Relax and Let it Flow

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Some days you just want to sit somewhere in silence. You merely want to observe the beauty around you and absorb it like a sponge. You allow your mind to relax your and allow thoughts to enter. Thoughts about anything and everything. Your problems. Your solutions. Your desires. Your needs. Your loves.

And once you allow these thoughts to overtake your emotions you may cry. You might laugh at the thought of your child’s crazy antics. You may feel saddened by the loss of a loved one. Or perhaps you are overwhelmed with a high pressure job. But you can’t help that the thoughts overtake you. And you find yourself letting out emotions that grew like weeds in the crevices of your most inner thoughts as they consumed your psyche over a period of time. It happens. Let it happen.

Then you bring your mind back to the current moment. You let out a big sigh of relief. It is this moment the healing can begin. Life is going to hand us challenges, how we manage those challenges is up to us but it is always best to exercise your mind so that you might become stronger as you deal with life’s challenges. Finding the right place where you can allow the magic to occur is key.

I have found my place now go find yours.

Go well and with love good peeps.

How Do You Decide?

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Choices, choices and more choices surrounded by decisions, decisions, and more decisions amidst a complicated landscape of relationships. My mind is overwhelmed as my time is limited yet the thought of sharing and giving remains an innate part of my overall being. Thus, the desire to connect in some type of way (apparently I’m feeling some type of way) is continually vying for my attention and demanding I take action. All actions will result in reactions.

Therefore, how do I decide?

Relationships are a mutha; let alone our relationships with our kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Yet, our makeup as human beings relies heavily on our ability to create relationships and sustain them. When you think about it – it is a very selfish act. The intended result is to satisfy the bubbling need to connect which is within all of us. Of course, you are free to live a nomadic or reclusive life and rid yourself of any true human connection.

Most of us don’t want to be reclusive – or alone. Therefore, we find ways in which we connect through church, extracurricular activities, and other social functions. Upon connecting we develop and nurture a relationship with another individual hoping for great things to come. And ultimately we sustain a long lasting relationship in which we can look back over time and proudly reflect on the journey it took to achieve that pinnacle. I imagine a Gandhi like figure sitting atop the mountain overlooking a serene and beautiful valley while mind, body, and spirit are one with God.

But before I become so Gandhi-like, I still need to decide, make a choice; take action as it relates to engaging in a meaningful relationship.

So here’s where I become creative and design a process (I know, it’s so “business” talk).

  1. Be deliberate in my actions and desires. This method is very Neanderthal-like; I knock you on the head with my club, throw you over my shoulder, and wander off into the sunset heading for my cave. A bit outdated (and quite illegal) but the intended result is achieved.
  2. I sit back and wait for a line to form as women anticipate meeting me… (crickets, crickets) Yeah, this has a very low probability for success but nonetheless, it’s an option.
  3. I can always let the chips fall as they may. There is absolutely no control in this method and I leave it all to the “universe” to guide me. What happens if the universe says “No RELATIONSHIP for you!?” (In my Nazi Soup Kitchen voice.)
  4. I can devise a very scientific approach to understanding the landscape of choices and then act on those choices very methodically. Oh, wait, eHarmony and Match.com have the patent on this method.
  5. Pray my way into a relationship. Somehow, I see this as very similar to #3 above, but this “universe” is a true serving God. However, other complications can be debated with this method (religious beliefs, science, etc.)

Finally, as I sit back and think about these methods to become engaged in a relationship the fog clears from my head and I listen to the voice directing me – be still my child. I come to the realization that I can’t force the magic of a relationship but I should anticipate its ability to be present when I least expect it. During this time my focus becomes inward as I rid myself of the skeletons and complexities I’ve created to become a renewed man. This I can live with.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Mr Daniel Will See you now

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The long anticipated opening of the aforementioned movie is opening this weekend – Valentine’s Day. What a display of precision marketing along with the hype to get the women swooning over a storyline older than Medusa. It isn’t anything new about the freakiness in all of us, it just needs to be brought out by the right individual (according to some).

Personally, I wouldn’t put myself in this category because I pride myself on my Puritan attitude and behavior (read sarcasm, folks). But I couldn’t stop wondering what other kinds of movies have been around where erotic SEX seemed to be the focus. And full disclosure – I may see the movie if only to witness the reaction from the audience during the hot steamy sex scenes.

