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  • Existing or Living

    I am blessed with the opportunity to live many years. The last half of my life has been much fuller and more productive than the first. My life has always been full and somewhat adventurous. Yet, looking back, perhaps I was more busy than impactful. It took me several decades (maybe 4 or 5) to achieve the emotional maturity I now possess. Looking back, I was very naive about life and relationships at home and work. I was merely existing, not genuinely choosing to live. Today, living means engaging with life in a conscious, purposeful, and richly textured manner. It means embracing life's vast experiences—joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat and using them for growth, learning, and connection. Merely existing implies a certain stagnation, a life lived on autopilot, where my days blend without distinction, marked by simple routine. This is an existence of safety and predictability, complete with unexplored potential and unfulfilled desires. It's a state where I allow my life to be narrowed down to comfort zones, leaving little room for pursuing dreams or embracing the unknown. Am I existing or living? My distinction between living and existing is a matter of choice. It calls me to be fully present, to confront my vulnerabilities as pathways to authenticity and connection. This involves asking difficult questions about my life's direction, setting clear intentions, and acting with the courage to bring those intentions into existence. I am opting to live rather than merely exist, finding beauty in the ordinary, seeking meaning in my endeavors, and embracing love, work, and play wholeheartedly. In choosing to live fully, I elevate my existence and contribute to a more prosperous and connected world. The decision to live with strategy, intentionality, and purpose is a profound gift I can offer to myself and those around me. It is never too late to wake up and smell the coffee. I am living proof. How about you? Are you existing or living? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback, it's invaluable. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Roles We Play

    William Shakespeare - "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." Here are a few important roles we play in life. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it highlights some important ones. Parents, spouses, grandparents, siblings, friends, community leaders, caregivers, mentors, mentees, and Christians are but a few. What do I want others to say about me in my various roles? It is a fascinating exercise to write down what I would like to hear essential people in my life say about me in any role I play. Be sure you take some time to write these down. These are descriptions you want to hear, not what you think they would say. Words like loving, caring, mentor, giver, kind, resilient, intelligent, innovative, trustworthy, gracious, wise, authentic, and compassionate are but a few complementary words. Now, here is the secret to the question. People in our lives will talk of their experience of us. In other words, I write the script others will use to talk about me. If I want great things said about me, I must show up great. Otherwise, others or I may hear words that are not so complementary to myself. Yes, I write the script others use to talk about me. In essence, the words others use to describe me offer valuable feedback on my life's journey. These words can catalyze reflection, prompting me to consider the alignment between my intentions and actions and the perceptions they create. This insight is vital for those interested in personal growth, improved relationships, and a fulfilling life. It's a reminder that while I may not control others' perceptions, I can influence them through my actions, choices, and the roles I embrace. All the world is a stage. I am an actor on this stage. Even before the curtain falls, the audience will critique me. What do I want to hear them say? What roles do you play, and what do you want the important people in your life to say? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. Please like, share or comment.. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Take Care

    In high school, my friend Chris had a fantastic mom. She cared for all his friends, including when the police chased us to her house after we almost got caught throwing snowballs at cars on Avenue N in San Angelo. What a narrow escape. She was full of fun and laughter. She was welcoming and interested in each of us individually. All of us, Chris's friends, visited frequently. Her husband, Chris's stepdad, got ill and almost died. She was such a remarkable caregiver. She continued to work, cook, and care for us and him. After a long illness, his stepdad recovered, but Chris's mom gave too much, worked tirelessly, and passed away. Oh, what a tremendous loss for all who knew her. "I must take good care of me so I can take good care of you." This adage is easily overlooked. Taking good care of myself physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually is paramount in all my relationships. As I examine this concept, I uncover the profound importance of self-care and caregiving. Regardless of the roles we play in life, whether we are a husband, dad, wife, mom, son/daughter, boss, or any other role, we must care for ourselves. Neglecting my own needs undermines my ability to provide optimal care to others. How can I care for others if I don't care for myself? We all play roles as caregivers. Unrecognized stress, prevalent among caregivers, demands a toll on both mental and physical health. Consequently, fostering resilience through self-care becomes essential. Implementing a comprehensive self-care regimen entails a complex approach involving physical, emotional, and social domains. From mindfulness practices to regular exercise and peer support networks, I must prioritize activities that replenish my reserves and nurture my holistic well-being. "Take care of you so you can take care of me" illustrates the necessary link between self-care and caregiving. Moms, dads, and grandparents all have the opportunity to give too much. How about you? Are you too much like Chris's mom? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Patience is a Virtue.

