Love and requirements Friday, Jun 18 2010 

Have you ever been in a situation where love presents a requirement? Over the course of some time now, I’ve thought about the idea that love can’t possibly require anything. Love is the most powerful emotion we can experience as humans. I don’t think it is necessary to elaborate on how much power love has. We (people) share love with each-other and accomplish the impossible for real love.  Now, I’m not talking about saying “I love you” to someone because they told you they love you. I’m talking about the real deal. You know the kind of love that motivates you to share without you ever really thinking about it or expecting anything in return. Well, if two people fall in love and they truly feel the stuff I’m talking about, I can’t imagine love requiring any particular action from either of them. In love is anything ever required or is everything simply surrendered?

Recently I came across a friend who just presented their boy friend of 7 yrs with a choice. The option was to get married or to split up. In addition to having spent the last 7 yrs together, they have formed a life filled with memories. They spend all their time together and as far as I can tell, this couple shares the real stuff.  However, the very idea that love would require this choice leads me to question if love (the real stuff) is really present.

Let’s talk about the guy facing the delicate choice. He is a good on paper kid. You know, the educated, responsible, career oriented individual. As described by my friend, he is great. He is charming and always treats her with priority. In her words, “he always makes her feel like the most important person around”. From the outside looking in, I can tell you this guy is really into my friend. He’s supportive of her painter/creative arts career. He encourages and supports her on all her crazy choices. In addition, he’s one of those guys that always seems like he just came out of a spa. You know those very hard to come by individuals who are always relaxed and in a good mood. Now, I can’t testify to the next statement but according to her, he is a generous lover. He is the perfect package right? Hens why she wants to marry this guy. I get it.

Now, let’s take a look at her. She started with a cosmetology school deal only to realize that art was her real passion. If you’ve ever seen that movie “Sweet November”, try to imagine Sara Deever. I know my friend will not be upset when I say this. My friend is a little crazy and scattered brain. She is cute, funny and you can’t help but to be inspired by her lack of connection to the real world. If you live in the SF bay area, I know you’ve met someone with those qualities. She never listens to the news, has no idea who Obama is or why people keep talking about him. If you say Parliament, she will ask you for what? If you ever try to talk about world changing events such as the fall of the Berlin wall, she might say something like “it’s really stupid how a 10ft wall was built to divide a city and even more stupid how the Germans never tried to jump over it. The wall in Berlin is not even close to the size of the great wall of china”. When things don’t go according to plan, she tends to take a deep breath and close her eyes for about a minute… This works like a reset button that somehow makes everything like nothing happened. She is a Yoga instructor with a heart of gold. She doesn’t care for money but loves bebe. She hates the beach because there is sand but loves the Ocean. Her style is a colorful as her paintings and she idealizes Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. She is about 5’9 with great teeth. She is always happy and never stops talking. A great dancer with an adventurous streak. While the world is facing a nightmare oil spill in the Atlantic, her world is coming to an end because she gained 5 lbs. There are lots of people that make jokes about blonds who act this way but she is not a blond. She has dark brown, waist long hair with green eyes. Everyone who knows her loves her and she has always been the center of attention Hens, why Mr. Perfect package is in loves with her.

Together they are perfect and they are in love. Hm… but this latest choice thing has made me think about many questions. If he was to choose not to marry her, does it make sense for her to walk away from this nice guy? Is it that easy to walk away from someone you are in love with? Will she love him any less? What does not wanting to get married have to do with whether or not you love someone? If he doesn’t want to get married does that mean he doesn’t love her? If he doesn’t love her why is he so sweet to her? Why has he spent the last 7 yrs of his life with her? This whole thing is confusing. She admits that this guy is perfect for her. He doesn’t want their relationship to end. So, the questions are why are two people in love having to meet a requirement? Why is this idea of getting married so important to some of us? This archaic ritual can potentially destroy a relationship where two people are happy. What is really different about them after they get married? They will live in the same house where they are living now. They will eat dinner together like they are now. They will have great sex like they have now. As far as can see nothing changes. Is loving someone for ever not enough? I could not help but to think if I was in he’s shoes, I would feel love is not enough and if it’s that easy for her to walk away, maybe real love is not present in our relationship.

