Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Graceful Dancing

Posted: May 16, 2015 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Aging, America, Anxiety, Arguments, Atheism, Atheist, Bi-Polar, Bible, Blog, Blogging, Books, Brainwashed, Change, Charity, Charity Foundations, Christianity, Church, Community, Confessions, Coping, Corporate Culture, Crisis, Crooked Politicians, Culture, Death, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Dreams, Duty of Care, Dying, Elderly, Emotional Abuse, Epic Battle, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fear, Forgiveness, God, Good, Good-byes, Greed, Grief, Haile Selassie, Insanity, Inside My Mind, Jesus, Journal, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living in fear, Logic, Love, Mania, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Minnesota, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, Nursing Homes, Opinion, Pain, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Prayers, Progress, Psychosis, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Reform, Rejection, Rights, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Debates, Social Injustices, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, Suicide, Suicide Note, The Bible, The Bucket List Foundation, The Philosophy of Quotes, Theology, TheRandomArtist, Thoughts, Treatment, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Work, Work Environment, Writing
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The choice of letting go and saying goodbye is never easy, yet the decision to hold on is even harder. I have let go of hopes, dreams, relationships, redemption and written my goodbyes many times in the past, but every morning I regret my choices and my decisions to hold on… This was the beginning of the post I was working on last Saturday, what was to follow was going to be my final words then swallow every bit of medication I had and finally be at peace. Instead I ended up in the psych ward at Abbot where I stayed until yesterday against my doctors and others advice. I didn’t see the point in staying, all they did was drug me to the point where all I could do was sleep. I was at a crossroads where I knew whether I chose to stay or go I was leaving in worse shape when wen I went in. When I walked out of the hospital and reality came crashing down on me I knew right then and there that I fucked up choosing to go to begin with, yet again regretting my decision to hold on. So I am back where I started but with a bit more inner strength then I had before because I received a mental vacation, but seriously how long will that last? The answer will come in the next week or so as I sit back and see how everything plays out between my job, dream, finances, and relationships. I feel I am at the point where depending on how these things play out will determine my future.

My life is riddled with mistakes, and regrets each one adding to the greater mound of shit called life. At this moment three key things come to mind, keep in mind this is not in chronological order of importance.

  1. Failing at fixing all the problems at the nursing home I work at to improve the quality of life of the residents I have grown to care for so deeply.
  2. Giving up on my dreams of becoming a writer or an artist.
  3. Not finding redemption for the countless number of lives I have destroyed in my 35 years on this earth.
  4. Not following through with shit on November 26th.

I think what it comes down to is acceptance. I need to accept that I won’t ever be more than I am right now. I have to finally accept I won’t ever be able to help the residents where I work. I don’t know what’s worse giving up on my dreams or trying to redeem myself by helping people just like me who can’t help themselves. I have done shitty things; I have poisoned and hurt everyone and everything I have ever touched. Many of my poems touch on this concept of being a “virus.”

For over six years I have worked so hard to make up for all the pain and suffering I have caused by reducing the pain and suffering the residents at the nursing home I work for by the hands and decisions of the very same people who are supposed to care for and safe guard these residents. There are many good hearted people whom I work with who carry this burden of failure, if any of them are reading this they know the deep sorrow and feeling of helplessness of not being able to give these guys the proper quality of life they deserve.

I have been in business with and covered up things for “business associates” who wouldn’t hesitate putting a bullet in your head, but being involved with and covering up for an employer who is a non-profit and allows vulnerable adults and employees to be harassed mistreated and discriminated against is far worse in my eyes. There are many people at the nursing home I work at who see the same things I see but do not act; as Haile Selassie so eloquently put it

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

All of the people involved in my past life and unfortunately as of late too much of my current life chose “the life” and in the end we all end up in one of two places, we deserve whatever end to our means no matter how horrific or painful. Our residents on the other hand do not deserve the means that transpire until their end comes.

