"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

October 31, 2011

It's Right There

There won't be many words today.  I wanted to share another life lesson, an opportunity that will allow all of us to embrace what is right there, always present just not always...  I hope the day treated you all well as you move forward into November!

October 30, 2011

The Mentor

Today I visited with and remembered one of the most positive influences in my life. I embraced the reality of the lessons learned, guidance, and support that truly has kept me up during the good times, and the not so.  It made me realize that this influence is still present to this day, even though the person behind this is no longer physically with me. There have been many challenges and experiences along the way...  Ones that made me stop, turn left, and then right, and even turn around and go back.  The one thing that has remained, and been constant are the lessons and direction that I embraced from all and everything that was spoken and modeled.  The mentor can be a wonderful thing, I know it has been for me!

At this current time I am faced with an uncertainty that has no end in sight.  This has me in a place that can cause some level of stress and distress.  However, I know I will move with it and through it.  I know this time in my life will not bring me to my knees, I won't allow that.  I am in tune with the natural process that goes with the uncertain, a time that can produce a lack of substance that one needs to survive.  I am aware enough to know that it is at these moments where you grow, learn, and thus move forward with the wisdom that one needs to get through the challenges that life affords.  I know all of this because I have gone through moments such as these for many years now, and I have always moved forward, no matter how difficult it may have been.  Nearly 30 years ago is when I was able to begin to understand and become aware of just this.  It was a time when I was young, vulnerable, weak, and susceptible.  However, I always had the mentor close by to help me breathe easier through all of it.  As a matter of fact he was only blocks away, although at times it felt that my world and his world were as far away as one could dream....

I reflected on this today...  No matter where I have been in life, the lessons that the mentor provided were within me.  It has taken many years and moments to fully digest, appreciate, and now model the lessons and guidance I was given.  It is a powerful moment when you can truly understand how you are able to practice what you have been shown, or taught.  Particularly when you need these lessons the most, at times that find one questioning "how am I going to move forward?"  I am thankful and so appreciative that I have learned some good things along the way.  I am thankful that I was available and willing to embrace what was given.  I am thankful that no matter how difficult or painful life may be, I will and can always meet it face to face.  I am thankful for everything that the mentor was willing to give me.  He gave me so much, and with that I was able to combine his lessons with the self work, sacrifice, and determination that I have been immersed into for the majority of my days.  What can this produce one might ask?  Well for me, it made me wealthy in a manner that opened up doors and opportunity that has led me to a wonderful quality of life.  I may not be rich in the terms of $, but I am rich in ways that many never get to.  I know this because I see it every day.  This is what the mentor showed me, and I absorbed it like a sponge.  I may not know how this is going to play out, but I do know that I will be fine, everything is going to be OK!  Don't ever lose sight of what has been taught or given.  If you do you may just not be able to get through it.  If that happens, you weren't available or present when the hand was right there, waiting for you to grab it.  No matter how difficult the days may be, it will get better, it always does.  Until we meet again keep your head up!

October 27, 2011

The Ohana

The Ohana (family) is on my mind today.  I am in the midst of reading and reflecting, and I find myself thinking about those in my life who are currently on difficult paths.  In my world my family is not only the one I was born in to, but those in my circle who I hold close to my heart.  Those that I wish no suffering for, but wholeheartedly know that it is inevitable in their own lives at some point in time.  When I find myself thinking about those in my Ohana who are struggling, I reflect on my own times of challenge... How I embraced it, struggled with it, and ultimately was able to get through it.  This helps me not only be available and present, but I am truly able to empathize in a manner that does not bring me down, but only brings me up to be strong for those in need.  It's a really unique trait as I have come to understand.  It has been a asset for me in my professional endeavors as someone in a position to help others change for the better, and in my personal experiences with my own pain and suffering.  I don't run away or hide from challenge.  I have come to understand (through much learning and experience) that when you work with challenge, versus working against challenge, you often have a better chance at resolving it, and moving closer to a positive outcome.