The ritual of getting married up close and personal: This archaic ritual was put in place to celebrate two people, coming together and giving themselves to each-other. Exchanged is the promising to love and take care of each-other forever until death. Somehow over time, we became obsessed with this idea that a piece of paper with a signature, a big party where we invite and feed relatives and friends who will criticize everything afterwards is what holds weight in this matter. I’m wondering, what would I rather have? Would I rather have a union falling under the category of a successful marriage? Or would I rather have someone in my life who loves me forever until death? According to California statistics:

  • In 2009 a successful marriage last 5 yrs.
  • About 48% of marriages don’t last long enough to be categorized as successful and end up in divorce.
  • Another 10% of marriages actually last 5 years or longer but are separated.
  • An additional 10% or so have made it pass the 8 year mark but have been separated at least once in the process.
  • Last but not least 70% of people who get married a second time end up divorcing again.

If the odds are so much against us, why is this archaic ritual pushed upon us throughout our lives by media and our society? Ohh you didn’t know that this was drilled into our heads from before we had the ability to put on our shoes? Let me explain. There is a number of Disney movies pushing the concept of marriage in a very subtle way. Drilling our subconscious with the idea of happily ever after as early as childhood. Our parents push this idea on to us because of their own mental programming even after being divorced themselves. In some cases they are in miserable marriage but still tell us that marriage is the right way. They never stopped to questions and ask why? Companies push bridal campaigns every year during bridal season (Can you believe there is a season). Hallmark got creative and created a holyday filled with red hearts, candy, cards and flower in an effort to create the perfect day for proposals. Not to mention Tiffany’s & Co. and their wedding photo of a bride in every magazine. Marriage is so heavily programmed into our subconscious it’s no wonder why some would rather get married and divorced than share a life time of happiness with the person they love. The question still lingers. Why is our society so obsessed with marriage? I’m thinking it has to do with money. You see everyone wants to buy into the fairytale of happily ever after and Disney wants to sell movies. Just like Calvin Klein tapped on the idea that sex sells, Disney tapped on the idea that forever after sells and the easiest way to present this idea is with a princess finding happiness and getting married. As mentioned before, our parents simply push the idea because they endured the same subliminal programming for their entire life. You see this is not something that started to happen yesterday. This subconscious programming has taken place over hundreds if not thousands of years. Generation after generations have fallen victims of this horrible lie that marriage and love are connected. The truth is Hallmark wants to sell more cards. The bridal shows want to sell more dresses. The cake maker wants to make more cakes. Photographer wants to sell more pictures. Tiffany’s & Co. want to sell you diamonds. The wedding industry has been a booming business that never seems to be affected. If the economy is doing well, people are getting married. If our economy is down, people still get married even if they have to incur large dept. It’s almost funny how people would rather spend 10, 15, 20, 50, 100 thousand, a million dollars on a wedding before taking a killer vacation together in Europe or investing into an early comfortable retirement together. Ironically, about 80% of divorces take place due to financial struggles. Go figure that out. I’m thinking there might be a connection.  Now you might be wondering how can our government allow this to happen? Well, let’s see, lawyers and politicians pass laws. Judges sign wedding licenses and work for the State. Lawyers are needed for prenuptial agreements as well as divorces. (Divorce is big business in the United States. According to maritalstatus.com, a Web site geared toward divorce and remarriage, divorce is a $28 billion-a-year industry with an average cost of about $20,000) I would have to say that it’s not in the best interest of any politician to advice against or even begin to think of pulling the sheet from this manipulative industry. An industry that not only wants you to get married, makes you feel like a loser if you’re 30 and never been married but also wants you to become a repeat customer. If you don’t find happiness the first time get married again. Third time is a charm. Right? I’ve actually hear a photographer at a recent wedding tell the groom to save the business card and a 20% discount would be applied to the 2nd wedding. They laughed about it and turned it into a joke of course but who are we really kidding here. Why don’t they just sell you on finding happiness, sharing your life with someone who cares about you, loves you and respects you? Because they can’t sell you anything with that and there is no chi-ching if there is no wedding. If as a society we walked away from marriage, divorce lawyers would starve. If you ask me they are the only ones that find happiness when you get married. That’s because they want your money. Whenever I feel the need to take action on anything, I tend to ask myself some key question. Is this important to me? Why is this important to me? What are the other options?