Take a walk with me down memory lane to recall some of these classic sex tales:

  1. Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986) – Synopsis: A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated. Commentary: I could barely get through this movie because I thought is was awful; however, Kim Basinger was at her prime and that didn’t hurt too carry the movie.
  2. Body Heat (1981) – Synopsis: In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. Commentary: Good film, good acting, and it was pretty steamy.
  3. Basic Instinct (1992) – Synopsis: A police detective is in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder, in which a beautiful and seductive woman could be involved. Commentary: Sharon Stone is hot, hot, hot. Every man in America waited on the edge of their seat for “leg cross.” Two thumbs up!
  4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Synopsis: A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. Commentary: Bizarre movie but it had Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman what more do you need? Besides, it was Stanley Kubrick’s last released movie.
  5. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) – Synopsis: A sexually repressed woman’s husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything. Commentary: When you start a conversation with the word “repressed” the imagination can go wild. This fetish movie had some nice twists to it and it grew on folks.
  6. Caligula (1979) – Synopsis: A film focusing on the rise and fall of the Roman Emperor Caligula. Commentary: If you like movies not only about sex, but blood and guts violence this is your movie. Tough to get through for me.
  7. American Gigolo (1980) – Synopsis: The ups and downs in the life of a Los Angeles male escort who mostly caters to an older female clientèle. Commentary: By far, one of the most erotic type of films specifically made for the ladies. Richard Gere the heartthrob of American movies.

This is merely my list of titles that I have seen and somewhat enjoyed. However, I am curious as to what yours might be – feel free to add to this list. Otherwise, go out and have an erotically good time at the movies.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I Done Peed My Pants (or How I Mastered Mind over Matter)

Have you ever had to go to the bathroom so bad that you begin doing the antsy dance the closer you get to the urinal? You know that movement we have all done where we are jiving and jerking our way as we approach the stall. And when we are close it feels so far away. There is only an additional few seconds needed to completely loosen our belts and buckles, unzip or pull down, and squat or stand – thanking the Almighty that you didn’t pee on yourself. Whew.

And sometimes we aren’t so lucky.

I’m not talking about as how I might not have been as lucky as a grown man but as a young boy. I recall walking home from school years ago and I was experiencing the moment of truth. I was rushing as fast as I could that was humanely possible for an 8 year old to get home. I recall I was only steps away from my home when I couldn’t stand it no more. BTW, I’m talking having to use #2, not #1. Alas, I was unable to make it all the way. (Insert sad face)

Shame spread across me and I felt I couldn’t face my mom. I was so nervous going home I desperately tried to figure out how to explain what occurred that afternoon. My mind raced as my pants – well – were soaked. This memory sticks with me today and I vowed to never do that again.

So I devised a technique for control. I implemented the mind over matter concept to achieve this greatness. Mastering this feat is no small task and only the manliest of men or the womanist of women should take heed. This is only for the strong. You ask how? Let me tell you how…

  1. Deep breaths – as you feel you are approaching the moment take deep breaths. This does wonders for slowing your body down.
  2. Alternate your thoughts – think of something else besides doing the do. Whether its baseball or other fantasies find something that takes your mind to another place.
  3. Relax – as you find yourself relaxing you gain control of your body.
  4. Pep talk yourself – YOU CAN DO IT! Okay, you have to do it. If you don’t it won’t be a pretty sight.

These are just a few things that I have done over the years. Unfortunately, the urge to pee comes to grown men and women as well so the techniques are good for a lifetime. However, let me state that these techniques are useless should you a) find yourself drinking all night, b) have bladder issues [go see a doc, cuz!], c) constantly forget to go pee, or d) find yourself traveling with no rest stop in sight. Good luck to you.

Don’t be ashamed should you experience “leakage.” Yeah, it’s not cool but sh*t happens. Otherwise, carry around a pack of Depends and call it a day. There are worst things to overcome in life.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I’m In Love with the Coco!

Imagine hearing your young kids, gleefully, energetically and with gusto singing a Hip-Hop song with the title above. Imagine them laughing innocently to the parody YouTube videos showing people drinking cocoa, snorting cocoa, or doing other things with cocoa. Now think about how catchy the tune might be and how it might stick in your mind. Shortly you might find yourself humming and singing, “I’m in love wit da coco!” while you are be-bopping your head like Jay-Z. [Coco Video]

And then you realize what the song is about. And the light-bulb goes on.

