Free Your Self


I often ponder why so many people experience chronic frustration in certain aspects of their lives. This inner dissonance is likely the result of one’s external conditioning clashing with their innate qualities (i.e., nurture smothering nature). Inevitably, we reach a point in our lives when who we’ve become no longer aligns with who we actually are. Then begins the daunting search for our true self, which has been forcefully suppressed by society (and its traditions) causing ongoing distress over the years. But why do so many experience this phenomenon?

There are too many rules that govern our psyches (e.g., what to do, when to do it, how to act, what to say, how to think, how to look, how/when to spend your money, when to sleep/wake, where to walk/drive/park, etc.). Though highly intelligent, we are still animals. And as such, there are times when we don’t want to be limited, obligated, forced to do different from our natural desires. We want to be able to live at our own pace, on our own terms, to roam about freely, without borders, like animals in the wild. But it is our own kind (humans) that prevents these freedoms.

This pressure and conditioning, fueled by tradition (and its nonsensical/obsolete teachings) creates so much frustration within us. We suppress our natural tendencies to be accepted in society, completely ignoring our true nature. It’s no wonder there are so many unhappy people who feel lost, stuck, and afraid of change. We’ve been fooled into thinking that conforming is living our life, when in actuality, it prevents us from that very ability.

Your one and only life is yours to live as you see fit and you alone are responsible for your happiness. No person or thing can replace what you don’t already have. To live the best life possible, you must attain a deep understanding of yourself. The better you understand yourself, the more accurately you can align with what makes you happiest. Otherwise you could be living a life pre-determined for you, thereby squandering your wonderfully unique existence and cheating the world of your greatest contribution.

There is so much more to living life than what we’ve been told. Once you understand this, you can move from the passenger side to the driver’s seat and steer your life in the direction best suited for YOU.

Time For People


“Time” is one of the most precious resources we have because none of us knows how much of it we get. And yet, so much time is lost obsessing over things we can’t control and ignoring the things we can. Study after study shows that at the end of our lives it won’t be the amount of money we made or the material objects we acquired that matter most, but rather, the relationships and experiences we shared with others. In other words, PEOPLE are the crucial ingredient for a fulfilling life. But why do so many of us overlook this point along the way?

Who of us actually makes the time to check in with those we care about on a regular basis? We eat, work, bathe, and sleep every single day. Many people exercise daily as well. Why are those activities not seen as excessive yet regular correspondence with friends and family is such a chore?

Everybody claims to be so “busy,” yet we somehow find time for our emails, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, taking/posting an obscene number of selfies, and binge watching YouTube and NetFlix. There is an expression, “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” In this day and age, with the majority of the population glued to their smartphones, there is ample opportunity to keep in touch with others. Even if it’s as brief as “hope you’re well,” the sentiment is always appreciated. Furthermore, given the amount of time people spend on their devices, it’s disheartening to observe how often our messages/calls go unanswered. Chances are that if someone didn’t respond in a timely manner, it’s because they chose not to. Personally, I think this has less to do with being “busy” and everything to do with one’s priorities.

Although technology and social media are designed to bring us closer, they sadly seem to be desensitizing us and diluting our interpersonal relationships, thereby putting time and distance between us and those we mean to keep in touch with. While technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected, social media has made it possible to silently glance into other people’s lives. The problem with this is, if somebody regularly displays the details of their life for all to see, there’s little reason to actually reach out to them.

Bottom line: make time for people while the opportunities exist. They are the same people you call upon when you’re feeling down and out, or, when there’s exciting news to share. You don’t need a special occasion or hours of spare time. A little goes a long way. I always say, the people in my life are the “success of my existence,” more so than any achievement in my professional career. If people and relationships are what matter most in the final days of our lives, shouldn’t they matter most now?

Tuesday – Thursday


I’ve been teaching music for about 15 years now. I enjoy keeping up to date with the lives of my student’s and will routinely ask them about their week, family, friends, activities, etc. Commonly, when asked about school, the Monday kids will respond, “school sucks, it’s so boring, I wish it was Friday already!” I can’t help but chuckle to myself when they say these things; I remember thinking those exact sentiments when I was their age. In a very positive and diplomatic manner, I like to share the following advice with them:

Life is like one of those moving walkways at the airport; stepping on symbolizes birth and stepping off represents death. No matter what you do while riding, it continues to move forward, just like time. Walking faster and running will only bring you to the end sooner. Walking backwards essentially keeps you in the same spot. This is much like life: living at an accelerated pace, always in a hurry, racing from one obligation to the next, seems to expedite our living experience. And when we resist forward movement out of discomfort or fear, it’s not surprising that we remain stationary.

