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Secret Admirers

IMG_3202It’s Valentine’s Day!  One of my most memorable Valentine’s Days was in my sophomore year of high school.  At the time, I was single but not completely happy about that situation.  So it came as a huge but welcome surprise that I received two red carnations in homeroom.  The card didn’t say who they were from.  It just said, “Someone loves you!”  The rest of that day, I spent trying to figure out who could have sent them.  I’ll fully admit that I had a slight strut to my step throughout school.  My hope was that my secret admirer would reveal herself by the end of the day.  Unfortunately she did not.

So I went home and later that evening my mom asked me, “Did you get the flowers that I sent you?”  I was crestfallen to say the least.  I remember getting on my mom’s case about sending red carnations rather than pink or white.  But in all honesty it should not have mattered.  At the time I didn’t have the confidence or worldview to realize what I know now.  So if you’re one of those people lamenting “Singles Recognition Day”, take some time to consider my perspective.

If you are interested in eventually being in a relationship, recognize that you have a secret admirer someplace.  Perhaps you actually have someone that’s interested in you that you just don’t know about their feelings.  I know that I’ve found out after the fact several times.  Or there is someone out there who is looking for someone like you and they just haven’t found you yet.  And the final but toughest one to face is that perhaps you’re not a good enough version of yourself yet to attract that person you want.  THAT’S HARSH!  But may be completely accurate.

I went to high school with my wife and we did not date until after graduating college.  This was probably the best thing that could have happened.  If we had dated in high school, I doubt we would have ended up together.  I had to become a much better caliber of person in those years, so that I could attract someone like my wife.  My hope, in high school, was that someone was secretly watching and thought I was great.  In reality, I needed to work on being great so that someone great would be watching.

So if you’re not there yet and you’re lamenting your single life, write yourself a letter.  Write down a description of your ideal person.  Describe them in every small detail that you can.  Then write down who you need to become in order to deserve a person like that.  Once you’ve written them both down, put the description of your ideal person in an envelope and seal it.  Write next year’s Valentine’s Day’s date on it.  Take the description of who you need to become someplace where you’ll read it regularly.  If you follow through with this, I’m sure that you’ll be happy with the results regardless if you’re single next year.

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The Tabernacle

TabernacleIn one of my favorite movies, “Rounders”, there is a character with whom I identify very heavily.  Despite the movie starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, two actors that show up continually in movies that I love, it is a secondary character played by Martin Landau that gets me every time.

For those who have not seen it, a quick synopsis with no spoilers.  Matt Damon plays a talented card player who has sworn off poker after losing big.  He is now in law school and working hard to recover from the loss.  Edward Norton is his best friend who has a troubled past and has just been released from jail.  The movie follows the two friends as they try to pay off old debts, monetary and other.  Martin Landau’s character, Abe Petrovsky, is a law professor who takes a liking to Damon’s character.

Like most characters that enthrall me, it is the reflection of myself in Petrovsky that is engaging.  Earlier in his life, he was disowned by his Jewish family because he did not believe in God.  Law eventually became his religion.  He helps Damon’s character because he feels a form of debt to those who allowed him to be who he was.

Now I am not Jewish and I have no great love for the law.  Catholicism was the chosen religion of my family when I was young.  I attended Sunday school and can recall more biblical text than is probably necessary for someone who is basically agnostic.  Despite my uncertainties about the higher power and all of my reservations about organized religion, there are many things that I carry with me including a sense of duty that springs from that time in my life.

Within most Catholic churches, there is a “box” called the tabernacle that holds the bread wafers and wine that represent the body and blood of Christ.  It is usually given center stage and is ornately decorated.  In this instance, the Catholic church has put emphasis on something that is extremely important to it.  Regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, there are things in this world that deserve reverence and special treatment.