Now you think, “Uh-oh.”

This happened to me. However, before I impulsively jumped on the hypocrite bandwagon declaring that all Hip-Hop and Rap music is from the Devil and that our young people are doomed, I caught myself thinking back to my youth recalling songs where drugs were either explicitly or implicitly cited. And lo and behold a number of songs came flooding back into my memory without me having to Google the subject.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll…and Hip-Hop…and Country…etc.

So here is my simple list of songs that came to mind for me:

  • Cocaine – Eric Clapton
  • Got to Get You Into My Life – The Beatles
  • Molly – Tyga
  • Flying High Again – Ozzy Ozbourne
  • Pusherman – Curtis Mayfield
  • White Lines – Grand Master Flash
  • White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
  • Purple Haze – Jimmy Hendrix

And a whole bunch from the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

I am not only familiar with these songs but I know most of them by heart. Some of the songs are older and others more current. There are a variety of genres and artists. And, of course, they are not all Hip-Hop. Drug songs.

Thus, it’s easy to look down on certain classes of people based on our own experiences, but this is one area where we don’t have to look any further than the mirror before we judge. And what is even more interesting is how musicians have been singing about drugs for a long time – even before Rock & Roll. We all have some accountability in this as we have bought the records, tapes (8 track or cassette), CDs, etc.

More importantly, as we get older and have the tendency to frown upon such songs (admit it, you do) and artist we find ourselves recalling the very same type of song from our own childhoods. The conundrum we find ourselves is perplexing – what example are we showing our youth?

In my case, fortunately my kids are still too young to understand what the song is about – although I’m sure someone will blurt it out at some point. I can either get ahead of this potential situation or I can be ready to address it after the fact. At some point I have to address it.

But right now I just enjoy the innocence in which they operate and I wish I could freeze the moment. Heaven knows what I will be dealing with after they realize the nature of the song. Sigh.

Now go have yourself a hot-cocoa and enjoy the music.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Snowmageddon 2015 – A Short Story

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Day 23 and no signs of life on the tough streets of Chicago. My food supply is low and my liquor is depleted. Oh, the humanity.

My journey home was horrific as I had to wait for the #4 Cottage Grove bus in blizzard-like conditions as I left my Super Bowl party. (It was quite fun I might add.) The bus approached and I gingerly boarded holding tightly onto what little belongings I had left as to protect them from the other tired and angry riders. As I approached my stop after the 3 minute commute I could see my street into the distant. I was nearly home. I looked up into the night sky and exalted, “My God, Thank you!”

My hope was not lost as I dredged through the knee-high snow toward my humble abode. I shivered as the cruel snow repeatedly slapped me in the face. I hoped for deliverance as the final 1/4 mile loomed through the frozen over-priced condos of the Hyde Park neighborhood. And it happened as swiftly as my thoughts came rushing, the connecting bus sped past me while I was lost in my pain. No!, I screamed as the local Jeffrey zoomed past the snow drifts like they were small speed bumps that had outgrown their usefulness. Why? Why?

I was now dejected. I was ready to lie down and let the elements take me in my current form: pathetic, hurt, and disenfranchised.

But HOPE did happen.

And out of the night sky a light reflected in my eyes. No, not an oncoming vehicle but the street lamp of my block. I mustered up the little energy I had to endure the elements and make my final steps towards that light. It’s warm glow fueled me and I headed in that direction. I finally came to rest on the steps of my pad, frozen and broken but alive. My journey during Snowmageddon Chicago will forever remain in history as the day I found the strength to overcome. I smiled and let out a sigh of relief.

Next time I’m gonna drive. Screw this.

Go well and with love good peeps.

You See Red, I See Blue

Irreconable, irreconcievable, irrecon…IRRECONCILABLE!

That’s the word I was searching for! Yes, it is that moment when you can no longer relate to that other person in your life – be it a spouse, a friend, family member or whomever. It is coming to grips with a thought process that may have taken time to mature and eventually accept but you understand where it stems from. It comes from a place that has taken all of your personal experiences over your years of living with the attempt to mesh them with another human being’s experiences in which none of those thoughts are shared between you. It is the absolute discovery of relating – or not relating.

