Corner

Mr. Pettigrew’s
Robert Allen
Nothing has Changed since MLK, Jr. Preface No. 1
“Well that appears to me to be a kind of socialism for the rich and rugged hard individualistic capitalism for the poor.” Excerpt, in response to a question from the audience, from MLK, Jr.’s “The Other America” speech at Grosse Pointe High School, Michigan, March 14, 1968, three weeks before his assassination.

I just saw this news bit in February, 2009. The commentary really hit me hard. Back, at a time when Martin Luther was describing the state of economic affairs in the USA, he was also preaching about equality and freedom for people of all colors. However, in the context of this discourse, he was referring to a Federal bail out of the agricultural industry where the Government was paying farmers not to harvest certain crops by way of a subsidy. Sound familiar?! And in the same breath, these monetary recipients were stating that black workers should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps to be successful. Quite a contradiction, if not hypocritical opinion. So, the Reverend King simply pointed out this discrepancy, and hence, the truth. And they tried to kill the truth, but only the human body was snuffed out...... Return to today, in a moment of historical crisis where highly paid and professionally deceitful businessmen, like Madoff, Nadel and a host of unsolved others, who contrive Ponzi schemes to defraud the public, abound, what is essential for reflection is these insightful words of a wise man who’s only goal was clarity of purpose. With the weight on our new President’s shoulders for past wrongs done by Americans, and still being inseminated, there rings an imperative upon which we the people must stand up, accept responsibility for the truth, and act in that light. We should no longer tolerate complacency for banking executives crooked deeds. There are no repercussions or recompense for the loss, except possible imprisonment of the bad guy. And we have already allowed $300 billion in 2008 to be awarded these fine individuals to meet their year end bonus plan of corporate retreats and charlatan budget entry shortfalls. As of this date, no evidence exists to corroborate the strategy of dumping the randomly designed number of 700 billion dollars on this broken financial system. The experts said we had to pursue this strategy or the system would have collapsed. Plus, this trickle down theory would free up liquidity to loan. As a locally small contractor remarked about his company recently, “Give the money to me; I can supply jobs for people. Instead, I had to fire over half my staff.” Does not that sad tone ring in your ears?! Banks are still not infusing any cash into the broken system or lending to the small business owner to survive, and we are at the beginning of the third quarter, July 1, 2009.

Here it is full circle: we all need initial support to get a leg up in this modern day depression. And I mean emotionally, most importantly. Yes, the funding will help. But the crux of the matter is within. What makes a mediocre football team make it to the Super Bowl, like the Arizona Cardinals? Chemistry, coaching, tapped talent, teamwork, spirit, and more. What I heard those players and coaches say in interviews this year was basic: you have to believe in yourselves. See the dream; be the dream; live the dream. Without the appropriate relief on this front, we will become demoralized as a nation, and this ripple effect will spread like a pandemic disease. That is why the outpouring of millions of folks, with diverse backgrounds and of many cultures, to watch the Inauguration gives me hope. It’s the difference in making this country what it will become. Lets avoid the extreme separation of classes and focus on assisting our fellow man or woman in need. All for one, and one for all, as the four musketeers declared. That might be the best game plan we have. I suggest we contemplate its meaning and not let another 40 years go by with a certain famous leader, like MLK, Jr., being quoted in paraphrasing an analysis of the same unfortunate state of affairs then that exists today. Is this forecast for our future, if not worse???

“Fix It”
(Reference to SNL weekend update, 11/08)

Preface No. 2
Since the federal bailout debate, I have forgotten my own preaching of re-creating a new society, as further enlightened in “Wake Up, America,” the treatise that follows. I must re-ask the question: who are the new heroes of the 21st century?? AIG, Bear Sterns. Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, and a host of other failed institutions to come? Federal buyouts with our tax monies to save the day? Who are we kidding?? Why? The experts predict that the old school method would have a major impact. On what?? As my wife reflected to me, at the end of last year, we allow the capitalization of profits but the socialized approach to losses. Again, sound familiar? Are we communist?? That’s a hell of a rationale to offer us lay people who work, rather slave, hard for what we get humbly in the trenches. No one initially bailed out GM, Ford, or Chrysler in the blink of an eye.

Instead, Congress scrutinized them like the IRS crawling up your, well, you know what. Maybe they should have approved some small measure of comfort. But no, last year as a farewell, to appease the unions, George W. had to save the day with a morsel of crumbs not even fit for a mouse. In 2009, President Obama had to attempt to salvage the car czars, an American institution, like baseball, and help the failing unions in association therewith. At least give them a last chance at making a go. Now, two big companies are filing bankruptcy. Why didn’t we let the banks go under in this same way? I don’t want an ownership interest in a private group liquidating. I’ll get 5 cents on the dollar, and then they get a clean slate to start over and make more money from scratch, as they wave bye-bye to me with my nickel in my pocket.... Why don’t ‘we the people’ join this ridiculous party of leaches. They’re parasites, really. We all could use a bailout in these uneasy, hard times. I mean we should have let them all fall, crumble. Screw ‘um!! As we can see, this horrendous theory of economics has it’s flaws and weaknesses at the taxpayers expense. For what’s the worse that could happen?! There is all ready new heights of unemployment, unbelievable levels of foreclosures, and, for all intents and purposes, we’re in the tank. No pun intended as gas prices have gone through the roof. We can’t keep passing the buck and the responsibility for bad decisions. For deceitful stock practices. For untrustworthy service providers. For corporate fraud on a subversive daily basis. All our dollars and cents are spent rebuilding another country. Why not transport all our resources there and start afresh?! Seriously, lets pick up and move to where we invest billions. Just like the old Western frontier. We obviously don’t give a hoot about this ole US of A. Divided were fall, united we stand. But it’s difficult to wobble about on one wooden leg that’s infected with termites. Why do you think the rest of the international community mocks us. We are such an easy target for terrorists’ reproach. And, unfortunately, it is not our ACTION that speaks louder than words because there’s no method behind our madness. Before, a long time ago, the framers of the Constitution, politicians of the Revolution, the Continental Congress, the minutemen, who fought and shot the sound heard around the world, started this original revolutionary bash against the mightiest

warrior of the colonial times..... And what did they do first?? They thought about it. They aligned themselves to what was right, truthful, filled with integrity, and that which would pursue freedom, liberty, and happiness for all involved. Not just out for themselves. Or the quick buck!! We didn’t have to bail them out, rectify a half-ass job, take over when no one was watching or oversee their misdoings. They were good down to the bone. And they convened as a community and processed a plan that was actually workable for the people, who wanted to live the same ideals and within that new precious environment they had hoped to create. Yes, create!! They were demigods creating a society for the betterment of all. So we could all feel good about ourselves. We could all live freely without prejudice and hate and persecution. We could all express our own uniqueness without fear of harm and death. We could all live in harmony, peace and joy. What happened since then?? We’re all dying, withering on the vine..... So what’s next?? What’s the band-aid solution?? Isn’t that the problem?? Short term answers for long term realities. The original thinkers of the 1700’s were not short sighted. They saw deep into the future. Even our complete legal system rests on one document. The Supreme Court revolves around the Constitution fully. Too many exceptions have been pushed under the law. White collar criminals walk away scott free with a bundle in their pockets, and then fire their entire workforce. Laid off!! After 10, 20, 30 years. Without any healthcare benefits. Even pension funds are failing. You know, pull the good ole bait and switch, but as you sit there comfortably in you quaint little home hoping to relax and enjoy, finally, the fruits of your labor, we regret to inform you that you’ll need to begin searching for another career position as what was left in the kitty to assist you into old age has been squandered. No one cares about you anymore. Dog eat dog once again. “What the.....,” as my teen nephew says. So who’s running the show?? You or someone in whom you had thought you placed your trust and faith. No longer. Today, yes now, is the time for another form of rebellion. Not with guns and the primitive instruments of the past. But with love and good will toward others. We are forced, coerced, to an action long over due. I am grateful for the morass the higher ups have branded us with. This stigma provides more incentive to carry on together as ONE from the “lower” classified ranks.

At one time, I too used to be a “rape and pillager.” As a lawyer, I made $150 an hour, on the average. Now as a teacher, I make $5-10 per hour. What a shame. In my honest belief, there is no nobler position than teacher, educator, nurse, or whatever worthy subject matter, similarly situated. Of course, chasing green-backs has some perks, but only if you deserve it according to the relative appreciative factor. Most of us do, but aren’t given our day in court. As a result, we must accept what is. I say BOSH!! Accept nothing! Only what should be: ‘the what is making me happy in life’ formula. I shouldn’t be confined to an area where I have to beg, steal or borrow my way into the ranks of survival. Who is the big bad English nation to rebel against in 2009?! We are those barely trained men in Concord, Mass., listening to the echoes of Paul Revere. “The British are coming!” Even better, I’m instructing that they’re right behind you. So before you run in fear or hand over your wallet in the symbol of your life savings, think again. Take a deep breath. Look around and contemplate. Feel the vibrations of your heart. Listen. What’s it saying? Be open. Be mindful. Be positive in your analysis. Revolution is only curative if developed in truly soulful understanding. Whole. Balanced. Loving. Caring. Conscious. Deliberate. Thoughtful. In light of the greater source. Emanated out from the inner being to reflect the desires and passions of your God, in goodness. Believe in that feeling, reach out to the mountain top, stretch to touch the stars, and your life will change and improve. In accordance with you true self. How perfect. But first, we must modify being crushed, stamped upon, and burdened. The American Revolution began with the abolition of the Stamp Act. In a bizarre analogy, today’s rebuilding is a mirror image of stamping out corruption, whipping out fear, overcoming obstruction. In the end, let the big companies take their hit. Let them experience bruises and restructure in normal bankruptcy. We are already hurting and their loss is our gain. Lets stop buying, paying for, their failure. The wealthy of this nation will recover. But regardless, in each scenario, we, the average person, doing our best with what we have got, will be stamped down even more. We soon will be filing a new form of bankruptcy .... of the soul. LETS REPEAL this so called STAMP ACT that’s penetrating our very core and diminishing our worth. We are of value. We have inherent self-esteem. Each of us has inherited

something special that only each of us can release, expand, and let grow. We can’t afford to carry the wealthy anymore on our backs to purgatory. They aren’t letting us grow into our true selves. In short, the environment is stale and suffocating. Without that support structure in place, we will surely perish. Forgive any doom and gloom sermon here. Just plain facts. Hear now the beat of the drum of your own heart calling you to reform in your own way. We are soliciting help. Each must give for constructive purposes. Lets re-frame a “document blessed” to re-protect the freedom of all of us in these grand States, United, for America. At this stage, I direct you to a new initiative that follows entitled, “Wake Up, America.” May it prove a source for further enlightenment......

