Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. —Robert McKee

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A laugh is a primal release that’s as natural as a breath. Where would we be without it? Where would we be without humor to let go of the serious and embrace the hilarious? Laughter is a gift that keeps on giving - with every punchline, ironic moment, goofy look, silly dance, etc…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are we becoming a world where nobody looks up?

Yesterday I was in an elevator texting a friend on my way down to the lobby. At the 6th floor, a woman got on and gave me friendly hello. It took me a moment to get out of my texting mode until I looked up and returned her greeting. When we reached the lobby she smiled and said, "we're becoming a world where nobody looks up." I told her that I agree and that it's a shame, but I have become a part of this world.

Is it true that we've become more focused on contacting people virtually than interacting with those around us? Is it such a bad thing that we sometimes stay more connected with our loved ones through texting and email, even if it's at the price of interacting with strangers we see daily?

On one hand, it is a little disturbing that the probability of meeting new people per chance seems to have gone down. Most people talk on their cell phones, text, or even email while walking through their neighborhood. If a stranger was to slip or loose their balance, would we be able to come to their rescue in time before putting the phone back in our pocket, or before our attention has shifted from the virtual world to our exterior surroundings? What if someone needs help with directions, but you pass by without noticing because your face is focused on a new email? What if that stranger could have turned out to be a new best friend or even a significant other? Are we preventing ourselves from spontaneous experiences that might enrich our lives?

On the other hand, with the modern smart phone, we're able to stay in touch with the loved ones we have even more. Through texting we have the ability to instantly check in on a friend or partner, and stay intimately connected to our circle of relationships. And if you don't end up meeting a new friend or lover through circumstance on the street, you could surf the web on your phone and go to meetup.com, facebook, twitter or match.com to find someone new.

What is the trade off? Which way of life is more important to you? Is it a bad thing that the world is becoming more connected through technology and smart phones? Or do the positives outweigh the negatives where through this technology we are improving our relationships with friends and family, and changing the way we do business? I think the next time I'm in the elevator and the door opens, maybe I'll just hold off on texting until I reach the lobby...

Monday, September 13, 2010

BCS Video

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inappropriate Laughter

There have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve become embarrassed from laughing during a seemingly inappropriate time. I think this can happen to many of us. We find something funny and attempt to hold in the laughter in the hopes that it will subside. Instead, it usually fights its way through our calming mantras and copacetic reasoning only to explode and release out of our body. For instance, it might come when you meet someone new who looks like your Aunt Martha’s dog, Sparkles; or maybe when a friend is talking to you about a difficult situation at work, but all you can focus on is the boogers poking out of their nose. I remember when I was a kid I thought it was hilarious that when you really stare at a person’s face for a while it starts to change and look oddly goofy and completely different than what you’re used to. This is especially weird when it’s a family member or close friend. Whatever the case may be, often times we feel an uncontrollable urge to laugh at an inopportune or “unsafe” time.

However, laughter cannot be predicted or contained. We all have varying senses of humor and can get a feel for what might make us laugh, but do we truly know for sure what we’ll find funny? Laughter at its core is uncontrollable and reactionary, and that is what makes it so much fun. It’s a break from the calculated, organized, and survival of the fittest mindset that pulls us through the day to day.

So, what would happen if we didn’t try holding in our laughter during one of these instances? I suppose the people around us could get angry and upset, frustrated or confused. But if we’re open and remind ourselves that we’re just human, maybe these outbursts don’t have to be considered such a faux pas. Maybe we can talk it out as it happens, explain, and mutually understand that it’s just the nature of laughter. After all, laughter is one of the best forms of releasing energy and to prohibit yourself from this pleasure just doesn’t seem right. Laugh away I say!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Success, Security, and Prosperity:

