Tag Archive: Living Christ


My AAA Map

After posting the ‘AAA’ blog, a reader privately asked if I had a map, “Did I, in fact, ever get my own map?”

Before Google Maps, almost everyone went to AAA. However, my first response came out of nowhere and quoted Ralph Emmerson Walden, “Nah. It’s the journey, not the destination.” Pausing for several minutes, I decided this required a more authentic response. So, I deleted my quick ‘on the fly’ response and tried again.

Looking over the lakefront below, I realize just how overused Walden’s quote is. During my first colonoscopy, my father said, “Remember, it’s about the journey.” The same quote was uttered before February’s tumor surgery. And almost every spiritual guru I read (Chopra, Dyer, Ziglar, and others) used a similar version, somewhere, sometime. In the world of instant selfies and ghoulish cartoon meme’s, overuse has weakened its meaning, and truth has faded from intent.

I knew nothing of the journey upon which I set out. It’s a pilgrimage, not a trail.

My first spiritual teacher claimed my path as “… the intentional act chosen to the unwilled rhythms of the body to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being, and doing.” Elated by the teacher’s description, I told a friend. It turns out my teacher repeated the same to him.

Years later, I learned my map was unique only to me and remains harmonious to the rhythms of my body, and beating of my heart. It’s balanced. It’s a psychiatric highway of redemption, filled with ups and downs, cold and heat, tears and anger, peace, and tranquility. It changes daily. One day is unfamiliar; another, I intuitively know where I’m going.

Similar to the flowers of a garden, the smell of jasmine breathes during Spring. Summer is surrounded by endless wheat fields, and gnarled oak trees. In the Fall, men prepare the harvest. Winter’s frost nips at my lips, and hot coca fills my stomach. Life is an endless path.

Knowing that conquering challenges leads to transformation, I kept moving through the good and bad. There were times of homesickness, days of sadness, feeling lost, and moments of exhaustion. But these moments, these tests and trials, all taught something. The sun will rise again. Just keep walking.

Our map (i.e., your path, my path) cannot be borrowed. And, if it is to be real and personal, it has to be something that lasts through trials and stands through doubts, questions, and worries. The map is about finding meaning in the challenges and feeling joyful regardless of the pain. It’s faith.

If you think about it, someone has gone before us. In the movie The Polar Express, the conductor says: “It doesn’t matter where the train (map) is going. What matters is that you choose to get on.” Most already know their map. The choice is about getting on the train.

My map is the AAA’s version of ‘faith.’

Closing Thought

Desperate for help, the people of the village held a meeting under a huge oak tree in the village  square.

Let us pray,” said an elderly woman. “Only God can save us now.

Since the village had citizens of different faiths, town leaders held their prayer in the open, late that night, under the open sky. Suddenly, two young travelers entered town decided to join the prayer and opened umbrellas above them.

“Why did you bring umbrellas? Can’t you see there is no rain? That’s why we have come to pray?”

“Yes,” chimed the travelers. “We are travelers, and the map used by our forefathers brings us through this town. Therefore, we will pray with you.”

“We don’t know your forefathers. Who were they?”

“Our forefathers come from the family ‘Faith.’ And we’re positive our prayer will be answered. That’s why we have umbrellas.”

So … Who had a better map?

Our forefathers knew the path. They’ve been there before, and they’ll get you home.

AAA

A friend discussed having difficulty getting several associates to get past their anger and fear of the other.

Unable to comprehend how to heal them, I interjected, “It’s not your duty to resolve.

Huh?

Your responsibility is to be triple-A (American Automobile Association). You can only provide a map. You’re not the driver.

Anthony de Mello noted the human condition well.

Most say they want to get out of kindergarten. Don’t believe them! All they want you to do is to mend their broken toys.

“Give me back my wife. Give me back my job. Give me back my money. Give me back my reputation, my success.”

This is what they want: they want their toys replaced. That’s all. Even the best psychologist will tell you that, that people don’t want to be cured. What they want is relief, for the cure is painful.

The path (map) before us appears unknown. It may be confusing and complicated, even dangerous. Before us lay potholes, debris, and potential injury. There are many unmarked highways and detours galore. It is all so confusing. Which way shall I go? What road shall I take?

Spiritual instruction has always been taught in bite-sized pieces. “Easy-peasy,” grade school friends would note. Formulaically, if we follow the prescribed set of Spiritual Laws, we’d get from Point A to Point B. Likewise, I had always presumed that the Bible was simple and provided a straightforward evacuation map to get us to heaven. These brief statements captured the essential kernels of Scripture.

