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Turning In

As a country, we are a melting pot of different ideologies, different ethnicities, different points of view and we strive to celebrate those differences. Historically we have been known to be a country that attracts fresh starts and offered a haven, free from persecution.  “Fresh starts” yes, but free from persecution? Hardly.

Our country was founded as a response to persecution, yet we have been the biggest violators of that ideology. It goes to show that the wounds which have been inflicted on us we continue to inflict on ourselves and others, like some sort of Ancestral Pathology.

There will always be hierarchies. There will always be differences. But judgment and prejudice usually stem from insecurity and the fear of the unknown, and we have been conditioned to attack anything that is different. Prejudice and judgment are not relegated to the uneducated, to the poor, or to the over-educated and entitled. Its commonality is a traumatized heart–– a closed heart.

Hatred does not come out of a void, prejudice is a learned behavior. As parents, it begins with us; to be a good role model for our kids, to be generous of spirit. To not jump to believe what you see is the whole story. I am always amazed to see whenever I make snap judgments I am usually wrong. Or at least I certainly do not have the whole story.

I’m being taught everyday by my children: when I interact with their behavior, rather than knowing there is more to the story, I get more unwanted behavior. When I take something personally, I have no perception and I have no ability to assist in diffusing the situation.

Prejudice takes on many faces:
      Fear of the unknown.
      Fear of what you don’t understand or can’t explain.
      Fear of looking stupid.
      Fear of losing what you feel entitled to.

Fear is the reoccurring theme. We have no understanding of how to deal with our fears, we only know that being afraid is uncomfortable and someone will pay for our discomfort.

In times of uncertainty we look for diversions, entertainment, religion, meditation, mindfulness–– anything that can soothe the savage beast, or at the very least, can create some sense of normalcy and stability.

I personally have been looking back, whether it is my age or if I am just remembering a time when the world seemed bright and fanciful. However, the truth is, every TIME has had its pain. It is just our posts and or snapshots that allows us to distort the past.

Turning Corners

I just got back from vacation in Europe with my family where we had such a miraculous time. My heart is full. 

I am moved and touched by the the sweetness and generosity of the people of the world. We were treated with such warmth everywhere we went. I am clearly an American, and like the country I come from, I still think I have that inalienable right to act impatient and entitled. We are a country of “Willie” Loman’s, marketing a time that no longer exists. America has had so many opportunities to reinvent itself but we are too busy inventing slogans that are attempting to resurrect a time that is long gone.

The world is receptive to us but through very different portals. Receptive to our graciousness, our creativity, our ingenuity, our passions, our inclusiveness. I have become arrogant and proprietorial about what I am accustomed to.  What I discovered on this trip, due to gaining some distance from my self-proclaimed reality, is that I don’t particularly like myself. I don’t say that in some sort of self-pitying way or self-accusatory way, but more as an impetus for change. I don’t have enough money, youth, looks or cache for that level of entitlement.

I saw my future in such a clear way; I am to serve, not just sometimes, but all times. I don’t think making this change will be easy, as I have to battle a cultural riptide and personal impulses, but I do think this is the right direction.

In Memory of Chester

I was heartbroken to hear about Chester yesterday. My heart breaks for Mike, Brad, Dave, Joe and Rob (bandmates), Chester’s fans and family. We are not privy to people's pain, we only get glimpses into what people endure. As a father I can’t imagine leaving 6 kids this way, but I then think of Chester and I think more about him as a son than a father. And my heart breaks for him knowing him as an energetic, sweetly sensitive boy, where the world was too much for him. We all try to make sense of life and hell, I have made a profession out of that pursuit, but there is life that goes way beyond our own understanding. I watched a YouTube video of Chris Cornell singing “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles and Chester singing “Hallelujah” at Chris Cornel’s funeral and I was reminded of all things that are beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. And once again I was reminded that we are all heartbroken. Thank you Chester for all that you gave.

Taking Time to Change

They ––those people–– usually say, that as you get older your life becomes less expansive, your views become narrower and you become less tolerant. You turn down the music. Not to say there is not some sort of entropic aspect, or at least, some gravitational pull towards this way of being. But it doesn’t have to go that way; I have found that habitual behavior versus original thinking usually stands in the way of any kind of evolution. And many of us blame lack of time for our lack of capacity. We tend to maintain many of the values that we started with, rather than allowing life to look and feel like a constant cycle of expanding values.

