility of failure. However, I think what makes it really hard for people to follow their gut feeling because of success. It is hard to imagine that one can be afraid of success but it does happen. Fear has a funny way of making us change directions.

I think about the emails that people send me about writing opportunities for money and I think to myself, "can I really do this?" Do I have what it takes? This blog started out so humbly for me and yet I take great satisfaction on writing right. I do not nearly have as many followers as other blogs do, so I am not sure how anyone can really measure how good my blog is. After all, I really have not published anything. Sure, I have written over 50 poems and over 300 blog post in my time, but how do I really know that I am ready for the big time?

The answer is that I do not know, but that does not mean that I cannot take that chance anyway. I have applied to places that are looking for writers to either enhance a website or contribute to a larger blog. I have wondered what it would be like to write to a larger audience. Most times, I do not hear anything back and it is ok to me. When applying to positions for writing, I have to feel it. So this last opportunity I was asked to write in 2 paragraphs as to why my voice is important. Here is what I wrote:
One thing that I really had issues with as a kid was silence. I needed to make sure that there was some sort of noise around me. Even at night when it was perfectly silent I would be afraid, not just by the darkness, but by the silence. I was often soothed by my dad's voice when he got home. Even if he didn't say anything his presence was what made me feel safe. Sometimes, I would hear him late at night talking to the dog and just knowing he was there made me safe.
As an adult, I have come to realize that silence is a very bad thing and I have lived through rough times in my former marriage, I felt that I lost my voice somewhere. Once that part of me was lost I felt just like a scared little boy waiting for dad to come home. That is why I started my blog. I need to get my voice out there. I needed to be heard because the voice of a single Latino man in his 30's, struggling with life, women, and the lack of a child is something that is not heard very often in this day an age.
I felt so good when I wrote this. If I get any type of feeling that my voice is being stifled I get so upset and angry. Even in a relationship, if you cut me off or feel that my opinion does not matter...we will have a serious problem. Needless to say...I am the newest member of The Printed Blog!

I am so very happy and honored for the opportunity. This is a publication that prints selected blogs from selected bloggers. I have never had any of my work published before and I am certainly on my way to that. This was a long term goal that I set for myself and I had no idea that this could possibly be met this soon. So please visit that site. I encourage you all to subscribe to this not just for me but for the vast amount of talent that will be featured on this publication. The website explains everything.

I wanted to take time to thank my dear and darling friend Michelle for forwarding the ad to me on Craigslist. She is one the few people that believe in my talents so much that they forward me writing positions. So to all of you who look out for me...thank you so much.

I am so very humbled. I can see the changes have been fighting for coming to me. I will not change how I write. I will remain the same writer that brought me to where I am right now. In the next few days I will make a few changes to this layout that will cater to The Printed Blog. I have seen it and it a great publication. I guess it is true what is said... "Good things come to those who wait"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Inspiration is Fuel

I realize that I have reached the age (not that I am old) that I can aspire to inspire. With the fact that I work at Syracuse University, I know that most of the things that I strive to do is looked at by many in either a good or bad light depending on the perception. Although, I do realize that my actions have impacted students in a more positive light. Don't get me wrong, I do not live to inspire people. I think that I have far too many things to still learn in life.

I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I try to capitalize on those traits that I can while learning to improve on the others. Being that I feel that at times I am far from a role model, I try my best to stay as humble as I can because life will always be a struggle. No matter how good we think we have it, life has a way of throwing curve balls that completely changes our approach to life. There is also the fact that I have mentioned that we also do not have it as bad as we think either. Everyone deals with adversity differently thus the perception we normally have toward our troubles is negative.

However, I have always found that getting inspiration from people or things around me has helped me get out of any funk that I have found myself in. I have come to realize that most of my inspiration come from writers. I have mentioned in the past how my blog has come about and who I can thank for that. But, there are other people who have given my the inspiration to keep writing. I have named Juno Diaz in the past as man I have met and came to understand though his books. There is also Willie Perdomo, whom I also met, that has lead me to believe that I can write a poem at anytime and anywhere.