Wake Up, America
(A treatise) Note
I originally wrote the first draft of this pamphlet back in 2002, and but for lack of courage or whatever, I buried it in some drawer in my filing cabinet downstairs. I have since updated it a tad. However, I sensed I was afraid of how it’s message might affect my start up business at that time in terms of adverse feedback. But, in reality, my personality is such that I wanted to avoid any conflict and not stir the pot. Now, I feel compelled to pursue this theme once again as some things have not changed, and it strikes a renewed nerve. My teeth have become so sensitive of late. The doctors are not able to diagnose the problem. My ears have developed a subtle ringing even. But, I know the medical mishaps have to do with my stress over this subject. So like Walt Whitman, or Johnny Appleseed, I bare the sacred cloak and mantle and prepare to disseminate throughout our global network and lines of communication in a promise of truth......a message......to justify the means and the end, all in the present moment……

The New Introduction
Like Judas Iscariot, like Benedict Arnold, like myself, I feel that I am betraying my trained background and fraternal compadres with whom I used to conspire and associate in my previous life. Yes, I was a lawyer and businessman for almost ten

years. What I saw disturbed me; what I did was disconcerting; what I represented was a sad collection of humanity behind the mask of a legitimate business. So in that light, let me spew forth the secrets that most see and most ignore, but prefer to remain untouched by the reality of what’s out there. (I expound on these insights in the following ten sections entitled, “Time Bombs.”) As a scary decision, from this instance onward, no one will approve or accept you if you alter your position from the current wolf in sheep’s clothing that you wear today. If you decide to change, relinquishing the label as one of the inclusive ‘us,’ which I know to be a farce, you will be actively rejected and abandoned by the exclusivity of this “Club.” I know since I grew up in one, an upper middle class country club environment. Let me expound further beyond vague references, in spite of the tomatoes being thrown at me on this hyperbolic stage..... It is with a heavy heart and a sense of futility that I have created this sliver of what, I believe, to be a tome of thoughts, expressions, and feelings on the following issues that have plagued America throughout the ages. As an open vessel, I implore you, the reader, to re-examine this basic tale of society, and in particular, war: from Alexander the Great, to Caesar, to the American Revolution, to the World Wars, to Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, to today’s terrorist campaign. (A situation which makes you forced to live a life in which you are afraid to let go because of the fear and insecurity draped around it.) I am not a historian but I do know this: we have been fighting for freedom for a long time. Not just from evil, like terrorism, but from every disease or plague, from slavery in all forms, from each other, from ourselves. It’s never ending and very tiresome. We have come to a new millennium and a critical time to decide anew. We must weave a new world fabric, and it must begin at home in America. That is why my heart weighs heavy because the average person does not realize that they have the fortitude within him or her. The process begins with someone special with a strong character, full of integrity and simple faith, which may be me, but in all likelihood, refers to you. As this war affects Americans immediately, and in particular, in New York City and Washington DC, there were civic personalities that have been carrying us through those catastrophic times (and I allude specifically to 911): the firemen and women,

all those police personnel who gave their lives, and ordinary volunteers going beyond their day to day chores. If we need to learn anything about that tragedy, it would be to observe these persons’ examples. We should interview each and every one to determine how they tick, and listen, then digest what we are starving for from their truths and begin restructuring our lives around that. Then we can begin weaving this new fabric. I would imagine their perspective to be one of a certain Martin Luther King, Jr. or Jesus of Nazareth. He was a carpenter and lived from moment to moment. He ate what he needed, he performed his duties when needed, and he wore only what he needed. He relied not just on his heavenly Being to provide, but also he relied on his fellow human beings. Again, I refer to this connection as a weave, a fabric of cloth, in which we are all interwoven between and among ourselves. When the tenants in downtown New York were displaced from their homes, who took them in? Their neighbors did. (This includes their family, and moreover, the proverbial “we.”) Who fed the working fire people and police force that came from all geographic areas to help repair the damage in that horrible scene? We did. (Or rather, local restaurants and volunteers from across the nation that brought food and drink.) Don’t you see that we provided for each other? We can together. We worked hand in hand, side by side. And we sure don’t need another bombing to make this a daily occurrence. What was done at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was a result of hatred. I do not condone it. However, I believe this incident gave us a vision through this bizarre situational microscope. We got to see what firemen/women and policemen/ women do everyday. We saw the lives of a multitude of Jesus personalities. We witnessed communities come together. We experienced a love in a world that is in a poorly woven condition. We desperately need new cloth, and that can only be sewn from within. If each person could grab hold of one small particle or edge of the blank template of this cloth and start weaving their own thread, no matter what type, thickness, color, strand, or shape….well….there’s the mosaic vision. If we can start in this way with a new common purpose, I think there will be revealed about and around us a more beautiful American design. But again, each of us must be worthy and true

on the inside to play a positive role. Otherwise, the fabric takes on hurtful strains that make it look like it currently does: the state of our torn nation. Take for example a baker’s dozen of problems that arise in our conversations every day at the coffee shops or book stores but are not publicized because they suggest the untouchable sores of the walking wounded, “lepers,” that we fear to confront: 1. The War on Iraq, i.e. Terror International, which continues to snuff out the lives of our soldiers, that amount to thousands per year and costs hundreds of billions of dollars. (Again, as guised under policies of liberty and freedom, the only resultant outcome has been the doubling of gas prices that is helping to cripple our economy and make oil and gas barons wealthy.) 2. The apparent questionable role of politician’s who play in selfdealing: receiving huge government contracts where there are obvious conflicts of interest. 3. Tsunami and Katrina: powerful examples of the devastation due to the unpredictability of nature’s wrath. 4. The white collar crime (like the ENRON debacle), which screwed seniors from their life savings, and forced them back into the working field. 5. Bogus church groups and other stepchildren of falsity that use religion to defrock. 6. Identity theft and consumer credit fraud each year that amounts to billions of dollars. 7. The Wall Street “dot com” financial bust that left us hovering above recessionary levels since 2002. 8. The bailout of Bear Sterns Investment Group with our tax dollars setting a new precedent for high end economic deception: not just corporate icons taking golden parachutes to jump ship with millions just before the company’s failure leaving us to hold the bag, but with the added proviso of our government subsidizing this action. 9. The $700 billion government bailout package which has gone

unaccounted.....where we might recover 20 cents to the $1.00 in 10 years, best case, after having set up a RTC like entity paid by taxpayers and that will re-hire the wall street crooks as consultants to advise this agency since they were the ones who created this debacle. As a result, they make money on the back end too. 10. Poverty that’s close to the worst in the world. 11. Multiple diseases, which kill without mercy and affects larger groups of people each year, running the spectrum from kids to seniors. 12. Homelessness of children and adults that is appalling. 13. Uninsured families that receive sub-par medical treatment for chronic conditions, which lays the foundation for a busted healthcare system. 14. Sexual molestation and abuse of minors from trusted adults like priests, coaches, friends, relatives, or family members. 15. And forget the statistics on murder, rape, road rage accidents or drunken driving deaths, drug addiction and overdoses, and suicide (since mental illnesses still goes hardly noticed in spite of the 400% increase in adolescent suicides). PS. Take the untimely demise of Heath Ledger, David Carradine, and Michael Jackson, and the questionable promulgation of prescription medication via licensed doctors pushing the drug companies’ agenda. (NOTE: And who pays for all this morass?? Taxpayers!! Always. What kind of fabric design do you think we have created and continue to promote for ourselves in the technological and digital age??? Things are moving too fast without much contemplation of what’s happening at this second, or without even a break of silence, to hear ourselves breathe.) We need to go back to the firemen/women, the police officers, and the carpenters. When I was a boy, that’s who I wanted to be. But as I got older, things changed. Why? Because money issues surfaced, and I longed for what it could give me. And not just the money, but the conditional value system of restricted dependency that is attached to it. In other words, it

straps your hands in a straight jacket and you feel trapped unless you play the game. As a result, you sacrifice yourself and forgo a way of life that would have helped you maintain the faithful course of what and who you truly are at the core. Why do I have to suffer to learn this? When one falls, we all fall. That’s who we are. That should be America. Each of us represents that symbol, or at least, we should. It’s a heavy task in this day and age because it’s easier to just give in. The power “machines” and structures that exist hold sway over us. We are still slaves to each other. The Civil War taught us nothing, but how to kill each other with innovation and fight better biological and technological wars? Come on! What sense of freedom, peace, and harmony do we really have? How much does one person really need? (Oh, yeah, right, maybe if I were wealthy, I would be singing a different song. Let me tell you, I live reasonably well, but I try to picture an existence as if impoverished. What a real eye opener, which I could hardly imagine in any reasonably comfortable existence.) There, that should be it! Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes. Before you act, ask yourself how the person you’re affecting might feel. We need to relearn empathy and compassion. We need not a physical revolution but an emotional resolution to be “reborn” in every sense of that word. The time has come; your time is NOW!!! What I elaborate from here I portray as ten (10) “Time Bombs” to include in your decision making process. In an unfortunate act, the terrorists forced us to see ourselves as we currently exude globally. And not all of us, mind you, but most of us. And we can’t delete ourselves from this picture as coconspirators in some tangential form. Even though the buildings have been destroyed, let’s rebuild that which we know to be right with materials that we know to be true. In a leap of faith, detonate your emotional lethargy to wake up !!!!!!!

