choice | ch ois|

an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities : the choice between good and evil.
• the right or ability to make, or possibility of making, such a selection : I had to do it, I had no choice.
• a range of possibilities from which one or more may be selected : you can have a sofa made to order in a choice of over forty fabrics.
a course of action, thing, or person that is selected or decided upon

Life is all about choice.



Our paths aren't always clear,
         they are the only ones we have.  
Take a chance.

There is so much going on around you.
Be a part of it.


God cannot be found amidst the noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature, trees, flowers, grass grows in silence;
See the stars, the moon and the sun how they move in silence...
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
-Mother Theresa



10 ways to stay sane when you are out of work for a year...

11:00 p.m        Try to fall asleep.
12:00 p.m.       Try to fall asleep.
1:00   a.m.       Try to fall asleep.
7:00   a.m.       Try to wake up.
7:15   a.m.       Make sure to have plenty of Immodium.
8:00   a.m.       Work.
6:00   a.m.       Drive home.
7:15   a.m.       Try to unwind from work.
7:30   p.m.       Eat.
8:15   a.m.       Try to unwind from work.
9:00   p.m.       Try to unwind from work and worry about the next day.
10:00 p.m.       Read and think about going to bed early.  Think about the paperwork you still have to do.
11:00 p.m.       Try to fall asleep.
12:00 p.m.       Try to fall asleep.
1:00   a.m.       Try to fall asleep.

Re...you get the point.

And that's why I eventually quit my job.  This January marks the one year anniversary of me not receiving a steady paycheck.  I've decided not to complain here but instead share some insights that I discovered over the past year.  Things that kept me sane.  Things that made me feel I had a purpose.  Instead of falling into a depression, I kept moving and used the time to do some real soul searching, to re-discover who I was and where I wanted to be. 

1. Find something to do daily.

Trust me, the first two months after not having a job things start getting a little monotonous.  (Assuming you didn't already have a plan for being out of work a year).  Start a blog or walk the dog.  Don't just sit around.  Human beings need to feel purposeful.  It's important for your mental health that you stay busy.  

2.  Get sun.

People without jobs are more likely to become depressed so make sure you get outside and get some sunlight instead of staying indoors watching South Park reruns.  Don't upset your hypothalamus.  Go outside in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day.  If you don't believe me Google Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Being indoors all day can constitute a dark winter day. 

3.  Have a schedule and keep it.

Typically we thrive on schedules.  If your schedule mantra is "I don't keep a schedule", that's still a schedule.    Get on one and stick to it.  It's healthier for your body to have some sort of expectation of when it will go to sleep and when it will awaken.  

4.  Re-evaluate the path you are on.

Well?  It's not like you have anything else to do.  Lots of people are miserable, hate their jobs and feel "stuck".   You have been given an opportunity to make sure you like where you are going.  Do this by conducting a self-assessment. If you really think about it, you probably already know what parts of your life you need to change. Why not use unemployment as an opportunity to get where you really want to be?

5.  Learn something new.

People are happier when they are doing something challenging.  Not only that but it's good practice to keep your brain busy.  Nobody wants Alzheimer's.  Why not go back to school?  Finish that degree or start working on a new one.  Take a class at your local museum or college.  Learn about printmaking, photography,  scrap-booking or underwater basket weaving.  

6.  Join a group or create your own.

I started getting in a slump and a friend told me I needed to join a book club to "meet some people".  Not being a part of a workforce or "office family" can feel very lonely.  I was amazed at how much harder I had to work to stay in touch with people.  I discovered Meetup.com and I ended up creating my own group and now it has 35 members.  Not only have I developed some awesome relationships there but I have also been interviewed on a radio show and was filmed for a show that will air on Showtime in the Summer.  

7.  Become a part of something greater.

Look around.  Pay attention.  What's going on in your city?  Are there a lot of homeless people?  Does your town need more bus stops?  Are your local farmers going under?  Get involved.  Stop sitting around wishing things were different.  It's good for your body soul and mind.  It will make you happy and in turn make everyone around you happy.

8.  Grow something.

It feels good to watch things grow.  Now, you could have a child and watch it grow but I am thinking smaller scale.  Start with a plant.  You could probably afford that more than a child right now.  Heck, you don't even have to buy a plant since you can grab a clipping from a neighbor's yard and root it yourself.  Plants give us something to take care of and the end result is usually pretty cool.  Plant some herbs and use them to cook with.  Cilantro is like a 3 year old whiny child so if you don't have the patience for it Thyme takes a licking and keeps on kicking.  

9.  Rekindle friendships. 

And I mean friendships that are worth it.  Now's your chance to do those things you wanted to do while you had a full time job.  Send a card.  Make a card.  Write a letter.  Those are things our modern age high-tech lives have led us away from.  

10.  Explore your natural environment.

Reconnect with nature.  Take a walk outside.  Drive to the beach.   Explore the state parks near you and see what new things you find.  Besides, you need a subject to take photos of to show off in your new photography class.


Corporate Puppets

Corporations are using social networking to their advantage and not only is it changing the way individual's communicate, it’s created a clever way for corporations to advertise. Technology has cleverly inspired a fight for consumers to have the best of what's out there. Good for companies, bad for the rest of us. I like to call this "creative consumerism". Macintosh vs Microsoft. iPhone vs Nexus One. Blackberry vs Droid. LCD vs Plasm. DVD vs blue ray. The list goes on and on. And does anyone else feel like they are time warped back to previous elections with the ongoing "map war" between Verizon and AT&T comes on the television every other commercial?

