July 30, 2012

To my “FRAINS”…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:14 am

Merry Monday and welcome aboard the Train for another week of station stops.  To start the week off let me share with you something that a VERY good friend who rode the Train last week shared with me as a result of our having discussed relationships.

But first, like the wine that accompanies the meal, the music that accompanies the post

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To My Friends Who Are…………MARRIED
Love is not about “it’s your fault”, but “I’m sorry”, not “where are you’ but “I’m right here”, not “how could you” but “I understand”, not “I wish you were”, but “I’m thankful you are.”

To My Friends Who Are………… ENGAGED
The true measure of compatibility is not  the years spent together,  but how good you are for each other.

To My Friends Who Are………… NOT SO SINGLE
Love isn’t about becoming somebody else’s “perfect person.” It’s about finding someone who helps you become the best person you can be.

To My Friends Who Are…………HEARTBROKEN
Heartbreaks last as long as you want will cut only as deep as you allow them to go.  The challenge is not how to survive heartbreaks, but to learn from them.

To My Friends Who Are………… NAÏVE
How to be in love: Fall but don’t stumble, be consistent but not too persistent, share and never be unfair, understand and try not to demand, and if you get hurt – never keep the pain.

To My Friends Who Are………… SEARCHING
True love cannot be found where it does not truly exist, nor can it be hidden where it truly does.  Love is magic. The more we hide it, the more it shows; the more you suppress it, the more it grows.

To My Friends Who Are………… PLAYBOY/GIRL TYPE
Never say I love if you don’t care.  Never talk about feelings if they aren’t there.  Never touch a life if you mean to break a heart.  Never look in the eye when what you do is lie.  The cruelest thing a guy can do to a girl is to let her fall in love when he doesn’t intend to catch his/her fall.

To My Friends Who Are………… POSSESSIVE
It breaks your heart to see  the one you love happy with someone else, but it’s more painful to know that the one you love is unhappy with you.

To My Friends Who Are…………AFRAID TO CONFESS
Love hurts when you break up with someone.  It hurts even more when someone breaks up with you.  But love hurts the most when the person you love has no idea how you feel.

To My Friends Who Are………… STILL HOLDING ON
A sad thing about life is that when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in he end that it was never bound to be and we just have to let go.

To My Friends Who Are……….. SINGLE
Love is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you just let it fly, it would come to you when you least expect it.  Love can make you happy but often times it hurts, but love’s only special when you give it to someone  who is worth it. So take your time,  and choose the best.  The  shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.  The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up  to anything.”

Hey passengers…Make it a great week!

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

July 26, 2012

Therapy Thursday…Relationships (cont.) “Tips for when the break-up is imminent”. An interview with Dr. Emily Hath PhD.

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:36 pm

Good day passengers, welcome aboard!  I am so excited to introduce you to my new friend and recurring guest here on Therapy Thursday, Dr. Emily Hath PhD.  I sat down with Dr. Hath recently to discuss a very sensitive topic, “How to break-up, when there seems to be no other option”.  The Doctor and I spoke at length on this.  I will release portions of our interview over the next few months starting with today’s tips from Dr. Hath.

The interview (Kick off the mood music and enjoy part I):

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Chuckie:  Dr. HATH!!!  My new frain!!!  Dr. HATH!!!
Dr. Hath:  CHUCKIE!!!

Chuckie:  I am so excited that you hopped the train today…truly!
Dr. Hath:  And I am honored to be here [on the train] today.  I’ve really become a LifeTrain fan!  You are a very gifted young man.  Yes you are quite the treasure.   Keep this up, we need brothers like you.  Those who can open up, be transparent and share issues that effect us all, including me.

Chuckie:  You Doc?
Dr. Hath:  Yes of course, just because you work in the area of psychiatry does not preclude one from the same issues as everyone else.  We are just trained to recognize symptoms, steer you to conclusions and offer options.  Having said that let me put up a disclaimer.
Chuckie: Ok?

Dr. Hath:  While I am honored to sit here with you and discuss issues, these conversations should never be used in lieu of our passengers seeking one on one professional counseling.
Chuckie:  Dully noted Doctor Hath.