I love sports but you do not and therefore we just can’t have the conversations I have about sports.

It becomes obvious after a while that what we communicate about is entirely out of sync. Many times this is to no one’s fault it is simply how we are wired. I can’t help that I abhor fashion and completely hate shopping. I mean, seriously, how many pairs of shoes can one own? Or I see you are not interested in technology but I’m a geek.

There we are sitting quietly on opposite ends of the room with nothing to say and nothing in common. Our eyes barely gaze at one another because of these differences. We can’t muster up conversation and the air around us becomes tense. With an outburst one of us declares, “I can’t take this anymore! The silence is deafening.”

And so the road to irreconcilable differences begins.

But is it really so formulaic? If it is, is it preventable? Is this a giant snowball we can prevent from escalating merely by recognizing and dealing with the avalanche that occurred to create it?

Or is it merely the way we are wired? A life-long event of equipping us with our desires, turn-offs, our wants, politics, religion (or lack thereof) and needs that fashions us as to who we are? If this is the case we only would hang with those we have things in common with. We would find ourselves drifting to others like us. We would have the tendency to be among those most like us and those that can relate to who we are. Hmm, don’t we already do this and how’s it working out? Maybe we recognize that it isn’t merely searching out for others like us but that we are formed by others in their image.

How would we ever overcome this conundrum? A weird cycle of Catch-22 is initiated when the repetitive life-cycle is repeated generation after generation, time after time, never allowing evolution to take hold and catapult us to another level.

I say “Stop it then!” Don’t allow our differences and our comforts get the best of us. Don’t allow the negativity of irreconcilability seep into our psyche’s and mess up the most advantageous paths our lives can take. Don’t take away our life’s potential or our children’s lives potential with an inadequate substitute due to our challenges to communicate. We should be thinking positively before we step down these negative paths. We need to understand fully what the future might hold as we embrace this life of irreconcilability.

For now, I will like many others come to the conclusion that life may bring me to a dead end and there is no other alternative for reconciliation – therefore thrusting me into a different direction than previously thought. Hope is not lost but the path will change. I just hope this path has the potential as my previous path.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Deflate-Gate and the American Way

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It’s all good until you get busted. What harm is a lil white lie? What if I just bust Nancy on her kneecap taking her out of the Championship Skating routine? What harm is it if I drive at 60 in a 55?

All the above is what we do to gain an advantage or to discredit another. Ultimately it’s all about us. Therefore, the little lies and cheating we do on a daily basis all in the name of self-preservation are acceptable, right?

Yes, of course they are justified. We all can’t be Mother Theresa.

The truth is, whether the New England Patriots altered the air in the footballs or the footballs were sabotaged, many of us try to push the envelope of honesty and integrity. We all try to find ways to gain a competitive edge in what we do whether it be work, sports, or other things. Most of the time we hope many of these, ahem, questionable practices go unnoticed. We definitely hope not to go to jail or be fined for our discretion. Yet, we continue to do it.

You can’t handle the truth!

Probably not. If there are Aliens walking among us I’m not sure I want to know that truth. Or if I dated a she that used to be a he then I’d rather go to my grave not knowing. But if our actions are purely self-preservation then I think the truth has a more relevant place in our lives than not.

I attempt to carry myself in a way that I can be proud. I have always been wired this way. I try not to judge someone who does not but it remains a challenge. Ultimately, if you are unethical or somewhat dishonest in the decisions you make then you should own up to those things. I do drive over the speed limit. I understand the risk by doing this and I accept it. That does not make it right either. Therefore, shame on me.

Own up to those questionable instances where you are not as forthcoming. Or is this just human nature and we cannot overcome these things unless we lived in a Utopian society? If this is the case then it does sound like a cop-out. And if it is a cop-out who do we have to blame? And who decides what white lies are acceptable?

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Our dilemma as a society is we live in a world where people are less willing to take responsibility, people are constantly pushing the limits to fairness and equality, and many of us are driven by doing things that can be interpreted as ethically questionable. However we choose to live our lives we only have to accept the truth – and that’s how we each decide to live out our own lives. Only God will judge us.

But make sure you just don’t get caught.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I Have No More Campaigns to Run…

(heckling in the background)…”I know ‘cause I won both of ‘em.”