Let's consider the cell phone. Which one do you have? The iPhone? Google and T-Mobile's new G1? Can your keyboard flip out? Does it have a cool color? Can you go on-line with it? Does it boast an "intuitive interactive user experience?" Are you ashamed to answer your cell phone in a crowd because it isn't a brand new Blackberry? Not only has this creative consumerism made made us broke, it's also made us lazy. How many of us have created a new way to text that has to be deciphered with a decoder? Your message ends up being taken the wrong way, since there is no body language in a text message, and now you are in an argument? I've even seen friends continue to argue via text message instead of picking up the phone to clarify. Ridiculous? You be the judge.

With the U.S. Department of Labor reporting that as of January of 2010, 15.3 million people are out of employment we can't afford to be in competition. Large corporations can. Families and individuals cannot. My suggestion is to remove yourself from the fight.

Free Marketing with Social Media

A few days ago I decided to delete my Facebook account. I had 236 friends and I personally knew all of them but 3. I deleted my account for several reasons. Since the beginning of the new year I have taken a continuous self-inventory and I discovered much of my time was spent on Facebook reading and anticipating my friends commentary. What were they doing today? Is someone going to post some new photos? When would so and so update their status again? Why didn't anyone comment on my post? Who is going to "like" a group I joined or who is going to give me crap for it. If I write something about something in the news will someone be offended? Am I going to start a gang war on my Facebook page? Is it really worth it? Why am I thinking about all of this? Don't I have important things to do?

Not only were all of those thoughts floating around in my mind but at the same time I was thinking about how many groups I was involved in and how many business I "liked" when it hit me. I wasn't just telling all my friends about the cool things I like, I was advertising for these damn companies. For free! How crafty they are indeed.

The buzz about Facebook making a profit has been up in the air for some time now. In 2008, Facebook was worth $15 million. In September of 2009, CNN ran a story reporting the on-line community had crossed the 300 million threshold. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are about 307 million people living in the U.S. Sounds like some damn good advertising to me! On January 9, 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg, told a live audience that Facebook now boasts 350 million users universally. He also went on to say that if he had to do it over again Facebook user information would be public, by default, instead of private. Just for grins I decided to Google my name just to see what came up and what do you know, the third page down there was my Facebook profile picture staring me in the face. Enough was enough.

I constructed my last post to inform all 236 “friends” that I was deleting my Facebook account. After 24 hours, eleven people had comment and showed their discontent with my decision. Eleven. One friend even stated “I have an idea. Why don’t you throw your computer out the window?” Consider him sold.

When I finally clicked "deactivate" the next screen showed me pictures of the friends I interacted with the most stating so-and-so will miss you. One right after the other. Here is what Facebook had to say once I finally clicked the deactivate button:

You have deactivated your Facebook account. You can reactivate your account at any time by logging into Facebook using your old login email and password. You will be able to use the site like you used to.

The Facebook Team

They make it so easy to come back it almost feels like I haven't gone anywhere. “Today the internet, tomorrow the world” was one user comment in the CNN article about Facebook hitting the 300 million mark. Well Facebook user, you just may be right.


My "Dear John" letter...

Dear John,

I miss you. 

I was devastated when I heard the news.  An accident?  It couldn't be true.  You didn't get a chance to say goodbye to anyone.   There were still so many things I didn't get to say.  I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye.  I wasn't able to apologize.  

When we started working together we quickly became very close both having the goal in mind of giving to others.  I remember after work you drove the truck to pick up food for the free food clinic and after that we would both drive around looking for homeless people and their camps in order to give them food.  You always had food.  Everyone at BHD new where to come if their clients were hungry and even if you had to make special trips to get it, you always supplied what you could.  

I remember how pissed off you were that the empty motel beside our office building stayed abandoned for so long and how you used to get tears in your eyes when you explained your idea of buying it and sheltering so many displaced people that had to go hungry and weather the elements.  Your compassion was at times to a fault.

We didn't talk much after you moved.  I felt like I needed to protect you.  I knew you loved me and wanted me to be there but my life wasn't on the same path as yours.  It was painful but something I felt was right at the time.  I am sorry I was cold and abrasive.  You wanted to share sunrises and I wanted to push you away. 

When you died I realized a lot of things.  I realized that being abrasive isn't always the right way to go about things.  I realized it's okay to show my feelings and grieve in front of others.  As a matter of fact, I had to make myself not run away from the pain of loss.  Because of your death I learned what is needed to process grief.  I learned better ways to treat someone who lost a loved one.  I learned to listen.

Then the signs started.  A few days after your death I was chatting on Second Life with one of Angela's friends.  She said her birthday was March 15.  I looked the date up in my books and thought it was interesting.  The next day I was making copies at school and the girl that walked up behind me starting talking about astrology and told me her birthday was March 15.  I have heard when should pay attention when things happen in threes.  The next night I was talking to Nandy about birthday's and asked if her she knew your birthday.  We looked it up on your obituary.  March 15.  You were still trying to reach me.  

I understood a lot more about you after I read more about your gentle water sign.  I realized how damaging my harsh fiery words had been.  That's the night when you visited me in my dream.

You walked up to me and leaned your forehead against mine.  Our eyes met and we stared.  We didn't say anything but I knew you were giving me the opportunity to apologize.  You forgave me.  You lifted your head and started to walk around the corner.  Before you disappeared you looked at me with those crystal eyes that told me everything was okay now, always was and always will be.  The next few days you appeared to me in several ways and I wasn't able to grieve since your presence kept the wounds open.  I knew you were still near.  I asked you to stop and you did. 

Thank you.  Now when I listen to All Good Things by Nelly Furtado I close my eyes and I can see you whistling your favorite part.  I can hear you coming around the corner to your desk.  I see you on your motorcycle on the open road with the sun setting in your eyes.

You always knew all good things come to an end...

I love you.