Monthly Archives: July 2012

POSITIVE BONDS


I’m sure you’ve heard it as many times as I have… you know, the old saying that “Opposites Attract”.  This statement always amazed me.  It’s interesting that people often say this in regard to a relationship that seems completely unbelievable on the surface because the two people involved seem to be polar opposites.  But I have a different take on this.  I’ve learned that even though you may not see obvious similarities between a couple on the outside (ie. difference in the way they dress or their hair or whatever), on the inside, truly strong relationships are built upon the qualities and characteristics that they both share.

I’ve heard this same example used over and over again… magnets.  They say that the north attracts the south and there’s your proof that opposites attract. 

But I can use this same analogy to prove the exact opposite is true.  Consider the fact that magnets are made up of positive (south) and negative (north) polarities… and yes the negative charge is always attracted to the positive charge and vice versa.  If you try to place south against south, it will repel.

Now although this is true, in actuality these magnets are exactly the same, not different.  They’re both shaped exactly the same… the same size… the same color and they each have both positive and negative charges.   It’s not that the magnet repels itself because it’s alike… what happens is that the positive charge completes the negative charge so that they now combine to form a larger, more powerful magnet.  (which is exactly what a relationship should resemble)

If opposites truly did attract then one magnet would be completely positive and the other completely negative, but that’s not the case… and neither is it true for relationship.  Next time someone tells you that opposites attract, give them this as proof that its not true:

If I wanted to shake your hand, you’d have to face me.  I wouldn’t be able to shake your hand with your back to me, you’d have to turn around.  But just because you’re facing me doesn’t mean that you’re different.  We’re still the same… as a matter of fact, I can only shake your right hand with MY right hand!

There’s nothing more wonderful than two people finding each other who have several things in common.  Its like building a table with extra legs. The more legs, the less likely it is to fall over.

Yeah, yeah… call me crazy. But I still think I’m right. lol

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A Reflection On Gift Giving


Sometimes giving a gift can be one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. You never know how much you’ll touch someone… and you never know what opportunities will arise from unforeseen angles.

For instance, I have a friend who is a highly accomplished artist and he creates tapestries for very wealthy clients.  I mean, some of his tapestries sell for thousands upon thousands of dollars… so it ain’t cheap.   Anyway, almost exactly 10 years ago today, he tells me that his friend Lucille (Shaq’s mom, I learned) had a birthday on the 14th of July.  He said he would be seeing her on the 21st and he asked me to write a song for her that would honor her, for her birthday.  (It’s part of what I do… writing, producing, arranging, etc…)

Seeing this as an opportunity to present my music, I agreed.  He told me this on Wednesday the 17th and said he was leaving at 5am on Saturday the 20th.  So I’d have to work fast.  I’m pretty good at writing and creating music and figured I had plenty of time before he left.

Well, life (as usual) got in the way and I didn’t get a chance to even start working on the song until Friday… and I spent all day writing, re-writing and recording it until I finally had something I was proud of.  By the time I was done the entire day had passed.  So I burned two copies on CDs and drove it over to his house at about 1:30am.  We listened to it a few times after I got there and he thought it was just wonderful and he was sure she would love it.

I told him to make sure and let me know what she thought of it.  He said that he’d call me after she’d heard it and would let me know what she said….  So here I was on my way to church the following Sunday morning and my cell phone rings…  and my friend is like, “Hey, someone wants to talk to you!”  And guess who gets on the phone?  Yep… it was Shaq’s mom calling to thank me for the song. She told me how much it meant to her and that she hoped we’d get a chance to meet face to face.

We talked for about 10 minutes or so and she mentioned that she wanted Shaq to hear it, etc.  She really was a very pleasant woman.  The whole experience brightened my day… and I was exceptionally proud of how well I’d done in less than a day.  Anyway, it made me think about the fact that despite everything else, deep down inside everyone is human and everyone treasures a sincere gesture of appreciation… even if their son is an international superstar.  To him, she’s just… MOM.

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Help Wanted


You know, it continues to amazing me how much your childhood affects you as an adult. The person you become is a sum of all the experiences you’ve had and people you encountered.

I grew up in a large extended family. At one time there were 14 people living in our house. .. aunts, cousins, friends of friends, you name it. I’ve seen my parents extend a helping hand to just about any and everybody. So I’ve grown up with the same mindset when it comes to family and helping others. I’d do just about anything for my siblings (legal and non-life threatening, that is).

But in contrast, I know someone who grew up alone, raised by their mother. It shocked me how they had no real sense of family or any desire to help others unless it benefitted them in some way. It’s so bad that they don’t even expect help from other people. They even feel that if someone were to lend them a helping hand that somehow they’re imposing and burdening them unreasonably.

That type of mentality is so foreign to me. If my sibling needs help and I’m able, I help them. Even if it seems unfair to some people, it doesn’t matter… they’re family. Bottom line. And if someone offers to help me, and I KNOW that I need the help, I wouldn’t let my pride cause me to turn it down.

Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re here… to help one another?

Categories: commentary, family, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

A Shovel Full of BS


Yeah, I’ve seen the movies. I’ve heard the songs. I’ve read the books, and I’ve met the people.  All of which are trying desperately to hammer home the same few fallacious concepts…

Relationships never last.
If given the chance, people always cheat.
No one can ever really be happy. 

This is utter BS.

