Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Kindnesses That Make The Heart Run Over or A Tale Of Why Personal Support Systems ROCK

Sacrificing all our individual needs doesn’t strengthen a relationship.
Mutually supporting each others personal growth does.
Ritu Ghatourey

Everyone has dreams, goals; things that drive them or help them to have a purpose in life. For some it’s children or careers, for others it’s making money or helping to create a better world. Regardless of our focus, the question I have is this; do we need a support system, someone who believes in us, to get there? It’s certainly important to have self-confidence and believe in your dreams, but is that enough? Or do we truly need an objective set of eyes or an external voice that supports and encourages us to move ahead?

Over the past 10+ years I have moved around quite a bit.  From Wisconsin to California to Illinois and back.  Over that time I have learned how important it is to have a personal support system to keep you sane.  I think the great blessing I have received this past decade is the gift of friendship.

Whether it’s a man married to a woman, a girlfriend who supports her boyfriend, a man who supports his partner or a parent who supports her children … it really comes down to who we are as people. Love does not know gender, age or race, well not unconditional love.

What it comes down to is the love of one another and the respect that comes with that, or in other words the need for us to support each other as humans, as people and as individuals with individual dreams, goals and desires. We all deserve a chance to be more than our inner workings — a chance to step outside of the box and have a moment in the light, a moment in flight.

It’s no small thing to feel accepted, valued, loved, in another person’s eyes.

And now this brief musical interlude of The Merm and me singing about personal support systems.

I know it’s hokey, but you get the gist of what I’m saying.

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed.
As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over;
so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
Ray Bradbury

If we’re fortunate, we have people in our lives that help us remember who we are and that we are not alone in our days here: friends, partners, co-workers, exercise buddies, book clubbers, yogis.  These are the people who support us — they hold us up, like strong beams against a howling wind. Having friends is natural and effortless when we are young, but for me, it takes much work in this latter part of my life.

What is it about relationships at this phase of our life that take so much more work? Busy? Yes. Excuses? Yes.  They don’t feel like excuses, but they are; we know it. We have important, pressing, urgent, time sensitive responsibilities to others and to ourselves. There are jobs to apply for, family to care for and lessons to be learned, but these never can fill the aching emptiness of not having the personal interaction with your personal support network – your friends.

Much too quickly, we find ourselves only doing, and not maintaining.  And this is when the emptiness hurts that much more.

It’s not easy, and it takes effort and planning, sometimes just acting on the impulse to reach out — to make time for friends and personal contacts — but it’s worth every bit of time and effort. Life is better with someone there to give a pat on the back or send a kind word. Knowing there are minds and hearts out there, caring about you, sending you love. The personal support system that friendships create is something that reminds us that we have a place to turn to.

I could go on, but I think I’ll end this by giving a few shout outs to people who over the past 10 years have enriched my live, shown support and offered me the gift of friendship:

California — Kristine D, Scott, Liz, Carole, Greg, Olivier and my beloved Rachel.

Illinois — Tami, Holly & your boys, Rich & John, Brandon & Betsy, Jesse, Eileen, Colleen & Chris

Wisconsin — Deb & Mark, Tommy TRC, Jamie RV, Penny, Jeff (the brilliant yoga teacher), Ryan and Beth (also brilliant yoga teachers), MBG, Sivaramakrishna, Gina and Noe

And to all of you reading this I say thank you too for supporting me.

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal
and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime.
Mark Twain

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!



On Them Who Lie A Little To Buy A Little … or A Tale Of Why Personal Accountability Is So Cool

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

Honesty is the best policy. I remember this statement from Miss Green in first grade catechism and from years of being a Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout. Living a truthful life should be the goal for all people. Sadly, we live in a world where on a daily basis we experience crafty, cunning and untrustworthy advertising, business people, religious leaders and politicians. Underhanded, devious practices are revealed on the nightly news and cheating the system is encouraged as innocently as cutting in line at the school cafeteria.

Have we lost the trait of being accountable? What would someone say about your accountability? Has it become so commonplace to embellish everything we say?

Accountability says you are responsible for your actions. The willingness to be accountable for what you do, what you don’t do or refuse to do is a significant trait of your character.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to help make myself more accountable to me.

Unaccountable people have every excuse in the book. They tend to blame others, complain, put things off and do the least amount of work necessary. I should know, for I was unaccountable for quite some time.  It was the easy way out and I was more than willing find any way out.

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.  It is up to you to give life a meaning.
Jean-Paul Sartre

If you are going to be successful in life you must embrace what contributes to your life, repel what detracts from it, and to accept responsibility for everything in it. If you are personally accountable then you accept the consequences of your actions, words, and decisions, regardless if the outcome is important or significant.

So what are the steps we need to take to make ourselves accountable?

  • Stop shaming and blaming: We can learn to see shame or blame as excess baggage and just set them aside. We could acknowledge and even regret our mistakes and shortcomings while accepting ourselves completely. We can begin working with our list of weaknesses by celebrating them. The more successful people are, the more likely they are to be open to looking at their flaws. We can love and accept ourselves and still work really hard to change ourselves.
  • Tell the truth. Everybody messes up sometimes. Lying about it or trying to cover it up always makes it worse. Remember Richard Nixon? Bernie Madoff?  Pinocchio? Need I say more? Save yourself some time and tell the truth.
  • Forgive yourself — one powerful way to move from shame to acceptance is to forgive ourselves. Before practicing new skills and new ways of being, it’s wise to clean house. We don’t need to beat ourselves up before we re-invent ourselves. We can be totally honest with ourselves and, at the same time, be gentle. While admitting our mistakes, we can treat ourselves with care. After all, everyone makes mistakes.
  • Let go of the past, but learn from it — we can focus on what we have learned from our past, without getting caught up in repeating our mistakes. The past is over. There is nothing you can do to change the past. The past is useful in showing us things we do not want to repeat and in exploring lessons we have learned that can be helpful in creating change in the future.
  • See the connection between strengths and limitations: Most people place strengths and weaknesses in separate, unrelated categories. Another way to perceive them is as being closely related. Often the things about ourselves that we label as weaknesses are simply examples of taking our strengths too far. A person with a passion for organization can become obsessed with details and lose sight of overall goals. A person who listens well may forget to speak about his own thoughts and feelings. The point is to remember that our assets and liabilities may all be part of the same personal account.
  • Police yourself – you are accountable for your actions even if nobody holds you accountable — or nobody catches you.
  • Look to yourself first — if there is trouble, look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “What is the problem?” and “What am I doing — or not doing — and how can I help to solve it?”

Stop blaming and start aiming.
Rob Liano

Personal accountability is sorely lacking and urgently needed. Accountability is not just a mindset but a skill set that everyone can learn and should master. Choose accountability and own it. You will always come out on top.

Each moment of each day, you have the choice to be personally accountable and in control of your destiny. Can you push yourself more? Do you have the internal drive to go the extra mile? Do you exceed expectations because you have to or because you want to?

If you answered yes, then you will agree that personal accountability is marvelous.

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!