Often, when we are challenged beyond anything we may feel we can get out of, we spiral into a negative mindset and way that reinforces to us that the world is coming down and there is no way out.  We often focus on the worst case scenario and everything and anything that will prevent us from moving forward.  We often make the situation at hand much more difficult than it has to be.  I see this within my Ohana and its hard to be witness to.  None of us want to see those close to us in pain.   As much as we want to shake them out of it, or tell them the what and how to get through it, we often can not.  There is a reason for this.  You see, we as those who are suffering and in pain hold the answers to the solution, often it is right in front of us.  We just have to ask ourselves "are we able and available to see it?"  I know those in my Ohana that are in this place will get through it, and one day will be in a better place.  I know it will take a tremendous amount of effort, risk, challenge, and all that goes into changing for the better.  I know that they all deserve to have a life filled with the wonderful gifts that life can afford.  The ones they dream of, the moments that keep them up, bring tears to their eyes, and question them on a constant basis. I know they can get there, I believe in them, and I am available for them...  Stay present my Ohana.  Believe in yourself.  Trust that your headed in the right direction. You do it without thinking!!!

There is a solution to every problem as long as you don't fear the path to the solution.
Alonzo Mourning

October 21, 2011

The Day When It All Began

Today has been a good day...  I am moving into another year today and so (as I do) I reflect on the path(s) that I have taken before, the one I am on today, I stay present.  I want to thank all of those who sent love and wishes my way, it meant a lot and as always I appreciate it.  I hope those that didn't know or remember are not taking it personal.  Please do not as I don't roll like that, and quite honestly I have come to embrace a way that is low key with less attention brought my way.  I thought about just that today...  When I was a young boy, like most I anticipated this day.  I wanted the gifts and party, it was just the thing to do and most of my friends and family members made it feel that it was an important occasion to celebrate.  I lost that energy and feeling along the way.  I remember a time when I was just trying to get through the day, and this day was just another one of them.  I believe that my independence and uncertainty in life, and the direction I was headed (or not) also played a role over the years.  As an adult I became much more of a private man, enjoying others joy far more than my own.  I know that this was taught to me by certain experiences, relationships, true learning, and many other factors that influenced me to pull back, observe, watch from afar, and quite honestly not be the center of attention.  However, this does not mean that when I want to, am able to, and others are available to listen and digest I won't speak or engage.  I will and have no problem with opening up my heart...

I don't see it as a fault or a negative thing.  I am quite comfortable being the man I am today.  I have grown tremendously over the years, and will continue to as my days move me forward.  Over the last several years I have made some truly life changing steps towards a healthy, peaceful, and happy existence.  I am so pleased with what I have, and I do not spend much effort or time on what I don't have.  I dreamed of a life filled with unconditional love, respect, and support.  I am happy to say that I have that life!  This in itself allows me to embrace the true gifts that one can receive in life.  I guess that has some direct relationship with why I don't get too involved or caught up in celebrations for myself.  I am celebrating on an often basis, something that took much to obtain and achieve.  I am thankful for that.  As they say on the block "I am too blessed to be stressed." Yes indeed its a good day.  I began it with a hike with my favorite furry companion Blackooh.  She has brought so much joy into my life and truly has given me years back.  I have included a picture of our moment together this morning, celebrating each other and the life we have!  Until we meet again may you all be well to your day, and your day will be well to you...

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
Henry Ford

October 18, 2011

The License

I am going to put this out there in the most objective, positive, and honest way I can.  Furthermore, this is not an attack or any form of disrespect to those in my field that are licensed, or use it in a beneficial way to help others change for the better.  We are all adults who can make our own decisions and choices regarding our careers, and I respect that for others, and myself as well  The writing that follows is from my heart and I am fully content with expressing it. 

For some time now I have struggled with the process and purpose of the LCSW, exam, and what it represents.  In my field (as I have come to know) often you are influenced or expected (based on opportunities available and requirements from employers) to obtain an LCSW.  It seems in the recent years the license is required much more than years before for many opportunities in the field.  You can look at the LCSW as a consumer liability, meaning it is required by the state in order to protect the consumer.  For example, if you are a social worker who chooses to practice “therapeutic” social work where you have clients that pay for your service then you must be licensed in order to provide this type of service.  It is your responsibility as a provider, and you are liable for the service you are providing per state regulations.  I don’t have a problem with that if you choose to go into private practice and/or are providing clinical/psychiatric therapeutic services (i.e. community based agencies, in/out patient psychiatric care, etc.) for those in need.  In  other capacities employers/systems now want their social workers (i.e. in roles of supervision, education, administration) to have their license as well.  My issue at hand is that the license does not really validate competency or effectiveness as a social worker.  Based on my experience and observation, I have crossed paths with many licensed social workers who honestly are not really good social workers and do not represent the LCSW in a positive manner.  It is almost as if they strive to accomplish getting their license, and then once they get it, often they don’t really apply it to what it is meant to represent, or they have stopped evolving, growing, learning, and all and everything that goes into being a competent and effective social worker.  Please note this is not a generalization.

So, where do I fit in?  Let me explain, and hopefully I can help those who continue to challenge me with “you have to get your license” understand that I am not being oppositional, negative, or difficult by not choosing to get my license.  For someone like myself who chose a career in social work because of their  exposure to, and experience of challenge, pain,and suffering I was not motivated by the expectation(s) of the career and others in the helping field. The reality that has influenced my decision to pursue a career in social work, that in itself truly shaped my lens and provided me with the insight and understanding that allows me to see and feel the true root of Social Work (helping others change for the better). Therefore, the desire to become a social worker and get into the field begins from within, a very deep personal place.  The formal training that includes the classroom to the community, and every other amazing learning experience that comes from true learning and understanding is needed as well, something that I embraced and truly digested.  I understand you need all of this not only to learn the practice, but if you decide to get licensed, you have to get through the hoops to complete the requirements to even be eligible to take the exam.  I have met all of these requirements (MSW, supervision hours, required pre-requisite classes and filing with the Board of Behavioral Sciences) and am eligible to take the exam.

The way I see the LCSW exam is that it is not an experiential or objective exam, it’s not and if you don't understand that, or you struggle to accept that, then you struggle, and that means not passing. The exam is designed in a manner of deduction and ruling out the least correct to get to the correct, but the correct often isn't correct in your mind based on one’s own experience (personal and in the field) and that is often the conflict.  The "what if style questions or multiple guess" can get one frustrated, and if you become frustrated during an exam well then...  I know this because I have had this experience.  I chose not to study for the exam and only take it to stay eligible (something that will expire after a one year period, meaning you would have to start all over with the requirements post completing your MSW).  Per the Board of Behavioral Sciences you can take the exam as many times as you want until you pass it, so what does that mean?  I missed passing by less than 12 points and remember I didn't study for it.  Most of the content is understood if you have been practicing in the field, and the information that is not its just studying and memorization.  Really your biggest learning objective is to learn and know how to take the exam.  This is not true learning.  Furthermore, once you pass the exam and become licensed you are not responsible to diagnose, that's for the Medical Doctors, and if you are a social worker who is responsible for diagnostic explanation (i.e. for client insurance purposes) often you are reaching out for your DSM IV to consult.  As social workers providing service(s) to those in need, we are responsible to identify their stressors, negative behavior, and dysfunction, understand it, and then treat it.  The way I see it the MSW carries more weight then getting licensed...

I understand that many feel that an LCSW equates to a social workers competency, expertise, and success.  Hopefully I have provided a different understanding that many social workers embrace.  I can't say that I will never be licensed, but I can tell you that I am more than likely to get my license when I believe in it.  I am the LCSW in every way.  I am Listening Compassion Sensitivity Wisdom!  If I am unable to gain opportunities based on not being licensed then I can accept that.  However, it will not be because of my competency, expertise, skill set, or abilities as a social worker.  I got this, I know it, and those that have seen me practice can validate it as well.  With that being said, I am (fully aware of and) excited to continue to learn and grow as a social worker!  I guess there is no mystery behind the fact that I have been a lifelong Raiders football fan, a team run by the late Al Davis who often was interpreted as a Rebel, but honestly a man with high integrity and great respect who did it his way.  Thanks for letting me digress and explain my take.  It’s all good!

 Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.
Oscar Wilde

October 17, 2011


Can you relate to that feeling when you have pushed your body to a point of...  Let me explain.  This past weekend I hiked up to Mt. Wilson http://tchester.org/sgm/places/mt_wilson.html  with some friends, a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the city limits, and breathe in the beauty and calmness of nature.  It was a 14 mile hike (round trip) up to the top of Mt. Wilson, with the first 7 miles taking you up up and away.  Hiking over the years has become a very healthy part of my existence.  Fortunately, I live in a state and region where the weather and accessibility is conducive to, something I embrace.  When I venture into a hike it allows me to slow down, breathe, and really connect with nature.  This has not always been the case for me.  I didn't grow up being exposed to hiking.  In fact, I really didn't engage until well into my adult years.  However, once I found this opportunity I have gained so much from.  Whether I am in my homeland (or abroad), exploring on the trails, so far removed from the responsibilities of life, or the challenges that often slow us down from moving forward, I found an escape.  A healthy opportunity for my body, mind, and inner peace.  I have gained so much from hiking, in a manner I feel has allowed me to heal, cope, process, and all and everything that an act as such can provide...

I remember the early days when life didn't seem so right.  I would often escape to the courts, me and my ball, a time that also allowed me to cope, process, and in my heart move forward.  There is a reason that physical activity/exercise is promoted heavily for one's physical and emotional well being.  It has many benefits as we have come to understand.  As a young boy/adolescent I really couldn't fully embrace this.  You go out there and compete, play, try to fit in and be included.  I never really thought "this is good for me?"  If anything it was "man what am I doing, what am I going to do, where do I go from here?"  Years later I may still have that conversation, but now I have the tools and skills to figure it out, and so I do.  I encourage everyone to find that escape (healthy) that will allow you time to release, disconnect, and as I often say "Breathe and Exhale."  Our environment (living) has many opportunities available to be healthy, ones that are not financially consuming.  They are out there right in front of us, you just have to be available and willing to engage.  Today I shared two of them that have helped me much over the years, at two different points in my life and world.  Without these activities I really don't know how I would have been able to move forward, and for that I am always thankful.  Until we meet again be strong, stand up and stay up!

We Must Always Change, Renew, Rejuvenate Ourselves; Otherwise We Harden.
Johann von Goethe

October 14, 2011

Putting It In Place

It is a great feeling when the mind is in sync with the direction and focus of your opportunity.  I truly understand that just because you create something, it does not mean that business all of the sudden falls into your lap. That is just the way it is.  However, this is the time where you prepare, you focus on your objective(s) and goals.  So, this is what I have been doing for the last few and I am pleased with my progress.  Furthermore, when you are able to put it down on paper, defining what it is you are trying to accomplish and share with others, you really have to be clear and concise in a manner that lets others see your mission.  You can have all the passion in the world about something dear to you, but if you can not explain or demonstrate to others "what it is"well then...

I have worked hard over the years to develop skills and abilities that now seem so natural.  That in itself makes the process I am currently in so wonderful.  I reflect back to a time when I was told " you have no options, you can't even get into a community college, what are you going to do with your life?" Or to the one and only time I was fired from a job, a turning point in my life for sure.  It was my first job (not my first first job) after I barely graduated from high school.  I was working in a factory (shipping & receiving) unloading tractor trailers and whatever else I was told.  A bunch of us went out for lunch to a Chinese restaurant that we knew would serve us alcohol (we were all under age) and I was driving.  We were having such a good time at lunch that we figured "lets forget about going back to work and continue this party."  Well, that's what we did... Instead of going back to our responsibility at work (one that we all were not so vested in at the time) we came up with a plan that included more alcohol, and now some drugs, and a house that was safe and available.  I made it home safe after that little adventure (one of my many "nine lives" during those years) but  the next day at work, the first thing upon arrival was a trip to the bosses office.  There weren't many words spoken and I really had nothing to say in my defense, I knew what I did and I deserved the consequence.  That was the first and only time I have ever been fired from a job.  I have had many jobs since those days and I have never forgot that lesson, nearly 24 years ago...

Life experiences (good or not) can really teach you much.  I know for myself that the life experiences that I have encountered and embraced along the way have all taught me, whether I acknowledged it (at the time) or not.  I say this because the learning that I have gained has given me the ability to really break it down, to really help others not only see it through my eyes, but theirs as well.  This is such a wonderful thing that will allow me to really help others in the positions of helping others, the only thing that remains to be seen is if they can hear me?

If You Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail.
John Wooden

October 12, 2011

Can You Stand The Rain?

What it B!  So, as expected their is much to focus on, think about, prepare for, and all that one would expect as they embark into a new arena of opportunity.  I wanted to to say thank you to those that I have heard from.  I truly appreciate the love and support, and yes I understand their will be some challenges, risk, and uncertainty on this path, its all good!  Speaking of it being all good I want to share a part of me that goes back to the 1980's, a time when I felt and saw things in my life that I honestly did not know how I was going to overcome.  It was during it all that I connected real hard with a music group out of Boston that was coming into the scene in a wonderful way.  In 1984 this group released an album that had several songs on it that I just fell in love with, and I have carried (the group) those songs with me for almost 30 years now!  This one song in particular touched me in a way that truly helped me feel the emotion and pain of my experiences at that time, and also allowed me to have another coping tool/mechanism to get through it...

I identified with the emotions of the song in such a manner that I have used this song to cope, breathe, and exhale ever since the first day I heard it.  If you focus on the lyrics of this song you may say " this song is about an intimate relationship" how could it possibly help some one cope with life's most difficult moments.  Well, that's the beauty of the connection to a song.  The song is about a relationship, the search for unconditional love, someone who can handle not only the sunny days, but can you stand the rain?  That in itself will help you understand the message and my connection behind this song.  You see, all I ever wanted was an unconditional love that would hold my hand along the way, and I had to learn how to handle the rainy/stormy days in order to embrace the sunny ones!  I have listened to this song at some of my most challenging moments,whether it was after a death, during a difficult relationship, driving to a job that challenged me to the core, or when I escaped far away from my reality (in the states) through lands that I dreamed about exploring.  After all these years I still listen and escape into this song when times are tough.  As I write today I am listening to this song, but today is different.  I am reflecting on how I was able to move forward all these years, never surrendering to where I chose not to go, I listen with strength in my heart, and a mind that once again says " Can You Stand The Rain?"  Yes I can, I always have...

The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

October 10, 2011


Good day on this Monday!  Yeah, Monday's have a way about them, not always the day we look at and towards as a good one.  However, we get through the beginning of the week as we do, and thus we move closer to another day, an opportunity to learn from the Monday so we can move forward on the Tuesday.  Today, for myself is a day of excitement, risk, uncertainty, and everything that often goes into immersing yourself in to a new challenge and endeavor.  This endeavor for me came after much searching and the experience (s) that go into figuring out what works, what does not, and really what your abilities and skills (in my case) can provide for others, in a way that helps produce positive change for the better!

Therefore, my excitement is not just an initial reaction to creating this opportunity and what I see as the benefits of.  My excitement goes way deeper.  My excitement is a feeling and energy that validates and reinforces all of the moments in my life (good and bad) that led me to this current point in my life and opportunity as a result.  My excitement is one that tells me "your good man, go out there and show others what you got, what you can give, show them how your heart can speak where you have everyone' attention and focus, go do it."  So, that is what I am going to do and I have never felt better about that.  Until we meet again may you embrace the life in front of you, may you love today so you can live tomorrow.  If you find yourself unable to see this, then please understand that as difficult and challenging as life can be...  It is this way to teach you how you can get through it, learn from it, so you can breathe and move forward!