This is my apology to the residents that have come and gone who failed to receive the proper quality of life they deserved. I am sorry that I can no longer continue to fight for the change needed, it is destroying me. My old associates showed more mercy delivering people to their end, than the people I work for now. The people employed by this company who care are used and pushed until they break while the predators are allowed to continue to prey.

Non-profits are not supposed to be run like a criminal organization where fear and intimidation rule. Non-profits are supposed to be built upon something called “Duty of care.” If any one of the “criminals” who work at this nursing home is reading this let me define what duty of care means.

“Duty of care is the moral and legal obligation to attend to the safety and wellbeing of those they serve, those who work for them and others who come into contact with their operations.”

Now to wrap things up there may be some people who do not understand what the title of this entry has to do with the content. Below is a Youtube link of Justin Furstenfeld performing the song “Graceful Dancing.” After hearing his introduction to this powerful song, and seeing the familiar emotions during his performance I decided to check myself into the hospital which drastically changed the content of this post. For that I thank the artist and the person who posted this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCFpgfvPGZo&list=PLIWCEQoVmfdHIakN42xTrXYjPnE6I3EHB&index=55

 

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Dreams is All They Are

Dreams Is All They Are

Its late at night, I drift off to sleep

Dreaming I wake the man you want me to be

When I awake, my dreaming didn’t take

Seeing your unmatched beauty

Lost in your eyes

Mesmerized by perfection

Truly it could take only a God

To bless us with you

It’s late at night, drifting off to sleep

Dreaming I wake to a day where you see me

When I awake my dreaming simply didn’t take

I notice you light up a room

Lost in your eternal light

I walk by with childhood nerves

Hoping you will shine

Your light upon me

It’s late at night, drifting off to sleep

Dreaming I wake to a day I hear you speak

When I awake my dreams simply didn’t take

I hear your voice on the phone

The sound of trumpeting angels fills the room

My body filled with such excitement

Excitement over the chance

Those trumpets will be directed at me

It’s late at night I drift off to sleep

On those lucky nights when I dream

It is about you

Caressing your cheek, a gentle kiss

Smiles and laughter

Embraced with love

Our suffering freed by a dove

When I awake my dreaming simply didn’t take

These are dreams I know I shall miss

It was you who washed away the dirt

Giving me hope to a brighter future

A chance at what love was meant to be

Dreams

This is all I have

Dreams

Is all they are

By: Tim Lundmark

Signed Drawing and Poem Available at

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRandomArtist

 

Two years ago by happenstance I discovered I possessed the ability to draw, little did I know this singular event would initiate a butterfly effect that would alter my very existence. A major piece of me died when I quit writing years ago, as a result my dream, joy, and self-esteem died. I was sentenced to an agonizing existence; locked away within my own mind. From time-to-time the memory of how I felt during that period where I was pursuing my dream would take over, and I would attempt to return to my passion very little success.  Something which at one point came so effortlessly seemed impossible. As time passed I lost my creativity piece by piece until I had nothing. One of my only sources of inner and outer positive reinforcement was gone.

Until one day at work mindlessly working the phones I found myself looking at this picture and attempted to draw what I was looking at. To my surprise I was able to produce a near perfect duplicate of what I was looking at. This was just simple line work with no shading or other drawing techniques.  I was so proud of myself I continued to do this working my way up to more complicated and detailed duplicates. In January of this year I completed a drawing I was proud enough of I decided to pin it to my cork board behind my desk. The same day I hung this drawing I started to receive compliments, and positive reinforcement for something I managed to accomplish.  It had been some time since I felt good about myself. This was the only motivation I needed to jump into this drawing thing and seriously work on improving my skills so I could continue to feel positive about myself.

Between the positive reinforcement, along with the return of my creativity I ended up being freed from the shackles of oppression I had been suffering. As my confidence grew, so did the reality and realization of where I was in my life. I went on a journey of honest self reflection of my life, and who I was. This has been a painful, yet liberating voyage I continue to this day. With a little outside push of extreme hurt and betrayal from someone close to me I was given the final reason to end a horrible marriage, and a real chance to experience a new life. The details behind this can be saved for another time.