Throughout our lives we are encouraged to succeed in a world that judges itself by measuring accomplishments based on conventional standards and goals. I think most of us primarily focus on career, money, family, and achievement. In your circle of family and friends, who would you consider to be successful? Do they seem to fit these typical traits of success or do you view them as successful in a different way? It seems like an awful lot of pressure to achieve these ideals; and sometimes they appear to be stacked on booming high pedestals, reaching up towards the sky with no ladder or Jetson’s car in sight! The truth is that every one of us is faced with some sort of adversity in our lives, and success is really only defined by the individual. However, whether a person accepts the societal pressures of achieving “greatness” or if he or she has a different perspective of success depends on one’s view of life. For some of us, success might be to become a world leader, rock star, or millionaire. However, for others it could mean creating a close family, helping others in need, or having the courage to try something new. There are so many different ways to define success, and I think it’s important to be mindful of what it means to you.

Another piece of success is security. I think comfort can come from having success because the more we believe we have accomplished something, the more secure we feel in society. However, at the same time it’s possible to be the other way around, and I think feeling safe is a form of success in its own right. This type of safety is different than feeling secure economically or interpersonally, and instead comes from within you. This safety empowers us to be in tune with ourselves and helps us branch out and succeed in the life we desire. When we stay true to ourselves and harness the innate power of the love of self, we radiate our uniqueness. At this point, success comes naturally from simply being who you are.

This power can be unleashed only if we limit the internal and external criticisms that we face throughout our daily lives. When we notice these judgments and realize that they don’t serve us, the chains of resistance are broken and we become free to prosper. This enables us to reach a new plateau of safety as we grow and flourish.At different times throughout our lives, we are challenged to move beyond our current state of being in order to change and better ourselves. The profound power of feeling this security guides us through adversity and helps us to succeed and prosper toward a new level of consciousness. We are the sum of our experiences, thoughts, and feelings; and by advancing, we expand our awareness and develop new senses of purpose. In this perpetual reorganization of ourselves, we continue to change based on what we feel we need from moment to moment. During this evolutionary journey we may move “forward” or “backward” but it is in these movements that we prosper through dynamic change and new experience.  However, in order to reach this level, I think we need to be secure in our own skin before we can move ahead toward the next stage. Then again, navigating our life’s path, succeeding in our own way, and reaching this point of safety is prosperous in and of itself.

-- This is an article I wrote as a guest writer for The Golden Age Tribune. It can be viewed on their website by clicking the link below.
My Article

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why so serious?

Sometimes it can be fun to let go of absolutely everything and get lost in playtime. What is playtime? Well, it can be any number of things as long as you allow your mind and body to break free for a few moments from responsibility and worry, and then concentrate on just having a fun time.

Whether it's checking out new DVDs online, reading a new mystery thriller, or dancing, taking this time for yourself can help rejuvenate your innate need to de-stress and let go. It's worth it even if only for a few minutes. And afterward when returning to your usual daily activities, you will feel refreshed with more energy and new found perspective. Give it a shot and let more fun into your life! Embrace the child within!

Monday, May 3, 2010


A Tai Chi teacher once told me that when we smile we bring energy up the body and it is a quick and easy way to transport us to a place of happiness. He illustrated by smiling and pointing to the two outside portions of a grin that face upward. It made sense to me after I smiled for a few moments. My head re-aligned, my posture improved, and I felt an overall feeling of well-being emerge out of nowhere.
Whether it’s walking to the subway, sitting in a car, or waiting in line for lunch, we spend a good portion of the day carrying around a face with little expression. Now imagine smiling more frequently during some of these situations. Do you think it will affect your mood and energy level? Does a smile immediately alter your way of thinking? Also, is it possibly to suddenly feel great from going through the motions and smiling at nothing in particular?

If you have a few moments, consider taking part it a small smiling exercise where you smile constantly for 30 seconds. You do not associate it with anything and try not to hold any images in your mind - simply smile. How did it feel? Were you surprised by the result? What did you notice about it? What did it bring up for you? What did you think about?