Time Management is an illusion at best, as it is a sore attempt at putting lightening in a bottle. More like Timeless Play, the idea that there is an infinite supply of time and all one needs to do is access it. Most look at their time to see if they can shove a commitment into the time they have rather than look at what you want to create and harvest all the time you need.

The idea that it takes time to change is not true; what takes time is how long it takes for people to realize they need to change. Being radical and revolutionary in your examination of how you have lived and how you are living, can’t be bad.

“To introduce an initiative of changing your mind and opening your heart, time and time again, seems like a good way to go.”

Dreams and Fantasies

We all have dreams; those that are very different and diverse from one another. And then we have fantasies associated with those dreams. Fantasies, rich with revenge and virulent excess, create potent images of what we will do, who we will be and how people will respond to us when those dreams come true. It only takes us minutes to put a fantasy together, and the internal detail can be quite prolific. Dreams, on the other hand, can take a lifetime.

A fantasy is intoxicating, it has us long for an experience that is altogether untrue. However, the fantasy is fueled by fabricated social media and marketed lies. The experience that a fantasy promises does not live in a fulfilled dream. In order for a dream to come into existence, the desire for the fantasy/experience has to dissipate, and the desire and hard work to build a dream has to come into focus.
This is the reason so many never fulfill on their dreams: because the addiction to the fantasy is far more alluring than the sobriety of a dream.

“Your fantasies have to die in order for your dreams to come true.”

Lost and Found

There are certain qualities that we come into this world with. Whether those qualities are decreed by our genetics or by our environment, they did not require effort or examination. They were our “Givens”.  

There are some people who have a strong work ethic. And there are people who have the ability to make us laugh, while others have the ability to move us deeply. Some are good with numbers, while some are savvy at having other’s number. Some have the ability to think outside the box, while other’s design the box.

We all have different innate abilities that we are blessed with. It is easy to rely on these inherited traits; and if they monetize and yield a certain cache, we think that they will sustain us forever. There is, however, a finite value to these innate qualities. At some point, after you have sucked all the marrow out of those “Givens” you find yourself in need. That’s where true character begins. It is not things that come easily, it’s where you have to really work for qualities that were not part of your inherited self.

The reason that developing a new trait is so difficult is because the moment you introduce the notion of a new paradigm, you threaten an existing one. With how much mileage is yielded from those innate abilities, it is hard to turn your back on a consistently reliable resource.

You can’t get rid of something that is innately you, but you can move it out of first position. Understanding when something which used to feed you is now killing you and needs to be retired, is a sign of wisdom. If that quality has ruled despotically for some time, then you have been lost for some time. Time to put another quality in first position and archive this old friend.

A life dedicated to evolution understands that you are introducing and retiring qualities constantly.

The Great Romantic Gesture

The Great Romantic Gesture belongs to another time…

There are romantic expressions and romantic actions but a true Romantic Gesture has certain criteria, and we do not live in a world that is conducive to the Great Romantic Gesture. We live in a world that is riddled with fear and the addiction to staying alive. A true Romantic Gesture has to bypass all reason and requires some sort of considerable threat in order to qualify. The threat can come in many forms: emotional, financial, your reputation impugned or life-as-you-know-it forever altered. We are all too interested in building or holding on to our way of life for a Romantic Gesture to occur. It’s all well and good to fly someone to Paris on your private jet for the night; as exciting and unusual as that is–– if you can afford it–– but it’s not a great Romantic Gesture. For it to be a real Romantic Gesture you have to have some skin in the game, meaning risk is involved; for no risk means no reward.  
Many glorifying examples live in movies and literature. For instance, John Cusack in Say Anything. Despite him having nothing to offer nor does he qualify to be dating this girl, he is smitten, so he bypasses all logic in the face of being completely diminished by the girl’s father. He puts it all on the line for love. And in the end, he stands hoisting his ghetto-blaster high above his head in triumph, not for having won the girl, but for having triumphed over himself. A winning act. Both Romeo and Juliet gave their lives for the ultimate Romantic Gesture. They died having known what that felt like. These heroic acts used to live in life, but now they are relegated to the screen or the page.

I can’t help but think there is a yearning to know what living was like in halcyon times. There seemed to be an imperceptible net that allowed for the cavalier freefall of those bold Romantic Gestures. There is certainly no net now, whether real or imagined, but these acts–– if in fact they happen at all anymore–– belong to the foolhardy.

