Angels Miracles & Puppy Dog Tongues


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Look at that face, that tongue, it doesn’t get any cuter than that, right?  This
little girl is Bugsby.  Bugsby is a French Bulldog that has had one adventurous life.  From the time she was a puppy, she’s liked adventure, she loves to roam in search of that next smell.  You could call Bugsby a bona-fide explorer, a free spirit. Bugsby is one of our sweet fur-babies.

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The start of 2016 had a lot of new beginnings for our household and it looked to be a great year.  We had six (well seven) beautiful children.   There’s our two-legged versions, Lucas and Luci, a trio of loving pups, Bugsby, Ling-Ling and Little Bones, a sweet kitty, we call Kit-Kit, and Bubbles, the Beta (that’s the seventh, if I didn’t mention Bubbles, Luci would let me have it!).  Our household was full of all kinds of love!  One of our new beginnings was that we decided to take a leap of faith, try to tighten our belts (a lot) and have one of us come home and take care of this big household.  Lucas was six-months old at the time, Luci was eight, and it just made sense to us.  So, I drew the straw, since Pam (my wife) had the tenure and income to seal the decision.  Lots of good things in store for this New Year!!

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Meet Stephy, Pam’s younger sister.   Take a look at that smile, the energy and the beautiful spirit of love in her eyes.  Such a ray of sunshine in so many ways.  From a young age, she developed an unwavering compassion for animals like no other.  Often rescuing and bringing home all forms of wildlife she had found while exploring. From birds fallen out of nests, to a baby squirrel that became a household pet, to turtles that she would find.  Heck, she even brought home a pair of Sugar Gliders once, the list goes on and on.   She, like Bugsby, an adventurer and most definitely a free spirit.  Even as she ventured into adulthood, she dedicated a large portion of her time to various animal organizations.  Pet Rescue by Judy and Loggerhead Marine Life Center, just to name a couple.  In fact, her given nickname was Turtle.

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Bugsby and Stephy you could say, are kindred spirits!  Their personalities are very similar, with their goofy fun-loving energy, their love for the outdoors, their flare for being mysterious, yet always the life of the party!  There is no question that there were forces from beyond that brought these two together.  You see, Stephy and her boyfriend at the time Troy, were Bugsby’s parents.
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As life often does, it took a turn, and Stephy and Troy made some changes in their lives that required these two kindred spirits to be somewhat apart.  Bugsby came to live with us, where, if there was a second best option needed, our home was the place!  Stephy knew steph and bugs 4that we would love Bugsby, just as she did.  So, Bugsby lived a pretty charmed life in her new home and her new family obviously fell in love with her.  Yet, through the years, Bugsby became the ultimate escape artist, as to fulfill her desire to explore.  She would find ways to get out and peruse the neighborhood.  We had to become excellent sleuths in solving the mystery of her whereabouts.  We would use the local app Nextdoor to get the message out.  We also had some really nice folks in the neighborhood that became part of our team, when she would go on what I would call a “walkabout”.  She never ventured beyond our neighborhood, but she did like to explore.

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bugsby-missingThen, for lack of better words, the real 2016 started to unfold. Our beautiful story made a horrible turn for the worse.  January 31st, 2016, after a trip to the local grocer, while unloading the car, the door to the house had stayed open long enough to give just enough time for our little escape artist to make her move.  I, the top sleuth in the household, was out-of-town working my last trade show.  Thankfully, Stephy and Pam’s mother were visiting, and they went on the search.  Yet, after searching for hours, no Bugsby.  It was dark, it was cold and we really started to worry.  Initially, I posted her missing on Nextdoor, as I had so many other times.  By morning, we had heard nothing.  We then expanded the search to  Facebook, Craigslist and Instagram, to no avail.  By then, I was home from my trip. The following days we reached out advertsto local veterinarians, shelters, animal control and SPCA and asked them to post the flier  I had made.  We Posted fliers on all street signs, local restaurants, grocery stores and shops that would let us.  We even shared one with the mailman.  I called Avid, the chip maker that monitored the chip inserted inside Bugsby, and reported her missing/stolen and asked that they put her on alert.