Now, the second part of the exercise is to smile again for 30 seconds, but this time concentrate on something that does make you smile. How was this part of the exercise? What made this experience different than part 1? Was it different that part one? Did it bring up something completely different for you?

Here is a little bit about what I experienced while taking part in the exercise:

Part 1: In the very beginning I felt great from simply smiling, but then it somehow became harder. I wasn’t used to smiling for 30 seconds straight. I thought it was interesting because it shows how even though I love to smile and laugh, I do spend a good part of my day not smiling. I also noticed that I started giggling a little bit. I think it was out of habit because when I smile it is most likely followed by a laugh. It is a type of conditioned response, and by going through the motions of smiling it naturally brought on some laughter. I also discovered that my breathing became much easier and deeper. With each inhalation I felt like I was receiving more fuel and became very energized. There seemed to be less thinking involved, and I was calm and more in the moment of the smile. It was refreshing to realize that I can make more an effort to smile throughout dull points of my day in order to get into more of a relaxed and happier mindset.

Part 2: This exercised was harder for me. I thought about my family while smiling and it felt great. However, after a few moments I had the urge to switch my focus and think about something else. This reminded me of how many of us feel gratitude for our lives, but sometimes it can be difficult to stay in these pleasant moods for an extended period of time. I know that for me I sometimes struggle with staying in the good moments because I become pulled to switch back and think about negative things and stay in worry. It can occasionally be easier to be stuck in this state where the cycle of fear and the unknown is drayed over continuously without resolution. When we get caught in this regression it seems safe somehow, as though it is what we’re suppose to be doing. I think it hooks into our survival instincts because we look out for things that could possibly prevent us from achieving our goals – economically, socially, physically, mentally, etc. However, this is a trap because no matter how much time you spend worrying, it doesn’t accomplish anything and is not beneficial.

Back to part 2 of the smiling exercise – I think the reaction to this part of the exercise is also dependent on what he/she is thinking of while smiling. At first, I thought about my family, but then I tried something simpler and imagined a little puppy following its mother. I visualized the look on both their faces, and felt vicariously joyful. I could feel the love – even though it was not real. Then again, if I imagine something and think about it, doesn’t that make it real within my own reality? The memory of thinking about it is there, so how is that different than experiencing it? That’s just something to think about!

The most important thing I noticed from this exercise was that I felt happier, and more energized, simply by smiling for no more than 30 seconds. It put me in a good place in just an instant. It shows that you can do this exercise anytime to change your state of mind, zip up your energy, and see things from a different and more pleasant perspective.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Laughter is a pillow that provides comfort, rejuvenation, and steers us on our dreams' path. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Laughter between friends

It's fun to laugh almost anytime and anywhere, but there is something special about laughing with a good friend. In good company we open ourselves up which allows us to speak more freely and feel more comfortable being who we are. This provides a perfect environment to let go and it creates a powerfully safe space for laughter.

In general, we become best friends with people who have similar senses of humor. We find humor in the same situations, observe the world through the same lense, and appreciate similar moments that bring meaning to our lives. This all comes together with never-stale inside jokes, reminiscing on memorable experiences, and connecting simply through facial expressions and body language. With a long time friend, there is an endless supply of laughter that can be unleashed and enjoyed at any time.

This laughter reaffirms the connection to ourselves and our friends. It supports an internal feeling that tells you that you belong and are in sync with life. In these moments, our perception of the world is clear, and we understand a piece of our purpose - to effortlessly enjoy being with others and experience together. This companionship helps us define ourselves, and the bonds we create link us to a harmonious sense of belonging.

Monday, April 12, 2010

in between

in between

an image on the horizon
hot, foggy, and blurring the lines
unable to materialize or
philosophize the purpose of it wavering eyes

a feeling so close, but freezing cold
with an appetite seemingly unsatiated
does deja vu signify movement toward change
or repetition of an abbreviation

fighting to see the clarity of the sky
even though there are no clouds floating by
I keeping asking myself why
is it hinting on how to say goodbye

closing my fist around decision
doesn't mean there is a clear vision
but this surge of anger forces my hand
to open and give in to the demand

of not knowing my place and circling
mysteries may never be solved
unless accepted through a new
perspective balancing good and bad

right and wrong
creative and boring
with an altering steadiness encased in belief
this in between place, there must be relief

Yin and Yang

How can there be so much beauty along with such terrible ugliness in the world? On one side of the equation we have sunsets, hugs, ice cream,  and puppies, while on the other side there is war, genocide, hunger, and disease. Why can't we just have the good? Why do people suffer? And if there is an all powerful creator, then why did he/she create this dualistic universe? What is the point?

Perhaps we need both the good and the bad to appreciate the experiences we go through in life. For every new love or delicious meal, there is a breakup or someone going hungry. If it were not for bad, would the good even be good? But so much of the bad is not just bad, it is cruel, heart-wrenching, and often times intolerable. It just doesn't make sense why this is the way it has to be.

However, maybe this is the only way life could exist - with the yin and the yang. Perhaps, whoever created all this knew that this was the only way to grow, learn, experience, and live. That it would be impossible to truly have a fulfilling life without some struggle and hardship, without the bad to shine a light on the good. It still doesn't make sense however, why there would still have to be such terrible things such as cancer and prejudice. Couldn't we do without it? But maybe, just maybe, it's all a part of the contract - that there was no other way. Perhaps, it is our destiny to surmount evil and overcome its choke hold on society. Maybe this negative energy can be transferred into something else while still somehow keeping the universal yin and yang equilibrium.

With so many human beings and animals there are a countless number of experiences, situations, struggles, and difficulties, but maybe these allow us to enjoy the good, no matter how small the benefits. A young boy with cancer is in no doubt a difficult and tragic situation. But the closeness he feels with his family and friends, or the experiences he has having a catch with his father or watching his favorite movie with his sister, may be an even more rewarding experience because of his unfortunate situation.

Are we all meant to have different degrees of struggle? And why do some seem to have it tougher than others? Is it a part of our over-all purpose here on Earth? I don't know if there will ever be answers to all of these questions. However, in thinking about these issues, we have the opportunity to open up our minds, let go, and appreciate the good that we do have in our lives. I feel that there is always good to be found, and no matter the size, it has the potential to grow larger and larger, and swing life's momentum towards hope.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I was looking at a friend's calendar for April, and I noticed their handwriting looked familiar but still unique. We learn to write letters and words at a very young age by attempting to copy examples. However, even though a classroom of students receive the same instructions, they still interpret and write differently. Some might be more similar than others, but every writing style is unique. How come?  If we are given the same instructions, why wouldn't our styles be the same?

This is just a small example of how we are all unique, and create our own identity. I find it interesting that when we meet someone new, we usually use familiar adjectives to describe ourselves. One person might say that they're "easy going," "compassionate," and "sweet." But how can just a few words really give another person a feeling and an impression of who you are? And if someone were to use more specific adjectives such as "precocious," "gregarious," or "aloof," would that help us get a better understanding of who this person is? What is a true representation of someone's personality? Are there more suitable ways to get an idea of a person's disposition?

Of course, there is also the famous saying, "actions speak louder than words." We get to know someone better by observing their actions over time. This is how we discover more about our friends and decide on the type of people we'd like to interact with. But at the same time, just as someone could lie when describing their personality, they could also mislead through action. However, I think it's fair to say that consistency is an important factor here because if someone continually repeats a similar action, such as talking behind someone's back, then that action becomes embedded within their being.

