Cross…..sdaoR…..


It’s a New Year. New starts. Resolutions.Do’s. Don’ts.Decisions. Making them.Keeping them.Hoping you get it right. Let’s get this party started!

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago. Our conversations are generally easy. Like a comfortable chat with someone you’ve known for a bit. I explained some of my growing frustrations. My friend thought I was in a “waiting room” of sorts. Yes. You know. The waiting room of life. Consider this analogy. You are waiting to see your GP/PCP.  You know. The interminable wait: to see the good doc for a few minutes. When the nurse assistant appears/the monitor beeps. Everything else fades. You hold your breath. Heart rate momentarily increases. Eyes and ears strain to hear/see your name. Unconsciously, you reach for your belongings. It has to be you. No one else has waited as long, have they? If only you could get through the first door. To the next waiting room. You will be one step closer to seeing the health magician. But alas. Joe Schmo gets called. You swallow the bitter taste of disappointment. Enter reality. Maybe next time. For now, it’s back to the waiting game. The cycle of it all.

Has your life ever felt that way? As if you are stuck in reverse? You arrive at a destination. Precious time and sacrifices got you there. The plan succeeded. But now what? What’s beyond this goal? You can’t shake the feeling that something is missing. Do you long to travel? Perhaps get a new job. Enter into the relationship you finally have time for. Mend another. Declutter your life. Move away. Whatever the situation. You can’t move on until you get past this. Whatever this happens to be. For us. If you’ve been there. Or you are here. Chances are you have arrived at a Crossroad in life. What happens next will change your life. For the better. Worse. Or maybe it wont. Once we find ourselves at a Crossroad, how should we proceed? How can we be certain we are making the right decisions? Decisions that will impact you. And future generations.

As 2011 drew to a close, I looked back on the things I accomplished this past year. A sudden realisation struck me : it’s as if my life is just beginning! As such, I feel as if I am waiting for the next big adventure. The next big conquest. Before I kick it, I want to teach in Africa. Sudan is on my mind. It will take 1-2 years before this goal is realized. For now, however, I am once again face-to-face with this incurable disease of wanderlust. It’s back. Never left. I applied a small band-aid to a gushing wound when I made the decision to study in the UK. But alas as it always does, time came knocking. The band-aid has been rendered useless. As I knew it would. The wound has been reopened. No band aid will fix it this time around. It’s time to apply firm pressure, and perhaps a visit to places, situations, and relationships which will soothe my soul and provide healing. Decisions that will cause me to choose a particular fork in the road, versus another. Questions should not be turned into a bunch of jumbled up musings. Where do I go from here?  I know one thing for certain. If and when I get to old age, I would rather regret the things I did do, instead of the things I did not do.

I know the typical answers. Pray. Done. Find a purpose and fight for it. Check. Develop new passions. Double-check.Yep. The whole lot. Having made up my mind on what I wanted to do, I thought my readers would like to hear another perspective. While at uni, I met a truly wonderful human being. Her name is Antje Goldner. She willingly agreed to contribute to this piece. I am grateful for her response. I am a regular reader of her blog, click on the link below to find out why.

Here is Antje’s take :

“Recently, while I was home in southern Germany, I went with my family on a walk organized by a local historian, who took us on a pretty hike and stopped at certain points along the way to give little talks on some historical events or facts connected to that area. Towards the end of the hike he stopped at a quiet little crossroad to tell us a local legend of how the people in the village nearby used to believe that the devil would manifest itself at this spot on New Year’s Eve, just at the stroke of midnight. He added that in medieval times, crossroads in general were considered unlucky and frightening. This made me think of all those legendary blues musicians from the southern states of the USA, who were said to have stayed out on an empty country crossroad over night to meet the devil, giving it their souls in exchange for the ability to play their instruments better than anyone else.

How come that crossroads are feared the same in different cultures and throughout different times? I guess it has something to do with insecurity. At a crossroad you have to make a choice and usually, you have to make it by yourself. Maybe you have to leave a well-travelled path and choose one that is only the merest outline on the ground. Or you are afraid of losing your own way by choosing one that a lot of people have gone already. Whichever way you choose, you don’t know where it will lead; you don’t know who you will meet along the way, who you will have to leave behind, how you will change by walking that road. Most importantly: you don’t know if your choice will be the right one.

I used to agonize over this. I think everyone does at some point in their lives. Some people never stop. If you are one of those people, I have a thought for you: how do you know if a direction you took was wrong or right? You will never know! You will never be able to go back and take that exact same decision at that exact same crossroad again. Even if you were able to go back to the crossroad, it would not be the same, because you would have a whole set of new experiences with you. So if you cannot know, there is no need to dither, or to agonize. Once I fully realized this, I stopped worrying about those frightening crossroads. Nowadays, I just take the one that feels or looks right at that point. It works for me. I travel lighter, and if I feel that my path is not perfect, I don’t think about going back and taking another road – I think about how I can improve the road I am on.

If you are still standing at your crossroad, unable to move on, insecure, unsure – remember that the only difference between the one road and the other is quite simply your choice. By choosing one road above another, you make it different. You make it yours. And once you are past that crossroad, don’t think about it again. Believe me, it’s not worth it. Instead, keep your energy and your attention to the path you are walking on now. Look out for the little surprises along the way – the unexpected vistas, the flowers growing in colourful clumps here and there, your fellow travellers who will make you laugh and cry. Keep your eyes open and appreciate the details and you will be surprised by what you see. And if you still find that you don’t like this path, don’t worry: there’s another crossroad coming up, right behind the next bend in the road”.

Antje (http://crestingthewords.wordpress.com)

Finally, if you are struggling with where to go. What to do. How to get there. Pray about what is best for you. Act upon the promptings you will receive. Once you have made the decision. Do it. Try not to waver. Or wonder about the “what if’s” in life. They will always be there. Whether or not you succeed. Or fail. Think about the choices that have brought you to this point. There is no do over. But there are fresh starts. Millions crave the opportunities that we have. We have freedom. Health. Hope. Opportunity. You name it. You know your blessings. You are the only person standing in your way.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

If I Could Have Twelve Wishes……yes twelve!


“It’s that time of year again”. An oft-repeated phrase. We all have wishes. Secret desires. Kept silent. Yet hope rages on.  Permit me to share my twelve wishes for this holiday season. If they could be granted of course. Yes, I believe in the “genie” story!

  • To  the women who have repeatedly suffered rape. Loss of spouses. And children. As a result of wars and genocide…I wish you peace. And hope your fellow countrymen would somehow grow a conscience. If possible.
  • To the parents of children who died because of starvation, lack of clean water, etc…I wish more world leaders viewed your problems as if it was happening “in their own backyard”.
  • To the countless young women who were sold into sexual slavery in just the past month …my wish is that one day, you will find a way to escape your sentence. And your captors.
  • To the more than 50,000 child beggars on the streets of Senegal…my wish is that one day, when you are old enough to make your own decisions; your children will not be subjected to this way of life.
  • To all the other children who are constantly mistreated. Especially by the ones who should be protecting them, (the Burundi children locked up without trial, in the same prisons as dangerous, adult criminals, the child miners in Bolivia, the tobacco workers in Malawi etc)…my wish is that one day, your faith in humanity will be somewhat restored.
  • To the activists battling to save so many worthwhile causes; the Amazon rainforest, the endangered species of orangutans in Indonesia, the elephants from poachers in East Africa etc…my wish is for the powers that be to take notice. And support you in your efforts.
  • To the approximately ten percent of the world’s population suffering from some form of disability… my wish is for you to realize that you are inspiration to many of us. And know that one day you will be free from pain and suffering.
  • To the soldiers who cannot make it home for Christmas…my wish is that next year will be different.
  • To those who have been wronged in some way. By a spouse. Partner. Significant other. Family member. A friend…my wish is that you do not let the offense rule your life. To forgive. And see them the way God sees them. This is one of the hardest things to do!
  • Finally, my own personal three wishes:  to those who have supported me in one way or another. Cried with me. Prayed for me. Laughed with me. Given me a hug~ just because. Cheered me on…my wish is that if you are reading this, you will be blessed with the things you stand in need of, for many years to come.
  • I also wish my family were all together. Under the same roof. In the same space. Not in 4 separate countries.
  • And my last wish? This time next year, I will have someone special to celebrate this holiday season with.

These are my twelve holiday wishes. What’s yours?

Until the next post,

Best!

Juan

Their Shoes


Their Shoes” is the name of a poem in my book, currently in publication. The excitement is building. It highlights the need to withhold judgments. Until we have the entire story. Why do we judge? This is my take. For some, it’s second nature. It’s simpler to assign labels. They often facilitate interaction with others. It’s also a form of laziness. Really, who has time to figure it out? It’s better than being wrong. Unquestionably so.  Furthermore, it defeats the purpose of what we are trying to sell. Who hasn’t labeled someone? Or something? I have. You too. We are scared of what we don’t know. Especially if it threatens how we see the world. How things should be. Or not. We’ve all felt the sting of being judged unfairly. A bitter taste in the mouth.

 At first glance, some people seem worthy of wrath. Judgment. Condescension.  Let’s be honest. We’ve all appointed ourselves as chief prosecutor, jury, and judge over a person. Situation. An opinion. A lot more. Some judgments have been swift. Harsh. Unforgiving. They came as fleeting thoughts. Non-verbal actions. Turning the head in another direction. An outright, thoughtless remark. Regretted later. Or given justification for thoughts. And actions. Let’s examine a few circumstances.

The homeless and indigent. Yes. Let’s go there. We’ve all done it. Avoided eye contact. Crossed swiftly to other side. Secretly hoped not to be noticed. Squirmed when discovered. We’ve judged them. Scowled. Eyed them in disdain. Chose your narrative. Logical arguments exist for helping. Or not. In comparison, some have given spare change. Or food.Clothing.Volunteered at a local shelter. Stopped to chat. If you have. Thanks for your example. Your giving heart. Kind nature. I would like to think no one would choose to be homeless. Furthermore, I can safely assume you’ve never been homeless. My apologies if you have.

Permit me to extend an invitation. To all of us. The next time we see someone sitting on the ground. Panhandling on the busy highway. Standing with outstretched hands. Think for a moment. It could be me. Refrain from categorizing them. I bet it’s safer to do so. Homelessness is not a disease. Nor a raging virus. A homeless person is someone’s son. Daughter. Brother. Sister. Parent. With real feelings. Character. Hopes.

A wife in an abusive relationship. Come next year, I hope to extend my volunteer interests to a local battered women shelter. Chances are we know someone who has been abused. Or worse, in our eyes, stays with an abuser.  I won’t sugarcoat the issue. Unless you have lived with an abuser. In any form. Physical. Mental. Emotional. Sexual. Verbal. Psychological. You have no clue what an abused person must endure. You hear stories. See the scars. The bruises. The distant, drawn, painful look on their faces. You can guess. Empathize. You still have no idea. Sure, she can just leave. Take the kids. Before something truly serious happens. Or worse. Do this: Google “power and control wheel” See what you discover. Or think you know about domestic violence.

Ever wonder how things got out of control? Why she seems to allow it? I often wonder the type of childhood an abused wife had. I wonder if she has anyone to turn to. Maybe she tried to leave. But he always finds her. Made threats on her life. She is broken. Spent. Empty. There is nothing left to give. Her eyes are distant. Hollow. A shadow of her old self. Why can’t she just get up and walk away from it? I mean who would stay? Stop. Wear her shoes for a minute. A day. The years she has endured.

We have all done it. Passed judgment. Committed victim blaming. Condemned her to remain in her rough life. After all she chose to stay. Here are some reasons why women stay. The kids. Famous reason. Typical answer. Learned behavior-it happened to their mothers. They don’t know any other way. Trauma also affects a victim’s way of thinking. They employ short term coping strategies. Eventually, a woman will empathize with her abuser. Forgive. Even pity him. Some are unable to step back and look at the situation. So. Next time, you meet a woman who stays in an abusive relationship. Do not be so quick to judge. You do not live her life. You don’t know why she chose to stay. Instead, try to offer support. Encouragement. A listening ear. It could be you. Or your daughter. Mother. Niece. Sister.

An addictive personality. We all have vices. Sometimes they transform into addictions. Food. Drugs. Sex. Exercising. Attention. Internet. Alcohol. Painkillers. People pleasing. Shopping. Gambling. Pornography. Too many to list! It’s not always easy to recognize an addiction. Many are adept at hiding it. There is no single cause to explain addiction. It can be biological. Social. And psychological. It starts with an exposure. Then shifts to dependence. Addiction is a broad, all encompassing topic. This post barely skims the topic. Furthermore, we might never know the reason(s) behind someone’s addiction. The battles they fight within the confines of their hearts. We don’t know what it feels like to put on their shoes every morning

In our shoes, it’s easier to point the finger.  Shake our heads in disbelief. Spew words of condemnation. Criticize. Adjudicate. In their shoes. It’s a constant daily struggle. One you and I will perhaps never experience. The dependence has taken over their lives. Held them hostage. Giving the appearance of failure. In their eyes. The eyes of their family. Friends. Anyone that matters. Perhaps you and I have never suffered from an addiction. Be thankful. Pray that it never happens. Because tomorrow, it could be you. Or me. Or someone we know. Likewise, if you have had to overcome an addiction. You have worn their shoes. You know what it felt like.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the battles others face. Battles which make it easier to judge. Get on soapboxes. Hold meetings. There are many evils in the world. Things of greater consequence. Do not add to the hate. The strife. It is very rare when we can do a lot, by doing nothing at all. In this case, by not judging. Yes behaviors can be frustrating. Hard to understand. Painful to watch. Cause sleepless nights. But, we can try to develop the ability, to see life through their eyes. To avoid arguments as much as possible. Try to understand what a day in their life is like. Perhaps write about it. Research. Continue to love them. Regardless of your feelings toward the addiction. Someone else might need to walk in your shoes. One day.

Love this:” Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares?…He is a mile away and you’ve got his shoes” Bill Connolly.

This is my take, what’s yours?

Until the next post…

Best,

Juan Williams

“The Struggle Ends When Gratitude Begins”


Yesterday was Thanksgiving in my adopted country of America. Millions of families sat around the dinner table.  In some homes, a prayer was offered. Everyone would be given the chance to share something they are grateful for. They will enjoy the simple act of being together as a family. Immediate. Extended. And borrowed. In other homes, a different scenario played out. In the next few days, any leftover turkey will be polished off. In soups. Sandwiches. Stews. What else? In essence, many will vow not to eat another bite of turkey until next year.

Feelings of nostalgia rushed to the surface. Memories flooded my thoughts. I remembered how I spent most of my Thanksgivings in the USA. The homes I was always invited to. The people who loved and cared for me during the holidays. Because my own family was thousands of miles away. Treated me like one of their own. Sent me off with an extra plate. The same families who had me over for Christmas. New Years. Sunday dinners. Today, I took some time to reflect on the things I am grateful for. However, before we can appreciate our blessings, there must be sacrifices. Tests of faith. Cleansing. An awakening. Realization that we have so much. Me. In the past few months.

One of my many weaknesses is not opening up to people. Yes, there is a select few. Really select. Very few. I am trying to be better. The past few months have been hellacious. One would never know by looking at me. Sometimes, I smiled when I want to cry. Say I am okay so people won’t worry. Pry. Ask questions. I employ many defense mechanisms to “get by”.  No one really wants to hear my problems. Do they? They have their own. Heavenly Father must know that I am strong enough to handle them. These are the conversations I have with myself.

It’s been a struggle against pessimism. Gloom. Doubt. Cynicism .TBH.  Let me explain. In the past 2-3 months, someone I stood by, when everyone else walked away, finally showed their true colors. Soon after, I learned the person who I looked up to as a father figure, does not deserve the honor. Never did. The news shattered my belief in role models. Shook my trust . For one month I lived with the landlady of all landladies. A horrid person. Next, unbelievable news came from SVG, that my cousin has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Given less than a year to live. A young man in his mid twenties. Full of life.  Moving on, my carefully laid plans are being threatened by unforeseen circumstances. More recently, and in matters of the heart, love appears elusive. I will always care for this person. Deeply. What’s next? How will I end the year? Should be interesting.

Yes. It has been hard not to let pessimism rule my thoughts. And actions. A reprieve came just days ago. A bright spot amidst the dark abyss. I earned my Master’s degree. A milestone . The feat helped to soothe some of the hardships experienced this year. I want to look at the adversity differently. I want to think it’s good  “my friend” showed their true colors in the nick of time. Not later. I want to think my father figure is only human. Imperfect. Flawed. Just like the rest of us. I was the one who thought he was the closest thing to perfection there is. To think the old landlady helped me to appreciate the one I have now. The difference is black and white. Literally. To think my cousin’s terminal illness is a reminder of how fragile life is. To think the plans that I made might not be in tandem God’s. This does not sit well at all.  Hard to accept. Tough to swallow. As for romance? Well, after 30+ years on the planet, realization hit me. Or rather it has come full circle. The time has come to face the reason behind my relationhsip patterns. Fact: our childhood shapes every aspect of our lives.

So. Despite everything. I am grateful for life. And what it represents. The ability to breathe-reminds me I am alive. Live-despite the odds. Eat-because I have food. Sleep-so I can be refreshed in the am. Laugh-at myself, and my silly mistakes. Walk-because I am not confined to a wheelchair. Talk-it means I can express myself. Feel-pain,so I can appreciate joy. Believe in love-one day it will find me.Think-about my actions. Clothes to wear-there is more than enough. A roof over my head- I am not homeless. The church I belong to-a sure foundation. Parents-who love. The publication of my first book-a journey which took years. The ability to write-helps me to handle my emotions. To hope-one day I will get mine. To live in a free country- enjoy so many liberties. To have an education- make a difference. Make my own decisions-not have them dictated by anyone else. To know I am loved by so many-they have my best interest at heart. The blessings are enormous-I must always  remember.

I am not sure what problems might be troubling you today. Many of us fight daily battles. Silently. Bravely.We struggle to keep going amidst the turmoil of life. We wrestle against the odds. Winning some. Losing others. Our burdens weigh heavily on slumped shoulders. But they keep coming. Our own personal, private “Gethsemanes”. Excruciatingly painful experiences. We must be polished, like gems. I don’t know what your individual struggle is. What I do know is that “Sunday will come”. For all of us. That we will always have more than we need. The old cliché “someone else has it harder” is true. I have seen it.

This quote was shared with me more than ten years ago. It’s etched in my memory. You may recognize it : “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself” CS Lewis. The man was a literary genius!

So. In closing. Long after family leaves. The last bite of turkey eaten. And life before Thanksgiving returns. May we remember that in our darkest days. And Nights. When the winds and waves of life starts knocking us about. Remember. He knows. He is there. May we never forget: “The struggle ends, when gratitude begins

Until the next post….

Best,

Juan

“A gem cannot be polished without friction,nor a man perfected without trials”


 

Recent events in life have propelled me to reflect on life and its many lessons. Occasionally, there is a need to remind myself of how precious life is. The need to cherish loved ones. Reach across the divide. To mend hearts. Homes. Lives. Again, writing is therapeutic for me. I write about things I struggle with. General observations. Experiences. And one day when I am brave enough, my “gethsemanes” .Writing provides perspective. Tutors me. Reminds me of my limitations. The need for change. And everyday learning.

Today’s post is about trials. Yep. Problems. Affliction. Adversity. Burden. Stumbling blocks. Add your own soubriquet. Question: what would we do differently if we got a “do over”? Would we avoid some friendships? Relationships? Job choices? Lifestyle? You name it. I wonder. Don’t you? But there is no “do over” is there? Nope. Just one chance. You will never see today’s date again. Think about it. Recently, my face book status read: “Sometimes life will slap you in the face, well today it punched me”. Some days are worse than others. Tugged in different directions. Feel battered and torn. No one is immune. Or exempted. Sorry. However, how we manage the trials might be the most telling story of all. Read on. See if you agree. Or disagree.

Some trials are more arduous than others. They pierce the soul much deeper. Some come as a result of another person’s agency. Others we bring on ourselves. There is no explanation for the rest. Whatever the cause, we should never lose perspective. Even when they sap our strength. Bring us to our knees. Force us to examine our life. To grow. Ponder our choices. And the choices of others. Are we supposed to learn from them? Depends on the nature of the trial. If the trial is a result of our own imprudent behavior, it goes without saying. Wait a minute. This path looks vaguely familiar. Different circumstances. Yes. But same lesson. What do you know?

Here is an example using procrastination. My own personal struggle. Let’s say I have a paper due in a few weeks. Yet I decide to play hide and seek with the time. As it always does, father time comes calling. The paper is due. Without fail, everything goes wrong. Everything. And no one can help. Pleadings fall on deaf ears. Here is one trial I could have avoided. Right? So I barely made the deadline. Am I still procrastinating? YES! Did I learn my lesson? Yes. No. Maybe. But I should. Until the next crisis that is.The point is, if the trail results from our own shortcomings. If everything is coming coming at us. We are doing something wrong. Time for a reality self check. Perhaps, there is no need to learn the same lessons over and over again.

If we are not learning anything from our trials, it is rather distressing. Trials should remind us of our severely limited capacities as human beings. Show us that we don’t have all the answers. Never have. Never will. They should stretch us. Mold us. Shape us. Make us better than we think we are. Perhaps another person caused the suffering. Maybe we did all we could. But we were blindsided. Careless. Lost sight of the goal. Whatever the situation. No one is perfect. People will disappoint us. Cause us grief. Pain. Worry. Stress. Anger. Sadness. Simply put, our faith in humanity will be tested. Hopefully, through it all, something good resulted. We learned a lesson. Applied it to our lives. And our future. Some trials are actually blessings in disguise. Huh! We just don’t realize it atm.

Being required to go endure multiple trials is not a reason to be bitter. Resentful. Hardhearted. Mean-spirited. Distrustful. Instead see the future for what it is. The future. It has hope. Promise. A life of its own. New beginnings. A word of caution though. When we suffer because of someone else, it seems reasonable to have trust issues. It might be difficult to open up. Building barriers appear inevitable. Defense mechanisms become appealing. But we can cope. We will. We have to. Consider the alternative. There is someone else with even greater struggles. The quadriplegic. The man or woman born blind. Deaf. Mute. Mentally retarded. The homeless. A tiny fraction of the problems you could have. But you don’t. We are truly blessed.We have more than we need. We are alive.

As I battle personal demons. Struggle through my own “Gethsemanes”. I am comforted by the fact that I am never, ever alone. Many people hold a special place in their hearts just for me. First and foremost: “The most powerful being in the universe is the father of my spirit!” Elder Utchdorf. Family. Friends. The quiet, unassuming ones in my corner. Rallying around me to succeed. To give it my best. My trials are my own. If I could not handle them, someone else would have them. Apply these same words to you. I pray that when trials do come. And they will. You and I can find the peace we desperately seek. Whatever our trials are this moment. Remember that we can be uplifted. Supported. Comforted. To know that we can do it. We have to. Giving up is not an option. “May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy”

Until the next post..
Best,
Juan

The little Things


Recently, a relationship was dissolved because the individual was bothered by a “lot of little things”, which was further compounded by yet another little thing. A gamut of emotions ensued. Bewilderment. Anger. Followed by acceptance. And sadness. One of the great blessings in my life is the ability to get over things very quickly and move on. A dear friend once told me: ‘Juan, you compartmentalize things”. She might be onto something.

Let me explain the last emotion. I was not sad because the relationship ended. Looking back, I ignored a few warning signs. I was sad because I realized bigger issues were driving this individual’s attitude. Not a judgment. Merely an observation. Four years of studying psychology have given me a better idea of behavior patterns. Despite all the ills in the world, people chose to let strife and hard feelings rule their decisions, and interactions with others.

As a result of this rather unpleasant experience. The “little things” in life grabbed my train of thought. I cringed at the memory of the little things which once infuriated me. Held me captive. Ruled my decisions. It is much easier to think about a happier time. The time when a lot of my “earthly cares” fell away. Giving life and living more room to grow. Flourish. Bear fruit. I have not arrived. No sir. The beat goes on.

In the grand scheme of things. There are little things that should not count. Getting rained on. A late bus. Missing a game. A crying baby. Delayed flight. Parking ticket. Bad customer service. Add to this list. Sometimes the bigger picture gets lost. We are alive to feel the rain drops. The bus probably had mechanical problems. A late driver had a family emergency. A delayed flight might save hundreds of lives. Bad customer service could mean the person just lost a family member. A myriad of possibilities.

We might be powerless to do anything about the world’s most urgent concerns. Starvation. Genocide. Mass rape of women. Situation in the Middle East. Clean water for everyone. Many of us are very fortunate. However, sometimes the little things count. Expressing gratitude. An apology. Making amends. Treatment of a spouse or partner. Saying I love you. Extending a hand of fellowship. An act of service. Non verbal communication. A small decision with lasting consequences. All too often, we mistakenly believe people don’t notice the small things in friendships. Relationships. Acts of service. Fellowship. That’s the issue. We are mistaken. Inevitably, the small things we do might not be acknowledged. Preoccupation with life’s problems. The act went unnoticed. A careless thought. More often than not, in these instances, the little things do matter. To the person who receives it. Will the little things matter a year from now? Perhaps five? Ten? If we truly believe they will, then the memories will be welcoming. Not tinged with regret at something we could have done. Or said.

On a more personal note, there are little things I am working on. Ironically, one of them is not being bothered by people who let little things bother them! Over the past few years I have seen a change come over me. Small. Subtle. A softening if you will. I am the furthest away from being the person I truly want to be. Yet the progress is exciting. I am grateful for all the people in my life. The ones who care. Love. Appreciate. The ones happy for me. I love each of you. I am truly blessed.

The loudest sound in the world is that of people whining. Don’t add to it” Adrian Salvage. This is my take, what’s yours?

Until the next post…..

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

Ron Tamir Nehr

Self Empowerment & Emotional Connection Coaching

SENIOR ACCREDITED PSYCHOTHERAPIST-Dr.Fawzy Masaoud-LONDON, ENGLAND

NO DESPAIR WITH LIFE AND NO LIFE WITH DESPAIR . Email: dr.fawzyclinic2019@yahoo.com

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