Points on How to Improve your Life

Before Randy Pausch passed away he wrote "Points on How to Improve your Life" for his wife and children to take heed of and practice in their daily life. I think these are some wonderful principles to try and apply in our own daily lives as well.

Points on How to Improve your Life-By Randy Pausch

1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
3. Don't over do; keep your limits
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
6. Dream more while you are awake
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

15. Call your family often
16. Each day give something good to others
17. Forgive everyone for everything
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
23. GOD heals everything
24. Do the right things
25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
27. The best is yet to come
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it
30. If you know GOD you will always be happy. So, be happy.

Seeing with The Eyes of the Heart

I wanted to share this wonderful excerpt from the book of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu called: "God Has A Dream". I am trying to make this part of my daily perception and understanding about life and others.

"We must learn to see with the eyes of God - that is, to see with eyes of the heart and not just the eyes of the head. The eyes of the heart are not concerned with appearances but with the essences, and as we cultivate these eyes we are able to learn from our suffering and to see the world with more loving, forgiving, humble, generous eyes".

Desmond Tutu
From the Book "God Has A Dream"

An Overdue Journey to Jacmel

As the plane was crossing over the island water’s my eyes began to fill with tears as I thought of the many Haitians that died in these very same waters. On their pursuit for what they thought would be a better quality of life. My thoughts shifted to the life that I momentarily left behind and the struggles that go on there in comparison...this brought even more tears to my eyes.

Once we landed we had a driver pick us up from the airport in Port au Prince. The Charter plane to Jacmel was currently out of commission. As we drove through the capital I noticed the people on the streets of Port au Prince (appeared as busy the people on the streets of New York except their attire was different. This was a place where truly organic food items replaced briefcases. There was a definite hustle and bustle going on here. In my opinion even those who did not have much to do found a way to keep busy with the hopes of bringing in some sort of income as means of survival.

Along the way we stopped and had a bite to eat at what I call a roadside eatery or should I say shack. Just beneath the grill was the laziest looking dog staring up at me. This dog took residence beneath the grill where all the savory meats were roasting. There were roosters and baby goats moving about freely where we were seated. Of course it wouldn’t be an outdoor eating event without the flies. I thought to myself if my Grandmother is willing to eat here than I too can eat here.

I geared myself up to eat my meal with a hint of reluctance lingering behind. It was that reluctance that caused me to over examine the food as I ate. The food was surprisingly delicious, perhaps only surprising to me... Once we left and continued on our journey to Jacmel I kept expecting some sort of food sickness to hit me but, luckily it never did.

It took roughly 3 hours to get to the Southern city of Haiti called Jacmel with all our stops along the way. Jacmel is considered the cultural capital of Haiti. I read that the city had not changed much since the 19th century. Back then the town was inhabited by wealthy coffee merchants and traders, who lived in what was described as gracious mansions that adorned the town. It was these mansions that would later influence the home structure of many of the homes built in New Orleans and Savannah. The architecture of Jacmel is believed to have been influenced from the French so much so that the cast iron pillars and balconies were purchased in France. Jacmel's appearance is that of a little European town.

In the city most of the homes are built with office below and homes situated above. Here you can practically sleep with your doors open and everyone knows everyone. My cousin joked that she could not date anyone in town for they are all perhaps related somehow.

The home that I resided in during my stay in Jacmel was surrounded by local convenient type stores that were owned by our family and have been for over 100 years. My accommodations were interesting; there was no power until the evening. There was no running water so you were unable to wash your hands and take showers unless the maid fetches water for you. You couldn’t flush the toilet with just the touch of a lever, something we take for granted in America. Everyday water life consists of water buckets. However, every home in Haiti is not like this. It was just like this where I happen to be staying in the city. I had other relatives whose homes had running water but, the water pressure was a bit lower than I was accustomed to.

The mornings seem to start off with Roosters sounding off along with 4 different conversations going from neighboring houses. I kept asking myself could I get use to living here, would I like it on a long term basis. I often saw dogs roaming freely; I thought I was seeing the same dog everywhere I went but it wasn’t. They all look the same, a dog with caramel colored coat. The family cat had eyes and a face that resembled a seriously. It had the longest teeth and claws that I have ever seen on a domesticated cat, very vampire and I guess tiger like. Everywhere you went there were pigs, donkeys, cows and goats roaming about as if they did not belong to anyone. I asked my cousin Chantal√© can anyone just take whatever animal they see roaming about. She informed me that everyone knows what animal belongs to whom. I never got around to asking her exactly how.

