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The Trivia of Life Keeps us from Experiencing our Greatness

I love music! but specially I love the lyrics. I love to understand what the lyrics of songs mean – or at least what the lyrics mean to me.

Here is another song that I like:

I look around at other people
I brush their shoulders at the corner of the street
But all they notice is their feet
It wasn’t meant this way
Their minds have gone astray

If they could lift their eyes they’d see
There’s people smiling just like me and I’ll agree
It’s not their fault because it’s raining
It’s all work and no play, it’s just another day

Love and beauty
Love and beauty
Should be everybody’s duty
To welcome every man as a friend

I wish that I could change the world
For every boy there’d be a girl for him to know
And maybe people would look up
Then they might realise they’re not the only ones alive”

— Love and Beauty by Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues

“I brush their shoulders…” tells me that he wants to connect/interact with them but they are too self absorbed to notice (all they notice is their feet). What he is describing makes me feel like an elevator moment. You know, that moment of awkward silence where nobody wants to even look into each other’s eyes. What are we avoiding? what are we afraid of?

“It’s not their fault because it’s raining. It’s all work and no play, it’s just another day…” continues by justifying those actions and giving us permission to keep it just that way. But what we do not realize is that this mechanism is what we all use to keep us from experiencing the greatness of other and our own greatness. We keep ourselves in our shells to avoid the other.

The everyday ‘trivia’ (as Monty Python calls it in Meaning of Life)is our circumstances, our problems, our human condition, our little voice in our head – that keeps us from experiencing who we really are and keeps us from experiencing the other. We keep ourselves in a state of being that is ordinary – never living our dreams.

We live a life of always wishing that “I could change the world” and the only hope we have is to live with the expectation that the other “might realise they’re not the only ones alive.”

The “mind fake” of it all is that most of us live our lives like those silent moment in the elevator. No one dares to look up because of the overwhelming subconcious fear that runs us. So therefore no one will ever notice. And if no one notices there is no desire to look up.

This loop of doubt and self-imposed isolation is intended by the ‘trivia’ to keep us from realizing our greatness. Oblivious to the fact that “Love and Beauty” is all that God has intended for us.

Like my favorite movie, the Matrix, suggest: “Take the red pill, Neo, and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit role goes…”

Do you live on in ignorance (and potentially bliss) by taking the blue pill – OR – do you lead what Aristotle called ‘the examined life’ and take the red pill?”
Matrix Philosophy

What do you think? Which pill would you choose?

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Detachment is Being Comfortable with the Ambiguities of Life

“Detachment is not a physical thing; it’s a mental phenomenon. Attachment could be said to be the same thing as fear and insecurity. Detachment is the same thing as being comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, which are facts of life.”

– Deepak Chopra

A friend was sharing about his girlfriend and how – even knowing better – she still choose NOT to do what he considers to be the ‘right thing.’ He shared how when he asked why she would do that, she replied “leave me alone. Let me do what I want to do.” He was very upset & just continued to argue with her. He wanted some advise on how to convince her to do what he considered to be the ‘right’ thing.

I shared with him that people do what they will do and we cannot judge, dictate or even coach them into doing the ‘right’ thing – when they do not want to hear it. That is a choice they need to reach on their own & we need to be fine with their choice.

He was visibly very upset at her choice & asked me “so what should I do?” I responded “give up your attachment to needing to be right!” He paused for a bit & then said “What the f^*k are you talking about! She is the one not making the right choice. What do you mean – me – giving up my attachment!??”

No matter how much I tried to explain or get him to see that it is him that needs to accept and be detached from the upset, he would not hear of it.

So I shared with him this Zen Buddhist story:

Two monks are walking down a country road when they come upon a river. Suddenly a young girl, partially naked from her struggle with the river, runs up to them. She says, “The river flooded away everything I have and my family is on the other side. Can you help me get across to find them?”

The younger monk is flustered, a naked girl! He felt he needed to avoid the temptations of the flesh. But the older one picks up the naked girl, throws her over his shoulder and walks across the river. When he reaches the shore he puts her down, and without a word, walks on. The younger monk follows, but his mind is not at rest. How could his brother have touched a naked girl?

After a couple of hours he stops his brother and says, “Brother, we are supposed to be above things of the flesh! And yet you picked that girl up and carried her across the river.” The older monk replies, “Yes, you’re right and when I got to the other side I put her down. You have been carrying her ever since.”

The young monk carried the worry and the upset for the sins of the flesh, and could not let it go. He lived with the burden and the anguish of what he considered to be a ‘wrong’ doing much longer then the older monk did.

I explained the the moral of the story is that worrying of the burden of living into the considerations of right/wrong is more of a burden then the act itself!

Do you think I gave him the right advice?

