You’re Welcome!


I found the pin below on Pinterest today. I thought I would share an answer per day on Facebook, but then, life inevitably gets in the way. It will be tackled in the near future. But fir now, I will use it for my journal entries. I hope to revisit this page in a few years. See how my outlook, and perspective have changed. The topics can also be used for journal entries. Enjoy. Some ideas are too good not to share. 85189bc557b63b856d043eebd450872c Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

A Happier You!


LettingGoAfter one stage comes another. The incredibly good thing changes, is the fact, that we are able to look at things from a different, fresher perspective.  One thing I learned this year is the power of positive thinking. Times are hard as it is. Anything which takes the pressures off, even for a short time, I try my best to hold onto it, and revisit often.

I have the Learnist app. Subscribers get daily updates of everything from helpful hints, news stories, reading material, and how to’s. Carmen Sakurai offers some rather simple, yet powerful advice on how to be happier. I hope you find it helpful. Take what you want, and leave the rest.

Over the next several months, I will use a few of the ideas below for future posts.

Let Go of Worrying about What Others Think of You. You see your world through eyes of your own personal life experiences and interpretation… and so does everyone else. It’s important to understand that when someone has an opinion of you or your life, it doesn’t make it a fact. You don’t need anyone’s permission to set your worth.

Let Go of Making Superficial Judgements. Just as you shouldn’t worry about what others think of you, it’s important that you avoid judging others and their life choices. The only life you get to live and are responsible for is your own, so leave others to live their own lives full-out.

Let Go of Anger or Resentment. Don’t punish yourself for poor choices made by something outside yourself. Process any negative thoughts and feelings quickly, then free yourself from the damaging energy by forgiving and letting go.

 Let Go of Making Excuses. If you have a goal, you must do whatever it takes to achieve it. Otherwise, you’re doing nothing but throwing empty wishes up in the air. Remember, while outside forces may temporarily block your path, you have the power to take responsibility for the attitude you choose in situations which you have no control over.

Let Go of Setting Perfection as a Goal. By obsessing over perfection, you become so consumed in finding imperfections to fix that in the end you will have nothing to show for except unfinished, imperfect work. Practice progress over perfection instead, by making constant improvements to live a life of accomplishments.

Let Go of Waiting for the Perfect Time.“Stop waiting for the perfect day or moment….take THIS day, THIS moment and lead it to perfection.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli. Time won’t stop and wait for you to take action, so it’s up to you to either move forward and create a positive momentum… or sit and wait. So why would you want to sit in a puddle of stagnation when you can invest your energy into your happiness and success!

Let Go of the Need to Always Feel Comfortable. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” ~ Neale Donald Walsch. Avoid setting limits to what you can achieve in your life by remaining in your personal comfort zone, because when you break out of it is when you grow the most. Look at it this way, if a single seed that’s fallen under a side walk can find a way to break through to bloom under the sun, so can you!

Let Go of Your Past Mistakes. The past has already happened and that moment no longer exist. Your past does not define you or limit what is possible for you to achieve from this moment on. If you suffered in the past, recognize that you are here today, and you are OK.

Let Go of Insecurity. You were born perfect as YOU can be with everything you need to live a successful and fulfilling life. That means you can relax and stop comparing yourself to others or setting your standards based on someone else’s expectations.

Let Go of Excessive Worrying. “Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.” Worrying about something that may or may not happen won’t change anything – and you miss out on the opportunity to make the present great.

Let Go of Negative Influences. No matter how positive you are, if you constantly surround yourself with people who always complain, procrastinate, and make excuses, there’s a strong chance you will begin to absorb their toxic energy. Make it a point to surround yourself with positive and proactive people who will lift your spirit and inspire you.

Let Go of Trying to Change Others. Just as you were born as uniquely perfect as you could be, the same goes for everyone else. No one is obligated to change their attitude, thoughts, or actions just to make you feel more comfortable or secure. Appreciate the differences… they’re what makes this world so interesting!

Let go of One-Sided Relationships. This is when one person is fully committed while the other is not. We want to believe that if we give someone all of our love and invest enough attention and effort for both people involved, we will be able to “convince” them to love us back. Listen, you are an incredible individual deserving all the love, security, respect, and happiness that a healthy relationship can offer.

Let Go of the Attachment to Money. Being financially secure certainly can help open opportunities, relieve stress, and offer some piece of mind. But all the money in the world cannot make you happy if you are unable to feel happiness from within. Instead of measuring your success by how much money you have, define it with happiness, inner peace, and the positive contributions you can make in this world!