Time Bomb #1 - Re-Examine Your Life’s “Story”
Examine your life! That seems like a very simple request. But I bet if you tried to do it, that procedure is, as has been paraphrased, “It would be harder to put a camel through a needle’s eye.” There that concept is again. It’s ages old and still unheeded. But we have found those who can follow that example: the

firemen/women who gave their lives for love, for duty, for another. (This generic role model should also extend to our modern soldiers overseas placed in harms way.) There are people in this world who have accomplished this parable. We need to locate them and begin asking them questions and LISTEN. As I mentioned, as a kid I wanted to be either a fireman or policeman. But as I grew up, I was led to believe by societal forces (and I will not name each one that influenced me, but you can figure out who and what they were in your own lives) that money was God. So, you guessed it, I strived to become one of those ambitious working class Joes. In my twenties, I looked for a steady job that would pay the bills and give me a little extra to help receive credit, mortgage a home, buy a car, stereo (and now, a flat screen TV, cell phone, iPod, updated computer, HD network, and video equipment including, Guitar Hero and Wii) and go out with the boys buying dinner and drinks ever so often. In that, I found a sense of financial independence. However, what my job had become was something I was not. As a lawyer, I would represent clients who coordinated the issuing of loans to people in monetary difficulty, or individuals who wanted to pay off their debt, or to live in retirement comfortably, or to buy a house bigger in size than they could afford, and the developers who could supply that. I was green and threw myself in whole heartedly. I was polite, worked hard, and competent. I actually cared. Yet over time, I became callous and jaded. I was turning into someone I was not: from kind to mean; from caring to careless; from creative to festering and verbose; from joyful and loving to hateful and angry. I had to set aside my professional training due to the societal stress and start fresh. By way of a confessional, as I closed those above referenced deals, below are a few illustrations of what I and my associates would tackle and co-promulgate. Scenario 1: A middle-aged couple with two kids have maxed out their credit cards. The father is a plumber unable to make a living because of all the bills he has to pay to every collector, you can imagine, just to survive. He has a bad credit history. But my mortgage broker client gives him a loan to refinance their debt (pay it off) at a lower interest rate than his 15%. My client offers them 10%, saving 5%, but still well over the going prime rate, 6.5%. The couple is satisfied because

everything is consolidated into one debt, and, the kicker, they pay no closing costs. Of course not, because these fees are all (including a point at 1% of the loan amount and associated bank fees) financed in the loan. In other words, they still pay for the costs, just over time in their interest payments. For example, if they needed $30,000 to pay off their credit cards, the mortgage broker gave them $40,000 which includes $10,000 worth of his fees to do the deal. Even though they have a lower payment, it’s still at a higher loan amount. Does that make sense? Well, it wasn’t my duty to say because I was hired only to settle the transaction and record the documents, and not to give an opinion. But, to make it even worse, to get this broker client’s business, I also had to agree to fraudulently modify the HUD-1 statement: one to show the borrower without certain bogus fees the broker never disclosed, including the kick back the broker received from the final bank that would service the loan, and then another revise the HUD-1 to the final lender where the loan would be placed with all the charges. My fee was only $250 per closing. Who do you think collected the most on this “legitimate” transaction? The banker brokers absconded with thousands..... Scenario 2: An older couple only have social security to rely on for retirement. They have both worked their entire lives until 65 and just had some money invested in savings bonds because they were afraid of the stock market. They have their home, but they took out a home equity loan to make repairs over the years and used any extra money to pay off that. My bank lender client offered them a new type of creative financing. Without going into the technical details of it, needless to say, when these folks die, the only thing they leave their children or heirs would be another pile of debt. In other words, the inheritance would end up zero, but instead became a negative number or less than nothing, because all the equity in their house would be tapped in the reverse. This loan was based on a inflated appraisal, which reality later dictated to be of much lower value. The sale of the home upon their demise didn’t even cover all the outstanding new debt. Scenario 3: I was required to account for every one-sixth of an hour on a time sheet for the law firm, which I did religiously. I did not make up any time for stuff I did not bill; however, most of the partners did. My hourly rate was $125 and the partners’ rates were usually $250. There would be times when I would sit in a

partner’s office for less than fifteen minutes and see that partner mark two hours on his time sheet, classify it as a conference with the associate on the case, and promptly leave for an early lunch. Then I would go to work the rest of the day or week researching the case on behalf of this partner in charge, who then would deduct my time and override it with more of his or hers. This misrepresentation hampered my growth for truly and accurately accounting for my time and was reformatted falsely by the partner to allow the firm to bill the client at a higher rate. This negative reinforcement also made it tougher for me to get ahead without resorting to the same scheme. So, enough elaboration....... These few experiences made life hard for me to sleep at night knowing somehow I was a co-conspirator in these unfair practices disguised under a legal mask. And as we in America know, there are other scams in different industries that we breathe in every day. I don’t mean just those perpetrated by the lower classes of society, but by real educated people. (On a side note: A whole separate book would be needed to elaborate on the constant cheating and affairs by and among the office staff: lawyers with secretaries, paralegals or court clerks, and clients.) With that knowledge, I decided to change careers and to help others: students. But even that experience was disillusioning in many regards. In this second stage of my life as a teacher, I realized that the cracked framework lies beneath the “scum” of this earth and has insidiously pervaded the very paradigms of the systems for our youth. I left the realm of money and power as an attorney, and began collecting the lowest paycheck I had ever received as a working class stiff. An institution of higher learning hired me to teach middle and high school kids. I had seen how the elementary children behaved, which looked real fun, as they were still unsoiled and genuinely curious about life. But since I didn’t have an official teaching certificate at that age level, I had to pursue private schools. Suffice it to say, there was some overlap with my prior life. In this newer environment, my fellow teachers and I faced some of the following unsettling scenarios..... Scenario 1: As a new teacher, who was initially unfamiliar with the territory, I worked diligently from 7AM until 10PM on the average staying up at night preparing for class and learning more

about this new educational routine reading how-to resources. At the end of the year, the kids were tough but good to deal with in the larger sense, and I knew my efforts were making a difference. But not once, did I ever get a “thank you” or “job well done” by my superiors or other administrators. I think they had forgotten what it was like to be in the trenches because I felt like a delegated servant jumping to their every whim or idea, in the form of an order; or, being convinced to take on more duties, for free, so that I was physically on campus almost every weekend. Now, I enjoyed being with the students, but sometimes one needs a break. I soon discovered that this was one of the reasons this profession, as noble as it is, has a high turnover rate. Scenario 2: My fellow teachers were totally inconsistent in their dealings with the students and me. Consistency in discipline is a must, I understood. I had heard this principle from my supervisor. But I was the victim of the chairperson of the department not supporting my rules or classroom environment. For example, she was guided by her need to be a popular teacher and made fun of my policy of having students be to class on time. In another situation, one minority student who had academic problems was kicked out of school for plagiarizing, while another unruly kid, whose parents were connected locally, received a slap on the wrist for drinking on campus and shooting his fellow classmates with a slingshot. One day, we had a school meeting about honesty and respect, and I discovered later that while the heads of the school lectured on this topic, as we were all enclosed in the chapel facility, they also had instructed other teachers, in cahoots with them, to search the high school lockers for certain paraphernalia in question at that time. Constitutional rights what? Invasion of privacy? What real lessons are we teaching our children? Like radar, the students knew, saw and listened to what was going on around them in spite of the administration’s disguising. Scenario 3: And the most troubling of all was the teachers’ interaction among themselves, and the parents’ apathy toward their children’s behavior. Some teachers, married or not, would have affairs and then bicker over things when they went soar. Some threatened harassment suits. One new teacher had an affair with a teaching couple’s husband and broke up the marriage, where he in turned married this new teacher after a year. One teacher was reprimanded for making snide remarks to the girls he coached

because he allegedly looked up their skirts. Another teacher started relations with several single parents of students. And finally, at almost every parent teacher conference, no matter what the child did (poor grades, bad behavior, etc), the blame was thrown always on the teacher or the school procedure as the fault. And the school administration supported this denial perspective to avoid negative feedback from parents, and at the private environment, to insure their financial commitment next year. We were like rats in a big maze scurrying about aimlessly to avoid being unjustly targeted. No accountability! Scenario 4: For academically weak students, a long term teacher advised me to “flush them through the system.” Why? Because what I was doing was requiring more parent conferences than my co-teachers due to my giving kids lower grades, who had received higher grades the year before. Not only did this action make my co-workers look bad, but it showed a hole in the system. Moreover, where access to firearms is unlimited, aka, Columbine, this same mentoring teacher instructed me to give the student the “B” to avoid him or her coming back the next day with a gun and shooting me. Scenario 5: And lastly, discovered when one of my close friends left for a higher paying job at the nearest public school for a similar position, he remarked there was only 5 minutes to teach per class. He said he daily called a security guard to break up a fight or some disturbance. In addition, due to all the bureaucratic requirements, he couldn’t teach anything except the “test”, which the students had to take statewide. No wonder we have the worst public education on the planet. Now, I ask you, which one of these careers reveals what is more damaging to our society?? When I am on my deathbed looking back, is this effort what I have to be proud of? When those firemen/women went up in the Twin Towers, did they understand that they were responding with a true clarity of purpose and were prepared to die then? What about the victims? These are hard questions to ask, but ask we must. For to begin the new fabric, to begin again, to go beyond just mere survival and pain every day, we must help each other. And this effort of love, an extension of your frail being, will involve re-examining your life. This reflection will involve quiet time. This analysis will require you to slow down and really soak it all in and think, yes, think, about your life. Think about YOU! What do you really want? Listen to your

heart from within to find the answers.

