Everything happens for a reason

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

One of my favorite quotes in Spanish is “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” The words flow a lot better in Spanish, but when translated it means that nothing bad happens unless something good is right around the corner. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about life and what is to come. I went back and read this post I did over a year ago and realized that I have not been doing everything I need to do to become successful in life.

I have compromised who I am for the sake of everyone around me. I have so many times made decisions that are mostly selfless and thought that they would bring me happiness but they did not. For once in my life I feel like I need to care just about me and what I want to do with my life. I want to be able to say that the actions I take from today on, are based on the pursuit of my happiness and not that of what everyone around me wants or thinks.

I think that you should follow your dreams. I want to do so much in life when it comes to travel, fun, knowledge, and family. I finally have turned a corner in my life when I feel that things are going to start looking up. I can start once again thinking that unconditional love is not a pipedream but a reality.

Today at lunch I was talking to some of my co-workers, and one guy said he had never experienced unconditional love until the day he had kids. I felt really bad for the man; to grow up and not ever feel unconditional love is a pretty sad thing to me. He was very ok with it, especially since he said that you don’t miss what you don’t know exists. I have felt unconditional love from my family since the day I was born, granted not everyone is that lucky, but I think everyone should.

Maybe that is what is missing from this society, more love, more unconditional love. I guess some people might think that unconditional love does not exist, but I do believe in it because I have experienced it. I know my family loves me no matter what. I even know that some of my good friends also love me that way. I would not trade this feeling for anything, and I think I am not wrong for expecting complete unconditional love out of the relationships that matter in my life.

I guess I ended up going on a rant, but my point with this quote is a mixed message. For one I believe in destiny, but I also believe that we make destiny happen… confusing… read the quote and really think about what it ultimately says.

Character

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the definitions that Webster gives to the word character is “moral excellence and firmness.” At times I feel like all of America has forgotten the notion of moral and ethics. I have met so many people in life that have little of not character to speak of. We should all have a sense of what is right and wrong and stick to it.

Something that helps build character is environment. If we grow up in an environment where it is ok to swear for example, it is likely that we are going to continue that behavior. I know for a period of time I was with a group of friends that dropped an f-bomb a minute and I picked that habit right up. It did not help that Beavis and Butt Head taught me a lot of the English I know. I have toned down the use of the word but it still slips out once in a while.

I have been talking with one of my friends about what makes us up, what is it that we are all about, what makes someone whole. Along with morals, honesty and beliefs I think character is one of the most important characteristics on an individual’s personality. Emerson’s quote really strikes a cord and almost defines the word character for me.

I believe I get a lot of character from my Grandfather. He used to always remind me that everything in life can be taken away from you except knowledge. He always instilled in me the notion of how important education and the gathering of knowledge was. Next week I will start practicing martial arts again in a regular basis as well as relearning French. I think it is important for me to use my time in a constructive manner and fortify all of who I am. If I ever feel like half of the man that my Grandfather was, I would feel truly accomplished. Every time I think of him I think of character, he always stood firmly behind everything he believed.

Taken for Granted

“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
-Socrates

Some years ago something horrible happened. An eight year old very close to my family became very ill with a nervous system disease and ended up living a shorter life than he ever should have. My Mom was very deeply affected by this event and has ever since reminded me that life is short and I should not take it for granted.

I am a dreamer and think that life should be lived happy every single day. While I understand how unrealistic that is I also believe that it is a good goal to have. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, daily laughter should save as a trip to the therapist.

I have to agree with Socrates on his statement that you have to examine your life to make it worth it. It is important to look at your life and make sure that you are within your morals and beliefs as much as possible, and make sure that you are striving to achieve the goals you set.

We have all heard the quote “You don’t know what you have until is gone.” But to understand is true meaning you really have to have suffered a true loss. In the past couple of years I have lost some people very close to me and every single time it has reminded me not to take things for granted. Counting your blessing should be part of your daily routines, because you never know what tomorrow brings and it is important to appreciate and not take for granted all that you have.

Fear

“Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”
- Mark Twain.

This has been one of those topics that I have not been able to truly flesh out but I feel that it needs to be talked about. If you have not see this video about how easy it is to bypass most locks, that is one of the digg top links, you need to before you keep on reading.

Scary, isn’t it? The thought that what you think makes you safe is really not all that secure. I personally feel that like with computer security, it is only a matter of time and someone’s persistence to get through any type of security. If it was made by man, it will be broken by man.

Our country runs on fear right now. We are so afraid of terrorism that we have changed the way we think. I remember how many people would use the line “keep on living just like before of the terrorist’s win.” but look at your life now and see how much it has changed. Starting with gas prices, airport security, police procedures and the military conflict, our life in the U.S. is a lot different after 9-11 and the terrorist did just what they intended to do, they terrorized us.

What is worse is that the majority of the population in this country was so already full of fear before even 9-11. I am not a Michael Moore fan, but his documentaries as propaganda filled as you might want to consider them do have some interesting ideas. I remember one of them being the locked door piece of one of their documentaries. He goes to Canada to see if it is true that most people there don’t lock their doors, and the movie showed that several people did not. Now, that could have been just movie magic, but from personal experience I know that if the doorbell rings in a house in the U.S. everyone is surprised and almost startled by the premise that someone is at the door.

Back in Colombia you would have a parade of people come through your door at any given day. People would show up to visit for an afternoon unannounced all the time. You knew who your neighbors were and security came on the way that you knew everyone in your block, not from ADT. There was a couple of times when someone made the mistake of trying to steal around our neighborhood in the middle of the day and ended up getting pretty beat up and tied up to a post for the police to come and pick them up. Would you feel more secure if you had a united neighborhood always looking out for you, or the paid friend you make out of ADT?

While it is true that we have the internet available to get all the international news we want, most of America still does not get a fair world view from the news media. Perfect example is how Newsweek feeds their U.S. readership a story about a Celebrity Photographer and the rest of the world a story about how the Taliban is gaining control of Afghanistan again. It seems like in this case the media was trying to protect us from fear or maybe since the Taliban is not using a tumble key to open our door it should not be news.

Fear is a powerful emotion and right now I believe our country is being dominated by it. The things that we should be afraid of must people are not even aware of. I guess as long as we are scared about “terrorism” but can go back to seeing what celebrity got a DUI this week, or who broke up and hooked up, everything will be ok.

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Religion Quote

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Religion, like politics, is a very touchy subject. When someone attacks your religion, if you have one, it feels like they personally attacking you. I have learned in life that the worse thing to do is to take things personally. I am still working towards that goal because I tend to take things personally when I should not.

I have often wondered if having a religion serves a real purpose beyond making us feel guilty. You could argue that it is just because I was brought up Catholic which is often regarded as a high guilt based faith. Doing right thing because doing the opposite makes you feel guilty is not effective. I know of plenty of people that sin and then repent themselves just to turn around and do it over and over again. I think Mr. Lincoln’s approach to religion however simplistic is very powerful. We should have our own code of ethics and know wrong from right; religion should be a tool that helps us but not our only guide.

The Pope is apologizing for the remarks that were taken out of context recently in a speech. His message was simple, that religion and violence don’t go together. Even though he did not mean to say that Islam promotes the killing of infidels (some extremist do), the reaction to his speech make a stronger case for Islam being used for hate rather than love.

There has been so much blood spilled on this earth in the name of religion that I would have hoped that the human race would have cleaned up its act and stopped killing each other over it. It seems like we as a race are doomed to kill each other. In the movie the matrix Agent Smith classifies us as a virus, a disease… but I am starting to thin he was wrong, because even a virus does not kill itself.

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