I have concluded most Spiritual maps are not intended to be ‘evacuation maps.’ Neither is it an owner’s manual nor a love letter from God. What these Spiritual maps do is transform the traveler by teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. The ‘transformation’ may be messy, and often, you will find yourself wrestling.

There was a passage in the Bible that described Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob wrestled God for a night. If you like me, I’ve found myself ‘wrestling’ for nearly forty years. Some nights, I fought all day and all night, continually asking for a fresh vision of who He is and what He wanted. However, until I had this very personal struggle, my life could not be cemented. I could not call it my own.

What Jacob discovers is that wrestling was a means to grace, a channel for spiritual blessing. The same applies to us. The AAA map my friend should have given is one that begins with struggle but is also filled with blessings and faith. And that faith leads to peace. Traveling the map will change one’s identity and can be a profoundly gracious gift of restoration.

As de Mello noted, “Most people don’t live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts — generally somebody else’s — mechanical emotions, mechanical actions, mechanical reactions.

Closing Thought

How do I find myself and the light?” asked a student.

By taking the path that leads to the truth,” the Master replied.

Will you help me walk the path?

I can only point the way. You must walk the path yourself.

Go to AAA and get your map. Awake! Arise and walk!

After nearly a month in social isolation, a man yelled at his wife, saying he had enough of this bulls•••, and was off to work. If he got sick and died, then so be it. Economic livelihood was too big to fail.

Two hours later, the man returned.

“What happened?” asked the wife.

“It wasn’t open.”

Sadly, the offer to sacrifice older Americans’ lives for the good of the U.S. comes has gained traction. The argument presented is that the vast majority of coronavirus fatalities will be “concentrated among the elderly and the already severely sick.” Such folks are likely to die of another cause, if not coronavirus. So, die.

To all like-minded Republicans, Sarah Palin loves you. This GOP economic model rests upon several principles:

  • Profits are more important than people;
  • Human life and existence is a commodity or a financial instrument;
  • Society will reorganize around a “survival of the fittest” mentality; and
  • Those who cannot survive and prosper under a “free market” are to be abandoned.

The rich have long tolerated a dysfunctional health care system because, while it delivers relatively poor results for many, it provides excellent care for the wealthy. In today’s Coronavirus battle, one who is poor and can’t breathe is likely to receive significantly different treatment than if you’re rich and can’t breathe. 

Are we willing to potentially sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives to get back to business as usual? Rest assured, there are GOP members who will, without question. With a plethora of disinformation, our society has systematically programmed this narrative for years.

It’s not just stupid, it’s dangerous. To suggest older Americans are expendable is appalling.

The more dire condition: dressed-up isolation.

An hour later, the man confessed, “Finding work wasn’t open wasn’t as bad the other lesson.

“What lesson?” she queried.

“Well,” he sighed. “During my bus ride, no one said a word, and no one looked each other. We were six-feet apart, but we were miles in humanity.”

“And?”

“So, the ride felt like any other day: boring and exhausting. When we were working six weeks ago, I would get dressed, take the 7:30 AM bus, and ride to work. At 5:00 PM, I took the same bus route home. Only now do I realize it was just ‘dressed-up isolation.’ I eliminated my own humanity and exchanged one form of isolation for another.”

All of us are creating the future. How do we want that to look? Social isolation or something better?

Texture

If one song represented my ‘new normal’ during 2010, it would have to be “Sweet Surrender,” by John Denver. Sweet Surrender is a song of journey, a self-exploration.

Lost and alone on some forgotten highway

Traveled by many, remembered by few

Lookin’ for something that I can believe in

Lookin’ for something that I’d like to do with my life

John Denver’s provided expression, hope, ideal, anger, and frustrations. In essence, his music filled me with texture.

Sweet Surrender is reminiscent of today. As schools, businesses, restaurants, baseball, football, family reunions, Labor Day, and 4th of July celebrations moved online, “Zoom,” “Skype,” “Messenger,” “Facebook,” and “iMessage” have become our ‘new normal.’ 

But while the “new normal” might feel lonely, spirituality, it can hone our craft. Opportunities for growth abound. 

Like the great prophets, we can learn to stand in our deserts. Solitude can provide perspective and sensitivity to things long forgotten. We can find deepening in ways never imagined and strength in moving forward. 