Time Bomb #2 - Where Are You Going? Ask Yourself Directions!
By way of an analogy, lets examine our lives as one big traffic incident. Let us pretend that we are Mr. and Mrs. Victims in this court case. This is how the ordeal in the courtroom would proceed hypothetically. In this light, it is important to reflect on your thoughts, your feelings, and your arguments on your behalf. This contemplation will be the ultimate to a final resolution! Stage setting: Mini-Court Room Drama: The Issue: (As I stated, I practiced law for a while before deciding to give it up to teach. If you will indulge me, I am going to employ a few legal stunts, as you might see on Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown, to begin my premise about our current state of affairs, as we argue our case in trial.) Pretend we are in the courtroom before a real Judge. We are the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Victims, who are prosecuting the case. The defendants, who are several parties, include Mr. Hurry and Ms. It’s Your Fault, as well as Mrs. Deep Pockets. We are presenting the following issue: whether the defendants are liable for damage to us, the plaintiffs, for negligence, and in the alternative, an unconscionable act, i.e., against the norms of basic equity and moral justice. The Prosecution’s argument: “I begin with the facts as best we know them and use a black board to illustrate. At the “Intersection of Life,” where “Forward Ave.” and “Backward St.” meet, our clients, the Victims, were driving their car. They were trying to move forward on Forward Ave. There was no light, no signs, nor police officers to direct traffic, and they simply wanted to go straight through. But every car on Backward St. traveling under the same traffic conditions would not yield or stop to let the Victims move forward. That posed the dilemma. And note, there was no option to turn back or seek another route as they were unavailable. After fifteen minutes of waiting, a reasonable period in traffic, the Victims decided they had to do something. So they

took matters into their own hands, knowing they must take full responsibility for their actions, and they inched forward. But the cars, trucks and buses on Backward never slowed down. No one ever looked their way to show any sign of concern. After another fifteen minutes, they decided they had to move ahead. And, bam! Mr. Hurry was smashed into on the side. And then wham! Ms. It’s Your Fault crashed into them from the other crossing lane. And, here we have Mrs. Deep Pockets stepping up and acting as the savior for the defendants by insuring and indemnifying all their liability and loss.” As we present our case, we realize that with our client’s limited funds and resources, and since they were lucky to be alive after surgery and possibly additional years of hospital care and rehab, that things began to look rather dim. Here we have your normal everyday couple, who pay taxes, work hard, obey all the rules, and now become vegetables just because they wanted to move forward on Life’s Boulevard. And what held them back? Not themselves since they exhausted every remedy to improve their situation. No, instead, the current world forces crushed them and are prepared to beat them down now. Since this case did not involve a jury, the Judge was the mediator and final arbitrator. The Judge represented the symbol of blind justice subject only to a higher force. However, the sympathy we were trying to exude from this Judge, based only on the facts, did not move him/her. We had to argue something more. But what? What could we say to convince the Judge that our clients want to move beyond being Victims in this world, and long for a life free from anger, stress, hatred, and apathy. Our time was up and it was the defendants turn to defend their position....... The Defense: The defendants didn’t have a lawyer representing them because they all believed they had done no wrong. Mr. Hurry stood up and proclaimed the following: “Your Honor, I am here today because Mr. and Mrs. Victims hit my car. I had many things to do that day, as I do every day. First, I had to run an errand, then pick up some flowers, then go grocery shopping, then do lunch with a friend, later start the laundry, then pick up my kids for their sports games of soccer and

basketball after school, then drop one kid off at piano practice, then get them back home to let the other kids in, then go to the subway to pick up my wife from work and dinner at the fast food place; I could go on and on forever. I think you get my point. They expect me to slow down from my busy daily routine and stop, yes stop, for these people who have nothing to do but go forward. Are they even productive in our society? It doesn’t seem like it since they have all this time. Obviously, my personal concerns are more important than theirs are so I should not have to stop on their behalf. No one else did or even would have.” Then he sat down disgusted as if put out, and Ms. It’s Your Fault took that as her cue to begin. “You see, Your Judge-ship, I was minding my own business, doing what was asked of me by my boss and focused on the road, when out of no where these Victims plow into my lane. Now, I don’t care why they did it, or for whom they did it, or if there was an emergency or whatever. I just want to be left alone and not be bothered by this whole ordeal. I mean, can’t we just strive to keep the status quo. You know, business as usual. I know I’m not to blame, and I don’t care again what happens as long as my stuff is repaired back to what it was in the first place and I can go on my way. Thanks.” I sat rather slumped over in my chair as I was getting a six sense that since my clients initiated the action, we looked like the bad guys. Next up was the big golden lady. I just didn’t want to hear it. “Your graciousness, may it please this court of holiness and good, I am Mrs. Deep Pockets. Folks call me that because we seem to have all the money.” I even knew that for a fact, because as standard procedure, you sue everyone but especially the one with pockets that carried the figurative gold coins. And she represented the insurance industry literally in her stead by collecting years worth of premiums and hardly ever paying out. “I was served by the prosecuting attorney, it appears, for no apparent reason to stand before you in this case. As he stated quite simply, his clients, the Victims, ran into ongoing traffic to create this suit. It is unfortunate that Mr. Hurry and Ms. It’s Your Fault have only reasonable salaries and that the plaintiffs only pursued

us for our money. What a shame! We aren’t related to these defendants and we have no connection with the plaintiffs. It is absurd, and we have no need to speak further as we sincerely believe we hold no, not even an iota, of liability to anybody. Our only role is a self-perpetuating and growing giant to feed our own stomach and desires. Good day and good riddance to the Victims.” Wow! I thought. Short and sweet. I stood up to rebut them all but the Judge motioned me to be still. “Your Honor.....” I tried to speak. He continued to look down and take notes as he ordered to defendants in a monotonous tone, “You may be excused.” “But ......I ......” I stammered in a last gasp effort. “Please.....in the name of justice, it is not fair............” The Ruling: I slumped down in a cold wooden chair and peered over at my clients, the Victims, who were huddled together and shook in fear of losing their case. They had used all their money to pay for the car damage, their lost wages, the continuing hospital bills, and everything that might make things better. I knew I wouldn’t get paid either. I only believed and laid my faith on the blind justice balance. Maybe, there was hope left. The Judge had yet to make this statement. We waited for some time before the Judge looked up and started his monologue. “We live in a world that lies before us. We are ruled by the rules that were crafted over the years by our predecessors. I am appointed to view your case as one from this world, not from above or below, or even, extraterrestrial. In that light, I must rule in favor of the defendants.” At that last word, my clients broke down in tears. My heart sank. “It came down to the simple determination that you are legally at fault. People are in such a rush to travel backwards and thus don’t care what direction they are going if only not to be bothered by you or other worldly problems. And we all know that those with a lot of money are the last to come to anyone’s rescue

by reducing their portion of the overall pie. You see Mrs. Deep Pockets would expend every last penny she has to not have to give to anyone else a portion of her gold coins. She is alive for herself and those that run her. Having said that, the defendants need to be made whole due to your unforeseen negligence. For you changed the environment. You moved proactively. So you see, you are in the wrong world to move forward. You will need to appeal to a higher force than I can afford. The sad thing is you are stuck in this situation. The reparations are up to you; again you must choose your next course of action. But remember this, no one listens to only one person alone digging... their own trench. You will need strength in numbers. An orchard of forward travelers. It’s really a matter of planting a multitude of seeds. It starts small and grows beyond your wildest imagination. I tell you this as no consolation to your loss today; but rather, as the real legal ruling to this problem. There is no conscionable alternative on this stage. It is the best I can offer. Good luck.” We had enough energy to acknowledge the Judge respectfully on his/her departure, and looked at one another in a bewildered way, and then hugged each other compassionately. We realized the award of humility at that moment, for we had nothing. And what a perfect circumstance to act without fear in the future. We were prepared to ask the tough questions of ourselves in tune with on our internal, heart-based guidelines. The directional standards would come from there. Not in that court room. What did we want and why? From there we could accept the present and live in the present with only that expectation. And like determined farmers, we would begin reaping a wider audience of friends than what we had been sowing.

Time Bomb #3 - Where To Start from Here?!
I guess the basic question I had to ask myself after several years in the grind was simply, am I happy? It’s that obvious. And if you feel that living as you do as either the Victims, Mr. Hurry, Ms. It’s Your Fault, or Mrs. Deep Pockets is all you want out of life, and that way pays the bills, and you may or may not have a significant other, but that’s OK, and you guess there is love in your life because you have the kids to bond you in perpetuity, then best

of luck. But part of that is called complacency or inertia. I once asked my sixty year old high school mentor about life. We were sitting around his desk after school one afternoon, just the two of us, and I told him that I wanted to be like him, which made him smile. I asked him two things: one, how do you do it? And two, why don’t you be a principal where I knew he would be a greater influence and make a huge difference. He chuckled and said that first, he has tried the best he could with what he has been given; and second that he was “complacent,” which he explained to me as being set in his ways and too old to change. At that moment I lost a little respect for him. I loved him for all the rest he had done for me, in addition to his past and current students, but I felt sorry for him for not having the energy or will power to continue to act in change. If he would have said that he loved his job and was perfectly happy, I would have accepted that answer much better because he WAS making a difference for me in these trenches, his classroom. But maybe there was something more like he was afraid to move forward. He was afraid to become vulnerable, to surrender to the overwhelming forces of this universe. Did he not have other dreams in this world or for himself before he died? Looking back on it, he did give more that he knew because he empowered my life to become a teacher, and I carry an imprint of his spirit with me to this day. I guess what we need to examine is this: Is what you’re living truly you? It’s hard to take the microscope to your life. People would rather watch TV (I know I did) or drink (guilty) or do something else other than sit down and relax and take some time, maybe, ten minutes, to figure stuff out. Look deep inside you. Are you the 21st century picture of Dorian Grey and melting away under your skin while you look normal and sane on the surface? Is what’s inside of you bursting to come out? Let the true fabric spin out of you like a self-propelled loom! In my case, the catalyst was creative writing. I started out as a shy kid who hung around the cool guys in school. I never did anything bad but was around or watched the activities happen. Whenever I succumbed to peer pressure and did something bad, like shoplift or cheat on a test, I always got caught. That was my fate. Also, I bloomed late as a boy. I didn’t know about the birds and the bees until college. In high school, I studied too much.