I am amazed at how much my life has changed from then to now. I started selling my drawings, which if I can figure out how to do it I will begin to post them on my blog. I have started writing again; although I have yet to hit my stride where my thoughts can be translated as effortlessly as before, but I continue to make positive steps forward so I can achieve this once again.

Along with the joy and excitement I am feeling about returning to this blog, the spark to start writing my “Dylan Thomas” children’s book series is alive, and feels like it could actually become a reality. Words cannot describe what I am feeling at this moment. The chance to fulfill a dream I have had since a child has been returned to me, and I intend on embracing this second chance.

If you look out into emptiness, your world will become empty. If you look at the blessings, your life will be blessed.

I was reading some uplifting comments a few friends made about one of my recent drawings on Facebook. Despite everything I couldn’t help but smile, and feel good about myself. I started to reflect on how much my life has changed since I reactivated my Facebook account. It didn’t take long to reach the conclusion that this decision literally saved my life. It’s not actually FB that did the saving; it’s the angels I discovered within and the miracles they performed who deserve the credit. I would not be where I am today if it were not for some very special people on Facebook, because I am not sure their feelings on this matter I will not use any names, but I do hope if you are reading this you know this is dedicated to you.

I was trying to cope with a major crisis, directly caused by the only tangible person in my support system. The only friend I had to lean on lives in Arizona, which made regular communication difficult.  I felt completely isolated and alone. Prior to reactivating my FB account I took a huge leap of social faith, and started opening up to some people at work. Words cannot even describe how awkward and scary this was for me, hell half the time after a conversation I felt like I had just run an emotional mile. I would sit back just praying I didn’t ramble on, and make a complete fool out of myself. If it were not for my newly formed friendships at work, I would have never rediscovered my value and self-worth as a person. They showed me, that with a strong support group I could get through this crisis. They encouraged me to reactivate my FB account to see if I could continue to build on this newly formed foundation. I want to say thank you, for taking the time to listen, and for being nonjudgmental when I couldn’t hold it together anymore and just sobbed.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting anything to happen once I reactivated my account. I was never the social butterfly, so I was confident there would be no parade welcoming me back into the world. I decided I was going to approach FB the same way I approach my writing…with honesty. I started posting about my chaotic life and how I was doing. I included links to my blog, and posted pictures of my drawings. This terrified me! I was showing the real me, not the fool who wears masks just to be accepted. I was symbolically streaking naked across the FB landscape exposing myself for all to see.

I never imagined the outcome would be discovering I had friends that care about me. Even though I have not spoken to or seen them in ages, they made it clear they were here for me. I cannot describe this unfamiliar feeling, and how difficult it is for me to believe I am not alone. Between work, and now FB I have been more social in the last month than I have been in fifteen years.

I don’t think people ever truly realize the impact they have on others. Everyone I have had the honor and privilege of communicating with has made a tremendous impact on my life. During one conversation I learned there are actually woman out there who love comics as much as I do, and in another I had an amazing therapeutic conversation with a complete stranger who happened to be a Christian. What made it beautiful is we were on completely different belief spectrum’s, yet clicked. These are just two examples; I get excited and look forward to every future conversations.

Everyday I have certain things that I say over and over again to try and stay positive and one of them is this “The part of you that thrives is the part you feed the most.” I owe so much to those who take the time to comment on my art. I don’t think they realize the impact their words have on me, let alone the added impact of who these words are coming from. Sometimes the person making the comment means more than and enhances the comment itself.

Last Thursday I can honestly say, I experienced true hopelessness. I sincerely could not tell you the last time I was in so much emotional pain. I had given up, and I was searching for viable reasons for why I shouldn’t. I know I said I wasn’t going to mention names, but if it were not for Shawn Johnson I honestly don’t think I would be here today. All of this pain and hopelessness that was eating away at me; he took that shit away and replaced it with hope. There is no way I can repay you; besides letting you know you have a brother for life.

