Tag Archives: change

Why Is Now Any Different?

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy

People say that we endure two certainties in our lifetime. First, we have to pay taxes and second, we all die. Those are facts. I believe at this point that a third must be added. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc throughout the world, the news reports every day that this week will be the worst in regards to deaths due to the virus.

At the same time, some people are writing and sharing that this should be a time of renewal, that we should take this lesson and become better humans. That we should treat each more kindly, as we have been doing since the start of the virus. They are sharing and hoping that during this time we have been able to become more introspective and that this will lead us all to a higher level of thinking and behavior.

But this won’t happen. Unfortunately, the half life of our memories isn’t that long and once things get back to the new “normal”, we will forget all about helping our co-workers and neighbors. We will go about our lives until the next disaster happens and we are called upon by our government or a higher power to help those we love, we know and we don’t know. And then the cycle will repeat itself.

The reason I say this and believe it to be true is throughout history humans have never ever learned from their mistakes.  Whether it comes from a terrorist attack, a virus or a natural disaster, the end game is people want to get back to their lives with as little trouble as possible. Once the shock of the incident wears off and the dead have been buried, we all will crawl back into our holes and tend to our own. And that is the third certainty. We don’t and won’t ever learn from our mistakes.

Do you think I’m wrong? Do you think I’m being too pessimistic? Do you believe that this is the event that is going to actually carry over and force a shift in the way we think and act?

I say no. Convince me otherwise.

Re-Think Your Openmindedness

“Open minded people do not impose their beliefs on others. They accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, doing their own thing in peace.”


Here is an excellent definition of what it means to be open minded:

1. having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
2. unprejudiced; unbigoted; impartial.


Unfortunately we have segments of our population who are of the mindset that if you do not agree with what they believe or accept everything they say as gospel, then you are at fault. You are the racist, the homophobe or the sexist. These same people claim to be the ones with the “open mind”, the people who are accepting of everyone. Everyone that is unless you disagree with them.

Don’t be frightened by those who yell and scream at you because you don’t necessarily believe what they do. You are an individual, someone who has the capacity to formulate your own beliefs and opinions. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

Here is an excellent attitude to adopt for everyone:

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

-Evelyn Beatrice Hall



“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”

-Arnold Bennett

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” 

-Gail Sheehy

Well folks, another year has come and gone. A new year has just started and that means that it’s another year of trying to achieve balance in our lives. As we all know, things change on a daily basis, every minute of every day. Life literally forces change upon us. When we are confronted with change, at home or at work, a decision has to be made in regards to whether you will accept and embrace (to the best of your ability) what is happening or will you fight it?

I have spent most of my adult life hating change. I would do every thing that I could to fight it. No matter how big or small, if it went against what I was used to doing, I was against it. It didn’t matter whether I had any control over the situation, it just seemed like the thing to do.

As I look back on it now, I have truly wasted a great deal of mental energy immediately adopting a negative and non productive attitude towards events in my life. As a matter of fact, some of the fights I have put up thinking I was making a point or sending a message were just plain stupid. What did I accomplish by just throwing up roadblocks that not only got in my way, but others as well?

The past several years have taught me that fighting the inevitable is almost harmful to your health. It is useless to sweat the small stuff (or shit if you are so inclined) every day. In order to stay balanced, you need to give some thought as to how you are going to react when you are confronted with change that may make you feel uncomfortable. Do you really have any control over the situation? How will it affect you? Is it worth your valuable time and energy (physical and mental) to fight against it?

What is my point? It’s simple. Spend more time worrying about the things that you have some control over. Take a “big picture” look at the situation and then think about how you want to respond, if at all. I guarantee that you will be experience less stress in your life as you choose not to burden yourself with fighting everything that comes your way.

My motto is, and will continue to be, DSTSS!


Good morning 2017!!!

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.”

-Sarah Ban Breathnach


The sun coming up over the hill behind my house on a beautiful New Year’s Day.


A Life Transformed

The trees of fall they bend and sway,

All in the promise of a crisp clear day,

But the cold nights come with hopes anew,

With blades of grass now soaked in dew.