I then started looking beyond local, finding and learning so much about organizations that build networks to help locate missing pets. It was such an endearing experience.  We talked to folks such as R.O.M.P. (Return our missing pets), Lost Dogs Florida, Zeustroop and so many more. They used their networks and resources to shoot out our flier to not only their followers, but, also other organizations that they work together with in their network.  It was amazing the depth of their networkimg_1652.  We had people all over the country looking for Bugsby.  They offered fantastic information and ideas of things to do that would img_0884offer a better chance of success.  They sent me stories of hope.  I would look on their Facebook Pages and sites to see other families reunited. There were also other local folks that had recently lost their Frenchie’s that started contacting us via Facebook and offering their support and ideas.  There was one gal that we became close to, feeding off of one another for hope.  We even entered a 5k Color Run as #TeamBugsby and made shirts with our flier on them.  We had lost our baby, Stephy’s baby, and were becoming desperate.

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Then a call, a young man left a voicemail, offering a glimmer of hope.  I called the number back and got his voicemail.  He called back again and I got him this time.  He said he was confident that he saw Bugsby.  He said he had seen our flier on Craigslist, and that he saw Bugsby in St. Cloud, offering a street intersection.  I sent Pam and Stephy a text, immediately jumped in my car and went there, to find there was no such intersection.  I called the guy back to clarify and he said that maybe he got the street names confused.  I asked if he had really seen Bugsby, and he confirmed that he had.  I drove around the area  to find nothing.  The same guy called again the next day, and gave me another spot close to that 11038247_3749931917889_5447793125605016121_narea, this time I calmed myself and looked at Google Maps first.  Again no such intersection.  I did a search on his number, and it did not jive with his personal story and the number had complaints of a prankster.   I let Stephy know, and she blew a gasket!!  She reached out to her hundreds if not thousands of friends and asked that they “troll this guy!” Needless to say, the calls stopped.  Stephy came to town anytime she could , going around town putting up fliers and spreading the word.  She was as desperate to find Bugsby as we were, if not more, but still nothing.

In the meantime, as we continued to explore other ways to find our little girl,  life went on. In early April, Luci had her 9th birthday.  A sleepover party with some of her friends. A fun time was had by all, but late in the evening, a freak accident happened and our dining room table fell over on top of Little Bones , our little Chihuahua (she was very deserving of her name).  Luckily (we thought at the time), theIMG_1473 table did not land on her body, but only caught a leg and as properly illustrated by her name, it did not bode well for her leg.  It was a nasty break, and after getting a second opinion, unfortunately, it required surgery to repair.  Little Bones went in early to have her leg repaired, and I received a call from the doctor later that day letting me know the surgery took longer than expected and that Little Bones needed to be kept overnight for observation.  I got a pit in my stomach. Something did not seem right.  Later that evening, I received a message from the doctor, telling me that she was stable but still unresponsive.  Trying to stay positive, I kept it to myself.  Then, the call came in the morning, my eyes welled up, even before answering the call.  I somehow knew the message before it was given.   Little Bones did not make it through the night.

DSC_0214.JPGI couldn’t believe it.  Two members of our family, two of our babies gone, two empty spots in our home, in the blink of an eye.  How could I break the news to our family, to my little girl Luci?  Our sweet little doggy had died over A broken leg…A BROKEN LEG!!!  Apparently, since her bones were so little, it became difficult putting them back together.  The initial attempt did not hold and they had to make a second attempt.  She had been under anesthesia for too long and the assumption is that her body dsc_0222temperature, combined with the time she was under, was the story of her end.  I couldn’t believe it. So, I broke the news to everyone and we all cried together.  Everyone decided it would be best to bring her home and bury her in our yard.  Luci and I made a nice burial box and we had a ceremony in our back yard together, as we laid her to rest.

IMG_5928Life in this 2016 was really unfolding much differently than expected. But, life did go on. We had a beautiful life event to plan, as Luci was to celebrate her sacrament of First Communion in the coming weeks.  We had lots to do, and Luci was excited, as her Uncle Fefy (what she called Stephy from the time she could talk), was to come.  She had something special planned in honor of Little Bones at her burial site.  Luci was truly Stephy’s mini me, with a bond that was even stronger than being just family.

