Archive for March, 2009

Did Someone Guide Me There or Was It Coincidence?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The last week has brought up a variety of  feelings for me. It never ceases to amaze me how things happen that are beyond explanation. Something small happens which leads to something else which brings you to a place you never imagined. Well I had exactly that happen over the course of the last week.

On Sunday afternoon I had a minor malfunction with one of my bows. It was no big deal, as accidents happen. However it led me to change a few things in my schedule and pick up a few of my prescriptions on a day that I don’t normally go to the pharmacy. After I left the pharmacy I received a text message on my phone which I found to be a little peculiar. I opened it and exhanged a few back and forth.

Later that night I made a new friend and began conversing on a regular basis. As one day rolled into the next I made my new friend aware of the fact that I always offered rides to all of my friends who go out drinking, so they don’t have to drive home. I never figured this person would call for a ride, but she did. This is where the story becomes pretty intense and deep. I was honored that she called for a ride because I like to know that I made a difference when I told her to feel free to call me. I also figured she was putting her trust in me to get her home safely. As we drove out of Glens Falls toward Queensbury I had many thoughts of my childhood crossing through my mind. Well, I actually only had one thought and as I got closer to her house the feeling inside me got stronger and stronger.

As she told me where to turn my mind instantly raced back to when I was 10 years old. I drove up the same dead end road with my grandfather when I was a little guy. We went there in search of a blueberry plant to dig up and bring home. Before I started down the road the whole scene appeared in my head. I could remember getting out of the truck with my grandfather and walking a short ways into the woods. There weren’t any houses around there 30 years ago, but I still remember exactly where we parked. I’ll never know for sure why I remember it, but I do. As I crested the hill she told me that her driveway was at the bottom of the hill. The feeling was getting stronger and stronger as I neared her house. When I pulled in the driveway I could almost feel my grandfather with me for the first time in 28 years. I didn’t tell her when I dropped her off, but her house is within sight of where we dug the plant up all those years ago. After I turned around in her driveway and headed home I was overwhelmed with emotions.

I felt as if my grandfather had something to do with the odd circumstances behind me meeting her. It was like he made me meet her so I could go back to the place where we dug that plant up so long ago. I’m not sure why, but it felt as if he brought me there for a reason. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I’ll keep searching. It may be because my grandmother isn’t well right now. I”m not sure if it was his way of telling me something or if he was crying out for something. I know to most people I probably sound like a fruitcake right now, but I’m positive there is a much deeper meaning to all of this happening than anyone will ever know.

A few days later I started thinking about it again. I remembered a time in my early 20’s when I visited his grave. I was 23 years old to be exact. I remember it so vividly because a friend of mine at the time was visiting her father’s grave in the same cemetery. In order to give her time to herself I went to say a few prayers under the big pine tree where my grandfather’s grave is. I remember that I was 23 because I was caught in a peculiar place. I knew what I wanted in life, but I didn’t know how to get there. In some ways I felt like the world was closing in on me so I went there to talk to him that day. I’m not sure if he gave me the answer, but a short time later my life started taking shape and I ended up where I pictured myself that day.

Being 23 is also very significant in this ordeal because the girl I dropped off is 23. The numbers are almost mind boggling. Although I tried not paying attention it keeps slapping me in the side of the head. I asked her in conversation when her birthday was and she told me that it was on July 30. I almost dropped my drink when she responded. Of all days in the year her birthday was the day after mine. It began getting a little creepy for me at that point. Something inside me tells me there’s a very deep meaning behind all of this. There are too many coincidental things that all lined up. Yes, I may be making more of it than what it is. I’ll never be sure, but when they say that things happen for a reason I truly believe it.

It may take days, months or even years to figure things out, but eventually it all makes sense. I’m not sure what my grandfather is tryng to tell me, but I know that he has spoken. I probably sound like a loon right now and I don’t really believe in all of that jazz, but when I drove down the road that night and dropped her off, the feelings that came over me were too strong to walk away from. I’m not overly religious, but I am very spiritual. I felt as if his spirit was above me that night. I’m not really sure if he was trying to help me remember the past, look into the future or just understand that there was a deeper meaning than a simple ride home for a new found friend.

I’ll continue putting one foot in front of the other as I let the events take place in front of me. Since I can’t control what happened in the past or worry about what will happen in the future, I will try my hardest to live in the moment. I will take everything for what it is without putting too much thought into it. Although things seem extremely strange and almost surreal I will try to remember that everything, no matter what it is, happens for a reason.

Sometimes things like this can make even the most courageous man want to crawl under a rock and hide, but I’m going to open my arms and welcome whatever falls into them. It might be death. It might be rebirth. It could even be something that I don’t have a clue about yet. Whatever it is, I’m sure that I’ll find the answer that I’m so desperately searching for.

Ed Dufour: Our Significance In the Lives of Others

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I found out over the weekend that a good friend of mine’s father passed away. I can’t imagine what he must be going through because he shared a very close relationship with his father just as I do with my own dad.

Back in the early 90’s I had a acquired what they call target panic while shooting archery. I couldn’t hold the pin on the target and when I explained it to people they couldn’t imagine what I was talking about. Then, I sought out Ed Dufour because he had the most knowledge of anyone in the area about archery. I explained the problem to him and he smiled and handed me a 4  finger release aid without a trigger on it. I couldn’t imagine what it was. He went on to explain to me that I had target panic and the best way that I could conquer it would be to learn how to shoot the release. He warned me that it wouldn’t be easy and it would require many hours of practice before I would be able to perfect it. Since I loved archery I listened intently and went on my way.