Let Go of Wishing Life Was Fair. Sure, there are people who have advantages in certain areas of their lives, but know that you also have advantages over other people in different areas of your life as well. Just because something that’s worked for someone else didn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean you’re less than or incompetent.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

 

How Much?!


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Question. Well. Actually a few. How much is enough? Money. That is. How much. Will it take to make you happy? If you’re a two income household. And circumstances dictated you live on one. Your life would change. But. In what way? Would it seriously affect the relationship you have with your spouse? Children? Of course. The knee jerk reaction is. It shouldn’t. But it can. Depends. On how much it matters to you.

I don’t believe. I am alone. When I say. I  can be happy with or without it. I don’t reside on Fool’s Paradise Lane. We need it to live. However. To make the pursuit of having more. And more. Is not something I obsess over. This doesn’t mean I set myself above those who chose to. But. It means I have learned  to be happy. Either way. I have never had enough . So. I made a decision to get on with it.

When you grew up in a single parent home. And your needs always took second place over a bill. Food. Etc. Your outlook changes. It’s different. And sometimes. Not very popular. When you get teased by your peers , because the shoes you wear to school, are so worn out, there are holes in the soles. You adjust. When you go to school hungry. Hoping your friends share their lunch with you. You learn. To make do. With what you have. Or don’t.

I get bored. Out of my skin. And tune out nine out of ten times. When people go on and on. About what they would do if they had more money. Or how much different. And better. Their lives would be. If only. They made more. I have also entertained such thoughts. And idle conversation. Until I realized. How much time. I was wasting. At the risk of sounding cynical. Why wait until we have enough? Why not. Do the best we can. With what we have? Waiting is not living. It’s existing. Sounds like a prison. In and of itself.

“Money is the root of all evil”. “Anyone who tells you money can’t buy happiness, doesn’t know where to shop”. “Money can’t buy happiness, but it’s a lot easier to cry in a BMW than a bicycle”. Yep. Heard them all. Haven’t you? In response, I say. Count your blessings. Not the zeros. Or lack of it. In your bank account. Count the things. Money cant buy. Friendships. People who love you. Feeling loved. Cherished. Respected. Character. Happiness. Talent. Peace. Things we sometimes lose. In pursuit. Of the mighty dollar. Have you ever made a list of things money can’t buy? Do it. I hope these made the list.

There is nothing wrong. With wanting good things in life. It’s human nature. But. When it takes over your life. Becomes all you think about. When you hardly see your family and friends . Constantly bring home work with you. If daycare. Or the tele. Is raising your kids. Because both parents feel the need to work. Or if you never have anytime for yourself. And find yourself constantly harping. On how busy your schedule is. Etc. Tell me. How is it working for you?

It’s not my intention to offend. Judge. Or belittle anyone’s choices. Everyone has a unique situation. The aim behind this post. Is to encourage us to reëxamine. The focus of our energies . To think about redirecting some of it. Into living a more fulfilled life. Where having more money. Is not the epicenter. Of everything we do. Live. And breathe. I hope. You and I don’t “wake up” decades from now. And regret. Not spending more time doing the things we like. With the people we love. Because. We were too busy. Trying to add to the bank balance.

I invite. No. Challenge you. To look up the top five deathbed wishes. See. If what you’re working so hard for. Will have you whispering these things. When it’s your time. To return home. So. I will end. With the question I started with. How much is enough?

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

#growingupwithoutafatherfinalpost


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In April and May, I shared some experiences of what it was like. To grow up without a father. This is the last post focusing solely on the subject. In late 2009, we spoke for the first time. And finally met in April 2011. I don’t remember all the details of  the first conversation. But. I do remember the tumultuous emotions. The total. And utter. Loss for words. Disbelief. I thought for a moment, I was being pranked.

So. Why did it take so long? Simple. I was scared. Of the unknown. My own reaction. Or lack of it. What to expect. Finding out if we’d get along. Yes. A part of me was elated. Because my wish was finally being fulfilled. On the other hand. The fear. And trepidation I felt, far outweighed anything else. A few months before I left for the UK to pursue graduate studies. I decided the time was right. It was premature. Because I wasn’t. So. I backed off. Couldn’t do it. Didn’t have it in me. Whenever I thought about meeting him, fear unlike anything I’d never known, would seize me. It was asking too much.