The leaves have fallen, the sky now clear,

All beauty in time, my heart holds dear,

But we all stand alone when our fears do take hold,

The change of the seasons, a story is told.


So as time marches on with loss keenly felt,

Our hearts still in place, the cards have been dealt.

After winters fine wrath has wiped the slate clean,

A brand new beginning can start to be seen.

The World Awakens

One of the unique things about hiking and walking is you get to see the world in many different lights. Depending on the time of day that you venture out, you can, and probably will, have a drastically different experience than you would if you had decided to wait to head out, either later or even earlier in the day. On the days that I am not on one trail or another, I have several loops on the local roads that I like to walk to start my day. Because it has been so hot, I have spent just about the last week getting up and walking at 4:30 am.

Although I get up around the same to go to work during the school year, I can’t compare getting up to hike and getting up to go to work.  Not that I don’t love my job, because I do, but it is much easier  on the psyche getting up that early when you are doing something that is going to help your mind and body move forward on every level.


Now, the reason I mention this is because I have noticed that whether I am deep in the woods or on the road, each day starts remarkably the same way. On the trail, the woods are eerily silent and the only sound I hear, and quickly become in sync with, is my boots kicking up the earth as I explore my surroundings. As the sun makes its way over the hills and through the dense brush of the summer woods, you can start to hear the chipmunks and squirrels begin their daily routine of survival.

The same can be said of those living in the suburbs. At this time of year, all I hear when I start walking is the communal hum of air conditioners in the houses of those who are also beginning their daily routine of survival. Bleary eyed, or in some cases teary eyed, I see the people on my walk leaving the comforts of home, briefcase or bag in hand with looks of temporary despair as they start their daily journey to, where?

As the sun continues its relentless march upward and across the morning sky, the dew begins to dry on any exposed leaves and as a summer breeze moves in from the west, the trees silently stir. At this time of the morning, especially when I am on the trail, I’ll take a few minutes to just sit with my eyes closed and take it all in. The shift from the night slumber to awakening reality can be a real eye opener (no pun intended).

More and more life continues to stir and it is obvious to me that in both cases, each place has its routines that must be adhered to. Routines, that when looked at closely, follow a pattern that help determine whether, if followed, they are among the survivors that day.

Isn’t daily survival a short-term goal for everyone? Isn’t it important to start every day in peace so we can make the decisions going forward necessary to help maintain that peace? I am looking for peace at home, peace at work and just living life without the drama that seems to consume us. Think about how you can preserve your peace as well as those around you based on how you start your day.


Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone

This week was an excellent one. I broke out of my comfort zone and decided to follow some predetermined hikes, and ended up completing some hikes that I had not done before. I hate to admit it, but a great deal of the time when it comes to hiking, I stick with the tried and true and just do something that I have done before. Case in point, Anthony’s Nose.

With that said, the hikes that I did this week challenged me physically as well as mentally. I wanted and needed to do something different, so I did. I also have tried some new things in the blogging world that I hadn’t done before. So this week and the week before have been pretty eye-opening and I have learned a great deal from just having some time to do something different. As I think more about it, the past couple of weeks have been a kind of mental purge. A purge well in the making.

Here are some of the highlights:

  1. I had the opportunity to do more blogging than I have at any time since I started.
  2. I have found some new blogs that have really been extraordinary.
  3. The blogs that I have found have covered many areas, not just hiking and the outdoors.
  4. Overall, the blogs that I have chosen to follow have been only positive. People are stressing the good things instead of harping on the negative and I firmly believe that we all need more of this.
  5. Blogs that I never thought that I would have liked have proved to be some of the most interesting ones that I have explored.
  6. Most importantly, I have been able to catch up on blogs that I have been following but have been too busy to read as frequently as I would like to.

So, while doing things out of your comfort zone may not feel right at the time and you may be nervous or anxious even thinking about it, the end result is what you are looking for. Feel free to step out of that box. How did it make you feel?


Can’t we all just get along? (at least until November)

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”

-Anthony Bourdain

“A lot of lip service gets paid to being honest, but no one really wants to hear it unless what’s being said is the party line.”

― Colin Quinn

Disagreement is something normal.