 Chivalry isn’t dormant or hibernating, it’s truly dead. Entitlement, however, is alive and well. –BC

Authority vs. Credibility

There’s a difference between imposing your authority and having credibility. We tend to confuse these two all the time. There are places we have credibility; where we have worked for it and we have earned it. In these places we have a senses of ease regarding it.

Authority is assumed––not earned. Authority presumes, that because I have credibility in one area, it gives me a hall pass to all areas. There is an arrogance to authority­­; a need to be recognized.

We all are vulnerable in particular areas (ie: intimate relationships, health, money career) where we are more prone to strut out our authority. In the area of intimate relationships, I would argue to the death to prove a point, firmly convinced I knew what I was talking about.

When it comes to mixing up authority and credibility, time is not always the great teacher in this regard. Someone could spend their entire life in a specific situation and still have not have learned anything. Authority doesn’t have the capacity to learn, it only has the capacity to dominate. The only pathway from authority to credibility is by way of humility––a true understanding that you don’t know what you are talking about.

“Just because you have expertise in one area does not give you a global passport to all areas.” 


As I look back and I look forward, I am both heartbroken and grateful for my life. I have come to a better understanding of my anxiety and its many changes.  For the longest time, I have been trying to make sense out of all the conflicting backwash, more trying to get to calmer waters. There is only the sea, with me bobbing up and down on the swells. Life is difficult on any terms, but if you throw yourself into it head-on, you are going feel everything, all the time. The joys, the sorrows, the laughter, the play the heartbreak, the hopes; you will feel all of it. I don’t know if we are equipped to live like that, if it is our natural design; but I have come to understand I have no choice. I might have something to say about how I experience the surges, but I understand I have nothing to say about how or when they come.

I am getting older; like so many of us, I just never thought that would happen. When I look around, there seems to be people who are more comfortable with that transition, like a good suit that fits well. I am not that comfortable, maybe it’s because I still have my hair. What I do embrace about getting older is my heart is full, I feel more gratitude and connection to those I know and love and to those I don’t know and love.

From the beginning of my life, I have been trying to be MORE. More of everything; that has manifested in arrogance, hyperbole, lies, entitlement, competition, putting others down. As I get older, it manifests more in where I feel limited in my ability to protect and provide. The issue has never changed, only how it moves through the world.

Understanding your contribution in the world is part of being grateful. Grateful for what you are and what you are not.
Some people’s contribution is money; they make a lot or inherit a lot, so they can impact other’s lives financially.
Some people’s contribution is resources; they have the ability to provide opportunity for others.
Some people’s contribution is skill; they have skills that the world and people in the world benefit from.
Some people have talents, and that enhances other’s lives.
I am still in the process of discovering mine and mostly I let others determine if and how I have contributed to them.

 The generosity and love that is given to me on a daily basis is beyond understanding. It is beyond deserving and it is beyond me. But I am forever grateful.

Happy Holidays 2016

There is so much being thrown at us on a daily basis it’s hard to keep up, it’s hard to stay connected. It seems that the world is giving us a lesson. And it sure seems as if the world has its own conscience in dealing-out these lessons in very harsh ways. We have never been good with loss. Our own personal losses continually shock us; we are certainly anesthetized to the world’s losses. It seems that understanding that loss is an intrinsic part of life is the lesson that the world is pounding into our hearts. We are also being forced to face the absurdity of life and what we think we can claim as ours. The recognition that we are living on shifting sands and all is in question, its having us learn a whole new form of balance. The world is our teacher and it goes beyond the people that make up this planet. Like an omnipotent force that has always had its eye on us, it seems that force has taken up a different narrative, leaving us staring point-blank down the face of a barrel.

I don’t feel afraid; I feel more loving. It is an interesting paradox to feel more loving in the face of complete uncertainty. I think about what I can give and how I can maintain an open heart. We are all absurd and we all have our own brilliant ways of getting through and aberrant behaviors always belie the truth.

It is my attempt to continually talk to the best part of people, to not be so quick to react as if I am being offended. To create a new context, one that will Sheppard me through the next twenty years; a context that uplifts those around me. I am reaching out, not so much to the stars anymore, but more to a hand that is right next to me.


Have a safe and grateful holiday.

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