I see it that the story is the same about everything in our lives. Once something is complete and we have fulfilled it’s purpose, we can choose to drop it from our minds. Holding it and wondering and questioning the right/wrong-ness of it ceases us from being who we really are in the moment. There is no reason to look back upon our choices.

What we have chosen to leave in the past ceases to be ours. Let it go & detach your ‘self’ from it Now & Forever!

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Lessons Learned from Randy

Tribute to Randy Pausch on Google

I, like millions of people have watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on YouTube. This lecture is extremely powerful, empowering and has been impactful in my life. I developed a great appreciation for Randy’s wisdom and the lessons this Carnegie Mellon professor had for us. This talk is meant to teach life’s lessons as his legacy in life.

Now that Randy has past away, how can his legacy live on in me? I am a firm believer in that everything that is put before me, there’s a lesson to be learned. So what are my, as Randy puts it, “Lessons learned…” What lessons can I get out of Randy’s life experiences, and his passing, to “achieve my dreams and enable the dreams of other.”

I thought about that a little bit more and went back to listen to the lecture. This is what I came up with – my list of 10 things I’ve learned from Randy’s lecture (in no particular order):

1. The Brick Walls are there for a Reason: Walls are there to separate those who do not want it bad enough from those with the dedication and commitment to live their lives to the fullest. It is there to allow us to climb over them and get to the other side even when we do not know what is on the other side. Reaching for what you want requires work – so work hard. Scale those walls and show that you have the desire.

Everyday life has a way of putting hurdles in our path. Some may seem insurmountable, but it is in my passion for life that I can overcome them. It is in me to excel and jump over those hurdles.

2. Disney Imagineering – The Nicest “Go to Hell Letters”: Anybody can get chewed out and rejected. It is in how you receive & accept the feedback (even just seeing it as feedback). Learning from the rejections & the failures is one of the biggest lessons in life. At the end of the lecture Randy says it is the rare person that can “cherish it and use it” to grow as a person.

3. Wait Long Enough & People Will Surprise & Impress You : Perseverance is the key. Give people the time & the space they need to find their own greatness. Guide them along their paths so they can get themselves to where they want to be. As Randy says, “Find the best in everybody; no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.”

Give up whatever impression you may have of them. Don’t make them wrong and allow them to be themselves. You may be surprised!

4. Good Way & Bad Way of Saying ‘NO’ : It is in the attitude & in the words I use that I can influence/ get people to do what I want from them. It is a way of being that I can create for myself. I can have something worth saying but saying it to empower others (not to disempower them) is where the powers lies.

At the end of the lecture he shares something Andy Van Dam told him. “It’s such a shame that people perceive you as so arrogant, because it’s going to limit what you are going to be able to accomplish in life.” Randy continues with “What a hell of a good way to word – you’re being a jerk!” It was in the positive nature of the wording that this became a constructive conversation.

5. The Next Star Wars Film :When Tommy shared his dreams, Randy said “You know they are probably not going to make those next movies…” and Tommy said “No they are!” This shows me that no matter what people say or think, just live your dreams. Don’t let people dissuade you from living & achieving them.

6. You Obviously Don’t Know Where the Bar Should Be – You’re Only Going To Do Them a Disservice by Putting it Anywhere : Dream Big!! Randy was amazed that his students did not stop and “just kept going!!” Do not sell people short by my own limits and perceptions. Encourage people to give their best & they will surely do so. See people bigger then they see themselves and they will live into who you make them out to be. Create an energy where greatness comes from believing one is great!

7. My Favorite Moment in 10 Years is a Brilliant Ad Lib : “He pulls out his ninja sword and says – ‘I am dishonored!’ and just drops.” What I got from this moment is that the best part of life are the moments that are unplanned and are true and honest from the heart.

This is where we get to live our life to the fullest and where I can create a great bond with people. Being authentic, honest & real with myself will allow me to be just that with others.

8. The Yin and the Yang : The left and right side of the brain are essential for the success out of anything I do. The Geek and the Artist in me / the Good & the Bad are both necessary for being complete. One cannot live without sharing with the other.

9. Paint My Bedroom : Let your kids paint their bedroom. Allow them to flourish & encourage them to be self-expressed. His parents may have been reluctant, but they saw the spark in his eye and encouraged him to express his creativity. They allowed him to express himself – even if it was unconventional art.

As an architect, I know the value the environment can cause to spark the creative flame in people. And I also know the value I can create in my son by giving him the space to express his artistic flare.

10. Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore? : Are you going to live your life having FUN or not? You get to choose. Like Randy says, it is not only a choice but its a requirement. “I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.” There really is no other option. We will all die and at the end of our lives, do we want to be remembered, like Randy, “as a person who had fun” or as a person who never allowed himself to enjoy his life. You choose!