For example, by Good Friday 2010, my cup had overrunneth with arrogance. While I could see the fault of others, I failed to envision the benefit of any such self-reflection. I was fired and found the only job available required relocation to upstate New York. I felt exiled. 

During the subsequent months, I walked the banks of the Hudson River and attempted to interpret, understand, and reinvent myself. There were times when I sat upon Hudson’s riverbank and asked why God placed me there. In essence, I came to a point where there was nothing left, nothing to hide, no means for covering up the negative aspects of my personality. I came with nothing but the ability to surrender everything to the only one who could help.

I learned several lessons during my time in solitude.  

First, leave with vision. In this time of social isolation, take the time to reflect. Reassess and align yourself to a better ’true north.’ Second, celebrate victories, large and small. Don’t over-hype small gains. In baseball, singles, and doubles win more games than home runs. Third, recognize and honor interdependence. Everything is interrelated, including time, space, and our very being. Both religion and science reveal this truth — our spiritual and emotional being interpenetrate and nourish one another.

Closing Thought: Find Texture

Rabbi, now that I am divorced, it is very lonely.”

Tell me. What do you do when you are alone?

Well, I water the plants,” she said, faltering. “I wash a few dishes, call a friend.

The Rabbi listened. 

I sit on the couch for hours and stare at the bare branches out the window. I play over, and over Paul Simon’s album, I never listened to. I read several books I have never read. Lately, I’ve been sitting at my dining-room table and painting. My neighbor says I should be an artist.

The Rabbi interjected, “So, suddenly, your life has texture?

Yes,” she smiled. “Texture.

True Leadership

I once heard a pastor talk of a young woman completing her college application. As she compiled all the required documentation, she began answering questions. Her heart sank upon reading the question that asked, “Are you a leader?” 

Filled with integrity and wanting to be honest, she wrote, “No.” She completed all the application requirements and submitted the information, expecting a rejection. 

About a month later, she received the university’s response:

“Dear Applicant: 

A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower.”

Part of being on my company’s Coronavirus Tiger Team means watching all these press briefings. I can’t say my experience equates to Job or to being swallowed by a whale, but I liken it to some form of suffering. 

Over the past several weeks, a common phrase was repeatedly pounded into the audience.

“… likes of which has never been seen before.”

I’m not the only one who noticed. Someone created a Facebook parody. There’s been “… money we’ve never seen before; an economic bubble we’ve never seen before; a state dinner we’ve never seen before; an airport we’ve never seen before; stories (news stories) that will dry up like we’ve never seen before; obliteration (Iran) like you’ve seen before;” and, so on. He will deliver like you’ve never seen before. Truly. Truly.”

And as I watched, I reflected upon the young college applicant. Here’s the question I asked, “What is authentic “leadership?” It seems that the whole notion of “leadership” has been elevated to the level of idolatry.

I pulled out my “NKJV Spirit-Filled Bible.” (Yeah. Yeah. I have one. Ha.) While walking along the road, the disciples argued “as to which one of them would be greatest” in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus’ response? He stood a little child in their midst.

Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great” (Luke 9:48).

The point is that a reluctant leader is probably the best candidate for the job of being the leader. The person best suited to exercise authority is perhaps the one who wants it least.

I scribbled out several essential leadership qualities. These aren’t absolute, just my perspective. 

Genuine Unselfishness

A person who has greatness refuses to hold tightly to his or her possessions. Such a person is characterized by a willingness to release, open generosity, and selfless motives in making decisions. 

Willingness to Sacrifice

Great people not only release their possessions but also give themselves to others. Greatness steps in and assists others in need—to the point of sacrifice—without waiting to be asked and without the requirement of being endlessly thanked.

Purity of Motive 

We could also call this an absence of greed. A person with greatness doesn’t have a hidden agenda. 

A great person has pure motives. We see this absence of greed in Abram’s life when he tells the king of Sodom, “I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise, you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich’”

Restraint of Power

Great people often have authority, yet they refuse to wield that authority like a sword. They don’t threaten or control people with it. 

Granted, none of these character traits are likely to make headlines. These are not qualities discussed in high places, yet each wears well in life. A life of greatness requires a depth of humility and love. 

So, what do we receive from America’s current leadership? I will summarize with the following story.

A little boy said to his mother, “Can I go outside and help Daddy put snow chains on the car? I know all the words.”


A true leader is not the one with the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders.

~ Neale Donald Walsch ~

Pope Francis offered a message of hope during his Good Friday message.