Dr. Hath:  Please, we are friends, Emily will suffice.
Chuckie: Now I am honored…

Chuckie:  Doctor Hath I’ll get right down to brass tacks here,  when you know that a relationship is truly over what are some tips or advice you would offer someone?
Dr. Hath:    Well Chuckie, while there is no cookie cutter approach, the list of things you shouldn’t say or do during a breakup is long, much longer than the list of things you should say and do as you say goodbye.  Everyone has a story or two to share about a painful breakup, one where hurtful things were said and done, leaving wounds that would take years to truly heal. If only men and women would try harder during a breakup to break up with grace, our collective wounds would be less severe. Good breakup etiquette actually serves everyone’s best interests, including yours, because you’ll carry less baggage into your next relationship if the breakup isn’t ugly.

Chuckie:  Dr. Hath, I mean Emily, I’ve observed that when the end is upon a relationship, most of us spend a lot more time in the relationship trying to make one or the other the bad guy/gurl out of the person instead of just leaving…to justify the leaving…or they stay out of fear of hurting their partner.  does that make sense?
Dr. Hath:  Very true Chuckie.  When you know that you’re truly going to leave the relationship, don’t stay longer to avoid hurting your partner.  Far too many men and women stay in relationships well past the point that they know they don’t want to be in the relationship any longer. The tendency to stay longer makes sense: Most people don’t want to hurt the other partner. The problem is that your partner has instincts and can probably sense your retreat inside the relationship, so you’re not doing him or her any favors by prolonging your partner’s sadness.

Chuckie:  I guess to add to that point, emotions run high at the end and things could get ugly.
Dr. Hath:  Yes, couples should realize this and work to avoid further psychological or in worst case scenarios physical damage.  Don’t yell, scream, or name-call at the very end of the relationship.  By the time one or both partners have decided to call it quits, everything has already been said and done. Sure, a year from that point, you may have new insights about the relationship, but those won’t come until you have time for peace and reflection. Allowing things to get ugly at the very end reflects a last-ditch attempt at immediate gratification, but the truth is that the real gratification left the relationship a long time ago – the precise reason why you’re breaking up. Call a spade a spade and start the process of moving on.

As you officially end the relationship, tell your soon-to-be ex that a part of you will miss him or her.

No matter how upsetting a relationship may have been, both partners will have moments where they’ll miss each other because there was once an attachment. A simple statement, like this one, acknowledges that you spent a lot of time together and respect the fact that you once had warm and loving feelings for each other. Including this ceremonial statement is a way of honoring the relationship and keeping an eye on the big picture.

Chuckie:  What are some tips for post relationship activities?
Dr. Hath:  Immediately after the breakup, do not start dating anyone else. One of the most common tendencies men and women have is to try to jump into a relationship with someone new after another relationship has ended. Though going on a simple date with someone a week or two after the breakup may seem harmless to you, your previous partner could find out about it and feel extremely hurt as a result. Even in the case that your old partner would never find out, spending time with someone new so soon after your relationship ended isn’t good for you, either. In fact, distracting yourself in this way will prevent you from going through some of the natural mourning steps that must take place in order for you to truly heal from the loss and – wait for it – learn from it!

Chuckie:  Very good point.  Also, I might add.  After my divorce I didn’t give myself enough time to heal.  I jumped into a multitude of relationships trying to erase the memory of that catastrophic event.  I ended up hurting a lot of people because I just wasn’t ready.
Dr. Hath:  Understandable.  Chuckie, you’ve actually stumbled upon a portion of this topic that we could do a whole other segment on.  Shall we touch on it now or later?
Chuckie:  Let’s table that for now.  That way I know you’ll be back on the train
Dr. Hath:  No worries, I promise to use the free ridership pass you gave me to both make deposits and withdrawals from you, oops, I mean the Train

Chuckie:  Let’s continue on the “what to do now” tips.
Dr. Hath:  Ok…A month after the breakup, send a kind but breezy email to your ex and say that you hope he or she is doing well.  In most cases, it’s best to not get into a back-and-forth exchange, so leave it at one or two emails and then let it go. After all, it’s time to move on – remember?  Most of all, don’t contact each other too soon after the breakup. Both of you will probably be flooded with mixed up feelings, and you don’t want to open the (romantic) door and confuse things. But sending an email a month or so after the breakup is a kind way to show that you haven’t forgotten about your partner.