OK, so getting ten powerful tenets from Randy’s lecture is incredible and an amazing contribution, on Randy’s part! And then I get to the end of his lecture and he throws out “How to get people to help you?” This hit home because it has been a big one in my life. Inspiring & enrolling others to follow me has been challenging. So what is the “lesson learned?”

You Can’t Get There naked celebrities Alone : Acknowledge the people in your life. Tell the truth to others & to yourself. Show gratitude & appreciation. Have an intention or purpose in your life to live for and share that with others. Live for others and they will give you your dreams.

Inspire in them their dreams & they will be inspired by your dreams.

Lastly Randy reveals the great “head fake,” the lesson we did not know we were meant to learn –

It is not about how to achieve your dreams, but how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the Karma will take care of itself.

“The dreams will come to you.”


So at the end of Randy’s lecture, I realize that in our daily life, we get caught up in the circumstances, the daily challenges and the hurdles we have to jump. Constantly bumping into the proverbial “brick wall” of life and constantly staying stuck inside my head. It is about getting outside of your ‘self’ & contributing to others. Being with others and giving of yourself to others. This is where life fulfills your dreams.

I have only one choice! I cannot stay wallowing in my junk. I must allow myself to experience life and to have fun while living it. There really is no other way to play it!

Thank you Randy for
who you were. Your legacy lives on!

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My Goodbyes to Randy Pausch

On July 25th, Randy Pausch past away (See Official Google Blog: Goodbye to Randy Pausch, a great teacher). My deepest sympathies go out to his family. I personally did not know him, but his Last Lecture touched my heart & left a lasting impression on me.

What would I do if this moment was my last? How would I live my life knowing that I am going to die? Would I sit here pissed off at the world & at God; would I be feeling sorry for myself; or would I have the courage to make a difference before I go?

See that is the BIG question in life “what difference do I make in this world?”

Well I can tell you that after watching Randy’s Last Lecture I know I have the courage to make a difference now! The first time I watched his video I found myself just so amazed at how – in the face of his own inevitable death – he faced his own Goliath head on.

As his lecture states, he did this so that he can leave behind a legacy that his family can be proud of. Well Randy you did good by your family and I want to thank you for sharing yourself with me. I am forever changed by who you were. You have left behind a legacy that has touched the world.

Randy Pausch’s famous lecture at Carnegie Melon University entitled the “Last Lecture.”

This lecture was amazingly uplifting. A truly inspiring reaction to getting the news that you are dying.

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Today is our 20th Anniversary!

This video is titled – Habibi Ya Nour El Ain. Loosely translated it means My Love – You are the light of my eyes.

I dedicate this video to my wife. 20 years ago today, I made her a promise of love, trust & understanding. I still hold dear that promise. See for the last few weeks I’ve been upset that we are not communication, but I forgot something. I forgot that when two people love each other deeply the communication is also deeper then just verbal, physical or even emotional. It’s spiritual…

What do I mean, well let me tell you what happened today. This morning my wife left by 6:30 & I did not get to see her. When I got up, I got my cup of coffee & right next to the coffee machine was a card, a small gift wrapped in paper & a tall box. All sitting on the counter waiting for me. I opened the card & read the words. I opened the small gift & it was a spiritual CD. So I hate to admit it but the CD of hymns stopped me & I said to myself “I don’t have time for this, I’ll open the tall box later.” So I rushed out the door with my cup of coffee and went to work.

As the day progressed, my son & I went to get her a card and some flowers. As I’m looking thru the card aisle nothing seemed interesting & as I was ready to leave, a card at the bottom shelf caught my eye. I turn around & go check it out. The front was a black & white card with vines on it. I open up the card & before I could read it the music started playing. It was a very slow tempo song, sort of beep-bop song from the fifties. I immediately closed it without reading it because I did not like the song, put it back on the shelf & I said to myself “I don’t have time for this!”

I walked away, but something called me back! I opened the card again, ignoring the music & start to read the words. it said

“When I married you, I made you a promise to love you…”

WOW that’s exactly what I did & all of a sudden that promise was brand new for me again! So of course I got the card.

But the surprising part came when I got home. I gave my wife the card & flowers. As she is reading the card, she gasps! I ask her “what’s the matter?” She says “Open the box & read the name of the sculpture that is inscribed on the bottom.” As I grab the statue – a couple in a loving embrace – turn it upside down, inscribed on the bottom are the words…

“The Promise”


Wow! I can believe it. this is us in that loving embrace! We are both in a spiritual embrace and I didn’t even take the time to recognize it. We have both chosen “the Promise” in the gifts that we were giving to each other. Reaffirming that we are in sync with one another – even when the physical world only gives us challanges. I just have to trust that there is a greater force and we are one with it.

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