Lately the person who has really put many things in my life into perspective has been Paul Coehlo. I really didn't know who he was until a friend of mine point some books out to me, namely The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes. For that, I thank Zulay for putting his writings out there to me. Having read three of his books (The Devil and Ms Prym being the other), I have been told by some that a need to check out The Fifth Mountain.

I have never been one to outwardly say someone is complete awesome (unless you are Alicia Keys), his writing has done something for me that others have not. It is the ability that he has a good story to tell that makes me think about life from an inward perspective. I have been able to find a common theme and a connection with each story. Believe it or not each book seems to connected in a very small way that I will not discuss here because, honestly I think people need to read these books for themselves.

Now, he is not the only author I will ever read. As a matter of fact, I am currently reading Eat Pray Love. However, I think that I now look at books and novel differently because I am now looking to be inspired in someway. Whether it is making me think about life or just making me feel that I can be a better writer.

To be honest, I think that we all need to find something that can inspire us to be better. When we get older we tend to just fall back to our old ways in either being lazy or doing the things that we think will get us where we need to go without asking for help. That is not the way to go. We need to make sure that we are always on our game and the best way is to find our inspiration.

Artists thrive on inspiration to make art. Musicians use is it to compose songs. So why can we not use inspiration as our fuel to get through life and meet our goals? I just hope I do inspire some of you the way I have been inspired.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hurry up and Wait

Last night was an interesting night for me. A tree fell in my neighbor's yard and I ended up with no power for the rest of night. So I ended up going to the dollar store and stocking up on candles and candle holders. I also bought brand new batteries for the flashlights. After that I did the only thing I can do to pass the time...read.

I ended up finishing a book I should have finished a long time ago, Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. I read more that a hundred pages and I was glad to finally put that book to rest. When I was done, I just sat in my room amongst the candles to realize what a romantic sight I was beholding. A room full of candles (some were scented) and me on a bed with a book. Not sure many men would be caught dead alone with that type of scene. Anyway, I realized that all of us are bound by time and yet all we do is try to rush things in our lives.

It is true about what was written in The AlchemistWhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It took me a while to figure how true this is. The two things that I discovered in this book was not only the idea that we have a personal legend to fulfill but that we also need to wait in order to achieve it. Sure the book is about following our dreams and in many ways I have admitted to mine, but the inner meaning to this book is that everything takes time. The main character in this book does all he can to put his goals in motion but, he also spends a great deal of time waiting...for that right moment.

As a kid in Catholic school, I remember priests saying that when you pray to God that he will always have one of three answers: Yes, No, and Wait. We spend so much of our time trying to rush things. We want instant gratification these days because we live in a time of fast food and the internet. Everything is so within our grasps that not many people truly know what it is to wait for something. Interestingly enough, the less we wait for something, the less we tend to appreciate it.

This is probably the reason why people hate the job searching process, which is nothing but wait. We put all our energies in a document that has all of our skills and experiences and we put it out there for the world to view. Then we wait to see if anyone has taken notice of us. If they have, then we have to wait for the interviews and the decision...all of which makes us wait.Yet, if all goes the way we want and we achieve that end result then the waiting would seem like a blessing.

Time is the one thing that none of us can fight. We all have to face the hands of time. We can try to rush it but what happens when things are rushed? Bad decisions are made, a mess is created and we now spend more time cleaning up messes than we would spent by simply taking our time to get the desired end result. Most of us try to make the perfect decision without making a mistake and that is worse than rushing. Because trying to be perfect may mean taking time to create the perfect outcome may result in living a life in a house of cards.

Yes, I am being vague because time is vague but yet I can come up with a perfect example. Think about baseball and how a pitcher tries to make the perfect pitch with the bases loaded. Instead of pitching without fear of consequence, more often that perfect pitch ends up as the perfect home-run.