Dr. Hath: Remember, this is a very traumatic time for all involved.  Give yourself time.  Release yourself of any blame.  And most of all stay on your knees.
Chuckie:  Good way to end part I Doctor.  I look forward to chatting with you more.
Dr. Hath:  Until…

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July 23, 2012

This week on the LifeTrain: “Relationships…”

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:08 am

Welcome back for another week, and another ride passengers.  This week we take a look at relationships.  But first, kick off the mood setter (music vid).

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While I am in no way a relationship expert, I’m an experienced “Relater” at the joys and pains of relationships.  I’ve been through a divorce, break-ups, lost love and friendships.  So, let me offer a metaphor of sorts.  I can describe what I’ve been told about child birth, but, I’ll NEVER be able to really describe it.  I can tell you about relationships though, the good, the bad and the ugly.  My aim this week is to somehow offer some support via information and relating my experiences.

I chose this topic because more and more I find myself in conversation with loved ones…friends, that are in some degree of pain over relationships.  I hope the following day’s postings help out.

Imagine moving into a large empty house with your partner. There is plenty of space: a room just for you, a man-cave for him, room for entertaining, overnight guests. You can decorate as you like.  But over the years bags of trash accumulate, and rather than taking them out, you toss them into one of the rooms. When a room becomes all filled up, you simply close the door, and start filling another room. After years of doing this, you find yourselves running out of space. You’re both living down by the front door. This house has gotten way too small, one of you says.  I can’t stand this. I need to find a new house. And out one of you goes.

This is what couples often do in marriages. The house is their relationship that at the beginning offers so much emotional space to be discovered, shaped, filled. But over the years there are arguments that never get resolved, unvoiced resentments, situations and events that are hurtful but never healed. These become the things we can’t talk about: your mother, that “thing” that happened between you and your boss, the kids, one spouse’s lack of friends,obsession with video games, our sex life. Bags of emotional trash, uncomfortable or hurtful topics, that are pushed away but never go away. They gather and after a few years the couple’s only safe topics are the weather, your day at work, and Jamie’s soccer games. No wonder everyone feels bored, restless, cramped.

So either you make do—pretend that the space by the front door is just fine—or you naturally think about moving out (divorce) and finding a new house (a new relationship). And if you go that route, its going to be great—all that new space, the starting over, the new discoveries, the chance to relax and speak your mind… until the emotional trash begins to accumulate once again.

What to do? The obvious easy, yet difficult answer is to go back upstairs and clean out the rooms.  Begin talking once again about those taboo topics. Bring up old issues, not to battle but to resolve and put to rest.  Rather than biting your tongue and being careful, talk about how it feels to constantly bite your tongue, and take baby steps towards saying what is on your mind and in your heart.

The problem is rarely about what’s in the baggage—the content.  It’s the process that’s killing the relationship: the pushing and locking away, the holding back.  Move forward, clear out the house, move against the grain and the rules.  Give your emotional lives the space they need.  Sure, you’ll feel a bit shaky at first, on a bad day you’ll think this isn’t a good idea at all. But keep it up.  Let your partner know why you’re doing this. Encourage him/her to do the same.

Start opening those doors, and you’ll begin to discover your house all over again.  But, what you can’t get the door open?

“Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.”

This is the opening line of a poem by Jack Gilbert entitled, Failing and Falling. You might remember Icarus from Greek mythology. He and his father Dedulus were trapped in a labyrinth and Dedulus made wings of wax that Icarus could use to fly away. His parting warning to his son was that he be careful and not fly too high towards the sun. Once he started flying Icarus felt free and emboldened and, not paying attention, did indeed fly too close to the sun. The wings of wax melted and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. The moral of this myth usually is about recklessness or stupidity, or not following the advice of your elders.

But we’ve all been like Icarus. When we look back at mistakes we’ve made in the past they too seem like glaring and foolhardy examples of stupidity, impulse, and poor judgment. We kick ourselves for our lack of foresight, for not slowing down and being more cautious, for letting our emotions push our reason into the corner. When we tally them up, the catalog of failures can leave us feeling that our lives are more half-empty than half-full.