Before long I was able to accomplish the goal that I had set. Eventually I became close with his son Brett and we shared our successes and failures in archery. I’m a very competetive person by nature and I don’t like to lose. However, Brett brought out the best in me and he’s one of the few people that I never minded when he beat me. I knew how hard he worked at it and I liked to see him succeed because I knew his efforts were the same or harder than my own. If I couldn’t win I always hoped he would.  Although we weren’t competitive with one another we quietly pushed each other to become better.

It brings me to why I’m writing this tonight. His father Ed helped me in ways he probably never knew. I owe most of my shooting success to that one simple conversation we had in his shop that night when he explained to me what target panic was and what I could do to beat it.

My goal in life is to make sure that I had a positive effect on some people that I leave behind. If anyone can do that their life has definitely been a success. I’m not sure if I have accomplished that yet, but I try every day to be a better person than I was the day before. There are many days that I’m sure I don’t measure up to the standard I set for myself, but then every once in a while I feel like I accomplish something to be proud of.

I try to quietly touch others. I try to stay postive for them and show them that there is a better way. I don’t have room for a lot of negativity in my life although it’s impossible to totally avoid it.

I recently met someone that gives me a totally different perspective on life. It’s actually fascinating to me. I never rule anything out because it’s better for life to take us where it’s supposed to. Too many people try to get in the way and control the direction their lives go in. That’s where the problems arise. Instead of living in the moment too many people try to create a new moment rather than letting it gently fall in their lap.

The person I met is caught between knowing what the right thing to do is and actually having the courage to step forward to leave the old life behind. It’s a very difficult place to be in and I can remember a  few times when I was in the same exact place. It’s like you’re being torn in a zillion different directions although there is only two forces pulling you. That’s where it comes down to the choices that we make.

Everyone comes to a point in their life where it’s time to make a choice. You either choose to stay where you are and let the dirt bury you or you move forward, put the past behind and embrace the new journey that will begin in front of you. Many people feel that they’re leaving good times behind, but they may just find something so much better in the years that follow if they trust their judgment. When your mind tells you the same thing over and over there comes a time where you have to step back and listen to what it is telling you. If you’re soul searching and find yourself in bars because it makes you happy it might be time to reevaluate your situation. I know far too many people who end up feeling extremely guilty after a night out on the town, but for some reason they’re drawn back in week after week. They’re surrounded by other people that are soul searching in all of the wrong places. The answer doesn’t lie where it is sought, rather it is within our own soul where we need a lot of quiet time to examine it, analyze it and do what is best to help us grow.

I believe the person that I’m speaking of is searching right now. Maybe a little unsure of what she’s looking for, but in the back of her mind she knows what she should do to give herself the best opportunity to find it. Some people don’t know how to help themselves, while others do and never choose to acknowledge it. The ones who end up the best in the end are the ones who make all the right choices as they encounter them.

Whether you’re 10,20 or 60 you’re always growing and learning. It’s amazing how much we can learn from people in different generations if we allow ourselves to get close enough and listen to what comes to the forefront. I’m nothing short of amazed right now. I have many new perspectives on things and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to see it unfold in front of me.

Always try to touch others even if it’s in a small way. What may seem insignificant to you, might just be a world of difference to someone else. I’m very fortunate that I went to see Brett’s dad that day. The visit allowed me to have a lifelong passion for archery that I very easily could have walked away from if he hadn’t helped me. That’s one of the main reasons I try to help others. It might just be a few words I say, I quiet nod of the head or even a little archery instruction. Whatever it may be, I hope that in the end I’ve touched enough lives to make my own existence carry on well after I’m gone. If I’ve touched your life I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to help. For all those people that have touched mine I will be forever grateful. As you move forward give the most of yourself that you can and you’ll surely bring out the best in those around you as well as yourself.

Searching for the Spiritual Meaning

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I’m not an overly religious person, but I do consider myself spiritual. I’ve often sat back and listened to different people discuss their prayers. I find it somewhat ironic that most people only pray when they need something. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m sure it happens more times than not. I try to say a few prayers every night before I go to sleep. I always ask for good health and happiness for my friends and family.

I’ve had many things happen to me throughout my life that I can’t explain. They claim that everything happens for a reason which I believe to some extent. However, many times things appear out of nowhere that have no reason behind them. These are the things that keep me wondering.

Last summer I met someone by pure chance. I have only been to the track in Saratoga twice in my life and last August was the second time after a 20 years hiatus. I’ve never been drawn to the track as so many others are every summer. I prefer a more laid back atmosphere and I value my money too much to risk throwing it away, even if it’s a couple dollars. Therefore, when my friend asked me to meet him there I told him I had a prior commitment. He was disappointed, but he left the invitation open in case I changed my mind.

After waking up to a steady downpour that day my previous plans were canceled. As the morning dragged on and the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds I decided I might as well go to the track for a few hours. I had been feeling in the dumps and I knew that I could use a change of pace to lighten the load on my back. I knew that my friend would be very entertaining. I would be sure to get an afternoon filled with laughs, if nothing else.

When I got there it was almost impossible to find a parking place because it was T-shirt day. I parked more than a mile from the front gate. As I walked alone I passed by people from all walks of life. I silently took it all in. While I took notice of many individuals, none of them struck me in any particular way. They all seemed to blend in with one another and before I knew it I was at that gate.