Later, girls became an obsession, or rather, a long phase. However, through college and graduate school, my carousing became more. I socialized and womanized well into my law experience. I was thoroughly off track and wandering, using money and power to leverage my position with women and improve my career. Almost all my friends now look at me and say, “I still can’t believe how much you have changed. Did you join a cult?!” I have tried to transform myself into who I really was and must have been slowly doing it subconsciously as best as I knew looking back. The turning point happened, and it erupted when I found love. Usually you need a geiger sized trigger to get moving. She was the right person and is wonderfully supportive. As my friends, family and societal connections chastised me initially for my chipping away at my previous “real man” persona, my wife then and now stood by me. After several years, I have regained my true friends’ respect, or instead, found out I never lost them, but just that our friendship had evolved. I’ve been constantly changing ever since. The process has been a struggle to be aware of one’s true identity and some days you slip, for we’re only human. In my case, I left the law, became that English teacher, and then took a sabbatical to write creatively. But how could I afford being an artist? Tapping into some savings, I went to conferences, attended seminars, and read ‘how to’ books on the subject of self-publishing. And I became one of the first children’s picture book company’s in the country to produce 4color prints. Few outside my expertise and geographic region have heard of me. Why? Cause I’m a below average marketing agent. I love to write but am not thrilled with running the business. However, I still had some energy to break even every year in order to survive. Over time, I published several health resources for hospitals and created programs for schools. The business unfolded as if I hadn’t any plan. I wasn’t meeting any goals because I hadn’t really formulated any. I knew there was a methodology to not recreating the wheel yet conducted it at my own pace. I struggled with success as my family held the bar of success as being on Oprah, but I found that making an impact on those select kids was enough. Since my wife had a job, we could make ends meet. And I write every day. Someday, I’ll get the strength to (self) publish that diverse collection of other genres that remain in my file cabinets. Regardless, helping children makes all the

difference for me, and I can see the reward in their happy faces and hear it in their positive comments, hugs and feedback. Just know that in the beginning I sought outside support. We are all frail, and it’s OK to seek the help from your family, friends or others. By giving, you receive within the wellsprings of your soul. That sounded a bit preachy. I do what I do to assist in discovering me too. You may want to explore with a journal: write down your feelings, or seek some professional counsel, or talk with someone. It all helps. These are all stepping stones to taking the ultimate path in your life. The transition takes a bit of courage to face the unknown. Once, I was being transferred by a rental car driver from the car repair shop to the dealership when we actually were stuck at an intersection. Almost like the Victims’ case. The cars in front of us wouldn’t let us in to turn. Nobody looked our way. Sound familiar. The driver gazed at me and asked, “What’s that about?” Here I was in a real life Forward/Backward trial scenario. All I could think about was that people are generally angry (as seen in common day road rage) and seem to thrive off of a low level of daily angst. We eventually turned after roughly five minutes, and he told me some advice his single mom gave him when he was growing up. She said, “Son, I don’t care if you’re shoveling poop in a zoo, you do it the best you can.” And he said he didn’t believe her at first, until people were saying he’d never amount to anything. But he proudly told me that he is doing it now, and had been, and started out as a part-time driver years ago but now he’s the head driver. “The higher ups ask me about everything now and my opinion about what we should do,” he concluded. And, he was in fact good: efficient, polite, and competent. Using this new model, I think the test is what my old high school principal stood for, as he used to say, and I paraphrase, “Manners maketh men and women” and “We should strive for a balance in our lives emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And the standard is integrity.” As defined by Webster’s dictionary, integrity is “the quality or state of being complete or whole, of sound moral principle; upright; honest; sincere.” (Footnote: Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd College Ed., Copyright 1988)

If you can look at yourself and see if you are living in those terms, I know you will find some issues that need to be addressed. And if you discover some and are unsure of whether or not to do something about it, then I say to you, how lucky you are to be alive! Can you imagine the horror those people felt, at and to their very core, who crashed to their deaths in New York City or at the Pentagon. We do not need that way of life. You can do something about it in your own way. The rebirth always starts small, like any plant seed, and grows and grows, if you keep watering your soul with love and maintain a healthy perseverance. That’s a good way to start. Be a gardener…….

Time Bomb #4 - When you Gaze through Your Eyes, What do You See?
I once heard somewhere that your environment, that which surrounds you, is a reflection of your true personality, i.e., who you really are. Now, I’m not talking about the case where you take me literally, but that indeed is part of the context. Is the room you inhabit cluttered and dirty, full of things that distract you from your course? I believe that to be the question as opposed to “do you see all that glitters and fabulous riches before you?” We all have a level of comfort that we must have. And so we strive for that. But while we are striving, are we also sucking off from the men and women who are truly in need? And are we abusing our good luck in life that has been mysteriously apportioned to each his own?? Have we forgotten about the effects of positive energy? Again, I go back to the interview with a fireman/woman or policeman/woman. They are the modern day Jesus, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or whatever religious or non-religious personality you feel honestly would fit this role model. If we can talk with these real people, who gave their lives for total strangers, much light would be shed on our daily troubles. As an aside, I started painting. I am not very good at it, but there is something about it that soothes me. I purchased an easel and paints and draw whatever my mood is that minute or inspired that day. In essence, I am reflecting my spirit on the canvas. I am discovering a unique kind of beauty: the real me. The final pictures may appear disconcerting at times but that is part of the journey. I am purging my soul of that which I cannot comprehend. There is no explanation, just feeling. I am no longer becoming

Dorian Grey trapping everything inside me like some ice man, but instead taking the paintings out of the attic and displaying them in the light. Others may not appreciate them at first, but then again, they may not have my new sensibilities as I weave my newest fabric. More importantly, they are for my growth and stimulation and not meant for sale commercially. I also have tried my hand at leisure reading (not business related). I prefer classic literature and uplifting books so I tend to stick with those. But I never was a good reader. My skills were slow, and it would take me forever to finish even a small sized book. Reading was very frustrating only because I had this underlying feeling of failure that I should be doing something more productive at that time, like doing the laundry, or cleaning the house, or making a marketing call. That’s why I have taken toward reading at bedtime because there are no distractions. An epiphany in a nutshell…. I can’t enjoy any time reading during the day because that time is unproductive from a tangible perspective, for it doesn’t make me any money, so to speak. Why do anything that doesn’t produce money? Or why engage in any service to mankind, for your child or yourself, if you cannot see any hard rewards. Reading is beyond the intangible! Out of it, you travel far, experience new worlds, and see life from a new and different view. In other words, you learn more about yourself and others and how to express your feelings better. So now, I read anytime I want. This desire is a state of acceptance that what you may be doing this instant is just it, all there is to life. So what you do all matters even if it’s not considered “productive.” Physical activity can also induce the same reaction physiologically. Whenever we exercise, our bodies activate hormones that maintain our equilibrium. I’m talking about walking, jogging, raking leaves or mowing the lawn. As a kid, I played tennis. I had the worst temper but that exercise afforded me an outlet to compensate for my anxiety in general. It also gave me a chance to apply problem solving techniques, and participate by being involved in a team sport to develop a sense of community. I may not have been the best player on the circuit but I enjoyed the outdoors and sun. I was grateful for a healthy physique then. Now I long for that aerobic shape as I grapple with nutritional concerns in my 40’s. And our news media groups recognize obesity as the next great epidemic.

However, there it is facing you as the biggest barrier, the largest wall, which you can never surmount, forget about ever trying to climb it. And that phrase is as follows: you need money. My father once told me that money is my salvation. Whereas, my father-in-law said that the only thing money gives you is that you can suffer more in comfort. Either way, money overcrowds the picture. The goal is to start anew. Let’s begin the drawing of our lives without money first, not putting it in the “formula.” You’re responding in your gut that this approach is impossible. I disagree. Let’s look at a few simple examples of passions in everyday life that do not involve the dollar as almighty. (Granted you need a few coins to buy or borrow the initial supplies.) In most cases, if you’re living the dream, sometimes the initial status will improve and your avocation will become your vocation. 1. Writer-- need pen, paper and dreams. 2. Artistic Painter-- need paint brush, paper and imagination. 3. Basketball Player-- need basketball, public court, and physical ability. 4. Football Player-- need football, open yard, and determination. 5. Tennis Player-- need tennis racket & balls, public court, and love (my favorite sport). 6. Carpenter-- need wood, hammer, nails, and trade skills. 7. Fisherman-- need fishing rod, tackle, bait, and patience. 8. Gardener-- need seeds, mulch, and knowledge. 9. Fireman-- need hose, fire hat & suit, and courage. 10. Policeman -- need badge, training and dedication. 11. Barber -- need scissors, chair and school certificate. 12. Teacher -- need education, school and caring. 13. Nurse -- need degree, hospital and love.

These are just some avocations that turn into vocations. Rather, if you can merge your dream way of life with your day job, then you have accomplished plenty. From the list of things mentioned, all of them will bring a living in time. So what do you do in the meantime? First, work with what you know you have as talents or experiences. Calculate them. Make a list and then try to narrow down the choices to your top three. Now what? Well, we need to support one another and not bury the other guy. It has been said that the new Messiah will come to us in a form that we least expect. Have you been visited by a messenger of the Messiah and turned them away? We should be cultivating our own souls in this new light so that we are ready and open to others. For who knows what we will face hereinafter. The tally is here and now, and each day counts, no matter how small the contribution. So, ask the universal forces how you can help? When I desired to switch careers and become a teacher, and no one took me seriously, as I had no training and was still an attorney, I volunteered at my church as a lay instructor for middle to high school grade kids. I did it with my wife every weekend for three years and further assisted non-profits in that related area at their charity functions. These experiences and contacts led me to finally becoming a teacher. This same philosophy applies to every group. For those who cannot afford healthcare, it should be provided by the rest of us who can assist. There are groups who offer this arrangement now. For those who cannot hire an attorney, there is the pro bono service. There are many non-profits established to fill the gaps where our government cannot reach. However, after reviewing the most recent national crises, we, as Americans, are not sure where that money is actually going and if any victims truly get actual assistance. These things should be re-evaluated. And that is the crux of the issue. Why should we have to beg, be taken for granted, or second guess charitable work. If our inner selves were whole, then our environment should be too. The deduction simply follows. I am not espousing a communistic way of life. We have survived on capitalism for years. All I am saying is whatever system we have chosen, it should not tear and rip the fabric of our community. We can adjust our capital society to

maintain in moderation (and not extremes) the new fabric that we will weave today. Freedom does not exist everywhere in America. We are trying to defend that precious concept across the globe. Yet we should not overlook our own backyards. As was once uttered, we need to take the stick out of our own eyes before we can see clearly to dispatch the negative gossip we impose judgmentally and willy nilly on another. My minister used to say, whenever you point your finger at someone or something, there is always three fingers pointing back at you. It’s an easy tool to remember that your completeness should be continuously updated as you sew the new cloth. And once we have come to terms with focusing on our dreams coming to life, we will need some positive reinforcement to rely on. It is through that process that our self-esteem, empowerment, and emotional independence will grow and be fostered. We need mentors. And where can we go to find them?