“May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.”

“This year we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday. We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death, and it weighed on their hearts.”

For the past twenty-four hours, I haven’t been feeling the love. It’s been rough.

A lot of weird or strange events occur to me on Good Friday. Good Friday 1996, I was told by doctors that I would not live past 50. I was fired on Good Friday 2010. Yesterday, I learned a coworker hangs on in an ICU, battling against Coronavirus. And today, a friend texted that a mutual business acquaintance (I’ll call Jim), age 54, died from Coronavirus on Good Friday. 

I worked with Jim from 2006 through 2010. He wasn’t the type of guy I would pour my heart out to over a beer, but for every week for four years, we would meet at an old church converted into a coffee shop. It was a remarkable escape. Over latte’s, coffee, bagel, or sandwich, we’d joke, tell stories and strategize about one project or another. We laugh about doctors – the ones who couldn’t tell time or appeared to lack a lot of real-world common sense, but the same doctor you’d trust your life to navigate the brain during ten-hour neurosurgery.

Jim was a master of human communication. He was always in the know. Freely admitting he knew little of the finer points computer technology, he knew everyone. And that’s what made him valuable. If a project was in jeopardy, he knew who to contact, where to go, and what political lever to push. Jim once said, “All projects would be easy if we eliminate the people.” Jim was all about politics. 

He was a gregarious man with a happy life. However, when speaking with strangers, he would identify the most successful person avoiding the “biggest” talker. Reason: The ability to keep quiet and listen to what others have to say is a common and critical trait. He found importance in the unsaid. 

In the story of the cross, we discover God’s message of hope. When one of the two men who hung next to Jesus comes to terms with his guilt, he asks Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. Jesus offers these redeeming words, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” 

I am going to hold God’s goodness to that commitment. Because right now, I feel pain. Jim shouldn’t be dead. But he is. And while I compare myself more to one of the two hanging next to Christ, I hope one day, our merciful and graceful God will wipe away all our sins, faults, and mistakes and make us whole. 

Most Coronavirus victims will have no public funeral, Jim included. ‘Private to the family,’ I’m told. He’s in good company. Christ was hurriedly buried, without the presence of friends, just a few family members, and two men who weren’t part of his inner circle.

In the Catholic faith, during the next month or so, you’ll heat two phrases: “Peace be with you!” and “Be not afraid!” Remember that we’re all members of the great human family, created in the image of God (Gen. 1:17). The color of our skin, the language we speak, our accents, and our cultures mean little.

If Jim were here, he’d acknowledge that Easter 2020 is subdued. Yet, even with limitations, it’s not all negative. Sure, there are no huge crowds, no early dawn ceremonies, no ‘He has risen galas.’ He would remind us that Easter is more than a yearly one and done event. Every morning is Easter Morning. Every morning is a new opportunity to rise.

Jim’s death weighs heavy on me today. I promise death will not hold its grip forever. Likewise, I presume Jim has already determined who’s who in heaven. Therefore, we can trust Jim to say, “Peace. Be not afraid.”

Truer North

In his book The Heart Aroused, David Whyte quotes a poem written by a woman at AT&T:

Ten years ago

I turned my head for only a moment

And it became my life

In the pillar of crisis, either prior to or just after, every person decides to explore its meaning, and their own meaning. It’s a moment when we turn our head away from the accepted ways of doing things and consider potential changes.

Stephen Covey captured similar themes. “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” Covey discovered that the lives of many successful people were a mess. Having the choice to live again, Covey wrote, many would choose a very different path.

The Coronavirus reminds us to reflect. Often. Things change rapidly in our warp-speed world. We seemingly drift from one place in our life into areas we never to have consciously chosen. I chose many things in life many would have been shocked. At times, I’ve wandered both the gutters of life and over mountain pinnacles. Yet in truth, I remember more gutters than pinnacles.

Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

Without constant reflection, we never discover our ladder leans upon the wrong wall. During this mandated time away from work, repurpose your vision. Understand your destination. Ensure your path is toward a ‘truer north.’

I made it past another birthday. I commented to a friend of the irony: I never expected to live this long. Yet, here I am, though tired. My body feels the burden: both in neck pain and fatigue.

I awoke this past Saturday and had no desire to rise. Sunday felt better. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t spend my day-to-day life checking for lumps and bumps. Outside of the seven or so whom I’ve told, I don’t discuss it. Regardless of what inconsiderate amount of ‘pain in the a···’ thing my body tosses my way, most never see it. Just not my style.