This is particularly true with relationships, as the rest of this poem describes. Like Icarus, we start out with a sense of excitement and passion, with the best of intentions and visions of success, but then we lose sight of where we are heading. The arguments, the biting of the tongue; the attack, the withdrawal pull and distract us.  The once-firm start begins to crumble.  The car that is the relationship begins to veer ever so slightly off the road, so slightly that we scarcely notice.  But suddenly one day we find ourselves sitting in a ditch, unable to get out.  The relationship ends and we wonder how we got there, while those around us shake their head full of hindsight wisdom.

“And people said they knew it was a mistake, that everybody / said it would never work.”

But another way of looking at relationships and failures is to not see them as failures at all. Yes, the intentions were sound, the judgment good.  Yes, there are always mistakes to find; there are regrets that remain and sting. But the problem was not stupidity or laziness or anything else our critical mind feeds us.  The end of the relationship occurred because each of us had changed and grown, and we had only changed and grown because of the support we were able to give each other.

“How can they say a marriage failed…Icarus was not failing as he fell but just coming to the end of his triumph.”

Appreciate your triumphs.

Lest you think I am endorsing divorce, I’m not.  Like God the father I hate divorce.  It can be beyond painful.  I actually thought I was so “righteous” that divorce would never be an option in my life.  However, things happen and we need to have a way to make sense of it all…I am committed to being a friend to those in need in this area.  that’s all I;m saying.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain…

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July 19, 2012

Friendship Week On the Train (Cont.) – See a need, meet a need…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:00 pm

Good day passengers, welcome back aboard!  Continuing on with this week’s topic, Friendship.  As per protocol, kick the mood music off and read on!

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When you find someone with a need and fill it, you’ve become a valuable friend. You can be sure the man beaten by thieves in the Parable of the Good Samaritan became the Samaritan’s loyal friend for life. Maybe your own special friend is waiting for you just around the corner. Why not peep around and see who’s there?

Luke 10:33-34, “But a certain Samaritan…had compassion…and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

I often wonder why we do the gratuitous, “Hey, you need anything?” when we see a friend down on his/her luck.  Be it a job loss, death of a loved one or divorce to name a few.  There have been times when i have been on both sides of the table of this question.  And while I am not perfect, never will be, I try to not ask this question of someone I know truly needs a SAMMICH, not a lecture.  There have been times when through no fault of my own (can we say some things like corporate mergers, do the math) I found myself in a time of need.  Some friends taught me a very valuable lesson, they just showed up with resources.  I remember them, and now, in most cases I try to just show up with resources, without asking…”Hey, you need anything?”.  Of course they need, why make them do the canned answer…”Nah, I’m ok”…

I’m not just talking a loan or gift of money.  If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there.  Send cards and care packages. If there is a death in his/her family, you might want to attend the funeral – or cook and take a dish or a meal over to your friend. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let the tears roll. Give a tissue and listen. Really listen openly.   Or…as in the case recently when my Mother passed, they might just need you to put their arm around them and sit quietly…very still…and very quietly.  You don’t have to say anything, just don’t be too upset by hearing sadness or anger, or deep grief. Stay calm and reassuring.

A friend is the one who comes when everyone else has gone, the one to whom we can say, “I can’t take this alone, but with you, I’ll get through.” David in anguish cried out to his Best Friend, “Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication … My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.” (Ps. 55:1,4) But by the end of the psalm, David had found the faith and strength he’d asked for. (vs. 22, 23b) Our greatest Friend will be there when all others have forsaken us. God is “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

I think she said it best:

“The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.” — Maya Angelou

Most of us selfishly want friends for what they can do for us, but we should want friends just as much for what we can do for them.  Here is the true secret to finding a friend, from the little book “Apples of Gold”:

I went out to find a friend, And could not find one there.  I went out to be a friend, And friends were everywhere!

Luke 6:31, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!

July 16, 2012

Friendship week on the train!

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:08 am

To be a friend you have to be a friend…To have friends, one must know how to be a…Friend.  That’s the theme this week here on the LifeTrain, “FRIENDSHIP”.