Time Bomb #5 - Who are Your Great Influences??
How difficult to see beyond the humanness of our behavior and reach out to our underlying divinity?!... But role modeling unprofessionalism and hypocrisy, like some past Presidents in the White House, Governors of major cities, or even Mayors from my region, provoke stumbling blocks to our society for what is right. Yes, this ripple affect also reaches well into the sports arena, celebrities, and many facets of our daily structures concerning so labeled heroes, that in their own right are effective at first, but lose focus, and we pay the price following their example. We need to reflect back on our lives and ask ourselves who were our greatest influences or who were the most meaningful people to us. Again, the simplest way to do this is to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle of the page. On the lefthand side, write the person who had some positive impact on you. And on the right side, write down what you think that was. To make it easier, try to brainstorm names for the left list before you begin on the right (unless you can handle this technique together). In our lives, we must have had specific personal contact with these persons. (In similar fashion, you could do this exercise in the opposite way and discover all the bad people and how to

avoid becoming like them. This method is an alternative and acts as a process of elimination. In other words, it allows you to reject what thread you don’t want to use in your new fabric.) At first, you may not think a certain person was a mentor, but remember to be open as you enter names on your paper. For sometimes, one good characteristic can outweigh and rise above all the bad. Let’s see what you have discovered. Here was my list (in its partial form):

Names

Positive Influence

1. High School English Teacher 2. Best Friend

Love of writing Love of reading and to support my true self Total support, love and respect of my life; increased self-esteem Love of music and to be a good listener Learned independence and taking responsibility for my actions Taught me the “ropes” and made me feel apart of the team Living example of how to foster goodness and balance in life Taught me self-discipline Taught me to care for others less fortunate

3. Wife

4. High School Music Teacher

5. College Tennis Coach

6. Elderly Lawyer associate

7. High School Principal

8. Father 9. Mother

10. Mom-in-law

Showed me respect for my artistic talent and enlightened my self-respect Trust my inborn source for good Revealed how hard work and determination can make miracles happen...

11. ME

12. Barack Obama

This list can go on or stop short depending on each of our individual lives. When I reviewed my list, I noticed how only 3 persons in that list also taught me how to make any money or cherish power, social status, or own expensive things. Without thinking, my role models (not people I haven’t personally met) gave me the tools to become the next 21st century fireman. It is with these tools, which constitute my new trade, that I can cope with my life. And as the new firemen/women, we must become mentors to others and seek more mentors for ourselves as we get older. Most importantly, we must understand how to be vulnerable, i.e., ready and open to fearful changes and transitions, and brave, i.e., prepared and courageous to figuratively die for each other and our own causes. If we have that kind of conviction, then we have the characteristics of being fully alive. As an example, my wife and I have taken up yoga. Sound funny! Well, the most phenomenal thing has occurred. I can stretch one inch farther since doing this nightly class once a week. One buddy, who I hadn’t seen in some years observed, “Have you grown or something. You seem taller.” And I have scoliosis. Again, every form of growth takes practice. Moreover, my spouse and I walk more together in our neighborhood. It allows us to discuss stuff we don’t have time usually. We even walk to local restaurants for dinner on occasion as a treat. And, of course, we walk back home as a respite before retiring for the evening, to settle our stomachs. Every little stride helps. With this under our belts, most will now be overcoming fears and low self-esteem to become champions of their own freedoms and passions. Love will play a magical part in this transformation and will act as a source to further development us as new empowered persons in this new world. We must each be a

fruit bearing tree as our mutual orchards will begin to spread from sea to shining sea and soul to shining soul.

Time Bomb #6 - “Positive Attitude!” Why?!
When I was a public middle school student, I was considered lazy. I had normal schoolwork, average grades, but preferred being socially “in” and “hung out” with the cool guys. I didn’t know it then and may not have known it now, but I had some severe problems with reading and maintaining my attention span. I wasn’t hyper just unfocused. Then I took the entrance test for the local private school and barely passed (they wanted to hold me back a year) for the ninth grade. I was so grateful for getting admitted to this tough academically challenging school that I promised myself that I’d do the best I could with what I had as a result. I was giddy with excitement and enthusiasm to start fresh and do better than sub-par marks, which I usually received. When classes began, I didn’t care what anyone thought about me and so I gave everything I had. I was a nobody with nothing special. I participated in class, took notes, did all the assignments, read every text, studied intensely and diligently; and when the rankings were posted after a few months, I was positioned at the top. I remained number one in the class (with a 4.0 GPA) for the entire year. When my classmates made fun of me or tried to distract my goal, I just ignored them in a respectful and pleasant way and kept to my program. In the end, they revered me too, including my space, and stopped giving me such a hard time. There, I developed friendly relationships, if not the most intimate in my life. When I re-examine that experience, I contribute most of everything I did to my attitude. I had a positive outlook, never said anything bad about anyone else, was enthusiastic and curious about learning, and laughed and smiled a lot. I know that mental frame of mind was the fuel and strength that maintained my course. I could say it was my intelligence, but I was no smarter than any other student in that class. My SAT scores were miserably low, so how do you explain my grades? My consistent positive attitude, reinforcing my pursuing this narrow path, nurtured me into someone who was becoming smart. I didn’t start that way, but strove for it with a purely upbeat perspective. Your mind is

incredibly powerful and gives you talents you never thought you’d possess. (On the flip side, your mind can also act to stall your progress and throw constant static and obstacles in and along your steps. That deserves research on the ego and how deceptive that “id” can be….) Based on that. this is my speculation on what the new America lacks. First, you need to believe in yourself. Doesn’t that seem like a catch 22? How can you believe in yourself if you don’t have any skills? Well, that’s just it. You must have faith. Give yourself a small dose of faith. Forget about what the future holds. Worrying about unknown events lurking just prolongs atrophy. Snap out of it!!! Remember, it may not happen immediately. Small steps are required and that takes time. Practice some patience. If you are having trouble still, visit multiple and a diverse set of churches and try to understand the meaning of faith. This is what you are creating. Your person is becoming its own church and steeple with its own faith and spirituality. Your thread that you will weave in the interwoven design of the new fabric of America begins here. Second, you will need to think positive thoughts. If you try and are happy with your efforts, look to what can be learned about the experience. The other day rather than letting my mental complaining get the best of me; I stopped and noticed what illusions I was milling over, which were irrelevant. Then I said out loud, “I feel great today.” And you know what, I did, and a suit of confidence fell over me into place. So, turn the dilemma into an opportunity to grow. You may need to take some time to socialize with others, who are supportive and/or see this fresh way of thinking and being. Avoid associating with the negative vibes that bury the uplifting and inspiring stories in our world. What is the news these days but war and death? What are the stories that sell but betrayal and disease? Why do these topics have to be the leading subjects of this day? I no longer watch the news. In reality, how does it affect me? It doesn’t. Sure, I need to know certain things, but this world gives us enough of a challenge than being hit with more bad reports. Again, now is time to create some good news. A classic example is all the great performances that came out of the Olympics. And, these awe-inspiring individuals from all across the globe gave me hope and made me feel brave and unafraid. That’s the key: to think and dwell on positive images to spark the action

that lies latent within your heart and soul. Third, it is important to laugh at ourselves and in general. My entire life, I have acted silly. And in some rare cases, my whimsical antics have disappointed me. One example is during college when I dressed up over Halloween like Adam Ant, the punk rock star, and was jumping around a dining room /dance hall being foolish when the girl I had a crush on walked into the party. She saw me and left. I found out later from her friend that she thought I was acting “uncool.” But that foolishness turned out to be a blessing because it allowed me to understand who I really was and with whom I really wanted to be associated. In almost every other situation, my humor has offered great joy and comfort. I love playing around and being silly with children. They totally identify and shine up to me. Adults, in certain circumstances, are unsure at first how to react but usually crack a smile and chuckle as a visceral reaction or to be nice but some look at me funny. I love being and doing nontraditional things because it makes me feel young and energetic. Being me restores my wellspring which feeds my soul. The children get it. And this skill allows me to tap into kids and get them to respond positively. There have been studies which have revealed that humor has a direct correlation to health. More is being done in this field, and I believe we have only fathomed the superficial epidermal. A whole universe of exploration and the inexplicable exists in this field. Again, we must simply have faith and give in to its sway. So, when you are having a bad day, find or do something that provokes laughter, a smile, to break the trance. Fourth, if you are living a life full of integrity, then you should not have overwhelming worries or guilt about yourself. Understandably, we all try to redeem ourselves for past wrongs done from which we are trying to repent and be forgiven. But on the other side, we must learn to forgive as well. It allows freeing our mind to help us be in a place so that our vulnerability will invoke our surrender to our true convictions and beliefs. As we honestly deal with our neighbors, we can honestly cope with life’s ordeals. Moreover, I’ve heard of strategies of scribbling the things that frustrate you and describe why that is so, and then burning

them in the fire as a way of letting go. It depends on your own proclivities and tactics that will fit your style of coping. It’s a matter of practice. The young firemen/women must learn how to handle the water hose, how to approach a burning building, how to resuscitate lives, and how to handle life and death predicaments. As the firemen/women learn over time, he or she gains more experiences to rely on, meets more mentors and friends to count on, and eventually becomes a mentor and example for others. This is the goal of the new America. We must be fully prepared, confident in ourselves, and fully whole in our moral convictions when the alarm goes off at the station house that calls on our worthy services that precarious day. And lastly, or fifth, we must never forget the acts of love in our life. Love is the regenerating force that supplies the power to make your human mechanism perform in a state of gracious living. When we love another, we love everyone. By loving in this way, we learn to love ourselves and others begin to love us. There is nothing better than this intricate and phenomenal web of love. And produced from this giving is the balance we so desperately need in our daily lives. Miraculously, your attitude becomes one of love. Close your eyes and imagine hugging someone in need, a close friend, an enemy even, a disgruntled employee, an ostracized family member, your elected council or town officials, your significant other, child, city, state, country, the entire globe. It feels super!

Time Bomb #7 - Do You Live with Purpose?
Here you are ... looking at your face first thing in the morning in your bathroom mirror. You are slouched over, exhausted, hair kinked out from a restless sleep, eyes full of sand, and breath reeking. How in any higher power’s name can you make it another day? You try to solve this problem with a shower, coffee, and a bagel for your growling stomach; but when you arrive at work, it’s the same old thing. You want to just go into the next cubicle or office space and shoot the bull until lunch and then coast until punching out. But then you encounter all the issues of domestic strife upon your expired business day. All over again, until before you know; you are in your sixties. And, you forget to take all your sick days and vacation time, of which you only had ten days out of 365 a year to enjoy.