I still haven’t told many people. I even lied about the date of surgery to those whom I have informed. Why? For the better part of life, my symptoms were dismissed by those around me. Therefore, secrecy became the rule.

Additionally, the surgeon is attempting to extricate only the portion of the tumor outside the spinal cord. “Fairly simple,” the surgeon noted. Therefore, I expect to get up from the surgery and walk out. I don’t want to borrow others’ time and energy. They need to remain in the present.

Having worked in healthcare all these years, I know surgeons poke people with sharp objects. And surgeons can make technical errors. One might slip, have a lapse, require a microscope, or inadvertently damage something. Yet, I have an innate knowing that the surgery will turn out ok.

Therefore, I am not in a dark place. I know I will survive tomorrow’s surgery. Maybe having as much of the tumor removed will assist with pain and cramps, improve ‘the quality of life.‘ So I’m told. As Buddha would say, it’s all illusion. Maybe. Maybe not.

Even though I did create an auto-generated post 30 days post-surgery should the s··· the fan, I am not ready to wrap this life. Should it all go south, maybe I will agree with this body: “Time to call it a day. Get some sleep.

Still, I fully expect post-surgery life will find me focusing on important things.

  • Forgive people who will never be sorry;
  • Love those I can;
  • Find peace with those who will never forgive me; and
  • Let go of grudges

I will extract whatever lesson(s) and move on.

See you on the other side.

Like millions of other married couples across the globe, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, split. Hit the road. Off to wherever. Canada. Los Angeles, CA. or maybe someplace else.

There was so much gnashing and wailing that I ran to the window to confirm the sun hadn’t ceased to exist. Truth be told, it hadn’t.

Many Royal family watchers claim to know the reason. The ladies I overheard while sipping coffee weren’t unlike many naysayers.

“Who the hell would leave royalty?” queried the first.

“All that money,” replied the second.

“God,” sighed the third. “All that free child care.”

Raucous laughter.

“I hear she’s moody,” interjected the first.

“Yeah. Has to be her (Markle),” said another.

Sure. Of course, we know. It HAS to be Markle, has to. Yeah. Yeah. It’s her. Everything was fine until she showed up.

What idiotic thinking! I wanted to applaud the royal couple’s move. If I was under such pressure, every step analyzed, compared, commented upon, I would leave as well. And truthfully, that’s what I did in 1978. 

I graduated from high school and went a week later to the military. Like Markle, I, too, was never considered good enough. In my world, my brother received first billing. He was the best at everything. His grades were better; his friends were better, his girlfriend was better, his car was better, his physique was better, even his d*** was probably better. 

Of course, had I fell in line, then all the world, i.e., my world, would be well, peachy. 

For much of my life, I was considered an accessory. Like a piece of furniture, I was expected to fit a specific role, blend into a corner, respond when asked, but not offer any objective view different than that which had been espoused by seniors. Like Markle, my needs melted into a burning resentment, and sometimes, anger. 

Prince Harry and Markle will learn what I learned: It’s challenging to sever ‘ties that bind.’ 

When I first started dating my first wife, my mother called and pleaded that my girlfriend would ‘steal me away from the family,’ that I was required to attend holidays, birthdays, and other festivities. And when schisms occurred, I was responsible, regardless. I represented independence, an independence many didn’t adore.

Exhibit self-sovereignty wasn’t allowed. The effort required years to sever. Like Markle, shortly after college graduation, I ditched all of my friends, split from my family, and became the driving force in my own life narrative. 

Of course, I suffered. Mistakes were made. I noted many regrets in this blog, many to which I will have to account upon meeting God. However, they were my mistakes. 

In the early years of my departure, I was ridiculed. I presume Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will experience the same. The royal couple will undoubtedly be pilloried for their decision. Some will claim hypocrisy — others’ greed. A plethora of website commentators will willingly dish out criticism; others may protest, and some will expound vile commentary, both racist and hurtful. 

For all the naysayers I’ve read, I ask one question? Has anyone criticized Jesus for doing something radical, like giving up royalty and coming to earth? How about Siddhartha Gautama? Jesus, of course, is the same Son of God who gave up his royal identity to walk amongst us common folk. Siddhartha Gautama abdicated his privileged life to live in poverty and self-denial. Had either of these holy men walked among today’s masses and Internet trolls, what criticism would we offer? What reinforcement would we provide? Heck, what if Jesus had daycare?