I don’t believe in miracles or angels, but I am at an impasse trying to find the proper definition to explain these two concepts. I don’t know any other way to describe what has happened since I have opened myself up to friends at work and those on FB besides anything less than a miracle. The only word or concept I can think of to call those of you who are here for me, even in the smallest of ways; are angels.

Thank you.

As promised in yesterdays post; I am going to include a love poem describing the final lesson we can learn from a failed relationship. For all my long time readers you may find yourselves shocked, because this is one of the only non-dark love poems I have written. I am a bit out of my element here, I hope it translates well, and that it will paint the perfect picture from yesterdays post. 

I held a light

For the very first time in my life

Illuminating a world of heavenly sights

Sights never seen in a life of perpetuated night

 

When I held this light

I noticed a twinkle in my eye

I felt butterflies give life to a beating heart

A first in my life

 

You gave me this breathtaking gift

I experienced how it felt to be loved

Through your eyes, I met the man I could never become

Blossoming feelings of blissful self-worth

Powerful enough to wash away the stains, of a life of pain

A first in my life

 

Your light opened many gifts

A lifetime worth of Christmas lists

Showing me I am more than just a broken doll

Your essence, was proof that angels exist

The first time I felt your angelic lips

I wished for time to stop instead of end

A first in my life

The happiest of my life

 

Twenty six years of living in the dark

Made me naïve of your light

The void of night, resents receding to the light

Machiavellian strategy in hand

That void of night patiently waits

For me to lose your gift of light

An unavoidable first in my life

 

To this day I still don’t know how or why I let you go

Extinguishing the light

Did complacency, give way to delusions

If I was worthy to feel an angels embrace

Why was I swallowed up by the familiar night?

Forever gifted with shadows regret

 

There are times I remember how things looked in the light

All those heavenly sights

The flutter of butterfly wings, and a beating heart

My reflection in your eyes, seeing the good inside

To know exceptionally beautiful angels exist

To give goodnight kisses with their heavenly lips

This is when my smile can be seen in the night

 

Memories and dreams are all that remain

During my brief stay in the light of day

Remembering your light

All the firsts in my life

Forever grateful

To experience what life can be like

When you add something so simple

As genuine light

By: Tim Lundmark

 

Thank you for reading a poem which is out of my comfort zone. I hope everyone out there has either found or one day will find their genuine light.

 

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

We have a highly intelligent but unmotivated fifteen year old boy, and getting him to take school seriously is damn near impossible. No matter how many times we try to sit him down and explain the far reaching consequences of not taking school seriously, he just won’t hear it. The sad part, as I mentioned before, is he is highly intelligent and if he were to just buckle down and try he would be pulling in straight A’s. I think if I knew he was not all that bright I could handle the grades he is bringing home now. The question is how do we motivate him, and get him to see that his actions now will affect him many years down the road?

We have asked him several times what he wants to do when he gets older, and he has said since the age of seven he wants to be in the military, beyond that he has no real career goals.  I am sure this is normal, but you would think he could at least throw out a few different ideas. He seems to only be interested in football, working out, video games, and television/movies. I do consider us lucky that he is into these things, and not doing the horrible things I was doing at his age, but I know he can accomplish so much more than his mom and I ever could have.

We have talked to him about joining the ROTC program, where he goes to boot camp over the summer and is officially enlisted at the age of sixteen. This way he is already two years in before he even graduates. Apparently the way the program works he is able to go to college without ever being deployed. If he enjoys the service he could become a lifer and retire with full military pension and benefits. I think this could be his best road to success. If it were up to me all my kids would join the service before they head off to college.