On the other hand, what if someone is very shy and has trouble showing his/her personality through action? Is that person more defined by his/her inaction? Similarly, an individual might act in a particular way in one environment, but then change their demeanor in another. In this case, one might show different variations of their personality, depending on the situational setting. This can occur when being with family, co-workers, friends, lovers, strangers, authority figures, etc. These deviations can also be affected more specifically; for instance within different groups of friends, or when being around one side of the family. So, if there are multiple factors that can alter one's presentation of his/her personality, does that mean that action, along with verbal description, is not a completely fair indicator of one's identity?

These characteristics can morph from moment to moment. Therefore, the pure essence of a person cannot be absolutely defined through specific words or actions because they are always in fluid motion. However, through observation and some sort emotional interpretive process, we can get a sense of a person, and grasp a feeling. The beauty is that this feeling has the propensity to change because we change. We are not fixed beings and continually learn and adapt to life. At the same time, through growth and discovery we do seem to form a set of core values, morals, and opinions that guide us though our decisions and actions. I believe this core can be somewhat defined by the proportion and balance of our displayed and described characteristics. Therefore, the mix of how someone presents and describes him/herself through actions and words is in fact unique and showcases their individuality. Additionally, the combination of the feeling a person gives off, and the distribution of his/her many actions, together provide a sense of a person.

This motivates me to not only reconsider how I view myself, but also how I look at others. Instead of pigeonholing ourselves and the people around us into classifications and stereotypes, I think we could all benefit from reconsidering that every person is unique and in a category of their own. We know who were are, because that's just who we are.

Discussion Questions: What do you think defines a person? What is a true representation of someone's personality? How do you define yourself?

Sunday, April 4, 2010


How do you know if you're making a right decision? How can you tell if something is the best choice for you, and that you'll be happy with what it brings? These are a couple of questions that fascinate me, because of their subjectivity.

For instance, if I choose to go outside without suntan lotion because I don't feel like putting any on, and then subsequently become terribly sunburned, does that make it bad decision?  What makes a poor decision? I think most would say 'yes' it was the wrong choice because I hurt myself. However, on the other hand, I followed what I wanted to do. Even though the outcome resulted in a nasty sunburn, I still did what I thought was right for me, and could learn from it. I think I'd be more inclined to wear the suntan lotion the next time. But if I chose to put on suntan lotion the first time I wouldn't have learned about the consequences of being in the sun unprotected, and I would not have had the experience of being burned. I believe one makes the right choice by following their own path of what feels best for them.  If we were to live our lives deciding on actions based on the outcome of avoiding all possible pain or despair, would we still be living a full and dynamic life?

I think this also hooks in with the idea of perfection. Sometimes, I get caught feeling that I should carefully analyze every decision in order to make sure it will be the best for me. If I make all the "right" choices and try to be the most perfect I can be, won't I be happy? Not necessarily, because even though I think I'm making the best choice, that doesn't mean I'm following what I want to do in the given moment. There is a difference between thinking about what one should do versus what he/she feels like doing. The need to try and make the best possible choice can put tremendous pressure on myself, and I would think, anyone else who gets into this mode of contemplation too. When these thoughts surface, I can decide whether or not I want to stay in them, depending on the right feeling place. But with all the pressure to be perfect, this more often than not does not provide pure happiness. In my case, I usually do not like the overwhelming desire to be flawless and like to remind myself that life is only perfect because of all its imperfections.

In addition, I think that if everything was perfect, there would no longer be laughing, crying,  happiness, or sadness. We would lose our reference points to these emotions, and the scope of our feelings would diminish from the lack of emotional movement. Without emotional adversity, there would be no growth, and feelings could disappear altogether. What would we feel if everything was always the same? If the definition of perfection is to not make mistakes, then a perfect life would be unavoidably trite and lack substance. This is one reason why I think a better definition of perfection is to be imperfect, and a perfect life is to embrace the balance and range of all we experience.

Discussion Questions (feel free to comment!): How do you know if you're making a right decision? How can you tell? What does perfection mean to you?
"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person." - Dr. David M. Burns