When school let out for Easter break, I decided to do it. The flight was longest of my life. As I made it through security, and finally through the doors that would bring me face to face with him. I knew there was no turning back. I willed myself into being strong and brave. I reminded myself, one of my life’s wish was about to come true. That many people never get the opportunity. And I was one of the lucky ones. I walked over to him. We embraced. Officially introduced ourselves, and started chatting away.

As it turned out. The first meeting went better than I expected. I’m sure we both had expectations. The time flew by. In a blur. We got along great. I guess like any relationship. We floated around in the honeymoon stage. I finally learned the origins of certain physical and emotional characteristics. The highlight of the visit. Will stay with me forever: for the first time in my life. I got to spend a birthday with my father. I can’t describe the feelings. Even now. Words fail me.

Right now. There are huge learning curves. For both of us. Behaviours and mannerisms to get accustomed to. No relationship is easy. More so the one in which I find myself. How do you catch up on more than 30 years? I won’t get into the reasons why he wasn’t there. Never once inquired about my well-being. Or sought me out. I’ve listened to his explanations. And my mother’s. And I don’t accept either. IMO. Unless the parent is dead. There is NO excuse. None. For not being there for your children. But. It’s the way my life turned out. No more crying. I’ve done enough of it.

If you’re reading this. And you’ve had a similar experience. Or. You don’t know who your father is. I know your pain. I’ve lived it. I know what you’re going through. Have lived through. It doesn’t get any easier. As the days and years come and go. There is always a huge abyss. The hurt can be unbearable. I know. Like me. You have struggled with issues of abandonment. Feeling unwanted. Of not being good enough. Yet. It doesn’t have to control your life. You might never overcome it. But you can learn to live with it.

Men. If you’re a father. And there is a child somewhere. Wondering where you are. A child whose only wish for Christmas is to meet you. A child who prays every night for you to come. GET IT TOGETHER. If you grew up without a father. You could be the father you’ve never had. On a more personal note, if you’re a woman. I also know how it feels to choose the wrong men. Over and over. As if you’re searching for a “father” to replace the one you never had. To learn painful lessons in love. Partly because the critical father-daughter relationship foundation. Was never established. I also know. What it feels like to walk down the street. Make eye contact with someone. Look for some sign of recognition. And wonder : could that be him? My father?

But you carry on. Keep trying. Do whatever you can to heal. And forgive. In parting. I can finally say. I am free of this tremendous burden. Of putting a face to a name.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Guilty…


Pleasures. That is. My definition: things I am powerless to say “no” to. I have an abnormally high level of them. So. Don’t judge me, cuz I sin differently than you 🙂 . I’m sharing a few. No particular order. I don’t like to use the phrase “guilty pleasures”. Because, they are things which make me happy. And gives pleasure. And I don’t feel a single ounce of guilt.

  • Eating Haagan Daas vanilla ice cream out of the container.
  • Checkers fries. By the bucket load.
  • Cuddling until I fall asleep.
  • Men with a wicked sense of humor.
  • Sleeping in late in the morning.
  • Being waited on by my significant other.
  • Spontaneous shopping sprees.
  • Staying in bed all day during bad weather.
  • Holding hands, and strolling through quaint villages.
  • All night pillow talk.
  • Dancing in the rain.
  • 800+ thread ct sheets.
  • Receiving “just because” gifts.
  • Listening to a man with a sexy voice.
  • Long, breathless kisses. With a partner who has perfected his craft.

Live. Love. Laugh. And be happy.”What’s my guilty pleasure? The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures” Tom Hiddleston

Best,

Juan.

1st In 1st


Recently, I decided to record all the “firsts” in my life. Time passes. And what do you know? Memories fade. Details become fuzzy. Last Thursday, omw from the UK to the USA. I flew first class. For the first time. My curiosity about what happens behind those curtains was finally satisfied. We’ve all done it. Craned our necks. Trying to get a glimpse of how the “other half” flies. Today I found out. Thanks to a family member with connections.

At 7:15 am, I arrived at Heathrow airport. Bleary eyed from lack of sleep. As the cab driver unloaded my suitcases, I cast a long look at them. Briefly wondering how I managed to stuff almost two years of my life into two. And a carry on. On a whim, I decided to hire a porter to tote the heavy, red monsters inside. A luxury yes. But then again, I blamed it on wanting to have the total experience. True.

Here is what yours truly will remember:

  • Check in to security: 5-10minutes.  I was over by 2 kg; however, the attendant was kindly waived the charges.
  • We boarded first. As soon as I walked in the cabin, help was offered with my carry-on and hand luggage.
  • Seconds after taking my seat, a flight attendant approached with a choice of OJ and Champagne. Guess which one I decided on? Another placed a menu on my table to take my order for the 3 course lunch.
  • Oversized seats. Which reclined into a full flat-bed. Quilted duvet, full size pillow. Ample leg room with foot rests.
  • In flight entertainment. Oversized screens. New releases.TV. Extensive library of music. Games. Language learning. Noise cancelling headsets. USB port and electrical outlets.
  • Food. I gained 5lbs. Honestly. Real cutlery, silverware, modern linens. Salt and pepper shakers. For the main course, I settled for the pan seared chicken breast with barbecue onions, scallion mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables. Several rounds of breads. Wines. Etc. An hour before landing, we were presented with more food choices, of salads or sandwiches.
  • We were spoiled rotten. Every possible whim catered to: warm peanuts, hot towels to clean our hands. Twice. During “down time”, the flight attendant stopped by a time or two to check on us. We didn’t want for anything. We were also offered warm cookies with either juice or milk. About an hour before landing, more food: sandwiches or salad with all the trimmings.
  •  It was my 6th  time on a transatlantic flight in two years. And for the first time, I didn’t feel as though I somehow made it through a boxing match with Tyson.
  • Deplaning and immigration was a breeze. Luggage also came off the carousel first.

One last note; one of the flight attendants is a human version of a tree trunk. No doubt, a wrestler in his down time. It was comical to see him with bread rolls politely asking: “Would you like another roll ma’am?”. Then again,  I awoke from my nap. Looked over. And saw him curled in a fetal position, wearing an eye mask, fast asleep. I won’t forget that image.

It will be hard to fly coach again. Knowing just beyond the thin curtains, the “others” are receiving royal treatment.  Coach tickets can cost a small fortune. Many drive. Take the train. Or coach. Because of the exorbitant cost of flying. That night I thought to myself: why can’t all of us be treated this way when we fly?

Well, then. On with life.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

!Un Hito!


On Friday 13th, (go figure) Chindeepinlife reached a milestone! Views to the blog have surpassed the 1,000+ mark. While dedicated readers is the main goal of every blogger, just about everyone celebrates this milestone. Today’s post commemorates and recognizes this achievement. This number of views is peanuts compared to others. However, I would choose 1,000+ over a couple hundred any day. At the risk of repeating myself, I am grateful for the support. Encouragement. Comments. Votes. Visits. Followers. Dedicated readers. Messages. And of course friends, like Paul and Antje who have shared links to my blog (and increased traffic). I look forward to the blogging years ahead. To reflect. Ponder. Connect with you. Share thoughts. Help the one. And all good things. Which come about, because of something I love to do. Write.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

1 yr l8tr


A year ago today, I returned to the blogging world. What a literary adventure!We are here. First, some housekeeping. As of today, chindeepinlife have been viewed 912 times. I blogged 24 times.There are 29 comments. Not too shabby. Roll on next year. The freedom of self expression continues. Please know your views and comments are welcomed. And encouraged. Always. Furthermore, do you have a topic/issue you would like me to address? Want to write a guest post? In box me at jstarr2600@aol.co.uk. Come along for the ride.

So, here is my year. In a paragraph. Since March, I travelled back to the USA. Returned to my homeland (SVG), after more than a decade. Visited New York, Boston, Ireland, Italy,Tenerife, and other parts of the UK for the first time. I filed for and received USA permanent residency for my mother. I visited the birthplace of JFK. I was awarded my MSc in Psychology degree. Published my first anthology of poems. You can read a sample, purchase, or win a free copy here Bookbuzzr. One of my pieces,”Too Little Too Late was selected and included in Outskirtspress Fandemoniun Volume 1. For the first time in my life, I lost my wallet. Fortunately, everything was returned. I marched in a worldwide event to celebrate International Women’s Day. I was humbled to write a piece in celebration of it, aptly titled Meet Us on the Bridge. Received my UK residency permit. And oh yeah, I dated. After more than 8 yrs. One day it will happen for me. This mysterious, and elusive enigma. Called love.

Back to finding my voice.I started this blog to keep in touch with friends and family.It has evolved.Taken on a life of its own.Really.Being able to share some of my experiences, has enabled me to see the bigger picture.I am eternally grateful. I wish to thank those who return faithfully. Time after time. The ones following by email. The kind comments. The friends who mentioned me in their blogs. I appreciate every contribution. Every acknowledgement. Word of encouragement. Act of kindness. Help. And thought.