I’m ashamed of the racism Markle received. I cannot relate, but many black citizens can. I’m sure many privileged willingly offered sneers and jeers. Yet, as we embrace the diatribe, many remain unwilling to reach into the pain of a couple, merely trying to establish a family, while simultaneously attempting to provide their son a better life.

For the Shylock’s among us, you’ve had your pound of flesh. Few can relate to the life of a mixed-race woman living life while trying to understand her own identity. And many cannot understand losing a mother who died trying to outrun paparazzi. Prince William claimed walking behind his mother’s coffin ‘one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.’ Imagine doing it knowing tens of millions watching.

If you want to understand the royal couple’s decision, maybe one needs to re-watch The Truman Show, where everything in Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) life was part of a massive TV set. The ‘real’ appeared real but wasn’t. He questioned, doubted, and yearned for freedom. He faced betrayal and even faced death. Awakening from a shipwreck, Truman became free to live the way he wanted.

When I think about it, it seems simple. Maybe we need to offer the royal couple something most of us had: It’s the chance to live the life they want.

I’ll even bet God is rooting for them. I am.

2020 New Year Resolutions

Greetings one and all. Guess what? It’s ‘that’ time of year again: A New Year. A new decade. As 2020 approaches, it’s time to reflect upon resolutions, new and old.

Many publications detail splendorous lists of resolutions. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment yesterday, Good Housekeeping Magazine editors listed the ‘traditional.’ Create a budget, cook one new thing each week, read more books, join a club, drink less alcohol (seriously?), take the stairs (huh?), become a plant owner, and so on. In all, Good Housekeeping editors ripped off a list of 45. 

I’ll admit, I did create a budget. My employer loved it. Does it count? I did eat one new thing each week. They were all cooked, but every dish came from the employee cafeteria. I read more books. The books were from distinguished authors supervisors claim we must ‘channel.’ Works included “Turn the Ship Around,” “Management for Dummies” and other thought engaging topics. I did join a club, it’s ‘the club’ management ‘highly recommends’ every employee join. All of us inferred that if we didn’t, we’d die. I also acquired a plant. It’s fake, and is fairly low maintenance. However, I’m considering parting with it because it interferes with reading.

Since I’ve been sick, many suggested I adopt a healthier lifestyle. “Find some inspiration,” some professed. Looking back no farther than this decade, I researched about adopting a lifestyle of the rich and famous. Gwyneth Paltrow offered America vagina steam and jade vagina eggs. Kim Kardashian offered viewers vampire facials. David and Victoria Beckham proposed bird poop facials, while Sandra Bullock recommended facials constituted from foreskin stem cells. Instead of alcohol, Madonna suggests I drink urine, preferably mine. And last, but not least, the Kardashians suggest one participate in placenta smoothies.

If you put me on the spot, here’s how I’d summarize my New Year resolutions, by decade.

  •  1970: Become a famous military spy. Save the world.
  •  1980: Become a brilliant writer. Inspire the world.
  •  1990: Become a renowned rescue man. Save a kitten.
  •  2000: Wake up and claim I did something. Anything.
  •  2010: Kiss Ass. Keep the job.
  •  2020: Embrace My Inner Neanderthal: Grunt. Pay rent. Forage for food.

At this point in my life, I wonder if ‘resolutions’ and ‘bucket lists’ should merge? Call it the “Covey Thing:” You remember, First Things First mantra and Seven Habits of Highly Effective Whatever guru who propels one to carry a planner forever, identify quadrants, and shift paradigms. Personally, for a person with a neck tumor and being prodded for colon cancer, the only paradigm I wish to experience is a pain-free dump. I liken Covey’s approach to the mental equivalent of ‘killing two birds with one stone’ theory.

By merging ‘resolutions’ and ‘bucket lists,’ maybe there’s both liberation and empowerment. I recently watched an Indian film, 3 Idiots. I believe this movie has usable ‘resolutions’ for everyone. It’s humorous, heart-warming, and sometimes shouts the value of life to the world. Thus, my 2020 list of resolutions is inspired, in part, by the film.

  • Tell someone I love them.  
  • Make love in an early morning rain.
  • Use time wisely.
  • Create a sense of hope for those I leave behind.
  • Tell myself that “all is well.” 
  • Pursue excellence, and success will follow.
  • Pray to God that I will receive the wisdom to understand all His lessons, even in death.

Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

%d bloggers like this: