Lost ones found

That moment you realize death only changes one thing. It signifies the end of a soul’s presence in it’s physical being. That soul’s love and energy continue on in a different form, in and around us all, always. We choose to believe it in order to feel it, it’s called Faith.

For those not so in tune with their spirituality, you might think that idea is farfetched, and death signifies the absolute end. Physics’ 3 Laws of Energy; Conservation of Energy states that “energy cannot be created nor destroyed, rather, it transforms from one form to another.”

Okay, but energy is referred to in those laws scientifically, as in ATP, hydropower, solar, or fuel. I get it, the spiritual energy discussion can never be proven, but unless your religious or personal belief system is fundamentally different, disbelieving is essentially a pessimistic approach. We all have energy, and it needs to go somewhere. Not believing in a higher afterlife existence in a world where there was a 1 in a quintillion chance of your own Earthly existence sounds like negligence.

Why do we dream or feel a lost one’s presence at times? Why have I heard countless people say it “felt like they were still with us”? Their souls, their love and energy have to keep going. As soon as we allow ourselves to welcome this idea and their energy, we can start to heal from the pain of our physical loss, and we can continue to share the love we always have, just in a different way. I’m telling you, there are higher beings at play.

IN GOD WE TRUST

Don’t we?

I was roughly 18 years old when I was first finding a true sense of my spiritual awareness. We had recently lost my grandfather and we decided to also visit the gravesite of my brother at a cemetery in the Bronx. Little known, he was the second-born, but passed away in his infancy. I didn’t recall visiting in my teens so it was a big moment for me as the youngest. I have always been tight with my siblings, and was curious about the role he plays in my life, and in our lives. I thought of times I slipped away from danger or an accident with ease. Is he out there? Does he watch us at all? Could he be my guardian angel?

I’m thinking this as we were all driving back to Pelham Parkway. You may have heard of it. My extended family was all gathering at my grandparents’ apartment. We park the car and I step out of the rear-left door, and on the floor I find a little black ball. Let me remind you, I was a young adult trying to wrap my head around these family losses, and essentially in the dark when it came to faith. I step out of the car and by my foot, I find a black toy ball with on one side, two big eyes painted on, wide open. It was either a coincidence or a sign, brother above was watching me all the way. Let me hold that thought, never could be too sure.

I am sure he’s smiling now as I write this, right there watching down with my Dad, proud for sure. I’m on the couch across the living room from my Mother and she’s sleeping, TV on, “Modern Family”. Go figure.

Flashback again, this time a few years ago, 26 years old.

Now I was about to be the man of the house, there was only a day or two left with my Dad still physically here. Writing was on the wall, yet I wasn’t ready to deal with fate. I needed to quit thinking of ways to miraculously save him, and start on acceptance. Seriously, my Dad was soon to have his last rites read and there I was, delusional, driving all the way to Port Chester, New York trying to find this magic cancer-curing fruit juice from South America. I kid you not, I think it was called “guanabana”; Taste great actually, but it served no purpose. I guess when it comes to these kinds of things it always feels a little too late, we try anything to compensate.

Anyway, it was time to let go, mentally prepare, and let him drift away into the next life if you will. So one mourning morning I head out to my car for a coffee run. I parked at a CVS in Mt. Kisco overnight across the street from the hospital. I open the driver-side door on my Acura and there they were planted on the side mirror. “Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear” from the other side. Stunned, 2 eyes, again. Similar to eyes you’d find on a stuffed animal, these eyes were affixed to my side mirror, large and perfectly centered. In my darkest times on this Earth, another sign of eyes came back to stare right into my soul. Guardian angels are watching all the time, this time I’m sure. The message; this pain is here, yes, but it’s all meant to be. Trust God.

I pray for strength in those who don’t get that extra gift we were blessed with. Extra time with a lost loved one. We were given two extra weeks with my Dad to wish our farewells. In that time I received the most powerful love in family and sympathy, signs that faith prevails, and signs that it is all written. It’s written right here.

Remove ourselves from the equation, our personal desires to see, touch, or hear them one last time, and just feel the love. It is all we need. It stands the test of time and transforms through death. Be sure to carry it with you, in your heart, and through after your last breath. We’re all walking together, yesterday, now, and forever.

Only the good go young. Every time it has happened it has pushed me closer to becoming more of myself, closer to my dreams.  Every time it has happened it has pushed me closer to the people I belong with. Every time it has happened it has made me appreciate life so much more. A smile, a laugh, a child, a cry; Life is so damn full, unfortunately maybe sometimes He has to take one to remind us of it. Remind us to love and appreciate, it’s what brings out our truth.

If I’m talking to you, it’s meant to be. I could see your eyes now, that love is true. Lost and found, Faith.

Dreamers

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Go with the flow they said.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A star, what do you think? Some answer with lawyer, doctor, teacher, and model. Actually more actors, actresses, artists, and athletes. Lot of A’s, so we strive for them until we have it all.

Work hard, follow your dreams, and find your passion. Confronting struggle or failure along the way, some lose hope. Then find it in acceptance and change towards healing and growth. We all have a fire of sorts, or ambitions of greater success, but few have the courage to pursue them. To each their own in this society; unfortunately, most people are suspended in settlement, slowly drifting away every day.

Work, bills, relationships, self-love or lack thereof, we stop living when stress boils over our blessings. Quite frankly, it’s a shame to those that are stripped of any chance at a fair shake.  Grateful for this chance, I cannot look back at life and say I didn’t try. If any part of it isn’t real, I don’t want a part in it. Career, friends, and loved ones, all the things that were never meant for me usually had a similar play. Cloud and consume my energy, I’d pause, assess, and recognize less of me; I save my peace and walk away.

We have a love/hate with the struggle.  It’s real, so it’s here to stay. Trapped in anxiety over the future or mistakes of the past, the mind winds up, too tense to rest or assess what’s best. Embracing changes, we adapt or we don’t, don’t let the dream fade.

Life’s ups and downs will take you out at the knees, cover your eyes, pull you from the darkness, and through to the skies. It brings you clarity and strength, yet down your cheeks, tears weep. In who do you confide?

I have you.

In any moment, you may come across a big decision with uncertainty.  Determining your desires from your needs, choose you. Your values and beliefs will stand tested in time, resonating strongly when you decide. The things you can’t live without prove your love within so follow that until there is you. Souls out, a little more complete, a little more you, following your heart was all true.

So listen close. Dreams change, or stay the same, and so do you. I’m chasing the best version of me, and I hope I see, more of you.

The real you.

Ripple Effect

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“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.“ – Mother Teresa

The other day I went to the supermarket and bought a few things. A long loaf of sliced wonderbread, 2 packages of Boar’s Head ham, quality american cheese, and some prosciutto. Top of the line, smoked, beautiful prosciutto. I can hear you vegans sighing now.  Oh, I picked up a bunch of waterbottles and some ziplock bags too.

I packed 10 ham and cheese sandwiches, plus water bottles into large ziplock meal bags. I knew I would be in the Bronx and Queens that weekend, so I just veered slightly off schedule to give them out to homeless people I came across in the subways. I would avoid the beggars and give to those I saw living reclusively, minding their own business. I hear beggars clean up these days, near 6 figures, untaxed – not bad for hanging out on the E train with a can out all day.

Anyway, I didn’t even think I’d write about this, nevermind sound like a show-off. It’s just a few sandwiches and something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Kind of like hanging with that old friend again, “I never got around to it.”

For real, I wrote this because when I personally handed over those meals to people cotted up in dirty, concrete, NYC, underground crevices, something changed in me. I handed the bags over and I looked into each person’s eyes, and they looked in mine. Because I prepared a bagged meal for them, they were being cared for. It was me slapping the sandwiches together, the moment they were not forgotten. It was that greater hunger I didn’t think about. They would look at me slightly jolted and I could feel the genuine gratitude; It was absolutely incredible.

Except this first guy I came across. Let’s call him Tommie, big boy laid out asleep already at the first stop, corner seat of the subway car. He could have pulled an overtime shift of day-drinking, or maybe they just don’t bother him much on the 4 line. Dressed in dirty army fatigues, a big coat, and some shades, I didn’t get the feeling this was a lifestyle he was used to. My stop was coming up, so I tried to leave a bag for him, but he flinched and started mumbling slurs. “You want a sandwich or no?”, “No!” Attempting to get up off there too, he stumbled over himself getting a little louder “Money!”. “No, sorry, good luck!” Tommie tripped on the gap behind me as I looked back, change falling out of his coat pockets and what looked like a tube cap of a syringe. This was my one concern, people who lost all control of themselves. Substance abuse is ugly, and that clearly became his only hunger.

Dude, I asked every single receptive homeless person if they wanted 2 mealbags. None of them would take the second free meal. Free for the poor, yet no takers. Explain to me how every time we hear the word “Free”, we jump, even round up some friends and family to get in on the deal. Unbelievable.

There was one man though, had to be in his mid-40’s. Corner of Queens Blvd. and Broadway. Chase was his name; he seemed upbeat and completely content. He refused a handout completely because he had colon cancer, said he couldn’t eat meat. I asked if he wanted water or anything else. “I’m good, thank you!” he replied cheerfully as he pulled his blanket up, over his feet, and up tight to stay warm. “Okay, take care man, god bless!”

I walked away confused about Chase’s situation. It’s nighttime, literally chilling on the corner, presumably has cancer, smile on his face, positive energy, and just trying to get covered and warm. He had me thinking about my late Father who lost his battle with cancer. He always used to ask us to cover him with a blanket, but most importantly his feet. “Strict orders”, he’d say jokingly. Man, it’s so easy to forget those little things, and hard not to smile remembering them. Chase, on the corner had nothing, and in that moment gave me everything.

Back to the topic, I was giving out sandwiches, and one older man refused my offer for a second meal 3 times. I’m pretty sure his name was Jerry. He was appreciative, took the first meal and politely refused #2. These people simply did not want to take 2 sandwiches because they knew there was a struggling, homeless, hungry human at the next stop or block starving for a meal. Damn! And does anyone ever consider or wonder, “How much do the poor give?”

Well, in this case, priceless memories, or refusal of a free sandwich and water so the next man can eat. They also fumbled away, lost touch, or downright struggled their entire lives, for us to see what they live like, and what we should avoid becoming in life. They show us why we must love, and show it, work hard, and strive to be well-off, so none of our family or friends would be in that situation. They give us a living example of why we should stay off the hard drugs too, or atleast try not to try them.

What do the poor give? What about us, what do we give? You know what bothers me the most?

When I bought the ham and cheese at the H-Mart, I also bought the prosciutto. I bought it for me because well, I wanted the good stuff.  They get the ham, I get prosciutto.  Like I’m any better, honestly! What a fraud I am.  I only gave away 8 of the 10 f**king sandwiches, told myself I couldn’t find anymore homeless people and got on with my “real plans”. Then tbere I was, inhaling a ham and cheese driving home. Loser move, I even left the one last bag an extra day in the car and the sandwich went bad. Good job bro.

At that point I realized, I realized what I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s like to have nothing. Something most of our parents grew up with, nothing, nothing but each other. They would do anything to ensure we never knew what it was like, and surrounded us with love in the process.

If I had a dollar for every time I opened the fridge as a kid complaining “There’s nothing to eat!”, I could have put Tommie, Chase, and Jerry up in The Plaza for a week.  I probably should have given that extra meal to Jerry even though he repeatedly said no. It was in better hands with him. He wouldn’t have let it go to waste; maybe he’s a better man than me.

“How much do the Poor give?”
I’m sorry, not enough, but I hope this leads to more.

Lost in Time

AFBED529-71F9-4DE4-BC55-54D48BC23023The epidemic is ravaging through the lost millennial generation. Chief symptom, “happiness unfound”; Carefully careless in relationship and goal standards, dreams work more than we do.

The breakout likely leaked in an AOL chat room in say, 1996. Masses of people streaming directly into your bedroom PC. Contact with the world, without contact, to be you or not to be? No remorse, tech-boomed more distractions and recourse disguised as convenience and “connection” ever since.

Don’t bite the Apple, Eve. Your iPhone is force-feeding you. Over-saturation of content, info, and interaction; it’s easy to depreciate the content in you.

The epidemic doesn’t have a name, but I call it “half-ass shit”. Internally degenerative, externally negative, filling you with emptiness. You get what you give, and I’ve seen, given, and received a ton of half-ass shit.

You’re probably reading this while being sidetracked from another task; bedtime, a project, or maybe silent in a room with someone close. Speak up, maybe get a little closer.

I bet you put a lot of energy into that last relationship. Feeling cold, you decide it’s best to care less. Reciprocation is what it is. Next time less you give. Downward spiral, they return the half-ass shit they were receiving. No refund, open the app, in comes options, and with honest conversation closed, out goes another half-ass relationship. Degenerative catastrophe, cardiac atrophy, resulting in that half-ass heart. Incapable of love from the start.

At work you do what’s asked; sometimes more, sometimes less, and wonder where’s the growth or promo on your desk? Maybe you hustle, but how much downtime is wasted in your phone or bullshit conversation? The game, traffic, the weather, or your professional circle that gets too personal; you know better. Success has to be prepared for, so if we don’t focus on what’s within, and on our plate, don’t we just delay our purposed path and our fate?

More half-ass shit. We feel we should have been born to a past generation, longing to belong. We think we deserve more, and that more deserve less. Incomplete work and relations, yet money, people, and our have-nots cause most of the stress. We turn cold, half-assing passion. Check the snap, DM, and texts. Hang on to words, and not feelings and action. Let’s make it stop, take a shot.

First and foremost, break free of the chains on your phone. It’s an accessory, not your lifeline. Gather around, toss the vices devices in a box in the corner; let the room get a little warmer.

Pause and assess how much of you you’re giving to goals, to family, friends, hobbies, and your anti-social media. “Not enough time in a day.” Half-ass response, be truthful to you and others. Cut out the clouds of doubt and get out of any traps of “unknown”. Pay attention to who gives you their time, and everyone and everything that returns yours with peace of mind. Be real, and if it’s not returned, walk away. It’s not you, it’s them. Give it all again.

Since the last time you gave me yours or even this moment now, know I’m grateful for your time. You find it all in the realization that, everything will be lost, in time. For those we go on without, let the love grow strong within.

Let’s cure the half-ass shit by being the most complete, unapologetic, authentic version of ourselves, with love, all ways.
All of you, all of me.