Category Archives: Florida

We Are One

Tip for my  fellow Florida peeps: Have someone outside the emotional attachment who is a trusted friend who is also very rational in their thinking provide some feedback

Example: Yes, I was getting emotionally charged about my place even to the point of considering leaving. But, cooler heads prevail.

My next door neighbor is a fireman, his wife a nurse, my other next door neighbor is a retired police offer. I had the latter come and get his feedback as well as from a friend who is my trusted go to guy who has been through and seen everything there is. The result is unanimous. Stay put.

My house has one of the newest roofs in the neighborhood. I have a cement structure on a newer home. It is one story and a single car garage (a good thing right now). I have three safe rooms, not including my garage, which I can use as one as well.

So, here’s my point. Let cool heads prevail. Someone who is honest and will provide helping feedback – NOT HURTFUL, which is oh so prevalent right now.

For those who are concerned about us, we got this. We appreciate your concern, but worrying doesn’t help either of us.

For those that are religious – pray OR worry, but don’t do both. We will accept prayers, good will and positive vibes all day long. For those that are not religious, just send us the good tidings, and we will be grooving to that as well.

It won’t be pretty, but my neighbors have all ready said that we are all a community and after we will pull together to do what needs to be done to help one another. As a larger community, Florida will do the same. And, an even larger community beyond that, we as people will, no matter where we are we will be here for one another. I know it. We will need assistance from those in other areas to get back to normalcy, and we thank you in advance.

And, we are all facing one storm or another. Asia has flooding, we know what Houston went through, there are fires in multiple states, and we are all facing our own much more personal storms on an individual basis.

For me, I can offer my contribution through my writing. It’s what I do. Maybe it will help someone somewhere in a way that I could not imagine, because that is the power of our connectivity.

The more precarious the situation, the more it has a tendency to bring out the best and the worst in people (including myself). We have that in all of us. We are not immune, and what I have learned more than anything else in the last 24 hours is how Pro-Choice I am right now.

No. No. Not THAT Pro-Choice but the choices people by the thousand are making right now that are life and death that affects them and their families. There is not anyone I can think of who does not take their choice lightly. Whatever they decide for themselves and their family, they have done so with the best of intentions, including myself. It may not be what you would choose, but then again, what you choose may not be what others would either.

We are a community. When natural disasters strike there are zero borders. I have friends from all over the world, and have heard from many different countries, states, and down to a man (or woman) we all have one common goal – we all want to be safe.

And, can we all get naked for a second. We all die. All of us. Whether it is a storm or walking down the street, or whatever it may be. Most of us, we really don’t want to die right now, and some of us really love this life we are living and really want to continue on to even greater challenges that most likely lie ahead. Most of us will, and I know my next challenge will be better served because I did endure this one.

For myself, I like so many of us, I’m doing it alone and that in of itself has his positives and negatives. But, can I please just for a split second just ask if you, and I, if we could all take a deep breath. That’s probably enough. Take two or three deep breaths, including myself, and re-center ourselves because when cooler heads prevail, we are much sharper and less apt to make stupid mistakes (which we all make).

I do want to say thank you again for your thoughts and your well wishes. I can say for all of us, we are grateful and appreciative of each and every one’s kindness. Facebook is a global community, and one of the reasons I love this particular tool is what it provides us right now.

Wherever you are today, it is the day that maybe someone’s life may be helped by not being hurtful, because we all need a little help in one or another, and we all are in this together.

Peace my dearest friends.

Advertisements

I live in Paradise

I live in paradise. It is literally heaven, and I am so grateful looking out each and every day at the tapestry of majestic beauty. There is so much to be seen here, and what I so relish is the diversity in the people. I have met and befriended those from all walks of life from backgrounds aplenty but with one common thread:  they were all amazing people who showed kindness towards me.

This was not always the place I called home.   Years ago, it was a much different place. The diversity was limited to the size of one’s belt buckle. There is no harm in that. It is as well a special place to be. It is also paradise, and it is also heaven.

Heaven is for me where I am right now.

Wherever my travels may take me, I am afforded the opportunity to learn and to gain my own insight. It has been my standard practice to form my own opinion by gathering information myself rather than from some outside influence.   That has proved quite rewarding.

“Whatever you do, do not stop.”   He warned.  “The Mexicans, they will kill you.”

I guess that extra glass of water at dinner was probably not the best of ideas.  It was dark, and while I heeded his warning, biology prevailed.  I stopped in at the rest area that was lit only by lamp posts.

Virtually deserted there was but one car next to me.  As I got out, in the middle of New Mexico, I turned my back and standing in front of me was a kid in his late teens to early 20s.    An older frail gentleman stood behind him.

They were Mexican.

“Our tire is flat.”  The young man explained.  “Can you help us?”

Whatever you do, do not stop.

That was the first piece of advice.  Giving them a weapon was probably most likely self-explanatory.   But, I have never been the best at listening to the warning of others.

I open the trunk, get out a tire rod and give it to the older gentleman who almost transforms into someone much younger in years.  The frail old man changed a tire faster than anyone I have ever seen in my life.  In mere minutes, he got up and without being able to speak any English, he handed the tire iron back to me as if he was handing me a sword.

We both bowed towards each other, and he spoke in Spanish to his grandson who translated for me.

“My grandfather wants me to thank you.  We have been out here all night and no one would help us. He is grateful.”

I shook his grandfather’s hand and smiled. “De Nada.”

Thankfully following my own inner guidance provided a better result for me, and that has been true time and time again.

Most of us can remember 9/11, where we were, what we were doing as it is one of those days that stays with us forever.   What about 9/12, though?  What were you doing then?

Standing outside my apartment, my neighbor from upstairs was outside. He was a nice guy from one of the larger Middle Eastern countries.   We were friends, but like most of my friends I am not concerned with their politics or religion.    We talked on numerous occasions but never before about those topics.

But 9/12 was a new day.   My fear, like everyone I knew was at a fever pitch.   He was not at home on 9/11, so I asked him where he was at and what he was doing.  He told me and had a reasonable explanation, but must have sensed my panic because we began talking about the events of the day before.  His feelings were the same as mine, of horror and sadness beyond anything else.   He mentioned that being Muslim himself added another dimension as he was noticing people treating him differently.   There was a watchful eye where ever he went and there were hateful words thrown his way when he would get gas, groceries or any of his normal activities.

I had not thought of that aspect before.   I have met those of the Muslim faith but had not had the opportunity to speak to any of them until then.   He was open sharing what he believed and answered any questions that I had.  He then invited me to the mosque.

Without much thought I accepted his invitation for that weekend.

It did not occur to me the backlash from those I knew who thought I was beyond out of my mind.   It was not until then that I learned that there were death threats, bomb threats and vandalism threats at the mosque.  I was undeterred.

Living a life of fear is not the way I want to live.  We are all going to die. The only question is on what day.  It is how I choose to live that really matters, to me.

My children were in I think elementary school, or maybe junior high, but they were used to going to different religious institutions.   I wanted them to find what worked for them, not necessarily what I believed.  We had attended most denominational church services, non-denominational, Buddhist teachings, and any other that we were invited to join.

It was a Buddhist monk who when visiting a Buddhist learning center that it did not matter if I became Buddhist or not. “All that matters is that you practice kindness.”   It is a simple concept that I have kept with me to this day.

There were many who said I was a terrible parent for the thought of taking my kids to the mosque under any normal circumstances but considering the situation I was as some suggested, neglectful.  My thought was different. I reflected aloud.  “If not there, then where?”

If we are not safe within a religious institution, whatever that institution may be, then we as a society have lost our moral compass.  “An eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind.”   And, I vow to not be blinded by hate, or fear.

Entering for the first time, there was an apprehension as I entered not knowing what to expect.  What I noticed quickly is the line of shoes just inside the door.   Everyone out of respect is to take off their shoes when indoors.

I took off my shoes and took my place in the back.   A lot of people came up to greet me and my children.  I had recognized some from playing softball, others being parents at school but they were very accommodating.

The procession was in Arabic. The men were on one side and the women on the other.   He spoke in English for my behalf explaining everything as we went along.  He told me the reason that the men and women sit separately is because the concentration is supposed to be on the service and not on fraternization.     It is not that they see women as being inferior or anything like that.

Halfway throughout he spoke about some of the common misconceptions that are portrayed about their faith.  The first is suicide, which is as he said, is not advocated in any major religion.  He made a great comparison between the Oklahoma City bombing and how Timothy McVay was a devout Christian.   How is it that we do not say a Christian bombed that building, he asked?  He is not a representation of normal Christian values just most of the world’s population of Muslims are not representative of those who commit horrific acts.

My neighbor, he was the most religious person I knew. He walked the walk, praying throughout the day.  He fasted, did not own a TV.  He did not curse, and he was incredibly polite and giving.  That is indicative of every person I met there.  They were from so many different countries, some smaller ones that I had never heard of before.

The common thread was that they were much more anxious of me than I of them.  They individually shared stories of being told they would not be served at restaurants, managers telling them they could not shop at stores and the like.  I did not understand it from their point of view.

On another visit, the same gentleman who led the precession was crying profusely throughout.  His parents were in the same city that our US forces were bombing.  The dynamics were real.    He cried not out of anger, he did not have hate in his heart but rather he was a human being whose parents were being bombed. He was a son who did not know if his parents were alive.

I am not sure if it was on this visit or another but during one trip there was also a local church leader. I am not sure what church he represented, but he and I were in the back. He was kind to me, but said very little.   At the end they asked if I or he had any questions. I did not.

Standing next to me, he told them that he was gracious for them allowing him to visit and his only hope was that they would “take Jesus Christ as their savior.”

I took a step away.  There is a place and a time for everything. That was not the place or the time.

My eldest child ranked his religious liking based on the food they served with his Catholic leanings being the greatest due to their serving donuts.   He though quickly put the mosque at the top due to them having a feast after the service.   Traditional dishes were served, and we ate sitting on the floor.

A couple of weeks after 9/11 one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed happened at one of the largest local churches.  Leaders from the religious community were welcome to come and speak.  All the different churches, synagogues, someone from a mosque, all came together with one message: love and peace.

It was magical the solidarity that they all one by one spoke briefly that their belief is beyond all else that we love one another.

It has been well over 5 years since I last visited the mosque. I, like other religious or ideological institutions I found what I came for. I learned what I needed to learn. If found out for myself that these are real people. They are not subhuman.  They are mothers, daughters, sons and fathers.   They have shaken my hand.  They have kissed my cheek.   I will invite them into my home, if and only if, and it is the same for anyone else no matter their background or affiliation.  If they are kind, I welcome them with open arms.

When someone tells me that all Muslims should die, if I know them, I will invite them to the mosque.  No one has yet taken me up on the offer. That is ok.   I am not out to change the world. I cannot lead them to where they do not want to go.  We all see life through our own limited lenses, and it is ours to view it how we deem fit to see it.

I have though found new friends in places I never would have if I had let fear rule my life.  I would not have seen the beauty in someone’s smile or tasted such amazingly different foods if I stayed in my own bubble not allowing myself to be vulnerable.   It is a practice I continue to today.

The only finger that I can point is back to me.  I cannot solve the world’s problems. I have not the answers.  I can though continue to be a little kinder to someone than I need to be, because that’s how I choose to be.  In return, maybe someone somewhere at some time will be a little kinder to me than they need to be.

“It matters not what you believe.  As long as you practice kindness.”

Healthy By Design

It seems a world away, but really it was only a mere ten years ago. I did as most

do. I went to the doctor when I got sick, which was more often than I would have

liked although overall I was really rather healthy. It was not until I was

introduced to a new line of thinking though that I realized how unhealthy my

choices were.

It was not until I was introduced to Chinese medicine did I realize the real

difference. Instead of going to a doctor when I was sick, I began going to the The

Lotus Center of Oriental Medicine when I felt fine. Instead of a doctor spending

two minutes with me, they were (and are) partners in my health. My first session

was probably 60 minutes in length and included every facet of my diet, exercise,

sleep patterns, prior injuries, illnesses, and others.

I have been to acupuncturists before, and have had different experiences. My

first was someone who was very cold in his approach. Not only the room itself,

but his approach was one where he did not explain what I was going to

experience. Instead, I laid down and he inserted the needles. It did not hurt at

all, but I felt very uncomfortable not being able to move and he simply left the

room.

This did not sway me from trying it again, and I found someone who was exactly

the opposite. He had a great bed side manner, was very professional and a really

good person. The acupuncture itself was really helpful, so I started going

whenever I could.

People often ask me what do I go to acupuncture for specifically, and it is a great

question but more than anything it is to increase my immune system. I relate it to

taking your car into the shop for an oil change. There may not be anything wrong

with the car, but it routine maintenance that keeps the car running at peak

performance and is what keeps the engine running much longer.

It was more coincidence and location that brought me to The Lotus Center of

Oriental Medicine. A friend recommended it, and it was closer to where I lived.

Because of the convenience, I started going there and I still do to this day.

It is not merely for acupuncture that I go, though. They offer a slew of services

beyond acupuncture. I have tried quite a few different treatments as well as

herbs and supplements.

In combination with my regular treatments, I also have changed my lifestyle

especially in terms of my diet. It is these changes that positively impacted all

aspects of my well being. I feel better, and I rarely get sick.

Traditional western medicine has been beneficial for me, and I will continue to

utilize it as a resource but I am overwhelmed with appreciation for finding

alternative medicine as an additional resource. It is one that has given me results.

If you have never tried acupuncture, or any other many different treatments

offered through Chinese medicine, a great resource is:

 Lotus Center of Oriental Medicine

And, if you live in South Florida you can visit their office located in the heart of

Boca Raton. Their phone number is listed on their website.

lotus