When There Are No Obvious Paths To Achieve Your Dreams, Make Up Your Own.
Tavis Smiley 

October 8, 2011

Going Back

Man...  What a wonderful way it is to be able to go back.  I have found myself reconnecting with a few of those that truly held my hand along the way.  It is so true to the point that when you get to a good place, one that can only be produced by years of getting through it, dreaming if it really is possible, and all and everything that gives you the strength and determination to get up and stand up, you can arrive!  I am deeply touched by the kind words and  love that have been shared.  I am deeply appreciative and humbled, and once again I am able to embrace that I am on the right path, one that took many turns and detours along the way.  This journey challenged me to turn around and go back many times, but never for too long, as I found a way to always keep fighting.

I eventually realized that I could and would get there, no matter how long or how difficult it could possibly be.  I am fully aware that others are reading my words, but I don't know if most have figured it out yet.  However, that is alright because as I continue to write, I will get  you closer, and you will know.  It is a beautiful thing.  It is right and it has taken over 30 years to get here.  Another lesson in patience.  The greatest opportunities in life can not always arrive when you want them to.  This is not a reality for most, but quite honestly an expectation that many assume will just be.  I have never assumed.  I have never expected.  However, I have always dreamed, and those dreams have been the driving force in living it, motivating myself to get through it and understand it, so that I could move forward and finally love myself and thus the life that was waiting for me.  Life and all the wonderful gifts it can afford are within all of us, it just sometimes takes some effort and patience.  I will leave you with that lesson...

Where There Is Love, There Is No Question.

October 7, 2011

When You Get...

I was contacted by a Social Worker from the UK the other day.  She wanted some insight and guidance as she was about to enter into the field, after completing her social work degree course work.  Understanding the differences in culture, language, demographics, training, and everything else that goes into being a social worker in a different country I addressed her question.  You see, what can be similar is one's passion and compassion to help others change for the better. I want to share her question and my response.

I like what you are doing. I am newly qualified social worker based in London with a keen interest in working 'with' young offenders. I would like to know what has been your most memorable piece of work to date that made a big difference?

Thanks for reaching out. Your question is a good one. However, there is much to share and thus there is not necessarily one memorable piece of work, they are all memorable in someway or another, even when you don't feel as though you see or have made positive change. That is really important to understand working with this population (at-risk youth/offenders). I always look at positive change as the goal, with the understanding that it really is about incremental change and progress. It takes patience, building trust & rapport, and ultimately opening a path towards resilience. Not sure if you have heard of Father Greg Boyle?  (http://homeboy-industries.org/index.php ) He is the founder of the largest Gang Intervention and Prevention program in the United States (located in my hometown of Los Angeles) and has been immersed, available, and involved with this population for over 30 years. He operates from a "my services are for those who don't need them, but those that want them." The message behind this is when you meet at-risk (young men or women) youth who have a very challenging/at-risk life you know they need help, services, support, etc. However, when they arrive in front of you, often they do not want help even when they possibly understand they need help. There are so many barriers, obstacles, and challenges present (developmental, socialization, mental health, incarceration, limited education, abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, etc.) that often times they do not feel as though anyone cares, understands, or can possibly help. This is what we know as helping professionals who do what we do because we understand that you can overcome and move forward and towards a healthy and positive life.

So, you stay available, present, and you take your time with your assessment so that you can really understand what has influenced (affected & effected), challenged, and led this youth to offend, now living in an at-risk existence. You always want to make a fair and objective assessment, this is really important because often more than not at-risk youth/offenders have been labeled, stigmatized, and judged (even when they are trying to to change their ways) and so you meet them with their opposition, defiance, lack of trust, shame, guilt, and all and everything that can influence their inability to change for the better.

Keep up the good work! I hope this addressed your question in one way or another. May this find you well

When You Get Give, When You Learn Teach.
Maya Angelou


October 6, 2011

My Spots

So, I have three spots where I go when I want to learn, study, read, write, and often be a participant observer.  They all share a similar quality, but they are all different in one way or another.  Let me explain.  Nowadays (recent culture) many go to a cafe to network, socialize, work, and all and everything that a community cafe can offer and represent.  In my case I have three of them that have been in my rotation for some time now.  They all serve a different purpose but often I do my work at all three.  One of these spots is adjacent to my favorite bookstore.  I love this spot because I love to read and learn, and I really appreciate the comfort of being so close to a place filled with knowledge and learning. As a result of the location of this spot the influx of people that come in to the cafe is so diverse, and often we share the common ground of the learning, insight, and knowledge one can receive from buying a book from a bookstore while embracing the culture and community of.  I get some great work done here and have been frequenting this spot for over 10 years now!

My second spot is a little different than the first one.  This spot is immersed into a funky, upcoming unique neighborhood that is close to a University.  So, at this spot the population of people is also diverse, but now I am surrounded by students, educators, young professionals, new mothers, and those that come in and out due to working in surrounding businesses.  At this spot I also get some great work done!  However, now I am immersed back into a culture and community that I know so well from my own time immersed into getting a couple degrees.  It's a wonderful feeling and reminder of all the efforts and work I did to accomplish and acquire my degrees.  Furthermore, I feel so comfortable and connected here as I have never stopped the learning process since I completed my degrees.  This is something I take pride in because often when one completes their degree (s), they stop learning and just work.  Maybe they figure "I have done my time, I don't have to take any more tests, write papers, and all and everything that goes into this process."  Well, I take a different approach, I am a life long learner and I strive to continue to educate myself, observe, learn through the written word, and always through the eyes of others!

The last spot is a rather new one for me.  One that I picked up in the last year.  It's not too far from my home and is also in a diverse community, and with that it has its own culture and energy that promotes outcomes.  This cafe is a mainstream one (the others are both independent) and thus provides a population of folk that like their usual and they know what they want and where to get it.  The main difference between this spot and the others is that the majority of people who use this space are working professionals (or at least I think so), and therefore are not working away from a traditional office space, home, etc., but they are getting their work done.  I can tell, because as I often do I have observed and I have engaged.  Furthermore, I have been here at different times of the day and I often see the same individuals working away, while enjoying their favorite beverage or snack.  I like this spot and I have found myself coming here when I want to be surrounded by this culture, and my focus is on business, directed at my objective for the day.

The learning is there, its available for all, you just have to be willing to see it, use it, and as always allow it to move you forward in a wonderful way.  Until we meet again you be well to your day, and your day shall be well to you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA&noredirect=1

October 4, 2011

You Know

I found myself reading over my last entry and I digested more and more the emotion behind those words.  I can see at times that my words may of appeared to be angry.  I can see that and so I wanted to address this, for myself and for others who may be following.  A central theme in these words was me addressing my displeasure at those who do more harm than good in their roles of helping others.  I can't tell you how many times I observed this in my previous work experiences in two systems whose overall goal is to help others change for the better.

It has always pained me to witness the actions/behaviors of someone who just couldn't keep it together, while attempting to provide service for someone in need.  Yes, we are all human, and perhaps we have a threshold that once it has been crossed it can set you off.  However, I have never felt or believed that this justifies someone causing someone else undue pain or suffering. You signed up for this duty.  You have been trained endlessly for this. You have taking the tests (another entry for sure!).  You have gone through the background checks, professional and personal references, and all and everything that an employer uses to assess and validate that you are the right fit for the job.  Well, that's just it!  You can go through all of this and there still are those that slip through, or just get to a point in their careers where they just project their frustration, anger, complacency, apathy, etc. on to others in need.  Do we fault them?  Perhaps in our heads we do.  Most often, we never address it in a way where there will be cause for change.  If your experience is like mine, then you often take the approach that "you can't tell another adult how to do their job."  Of course if you are in a supervisory or administrative role than you can, and you really have to, but even then sometimes it is not addressed.