My point is that all the goals that I have set for myself are finally being completed and it took so long to get to this point. While the universe may conspire in our favor to help us achieve our desires it take as long as it has to for it to come true. The universe itself took billions of years to achieve the beauty that it is now I am sure we can wait as long as we have to attain our beauty.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Am Good at What I Do.

This should be a mantra that all of us need to adopt. This is more than just feeling valued or feeling that we are worth more. This is something that we need to acknowledge within ourselves. Let's face it, each one of us are good at something. I would hope that whatever it is that we are good at, we are making a success in that area or field.

Yesterday morning when I got to work there was a letter in my mailbox. I usually get campus letters about workshops or various things that may happen. I opened the letter and it was a thank you letter from a client that expresses, very warmly, how much of a great job that we did on an event that happened a few weeks back. This made me feel real good about myself. I know how much work and effort I put into my career and it is always good to get confirmation on how good I am.

This is very important to me. With the job search not going as well as I had hoped, the very idea that I am still good at what I do is a blessing. Something like this can restore lost confidence. I have made it a point to channel those positive vibes into the new version of my resume. Last week, I decided that I need to blow up my resume and start from scratch. I feel that I just need a new fresh approach to this job hunt. Perhaps I need to concentrate on the quality of my work instead of the quantity of all the things that I have listed.

No matter what I do, I need to let people know that I am good at what I do. I have letters and customer appraisals to prove it. We should never be afraid of keeping and saving the kudos that we get from other people. The reason for that is because we will always remember, with no proof, the bad things that people do. There are people that will constantly harp on the mistakes of other people and thus what we do wrong will never be forgotten. However, as a society we seem to be pretty forgiving and we all tend to enjoy a good come back story. But, even the most harshest comeback stories all revolve around the person knowing and believing that they are the best at what they have chosen to do. Once any of us thinks this way, we tend to be unstoppable.

So what am I good at? I am good at my job. I am a people person that can convince any customer that we can accommodate them no matter what they ask for and 99 out of 100 times I do exactly that. I do not panic in any situation which mean I am good in a crisis. I am always determined to solve any issue at hand. On the phone I am great with words and will convince clients that I am 100% competent in events and scheduling. I am good with working under pressure and I am never throw my employees under the bus, which makes me a great supervisor.

I am good at writing and I am good with words. This is something that I have seen myself get better and better at. I am good at making people feel what I feel. I can channel joy and despair in the same blog post. I am good at humor and can make you laugh on Facebook and Twitter at any point. It makes me feel good to do that.

It also makes me feel good to know what it is I am good at. There aren't many times in which I can toot my own horn, but I think it is something that we all should do more often.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friendships 101

I posted the video below on my Facbook page about a week or so ago. This is very powerful message on friends and the people who care about us. I feel this is a great segue from my thoughts on projections and how we tend to project our own insecurities on to other people. This is about an 8 minute clip of a larger sermon, so please take the time to view this before you read further:

This is a lesson in Friendship 101. It really does not matter if you are into religion or not, but what this man is saying is so very true. However, you can expand this definition when it comes to loved ones as well. We can all look at members of family and sort them into these 3 basic categories. However, when it comes to friendships the preacher and I differ a little. I think that there is only one type of friend...the rest, as my father would say, are associates...

Confidants, in my opinion, are the only true friends we will ever have. These are the people that love us no matter what goes down. I consider myself lucky to have a few of these. I can tell these individuals everything without real fear of being judged. With the way I am, these are the people that will laugh with me, cry with me, and go to war with me. I look for them as much as they look for me. These are also the people in my life that distance and time mean nothing. I have friends that sometimes I have not spoken to in months and sometimes even years and when we do finally speak it is like we never stopped talking. There is bond there that is very hard to break because they are into me as much as I am into them.

