Why You Wanna Irk Me So?

I admit I’m more of a Speed Racer type when it comes to putting the pedal-to-the-metal; therefore my blabbing may irk you as I was irked by another. But I’m going to press forward and say what I gotta say anyway!

When you see me coming up on you like a well-tuned Formula 1 semi-rocket move outta the way and let me drive! Is it really so hard to let go of that control? You know you like what you see and admire my swag, but no, you wanna play games with me…tease me…control me, and you know it’s gonna irk me because you see the way I approach you. And as soon as I see you slip and you give me a lane you wanna go and block me again. This is not a game! You’re gonna make me scream “Jesus take the wheel” lest I do something I regret, like take another path. But hey, I should expect this cat-n-mouse foreplay because it is what happens during courtship.

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As for someone’s car antics, that irked me as well.

I sat in my car trying to progress at a reasonable rate and there he was purposely driving like Ms. Daisy. He would slow down to get under my skin knowing I was in a hurry. I said to myself “If I wasn’t a good Christian boy I’d pull you over and beat the freaking sh*t outta you and tear you a new a$$hole you S.O.B!” But I didn’t. And God forgive me for my rage.

But who is really in the wrong? Am I to blame because I can’t drive 55 or is he because he is purposely provoking me? And here in lies life’s crazy debate about balance and responsibilities.

Sure, I could have been driving a bit slower, maybe just a tad above the speed limit as I was in a hurry to not miss the cutoff for dropping off my kids to daycare. Or he could have moved over and let me pass as there were no obstacles preventing him from doing so. City driving causes road rage causing inexcusable behavior that might result in unfortunate circumstances. Who needs this?

Responsibility states we all share in creating a balanced and harmonic living environment for ourselves and the world. It ensures we behave in an unselfish manner prompting our brethren to relinquish control sometimes while other times becoming the beneficiary of a good act.

Either way, we must remember to take a moment and pause so we can compose ourselves and not make irrational or ignorant decisions purely based on selfish priorities.

As for my driving – I will still drive like Mario Andretti until I am no longer able to do so, but I typically share the road (and in this case the greater metaphor for road – life) with others so we all might travel harmoniously. Life should always be about the greater good, therefore, I submitted to being greater even though he was not.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I No Longer Value Your Opinion

I’m sure we have all been there at some point in our lives. We all have had to deal with a person in whom we once thought highly of and later they mean nothing to us. A friend, a coworker, an ex, your parents, or maybe even your own children have fallen into this category. And something happened along the way and your mind began a slow transformation in where you no longer valued their opinion. I get it.

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A number of thought factors help influence this paradigm shift:

  1. Our minds might become clouded with animosity and resentment. We always hear the phrase “do not let resentment settle into your heart” but it is easier stated than practiced. Hatred and resentment do not go well with living a healthy life.
  2. Stupidity as a measure. It really bothers me, especially in discussing politics and religion where people are unable to have decent conversations about tough subjects. These subjects are very emotional and pull at the heartstrings of who we are, thus, making it difficult to see any other side of an argument. The word that comes to mind is closed-minded. Therefore, we are quickly apt to label folks as stupid. And trust me, I believe as you believe there are some stupid people in this world.
  3. Indifference is that kick-in-the-ass word that really hurts. It says, “I don’t give two-shits about you enough to even think about your well-being let alone your opinion.” It is the idea that the person you project this feeling upon is less than human and does not deserve to be valued, whatsoever. Kind of like an amoeba – you don’t recognize it is there.
  4. Hurt, pain, unforgiving all lead into this scary hole in which we feel less and less inclined to be thoughtful of another human being. If you hurt me, cause me pain, I might find myself in a situation where I am unable to forgive you. If this occurs you no longer have any value to me in my life.
  5. Distrust – too many times people might find themselves on the verge of being distrusted by others. You can lose your job because of your inability to follow through; your marriage might crumble because of broken promises or infidelity; or you may have no substance in your words therefore creating an empty shell of a human being. Whatever the case might be these things lead to broken trust and open the door to devaluing any words that might come out of your mouth (or the mouth of the person you distrust).

Is there nothing we can do about these things? To the contrary we have the power, truly, to overcome anything!

I’m not saying we can change stupid people or we can continue to trust untrustworthy people, I am only admitting the fact that we can look at how we view these individuals through our own lens. It is in the power of our minds to shift our thinking. It is a practice we should all employ. It is helpful in the long run to try to think about individuals we put into these categories in a different way. It won’t be the easiest task to accomplish but it will make sense in the end. And who knows, it might even encourage a positive transformation in others.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Lollapalooza Heads Invasion – Whoopee!

Ah, that carefree feeling to be twenty-something, basking in the sun during one of Chicago’s hippest, coolest and wildest concert venues – Lollapalooza!

While I might feel I am beyond the attending age of such an event I can’t help but think back to my own days of exploration when I would attend various events and get a taste of the culture of the day. However, there is nothing like what is going on this weekend in the Chi, as we Chicagoans affectionately like to call it. Our fair city has been bombarded by folks all over the world to come and see the numerous bands perform all within a handful of city blocks.

And I have to say it…is…A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Feeling a bit like Scrooge I was hesitant to embrace this event like many others around me; no particular reason except the same as the locals talking about being past the age of enjoyment. Yet, part of me embraces this three-day event and what it means to everyone.

As I walked down the street I was passed by many people of all races, creeds, beauties, and backgrounds making their way to the field of dreams – rock ‘n roll dreams – hip hop dreams – and indie dreams, all in one field. And it excited me. Too cool, I thought.

Therefore, I won’t be the ole fuddy-duddy looking to rush out the tourist and other bystanders that are partaking in the festivities this weekend. While I may not be able to participate I appreciate the sound I heard from my office window and the euphoric feeling permeating in the air.

It isn’t every day that we all get to have feel-good moments in life but I am telling you to embrace them when they become visible. Grab a loved one, a stranger, a pal and dance like nobody’s watching and enjoy the music. I know I will be looking forward to the next invasion and I might even participate.

Loving life.

Superficially Speaking

Let me be the first to say I have no solution or answer to the subject at hand, I only recognize it as an increasing issue in our society.

More and more people are becoming more and more shallow with how we view one another. I don’t know if it is only an American issue or whether other countries experience this phenomenon but it is troubling no doubt. When I view various reality shows and TV ads and look at magazine covers (https://www.facebook.com/nickiminaj) I am struck by an overwhelming identification to focus on purely physical attributes while not addressing more in-depth characteristics. While it is always great to have eye candy there must be some value in other areas of our existences. At least one would hope.

Yet, we all support these images because we buy into them. We support the fashions by one-upping our acquaintances. Our eyes can’t help but be drawn to what we see. For that matter, it is our senses (external) that initially guide us and move us towards a direction that is most pleasing. Sometimes this path isn’t always in our best interest, yet we press forward not caring whether the outcome is detrimental in our longer term life plans.

And I, like everyone else, fall victim to this. However, I do like to have substance in my life. I like the idea of intelligent conversation along with a deep outlook of life. I like to explore finer things and dissect troubling matters. I feel it adds to my overall value as an individual and it is good for my spirit. I hope to raise my kids to not be so shallow and superficial that they might expand their minds as best they can through introspection and analytical thinking about the world.

Yet, my mind, like many of yours wanders back to Nicki Minaj. And it seems to be a prison that we can’t escape. Women will admire the fashion of the Kardashians but discount the talent. We will speak of the Beyonce’s genius yet not give much thought to her substance (although I’m sure she is a deep thinker). And our Desperate Housewives will continue to show us there isn’t much room for conversations that don’t involve some type of argument or debate.

And I think about my little girl. I shake my head as I continue to lead her down a path of balance and equilibrium regarding life’s superficiality.

I can only hope that this trend is only a fad and society prefers a much more deep-rooted depth of our human existence than what we project. Otherwise, I need to find another world in which I can live.

COMMITAPHOBIA (kuh-mit-a-foh-bee-uh) –noun

1) A man’s irrational fear of being in a committed relationship; 2) Fear of “settling down” for a man; 3) Usually a condition found with men, difficulty being faithful; 4) A man’s emotional state when dreading the thought of only being with one female companion over and over and over and over again.

Sentence: Jason had been stricken with commitaphobia as he contemplated his future with his main squeeze Sheila.

We all have heard it a thousand times. Many of us have lived through it numerous times. And some of us men have been stricken by this disease in our lifetimes. How does it manifest itself in our lives and what can we do about it?

I have studied this disease among my male compadres and am puzzled by the same results – the fear I see in their eyes as they try to live a rich, deep, meaningful life by committing to the woman of their dreams. It doesn’t matter what walk of life this poor man comes from but any man is capable of contracting this condition. And once he gets the condition it is virtually impossible for him to recover. Or at least we know it will take him some time.

Symptoms of this ailment are usually the following: a) the inability of a man to focus on one single woman; b) a man backs out of conversations that deal with commitment when initiated by said female companion; c) the desire to sexually conquer a female – ALL females; d) lackadaisical attitude toward female companions when prompted for emotional intimacy [also known as “the arm’s length syndrome”].

Studies have shown more than 50% of men deal with this affliction yet help does not seem to be readily available. Some statistics have shown 2/3rds of the male population is screaming for assistance due to the onset of this terrible state. These numbers increase dramatically after divorce or over age 30. It is a serious epidemic in our communities. We need the government to take action and provide assistance – like mandated health care.

But wait; there is help for this affliction right around the corner!

I have personally enlisted the help of various psychologist and medical professionals to understand, dissect and learn more about our disease to see if there is a drug, similar to Viagra that can help a man overcome this fear. There seems to be hope on the horizon. I have found many times the affliction can be treated by mental stimulation. Other times it is best to wear a man down. It is also treated by constant catering to the man’s desires. Other sure proof methods show a way to a man’s heart (which is one source of this issue) is by his stomach and this still stands true.

Do not despair my female accompaniments. And do not act rash by switching gender teams (not that there is anything wrong with that). Instead, work with us men to eliminate this awful condition. Most of us men don’t want to be stuck with commitaphobia and are willing to go through treatment.

However, our studies need money. There are ways you can help. For the price of a cup of coffee a day you can save a man from this dilemma. You can help him find his way. Or you can adopt a man to wean him of his commitaphobia. It will take time but believe me it can work. I know this because I, too, was afflicted by this disease. I was a commitaphobe.

Be Blessed.

Next topic: Why are men pigs?

Everything is AWESOME!

…when you’re living in a dream!

Yes, according to the fun kids movie Lego Land everything is awesome as long as you conform, keep life light, don’t focus on the hard stuff, and work as a team. Woo-hoo!

But seriously, life is awesome. It is full of beauty and magnificence. It is pleasurable and wonderful. I look around my wonderful city of Chicago everyday and I am reminded of these pleasures. Therefore, I enjoy taking a moment in my crazy world to acknowledge just how awesome life is.

Regardless of the trials we face and the pains we all feel – because they are real – we should always be reminded of how awesome life is. YOU are awesome! I AM awesome! WE are awesome together!

Now go tackle that day with all of your awesomeness!

Escaping My Reality if Only for a Moment

I started my weekend and enjoyed the refreshing conversation from an old friend. I basked in the aura of my offspring playing games of truth and dare and other innocent pleasantries. I relished in the atmosphere of a wonderful restaurant talking about life’s beauty while drinking cocktails. I had an unplanned but welcomed visit with a college bestie as we enjoyed conversation while being surrounded by beautiful women living a luxurious life of wining and dining. And finally, I had the pleasure of being in good company to round out my weekend of bliss.

And in one moment – POOF! I am reminded in ways that life is still revolving around me and I have much to deal with on my plate. My Houdini act is disrupted as I make my way back to my daily routines. I try to settle into the day in front of me but am filled with fleeting moments of pleasure that take a backseat to the humdrum of life. I long for these tingling moments like an addict that doesn’t know where his next hit will come from. And if I wallow too long the funk will overtake me filling me with despair and indecision.

But this is the life we live, looking for escaping moments to fill the uncomfortable voids in our lives. We expect these moments to last forever. We hope to piece these precious moments together to mask the sadness we might feel when the moments are through. Sad feelings engulf me as I wait in traffic thinking about the upcoming work events; or hear the morning news of death that surrounds us; or thinking of my own health challenges and hoping for resolution. I expect we all have these moments come upon us in some form or fashion; however, we all strive to minimize the influence these moments might have over our lives.

To do this I constantly think of those pleasantries I encountered over my weekend and use these as the building blocks for increasing my quality of life measure. I look at others and I hope to solve their riddles on how they came to build on these positive moments and minimize the negative ones.

When I look around at the beauty of life I allow my mind to embrace these beauties and increase the harmonious feeling in my spirit. I think of the dinners I had and I smile. I think of the deep conversations and look forward to the next. I think of touching moments and let them intimately hug me through my mental recollection. And I think of my children’s laughter and have it be the fuel that gets me through the day.

In the meantime, I work, attend my meetings, address my health, and face life as expected. But I am thankful of having the time to escape these realities of my life if only for a moment, because all of these moments define my reason for living and it is grand.

I Love You but I Don’t Like You

Oxymoronic? Maybe. Crazy? Possibly. Sensible? Debatable. A path to destruction? Very likely.

Work with me on this.

This phrase as well as many other similar phrases is a contradiction in terms when we go to the root cause of the definitions. If I try to understand this statement logically my brain explodes. In computer science we call this an infinite loop which ultimately crashes the computer. BAM! There it goes. So what then on how to re-program my brain to logically understand the statement? That is not possible. What is possible is to understand root cause and then to extrapolate scenarios. These scenarios are what scare me.

Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, and they fall in love (for whatever that is) and get married and live happily ever after. No? Right, because at some point girl says, “ooh, I really don’t like your butt right now!” Boy says, “I agree, I don’t like you either.” They go to bed feeling some dislike for one another. However, the boy is usually going to try and perform make up sex (because we like sex) but the girl won’t have this because her emotions are not there (feeling dislike). The couple wakes up still feeling dislike. This dislike is like a virus. If it isn’t squashed it will harbor in the crevices of our feelings and take root like cancer. The boy and girl haven’t resolved the dislike. Ultimately bitterness sets in. Now what?

The dislike has turned to bitterness, love has not been able to grow, and the couple now faces the daily tasks of trying to figure out how to undo the bitterness that has set in. This opens up the long road of therapy in some form or another; usually unsuccessfully. It unlocks the door to such more sinister things as infidelity, anger, and hatred. And how does one truly rationalize love and hate in the same sentence? You don’t. They are at odds. Like good and evil. Like yin and yang. Like Elvis and Costello? I am just kidding on this last one.

But what I am not kidding about is the destructive pattern the potential “dislike” created. An innocent admission of hurt or disagreed feelings and it escalates into something serious. Relationship problem #1 identified.

We gotta fix this crap!

Well, the fix is in. It isn’t rocket science and we all admit to it and we all say it – forgiveness; the lifeline of civilization. We can stop all wars with forgiveness. We can repair broken relationships with family and friends. We can make the world sing in perfect harmony! We can overcome – anything. We could live without pressures of disapproval knowing that our sins, either conscious or otherwise, would be forgiven. As I write this column I am reminded of the forgiveness from God. It is fascinating when you think about how to forgive.

This is not an easy task. It is much easier to exclaim “I love you but I don’t like you.” We all know that the two adjectives cannot coexist over a long period of time. Therefore, many of us have figured out that over time we do learn how to forgive. Forgiveness comes by choice. However, it can only come after wounds are healed although scars may remain. But we tend to feel better when we sincerely forgive. It ain’t easy but it is vital in this thing called life.

Go well and with love my good peeps.

Thankful Tuesday

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On occasion I like to acknowledge that I am thankful; therefore, here is my list of things for which I am thankful…

Thankful for my beautiful kids – God could not have given me finer gifts,

Thankful for life and it’s abundance – even though in the midst of storms my life is full of abundance,

Thankful for family and friends – without others surrounding us through our turmoil we would never make it alone,

Thankful for the beauty of this world – when I look out the window and take it all in I feel Peace beyond all understanding.

What are you thankful for?