In a world of nearly 7 billion people (that’s with NINE zeros folks), these circumstances are NOT representative of the majority of relationships. No, I don’t have a book of statistics categorizing the broken-hearted and abandoned among the world’s population. My statement is not contingent upon surveys and percentages. I don’t care what kind of messed up relationship you’ve been in before. It does not mean that everyone is the same. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has a ferocious appetite for gossip, despair and tragedy. And corporations are all too keen on stuffing us full of relationship-damaging, junk food media. The relationships that don’t last are simply the ones that we hear about most often because they make for better storytelling, easier promotion and a higher profits.

“Relationships never last.”

This always makes me angry when I hear people say this in a “matter of fact” kind of way. Instead of qualifying it by saying “my relationships never last”, people would rather use superlatives to convey depth of emotion. Sure, I could easily pull up a couple dozen movie titles in the last year that had something (or everything) to do with a miserable husband/wife. Or a neglectful boyfriend/girlfriend. Or someone who’s settling for someone they don’t really love or want because they’re getting older. But you know who writes these kinds of stories? Financial opportunists, the bitter, and the scorned. Movies like “The Notebook” or “Fireproof” get ridiculed and called chick flicks because they portray relationships that require effort for success (notice I didn’t say happiness). Relationships CAN last. But even the prettiest rose will eventually die without water and sunlight. I make it a point to nurture my marriage and cultivate the fruit born from our collective effort. My marriage is not perfect because we are not perfect people. But it is the closest thing to a fairy tale I’ve ever experienced in my life. And frankly, I’m tired of being told that love has an expiration date.

If given the chance, people will cheat.

A while back, a few people along with myself were corresponding with a guy I went to school with about fidelity (he was about to get married). A mutual friend interjected “All men cheat! If your man hasn’t cheated, just give it time and he will. And when he does, just remember that I told you so!” I was like WTH?!? My first inclination was to roar up and down about the idiocy of that statement. But I refrained. There was no need to shout down her allegation for me to know that it wasn’t true. I’ve never cheated. Ever. That’s not to say that there aren’t people who have cheated. And I don’t even care if you’re one of them. They don’t speak for me and they don’t dictate how I live my life or how I make decisions. I feel sorry for the wife of John Edwards. He (and a handful of other politicians, entertainers and the like)  chose to have sex and bring a child into the world with someone other than his spouse. John Edwards is now dealing with the full repercussions of his actions. But regardless of his public infidelity, it shouldn’t imply that every politician is a philanderer.

No one can ever be really happy.

Happiness is a choice. It is not defined by who we’re with or what we do for a living. Happiness has to do with our perspective on life and the value we place on the things that are important. The real truth is that a lot of people are simply lazy. They spend so little time putting in the work necessary to make their lives happy. Yes, I said the four letter word that some people hate to hear: WORK. Happiness doesn’t fall out of the sky. You will not simply wake up one day surrounded by bliss. You will never find happiness by sitting on your butt. People tend to substitute that effort with time spent watching/reading/listening to stories about people who are worse off that they are. Somehow that makes them feel better to say/think, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as that person.” WTH kind of mindset is that to have?? You can choose to BE happy the same way you can choose to be miserable, whether or not you’re single. And I do realize that we will encounter tragedy, injustice and discrimination. But your choices still remain. It’s a long and winding road, but I choose to be happy one day at a time.

/rant

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

DOVE NOTE #19: Like Fine Wine


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes “)

Like fine wine, some things only get better with time…

I like talking about my wife. Mostly because I’m hopelessly in love with her, and my interactions with her provide ongoing fodder for, among other things, my blog and my book.  But I’ve had people ask me, “What do you mean when you say you’re hopelessly in love with her?” Oh, well let me explain…

Being hopelessly in love means that there is no hope for my love for her ever changing.  She’s got my heart sewn up and it’s safely tucked away in her care. She and I work very hard to define our relationship as one that gets better as the days go by. We actively pursue peace through honest assessment and vulnerability. She knows the areas where I fall down and helps me get back up again.

We believe that success includes being able to own your mistakes. When you make excuses for something you’ve done, whether or not it was intentional, you rob yourself  and your partner of the opportunity to work together to modify future behavior and prevent it from happening again. Accountability also allows you to celebrate your accomplishments together. If I’ve overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking through her encouragement, support and nudging, it becomes a victory not only for me, but for her as well. Being transparent with someone is not a simple thing to do, but it is possible and the rewards are endless. Better communication. Better understanding of our needs. Better intimacy. The list goes on…

In many relationships, it’s not enough to be intelligent, beautiful, outgoing or talented. Nope. Those things are great. But what matters most of all is personality and character compatibility. See, you can have two relatively nice people who both enjoy music and dancing. But life experience, coupled with how they were raised… whether or not they have siblings… how they get along with their parents… and personal temptations (money, alcohol, attention, etc) can all have an adverse affect. One person’s tendencies can push another person’s buttons.

For example, let’s say a guy grew up in a family that consistently avoided conflict by ignoring the obvious elephant in the room. The girl comes from a family that addresses conflict immediately so that it doesn’t fester and become a bigger problem. Put the two of them together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. While she pushes for communication, he will constantly blow off having an uncomfortable conversation. She feels ignored. He feels pressured. Do they still share the same interests? Sure. Do they find each other attractive? Of course. But unless this issue is dealt with, the relationship becomes unhealthy and eventually unsustainable. It’s another sad case of good people who unfortunately weren’t good together.

It’s all about finding compatibility with someone who is equally committed to creating a healthy relationship. And no, it’s not automatic. It takes time, effort and patience. But the end result is becoming another couple that’s hopelessly in love. 😉

Categories: Dove Note, intimacy, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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