So what would I rather have, a successful marriage or lifelong happiness?  I’ll go with lifelong happiness. I realize that you, like my friend, might read this and feel somewhat like you did when you found out about the tooth fairy. The good news is that my friend had a conversation with her boyfriend. Right as he began to tell her about how he loved her but did not want to get married, she stopped him and stated “it’s not that important”. They spent the weekend in Monte Rey and just booked a 2 week trip to Grease. Those crazy kids are all over each-other like two 16 year olds at their high school dance. Real Love nothing is required and everything is surrendered. Simple after all.

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Immigration? What Is The Right Answer? Tuesday, May 25 2010 

In the previous posts, I’ve written about relationships. I’ve shared ideas about mutual respect, communications, building self-esteem and discovering who we are as individuals. However, this time, I would like to talk about something a little different.

Over the last few months, I’ve been asked about my opinion regarding the recent immigration laws in AZ. I simply reply, “it doesn’t concern me”. I tend to change the subject or make funny jokes about the entire thing. You see, even though I have brown hair, brown eyes and speak Spanish, I’m not Mexican. In addition, I’ve lived here for over 25 years with no ties to my country of origin. I’m an American. I love this nation and everything it stands for. I believe in democracy, capitalism and the US Constitution. I agree with Jack Nicholson in a few good men. I appreciate and love the comfort I find in the blanket of freedom this nation provides. Therefore, I try not to question that manner in which it provides it. I rather say thank you and try to understand the reasons behind the decisions that our leaders make.

Unfortunately, the topic of immigrations just doesn’t seem to lighten up. It wasn’t too long before I began to wonder how just these drastic measures were. I’ve listen to discussions about racial profiling and how these laws or tactics were unfair. After a while, I could not help to agree. A very real thought came to me. If I was Asian, Indian or German and I was pulled over in AZ, would I be treated the same as if I was Mexican? Hm…Sense I speak Spanish, have brown hair and have brown eyes, will I be treated differently? Hm… Is there a possibility that I would be harassed while attending school in AZ? Hm… Even a bigger question came to my mind when I noticed a commercial for Meg Whitman. She talked about the idea of sending the National Guard to patrol our borders if necessary in an effort to deal with the immigration issues in California. If these drastic laws were to pass in CA, would I be at risk of being harassed in the very state I call home? How much tax payer dollars would be spent on having the National Guard patrol our borders? In another commercial she talked about minimizing Government spending but it seems to me that this National Guard patrolling our border business would have a pretty hefty price.  Is the National Guard looking to donate time and provide this service free of charge? If this doesn’t work, what’s next? Are we going to deploy Marines to our borders? Doesn’t this seem a little ridiculous? These questions have kept me up at night. It seemed to me that these types of laws should concern me after all. Still, I do not question the actions taken in AZ or the ideas presented by Meg Whitman. I rather try to understand the reason behind the decision taken and ideas presented by our leaders. After all, I have promised to defend this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. At very least I should be supportive of all laws that are passed for the purpose of preserving this way of life that I appreciate so much.

I wondered what the problem really was. Is it that we don’t like Mexicans? I don’t think that’s it. The first 10 amendments of our constitution lead to believe that we are not a racist society. The bill of rights leads me to believe that we don’t base our decisions on whether or not we like people from any specific country or race. Could it be that we have forgotten about how this country was founded upon people who came here from other countries? I don’t think that’s it either. The very American spirit is driven by our diversity and the embracing of different cultures. Wasn’t there someone who said “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe fee, your wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door”? ohhh wait, that’s right, that’s written on the statue of liberty. You know, that pretty lady in NY that represents freedom. So, what is the problem with having immigrants come to this country? The answer is money. There is billions of dollars that escape our economic system. I agreed that we have to do something to preserve and protect our economy. We must put a stop to those who come here and drain our economy by sending and accumulating dollars in foreign countries. Furthermore, there are many illegal immigrants who work and never pay taxes because they don’t have a legal social security number. All this madness has to stop. However, these individual who cost our economy so much are not all Mexican. They are from all corners of the world. As you can see there is no doubt that our leaders have to find a way to fix this problem. However, we must find a fair solution that not only protects but strengthens our economy without sacrificing the values that this nation stands for.