    My brother Gary and I were the only Baptist in this parochial school. Mom transferred us there because of the bullying at the public school. Sister Honoria was one of my teachers at Sacred Heart in San Angelo. At first, I thought being Baptist caused her to focus a lot of attention on me. I see now it was employing my naive, foolish eighth-grade wisdom that attracted her attention. Perhaps it was my hyperactive impulsiveness and lack of self-control and not my religion that caused her to single me out. She often said, "Patience is a virtue, seldom in a woman and never in a man." At that time in my life, it meant nothing to me. I was looking for the next thing to say or do. This made her so upset at times that it made her eye twitch. (I never mentioned that to her.) Sometimes, I get the lesson much later than most. Today, I see the value of patience as priceless. Patience is a powerful catalyst for strengthening relationships and nurturing self-confidence. It is about giving others the time and space to express themselves fully. In relationships, patience allows me to listen attentively without interrupting or rushing to judgment. Patience enables me to navigate conflicts and challenges with grace and empathy. Instead of reacting impulsively or becoming defensive, the patient me can approach challenging situations with calmness and compassion. This ability to remain composed and empathetic, even in the face of adversity, fosters resilience in relationships, allowing partners to work through disagreements and emerge more aligned. Patience cultivates resilience by teaching me to manage setbacks and failures with optimism and perseverance. It fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence, critical components of self-confidence. This increased self-awareness allows me to develop a more authentic sense of self grounded in my values and strengths. Patience is a virtue. Patience teaches me to trust the process, embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth, and develop greater emotional maturity. How about you? Is patience one of your strong virtues? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Left Behind

    I have had two significant careers. The first was in telecommunications, and the second was in family therapy. The telecommunication landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation driven by digitalizing, mobility, internet connectivity, wireless communication, advanced networks, and emerging technologies like AI and 5G. I retired in 1999 when the digital phase of communication was advancing rapidly. I had to re-educate myself in an entirely new technology or get out. I chose a new profession of therapy, and it is also changing with technology. My early education did not include the impact of cell phones, gaming, social media, online dating services, and many new changes in our landscape. In a constantly evolving world, the value of lifelong learning cannot be overstated. Embracing curiosity and committing to continuous learning isn't just a choice; it's a pathway to personal and professional development that leads to a more fulfilling life or being left behind. At its core, lifelong learning is about maintaining a curious and open mindset. It's the acknowledgment that there's always something new to discover, whether it's a skill, a concept, or a perspective. By embracing this mindset, I position myself to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. In addition to personal enrichment, lifelong learning offers numerous benefits for professional development. In today's fast-paced job market, adaptability and upskilling are essential for staying relevant and competitive. AI is no longer on the horizon. It is here in full bloom and will continue to advance technology exponentially. My fear reduces as my learning increases. Therefore, I must get on board or be left behind. When approaching problems with a curious mindset, I am more likely to uncover novel solutions and break through conventional barriers. Ultimately, lifelong learning is a journey rather than a destination—a commitment to ongoing growth and self-improvement. Embrace curiosity, seize opportunities, and let the lifelong learning journey enrich your life in ways you never imagined. How about you? Are you being left behind? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • The Lotus Flower

    Life can and has thrown me curve balls. Circumstances happen, and people do things that are out of my control. Having to change my routine is very uncomfortable for me. I like things to stay status quo as long as they are comfortable. Oh yeah, life doesn't work that way. When things go awry, I have learned to go with them. A new way of looking at my life has caused peace and comfort, but not without effort. No one can dictate how I feel or act without my consent. Wow, this sounds rather bold! Yet my actions and reactions are entirely up to me. Allowing external circumstances to persuade me can be very risky. Indifference and low expectations around me hold no power over me once I operate from this truth. I can exist in this world without being shaped by it. Consider the lotus flower floating on a pond. Despite growing in muddy waters, it remains pristine and untouched by the environment it's rooted in. Like the lotus, I strive to navigate life's challenges without letting them taint my soul. I choose to maintain a sense of detachment, where I engage with the world yet remain unaffected by its negativity. Everything in my life is a result of my choices. If I don't like my circumstances, I must acknowledge that I have allowed them to happen. You may want to argue extreme scenarios – what about those who face tragedy beyond their control? While I can't control what happens to me, I have absolute control over my response. I can choose to remain a victim or take charge of my life and ask, "So what, now what?" By removing the victim mentality, I liberate myself from external influences, mastering my destiny and holding the keys to my freedom. It's all about choice – choosing empowerment over victimhood, responsibility over blame. I choose to take back the reins of my life and steer it towards greatness – it's all within my power. How about you? Are you a lotus flower, or do you allow circumstances to dictate your temperament? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting! Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Respond or React

    In reading Stephen Covey's book, The 8th Habit, I was enamored by his principle of responding rather than reacting. He reframes stimulus-response, by introducing the stimulus–pause–response. Here, the pause provides the opportunity to engage intellectually rather than blurting out a response. Reacting comes from my anxious approach to communication without considering the potential consequences. On the other hand, responding involves taking a moment to process the situation, weigh the outcomes, and choose a course of action that aligns with my values and objectives. This deliberate approach fosters understanding, respect, and collaboration, creating healthy and productive interactions. In my personal relationships, where my attachments are deep and outcomes feel personal, it is easy to react emotionally. Being emotionally mature is necessary for me to be able to respond. Reacting impulsively to a loved one's words or actions can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and escalating conflicts. Responding with intention allows for empathy, patience, and clear communication. It means I must actively listen to understand the other person's perspective, consider their emotions and my own, and then constructively express my thoughts and feelings. This approach diffuses potential conflicts and deepens the connection by showing care for the relationship's well-being. My professional environment, with its diverse personalities and high-pressure situations, is ripe for reactionary impulses. However, reacting impulsively to challenges, feedback, or workplace conflicts can undermine my professionalism, hinder productive collaboration, and damage relationships. Responding thoughtfully demonstrates leadership, emotional maturity, and a commitment to positive outcomes. I must take a step back to assess the situation objectively, consider the implications of different responses, and communicate to address the issue while respecting all involved. This approach can transform potential conflicts into opportunities for growth, innovation, and strengthened teamwork. By responding rather than reacting, I take control of my interactions and contribute to healthier, more resilient relationships. This shift enhances my connections with others and contributes to my personal growth and emotional well-being. How about you? In difficult situations, do you respond or react? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Curious George

    In my life, there are two curious Georges. One George is a good little monkey who was always very curious! There are many books about his adventures and a series of animated cartoons. For over 80 years, the adventures of George and his friend, The Man with the Yellow Hat, have been known for how curiosity is a building block of learning, as it introduces simple science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to the youngest viewers. The second George is my friend and mentor who has gone to be with our Lord. George Pulliam carried the title of Curious George. He pioneered the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) approach to mental wellness. He spent almost 60 years teaching and learning MFT. He was constantly looking for things that others couldn't see. He was a master in challenging his students, whether they were Psychiatrists, Psychologists, or counselors. He kept me on my toes as an intern, and we became very close friends after I graduated. He had a powerful reputation in the community of MFTs and was highly respected and sought after for case consultation. He and I attended many conferences together, and when I was seen alone, I thought my name was, "Where's George?" I remember the first cases I presented to him. I had studied the circumstances of the case and looked at it through several marriage and family theories to be sure I included everything that could make a difference. The first time I heard him say, "What are you going to do that for," I was crushed. He once told me, "Don't quit your day job." I never knew if he meant it, but I would not disappoint him. Thanks to George, I see curiosity as the foundation of learning and discovery. It drives me to question the status quo and delve deeper into the unknown. When I am curious, I see each moment and every encounter as an opportunity to expand my knowledge and broaden my perspectives. How about you? Do you spring from the platform of knowing, or can you expand your knowledge by becoming a Curious George? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback—like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • The fruit that enriches.

    As I was reading through the book of Galatians, I was reminded of the “Fruit of the Spirit.” By adhering to these values, I can dust off some old habits and focus on these old virtues. When cultivated in my life, these traits of excellence can profoundly enrich my existence. Although Christian in their origin, love, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can be spread to all walks of life. What a wonderful existence we could experience if we all practiced these virtues. ❤️ Love exists in all cultures, yet not between all cultures. When I love unconditionally, I create deep and meaningful connections with people, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. 😄 Joy can be sourced despite my circumstances. 🕊 Peace is necessary in our world of chaos and hate. 😇 Forbearance, or patience, helps me endure life’s trials and tribulations, making me more resilient and less prone to stress. 🍎 Acts of kindness benefit those on the receiving end and bring immense satisfaction to me as the giver. 🤟 Goodness encourages moral integrity and a desire to do what is right, leading to a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 🙏 Faithfulness signifies commitment and loyalty. It fosters trust in my relationships and reliability in my actions. 🏃‍♂️ Self-control empowers me to make wise choices and resist destructive impulses regardless of my circumstances. It gives me the strength to pursue long-term goals and desires while avoiding short-term temptations. The “Fruit of the Spirit” represents a powerful framework for enriching my life. By embracing and cultivating these virtues, I can experience deeper connections with others, find joy daily, maintain peace in turbulent times, and develop resilience, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, the fruit that enriches. When practicing these virtues, I am living the life Jesus designed for me to live. I am free of guilt and shame, can hold my head high, and walk tall. This is a tall order, yet one that yields a beautiful life. How about you? Could you be enriched if you refocused on these values known as “The Fruit of the Spirit”? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Old habits die hard.

    I have spent the last 36 years working on building a better me. It was precipitated by failure in my marriage and the workplace. The things I didn't know I didn't know about myself caused me to blunder in many ways. It is amazing how Rationalizing, Minimizing, and Justifying can cause me to feel good about who I am and how I show up, yet to others, it is distasteful and highly unattractive. When I operated out of my thinking and would not allow others to influence me, I unknowingly hurt them and myself. [Blind Spot] I think shame was my biggest nemesis. I had low self-esteem and could not hear or internalize anything that caused me to look inadequate. It took so much work to recognize that God made me enough and that I was different, and it’s okay to be different. I could never laugh at myself, nor could I hear negative things said about me. I began a journey of not trying to be perfect and allowing myself to become the authentic man I was created to be. I had to recognize the pejorative things said about me were true to others, and if I cared at all about them and myself, I must allow their critique to be fuel for improvement. It was a struggle to be different, but it was so liberating. I became lighter and could laugh and enjoy things like never before. It is incredible how free I have felt by just being me and accepting God's gift of life. However, I slipped back into my old habits a few months ago. I was asleep at the wheel of my emotions and didn't recognize I was struggling emotionally. In our Veteran's group on Thursday evenings, I allowed myself to get hooked by circumstances. I embarrassed myself and hurt others with my harsh words. Old habits die hard. I say all of this to admit I am on a journey of building a better me, and as diligent as I am working on this, I can still fall back into the old habits that I want to shed. Ouch! How about you? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your time and feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Differences

    It is common to hear phrases like "They shouldn't think that way" or "Why don't they do it this way?". I, too, have been guilty of this mindset. However, a recent experience served as a vivid reminder that we are made up of incredible physical, emotional, and intellectual differences. While observing those around me, I was struck by the stark differences in physical attributes. Some men towered over me, some possessed beautiful musical voices, a talent I lack, and others exhibited other unique skills I do not possess. Their bodies varied in shape and color, just like their eyes. They came from different countries, spanning a range of ages. This display of humanity made me realize that we are indeed very different. Acknowledging and appreciating these outward differences seems easier than recognizing their variety of thoughts and perspectives. Despite this, I often think that others should share my viewpoint. This expectation seems absurd when I consider how uniquely God created each of us. My upbringing, education, and life experiences are mine alone, shaping a unique worldview that others may not share or appreciate. This realization begs the question: If I can accept and even celebrate our physical differences, why do I struggle to do the same with mental and emotional differences? Many factors influence my thinking and opinions – culture, environment, education, experiences, and personal journeys. Expecting others to think and see the world exactly as I do is unrealistic. Sharing one's thoughts with others can cultivate empathy, foster understanding, and create a stronger bond. Just as I marvel at the variety in physical appearance, I am now open to how people think and perceive the world. This openness enriches my life, broadens my horizons, and ultimately makes me more compassionate and understanding. I want to let go of the notion that others should think like me. Not that I should accept their thoughts and opinions, but I need not become twisted and controlled by them and think I should rebut and change their thinking. How about you? Is it difficult to allow others a difference of opinion? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback, it is invaluable. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that can be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Rickey Hill

    I just watched the movie "The Hill". It is a true story of Rickey Hill, who was born with an affliction that left him crippled and with clumsy leg braces. He dreamed of playing baseball in the major league but was ill-equipped. His dad vehemently discouraged this idea, but Rickey was riveted on becoming a major league baseball player. In the movie, Rickey's grandmother is on her deathbed and says to him in her unpolished English, "Regret is an ache in your bones that doesn't ever stop." I'll let you see this tremendous true story without divulging any more. The thought "no regrets" caught my attention. I have written about this before. Regret is such an important word to me. I have more regrets in my life than I want to remember. Regret is an emotion shaped by opportunities I let slip away, the paths not taken due to fear, or the chances I missed because I allowed myself to be held back by others or my limitations. Regret is a feeling of remorse and the pain of realizing that some life choices are irrevocable. I have regrets caused by unaddressed opportunities I let slip away. Life has presented me with a myriad of possibilities, but often, I find myself paralyzed at the crossroads of decision-making. This paralysis stems from a fear of risk, causing my "what ifs" to overshadow my "what could be." Sometimes, I fear failure and rejection, and sometimes, I even fear success. The result is a standstill, where dreams and aspirations are abandoned, and the road less traveled remains a mystery. However, it is essential to recognize that regret, despite its ache, serves a purpose. It is a reminder of my capacity for growth and change. Each regret carries with it lessons learned and the wisdom gained through experience. Embracing these lessons can be the key to not repeating past mistakes and making more fulfilling choices in the future. Regret can become a stumbling block or a sign to re-evaluate my choices, learn, grow, and break free from constraints. How about you? Are your regrets an ache in your bones, or do they propel you? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. It is invaluable to me and I appreciate it. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that can be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

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