Once inside, I met my friend and gathered a few T-shirts for my mother and brother. After all, I had to make good on my promise to get them a collector’s item. As one hour passed into the next I knew that I should get going to beat the crowd. I had a wonderful day and I wanted to leave with visions of that dancing in my head. However, as I got ready to say goodbye a booming clap of thunder sounded. The sky instantly became dark and the rain started pelting the ground from above. Everyone scattered and huddled under umbrellas.

As I stood there a petite woman with shoulder length brown hair caught my gaze. She was looking in my direction and within seconds our eyes met. I instantly felt something race through my body that is still unexplainable. It was almost as if I had been hit my lightning, but I knew that wasn’t the case.  Still, to this day, I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but I felt it. As we exchanged eye contact for the briefest of moments I was caught between wanting to leave and wanting to stay. For some unknown reason she caught my attention and I yearned to learn why. As the rain came down harder I tried analyzing the feelings radiating through my body. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but I almost instantly knew that I was met to meet that woman for a particular reason. I wasn’t sure if I would ever find out why, but I wanted to pursue the answer.

As the storm blew over and the rain skidded to a halt I made my way toward the woman. She was wearing green shorts and a white top. She was very attractive and wore small wire framed glasses. If I had to categorize her I would say she was of the studious, librarian type. I was drawn to her. Something inside me was telling me to engage in conversation. Within seconds I found myself chatting with her. It was a very brief discussion and I left after a few minutes.

As I turned my back and headed for the car the feeling came to me again. It was very strong and once again I knew there was an underlying reason why we met. I didn’t know if I would ever find out, but I decided I would keep walking, let the feelings race through my body and eventually seek the answer to my question. The walk seemed like it took a long time. Visions of her narrow face and brown hair kept dancing through my head. After I got in the car and headed north I couldn’t free her image from my mind. Although I tried, it sat there like a brick wall. Before long my phone was ringing and my friend called to make sure I made it back to the car ok. I assured him that I did. Then, he told me he got the woman’s phone number for me. This journey was becoming stranger by the minute.

Well a lot of time has passed since that day. However, I did contact her within a few days after meeting her. Since them we have become very close friends and we share many deep conversations with one another on a regular basis. Normally I wouldn’t let such simple things bother me, but I’m still not sure how she appeared out of nowhere, came into my life and is still there today. We have become very attached mentally. We share similar past experiences which makes our ability to communicate much easier.

I know that there was a reason why I met this woman, but I don’t know what it is yet. It’s funny how things sometimes take so long to figure out. I’m sure that over a matter of time the picture will become more visible to me. I’m thankful in many ways for the spiritual meeting because it brought out parts of me that had been hidden deep within my soul for far too long. As we formed a very close friendship I rediscovered parts of myself that I feared were lost forever. It was my fault for letting them go, but it was through her help that brought these things back to the surface.

I’ve realized that sometimes we press too hard for the answers that are right there in front of us. The answer probably is within sight, but it still appears very gray to me. I’m hoping to one day roll out of bed and have it splash me in the face like a ray of sunshine. I’m not sure that will be the best thing though, because then the mystery will be over. That’s why I enjoy everything as it is right now. However, something inside me tells me that this chance meeting has brought me something that will help me the rest of my life. I’m not sure if it brought me new confidence, a friend for life, or simply uncovered the real me. Whatever it might be, I can still feel it and it is very powerful. That’s why I don’t push. I live in the moment, take it all in and allow life to take me where it’s going to.

If you are ever overwhelmed by a chance encounter make sure to pay attention. Far too many people pass it off as nothing more than coincidence. When I feel the energy and the loss of breath I know it’s much deeper. This person was sent to me for a reason. What the reason is may never be determined, but I’ll always be thankful because I now have a new outlook on life……………………………………………….maybe that’s it right there, but I don’t think so. With every new day comes a new opportunity to live in the moment and take everything for what it’s worth. The answer is looming in the distance. I’m steadily walking in that direction to see if I can get my hands around it and gently hold on as it brings that spiritual energy to me on a daily basis.


Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I recently sorted through a variety of photographs. I needed to collect some for a few projects I have going as well as just sorting through many others that need to be filed away.

As the minutes turned into hours I started realizing something. I began to understand the beauty of a photograph. I never came across one picture that was taken at a bad time. Almost all pictures are taken during happy times that are filled with positive things. As I flipped through pictures from my childhood up until today, I noticed certain time periods when many pictures appeared. There were times when I was on top of the world. Many of these good times were captured by a camera.

I know many people who have thrown out pictures after experiencing bad break-ups or divorce. I don’t understand why people do that. Although the relationship might have ended, the pictures were taken at a good time. As the years pass and life moves on I think it’s still nice to be able to look back and see a variety of happy times in my life. Although everything might not have panned out the way I had originally planned, I will still have the ability to see some times that led me to where I end up. It will give me the ability to understand and appreciate why everything happened.

I haven’t found too many pictures where I wasn’t smiling. Pictures bring back such vivid memories that it becomes almost overwhelming at times.

Usually I don’t do this but I have to go away from my original topic. I spent the day in Clinton, NY yesterday watching my nephew play in the state hockey tournament.  His team won the game that I attended and they dominated the play. They ended up winning their pool and advanced to the semi-final. Earlier today they won the semi-final game in overtime and then capped off the day with a double overtime win in the championship game. Finally, he has advanced to the national championship which will be played in Pittsburgh in a few weeks. This kind of goes back to the photograph topic that I started with. This will be a time that he will never forget. Twenty years from now it will still be one of the most memorable times of his life.

I’m excited for him. All of his hard work finally paid off as he had a spectacular tournament. After winning a state title all of the pressure is off. Hopefully he will be able to go to Pittsburgh and relax as he pursues another dream.

Before he knows it one year will pass into the next and he’ll be entering his adulthood years where life tends to get in the way of everything else. He’ll realize how lucky he was for these special times in his late teen years. Sports seem to provide some of the most beautiful memories that one could ever ask for. I still remember baseball tournaments from when I was 12 years old. It’s funny how we live through our memories as we get older. After all, our experiences along the way are what define us.

The experience he has gained through hockey will serve him for his entire life. He has learned that you get out of it what you put into it. His conditioning is one of the main components that helped him this weekend. He has already learned that you have to be prepared and realize that occasionally you will fail along the way. In the end, if you continue to prepare, you’ll always be ready when the most opportune moments arrive. I’m proud of him.

I spoke with my sister briefly last week. She was upset and told me that she thought that she had failed as a parent in some respects. How foolish is that? Every parent fails in some respects, but in the end if you help your child become the best person that they can become, you did your job. Your child is your child even when you’re old and gray. The bond that is formed along the way is the most important thing that should never be overlooked. He comes to her when he has to talk about something. I wouldn’t consider that a failure. If he has enough confidence and trusts her when he needs to talk then she most definitely did a good job with the most important things.

I don’t really have a good way to end this tonight. All I can say is that you should try your hardest to do the things that make you happy. Sometimes things will get a little off track, but if you continue to search for smiles and laughter you’ll be much better off in the end. Do things that bring joy to your world and stay away from things that bring you down. As you get older take a day and glance through some of your old pictures to bring back a variety of good memories.

Appreciating the People That Help Us Grow

Monday, March 16th, 2009

I spoke briefly today with someone that I’m very close with. She was feeling a little down because of a few incidents that happened with her children. Throughout the conversation I quietly understood that she questioned her significance to a small degree. A few things happened that made her feel left out and possibly a little forgotten. After the situation was explained to me I could easily understand where she was coming from. The conversation brought me back to my childhood and the significant roles that so many people played when I was growing up.

Although it was more than 30 years ago there are things that I haven’t forgotten and will never forget. I wanted to relay my story, but I figured it wasn’t the time or place. Instead, I stashed it in the back of my mind and decided to address it tonight in writing.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes my parents had a very hard time dealing with the disease. It brought many new responsibilities to them and created a different lifestyle of sorts. For a while they felt like they had to keep me under their thumbs. I didn’t mind, as I became accustomed to being spoiled. Eventually mom and dad decided to try a vacation by themselves. I would stay with my aunt and uncle. Since my uncle worked my aunt would have the responsibility of looking after me throughout the day. I still remember how afraid she was to give me my insulin injections at first. She thought she was hurting me and always asked if it hurt when she was done. I simply smiled and told her that everything was ok. Although she was nervous I couldn’t feel it as a child, which is a special trait in and of itself. My aunt was the boss and she treated me just like any other kid on the block. I didn’t receive special treatment. I stayed in line and we grew together. Before I knew it that first week that I spent with her without my parents was done. I still remember how comfortable she made me feel and how easy it seemed. As time went by I spent a considerable amount of time with my aunt and I have never forgotten those times. I always refer to the wonderful role models that my parents have been, but I’ve been very fortunate to have many more, such as my aunt.

As I listened to this person talk today I tried to quietly say that sometimes the significance of your actions can carry well beyond where you ever could have imagined. Although you might not see it today, tomorrow or the next day, it will be there and it will come back to you. I believe the sole purpose in our lives is to help each and every person to become a better person. My aunt helped me to become a better person. She made me realize that I would be ok without my parents. I would be safe and she would be there for me if I needed her. The significance of her actions has been on my shoulders ever since. That’s one of the main reasons why I always try to help others, even if they might not deserve it or want it at the time. When I lend my time to someone it might be just that few seconds that could have an everlasting effect.

I’ve realized that in order for me to survive in any relationship I have to help someone become the best person that they can become and they will have to do the same for me. The person will have to allow me to grow and support my growth even if it takes unexpected turns along the way. My bond with my parents is so tight because they have always supported me and encouraged me to be the best person that I can possibly be. All successful relationships have that common theme. If parents help there children to become better people they should know that they have succeeded.

Sometimes we let minor bumps in the road ruffle our feathers for no reason. We have to remember to have enough confidence in our actions to carry us through these times. People often do things without thinking and don’t realize their hasty decisions until it’s too late.

I’ve learned one thing over the years. Many people come to me when they have problems. I think they probably do so because I’m a good listener above all else. I try to offer some positive thoughts to keep the mind where it should be. No matter how bad a situation might seem, there is always at least one positive to be found if you search long enough. If you ignore the negative and build on the positive the road will become clear in front of you. However, if you let the negative swallow you up, you may become angry, irritated or lost in your search for answers. I always remember that everything happens for a reason even if I’m not able to fully understand it.

I will never forget one single person who made me who I am today. There have been some major players other than my parents, but even if someone played a small role I’ll be forever thankful for all of the insight I gained from each and every one of them. As a friend, parent or lover never lose faith that your actions aren’t felt forever. If you show others how to be the best person they can be and help them to achieve this, the significance of your actions will never be forgotten. It might be forgotten for a few days here and there, but not as the receivers grow older. With age comes wisdom. Lately, with every passing day, I’m becoming wiser and wiser. All of the things that I couldn’t make sense out of when I was a child are becoming crystal clear now.

Never question your significance on the life of another human being. If you show your love, display your care and give your help in time of need, you will always be a priority in the thought of whomever you touched, even if it doesn’t seem like it from time to time.

Watching a Friend Struggle

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Throughout my life I’ve encountered many situations where I wasn’t sure what to do or how to act.  When I reflect on these times I realize that sometimes my silence was taken the wrong way. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing at all. I tend to hide when I’m caught in a situation that creates confusion for me. Fortunately, I learned that I have to offer my support through my actions.

I remember one occasion that I tried my hardest to diffuse a stressful situation. I sat over dinner one night and reassured the person across the table from me that she shouldn’t worry so much about losing her job. I told her not to worry because it would be ok. I remained calm and relaxed so I wouldn’t show any worry on the outside. I figured that by acting this way my calm manner would radiate into her. I remember it so vividly because I tried my best to be supportive and strong for her. However, in her eyes I had failed. She took it as me not caring at all. Afterward I realized that she didn’t want me to say that it was ok. She wanted me to sympathize and show a little of the fear that she felt. The whole area became gray and I crawled into my own skin to hide. I wanted to hide because I used my best judgment and made it worse. She took it with her and saw my response as a huge uncaring flaw in my character. I’ll never forget how disappointed I was in myself for not doing the right thing, but in all reality I didn’t know what the right thing was. At that point in my life I felt like nothing I ever did would be right. I slid deeper into a hole and ran from everything. As I searched for answers I realized that I had to be a little more vocal and outgoing.  I also learned that communication is essential to a healthy relationship. Looking back on it I probably should have explained why I wasn’t worried or maybe she should have asked me exactly what I meant. I’ll never be sure, but it helped mold me into a better person once I was able to look back at it and analyze.

Recently I have watched two of my friends struggle with their health. I spoke of one of them recently when I wrote about her deteriorating discs. I have another friend who suffers from severe endometriosis. Before I met her I had never heard of the disease. Now, unfortunately I have seen first hand what it can do to a person. This girl wanted children and the disease kept her from that dream. When I speak to her I can sympathize because I too can relate to that lost dream. I can also feel her pain because she would be a wonderful mother. She’s very caring, loving and genuine which is everything a child needs while growing up.  She’s full of life and has good values which I’m sure would have easily been instilled in her children if she ever had any.

Her disease creates a lot of discomfort throughout the month and puts her in absolute agony at times. I can hear the pain in her voice in those times. The only thing I can compare it to is a small bird that is chirping for its mother while she is out searching for food.  I have more admiration for her than is imaginable after watching her struggle day in and day out with the complications of the disease. She never complains, but I know she would like to. Instead, she stocks up on medication to lessen the pain and does her best to deal with the complications. I know that she would like to cry, but she stays tough and pretends she can take on the world. I’ve noticed over time that she too does what I once did and tries to hide from the world. It seems that she’s afraid to let people in to help her. I’m sure that she could find some relief if she accepted the help offered. No matter what she puts one foot in front of the other and pushes forward. She never misses work and tries her best to just deal with it by herself.

As I’ve watched from the outside it makes me thankful for the simplicity of my life. Although I take 3 to 4 injections of insulin every day I’m not in pain. My disease is also something that I’ve had to learn to live with. I’ve dealt with some unfortunate incidents as does anyone, but I’ve never rolled around on the floor in agony. I believe that everyone encounters different obstacles along the way to help them improve in an area that they wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m not even sure why I think that, but I do. My disease has taught me self discipline. I’m sure my life would probably be very different if I was never diagnosed with diabetes. I have never had a drink of alcohol in my life. I’m not sure but maybe diabetes saved me from becoming an alcoholic. I’ll never know the real reason, but I do know that it has helped me become who I am today.

I try to make sense of why my friend acquired severe endometriosis. I can venture a guess or two.  Sometimes I think that maybe she wasn’t able to have children because she’ll adopt her own one day. She’ll give a good life to a child who might have ended up on a street to nowhere if she didn’t come along. It could also be because she would find support and guidance in areas she never thought possible. It might have brought out the best in people that help her. After all, she once went down a path without much support or comfort, so this might have been a way for her to see that better things actually do exist out there.

I could probably go on and on tonight about this topic. However, I have to draw it short due to other obligations. I try to remember almost everyone is fighting some type of battle. Some people keep it quiet, while others need the attention that the battle might bring. I’ve learned to be supportive, caring and compassionate. Any help is better than no help and sometimes the smallest bit of hope you can give a person, might become the only thing they need to get to a better place.

Searching for Happiness

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The search probably begins when we’re old enough to have conscious thoughts in our head. For some people the search is much easier than others, but no matter what all searches endure hard times and tough roads.

I’ve been lucky in my search. When I was a child I learned how to express all of my emotions. I learned that it was ok to cry when I was sad. I learned that it was ok to be angry as long as I addressed it and let it go after further examination. I learned that it was ok to let even the smallest things bring joy into my world. My parents gave me all of the essential tools that I would need in the future. I learned at a very young age that happiness comes from within. I spent a lot of time alone when I was little. I found msyelf wandering up and down the creek across the road with a fishing pole in hand. The solitude of the forest always welcomed me. I can remember many summer afternoons that I sat on the bank and stared into the water. I wasn’t hoping to see anything. Rather, I was trying to collect my inner thoughts. It was always a place where I could go and get to know myself in a different way. School and sports helped me get to know myself in other ways, but the days I spent staring into the water are what made me who I am inside. I picked up great inner strength as well as finding the necessary things to center my mind and be at peace. There was never any confusion or chaotic moments that I had to deal with. I gave myself the greatest opportunity that any adolescent could ever ask for. I gave myself the ability to find out who I was.

Now, as an adult I’ll be forever thankful that I was blessed with a passion for fishing. One of the girls who lived next door used to make fun of me and continued doing so well into my adulthood. I never said much about it, but I laughed and joked back and forth because it was all in good fun. However, deep inside, I knew how much strength I had gained back then. I would eventually need that strength to get through one of the toughest times of my life. I was able to go back there and center my mind. I was able to understand that I couldn’t control that particular part of my life. I didn’t have a choice, so I sat back and took it on the chin. Since I had always been able to find even tiny pieces of positive things, I quickly realized that in the end of the struggling I would be stronger and calmer at the center. I would also have a new chance at happiness.

I’ve always known that happiness doesn’t come through other people. I never got lost in that, as some people do when their lives take unexpected turns. I remembered that I was and always would be responsible for my own happiness. I’ve seen friends find happiness in others when they didn’t have anyplace to go. Inside I knew that the outcome wouldn’t be good. In order to be truly happy you have to be happy with yourself first and foremost.  If you can’t address that and be comfortable with it you will ultimately be let down. I’ve seen some people bounce from one person to the next while never settling down and accepting that being alone is ok. The alone time is when you find out what you really need to be happy. You examine it objectively and try to pave your own path for the future.

I’m at a point right now where I can say that I’m not exactly happy with everything, but I am happy with myself. I would like many things to be different, but I’m not going to change myself or my actions just to search for something that I feel I need to manufacture. My life has taken many turns that I never expected, but I don’t let these things get me down. Over the course of my life I will never close myself off from learning and trying to better myself in a mental aspect.

There are many things that I’ve been searching for, but I haven’t located them yet. Yes, it has been very depressing at times. However, the journey has also been fun. I’ve met many new people in all aspects of life. I’ve learned more about myself through my interaction with these people. Most importantly I have learned what brings out the very best in me. I don’t think I can actually describe what it is, but I now have a much better idea about it. This was something I never even thought about until I saw it happen. The feeling was so new to me that I couldn’t even relate to where it was coming from. It was almost like I was standing outside of my body and looking at the soul of someone that I had never known. It was an unbelievable feeling and I hope to one day experiece this on a regular basis, rather than in passing.

I’m really not sure if I’ll ever find what everyone else terms as “happiness”, but I’ll do my best to find the things that bring me the most joy. If I ever find what I’m looking for I will make sure to grab hold and hang on for dear life. I’ve seen too many times where people have what they’ve been looking for right in front of them, but they’re too afraid to run with it. Many people are too afraid to be happy when a chance presents itself. I think this happens because the person doesn’t trust what their soul is telling them. They’re not at peace with their past or their future, so they sabotage the best things that are often right there in their lap. They alienate people and end up alone because they won’t let others in to help them along the way. There’s a fine line though, because as I said earlier, many people solely rely on another to bring them happiness 100% of the time, which just isn’t possible.

In your search for happiness learn to love yourself first and stop blaming others for your problems. We must remember that we are eventually responsible for all of our own actions. Treat people as you want to be treated and listen to others when they speak. Don’t just listen, you must also show interest. Help others find happiness by showing them a better way. Try to welcome people into your life, rather than run in fear. No matter what happens we all learn from our experiences. We will screw up from time to time, but we will also succeed. Some of the greatest things are passed on because we don’t trust ourselves enough to let people inside to see the real us. Be confident that the real you is more than anyone would ever want and don’t be afraid to lay it all on the table. You’ll be better for it in the end and the growth will be a vital part to the success in all of your relationships. I wish you all luck in finding happiness this spring. With spring comes new growth and opportunity. Don’t pass up a diamond because you were too busy collecting stones.

You’re an Average of Your Closest Friends

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Have you ever sat back and looked at the five closest people to you? Chances are you haven’t. Professionals in the pychology field claim that we are an average of the five closest people that we hang out with. I never really thought about it until I saw a few things develop from afar.

The old saying, “Misery loves company” is very true. Have you ever watched someone who seemed to have a good life throw it out the window because they surrounded themselves with the wrong people? I’ve seen it time and time again over the course of my life. People who carry negative emotions around try to draw people into their world so they don’t feel alone. People with low self esteem are usually the first to go. They don’t have enough confidence in their own decisions, so they allow themselves to be drawn into something that gives them acceptance. Instead of seeing the positive, they go to the negative because they feel it gives them more power. It makes them feel better about their own lives because they see other people in the same place. It’s very hard to analyze if you’ve never seen it.

Yesterday I spent the day with one of my closest friends. We had a good time and the day passed quickly. On my drive home I realized how fortunate I have been with my choice of friends. We are all given choices and in the end we are all responsible for the choices that we make.  If you like hanging out in bars then the likelihood of you being friends with the same type of people is very good. I don’t like to stereotype, but people who find themselves drawn to the bar week after week are usually searching for some deep meaning that doesn’t really exist. They think they can erase all of their pain and misery by sloshing down one drink after another. Many times it is painful to watch if someone close to you gets caught up in the hoopla. I’ve watched some good friends become so involved in the party atmosphere that they lost the reality of their own purpose.

I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who give off a positive aura. I like people who bring out the best in me and make me relax. I find myself drawn to people that are a little more outgoing because it makes it easier for me to walk in line without being noticed. I’m never in need of attention so it helps when the attention is centered on someone else. My closest friends share many of the same hobbies that I do. I’ve always tried to share my passion of archery with others. If I can teach someone something that took me years to learn I will teach them just to save them time. A good life is about giving and receiving in equal balance. If you give enough of yourself you will also receive the support you need when you need it most. I saw it first hand when I struggled to get from one day to the next a few years ago. At that point I was glad that I had given so much of myself to so many people.

If you’re cruising through life and you’re having issues try to look at the closest people to you. If you like who they are and what they’re about, chances are that you are on the right track. If you have to question their moral standards then you had better get away while you can. Sometimes if you get drawn in your world can become a living hell. I’m extremely thankful that I’ve always stayed on the straight and narrow path in front of me.

I get depressed from time to time just like anyone, but I also have a positive outlook on almost everything in front of me. I gain this from my friends and family. Without their moral support and guidance I’m sure that my life would be vastly different. Many people want to be a star, but I’m happy just being the average of all of the people that have helped me develop into the person that I am today.

My Little Tree

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

It’s once again that time of year where I make my annual pilgrimage to the first home that I owned. This might sound crazy to many, but I do it now because there’s not much activity and the snow has usually subsided enough to let me see what I’m looking for. As I slowly drove down the street the other day I could see the line of spruce trees coming, which once signaled the border of my property. When I cleared them I looked down the trees to the far end of the yard. There he was, just the very top of his head sticking out of the snow. He had survived another grueling winter. He is my little tree.

Many years ago when I was having a hard time in my marriage I read someplace that it was good to buy a plant or small tree and practice loving it unconditionally. The article said that it would help in all relationships and other areas of life. After I finished the article I stored it away in the back of my head.

Later that same year I was in Colorado for my annual elk hunting trip with my father and friends. As I sat  in the woods a short distance from camp I spotted a tree that I thought would be perfect for my yard. I figured I could plant it at the end of the big spruces. My neighbor had planted one on his side, but it never seemed to take very well and it kind of looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I used to make fun of him about it when we were both outside doing yardwork. Although it was illegal I dug the tree up and transported it back to New York.

When I got home I never said a word to anyone about it. I dug a hole in the yard and planted my little tree. I took good care of it and vowed to love it unconditionally. I would visit it every day when I got out of work even if it was pouring rain or heavy snow. I would stand in my yard,  feel its branches and tell it that I loved it. I did this day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.  I talked to it every day and shared my deepest thoughts with it. My tree was very healthy and grew significantly every year. My neighbor once asked me what I did to get it to grow so well. I made up some stupid story about fertilizer and grooming. I surely wasn’t going to tell him the truth. If I did he probably would have thought I was a few cards short of a deck. Therefore I chose to keep my secret to myself. I never told anyone, but I continued doing it every time I was in the lawn. Eventually I began to understand what the article had spoken about. I realized how incredibly easy it was to love something unconditionally when it doesn’t have feelings or the ability to speak. When something speaks we often put conditions on everything that comes out of the mouth. We are easily hurt my something someone might say or do when in reality we just took it the wrong way because we made it into what we wanted to hear, rather than listening and understanding what they actually said. It becomes a nasty cycle.

As time moves forward in most relationships, without even knowing it most people put conditions on their love. I will love you if you do everything exactly like I want you to do it. I won’t love you if you let me down. I won’t love you if I think you’re doing something to annoy me. The list goes on and on. That’s where mole hills become mountains and before you know it there’s no possible way to scale the mountain that is suddenly gaining more height by the day.

That’s where I know that my little tree saved me. It gave me the ability to love people for who they are and not what I want them to be. It made me realize that I have to keep a stable, quiet mind even in times of distress. Sometimes we want people to do what we want them to do and when they don’t we are let down. However if we don’t put conditions on them and just love them for who they are we won’t set ourselves up to be let down. It sounds very easy, but it’s not. There were times where I had to bite my tongue, but I did, knowing that it was for the greater good of my soul. I didn’t make excuses for anyone’s actions and I continued to love unconditionally. My tree gave me the strength and ability to do something that so few people can do. I’m not sure if I’m more thankful for reading the article or actually find the perfect tree to bring home.

When I eventually sold that house and moved I left my tree behind. That is why I still drive by, even today, just to check on it, acknowledge it and in my own way thank it for giving me one of the greatest gifts I ever could have asked for.

Years later I went through a horrible divorce. It wasn’t something that I would ever want to experience again and I would never wish it upon another person. It tore my guts out and wore on me for a very long time. I think much of that reason is because I had learned to love unconditionally along the way. I had ingrained in my head that no matter what anyone did to me I would still love them. I’m still glad that I learned that lesson. When many people would have stooped to another level I stayed true to myself. At times it was very tough, but I kept remembering not to put conditions on the actions of others. Everyone does things for a reason. I accepted that and left it at that.

I’ve taken a little slack this week for not being happy or excited about what happened in the news. Well, I don’t take pleasure in anyone’s pain no matter who they are. It’s not me. I was saddened and that was about it. If I had put conditions on many of the actions that transpired I would probably have felt different. However, I stayed the path and realized that I must always stay true to myself. I am who I am and I will never change. Some of the people that might not like that right now may benefit a great deal from it in the future. I don’t try to defend myself, as I feel I shouldn’t have to. I’m finally at peace in my life and I’m a grown adult who can make my own decisions.

I would highly recommend buying a small plant at the nursery this spring when you’re getting ready to do the annual yardwork. You never know what it might bring to your life. My dog hasn’t always been the best pet in the world, but I have always loved him unconditionally. Once again, he doesn’t have the ability to talk. In your current relationships don’t put so much emphasis on what comes out of the mouth. Instead, focus on what got you together and be thankful for all of the great qualities that come to the forefront, rather than creating your own meaning for another person’s choice of words or actions.

As I drove past the house I couldn’t do anything other than smile. It brought me back to a very peaceful time when I learned one of the greatest things I have learned in this life so far. It definitely helped me in one of the lowest points of my life and I’m sure there will be a few people who will benefit a great deal from it in the future.

A Few Sad Days

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The last four days have been a blur. My archery performance has been on a steady decline for the last few weeks. My mind is far from quiet while shooting which has hindered any chance I might have of doing well. It hasn’t been a constant thought as I am sometimes possessed with. Instead, it’s random thoughts that pass through my mind so fast that I can’t even latch on and settle them in for further examination.

This weekend was tough for me. I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with deteriorating disc disease. It makes me wonder sometimes why bad things happen to good people. I live every day with diabetes but I consider myself lucky because it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. However, my poor friend couldn’t move her arm and wasn’t able to sleep for 3 straight days because of the pain. As I sat with her on Friday evening I got a new admiration for her. She never winced in pain or complained about it. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like, but I know it was extremely uncomfortable. I’ve always been the type of person who thinks I can heal anyone. As I sat there watching TV I felt helpless for once in my life. I would have done something if I could have, but I knew that it was beyond my power. The pain lessened the next few days, but it’s something that will probably come and go for the rest of her life.  She’s an amazing person. She can look the lion in the mouth, smile and say, “I’ll be ok.”

This same person has overcome things in the past few years that most people wouldn’t even attempt to tackle. She has had panic/anxiety disorder and after years of suffering she finally decided she would make an effort to grab it by the neck, throw it to the ground and move forward. Many people probably would have lived in fear for the rest of their lives. However, she wanted to better herself and she took the steps necessary to do that. She lives a quiet life, but a good life. Whenever I think of the small battles that I face every day I visualize the things that she has overcome. It gives me the little extra drive that I need.

As I watched her suffer over the course of the weekend it wore me out. I wasn’t well rested and I became ill. I could feel a cold settling in on Sunday afternoon when a friend of mine called. Once again, someone fighting a battle within. I did my best to listen as closely as possible. There were a few work related problems as well as family issues. As always I remained non-judgmental and offered my advice when it was quiet. I’ve often wondered why people like talking to me when they’re stressed out. Maybe it’s because I’m funny looking so it allows them to lighten up a little. Maybe it’s because I’m intent on just sitting back and listening. I’ll never know what the real reason is, but it’s good to feel wanted in that way.

When Monday finally rolled around I was too ill to go to work. I never miss work so I knew it was bad when I couldn’t find a way to get to the office. I felt like someone beat me with a baseball bat. My lower back felt like it was going to explode and I was simply worn out. As I laid around all day and tried to come to life I got a disturbing message. The message told me that some bad stuff was going to go down within the next few days. I’m glad I was notified, because today when it hit the press it made it a little easier to deal with. Many people asked how I felt about it, but I really didn’t have much feeling. I feel very sad, but it doesn’t really affect me. I’m sure I will be pelted with many questions tomorrow and I’ll answer all of them the same. I think the whole thing will be blown out of proportion. Somone who was once close to me had charges brought against them. It just saddens me that it happened. I would never wish evil upon anyone, no matter who they are or what they have done. As with my other friends who I’ve watched suffer the last few days, I’m sure this person is also suffering now. This is where I know that a strong support group is essential.

We all need to surround ourselves with people that boost our confidence and forgive us when we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and everyone runs into problems on their journey through life. I’ve been one of the most fortunate people in this area. I’ve done some stupid things in my time and my mom and dad both let me do them without saying a word. They knew I was making the wrong decision, but they never said a word. When it came back to haunt me all they did was give me their undying support. They never said a word about my hasty decision(s). I knew inside that I was wrong, but they didn’t add pleasure to my pain. They knew that I had learned from my lesson. They also knew that I needed their support more than anything. I’ve learned from them and I’m very proud of that. That’s why I try to give to everyone around me. You simply never know when you might need people to help you. I try to treat people with respect and dignity and I will never turn my back on anyone. I consider that one of my best qualities. I think it’s easier to work toward a common goal than it is to create new obstacles.

Unfortunate things happen to all sorts of people. In the end the only thing that matters is the way the crisis is handled. Some people will come out better and stronger and others will come out weaker and demoralized. If you see somone suffering always make sure to lend your hand, ear or heart. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get someone to a better place. You never know how far your act of kindness and support will go. Even if the person doesn’t accept your offer they will surely feel it in their heart. It will give them confidence that there is always at least one person that they can go to when times are tough.  I try to be available to others when they need me because I know that when I needed people the most I was glad that I was welcomed with open arms in each and every place that I searched for help in my darkest hours. I would like to thank each and every one of you that gave to me when I needed it the most.