-Dalai Lama

I vowed that when I started this blog that I would not discuss politics. By virtue of the fact that this is an election year, the discussions about who will be the next president have already begun. With the start of the silly season comes much discussion, debate and arguing. Unfortunately but predictably, the discourse has already turned ugly on both sides and it promises to only get worse as each side regurgitates its own set of talking points.

It is also unfortunate that I am not just talking about the candidates, I am talking about the everyday person. Yes, you and I. Your family, friends, co-workers and strangers are already robustly letting each other know what they think about each of the candidates on both the left and the right and it isn’t pretty.   

Why then am I writing about politics? I am writing about it because I want to make a plea to everyone out there today. If you are on the far left, the far right, a moderate, progressive or whatever you choose to call yourself, please read the following and join me in an attempt to make it through November without losing family or friends based on the ugly and often untrue statements or comments that are made during “friendly conversations.” Ok. With all of that said, here we go…

One of the greatest gifts we have is being able to live in a democracy and having the ability to speak our minds about where we stand on the political spectrum. In the years that we elect a new president, it seems that many more people seem to care about politics than in the off years. As spring turns to summer and summer into fall, the attempt to have our positions heard rises to disturbing levels.

With that discussion, of course, comes disagreement. Now don’t get me wrong, disagreement is a good thing as long as it is reasonable and intellectually honest. As noted above, the Dalai Lama says that “disagreement is something normal.” Let me give you some examples.

As you may or may not know, I tend to lean to the right when it comes to fiscal and military issues and to the left in regards to social issues. I like to think that I am more independent than anything else. Each and every time, however,  that I express dissatisfaction with something that President Obama has said or done, it is always insinuated that I am a racist. If I don’t support Hillary, I am then sexist. Could it be possible that I just don’t agree with you?

Sorry folks. Making fun of people (candidates and those you are debating with) and calling them a racist, sexist, homophobe, islamophobe etc. does not make you right, it instead shows your ignorance. You need to support your arguments with facts and not the usual race to blame everything on, well, race or sex. Falling prey to the name calling and the labeling makes you intellectually dishonest, thereby taking you out of the discussion.  

I am making a plea today for everyone reading this not to take the easy way out during this election cycle. Assume that you know and will meet people that have opinions that differ from yours. Let that other person be the one that makes the leap immediately to the negative. When you choose to share the lies and negative nasty comments  that you find on social media about any of the candidates, you make the choice to be part of the problem, and not the solution. You also show that your ability to to engage in a rational and productive political discussion is non existent.

Since this blog is shared on facebook, I am hoping that those of you who are reading this take what I have written to heart and join me in keeping this political cycle a decent and productive one. Electing a president of the United States is, in my opinion, is one of the most important things we can do as a citizen. Let’s not turn into savages as we do it, whichever side you are on.


If just for a day…

It isn’t often these days where you get to personally experience the kindness of strangers. Unfortunately for me, I have become very cynical towards people and have come to expect rude, inappropriate or indifferent behavior. I do not have much faith that people would act to help someone even if they were obviously in trouble. Now, before I go any further, I admit that I am far from perfect but I have made an honest attempt over the course of the last several years to treat people the way that I would want to be treated. Am I always successful in this endeavor? Not at all. But I like to believe that I am making a positive change in this area.

Today we were at the Danbury Mall where my daughter was getting a second hole pierced in each ear. Even after the piercing, she told us with a smile on her face that it hadn’t hurt and she was pretty surprised at that. However, as soon as she stood up, my wife saw that something wasn’t right. My daughter’s eyes had glazed over, she couldn’t speak, her knees began to buckle and she passed out. She and the woman working at the store gently lowered her to the ground and began asking if she was ok.

As this was happening,  a couple of strangers came over to see if she was ok. They were kind, considerate and spoke to my daughter as if they had always known her.

After several minutes I asked Hope if she wanted to try and stand up. She said yes and I helped her get to her feet. We walked out of the store I looked to my right and knew immediately that having her get up so quickly had been a mistake. She had the glazed look again and was mumbling incoherently. At that point she passed out again. Not that I wasn’t worried before, but I was really concerned now thinking that something was really wrong.

Security arrived and I asked them to call paramedics so she could be checked out by medical professionals. Once again, several people stopped and asked if there was anything they could do. They spoke with my daughter and asked if my wife and I were ok. A gentleman soon saw what was happening and identified himself as an EMT.

I think that I can assume that he either worked for a living as an EMT or as a volunteer in a local fire department in the area, but the fact remains that he did not have to stop to see what was going on, but he did. Those 5-6 other people who stopped to see what they could do to help didn’t have to, but they did. The EMT spoke to my daughter and waited until the fire department arrived to take over. As he was walking away, he seemed genuinely surprised when I stopped him, shook his hand and thanked him for taking the time to make sure that Hope was ok. Soon after that, the EMT’s arrived, did what they had to do, and told us that Hope would be ok.

My whole point in relating this story to you is that I am thankful that we still have people who care enough when they see someone in distress to stop and see if they can help. Of course it could have been the fact that she was 14 years old, but once again, they chose to stop to see what they could do to help. The concern was genuine and I genuinely appreciated their assistance. After the professionals arrived and they began to drift away, I made it a point to thank each of these strangers for doing what has unfortunately become behavior that can not be expected. That in itself is truly saddening. My sadness lies in the fact that it seems that people are so fearful these days (of so many things), that although they may want to help when it is needed, their fear does not let them.

I know that it may seem trivial, but it was heartening to have these total strangers approach us to ask if they could help. My faith in humanity has been restored, if only for a day.



“It’s not my fault.” Thoughts on taking responsibility when no one else does (or will).

“Cut the crap and stop whining. Put your big boy pants on and suck it up.”

-The Zen Hiker

I am, and always have been, a firm believer in personal responsibility. I believe that everything that happens to us, and doesn’t happen to us is a direct result of choices that we have made and continue to make. This true in every aspect of our lives.

In our personal lives people to often bemoan the life situation that they are in by blaming everyone and everything else in their lives. The reason why they don’t live in a bigger house? The bank wouldn’t give me a loan. No new car? The dealer wouldn’t give me a good enough deal. Why is my marriage failing? My spouse is the problem. Why are my kids a mess? It’s the schools fault. It is this type of thinking that is killing us as a society. It seems as though no one assigns blame to themselves for the trouble that they may be having.

Sophocles said that “It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” A truer statement could not be made. We live in a society today where it is ok to not accept responsibility for anything. Unfortunately this type of behavior starts all the way at the top. Our President has spent the last seven years blaming the previous administration for every single failure during his term. What are we to think when the President of the United States can’t even take responsibility for anything that he has done? Since he does it, why shouldn’t we?

At work we hear the same mantra:

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“I can’t do that because it won’t work.”

“What do you expect me to do, the administration tells us what to do.”

“They have always done it that way.”  

“They expect to much from us.”

When was the last time that you actually heard someone say, “I messed up and I will accept the consequences for what I have done”? I would venture to guess that it is probably not in the recent past. This is a societal issue that needs to be addressed and until we do we will continue to sink lower and lower as a people. This runs across all ethnic lines and income levels.

For those of us getting older, time is running out. For you folks who are younger and yet again much younger, consider making a change in your life that could not only produce better results for you, but would certainly make you happier. What is it that we can do to produce change in ourselves?

First, don’t think that you are entitled to anything. If you want something, go out and earn it. Here’s a shocker-you can’t afford it? Guess what? You can’t have it! Hard work has never killed anyone. Our society is riddled with those who believe that due to their circumstances, they are owed something. Not true. Ken Keyes jr. said that “you are not responsible for the programming that you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.”

Second, If you spend all of your time blaming others for your problems, they will never change. Accepting responsibility for what you have done empowers you and allows you to change things that may occur in the future. You won’t be relying on others to change to help improve your situation. If you want change, you have to be the one to make it happen.

Lastly, I refer you to the quote at the top of this blog. “Cut the crap and stop whining. Put your big boy pants on and suck it up.” Do I really need to say anything else?

Some other quotes to think about as you choose the path to change::

“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting responsibility for our circumstances , we greatly reduce our power to change them.” -Steve Maraboli

“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait.”  -Natalie Goldberg

“Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” -Erica Jong

Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done.” -Hubert Selby jr.