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Archive for the ‘My Dad’ Category

No Regrets. Only Love.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

When one grows up surrounded by a loving, caring family they learn to live life with the same respectable qualities, being encouraged by the intricate and unique ties between family members. They will never feel alone, and can always find strength in the universal love shining upon them from endearing parents, sisters, brothers and relatives. Their family is their foundation; their ship navigating them through the choppy, unpredictable, overwhelming, and at times dangerous waters of life. Every member plays a significant role (even the second cousin, twice removed married to a character straight from the twilight zone), but parents rise above all for they are the heroes, protecting their precious offspring from daily mishaps and misadventures. As children we look up at them in awe, convinced they can protect us from all evil and fix any kind of mistake. But then the hormones and stubbornness of teenage angst kicks into high gear and parents become the enemy, and the qualities we once admired are reduced to annoying character traits…

We then stumble through life, half blinded and completely unpredictable, learning as we go until something miraculous happens… we finally grow up. And maturity brings forth wisdom, the same wisdom we were taught as youngsters, and the same wisdom we ignored as teenagers. Not only do we become indebted to our parents at this time, we become appreciative of them and begin to look at them in a new, introspective light.

You see, once we grow up and stop messing around we can value the traits our families implanted in us from the time of our births…

Qualities and characteristics of our parents suddenly become our qualities and characteristics, and we quickly realize that we are in fact, “a chip off the old block.”

For me, my mother was the block. Her tenacious character and innate desire to push forward and earn success through hard work and sweat were qualities I tried to emulate and grow upon. And through a lot of blood, sweat and tears with my mother as my steadfast lighthouse, I built my empire and secured a lifetime of success… But like the caterpillar that metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly, I too found myself changing and my ideals on success evolving to a more virtuous state… all because of my father.

Dad was an interesting character. To me he always seemed simple, and uncomplicated. He took life as a grain of salt, and lived it honorably and humbly. The desire to climb to the top of the corporate ladder was never a prospect for him because the desire to please others was much stronger. His open persona and ability to make people laugh gave him power over others’ happiness. Those in a state of despair or trapped in a foul mood couldn’t resist his charms and could never ignore one of his stories…

Dad would come alive when retelling a story. His vibrancy and excitement would pull listeners in close, and his words would wash over them and comfort them like a favorite blanket on a cold winter’s night. He could hold a whole crowd captivated in his words, and yet each person would feel he was talking to them only.

His stories and warm personality could save anyone from the jowls of depression… and he became my savior.

When my father passed I realized how unfair I had been to him. I always gave credit to my mother for my achievements, but in reality it was his closeness to people that tied me down and saved me from the ravages of success…

I see it all the time… individuals who finally “make-it” feel entitled and demand respect rather than earning it. Their ego’s get in the way and they no longer are human beings but simply another player in Big Business.

I’m a lucky one. I still work hard for every penny, but my priorities are my family and friends. The love I receive from them guides me through life and acts as a life preserver when things get hairy and I feel I’m about to drown… That is what my father taught me, and what I aspire to pass on.

So on this Father’s Day, I hope we all can respect and appreciate what our dads have done, are doing, and will do for us. Even though he is gone, my father still guides me with his warm and humble heart, and all I want to say to him is, “I Love You and Thank You.”

Sharing Is Caring

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The great Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

To linger is akin to kicking a dead horse. What’s done is done, and dwelling on certain events is like stepping into quicksand, sinking one further and further away from the joys of life…

Our lives can change instantaneously. A single moment will alter our universe, forcing us to make tough choices and battle through a slew of overwhelming and highly intense emotions. And although we might not be prepared for such events, or believe we lack the inner strength to move forward, such experiences mold us into the enlightened, radiant, and intelligent beings we are destined to become. When we experience life altering incidents our eyes are opened to the glory, beauty and destruction of life, and help us understand our true priorities…

As you all know my wake-up call was the untimely death of my beloved father. His passing not only awakened my spiritual senses and brought about the inspiration for this project; it fortified my connections to him. My only regret is how it took his death for me to truly understand and appreciate his life…

The period following the funeral was the most trying and painful of my existence. At that time I thought I understood the fundamentals of mortality, but I was not prepared for the tidal wave of suppressed knowledge and intimate sentiments I had for the man who raised me.  I had always given credit to my mom for the person I grew up to be; she is a smart, driven women, with an uncanny intuition and a gaze that looks into the soul, and for decades I valued those characteristics and did all I could to live up to each and every one.

From the roots of my mother’s qualities, which I strived to mirror, grew the empire I govern today. I live in the fast-paced world of Hollywood where public interest jumps from one popularity to the next, throwing those involved into a whirl of chaos, desires, and decisions. It’s a cut-throat environment, where razors are sharp and the people are sharper; a place where my father would never thrive or live in…

My Dad possessed a carefree, almost silly attitude. He worked hard and valued all the little things. Life was a gift he cherished and adorned with all his beautiful qualities and outlooks, and those lucky enough to get caught within the crosshairs of his existence, emerged cleansed from the stains of the greedy, selfish world we live in. You see… he wasn’t driven by money or success; he lived for family and the friends and neighbors he met as he made his way unobtrusively through the circle of life…

And he loved. He loved the splendors of the world, the inner light of those he treasured, and the universal capability to connect and learn from one another. And boy did he learn, and he certainly taught. For my father was a master storyteller. People would be transfixed to his words, grasping for each one as if they were the breath of life. He understood the unique subtleties and complex expanses of human emotion, and could relate to all in a seemingly compassionate sense.

He is my hero, and the cornerstone to my new path in life, for now I see how connected and similar we are.

The torch has been passed; I am the new storyteller, relating important lessons to guide weakened and dispassionate souls…

You see… it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a janitor or a rock star, a jailor or even a criminal, we all have a story to share and a lesson to pass on for those who care to listen and learn…

 

No Need of Kindergarten – Part 2 of 3

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” is a famous quote by Edmund Burke, who was an 18th-century British statesman and philosopher.  This eloquent saying speaks volumes about life and how the simplest of lessons can be forgotten—oftentimes with disastrous consequences.

Ask any handful of adults to come up with any number of clichés that they can think of, and I’d be willing to bet that more than a few would come up with some version of this one.

When I look out across the world and take in all of its beauty, sometimes it’s hard to look past all of the wretchedness that comes with it.  There’s just so much pain and sadness out there that it makes my eyes well up whenever I think about it for too long, yet I do everything I can to focus on the good so that I can be as powerful an inspiration as possible to those that I love.  But the deeper I get into midlife the harder I find it is to accept the fact that the human race, as a whole, has as of yet been unable to learn from the mistakes of its past.

My father was a remarkable man and he did everything he could to teach me about how the world really works.  My mother is a sweet and caring woman and she raised me with all the love and support that a child could ever hope for. As I got older and stepped out into life on my own, my brilliant uncle Moe was there to assist me with his shrewd business acumen and glorious wisdom.

These wonderful and influential people passed on to me their gifts like batons of dazzling knowledge, which I then held with all the might I could muster as I sprinted toward becoming the confident man that I am today.

The world would be a far better place if those that have come before us would only do a better job of instilling within their children all of the lessons that they’ve learned throughout the course of their lives… Doing so would allow each successive generation to build upon all of this knowledge along with all of those experiences to make better futures for not only themselves, but everyone else as well.

This type of forward-thinking is exactly what my friend employed from the very moment her daughter came into this world.  She was being read to from virtually day one and always had a limitless array of coloring books and crayons to create with.  This blessed little girl had so many positives going for her that what happened last week was almost inevitable.

Every time I tell people that story, about how, at four years old, she put me in my place while reminiscing, they look at her in awe.  Recently she started kindergarten and my friend was a nervous wreck.  Her baby wasn’t a baby anymore, but all of us knew that she was going to be just fine—especially her father.

And wouldn’t you know it, on the last day of her first week of kindergarten, my friend got a call from her daughter’s teacher.  She wanted to know if it would be OK for her to skip kindergarten altogether and start first grade the following Monday… And actually, based on her test results, she could have started the second grade, but my friend was only going to allow her to skip one grade.

Well, for the time being anyway…

A Lasting Presence

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I’ve built my life and made a career by inspiring those around me, but there are times when I find myself getting so caught up in the beauty of the moments I help create that I often neglect my own needs.  Then there are of course my various business ventures, the management of which requires incredible amounts of hard work.  Always I’m striving to be the best father and boyfriend that I can possibly be, but there are only so many hours in the day.  Amidst all of my important responsibilities, though noble and rewarding as they may be, I’m still only human and at times it’s really easy to lose sight of what truly matters.

There are times when I don’t have all the answers… It use to be that whenever I’d find myself in need of motivation, guidance and wisdom, I could go straight to my dad.

Earlier today I barreled out of a tough long meeting.  I stepped out onto the street to get some air and let the shining sun hit my face, then I took a few moments to gather myself.  Though I’m always juggling an array of projects these last few weeks have been particularly chaotic, but as I stood there watching the cars go by I grew rather calm.  For some subconscious reason I started thinking about Christmas of ’05.

That wondrous December 25th I’d had the privilege of hosting holiday dinner.  The love and cheerful warmth of that particular evening will always hold a special place in my heart.  The house was filled with family and friends.  All of us shared stories of the past year’s experiences, we laughed, and even a joyful tear or two was shed.  There was great food and fine drink, all of which was accentuated brilliantly by the dazzling colored lights.  The whole night was like a scene out of some marvelous play that I would never tire of seeing.

It was also one of the last times my dad was able to take part in a celebration like this.  Shortly thereafter this magical evening he passed on.

Though by this point in his life health issues were commonplace, dad always had a smile on his face, beaming with positivity.  I on the other hand was always so caught up with building my empire and making sure my personal relationships were as strong as they could be.  But whenever things began to falter as they inevitably did, it was always my dad that I’d run to for advice.  This stalwart man never complained about how he felt—never wanted to trouble you with his mounting list of ailments.  Even after Alzheimer’s robbed him of his memories, those deep blue caring eyes lit up like flares every time I entered the room.

This impeccable man, my dad, never forgot me.  When I was there you could just see that he felt better.  Though at times I believed that I was being consumed by unyielding “problems,” he quietly listened without interruption to everything I vented about.

During these anxiety ridden rants I honestly can’t remember if I ever asked how he was doing.

There’re monumental amounts of stress in all of our lives.  Adult responsibilities can seem like they’re overtaking you at times, but this memory of my dad and how I couldn’t see past my own daily issues will always be a painful reminder that I must never again forget what truly matters in life.

These days when I need to talk with him I pick up my mom and we visit his resting spot.  I use this time to tell him about everything that’s going on in my life.  And though I still do vent a bit from time to time, which draws strange looks from my mom, I never forget to ask him how he’s doing…

And he tells me…

I can feel him there…

Just as this beautiful man did at every important step of my life, he left a lasting presence that I will never forget.