But first, where’s my manners.  MERRY MONDAY!!!  That’s how we do it each Monday on the Train, “MERRY MONDAY!!!”.

During my Birthday period last month I took inventory of some of my more positive outcomes LTD (Life to date).  The top three things I noted were, Jesus, Family and friends.  I’ve been blessed with all three…

As pertains to friends in my life I marvel at all the treasures (friendships) I’ve been able to cultivate during my time here on earth.  I’ve also noted that there are some people, for whatever reason might not be as fortunate.  I hate that for them because of the many benefits I’ve come to realize as a result of my eclectic mix of friends (race, gender, culture etc.).  Because of the very high quality and quantity of friends I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire I thought I would look at how I think I have been able to be so fortunate by sharing this week my thoughts on being a good friend.  So kick the mood music off and stop by often this week as i update this topic.  OH…And leave a COMMENT (click “comment”, lower right of this and all articles here on the train).

The topics I wrote on friendship include: “Be real”, “Be honest”, “Be loyal”, “Be respectful”, “LISTEN”, just to name a few. Today though, just to get things started I would like to leave you with a few FRIENDSHIP quotes that I subscribe to.

1. Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. -Swedish proverb

2. Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand. -Emily Kimbrough

3. Man is a knot into which relationships are tied. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

4. No road is long with good company. -Turkish Proverb

5. You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are alone with. -Wayne Dyer

6. To know when to go away and when to come closer is the key to any lasting relationship. -Domenico Cieri Estrada

7. Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough. -Dinah Shore

8. It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. -Marlene Dietrich

9. A true friend is one who thinks you are good egg even if you are half-cracked. -Anonymous

10. Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things. -Anonymous

11. A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when memory fails. -Donna Roberts

12. A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. -Grace Pulpit

13. It takes a long time to grow an old friend. -John Leonard

14. Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. -Anais Nin

15. Friends are the sailors who guide your rickety boat safely across the dangerous waters of life. -Sare and Cate

16. Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. -Plautus

17. The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away. -Barbara Kingsolver

18. In my friend, I find a second self. -Isabel Norton

19. Let us be grateful to people who makes us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. -Marcel Proust

Most of what I am writing this week is in appreciation to all of my friends.  Remember to come back for more this week.  I truly think I have some good stuff falling out of this pea brain pertaining to acquiring and maintaining friendships.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!

July 2, 2012

This week it’s all about the music…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:44 am

And the question for my fellow passengers this week is how much music will you make this week with me? Kick off the music selection and read on.

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This is a great story that reminds me of the importance of making your own music.  On Nov. 18, 1995, violinist Itzhak Perlman performed a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Stricken with polio as a child, Perlman painfully walked with the aid of two crutches to a chair in the middle of the stage. He carefully laid the crutches on the floor, loosened the clasps of his leg braces, extended one leg forward and the other underneath his chair, picked up his instrument and nodded to the conductor to begin.

But something went wrong. After only seconds of playing, one of the strings on his violin broke. The snap was a gunfire reverberating in the auditorium. The audience immediately knew what happened and fully expected the concert to be suspended until another string or even another instrument could be found.

But Perlman surprised them. He quietly composed himself, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra resumed where they had left off and Perlman played — on three strings. He played with passion and power. All the time he worked out new fingering in his mind to compensate for the missing string. A work that few people could play well on four strings Perlman accomplished on three.

When he finished, an awesome silence hung in the room. And then as one, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered wildly. Applause burst forth from every corner of the auditorium as fans showed deep appreciation for his talent and his courage.

Perlman smiled and wiped the sweat from this brow. Then he raised his bow to quiet the crowd and said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

Perlman should know. Polio left him with less stamina than he had before, yet he went on. Playing a concert on three strings is not unlike his philosophy of life — he persevered with what he had left and still made music.

And isn’t that true with us? Our task is to find out how much music we can still make with what we have left. How much good we can still do. How much joy we can still share. For I’m convinced that the world, more than ever, needs the music only you and I can make.And if it takes extra courage to make the music, many will applaud your effort. For some people have lost more than others, and these brave souls inspire the rest of us to greater heights.   So I want to ask you my fellow passengers, “How much music can you make with what you have left?”

It’s all about the music here on the Train…

All Aboard!