The only thing between us and what we need is an illusion of money.

I’m not rich. I’m not poor. I’m fairly middle class. I have a decent house not quite out in the boonies, but close. I have two cars I hardly ever drive anymore. I have a pantry and refrigerator full of food that, combined, would last a couple of weeks if I were to stop buying food today. I have enough heat in the winter and enough cool for the summer. I have space to roam in my house during the winter. …

Why stop at just one day? Gratitude is something that we can practice all year round.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American traditions. Before the pandemic, I’d go to my mom’s house in California, spend time with the family and eat great food. I’d visit with friends and get all melancholy around my old stomping grounds. I’d see how things have changed every year. But not this year. This year, I will still practice the tradition of Thanksgiving, but without all the travel, friends, and family. Even in the year of the pandemic, I will still practice gratitude on this day, as I do every day, but Thanksgiving makes it more formal.

Thanksgiving is a unique tradition in the sense that it is a wide-open celebration of gratitude. I see it in my social media feeds already. I’ve seen many people expressing gratitude for their mates, their kids, their jobs, and their lives. There is a lot of gratitude out there if you’re looking to find it. Thanksgiving is a reminder to us all that everything we have right now is a gift. …

…requires a healthy dose of respect.

I have noticed lately that I’m living with less and less fear. Maybe that’s what happens as we grow old. We experience some scary events as we grow older, we learn from those events, and then we move on. If something like that happens again, we remember what we learned the last time and we deal with the scary stuff and move on.

Yes, the pandemic is scary. I read the news, I see the charts, and I lay low. I stay indoors mostly because it’s chilly outside. I read I write, I work from home and I pay the bills. I admit to some uncertainty at work. I think everyone has that. But I don’t live in a constant state of fear about current events. …

Gratitude is the fuel of the living. Hope is the dope.

Thanksgiving is coming, and with that, I see the same thing every year. Every year there are two waves of suicides, one around Thanksgiving and the other around Christmas. These are people who suffered losses. They made mistakes they think they can never recover from. They feel unlovable, they feel less than, they feel lonely, they feel like they can never be loved.

This is one reason I don’t read the local news too much. Not a year goes by that I don’t read about some awful thing that happens around the holidays. In the local news, I tend to find stories about someone killing someone else and/or themselves over some argument, over custody, over property, or something else. There is often a fight over something around the holidays. …

Here are just some of the returns you can expect on your investment when you make a decision to forgive someone.

I’ve been practicing forgiveness now for a couple of decades. I believe that forgiveness is a practice, like a ritual or a habit, because we never reach perfection at it. I have found that forgiveness is essential for mental health. I have also found that forgiveness makes us open to suggestions and opportunities that we might otherwise miss. If we haven’t forgiven someone, we may still be thinking about retribution. With forgiveness comes relief from the bondage of self. With relief from the bondage of self, forgiveness allows us to practice gratitude.

Life has a cycle. We’re born, we live, we reproduce, we die. Life is in a continual process of renewal. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is forever. Everything is changing all the time. What is composed must decompose. And so it is with forgiveness. With every act of forgiveness comes renewal. …

I don’t forgive people for them. I forgive people for me.

I was once the kind of person who believed that I could withhold my forgiveness as a form of punishment. I was once the kind of person who didn’t believe in forgiveness. I was once…the kind of person who exercised passive aggression as retribution. I have never found peace in my relations with others, without forgiveness. I’ve tried, oh how I’ve tried. But in my relations with others, all paths after any offense, errors, or omissions lead to forgiveness.

My wife bought tickets to Sea World a few weeks ago. We were going to see my mother in California and then visit Sea World for the holidays. I talked with my mother and we both saw the COVID cases rising. We both decided to cancel the trip. I tell my wife to cancel the trip. She asks me to call Sea World, but they don’t have any human beings answering unless I’m going to buy something. So I send an email. …

Books are the beer bongs of knowledge and entertainment.

I finally did it. A few weeks ago, I broke down and bought a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon. I have to wear reading glasses to read and I had been struggling to read for years with my aging eyes. I could never get the lighting the way I wanted. I couldn’t deal with the sometimes tiny fonts on the page in paper books (technical manuals are the worst). I didn’t like lugging books around, losing them, or losing my place in them. I wanted something more consistent for my middle-aged eyes and brains. …

Who are the socialists, really? The people who want you to be in debt for most if not all of your life, that’s who.

I’ve noticed in the last election, that the word “socialist” resonated throughout the GOP campaigns. Trump tagged Democrats as socialist over and over again. He made it clear that anyone who was a Democrat was a socialist in his mind. As a result of Trump’s efforts, many down-ballot Democrats found themselves being tarred as socialists. What Trump did was to clear the way for Republicans to do what they do best: quietly lobby for the banks.

Politico ran an article just yesterday about the terrible drubbing Democrats got in Florida, and the lede was about a state senator who defended himself by saying that he’s not a socialist. In that article, Jason Pizzo, one of the few Democrats who survived an electoral rout in the Florida Senate, has this to say during an interview after a conference call among the elite Democrats in the Sunshine…

Capitalism is just behavior modification for money.

A few weeks ago, I saw the movie, The Social Dilemma. I think I picked the perfect time to watch it, too. I had already been thinking a lot about behavior modification and the entire idea that our behavior can be modified through a regime of punishment and reward. As I watched the movie, and the interviews, that is all that I could see throughout. In social media, I see a stream, no, a river, of behavior modification.

The movie hit upon several themes, and the overarching theme was one of manipulation. The goal of social media then seems to be manipulation, to what end, I’m not sure, but that was one of the messages I got from the movie. …

The threat of punishment creates numerous developmental delays and no intimacy. It’s really hard to solve problems without intimacy.

Yesterday, my younger daughter was unwilling to go to school. I woke up my kids at 6:30. My wife Alice got them ready for school while I was writing yesterday’s article. We got to the bus stop early. One of my kids got on the bus, the other did not. One kid rode away on the bus, the other stayed home.

When we got home, Alice began to interrogate my younger daughter, Natalie. I interrogated Natalie, too, but there was one big difference between my wife and me. My wife believed that if she could instill enough fear into Natalie she would go to school. I disagreed with my wife and I said in so many words that Natalie cannot think when she’s in fear, so how could she respond? …



Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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