Constituents are people that love to hang out with us and party hard, but at the end of the day don't really care about what is going on with us. That does not make them bad people at all because we need these type of people that will help us getting things done in the purpose of a common goal. Think about the cool ass co-worker that will help us out of a jam but you wont really see outside of work with the exception of networking type of gatherings. Some of these people can be so cool that we may end up projecting the confidant type on to them. I know so many people like this and while they are cool they are not into me they are just for what I am for...whatever that may be.

Comrades are people that that we need to keep our eyes on. They serve the purpose of fulfilling a common goal like our constituents but they also may be the haters in our lives. I think these are the ones who we mistake as friends but really don't care about us. They care about what they care about and we might cross paths based on need but wont think too much about us at the end of the day. They will leap over or go around us to get something they want...and chances are if you are in the way or have what they want, they will disguise themselves as a friend.

I think that our true friend are our confidants. The other 2 categories are not even close to being more than associates, people we know and will actually "friend" on Facebook. It is our insecurities and lack of confidence that allows us to not recognize who really are for us. I cannot tell you how good it feels to hear from someone who has been in my life for a long time tell me how much they care for me because I was always there through the trials. Most of the time, these are the people that I may not spoken to in a long time for whatever reason.

As for me, I have no problems telling any one of my friends that I care for them and love them. After 911, I  realized that we can all be gone in a blink of an eye. I have said before that people come and go, in and out of our lives. They all serve a purpose, some for the good and some for the bad. We just need to do a better job of not only recognizing our confidants, but keeping them as well.

The preacher never talked about what happens to the confidants we lose...or maybe we never really lose them. Something to think about.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Projections (Inception)

"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."

One thing that I have always been fascinated with are dreams. I feel that this is the one thing that I have always had in my life. When I was a kid, most of my dreams were outlandish and vivid. I also feel that I have had more nightmares as a kid than normal dreams. In taking dream courses in college I have learned a few things about how the mind works when sleeping. I really believe that the answers to all of personal problems are locked away inside for us to figure out. Our subconscious feeds us these answers bit by bit until we can understand.

I have been a bit obsessed with the movie, Inception. I do not plan on shedding details for those who have not seen it, I will say this, to me, Inception is a must see movie. Sure, there is a lot of action and the special effects are off the chain, but the concept of the movie is what gets me. Essentially, we are talking about the birth of ideas and human thoughts. Do most of these things manifest themselves through dreams? I am not really sure but how many times has someone has said, "sleep on it" before you make a decision? Perhaps there was a time when a situation became clearer after a nap.

Dreams are just as important as sleep itself. We always dream. Many people will say they do not dream, but that is not true. We do dream but our minds do not always remember them. I know that I have come accustomed to interpreting my dreams and the dreams of others but, only we know the true meanings of our dreams if we break them down. The funny thing is that we may dream of specific people but dreams are rarely about specific people. Often times, the people we dream about are projections that represent something else, we just need to figure out what that is.

Projections and the acting of projecting are psychological in nature. In dreams, we project our own characteristics and natures onto other people. So we may see them for what they really are or what we may want them to be. Other times they are just a mirror looking back at us and portraying the things we least like about ourselves.

What makes projections unique is the fact that we can do this when awake. I have often talked about the ability that people have to lie to themselves. When people project their fears and undesirable qualities on to other people, this makes for this type of fuel. Many of us know people who think that nothing they do is their own fault and will blame others for their failures. Although many of us will say that they are completely honest with themselves (and indeed some of us are), keep in mind that we all project. A good example is telling a story in a certain way to make someone look good or bad. We are projecting whatever qualities to create a desired outcome.

We can project based on our own insecurities. Ever see a man who is known to cheat on his women be completely jealous of all the attention she may get from other guys? This person is the type to believe that because he cheats that everyone must do it. That all the things he has done is not his fault because that is the way life is so, no matter how honest the woman, she must have those same qualities and will thus do the same thing he did. Clearly he is living in pure denial that he is doing anything remotely wrong.