The weekend had come and we were doing our Saturday morning routine of My Gym early with Lucas and then off to Starbucks.  Before going in, Pam, out of the blue, said, “Why don’t we all say a prayer together.”  So, we sat together and said a prayer, then went in for a nice morning coffee.  While standing in line, my phone started buzzing.  I looked and it was my mother in law, Gio.  I let it go to voicemail, as I was in the middle of ordering.  The phone buzzed again, it was Gio, I answered.  It was loud in Starbucks and I could not hear10390985_10152956078952470_4925172956043112607_n very well.  I went outside, leaving everyone inside, as she sounded erratic.  As I headed outside, my heart dropped.  As I went through the door, I heard as clear as day, “Stephy’s Dead”…I remember everything just slowing down and a warm vibration overcoming my body …….”What?….What do you mean Stephy’s dead?”  Gio, in hysterics, went on to tell me that Stephy had died in a car accident.  I was numb, for the first time, in a long time, at a loss for words.  I knew that Gio had called me, so that I could somehow convey the news to Pam and Luci.  I gathered my thoughts, did a quick meditation for strength, and went into Starbucks and told Pam and Luci we had to leave.  (All I could think of was the coincidence of the random prayer Pam requested).  Asking why, I told them that we just needed to leave.  While in the car, they asked again, I let them know we needed to go home, something had happened.  I waited  until we got home, so we could all sit on the couch together.  Then, in the calmest manner that I could muster, I let them know what had happened.  This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It was a day that would change the life of our family, forever.

The following days and weeks were a roller coaster, with so many emotions being experienced.  Luci couldn’t understand, and she continually expressed…IMG_1453“First Bugsby, then Little Bones, and now Uncle Fefy…why daddy?  Why did they have to die?..”, (she feared Bugsby had been killed by coyotes.  We had seen a pair out in our neighborhood when we were out searching for Bugsby).  “It was their time, sweetheart.  It was their time to go onto their next big adventure.  They were needed somewhere else.” i went on to say, ” Uncle Fefy will be your guardian angel, sweet pea.  She will be there for you when you need her most”, I would say each time she would ask.  At first this gave her comfort.  Eventually, that comfort faded. The viewing and funeral services were attended by massive waves of people, most discussing how pam Stephy was “too young to die”, how it “wasn’t fair”.  Luci started feeling the same way about losing her aunt,  about losing Little Bones, and about losing Bugsby…it was so difficult, so heartbreaking for her, for all of us.  Pam was incredibly strong, I think her strength came from her sense of responsibility for her kids and her family, or possibly just numb, from the constant flow of loss, up to this point, in 2016.

 

As the dust settled, and things started calming down, we all went on with our lives, steph and bugs 3but, with massive holes in our home and in our hearts.  Now that Stephy was an angel, the hope that Bugsby would come home became just that much more important, as kindred spirits never fully part.  We knew that if there was anyone determined enough to find her, it was our Stephy and she had special powers now.  Yet, as the days turned into months, well, the conversations started to fade.  The social media reach out was less frequent.  The fliers on the street signs started to come down or become weathered.  Life’s cycle of mindless routine started to consume our energy used towards getting her back, but our hope never faded.  A random conversation about Bugsby would come up and would remind me, remind us, that she is out there somewhere.  She is chipped, and she will at some point have to go to a veterinarian.   Our hope was that whomever has her, has compassion as she has some food allergies that just make her break out.  Although, as time passed, I must admit, Luci’s and my theory about Coyote’s started to become more accepted by me.  Maybe as a “letting go” mechanism, as it is the “not knowing” that is the most difficult part in this whole scenario.  Yet, we never lost hope that she would come home.

As 2016 ended, we gladly said good-bye to that year, as did all of our family.  It had been one of those years that would challenge anyone’s faith.  I believe this was a common theme for many, in our little circle and beyond.  So many tragedies, so much insecurity in the world community, so much hate and uncertainty, the world seemed IMG_3652for lack of better words, in chaos (more than usual).  So, on New Years Eve, we stayed home as a family and I had gotten some of our own fireworks, to send off 2016 with a bang!  To use them as a the true symbol for which they were meant, to send 2016 packing!  To package all of those things we hold onto, causing us agitation, and send them off into eternity.  To start this new year , 2017, fresh.  With a new energy, with a new sense of hope and love for the world.   Goodbye 2016…Hello 2017!!!