The rat race seems insane. It is! What is your purpose here on this earth? I don’t know yours specifically, but I can sure tell you that I’m tired of doing stuff that I don’t like, that makes me complain, and that isn’t one of my dreams or passions in life. Again, we sometimes are pulled back by money. It’s the glue that keeps us stuck to the humdrum of our existence. Why? Because you know no one in their right mind would help you out if you took the road less traveled, as penned by Robert Frost (and which should have become the new path for Americans). Whose coat tails are you riding on? Or are you truly independent in a pure sense. Remember the folks that gave themselves for you and me so that we can choose a life of freedom. Well, let’s do it! Choose! You can die a clog in the machine or you can be someone. Recognize that you are average. Begin from that vantage point. I am not promoting each of us to save the world. No, rather, I am saying live your life as brilliant as you are in your heart, and the special meaning will arise. Look at the people that influenced you. You carry their spirit with you whether you like it or not. This fact may or may not be your duty to carry on the torch, but it is minimally incumbent on you to do whatever little you can; that you truly believe that you can. The effort matters! Believe it or not: but the things on which you do have an effect, like someone or something in your immediate circle of family, friends, or business relations, act as the pebble dropped in the pond of your life and ripples to other aspects. Your thoughts and deeds are all pervasive. I never knew one of those firemen/ women in NYC or DC and I am motivated, inspired, as if I have no control over the force, to write this short treatise for America in the 21st century. I didn’t realize this epiphany until recently, but my father relayed the fact that my grandfather, whom I never knew, started as a fireman. He worked at one of the fire stations in DC and over those years learned some carpentry skills. He was a young man in his twenties and thirties before he left that position to earn more money for his family. In a way, I wish he would have never left because my father wouldn’t be so concerned about money, which has transformed from a pimple to an ugly zit that has provoked much turmoil among my siblings and with my parents. It’s not like we were Bill Gates’ family, but all my father knows is that my

grandfather sacrificed his life, literally, for he died on the job, for the betterment of his family. That had an impact. My understanding was that grand-dad swung to the extreme and lost focus by getting caught up in those certain worldly evils, like pride and hubris. I can’t judge my predecessor. His dream may have been to be an entrepreneur in the manufacturing business. But I saw my father doing the same thing when he had a heart attack on the job just recently. He survived and I don’t know if he sees any difference in his life. But, all in all, my life falters just the same. Until recently, my body was fine. Yet over the years, I’ve been diagnosed with a plethora of ailments: gestational reflux; scoliosis that requires chiropractic treatment and PT; mild degenerative arthritis in my neck, knees and hands; and lastly, ringing in my ears. Why? Is stress the culprit?? Lifestyle? Old habits? Anger issues over the past and future? Holding false expectations?? Living a lie all those years as an immature adult? What? I give up…. Or is my time up?? Brain tumor or stroke before I’ve had a chance to start this new race of marathon that is life..?!! If I ever did win the lottery, I would commit myself to form a charitable non-profit and mold it like a collection bowl for magnanimity. Like Elvis Presley, the entity would employ the money as I would give a thousand dollars to the bum on the street one day, a thousand to a total stranger who starves for a slice of random kindness, more to the victims of a heinous crime, much more to the families of destitute and needy in many forms due to poverty, sickness or other. What a glorified form of spreading the wealth. Instead of hoarding my piece of the pie and greedily making more for me and my family only, I would be feeding my piece of the pie to open mouths that are starving. Like tiny birds ….. so they could fly again with stronger wings than before. Is that a crazy idea? In this day and age, it sure is! But, that is my purpose in this life. And it’s time to readjust my perspective. I believe I am called upon to be the advocate for the disadvantaged. When I was a kid, all the kids that had something wrong with them from a socially acceptable perspective (like they were too skinny, looked funny, fat, disabled, walked with a limp, wore ragged clothes, had a lazy eye, or whatever) seemed to be magnetically drawn to me. And I would respond to them in an open and safe way. I blame this boomer-rang reaction on my aura. If I can actively do this and

write creatively and give back to mankind in some small way, I will be on a mission from an universal source. Through me. No one may ever know what I do for people, but that small effort still ripples throughout the interconnectedness of this world. What I do for one, including myself, I am doing for others. Consider it that simple. When we live with a purpose, which may evolve over time, we insure that our original stamp on life makes its imprint somewhere and somehow and will be carried in spirit for all the days of eternity, even if only on one individual progeny or person who will carry your legacy. In this way, you promote the reception of eternal life as it lives forever in this earthly practice.

Time Bomb #8 - And You shall Receive Eternal Life...
There are no guarantees in this world. But we can at least attempt to promise ourselves in many ways that whatever does happen in the hereinafter, we are satisfied upon leaving this realm ... six feet under. The thought really comes down to that age old paradox: if you had three months to live, what would you do to be happy, and are you satisfied that there is some form of living legacy that you have gifted behind? (Let’s not presume that just having a child fits that bill because I know a lot of children who hate their parents and vice versa. However, being a good parent is part of this story and amounts to a similar type of worthwhile achievement.) I have known people who in actuality were told by their doctors that they had a limited time to live or that they would never make it passed a certain age. These same people have struggled to be a part of normal society and would give anything just to be accepted as they are. Moreover, they start as being angry that a higher force has imposed this unfortunate role on them. How unlucky, I would imagine. Yet, the power of the human spirit and will is miraculous. And they adjust and go on coping in this light. This set of circumstances would really upset me and erupt tons of questioning and struggling (or coming to terms) with hard issues about my life, God, and death. We all don’t want to die, but in the same breath, we don’t know how to live, or care to even try. We just survive and mindlessly gorge our greed. Let’s pretend for a moment that you visit your doctor for your annual physical and a week later he or she calls you to make

another appointment based on one of the test results. You comply and are waiting in the doctor’s office. They take you to his/her office where he/she informs you that you have a rare disease that is aggressive and has no cure. The prospects look dim and in another month you will begin to feel its affects. You sit shocked, emotionless, and helpless. But as of that second, your life is just beginning anew. There are many ways to respond and all are very normal. However, we are given that same analysis the day we are born. We are only given so many years to live. Most of us do not even comprehend the magnitude of this happenstance until we are in our forties. Some people never ever fully appreciate their time here at any age. Whenever I travel outside the US of A, I come back with an amazingly revitalized view on my life. I have experienced different cultures and their ways of existence. Some aspects of those other countries I truly admire and some I am saddened by. I am seeing this world through the eyes of another historical telescope. When I return home, I realize how lucky I am and also how much is wasted and how many conveniences, in America, are taken for granted. We are the land of opportunity; but what about the land of freedom, peace and justice. These concepts are being perverted by all of us. This twisted fear has become the worst disease of all because it eradicates the soul. All our faith, hope, joy, and love disappear and get buried in a coffin to be lamented as ashes or as cremated dust. When do we finally see it?? When we’re lonely or experience loneliness. Then, we’ve lost our energy and it may be too late. Now is the time to bring “Lazarus” back to life. And how are we to do this? We all want answers. We want someone to tell us what to do. We long to be a pawn. And if that is you’re longing, then be prepared for interment. You’ll get what you deserve. Come to grips with dying because that’s what you are achieving: your own living demise. When we realize that our life is precious and limited, then we may comprehend that it is time to infiltrate your body, mind, and soul with the goodness that is abundant in life. Push yourself to see the situation as if the doctor has given you the news of your illness. At that moment, space and time will stop. You will be floating in airlessness, a vacuum of uncertainty. What have you

then? Where are your possessions? The answer lies within you and beyond you. As a twig floating buoyant on an endless flowing river, you have experienced calm, rapids, rocks, draught, cold water, light and darkness, and much more. So stop trying to control the river and begin enjoying the ride. See it as a brighter perspective, additional blessings, and decision making opportunities that affect you and your happiness. An amazing recent example is Flight 1549 where a pilot Sullenberger choose to do the best with what he had been given with less than 3 minutes to respond. In an interview, he has said that he believed that all his life’s training amounted to dealing with that moment in time. His experience, how he had handled that, and how he addressed the present dilemma then, determined his fate. And not to mention the impact and ramifications felt by the surviving 150 passengers that owe him a debt of gratitude. Again, he is a modern day hero, as were the rescue responders on the Hudson to salvage the passengers from the sinking plane. And as were the ones at the World Trade Center. Once you have decided to move in this path, you will find the direction changes. Life evolves with you in it. You must adapt continually, offer your best in each instance, and believe in yourself. In time, you will see your inner world transform into your outer world like the wild flowers germinating in an open field. And have you ever seen a field of wild flowers full of sparkling colors of all hues and of all dimensions. The vista is beauty beyond beautiful. And so it will be with you. The interwoven placement of your thread and your participation in the design of this new fabric, or way of life, is your spirit pervading and permeating, inside and out, and along life’s river. By your life, you are leaving your legacy, your imprint on another’s soul, a small aspect of your character and integrity that another will accept, identity with, and merge into in their own composition. In turn, you generate eternal life for your soul in others. We all know your physical body returns to the earth and decays, but what lives on when you die is your spirit, your soul. A fellow member of the civic organization in which I belong recounted to me that the reason he joined was because of his association with one of our older members, a prominent business man, who would greet him cheerfully each year on a street corner selling papers to raise funds for the less fortunate.

You see service is a grand example, and it re-energizes and refortifies like some vitamin supplement. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, and I paraphrase, you don’t need to be a rich person or smart inventor to serve. Anyone can. Do not try to make excuses that this is too overwhelming or burdensome for you to appreciate, apply, or carry forward. Rather, take a deep breath and start small. The process begins again by planting that one seed, and then another, and maybe, that’s it. And that’s all it takes, but the collective universal forces still acknowledge your individual creative life force. What you think will be heard in the stratosphere. I cannot imagine how hard it is to overcome the grief those victims’ families of the attacks on America must continue to endure. I try to be more understanding to my father who has congenital heart disease. I am humbled by the children that weather terminal illnesses every minute of every day. What more in this life do we need? I am thankful for every fireman/woman and policeman/woman that gave their lives for our well being. It is their spirit I accept and honor within me. I am trying to live my life for my own happiness and the happiness of others. I now have the spirit of others, who are still living and also deceased within me. I didn’t have the chance to tell those that died how much they had a positive effect on me. But, I can sure show and tell others in my own way, and console myself that these passed souls will be at peace .... in their sway over and within me, my thoughts, my actions ... now and in the days to come.

Time Bomb #9 - How To Begin Again??
No matter how big or how small your particular dream or dreams may appear, there is no time than the present. Preliminarily, let’s come to terms with the magnitude of your goal. Bottom Line: your plan doesn’t have to save the world. Contrary to what Hollywood and other media outlets project, the simplest goals are the hardest ones to achieve. However, they appear to be the most worthy and soul fulfilling. So try to understand that your dream can be to smile at least once a day. Or it could be to help someone once a week. Or it could be to communicate better with your spouse, your child, your family member, or employer or associate. It doesn’t have to be to climb Mt. Everest. But, like the hare and the turtle, perseverance will win the day. And who knows, all those drops in your well-spring bucket will amount to

an overflowing wealth of water. When you look at your life, you must realize that it doesn’t matter what you look like, how old or young you are, or what tastes you have. What matters is that you have come to a critical juncture, or as some say, the moment of truth. We must decide how do we begin this new journey? Let us take it in steps, yes, small steps, as espoused. First, we need to understand what it means to be brave. Part of our motto in America is “home of the brave.” This phrase has been and continues to be expended to make us who we are; so it begs the question: is it needed anymore? Absolutely! Let’s go back to basics. In Webster’s, brave means “willing to face danger, difficulty, the new and unknown; fearlessness (which has the broadest application considered here); constant readiness to deal with things courageously by reason of a resolute spirit.” Ibid. Simply, we need to be willing; we need to be ready; we need to have an open mind and spirit, and we need not to be afraid and have courage to move forward in that nature. Second, we must rediscover our thread. Before we can sew and sow a new America, our whole beings need to be redetermined. In other words, we have to realize what our mission in life has become. Remember this mission statement may change and evolve, which is fine. We can adapt it to our circumstances as we age. But, based on the ideas I have presented in this commentary, those aspects of mentorship, attitude, and eternal life can be used to assist in your development of purpose and vision. So, who are you? What are you meant to do? Seek silence! Look within and listen to your heart’s voice. Third, let’s talk with our friends, spouses and family initially. You will find some people that are doubtful, suspicious, and some that help you without any question. You won’t necessarily know where your support will come from or in what shape, but hopefully it will arrive. For those who feel they have no one, are totally lonely and friendless (including family), then recreate a list of your greatest influences. Try to contact any of your mentors as well, if still alive. Really try to think why you believe you are all alone in this worldly venture. What have you done to provoke this? And then, look to whom you sense you may have been a mentor. Search for those people you’ve influenced called, mentees. I’ve learned more from children than they may

have from my tutorage. If still stuck, locate a counselor (like a minister, psychotherapist, or barber/beautician) or anyone you feel comfortable talking with. You may be surprised. Fourth, after you have presented your ideas, then test the waters. You may want to research your passion as in talking with others who are doing it, or have similar roles and situations. You may need to volunteer at groups where your interests lie to see how you like the environment or in what way you digest the experience. This morsel may not be what you thought. But, work through that level since it may evolve into a stepping stone to a new horizon. I have been told that excellent results are 90% homework and preparation and 10% performance. While you are reaching out initially toward your dreams, what we are doing here is the homework part. But, in this case, make it fun. And as you pursue each step, you will surmount plateaus that offer more options. In my transition from lawyer to teacher, I first volunteered at out local church to instruct sunday school at the middle grade age. It allowed me to receive experience for my resume I lacked. Moreover, I substituted part-time at a special ed facility to supplement my training. I also engaged an old friend from high school who employed me to act as assistant coach to his varsity tennis team after work. Added up, these experiences gave me the boast I required as preparation to getting hired as a teacher in a private prep school. That stretched over a 2-3 year period. The transition doesn’t happen overnight often times. Fifth, during this gradual resurrection of your soul, you will develop confidence. Believing in yourself and your skills will take actual palpable form. The feeling is almost as if you can touch it; and at this stage, others do see your love too. Practice the art of surrender to this higher Being. Utilize prayer as a tool to directly communicate to it. Open these innate airways as a better form of utilizing an Internet, cyberspace, arousal. As a result, this type of surfing becomes contagious in all respects. So, accept these characteristics in yourself and be grateful, thankful always. And sixth, start living a life that is truly free. The best definition of “free” is to be at liberty, independent, and open to all. Wow! You have become my hero. To say that you may exhibit these qualities is to be in reality, “living life,” no matter what your particular limitations. And with regard to your enemies and yourself, forgive them, one by one. Take time to address those

knawing grievances of old. By letting go of those prisoners, you release more space inside to fill with love and be who you’re truly meant to be. This type of freedom is for everyone no matter what your status on this earth. No longer will money confine you as your master or indebted keeper. That tragic fear will metamorphosis into abundant love. In the creation of America’s new fabric, you symbolize your own unique and special thread. It is your being in all its representation and brilliance that is a critical strand in the overall design that should be America in this millennium. We are the firemen/women, the every day, real heroes in this world. Our lives, in connection with so many other diverse lives, replace the torn and ripped American flag with one that is re-fortified and full of each of us: in all our magnificence, no matter what.

Time Bomb #10 - Go Out and Conquer Your Fear
The judgement is not for us to decide the fate of our neighbor. We can be there to love, support, and help him or her. And, we must not neglect ourselves and any current close relations. Life is the ultimate balancing act, and we have become the actors/ actresses of our own TV sitcom, movie, video, or theatrical play. But the difference is, in this case, we don’t receive a gold plaque for the best performance. We receive the “real deal” in its most intangible and tangible forms. The act is indeed unbelievable, yet has already instilled its life filling oxygen in our system to afford us the necessities to begin. In my case, after practicing law for eight years, I decided to become an English teacher for middle and high school students. I employed this same technique, I have described, to get me through my journey. After several years of teaching and acclimating myself to this new way of life, I discovered that I had no debt. When I was making the most money, I had uncontrollable credit card bills. As a teacher, I learned to live within my means and accept a revised priority of items. Eventually, I researched the publishing industry and wrote and self-published children picture books on health, acceptance, and tolerance. The first year I made nothing and spent my time doing ‘my homework’. The second year I took home exactly what I made as a teacher, thanks to the support of my friends and greatest influences. In my third year, I didn’t know what it would bring. Now, I

see what hope brought me. I have evolved from a self-publisher to a full fledged writer and presenter. I now give speaking presentations from programs I have created. This is my bread and butter to allow me to live my dream. What started in DC, has relocated to Detroit in 2004, and I had to reinvent myself again. The road has not been easy. The most difficult part was when I fought this new fabric and clung to my past comforts and illusions of life. Deluded!! Yet, slowly, my career was mimicking my emotional growth, and I felt it moving forward in great light. Most entrepreneurs would have not invested in such an amorphous long term vision since the strategy runs on such a low margin of return. But the decisions are my choices……and I am happy. And some days, I need to remind myself of how happy I am. Outloud. I understand circumstances in people’s lives are different. My wife and I have been able to survive. As mentioned, I work full time for my company, Dream Publishing, and my wife also has a job. This second stable income has allowed us to do the extra things in life that we wouldn’t normally be able to afford. As we do not have children, we spend this time traveling. My wife’s passion. It really depends on your true personality as to where things will need to be adjusted. But, the game is a team effort and my wife is totally supportive of my desires as I am of hers. I initiate focusing more on her wants and suggest to her to strive for different career moves in her life. I say this in light of the fact that she readily states that she is achieving her dreams every day: simply to be happy and in love, which in its own way, is her calling. But, she also aspires to her mother’s philosophy to be an independent working woman, equal in every respect of a man, if not surpassing that standard. And as the Director of her division, she is applying that skill. What can I say, I feel lucky and blessed. These attributes are out there for you too. Over the last few years, I struggled with not meeting the goals of society’s definition of success. My company has never made a profit. I realized that my strength is not marketing and business management, but rather creating and writing verse and prose. I am at a stage in my career, again, to redefine my purpose and focus on peeling more layers off the union of my existence. Each year, month, day, and minute is ever changing. My weakness is trying to eat the proverbial elephant in one bite. I want to do so much that it shuts me down. That is why I re-read this text to re-

examine what needs to be maintained or repaired, like a used car. The result: a new healthy perspective. Thinking that my writing does matter in a positive way, that what I am doing is good, that staying the course in the now, as best I can, does have powerful consequences. I’m still around. In business. Go figure for a ‘fish out of water’ like me. And developing more time to play tennis, my favorite sport, and to walk, to write, to create, to be more loving to my wife, by touching her soft skin, stroking her hair, and kissing and dancing with her on a whim. Love begets love. Mark my words.... So, it is with this end that you should begin. We are all in this together and for each other. I congratulate you and am grateful for allowing me to have known you in this way. Isn’t it time to unearth the real you?? And if you elect to walk this walk, how great a gamble (for you only have one life to live), as you are at this present second. Scale the hard exterior, peal the complexities of your onion shell, scrap off the baggage that weighs you down, and burn it all up in a trash heap. Time is of the essence. Mythical fire heals. And tragically, as a catalyst, the tragedy we witnessed that September morn and the havoc it has wreaked to this day domestically and on foreign soil has caused pain and agony. But, destiny or not, these horrific deeds presented to us a mirror of reflection. Find, locate the symbolic sewing needle or spindle, and weave. Do it now, do it with a humble prayer, true focus, and your best diligence. What more can one ask??? Robert Allen Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.

Dream Publishing Co. has innovated itself once again. Please visit www.dreampublish.com to see how Rob Lyles is creating a spectrum of visions for today’s society. Norms and values are constantly evolving, so let us resolve to address the “suffering” that make us who we are. For in the experience, we should accept ourselves and then paint ourselves with this past to better free ourselves as true living artists from the evils the world has to offer. Join the peaceful Revolution !!!!!!!!

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