In a world where information is everywhere and basically everything is for sale, it is easy to lose sight of the things that are truly important.  Luckily, God, Nature, Infinite Intelligence or whatever other force you might believe in has given us our own “tabernacles” for the truly important things.  Two of your possessions are encased so deliberately that it is difficult not to recognize their importance: your mind and your heart.

In very real terms, you exist within your mind.  Every feeling, sight, smell, taste and memory is housed within the tabernacle of your skull.  This should be a most prized possession.   It should be protected, exercised, challenged and never abused.  It should be fed with ideas and filled with memories that make it want to create more.  The day should never come where it is left to the complete care of someone else.  It is almost all that you have.

Then there is the heart which keeps you alive.  Two hearts exist: the physical heart and the emotional heart.  The physical heart should be cared for and exercised.  Neglecting or abusing it will only end in pain.  The emotional heart is also key to your survival.  Although it also needs protection, it needs to be extended to people without safeguard at times.  It should not stay in the figurative tabernacle at all times.  If it does then it wilts and dies in a way that is more tragic than the stopping of the physical heart.

These are just two of things that we should hold sacred in a world that dismisses most things without a price tag.  In your life, I’m sure that there are others.  You don’t need to put them in an ornate box but rather give them what they deserve from you.

I have been given so many things “and for that I owe.”

Pete

 

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Your Investment Portfolio

DisneyHanging on the wall in my son’s room is a stock certificate for one share of Disney stock.  It was a gift at his birth from his Uncle Peter and Aunt Paula.  More than anything it is decorative.  At the time of its purchase, Disney stock was worth about $35.  With the acquisition and release of Star Wars, it is now worth about $114.  So in theory my son’s stock portfolio has performed very well.  It is worth over 300% of its original value.  The growth is outstanding but it’s not enough shares to create truly meaningful value.  The stock was a gift, never truly meant to turn my son into an investor.

However the truth is that we are ALL investors!  Stocks are a financial investment.  That is the type of investment that most people think about when they hear the word.  The truth is that we can invest in many types of currency.  Right now you’re investing several of your most precious currencies on this blog post: time, attention and possibly trust.  Many people don’t get involved in monetary investing because the markets are too unpredictable.  There is the risk of major losses at stake.  It is impossible to lose money, if you don’t put any in.  People are usually conscious of how they invest their money.  Often they are not as conscious about how they invest their other resources.

Time, attention, trust, love, respect and many others are all currencies that should be invested with more intelligence than money.  Money is a renewable resource while time is not.  If you lose twenty dollars, you can always make up for that loss.  The lost twenty minutes is gone forever with no hope of replacement.  Since money is tangible we give it extra reverence but these other currencies are as or more important.  So perhaps it is time to look at your investment portfolio and decide if it is balanced.  Have you put yourself into a position to be swimming in the assets that you have accrued through careful planning?  Or will you feel bankrupt in the end because you squandered the resources that you had?  You are an amazing human being who is destined to do great things if you’ll use your resources wisely!

Invest wisely today!

Pete

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Love and Peanut Allergies

Peanut heartRecently I’ve given this advice to some younger people in my life, my hope is that it helps someone avoid relationship potholes.  During my college years, I dated the same girl on and off for almost three years.  We ran on a six month cycle.  Almost every six months we would have some big issue and it would end with us breaking up.  Inevitably we would get back together a few weeks or a month later.  That would start a new six month cycle.

With each breakup came a few friends or family members that would say “she was a b____!” or something like that.  I never felt comfortable with that kind of 180 degree turn.  After spending months of being “in love” with this person, how could I forget all of the positive that quickly and focus on the negative.  It just didn’t sit well with me because although obviously not a perfect fit, she did have many of the characteristics I wanted.  The problem was that I had not diagnosed my “allergies” before we started.

People with acute peanut allergies have to be extremely cautious.  Their life depends on avoiding certain substances.  People with seasonal allergies are often inconvenienced by the amount of pollen in the air.  In both cases, it is intelligent to take necessary steps to diagnose and use preventative measures.  This mode of thinking can be used very effectively for relationships as well.

I did not have a “peanut allergy” to my college girlfriend.  It was seasonal and only became pronounced in certain circumstances.  The problem was not her but the combination of us and environmental factors.  I selected someone that was going to continually provoke my “allergic” symptoms.  We very rarely get into relationships with people who cause major “allergic” reactions because like a peanut allergy, the reaction is immediate and pronounced.  So the key is to go in with a plan.

Write down a description of your perfect partner.  Take as much time and paper as you need.  Go into detail on all levels: physically, mentally and emotionally.  List all of your MUST HAVES but list your MUST NOT HAVES as well.  These are your violent allergic reactions.  SHOULD NOTS will be your seasonal allergies that may crop up from time to time.  With this list, you are more likely to diagnose problems early and make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Too often we start a relationship and “love, lust, attraction” all take hold and we no longer diagnose anything.  We go on autopilot taking in all of the good and ignoring the bad that could eventually cause major problems.  If you’re still in high school, you don’t need to do this yet.  You need some failed experiments to figure out what it is that you want in the first place.  Once you understand your “allergies” (both severe and seasonal), you’ll be able to have a better chance of finding someone for the long term.

Click HERE to tell me about your experiments and findings.

Good luck in your search.

Pete

 

 

 

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Who Deserves It?

Nothing is infinite regarding human beings and our lives.  Time, money, love, adoration, fame and respect are all commodities that run out at some point.  Since we know that all of these are meant to deplete, why don’t we spend them more wisely?  Shouldn’t we be asking regularly, who deserves it?

The world travels at such a fast pace that many of our daily interactions seem to be reactionary or on some form of auto-pilot.  It may serve us in some ways by helping us to get things done but we need to make sure that important things are not left behind.  Our Facebook timeline, Twitter feed and Snapchats may seem important at the moment.  Perhaps they connect us to the people that we love most because they are far away.  The technology is not inherently evil or disruptive.  We make it that way by our choices.  Do you have a better relationship with your cell phone than your: mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, boyfriend or girlfriend?

We are surrounded by devices that are “connection tools”.  Are we using them to connect or to distract?  Take a moment and use your phone or a piece of paper and a pen.  Write a list of the five most important people in your life.  Within the next five days, contact each one of them in the most human way that you have available to you.

1. Face to face

2.  Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout

3. Phone Call (that thing actually makes calls still!)

It doesn’t have to be the most Earth shattering conversation.  You just need to relay the message however subtly or bluntly that you can, “You’re important to me.”  In a world of unlimited connection, shouldn’t we spend most of our time connecting with those we love rather than with strangers who are “Trending”?  Make these five people trend for a few days and notice how you feel.

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The Love Reciprocals

At some point in the past December 25 was a day set aside to celebrate the birth of a person that represented love and forgiveness. In the present day it seems to center around the exchange of gift cards and other activities that are shadows of their initial intent. I am not inclined to be too hard on our present  day societal choices.  The reason that we exchange gifts is the emulation of the gifts of the Magi.  These gifts were important in helping Jesus and his family escape and hide from certain death at the hands of a jealous and angry king.  It has been over 2000 years and we may not have it right yet but we’re not all wrong either.

I have to believe that mankind is capable of loving his neighbor.  This not a religious thing but rather a practical matter.  The reciprocals of love are too taxing on the body and the mind.  Hatred, jealousy, anger and fear are difficult feelings to maintain.  They are destructive to the individual and society.  Although these feelings seem to happen to us, they are actually choices that we make.

So since love is a choice and hatred is a choice.  Why don’t we choose the feeling that feels good and helps the world?  Many reasons are out there but I believe the most pertinent is that we’re afraid we won’t get that love back if we give first.  It’s the paradox that will determine our outcome as a species. Can we take the first step enough that others will feel secure enough to take it?

Love is a choice.  

Hatred is a choice.  

What do you choose?