Honestly my family appeared to want for nothing here, they appeared stress free. I truly envied their way of life for that. I hardly hand to spend money. I think it was a way for relatives to show you that they are doing well and they can treat you as the guest that you truly are. There were however, maids and helpers that often try to corner you and ask for U.S dollars from time to time.

I could tell that the city of Jacmel was once a truly beautiful city. However, with time and lack of resources it is no longer the beauty it once was from what my family tells me. It is now a town filled with pollution from the city life of the merchants and so forth. You have to go to the outskirts to capture the beauty that Jacmel still posses.

Caught Up at the Crossroads

I know I started off with my first entry only to leave this blog on some sort of hiatus. This was not due to a lack of inspired energy on my part; for my creative juices are continuously flowing. My inventive wheel is constantly in motion, even in my sleep. Thoughts often come to me in vivid dreams. Actually, it is often the reason for my bouts of insomnia. I often wake in the middle of the night feeling as if all ideas and strategies that come to me at that given moment must be implemented or set in motion or all momentum will be lost.

I diligently try to do my best to acquire the much needed beauty rest. However, my psyche refuses to give in and go with the flow of things. It often gets the best of me because one can actually over think situations to the point of immobility. I often end up spending too much time on the path to perfection which often leaves me at a crossroad trying to figure where to go next.

I’m truly tired of being at that crossroad (kind of like the final scene in the movie “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks) I want to do better at manifesting those ideas. I want to strategically accomplish all those steps and plans that are causing me many sleepless nights as well as a restless mind. All in all I have faith that the right formula will come to me. I hope to finally make it all happen one day, one day real soon. I will continue to take it one day at a time. I will do my best to stay rested and focused while on my personal pursuit to happiness. I will do my best to avoid getting caught up at the crossroads of life along the way.

The Endowment of Self Expression

Self Expression is a beautiful endowment. A number of us make good use of the diverse talents that God has given us. We even have a multitude of avenues at our disposal to express them in. We can express ourselves through various mediums, whether it is through art, literature, music, fashion or with a phenomenal personality that leaves an impression that is yet to be forgotten. I for one would rather take my last breath than relinquish my ability to convey my thoughts to those that are ever so kind to listen or take note.

I have always been the one with so much to say, whether it was vocally or whether I was making good use of my pen or my keystrokes. I was that child that was often sent home with a note that read "Although a great student, she is just too talkative." I have even been known to be communicative with facial expressions even when trying hard not to be. I just could not be still or expressionless if my life depended on it. I was that child that had to audition and go to the school of the performing arts. I was that child that would be in the school's talent show or play.

I enjoyed being the presenter or center stage. I had to be in the Dance, Drama, Journalism, Yearbook and T.V. Production classes. I enjoyed being the one giving the school's morning news through our school's little T.V. network. The opportunity to captivate the attention of others and make some sort of impression for the better is and has been my life long mission statement. I truly appreciate my family & friends for allowing me to continue to be me & not censor me. I am grateful that they understand my need for me to put my spin on things.

Throughout the years I have exercised self expression through my personal collection of sketches, poems, private journals and love for extreme style. But, as time progresses and daily struggles of life exist, we often move away and lose who we truly are as well as that innovative energy. The day dreams that were constantly filled with yet to be conquered master plans and adventures yet to be taken are now replaced with, how one is going to make it through this new life issue or obstacle. Such worries can definitely eradicate ones creativity or supreme ability to be expressive and reach the paramount of ones soul. Such worries or life changes can cause one to forget who we really are and what we are capable of being.

I want to thank those who have helped mold, motivate, and inspire me, whether you did it intentionally or inadvertently. Everyone you meet in life does have a divine purpose in helping you become the person you are today, whether it was for the good or the bad. Never forget express and acknowledge the value of others in your life. Never forget who you are and your need to release and self express.