I want the best for my children, and the last thing I want for them is to endure the struggle and stress that we have to go through due to our poor decision making. I do not want them to be thirty years old living with regrets of missed opportunities. He is only fifteen and completely unable to see the big picture which I am sure is very normal. We have tried almost everything to punish him for his poor grades, but he just adapts to the punishment and waits it out. When his grades in math and science began to slip in 7th grade, we took his games away it motivated him the first few times but after awhile it didn’t do anything. What seems to light a fire under his ass is when we do not allow him to go to weight training. We hate to use this because this is one of his healthy activities. Like most parents I just wish our words would get through to him. You always want your kids to learn from your mistakes, to take your words of wisdom to heart and believe and trust you enough that they listen so intently and perfectly. Getting a teenage boy to see how his Algebra 2 and science grades now, can affect his status and financial life in ten years is not possible.

My wife and I disagree on what steps we should take to try and rectify this problem. I believe if he continues to bring home bad grades, and continues to show an “I don’t give an F” attitude towards school, we need to bring the hammer down on him. I remember reading or listening to a show one time on parenting. The speaker was saying when you run into major issues with your children you need to “show” them all the things they have that they do not need. When you take these things away such as TV, internet, and video game privileges they will be motivated to rectify the problem so they can get their privileges back. As I mentioned earlier we have taken away his games, and this motivated him, but he quickly learned if we take the video games away he still has the television, iPod Touch, and internet. He uses these as substitutes when one is taken away. In my opinion the only way to drive the message home is to cut him off from all of these things, until he is able to right the ship. Our goal is to get him to spend more time studying so his grades can improve, but if he is allowed to continue to have these distracters in his life, he will never make it a priority to do these things.

My wife on the other hand believes that if we resort to such tactics, it will set off a chain reaction of rebellion. She also feels that even if we took these things away, because of his stubbornness he will accept the punishment, and still refuse to do the work needed. I sure I did not properly convey her exact feelings, which I hope she will clarify in the comments section.

Nicole has always taught him since a very young age, to be proud of whom you are, to not worry about pleasing others, but to stick to what you believe to be right and wrong, and to stand true to yourself. These are all wonderful lessons, but this has backfired on us, as he sure does stand true to what he believes in, “I will never use any of this stupid stuff anyway so what’s the point” damn kid.

About a year ago I founded a non-profit organization “The Bucket List Foundation.” This foundation started after the responses I received from a post I did in remembrance of a dear friend who lived at the nursing home I worked at. All I did was throw out an idea I had to help make the lives better for our oftentimes forgotten elderly. This post helped unite the founding members of the foundation. The founding board members changed a bit but the core members came together and everything started to take off. At first we were going to apply for the Pepsi Refresh Grant to get us off the ground but Nicole and I were concerned of the impact that would have on us come tax time. We decided to start from the ground up, and build from there. I must admit we were a bit awkward. Despite this we started to make some real progress, until recently where we hit a major hurdle in our development.

Our last meeting was months ago. The end result of this meeting was we were going to figure out how to break up the writing of our business plan. Nicole was put in charge of researching everything that went into writing a successful business plan, once completed she was to delegate sections to each member to complete before our next meeting. I do not think we were fully prepared for the sheer scope of this project. In reality we had just set ourselves up for failure because this was far more than one person could handle by themselves, when you added in Nicole’s workload the task was almost impossible. Time went by with no progress being made. The days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months. I was afraid with all the time which had passed the dream of this foundation just sort of sizzled out. I honestly thought the foundation had died completely.

I ended up talking to our president to see if she was still interested, and she confirmed that both her and her father were still very much interested in making this dream come true. She sent out an e-mail to all the board members to make sure we were still on board, and to see about scheduling our next meeting. I responded to the e-mail letting everyone know I was still interested in proceeding and advised we should either get together or brainstorm via e-mail on how to get us back on track. I am sorry to say I have not received a response from anyone.

I am a bit discouraged by the lack of response. I am worried that our first hurdle may end up being the last hurdle we ever face. I feel without the unity of the board this foundation may be dead in the water. This is a sad day for many people because the foundation could have made a difference and changed so many of our aging population’s lives. I wonder how we can proceed if we cannot all pull together. Could I place an ad in the paper saying we are looking for board members to join our foundation to fill the spaces of the departed? I think one thing which caused this foundation to falter after hitting this bump was the lack of members on the board. We were a group of five individuals trying to accomplish a daunting task, and perhaps this task was too much for just five people to handle.