You’re damn straight Mr. President! Now hopefully you can just focus on your job and add to the successes you are already laying in place.

It continues to amaze me how hypocritical people can be. We are told as kids to obey the authorities yet hecklers in Congress have the audacity to attempt to belittle the most powerful man on the planet – the POTUS.

I guess he told them to just STFU. Well isn’t that special? (Spoken in my Church Lady voice)

I can’t remember in my lifetime how a sitting president was heckled and ridiculed by the masses so much. President Ford comes to mind but it was more for his clumsiness than his politics (which I hear were just as clumsy).

Allow me to get on my political soapbox once again to stir the pot of positivity for the job our POTUS has done over the past six years. Lest I remind you and take you back to that dark time six years ago as markets crashed, housing crashed, jobs were lost, war raged, and profits fell. Those dark times as America fell on hard times as the public became wary of the future and other countries began to question our leadership.

World markets collapsed, we in America were experiencing one of the largest recessions since the Great Depression of the 1920’s, and nobody seemed to have a clear vision on how were going to get out of this mess.

Then along came a message of HOPE.

Yes, it seemed cliché at the time and may have even been a bit politicized. However, there was a true hopefulness in the air as we witnessed history as America elected its first non-White leader. While race should not be the only thing to hang our hats, and best believe if you believe it was with this president you are fooling yourself, but the idea that we all can have a chance at success.

Selling belief and hope – that’s what we were buying six years ago.

Here we are today. We can’t help but witness some facts and numbers about the success of President Obama’s tenure and how we have overcome those dark days of 2008. We can ignore or interpret these facts all we want but the truth is out there – as Agent Mulder would say.

The bottom line is this:

  1. The POTUS has taken more abuse than any other president in history – especially with the help of technology and Social Media.
  2. The POTUS is still seen as a Black man – even though he is of mixed race.
  3. The POTUS has had to jump through hoops to prove his value.
  4. The POTUS is a “bad mutha…”

I do hope we get beyond the name calling, disrespect, and general hate aimed toward the president or anyone that looks like him. I pray that our country ultimately comes together in support of the direction the president is taking us. And I still remain hopeful that his legacy will be recognized upon his exit from office. He, like others, has made mistakes but know that he has a different set of challenges facing him unlike any other past president – and it is because the color of his skin.

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Oh well, in three more years we might be welcoming the first female president of the United States. Stranger things have happened in my lifetime. #HillaryClinton

Go well and with love good peeps…

The Struggles within Our Black Boxes

Recently a friend of mine relayed to others about the black box we all possess – our brains. And the fact that this black box does not see the day of light, does not smell or hear sounds, and is reliant on the rest of our bodies to maintain our entire being – it controls all we do. The brain receives information from all of our senses and helps to interpret the cold and cruel world around us. So what happens when our minds cannot function properly because it is mired in confusion, depression, and sadness? It can drive us to tragedy.

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Who knows what’s going on inside our black box – no one, unless we are willing to share what is occurring. We all know of the struggles that might occur and we continue to turn a blind eye for those in need. Children might cry out in pain and we are quick to dismiss their feelings by saying “toughen up.” We make excuses about bad decisions and expect others to absorb these decisions without hesitation – this creates a backlog of pent-up aggression or depression.

Our minds are so powerful yet so vulnerable. An idle mind is the Devil’s playground as believed by those within the Christian faith.

And maybe it is.

And maybe an active mind is also the Devil’s playground – instilling terrible thoughts that lead us to a path of destruction. The inputs of broken marriages, promises, dreams, etc., contribute to the challenges we all face. And some individuals are better equipped to deal with these challenges compared to others.

“So why does that matter to me” you might ask?

It should matter – as a member of this planet.

It should matter as a human being. We should all take some responsibility to help assist others in need. We should work to recognize the subtle signals people in need might be telegraphing. We should act on these impulses to ensure others are afforded the same care and guidance we can possibly provide.

We should care for one another. Period.

I for one strive to do better, be better, act better, and provide better. Not because it gives me a first place in line at the pearly gates of Heaven but because it is the right thing to do.

I challenge all of you to do that which is right. I challenge you to live a life caring for one another. And I challenge each of you to reach out to others in need. In the long run it can only make this planet a better place to live and you never know who you might help.

Go well and with love good peeps.

National Institute of Mental Health