It is a tough one for sure.  It is tough because it is not right and often when you are immersed into these working environments it can lump you in to the generalization that says "you are just like the rest of them."  Well you never have to settle for that.  If you are confident in your abilities and you strive to do the right thing without thinking you can.  You still might have to hear the "your soft" or "you have no idea" or "your living in a fantasy world" but you can always hold on to your self respect, integrity, and doing the right thing without thinking. Sometimes, doing the complete opposite of those who cause pain and suffering is the only way to model the right way, while not allowing them to control your behavior and actions.  They know what their doing, no one needs to tell them, they know. Until we meet again be strong, stand up and stay up!

The Time Is Always Right To Do What Is Right.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

October 3, 2011

Doing The Right Thing...

Alright, October here we are!  Time is really relative when you find yourself in a great place.  Yes, it seems as though time moves at a quicker pace when you are an adult.  However, time is still time and while we are living within our daily routines, schedules, social calendar, and all and everything that occupies our days and nights, we really still have time to do what we find as important to us.

I had a conversation with a close friend this morning and as always our interactions are insightful, informative, and supportive/positive for each other.  We got on the topic of the pain and suffering that is often exposed and presented in our current society and culture.  All you have to do is turn on the news, read a paper, and quite often walk out your front door to see it all transpire.   We both agreed that much of a persons (man and woman) behaviors/actions are influenced by the culture they grew up in, the socialization they may have been influenced by, the challenges they may of never embraced, dealt with etc.  We both agreed that one's decision making (and outcomes as a result) is often influenced by one's Capability vs. Ability.  Furthermore, you add in life stressors, which can include financial worries, abusive/toxic relationships, stressful/unfulfiling work environments, and many other factors that can really lead a person towards poor choice(s) and decision making, which in turn leads to negative outcomes and consequences as a result.

This conversation (and these words that follow) was influenced by the recent exposure and reports of abuse in local corrections. It made me reflect on an experience (personal & professional) that I have witnessed on many occasions.  When someone calls themselves a "Professional" or is in a position of power/control (perceived or not), influence, providing services, etc., it does not mean that they are healthy, in control, together, and all and everything that supports someones ability to do the right thing without thinking...  This is important for all of us to embrace and understand.  It is important because our culture and way(s) of thinking (i.e. Ideologies) really can socialize and condition us to believe that these "Professionals" can support, guide, and help all of us move closer to changing for the better, and the goal of moving closer to living a healthy existence.   I really wish this was a reality more than not, and by no means am I being pessimistic/negative in my observations or assessment.  It is what it is!

Yes, it is based on my lens, one that I have (and will continue to) worked very hard to craft.  When I speak, I do not just spew words. When I speak I do so when I feel there is a need, and when I feel I can help others change for the better. When I speak I can validate and substantiate my words by real examples, observations, and facts.  It is important for me to clarify this.  As I have written about previously often one's interpretation (of the written word) is their opinion, one that is based on their experience (s) and life learning.  Well, that is not my experience, and thus my writing is not influenced by others experiences (per say).  If you haven't seen it yet I have lived some life and my only mission here is to help others learn through my eyes, so they can move closer to changing for the better. This is not a platform for me that says "look at me and do everything I do."  That's not possible your life is yours and mine is mine, but everything I speak to is everything I practice, and much of what I have personally and professionally observed in striving to help others move forward in a positive manner. I have a good life.  One filled with love, respect, opportunity and the quality of life that allows me to walk with my head up, and strength in my heart and my mind! This in itself has much to do with the influence and motivation behind my choice and passion to help others change for the better.

So, what advice and encouragement can I provide...  Use this as an opportunity to learn, to understand, to motivate and inspire yourself to live a quality of life that is right, fair, kind towards others, and most importantly, one that can and will allow you to rise each day believing its going to be a great day.  Even if this day is met with challenges and obstacles, you embrace them as best as you can, you allow yourself to reinforce that you can get through these challenges, and when you do, you will realize that life is going to be OK, it really is!

You Don't Have To Think About Doing The Right Thing.  If You're For The Right Thing, Then You Do It Without Thinking.
Maya Angelou