I truly hope The Bucket List Foundation is not dead. I know this foundation would make a difference in so many peoples lives, and if this doesn’t get off the ground than it is a shame this idea rested in my head instead of someone who could have made it a reality. When we were chugging along I kept thinking of all the peoples lives we were going to change for the better because of this. Now I am afraid I will be thinking how many people’s lives we didn’t change because we just kind of gave up.

I have spoken in posts recently about failure and I feel this is yet another example of failure on my part. I think back and if I would have been more organized and vocal as a leader perhaps this foundation would still be moving forward instead of being stuck in the mud. If you want my opinion; we need more members on the board to make this thing work. I have honestly thought then as I do now that we require members with specialties in the hurdles we are trying to overcome. How can you ask a group of people to come together and figure out how to write a solid business plan? The answer is you can’t. I place full blame on myself for allowing this thing to die down. Like I said earlier I hate that this idea was wasted on me. All I am able to do now is do what I can in hopes the individuals still interested come back together. If we are able to ignite a spark and move towards finding the right people to join the board; I feel confident this thing of ours can come back to life.

If you are interested in knowing more about the foundation you can check it out under “The Bucket List Foundation” in the categories drop down menu. I think some posts may be missing. If so let me know and I can point you in the right direction or give you more information.

“We do not attract what we want, but what we are.”
James Allen

This quote is taken from Allen’s masterpiece “As A Man Thinketh.” The title was taken from a verse in Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7 “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is” This book has had a large impact on my life and in how I wish I could approach it. I carry it everywhere with me to read in case I need a pick me up, and I am overcome with negativity. The main point of Allen’s book is a man is literally what he thinks. This concept is right in line with the theory that if you think positive thoughts then positive things will be drawn to you, and if you think negative thoughts negativity will come to you. I am of the group who thinks you should plan for the worst and hope for the best. I am aware this frame of thinking will only attract negativity, but for some reason it is difficult for me to hold onto the positivity.

I want to attract many different virtues to try and become a better person, but in reality I am only attracting what I currently am, and what I currently am is nowhere near what I want to be. Allen says we are anxious to improve our circumstances, but we are unwilling to improve ourselves and because of this we remain bound. This is why I am taking therapy so seriously. I want to improve myself so my life, thoughts, and actions are those of a virtuous man. I have a picture in my head of what I want to become. This is almost the identical image I have had for years, yet I am unable to achieve it. I may have a great week or month, but then I slip into what I am. My issues and my thoughts were not taking care of, and as a result I end up losing the positive me.

I need to fill my mind with positive thoughts. Allen tells us every action and feeling is preceded by a thought. Everything we do is because of a thought. If we are able to fill our thoughts with positive virtues then logically we will make virtues decisions. These thoughts are fueled by positive self talk. If I allow negative self talk such as worry or anxiety to take over then I will be consumed with the negative. If I can fill my days with positive self talk; I in theory will yield positive results. When it comes to an anxiety or panic attack I struggle to find this right thinking. I often times get sucked into the moment and everything seems to spiral out of control.   

This book makes me think about my journey into living a Tao centered life. I want all these great lessons to become a part of my life and ultimately who I want to be. I want this, but it is just not who I am. According to Allen I can change this by thinking positive things at all times, and in the process work towards improving myself. One lesson from the Tao I always carry with me is this; first you need to learn it, think it, and then you live it. I suppose I am in the beginning stages of each step. This book gives me the hope that with enough hard work and enough positive thinking I will one day turn my life around to what I think I am into what I want to become.

James Allen  (November 28, 1864–1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry. His best known work, As a Man Thinketh, was mass produced since its publication in 1903 and has provided a key source of ideas to countless bestselling motivational and self-help authors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As a result he is considered the pioneer of the self help movement. As with many of Allen’s works, the book’s launch was quiet and its full impact was not felt until after his passing.