A note on Ambition vs. Goals

Don’t mistake ambition for goals – especially in yourself. Drive is not the same as destination. You don’t need a map, because life is the map – living is it’s own map, but you need to be headed somewhere you can see, you can feel.

You need only reach within yourself to find the confidence to set goals you believe in. You need the confidence to be brave. Not courageous, but brave. Courage comes after. Because the fear will persist regardless, but the fear of not following your inner voice is always greater. You absolutely have to set goals and know where you are going – not what you want – where you are going. Doing this will transform that silent, inner confidence into real plans that will allow you to be brave enough to get where you want to get in life. Sure, life is a journey, but do you know where you are going?

Poetry: Dawn’s Promise

80 odd years I may have
50 left to go
Not that tomorrow is a promise
But if it is – and each dawn so,
That’s 10 to 15 years more to reap what I sow

I can’t fathom had it happened all those years ago
I’d have a child going through puberty now,
and maybe I would be more mature myself –
But I’m not

I’m still waiting for the rite of passage that ushers in a new dawn where I’m not scared and I believe in myself entirely

I even try to stage my own

Tonight I stripped down to my boxers and walked into the ocean
I lied down under a wave
And in the faded light of dusk the water looked ominous, green, and black
And lying on my back the sea welcomed me in with a gentle, comforting pull
And I hoped to gain something from it,
Some purification or seasoning of my soul
And I walked out of the water slow and dripping
Wearing the slight pride of a minor victory like invisible armor
And maybe for a minute the fear was masked

Poetry: Irreconcilable

I can’t write in 20,000 words what I can in a poem
I can’t be as honest in prose as I can in poetry
Because in a poem I can tell you I don’t believe in a G-d without saying it
In a poem I can tell you I destroy the beautiful things I touch without confessing a thing
In a poem I can tell you that I am afraid
I’m afraid that love is just a chemical reaction and not the spiritual alchemy I thought it was
And I’m afraid that I’ll never have a family of my own
I’m afraid of so much
I’m afraid I’m not as good at life as I once was
And tonight I’m finding it hard to hope
I’m finding it hard to be alone
I’m finding it hard to love the man in the mirror
Tonight he feels like the man his ex girlfriends think he is:
A jerk, a dick, an asshole – a panoply of lewd nouns and adjectives; even a couple of verbs, and sometimes a mash-up of both: fucking asshole.
Ladies and gentleman, I present: the bowels of the English language, aka me
I’m so jaded, it all sounds pretty believable tonight
And it sucks living in a world where those I love hate me, how strange it must be for them: living in a world where those you hate love you
None of it makes any sense tonight
Hence it must be written down
I’m not crazy
Just postmodern
Just a poet
Just a man
As flawed as my heroes:
Mandela had affairs
Alan Watts drank too much
I’m only human
But I’m reminded of the time I was talking to this homeless hippie in the village and when I said something about being human he said that we shouldn’t use ‘human’ as a synonym for imperfect, and that our humanity shouldn’t be an excuse for our behavior, but rather a benchmark for how we should behave
War is inhumane
And when you look up inhumane it says “Not human; lacking humanity, kindness, compassion, etc”
And so the homeless man taught me something valuable about humanity, how completely fitting
And now that my exes have learned a new word, I shall henceforth be known as inhumane
But I am absolutely human
And that’s why I write, to preserve my humanity and maintain my sanity
I write about what it means to be human
And in a poem I have so much freedom to do this
And I want to be a champion for poetry
Not just the entire romantic tradition of poetry but the freedom a poet is given to say anything
I can write an entire poem on the burdens of testicle ownership for a deviant medieval prince:

With great power comes great responsibility, and so heavy lies the crown that the prince hardly put his favorite toy down
Quit playing with your sword they told the little lord
And why must every shower last half an hour?
“In the name of the family jewels I must slay the dragon”
Fair fair, but next time you empty your flagon don’t stab anything that pulls a wagon
Your neighbor’s ox is simply not meant to be a sausage box

and this is the simple beauty and the magic of poetry
The power to create without boundaries and without rules
It doesn’t even have to rhyme
But the point is that poetry allows us to transfigure difficult things into bites we can chew on and swallow
A poet predigests ideas
How else can I say what I said about being afraid and hated?
I don’t think I could have
A poem is a safe place to bare your soul for a couple of minutes while the rest of the world pays no attention
Writing and reading poetry teaches you about what it means to be a human being
Poems humanize things by sanitizing them
Poetry is about being vulnerable and brave
It’s about declaring the things you think in the dead of the cool, dark night
And it’s about trying to reconcile the irreconcilable things
I am not alone in being hated by those I love
I am trying to answer the questions I dare not ask
For even the most publicly adored can be detested by those who have come closest to them
And what does this teach them
Lord knows
But I hope I find someone for whom hating me is an impossibility
But I’m losing faith

Yet I wake up praying

Some Thoughts on Life from a 29 Year Old on an August Afternoon in 2014

Past a certain age, the guy in the room with the most money IS the alpha male.

Self-perception is reality. i.e., How we truthfully perceive ourselves isn’t far off from how others perceive us. Faking it only fools other fake people. If you want to change how people see you, you first have to change how you see yourself.

The best way to survive the character assassination of a breakup is to see it for what it is. Only a woman who loves you will tell you she fucking hates you. This matters little though, because she probably does hate you. Don’t take it personally; withstanding the chance your soon to be ex has exceptional character herself (or himself), being verbally cut down and trashed is pretty standard for a breakup. It’s easy to take it to heart, but you just need to remember that hurt people hurt people and hell hath no fury like a woman [lover] scorned.

What it means to have a healthy sex life: It’s important to figure out how to meet your sexual needs in the healthiest manner possible for your self-esteem and the self-esteem of your partner(s). To put this into context, it’s important to understand that sex is a basic physiological need in that, like all physiological needs (i.e., food, sleep), your relationship to it can either boost or depress your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. Don’t underestimate the power of sex in this regard.

The definition of manipulation is making someone feel a certain way to get what you want. Don’t forget this because manipulative behavior is always invisible unless you consciously identify what’s occurring. Remember, manipulative people often don’t know any other way to get their needs met because they figured out early in life that they could get what they wanted by manipulating the feelings of others. No matter how seemingly inconsequential the act, don’t reinforce manipulative behavior by succumbing to it. It’s not healthy for relationships. 99% of the time manipulative people don’t deserve your time, attention, or affection. Oh and when you start recognizing manipulative behavior for what it is, good luck calling someone out on it – it’s often invisible to the manipulator as well. Yeah, don’t use feelings as currency or tolerate those who do.

Don’t believe everything you think. Particularly when you are “in a mood”.

Managing your own psychology is the most important skill in life. And by “managing”, I don’t mean keeping things on an even keel all the time; but rather, the awareness of the impact of your mood on the quality of your thoughts – and the ability to weigh them accordingly.

The second most important skill is managing the psychology of the people around you. Think about this in the above context.

The best way to improve your self-esteem is to get shit done.

People who keep promises don’t make promises they can’t keep. People who don’t keep their promises have a history of letting themselves down as much as they’ve let others down. Your code of conduct with others is very much defined by your personal code of conduct.

The only way to get out of a mental or emotional rut is to change your state. Figure out how to do that in healthy ways. (i.e., Walking, music, a good night’s sleep).

The quality of conversation you have with yourself in your head determines the quality of your life story.

Sometimes life will suck, sometimes for a while. But your time in the sun will come again if you never give up. And when I say never give up, I am referring to ‘hope’. That’s the only giving up I think there is.

The Buddha never said the following and you shouldn’t base your life on it because you saw it on facebook and it sounded poignant: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” // The truth is, none of us are capable of knowing what matters most in the end.

We should take everything with a grain of salt, lest we let others define our life.

Religion, society, rules, culture – these things are all constructs. Who you are is original, organic, and truly special (unless you prey on people – in which case fuck you). Anyway, you’re worthy of your hopes and dreams. Don’t let someone else’s life script convince you otherwise.

Remember who you are. And if you forget, it’s probably because you haven’t been treating yourself with the kind of love and care you would give to someone whom you truly, deeply loved. This my dear reader, you deserve of yourself – always.

Remember the time I lost my smile for three years

Something just happened tonight to good not to write about.

I’ve been working long, long hours. Out of false humility I won’t say how long but suffice to say there are few nights in recent memory where I remember falling asleep; I’ve kind of just passed out by the time I called it a night. Long hours.

And tonight I found myself lying in bed absolutely, completely miserable. Tired, run down – just bummed. And I was so sad – if that’s the right word – that I just had to get up.

As Tony Robbins says – “Emotion comes from motion”.

Backing up a few days, I was walking along the beach recently and I wanted to snap a selfie to post on social media.

And I smiled and took a photo and upon reviewing it, I just thought I looked like crap. And I tried taking a couple more – and same result.

We all have our own little relationship with our self-esteem. And it’s easy to let age compound this – we often look back and think about times we held the world in our palm. Anyway, it doesn’t help when we look back and think ‘wow, I looked really good back then’. It’s just not healthy, but we all do it.

So it’s in that frame of reference that I haven’t felt great about myself lately. So, fast forward to tonight: I got out of bed and I went to the mirror and started playing with my hair. haha Yes, dear reader – I’m giving you my full transparency tonight.

To put things in context, I recently had pulled out my clippers and in a Britney Spears moment of angst shaved my head. My hair had been fairly long. But it felt good and during the recent soccer World cup I had been told twice that I looked like a soccer player – a compliment I took without qualm.

And I’ve always been one of those guys who is obsessed with his hair. I assume nature will strip me of it one day in old age but as it stands I’ve got a full head of the stuff. (A few grays in my beard, but hey – you gotta own your look, whatever that comes with.)

So, as far as the hair styling tonight, my hair has grown out a bit, and I felt like it was time to try something new. I enjoy evolving my look. Perhaps I’m a bit vain. I’ll plead guilty to that – but is it such a crime to honor and care for the temple of the body?

Anywho, up until now I had been kind of doing a very short sidepart to the front, so I pushed some pomade through my short bangs in one of those styles you either see on little boys or thirty year-old men. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how it looked. So, borrowing a move from a smart girl, I grabbed my phone to snap a pic of it.

Well, I smiled for the photo and it was a repeat of the beach-selfie incident. Mind you, there are very few photos of myself taken in the past few years in which I felt I looked ‘great’ in, if one can admit to such a thing.

So, I tried smiling and taking a few more photos. Same result – I just didn’t think I looked good. So I thought to myself, well maybe I just need to take a photo of my good side, or one where I smile differently. So I took a dozen or so photos trying different things until I found a few that cam out good – much better than I had seen in awhile.  And then something clicked. I realized that in the good photos I had a different smile, a genuine kind of smile – not forced. So I tried to smile in the same manner and it felt almost strange – as if the muscles in that part of my face hadn’t been used in a long time. It felt awkward the point where I just had to stretch my face in a short series of awful contortions just to relax those muscles a bit.

(Yes, I’m sure this is the oddest thing you’ve read in awhile).

Anyway, I looked at the photos and then that’s when it clicked. Dimples. The good photos all showed my dimples. The others were way too exaggerated – as if I had tried smiling with my entire face instead of with my smile. As if I tried to look like I was smiling, instead of actually smiling.

A long time ago (~8 years), a friend of mine had something to me that was perhaps the most flattering compliment a male had ever given me – if it even was a compliment. He said “Bro, you know why our girls like us” pause “Because we got dimples”. And he meant it, good guy.

Anyway, I realized it, that I had lost my smile. Not the ability, or the capacity – I’ve smiled many times in the past few years, but I hadn’t been smiling MY smile. And I couldn’t believe it. I said to myself aloud “remember the time when I lost my smile for three years”. Because I had. Maybe longer. Somewhere along the way, it died, or it lost it’s mojo. And at 29 years of age tonight, I got it back. And then I couldn’t stop smiling. It felt so good. As I write this I can feel a taught soreness in the left side along my cheek – just because I haven’t smiled how I naturally do and the muscles aren’t used to it. And that’s fucked up. But I got it back tonight. I got back something very dear to me. And just loooking in the mirror smiling afterwards, I couldn’t believe how good I looked with that smile.

And this may seem like a private thing to share, or something weird – but I cannot state how important this is to me. We rarely get back the pieces of ourselves that we lose along the way. So, I had to write about it because I NEVER want to lose my smile again. I never want to forget that I got it back. (hopefully this helps someone else – if this sort of thing happens to people).