For my next post, I will share something of a very personal nature. A lifetime burden. One I can no longer carry. I have to get rid of it. If I hope to be truly free. To find any real happiness in this life. It’s the beginning of a healing process, that is decades late. A revelation which will surprise those who know me best. I am ready. Of course I could give a hint.But I prefer you to conjure up your own ideas. Some will never guess. However, I can no longer hide behind smiles. Or the stiff upper lip. Not when it comes to this.

Until the next post, let me finish with the quote from my first post: “Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth”

Best,

Juan

So…


It’s been a while. Understatement of the year! Let’s get caught up. Passed all my course modules. No retakes. Yes! A trip to Italy was my reward. Attended a singles convention in Manchester. Another in Watford. Met amazing people. Master’s dissertation handed in. Moved out of university accommodation. Job hunting atm. We are here.

Almost a year ago, I packed up the most of the contents of my life. Shipped them in my car to Boston. Goodwill received the rest. Boarded a plane to the UK. And embarked on this amazing journey. Time has literally whizzed by. What a journey it has been! What would prompt someone to seek education in another country? New culture? Entirely different rules of education? Unpredictable weather patterns? Can’t speak for anyone else. Cannot explain it all here. Perhaps a few ideas would help. Experience. Learning. Great education. Money saver. The challenge. Excitement. I am sure you follow?

Today, I wish to share a few observations I have made this past year. First, we need to get out of our comfort zones. It is different for everyone. We all know our limitations. Boundaries. Fears. Insecurities. Worries. The voice in our heads. Limitations we have established for ourselves. Mindless thoughts. Worse case scenarios that never happen. Comfort zones are warm. Soothing. Always inviting. Never criticizes. A fallback when we fail. Our own personal world. We are loved there. We are understood. No need for explanations.

The past year has taught me more than I ever thought possible. Relying on the Lord. The power of prayer. Fasting. Waiting on the Lord. Patience in suffering. The meaning of sacrifice. Being prepared. Working hard. Learning to ask for help. Who your true friends are. Overcoming loneliness. Being satisfied. Family will always be important. Surviving my first blizzard. Huh. I fought. This time I won. I can do it. Anyone can do what they want to. Obstacles abound. Naysayers will foam at the mouth. Quitting never looked so good. But, what is it worth to you? Do you want to? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it an uncomfortable experience? You bet. Think about it, if you stayed where you are now, where would you be in ten years? Only you can answer that.

Second, I realize different strokes for different folks is not just a folklore. I like it here! Not everyone drives in a rage. Drivers actually stop to allow pedestrians to cross. People are friendly. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. They say Please. Thank you. You are welcome. What else can I get for you? The sweet part? They actually mean it. They are sincere. They have absolutely nothing to gain. People want your business. Spending 1 pound or 100 pounds? Doesn’t matter. People are not afraid of others. Or their motives. Do not misunderstand this observation. Exceptions exist. However, 8 out of 10 people fit this profile. At least in my experience. I am not anxious to leave. Not until I’ve had my fill. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Many have questioned my sanity for remaining. So be it.

Third, people will always disappoint you. Obey your intuition. Do not ignore it. People will lie. Cheat. Steal. Surprise you. Maybe they won’t. It’s just the next shoe dropping. It finally did. The truth always reveals itself. In the same breath, remain close to those who love you. People who support ALL your efforts. Encourage you. Restore your faith in humanity. In friendship. In life. In good things. In happy endings. I am very grateful for all these good things. And more.

More observations exist. They will manifest in future posts. A year has gone by. I am free. In a sense. No more books. At least for two years. The brain cells are on strike. Apologies to those who follow my blog and found nothing. Well…thank goodness for second chances :).

Until the next post.
Best,
Juan

Help Wanted…


Friends,

My dream of becoming a published author has taken another step towards completion. You are invited to be a part of it. Several competing poetry book titles have surfaced. Alas, the problem is choosing one. So, I would like to enlist your help. The poems are based on real-life experiences and observations on topics ranging from life, love,friendship,self-image,gratitude,perspective, and heartbreak, to name a few.Simply click on the link below,cast your vote, and the title with the most votes will be chosen. It takes seconds to do so! One person will receive a free,autographed copy. The book should be available late September.Polling will close on July 15th. Thanks for your help! Live. Your. Best. Life!