“A Dream Doesn’t Become Reality Through Magic”

I use to work at an auto shop that was in the parking lot of a shopping mall.

During the week, our favorite customers were elderly folks. They would come in, drop their cars off and walk over to the mall to do their daily laps.

9 times out of 10, their cars were fine. They just needed to be put through their paces. The technician would hop in a car, take it out on the highway, hit the gas a few times and everything would be back to normal. We would do a tune up and send them on their way.

They use to think that we worked some sort of magic because we’d be done so quick.

But it wasn’t magic at all. Continue reading

How Dreams Come True

There’s this cat that strolls around my neighborhood. I always see him in the field behind the house hunting birds. He’s even gone after a couple ducks. He’s no match for ducks, trust me.

He never catches anything though. He’s a house cat, so his hunting skills could use some work. But hey, at least he tries. He’s a few steps ahead of most of us in that regard.

I remember when I was a kid, I thought I would write music, break dance or play basketball when I grew up.

Over the years, I gave up on all of those things. Because I was good in private, but when the time came time to perform, I couldn’t do it. Well, at least I thought I couldn’t. As a result, I never tried when I needed to.

Continue reading

Seeing New Things, Going New Places

As the airport doors slid open and the warm Florida sun touched my skin, I looked down and spotted a lizard scurrying across the walkway. I was 11 at the time and I had only seen lizards on TV and in library books.

I remember that moment vividly. It was like culture shock to see and experience something that was completely out of the ordinary. To this day, I still smile when I see those little reptiles.

There’s something special about traveling and experiencing things away from home. It connects us to more than what we know.

I read this article by a sociology professor who left her hometown of Berkley California to spend 5 years in Louisiana. She wanted to learn about the locals and understand their political views, which were completely opposite of what she was used to.

I’m not that interested in politics, but I was drawn to a story that’s toward the end of the article. It’s about a woman named Sharon who sells life insurance and wants to provide her children with a better life than she had. Continue reading

Air Fried Chicken

I saw an infomercial the other night for an air fryer. They showed someone frying chicken the conventional way which was a “sloppy” mess. Then in came the air fryer.

The opening line went something like “now you can eat all of the foods you love without the negative side effects”. Too bad that little machine is nothing more than a convection oven that’s missing all the fatty oils that set our taste buds on fire. So these so called fried foods aren’t going hit the spot like we wish they would.

We’re famous for trying to find ways around facts, but sometimes the good stuff comes along with bad stuff and that’s just the way it is.

I’ve been working on finding a healthier version of a chocolate chip cookie. I’d like to have a treat without feeling guilty or sick (after I eat 10). But at the end of the day, I want the real thing. The one from when I was a kid that was giant, filled with flour and packed with sugar. I can’t fool myself no matter how hard I try.

Desires are complicated and as hard as it might be, we’re better off shrinking them rather than trying to find loopholes. And if you can go cold turkey, more power to you. But don’t quit smoking then pick up a habit of kicking your dog when your stressed.

Getting what we want has consequences and when we know those consequences are going to be negative, we often try to come up with some way to lessen the blow. Like my knock off cookies and the phony air fryer.

But lessening the blow actually makes our desires stronger. We end up wanting the original thing even more. So my advice would be to notice desire as it comes up. When we’re paying attention and we feel our desires bubbling, we can recognize them and decide what we want to do rather than be swept away.

When desire runs the show we eat the entire bag of “30% less for the same price” Cheetos. When we’re consciously paying attention, it’s a lot easier to have a few or say no all together.

And when we screw up or give in, oh well. What the hell can we do about stuff that we’ve already done? Nothing except for try to do it less in the future.

Turns out life ain’t easy when everything’s right at our fingertips, it makes things more convoluted. But that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel.

Except for when it comes to the air fryer. Give that up and grab yourself a real bucket of chicken.

Forget About All of Your Expectations

I have two dogs, Thor and Dez.

Before they sleep, they like to dig in their blankets and make beds.

Thor has it down pat. Dez on the other hand, can’t seem to get it right. He’ll work at it for a few minutes, stop, then decide to lay elsewhere.

He’s a bed maker in training.

It’s funny because when he gives up and finds a new spot, he’s careless.

He doesn’t see it as a waste of time. He’s just doing what dogs do.

Sometimes we spend a lot of time doing things only to end up dissatisfied with the results.

Then we feel like we’ve wasted time. We regret it, feel guilty and get down on ourselves.

I spent a few hours trying to figure out what my blog is about. Why do I write? What’s the purpose of all this typing?

And at the end of the night, I didn’t feel like I was any further along than I was when I started.

What is this imaginary standard that we hold ourselves to? Clearly, I was doing something. I brainstormed, I came up with ideas, I was trying.

Maybe that’s all we need. Could genuine effort be enough?

I never meet my own expectations, so I’m tossing them out the window. I’ll pick them up again once I learn how to use them rather than get lost in them.

I’m just going to keep working at it. I’ll never quit. I’ll never take no as an ending. I think you should do the same.

We may never understand ourselves or our lives because the answers to life’s greatest questions are beyond any “why”.

Understanding comes through living the question rather than searching for the answer.

No moment is wasted when we’re paying attention.

Even if you don’t like the bed you’ve made, I hope you fall asleep smiling because in the morning you’ll get a chance to do it all over again.

How perfect.