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Our theme for this new year was truly hope and love for the world.  Pam and I had a common goal, to just give the love, as much as we could.  Give the love, offer a positive light, do something good for those that we cross each day.  The pain and loss that had gone on in 2016 sparked a light, in both of us.  Although the loss of Stephy was about as traumatic as one can get, it offered a stiff kick in the pants, as it not only was an illustration that life is a gift and it could be taken at any time, but also we were inspired by the ray of sunshine that Stephy was while on this earth.  Listening to her friends, the folks in her circle, was truly an inspiration.  The stories, the anecdotes, the messages of love and positivity that each person had.  Every person I talked to about Stephy, lit up as they said her name, and would give an elaborate message of how Stephy touched their lives.  We so often make the death of a loved one as a personal loss, as to question “how could this happen to me”?  Yet, I see the passing of a loved one, as I observed this outpouring of love to Stephy, as an opportunity to get away from the “me” and dive into the true path to peace, the true path to happiness and selflessly live on as a beacon of light, just as Stephy had lived. To honor her life by living in a manner that would reflect being a shining, positive light for others, just as she was for so many.

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As life went on, in early January, I woke up one morning, and I did not hear the familiar meow, as I did every morning for the last 18 or so years.  Here we go again, I thought.  Kit Kit was at least 19 years old and there were signs that illustrated her age.   I went outside to look for her and did our common call, but nothing.  I went around the neighborhood to see if she had wandered, but, for the last several years, she did not leave the back yard.  She was just getting too old to get around and hop over the fence.  IMG_0033I looked around the entire yard, under every shrub and bush…nothing.  I put a post on Nextdoor, the neighborhood app and inquired with our neighbors, but nothing.  I came to the realization that it was likely just KitKit’s time, and she went and found her final resting place.  Although another loss to our home, it was a blessing in disguise, considering her age,  for “ole Kritter” as we often called her.  It was time for her to venture into her next big adventure.  We were all at peace with her passing, but, boy, did our home seem empty, until…

It was Monday,  February 20th.  Pam, Luci and Lucas had returned from a weekend visit to a dedication bench that had been installed at Dubois Park in Jupiter, FL, in honor is Stephy.  It’s a beautiful place that overlooks the inlet and offers a peaceful place to pray,reflect, and talk to Stephy.   Pam, with a look of peace on her face, said she could really feel Stephy’s presence as she sat in the bench and prayed.  It was a beautiful moment.  Luci had a day home from school.  We had planned to  visit a nature preserve with my mother and niece.  As often does in our plans, “life happens”, and due to conflicting schedules, our plans for the day had been altered.  Luci, Lucas and I were outside playing a game of Superhero’s and Villans.  A call came through to my cell phone, a toll-free number.  Initially, I put my phone down, as we were playing. Yet, for some reason I felt compelled to answer.  A young lady on the other end asked, “Hello, this is Avid, Is this Matt Jantomaso?” I said, “yes it is”.  The young lady asked, “Is your dog Bugsby still missing?”  I said, “for a year and a month now.” My eyes started to well up.   She said, “Well, she’s not missing anymore!”  I lost my breath!  I said “What? Are  you sure?”  She said, “Wickham Road Veterinary clinic reported your chip number scanned in a  French Bulldog.”  She went on to tell me that a good Samaritan found and dropped off Bugsby.  She told me that the office  was located  in Melbourne FL.  I thought to mysbugsbyelf, “how, in the heck did she get all the way over there?”  I know she loved going to the beach, but in all seriousness, Melbourne is an hour & thirty minutes away !!! (no doubt she had been stolen and sold out of the local area.)  She said, “we called you immediately, at first we thought she had been located previously and the information had not been updated, and she was lost again..”.  I said, “No…No..shes been missing this entire time!” Then I got a beep from the other line and it was the veterinarians office that had her.  I was in the middle of juggling the kids, and the woman, Teresa, asked for me.  She went on to tell me the story about the good Samaritan bringing Bugsby in and that she immediately scanned Bugsby. Initially she did not find any chip, but knowing that the chips can migrate, she did a broader scan and got a reading! I couldn’t hold back, as the tears blurred my vision.

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I immediately called Pam on her cell phone, but no answer.  Earlier in the day we had discussed that she was visiting a client that was one of her most pet compassionate clients.   The Singer’s and Pam would often share with one another some of the pet friendly places we have gone and many pet stories.  So, I called the office in lieu of her cell phone to see if I could get a hold of her.  Mrs. Singer answered and I asked if Pam was still there.  I went on to tell Mrs. Singer what was going on, and all of a sudden I heard Pam’s tears of joy in the background.  She was right there listening to the other end of the call, putting the pieces of the puzzle together!  Mrs Singer gave Pam the phone and I just wanted to give her a big hug through the phone, we were both like children excited about finding a lost toy!!  We came up with a plan so we could all go to make the hour and a half trek to be reunited with our little baby girl.IMG_4645

We pulled up to the clinic and everyone was excited.  Luci couldn’t wait any longer, with leash, collar and harness in hand. She was wearing her #TeamBugsby shirt we had made for a run to promote finding our girl.  Lucas had fallen asleep, so I had parked close to the door to the clinic.   I stood at the door of the clinic to keep and eye on Lucas, but propped open so I could watch as Pam and Luci reunited with Bugs (never wake a sleeping baby).    We went in and said, “hi, we are here to pick up the little lost Frenchie that was brought in.”  Everyone looked at us with blank looks on their face.  One woman said she did not know what we were talking about.  I started to clinch up and started getting that warm feeling of distress.  I told them that they had called us about our Frenchie that had been found on 192, brought in and scanned with success.  The woman said that we must have the wrong place.  I told them the name I took down matched their sign, but apparently I did not take it down correctly.  We were in the wrong place.  I went on to quickly tell them the story as Pam and Luci ran back outside to the car.  One of the patients waiting to be seen, just started to ball and the rest of us welled up, as she exclaimed her elation at our story!!  They were all in shock!! Man, it really is an amazing story!IMG_5276

Another few minutes down the road, and,  finally the time came.  Lucas was up and joined us.  We went into the office, and again said, “Hi, we are here to pick up the little lost Frenchie that was brought in!”  The woman at the front immediately saw Luci’s shirt, and said, “I know who you are here to get!” She went back and a few seconds later, the door opened and there she was!! Our little Bugsby! She ran right over, hopped her two front paws on my legs, like she had always done, and putIMG_4621 (Edited) her face up to mine. I set my nose right in the spot above her nose, and we embraced one another, once again.  This had become our greeting to one another…oh, how I had missed that little greeting!  I had missed that sniff, that snort, as our foreheads met…my little Boogenlet (one of the many nicknames, but, one that was special to us).  She went around to everyone, as we recorded the moment, although, she was obviously exhausted.  I can’t explain it.  She looked as if she was in disbelief that she was seeing us again.  All was right with the universe and I felt a certain sense of calm, as if Stephy was standing there next to me, letting us know…”We did it, we got her back”!   Like a tremendous stress that she had taken with her beyond, had been released and she could now rest, knowing Bugsby was back where she was meant to be!  Our guardian angel, Bugsby’s guardian angel,  had completed  her mission that had been left open here on this earth.  She could now be fully at peace.

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The ride home was surreal, as we all took turns with Bugsby in our lap, not minding the fact that she was stinky and full of fleas.   Luci, determined to take the place of Uncle Fefy for Bugsby, made a list of things we needed to do:  Cut nails, give bath, clean ears, brush hair, go on walk, feed dinner and finally play.  I was very proud of her, as she is becoming a selfless little soul like her Uncle Fefy.  Truly deserving of her name, meaning light.

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Sitting in the back seat, Pam was playing music that rang a “coming home” theme as if she was dancing in her soul with her sister. Celebrating our victory, our reunion with Stephy’s kindred spirit, Bugsby.  Knowing that her conversation with Stephy at the dedication bench in Jupiter, just the day before, must have in some way  put the entire plan in motion.  It was a beautiful and peaceful moment.  A calming energy ran through the car. We as a family reflected in our own way, understanding that there truly are forces beyond this perceived reality of ours, and that faith, hope and a little intervention from beyond can truly make miracles happen.

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Oh…and one more thing….please chip (and more importantly register the chip) your fur babies.  There have been so many awesome stories like ours.  Not saying without it, we would have ever given up hope, but it sure made Stephy’s job much easier to get her home!!!!  For more info on this, visit Avid, they have a plethora of information on microchiping your pet!!!

How Heavy Do You Travel?


Summer_rentalHow Heavy Do You Travel?

Have you ever seen that Corona commercial, where the couple is sitting on a pair of chaise lounges, enjoying a nice, relaxing day at the beach, with nothing but a chair and an ice cold corona with lime.  Cue the family walking by, lugging all sort of beach stuff around, the guy looking stressed and disorganized.  I’ve always found that commercial amusing. Well, its a fitting segway for today’s little muse.

I was having a discussion not too long ago, with someone about, well, stress.  You see, she had a plethora of things going on in her life  and was struggling with it all.  Through this journey, I have come to see life a little differently and went on to describe my observation.  The point I expressed went something like this.  This body of ours is like a piece of luggage.  Throughout life, we pack all of the things we mentally give importance to, and hold onto throughout our lives.  So you might say, its a mind full of baggage.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Emotional Baggage PosterThese are the things that define our “self”. (yes the image is one sided, but you get the picture.)

Yet, it is our essence, our soul, whatever word you want to give it… that energy that nourishes and gives life to the “self”, who carries the burden of dragging that luggage along life’s path. To take it one step further, it is also this same energy that has the ability to choose what and what not to pack in this piece of luggage. To choose just how heavy to travel.

I left for a work trip to Las Vegas this past week. The trip out was, well let’s say, not smooth. The first leg was to Phoenix, AZ. While waiting in the terminal, a major storm came through, and this of course delayed the flight. As I waited, I observed many of the conversations going on, as well as the faces of those sitting around me. The drama, the despair, the outright depression being passed throughout those weary halls of the terminal. Many of the discussions going on, could have been deemed a duel of the greater hardships going on in their lives and the acute nature of how inconvenienced they were by this terrible disaster of a wait.

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As the afternoon turned to evening, the plane for which we were to board was found to have mechanical issues. Oh my, now the drama, despair and depression had turned into down right chaos, as if armageddon was upon us. The faces of terror created a new landscape for the zombie apocolypse and its subsequent transformation of normal human beings into a frantic crowd of flesh eating zombies preparing for attack on those whose unfortunate job it was to keep the peace for the airline. I had visions of the lovely airline desk attendant turning into a giant, bone crushing, Ogre as she was continually attacked by these brain sucking zombies.

Irrationality was being spewed, all around. The duels of hardship were becoming so lengthy and orated with such detail. The spectrum of drama touching all range of social interaction with life…. such misery! All, undoubtedly, in the quest for reaffirmation of this misery and sympathy for its plight. Ah, such a funny animal, human kind. Always in the quest for happiness, yet we fill this luggage of ours with such misery, and we hold onto it.Just like a closet full of old clothes and treasures”.

closet  So, cleaning out one’s closet to get rid of those old clothes, those great “treasures”,  takes great effort.   To let loose of those material things is a drama in itself, one might say a great tragedy!  Yet once gone, it is gone, likely never to be thought of again.

Was it the scenario of being held over late that caused this misery to unfold for all of these wandering, weary travelers?  I would say not.  I would say it was just an opportunity to unzip, open up and show each other the baggage they carry around with them. To compare and contrast, to compete, to justify and affirm, to search for favor, and to ultimately give purpose to that oh so precious self.  lugging

This whole experience opened up an opportunity for me to take an objective look at myself. To survey the baggage contained, in this great piece of luggage so graciously bestowed upon me, in this life of mine. You see, I came to realize, just like a piece of luggage, I choose what baggage I keep in the luggage. When preparing for life, just like preparing for a trip, I choose what thoughts to hold onto, just like I choose what items I “need” for my trip. In life, each experience elicits a particular flow of thoughts. The thoughts for which I give importance, that I hold onto, are the thoughts that become my baggage. Those I do not hold onto, that I do not give importance to, pass by and don’t weigh down my luggage. Sometimes I give importance to certain thoughts, and have the ability to let them go.  Just like packing for a trip and thinking I need four pairs of shoes, then coming to the realization that I would rather travel lighter and pack two.

So, really, it is my baggage that defines me.  For, the only difference between me and the brain sucking zombies that came out in that fateful night in June, is the baggage of my mind that I drag around in this luggage of a body, through those weary halls of the airport terminal.

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I have learned to let go and not give importance to those thoughts that flow through my mind.  Don’t get me wrong, the thoughts are there, but I choose not to hold onto them.  I choose not to give them importance.  I choose not to pack so heavy and ultimately, I choose not to give in to that misery.

I wish you all the greatest of happiness in your lives and the ability to lighten your load, to not pack so heavy, to let go of some of that baggage. May you and all living things be peaceful,  be happy and….well…just be!

Show Up and Make Something Good Happen!


MadreTeresaCalcutaconpobres-485x363The other day I attended the funeral of my best friend from childhood’s Mother.  Her name was Carolyn.  She was quite the woman, having an impact on so many lives during her time here on Earth.  Now, when I was young, I looked upon Carolyn with different eyes or at least a different set of values.  The manner in which she approached everyday life appeared, well, kind of calloused and very non-nuturing.  Of course,  that’s coming from her son’s best friend, who was on the outside looking in, but it was always Mark do this, Mark do that….right before we were ready to go out on the boat…Mark, you have to (and a list of 5 things would spout out)…I mean really, it was quite the inconvenience.  You see, as is with most young folks, when the plan didn’t go as expected, well darn it, we didn’t like it.  Let’s just say, the plan rarely worked out the way  we (Mark or I or any other friends that were around for that matter) expected it to if Mrs. Carolyn was around.  Therefore, my opinion of Carolyn at that time was, well, much less than favorable.

You see, the thing I didn’t give any importance to about Carolyn were the things that went on beyond my petty inconveniences.  I mean, I knew she did Meals on Wheels and did things with several other charitable organizations, but that was the extent of it, I knew about it.  Man, but there was so much more.  The list went on and on as I read the obituary the family put together and as I talked to some folks at the funeral.  Not to mention, she cultivated four absolutely spot on kids.  Successful in career, successful in family, darn it, really just successful in life.  Of course, we cannot forget the marriage that she and her husband kept going for so many years, through the thick and the thin, between two very strong-minded folks, a miracle in itself.

Now that I am older, and much, much, much wiser, well, I have been able to venture beyond the cover of this book.  To see Carolyn for what she really was, and that was a beacon of selflessness and compassion.  A woman, with the strength and persistence to always do the right thing, and let others know when they weren’t.  A trait rarely seen today in any part of the world.  A woman whose expectations for the world around her were not to gain her favor, but to enable those she touched to live a better life.  A woman who rarely if ever wavered in the face of adversity.  A woman who lived her life not asking “what’s in it for me” but “how can I make something good happen for another.”   Yes, certainly her delivery could often seem callous, but behind that delivery was a volition filled with only good intention.   Really, someone we could all learn a few lessons from.

So, during the funeral, my friend Mark chose to get up in front of the congregation to speak a little bit about his mom.  He started out with a little humor, but then gave one of the most amazing and inspiring pieces of oratory goodness that I had ever heard.  Its simplicity was the magnificence of its brilliance.  He told everyone (I am paraphrasing here, as I could only wish I had been recording it but this is what i got from it), that the greatness of his mom was very simple and that he wanted to share it with us and that it was going to save us a lot of money.  He said that we didn’t need someone like Tony Robbins, or a therapist and so on to motivate and help us through life.  He said, that we only need to encompass our lives with one simple phrase….SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN (of course, when he says make something good happen, he means for those other than yourself).   Man, he said that, and I nearly lost my breath. Something super simple, yet the most powerful words I had ever heard!   He went on to say that his mom never planned on doing the things she did in life, she didn’t graduate from college and  have some list of things she wanted to do, a bucket list per say.  He said, she would feel drawn to a cause, SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!  Whether it be a charitable cause or just going over to a person’s  house that was in need and spend an hour or two with them. She would just SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!  Man, I so wanted to give a standing ovation when he was done, but I guess that didn’t seem apropos for a funeral.

Wow, SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!  This should be the new slogan for selflessness.  Actually, this should just be the new slogan for Life.  How much more in the moment can you get.  Show up to your experience and just focus on  making something good happen!!  Not focused on the past or the future or the results for that matter…damn it, just SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN.  I mean really, just take a few minutes and think about how this could impact your life in general.  How, in your family, social and career life if you incorporated this way of life,  the moment you open your eyes in the morning until the moment you close your eyes to sleep at night.  Wow, how things could change for the better in all facets of life.

I want to thank my friend Mark for sharing with us his mother’s simple formula for making a difference in the lives of those she touched and in turn making a difference in the world around us!  Such a special gift she has bestowed upon us all! A treasure in fact that I think could change one’s life for the better!   I encourage all of you, find a way each and every day to SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!  No matter if it is at work, at school, in a social setting or at home, just do it man!!   I start today, as my fingers SHOW UP on this keyboard and are  MAKING SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!  Let’s spread it around!! Imagine if we could make a movement for all mankind to SHOW UP and MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN!!  Every day…..heck…every moment!!  Yes, I know, quite ambitious….but hey, it can’t be any more simple than this….ya never know!!

Well, I wish much happiness and peace to you all on this journey.  May you find the strength to look beyond your self and find a little selflessness and compassion towards those you touch everyday.  I promise that in turn, you will experience a glimpse of true happiness in life!

Wisdom in the Midst of a Loved One Lost


lossI was reminded today, of a conversation I had long ago, with a very wise individual I had the pleasure of knowing.  It was not too long after my father had passed.  The conversation had such an effect on the way I looked at his passing and life in general, that I thought I would share.

I lost my father not too long after high school.  We had a super tight relationship and I was devastated.  I remember experiencing some of the very deep miserable feelings one has during a time such as this.  One day a very wise friend sat down with me to talk, (i remember this like it was yesterday) really just about things, not necessarily my father.  We were talking about what my plans were for the future, how baseball was going, i was about to transfer schools and we talked about that a bit, and it went on for a while.  Then out of the blue…he stopped, closed his eyes, and said very calmly, “have you noticed during this entire conversation you haven’t said one positive thing?”  I was kind of taken back by this, but it was true and he continued, “you have all these wonderful things going on and in your life, and all I’ve heard was how you are worried, how you are scared, how they cause you problems and misery, how you are not too sure about this or that.”  I sat there silent for a few seconds and started to cry, and of course after a bit, then the conversation about my father ensued and it went on for a little while.  Then again out of the blue, he closed his eyes and said very calmly, “have you noticed during this entire conversation you haven’t said one thing about your father?”  I was confused and again taken back, and he continued, “everything you spoke of was how it affected you, how this has burdened you, how you don’t know what you are going to do, how it’s not fair to you.”  Of course he was right again.

Then he said to me, ” you have an awesome opportunity here, a great and beautiful opportunity.  Your father, although physically gone, lives in you, lives through you, and is given energy by you, whether it be positive or negative.”  I sat thinking and probably looking a bit confused. Then he went on, “every moment you sit feeling sorry for your self, every moment you are negative about the beautiful life you have… well, that flows through you to him, he feels your misery.  Yet, every moment you go out into the world, live your life, enjoy every moment, do your best, have success, work through difficulties, the energy flows the other way.  His energy flows through you, to enjoy the good times, and give you strength to work through the tough times.  To one day watch your children grow.  To see you live a happy life. To see your light shine and live through the love you spread to those around you.  This is your beautiful opportunity, to live a beautiful life, so that he may live through you and your beautiful life…”

Man, such powerful words, such true words.  So, I say to you, if you are going through this sort of time, you have an opportunity here.  A beautiful opportunity.  Make the most of it, not only for yourself, but for all of those around you that you love, and of course, for that loved one that lives within you…that lives through you.

I wish much happiness and peace to you all.