I believe that if you are going to take the time to identify a problem you should also take the time to present a possible solution. That said, I believe that amnesty is the answer. Give those who want to come here and take part in the strengthening of this nation the ability to do so by providing them with work permits. Allow them to work and take pride in becoming positive contributors of the growth of this nation. Address the real problem by:

  • Placing an 80% tax on all money that gets wired out to foreign countries. This will insure that those who want to be here are here to establish a life here in the U.S.A. This will insure that our money will be spent in our economy. Dollars will be spent in the US where they belong.
  • Eliminate welfare benefits to anyone who doesn’t have a permanent residency card.
  • Make it mandatory to establish a good working history of at least 5 yrs before being considered for permanent residency. Those who want to come here and work hard to create a better life would be able to do so. If they are here in search of a free meal they would not find it.
  • Give tax breaks to those business owners or corporations whose work force consists of 50% or more permanent residents/citizens. This will motivate employers to employ citizens and permanent residents before employing foreigners.

I hope that no one who reads this blog takes offense. This is not meant to offend anyone. These are just my opinions or ideas on how to address the immigration problem in a way that is fair to those who are coming here in search of Justice, liberty and pursue of happiness. I believe that this approach will minimize the amount of money spent on patrolling our borders. Those who come here with the wrong intentions would soon realize the US is the land of opportunity not the land of free pie and you have to earn your keep to live here. Not to mention they probably would go back home and tell everyone about how hard life is here. Those who are looking for a free meal would probably be discouraged to take all the ricks they take to get here to find out that this is a country that believes in hard work. If you don’t like my opinion, I have good news. I’m not running for office so you don’t really have to worry too much about it.

Hahahah  lol!!!

I would love to hear your feedback and welcome any comments.

Help & Responsibility Friday, Jan 29 2010 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting a government office in charge of giving government assistance for those less fortunate. I was there helping a family friend that’s been down on his luck and really needs the help. The experience was eye opening and somewhat disturbing. We walked in and took a number to be seen. The wait was 2.5 hours long and this gave us plenty of time to chat about his current situation. It’s been a year sense he lost his job and needless to say the challenges of everyday life with kids has depleted his savings. After several months of struggling and selling his possessions to make ends meet, he had no choice but to ask for government assistance. This is a situation that appears to be more common that we think. This doesn’t surprise me. The booming economy that we are facing clearly contributes to these types of scenarios across the nation. While I was waiting, I began to feel somewhat confused. In the one hand, I was glad to know there’s a place extending help to those who have fallen. On the other hand after over hearing some conversations and observing some patterns, I could not help but to wonder at what point does helping become hurtful?

While seating on the chairs in the lobby, I noticed some patterns. About 8 out of 10 of the people waiting to be seen appear to be women under 30. Each one of them seemed to have anywhere between 3 to 5 kids. Their kids appeared to be about one year apart, 6 or 7 out of 10 appear to be from another nation and were speaking in their native tongue. As I looked around, I wondered about the sense of responsibility that we all share. As Americans we share the responsibility to keep our nation strong. Kennedy said best. “It’s not what our country can do for you. It’s what can you can do for your country” In the eyes the world, the United States of America is the land of opportunity. To me, opportunity means that individuals can work hard to create a better life. When I had a child, I faced my responsibility head on. I often worked two jobs to provide for my child. More importantly, I made sure not to have any more children. I knew I could not afford to have any more and like any responsible person, I made the appropriate choice. I can’t help but to feel that there are some people out there that take a vantage of our government. It seems they have translated “Land of opportunity” into the “Land of free pie”. It’s important to find a balance and educate those who lack the understanding of how their individual actions affect our way of life. Whether its ignorance, an individual irresponsibly defrauding our government or a corrupt politician corrupting our system, corruption is corruption and should be intolerable.

I am not writing this to insult anyone. I came to this country in search of a better life. I’m 36 yrs old and have a 20 year old son. I’ve never asked for a hand out and have worked hard to be a contributor to our society. I love this country and enjoy the opportunities and blanket of freedom it provides. Irresponsibility with our system serve as a drain to our economy and it’s important that we all take a step towards protecting the land of opportunity to insure that opportunities don’t run out.