Impatience is a byproduct of our fast paced world; if it’s not quick and effortless we become frustrated. My Mom always used to tell me, “don’t wish your life away.” I remember being in school and desperately longing for the weekends, holiday breaks, summer vacation, graduation, getting my driver’s license, etc. Always looking ahead, I wished the future would arrive sooner to experience the awaited pleasures. This is a foolish approach because one loses so much precious time looking forward and doesn’t fully appreciate the present.

The time we wish away can never be reclaimed. It is most likely the very time we’ll desperately want back at the end of our lives. Like my students, it’s easy to fixate on where we’re headed while neglecting to enjoy the steps leading us there. Thus, when anticipating Friday’s arrival from Monday’s perspective, it’s crucial to remember that we also have to enjoy Tuesday through Thursday.

Zoom & Focus


The world has become so fast paced and we’re all running to keep up. Nowadays, life is like a treadmill fixed at 20mph; we are required to keep the pace, regardless of any physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies. It’s sink or swim. And here lies the problem…

Where we choose to focus our attention makes all the difference; much like looking out the window as you’re driving. Objects in the foreground zoom by quickly while objects in the background appear to move much slower. When focused on the foreground, everything is blurred, making it difficult to comprehend and fully appreciate what you’re seeing. But when you focus on things further in the distance, there is increased clarity and more time to enjoy the scenery.

Similarly, while we’re busy keeping pace with the rest of the world, we can unintentionally miss the beauty that surrounds us. Life becomes a blur and its many precious moments go unappreciated. Only when we look beyond the hustle and bustle does life slow down, allowing greater enjoyment and appreciation for what we experience.

There are times in our lives when it’s helpful to look at the “big picture.” At other times, it’s beneficial to focus on the finer details. In my experience, the most effective way to deal with life involves continuous zooming between these two vantage points.

Hurts So Good


There are many instances in life where we experience pain; both physical and emotional.  Pain means you can “feel;” that you’re not numb. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is at least reassuring to know that we’re capable of feeling something, anything.

Physically, the body perceives pain to alert you that something is wrong, as to bring attention and care to that area. Equally, we experience emotional pain when our thoughts and feelings need assistance. Imagine the physical/emotional damage we could inflict upon ourselves if we were impervious to feeling pain; we would all end up as worn down stumps in padded cells (eroded and psychotic).

There is beauty in feeling pain; it gives us hope and makes us appreciate our well-being. It also allows us to empathize with others and extend compassion to those who endure similar struggles to our own. But most importantly, it serves as a reminder that we are alive, human, and not desensitized mechanical beings.

In Memory of a Friend

Last month, a friend of mine passed away suddenly from a brain aneurism. He was 24 years old and an absolute sweetheart of a guy. Luckily, I saw him the day before and feel SO grateful to have spent that time with him. This unexpected news stirred up a myriad of thoughts and emotions. I was inspired to write this:

“Why do we fret over stupid/insignificant things when there’s no guarantee we’ll be here tomorrow? Why do we stress ourselves out over things which we have no control? Why does it take tragedy to remind us of how precious life is? Even the resulting perspective and inspiration quickly dissipates. We spend a good amount of our lives focused on money, success, and acquiring materials, all of which we leave behind when our time is up. We endure years of misery from our jobs, relationships, and our own underdeveloped emotional states. Why? Because of fear: fear of change, fear of pain, fear of being alone. Regardless of the suffering we may experience, there is comfort in familiarity. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance is usually counterproductive to personal growth.

My friends, there is a world within this world that we are blind to. Not because we don’t want to see it, but because we’ve been conditioned to close our eyes and follow the handrails of tradition. We are capable of achieving inspiration and gratitude without tragedy occurring. We just need to invest more into ourselves and each other (the grass is greener where you water it). 

Without hesitation, tell the people in your life that you love them and squeeze them a little tighter. Write/email/text/call your loved ones and let them know what they mean to you. Don’t wait and make excuses. Sometimes, there is no tomorrow.”

Embrace The Uncomfortable

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Only when we trip and stumble can we improve at catching ourselves.

As children, we lack the skills to prevent falling down. As we grow, we develop our footing and learn to catch ourselves. But one cannot practice losing balance – it’s an unexpected event that triggers an instinctual reaction. Therefore, the only way to get better at catching yourself is to unexpectedly trip.

Embrace the uncomfortable; trust in your ability to recover. After all, you’ve made it this far.



Confidence: (defined as) – belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.

Confidence is such an integral part of our lives. Having it can make us, while lacking it can totally break us. Where does confidence stem from? It’s possible to achieve it through external sources (in the form of compliments or praise), but that’s not the kind that will stick and allow us to conquer our fears. One must prove to oneself, over a period of time, that his/her goals can be consistently achieved. Remember this simple equation: