Friday, October 27, 2006

It's Ok to Cry

There was once a great and wise Zen master who taught his students about life and death, truth and illusion. His students hung on every word. One day the master's son died. The students came to the master and found him weeping. One of the students said, "But master, why are you crying? You told us that death is only an illusion" The master looked up, his tears still streaming down his cheeks and replied, "I am crying because I am sad."

I am a grown man and sometimes I cry.

I remember a time when I was with a man, and he was trying his best not to cry like a baby, and I just leaned over to him, and said, “You don’t have to be strong; it’s okay to feel this pain.” And then he fell apart. He told me later, “thank you,” and how much it helped and how good it felt to let it out.

Life isn’t always butterflies and roses. Sometimes there will be death and thorns, and those have their place. We should not try to deny it. It is not comfortable dealing with grief and our sorrows and our disappointments. It is sometimes the hardest thing we are called upon to do. It seems like we are not called to be comfortable.

There are many things that come up that make us sad. I could make a list and you could too, of losses that affect us deeply. We usually apply the idea of grieving only to the idea of recovering from the death of someone close to us. But, grieving has many applications. We lose our health, our strength and vitality of our youth. We lose our jobs, our income, our source of security. We lose our innocence, experiencing all the evil and meanness in the world around us. We lose friends. And it hurts. Sometimes it is devastating. And all you can do is cry. Sometimes we need time to grieve.

It is right to grieve our losses, to mourn the space they once occupied, the emptiness inside. It is also right to celebrate the love they gave. To deny yourself time to grieve is to deny yourself the chance to heal. You can try to suppress it, and swallow it, try to ignore it or cover it up, but until you properly grieve, it will still be there, somewhere inside, like a cancer. The old saying ‘time heals everything”…not so true. Time, along with proper grieving, changes the depth of the hurt. I would encourage you to stay honest with yourself and your emotions by allowing them an outlet.

Eventually you come to a point where you can talk about your loss. You can step into your pain and talk about the heart breaking, the soul aching and the flesh wanting. And when you do, you will feel the pain releasing. As you lose the pain, you gain strength. You reach a point of strength that once you thought you would never have again, where you can remember the source of the pain and not experience the pain. You can celebrate the memories and remember the joys and the good times. Finally, again you can smile.

A four year old boy had a neighbor, an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went and climbed into the man’s lap and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to his neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”

Wishing you the best....Ric

Love at First Sight

I've been asked, "Do you believe inlove at first sight?" My answer is "I believe we quickly know at firstsight who we are 'capable' ofloving.” We might later change our mind. For myself, almost 99% of the time I can spend a lunch or dinner with a person and I'll know within as little as twenty minutes whether I could ever even consider this person. And getting to know the person better has rarely changed the way I initially felt. But bear in mind, I'm thinking of my DESIRE to get to know this person better to determine if this is someone I could love or have a friendship with... not to be confused with accurately judging someone's character.

When it comes to figuring out a person's character I am not as accurate. I have been fooled. I can be way off the mark, and have been on several occasions, but I would estimate my initial judgment falls in the 75% to 80 % success bracket.

To get back to the love at first sight question... I think this miracle is quagmired. If someone meets a person of the opposite sex and says, "I think I'm in love" – sometimes what they mean to say is, "I'd really like to have sex with this person." Love and lust are two different things. We all get that. In love, my thinking is for their welfare, being a help to them in their life, thinking of how I can contribute to their happiness. In lust, I seek how they could provide me sexual satisfaction. When we love we have a natural sexual desire for them coupled with a true caring for them. But lust has no conscience or regard for them as a person, only how selfish sexual desires can be satisfied through them.

So do I believe in love at first sight? Yes. Yes, I believe it happens... we know who we are 'capable' of loving right away and sometimes a man and a woman meet and both have this same identical response to each other. Some people call it a 'gut feeling.' Then they continue getting to know each other. Although you can just know immediately if someone is sexually attractive to you, smart and interesting, it takes time to discover whether that person is truly honest, kind, dependable, trustworthy, emotionally available and compatible with you in terms of values, interests and temperament. Sometimes, once we have made the decision we want to get to know this person better, we find out and realize they are perfect for us, and we just cannot imagine life without them. And sometimes we find out they fall into the “no way-no how” category.

I have seen people date for many years, finally get married, and then divorced in very little time. Even after plenty of time of trying to get to know each other, they still were not right for each other. On the other hand, there are plenty of stories of people celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, who met and married in a relatively short time. They just knew.

All I am saying, is that, hey, I’m a believer. It can happen. You might call it fate. I call it God bringing together two who are right for each other and need each other. A miracle!! Two falling in love, who without his intervention, never would of found each other in a million years. If it happens to you, fall to your knees and give thanks to the one above who loves you that much. You have been truly blessed.

Wishing you the Best....Ric

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Leadership is one of those things you know when you see it. It's a subtle quality. I don't know if I can define leadership, but I know when I've been led.

I know it is important. Every facet of our life is influenced by the leaders we have in our life. We depend on good leadership from our country's leaders, our work-place leaders, our family leaders and the leadership in our past-time activities and organizations we participate in. Poor leadership in any one arena of our life will cause us concern and heartache and problems. Good leadership will give us confidence, high morale, courage and hope.

I demand certain characteristics of the people I choose to follow. If and when I have a choice, I will choose to follow those with ntegrity and Character. This is a deal breaker with me if it is not there completely. I look for a strong sense of "what is right" and a demonstration of ethical practices that sets the tone for others. I look for Courage, the strength to act in accordance with your own values and the greater good despite pressures pushing you in other directions. The ability to put the cause before the desire to be popular. I look for Confidence, a belief in your ability to meet most challenges that come your way. Our best leaders will have Vision, a strong sense of where you are going as a person and where you think society, your community and your organization should be going – and how it might get there. I like to see Enthusiasm, a lively interest in the people, issues and events around you, a feeling of excitement about the possibilities, and the energy to guide them towards fruition.

The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best head of the department. So it's critical to distinguish between the skill of performance and the skill of leading the performance, two entirely different skills.

You need Mental toughness. No one can lead without being criticized or without facing discouragement. A potential leader needs a mental toughness. I don't want a mean leader; I want a tough-minded leader who sees things as they are and will pay the price. Leadership creates a certain separation from one's peers. The separation comes from carrying responsibility that only you can carry. You have heard that it is lonely at the top. This is true. A leader must be able to keep his or her own counsel until the proper time.

Another very important quality to seek in those we follow is Respect. Respect doesn't reveal ability, but it can show character and personality. I look for people whose associates want them to succeed. It's tough enough to succeed when everybody wants you to succeed. But when others don't want you to succeed, it is an uphill battle all the way. It isn't important that people like you. It's important that they respect you. They may like you but not follow you. If they respect you,
they'll follow you, even if perhaps they don't like you. Leaders have a "holding court" quality about them. When they speak, people listen. Other people may talk a great deal, but nobody listens to them. They're making a speech; they're not giving leadership. I take notice of people to whom others listen.

A leader is someone who helps others do and become more than they ever thought possible. Leadership is about unlocking potential, whether individual potential or that of a group, company, or organization. It is not about telling people what to do, but inspiring them to see what they are capable of, then, helping them get there. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine. Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he serves.

Take care....Ric