This is also very similar to the woman who thinks that certain men are a challenge. Because he is a bad guy, she can change him because she sees the good qualities in him. Not to say that a man like that does not have any good qualities, but often times she is projecting the qualities she wants him to have in order to justify her attraction to him. This may in fact play to her insecurities that she is simply not good enough or worth the affections of a good man.

How we view people in our dreams becomes very important. I know that when I was a little boy, I had dreams of meeting a woman that would complete me. She had a golden brown skin tone and the most beautiful hair that I could ever imagine. I think that I may have placed my projection of her in some of the women I have fell in love with thus placing some on a pedestal they may have never deserved. That is my issue and I own it. The problem with this is me not imagining the complexities and imperfections that make a woman so flawed and yet so very sexy.

We just need to manage our expectations of people and ourselves before we place the wrong projection on the wrong person. If you have not seen Inception, you need to and perhaps what I just said...will make more sense.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Matter of Perspective.

I was talking to a friend today about how good my roommate situation is right now. What I am amazed about is how much he likes the room and the house. I did work hard enough to make the room and the house look decent enough for any man to move in, so it wasn't like he was moving into a disaster area. He just seems to be pretty content since he moved in and I hope to continue that.

The thing with me is that when I see this house, I see all the things that is wrong with it. I see every last thing that needs to be touched up or fixed. I could run down a list of things that I know I need to get done once I have enough money to do it. So, it is quite a surprise to me that I can get someone to look at this place and like it. Not to mention that I would have a second roommate coming in September.

Yet, it is all a matter of perspective. My roommate loved the fact that he woke up to sun this morning. He has plenty of windows and gets a great cross breeze. What he also told me his last apt was in a basement so the windows are a change he has wanted for a long time. Let me not forget that he has a dog. A Labrador, so the fact that I have a big backyard is something that he loves so that his dog can run around. These are things that I did not think about.

It is very much reflects my thoughts on what I believe to be valuable. I have been so used to this place that I failed to really see it's beauty. I do notice that this house is something that other people would like to live in given the chance. Of course I am asking for the right price, but to think about this house as something of value again made me smile.

This is yet another thing that brings me back to my current thought process. I am worth more that what I am getting right now. I have been working hard at not looking at my life at the way I looked at my house. There are things that a perfectly fine with my life that I do appreciate, however, do I really stop to notice how beautiful I am? How beautiful my life is? How beautiful life is in general? Of course not because, like everyone else, I am so engrossed with the toughness of life that I fail to stop and smell the roses.

Life is all a matter of perspective. A man's trash could be another man's treasure. So I will leave you with this quote:

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roommates At Last!

I had the idea of getting a roommate to help me with the bills last year. What I do not understand is why it took me so long to finally get one. Clearly, I am not complaining, but I am amazed how everything happens when it needs to happen. I wont get into the whole fate argument, but I do believe things happen for a reason.

As of yesterday, I have my first official roommate. Yes, I had a buddy live with me earlier in the year, but I always knew that was going to be temporary. Here I have a legit person who signed a lease AND paid the security deposit as well the rent for the month. I feel this is a major win for me here. I have goals that I have set out for myself and I am trying to scratch them off the list one by one.

It gets better. It turns out that by next month I will have a second roommate! This is another big win for me. I set out to rent two rooms all along, I just had trouble renting one. My current roommate's friend just so happen to be looking for another place as well. So it looks like I was able to catch 2 fish with one bait. I am very pleased with this stage of my life. I feel that I now can accomplish the other goals that I have set for myself.

I am really starting to think positively about how things are going in my life. I consider my struggles to be like the pain I feel when I started running. It was so hard to keep at it, but I had to pace myself at a rate that I knew I can maintain a certain amount of consistency. Once I really got into it and used to it...I started losing the weight. This is a great metaphor for my life right now. I need to be consistent and steady and my goals will eventually be met.

Being discouraged is only counter productive because as I mentioned before, my life does not suck. I just have a rough patch based on my own circumstances. As I get accomplish each goal and get out of my rut, I get stronger and more confident. Life is so much easier when you know what you want.

Right now, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.


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