5 Strategies to Maximize Life Lessons!

Life Lessons mRio on flickr

Image courtesy of mRio via flickr

I heard the lady sitting next  to me, on the bus, say to her companion; “You live and learn.” I’ve heard that saying many times before. I’m certain I’ve said the exact same thing on a number of occasions. Who would disagree with the obvious? But we all know people who seem to be stuck. I’ve been there myself. Not able to extrapolate the gracious and generous message being sent to me.


The body is designed to heal itself. When it doesn’t, something has gone wrong. The argument is a strong one; most medical practices treat symptoms not causes. And the side affects of treatment can be dire. Symptoms are an invitation to change something we’re doing or not doing. Ignore the message and most likely we will receive a stronger one shortly.

When I joined the Marines, in 1974, I maximized the physical fitness test conducted in basic training before graduation. I was the only one in my unit to do so. I was considered undersized. So, they made me eat double portions to gain weight. I’ve often joked that the government is responsible for my undesirable growth later in life.

When my military service was over my physical activity diminished. I stayed  involved in sports, initially, but lifestyle changes slowly brought me to less and less exercise. I ignored my diet, eating whatever I wanted without regard for where I was headed. I didn’t heed the gentle signs my body was sending. It took a heart attack to get my full attention. Could it have happened if I did a better job of taking care of myself? Absolutely. But it is also a possibility that I could have prevented or delayed it.

Many good decisions follow bad ones. What if we made better choices in the first place?Part of our reality is the artificially induced connectedness of technology. For all of our efforts to gain intimacy through social media platforms we are more isolated than ever. We ignore the benefits of authentic relationships with other people and, more importantly, with ourselves. The feeling of missing out has, you guessed it, caused us to miss out. We don’t get quiet enough, long enough, to receive the vital signs of emptiness.


Shame is the elephant in the room. While it’s true that we don’t get what we want, in life, we get what we are, we need to clarify the adage. We don’t get what we deserve we get what we feel we deserve. Positive thinking has many virtues. I’ve submitted to the practice of thinking good thoughts for many years, even speaking positive things, and lived with a feeling that contradicted my best thoughts.

Feelings attracts thoughts that reinforce feelings. And feelings dictate outcomes. Positive thoughts, by nature, are trying to change the way we feel. If the feelings are dominate, the thoughts, no matter how noble, will fail to bring about difference. This understanding has changed my life. Nobody can make me feel anything I don’t agree with. If someone says something disparaging to me, and I think it’s true I will feel the negativity of what was said. But, if I know it’s not true, I’m empowered to not feel a thing.


From childhood until this very moment I have received a continuous flow of Aha moments. Many of them never converted to defining moments. I’m driven to communicate. I will immediately start sharing any and every revelation that comes to me. Sharing is good. Right? I would give away what I captured in my mind before I captured it in my heart. The results were sometimes excruciating, as I watched the wisdom change the feeling in other people while my feeling remained the same.

I’ve lived much of my life feeling damaged. I held on to what wasn’t working with a better thought bouncing of the walls of my mind. Clinging to my feeling prevented the insight from taking root. Powerful thoughts, which were working to align me with truth (I’m not damaged) couldn’t become foundational because my feeling kept shooing them away. Core beliefs are not only what you think – they are what you feel, about you. If we don’t change our feeling our mind and heart will continue to be at odds with each other.

When we possess the feeling of what we want to obtain, as though we already have it, our thoughts will rush to accommodate us.


Oh what tangled webs we weave when, in fact, we are deceived. (slightly altered) I have an innate dislike for the saying: everything happens for a reason. It gets used like it sets us free from figuring out what we need to know. If we choose a conspiracy theory as our guide we insure a repetition of life experiences. If we can’t dissect what happens then what happens is meaningless.

Rejection is often redirection and not a denial. I’m now able to appreciate things that didn’t work out. I was trying to force things that were not meant for me. My desires were based on limited knowledge that led me to believe there was a singular way to go about things. That there was only one way to be in the world. What I was really doing was attempting to validate myself with infertile approval. I was sincere but confused.

The real detriment of comparison, is lose of identity. We’re subtly driven to be someone else because we think that’s the best version of ourselves. That’s just plain inaccurate. Our uniqueness is our assignment. It’s where we discover significance. I’ve wrestled with overwhelming disappointment because of the demeaning story I wrote, and lived out about myself. Good things are an indication of what’s in-store for us.


It it’s not fun, reconsider. We aren’t meant for hardship and struggle. The battle isn’t to acquire by force; It’s to cooperate with our purpose. From money issues to peace of mind the only conflict is what we believe (feeling + thought) about ourselves. We can separate from abuse if we are willing to stop abusing ourselves.

If I have to be you to be me I have a problem. The point of every message being sent to us is to ratify our reason for being here. Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. But, let’s not do it over and over without considering why we are doing it. Determination is not the same thing as stubbornness. What works and doesn’t work is very personal to each of us. Every one of us has a reservation to the flow of life. Our mission is to find it.

If we discriminate against ourselves we have, most assuredly, missed the point!

What is your greatest life lesson?




The Time For Disappointment Is Now!

Winner jimpg2_2015 flickr

Image courtesy of jimpg2_2015 via flickr.com

We can’t get through life without disappointment. From disappointment in others, to disappointment in ourselves, we deal with this beast.

Perfectionism is dysfunction. I’ve been there; trying to deny my own humanity. Letting myself down. Mistakes are inevitable but, that’s not a license to abandon the pursuit of excellence. Every person has the potential to meet their best self. Peace of mind is the result of discovering, embracing, and sharing the magnificence within.

Personal shortcomings offer two predominate roads to go down. We can either wallow in despair, write self defeating stories to live out, or we are liberated to identify with the commonality of human struggle and accept the challenge to be the master of our own destiny. The naked truth; disappointment is only an invitation for more or less of the same.

For some, courage is the inspiration to rise again and again defining and redefining the interpretations of our experiences. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t dealt with the harshness of reality. The melody and lyric of every life has a sad or glad ringtone. The default setting is found in our power of choice.

Be-younger.com on flickr

Image courtesy of Be-Younger.com

When we encounter anticlimaxes in ourselves, or in others, we are granted the gift of correction. It’s an opportunity to align with principles congruent with harmony. When we see disappointment as a teachable moment, learning the lesson it presents, we advance beyond perceived limitations.

Rhetoric has a shelf-life. Familiar things can trap us. Ventures of letdown scream to board a different plane. The ability to assess events and nonevents provides a path forward. Viewing life as a journey allows for navigating the highs and lows with growth and wisdom. Arriving at improved versions of ourselves.

Disappointment often temps us with survival thinking. Causing us to emotionally camp just outside of thing we should do next. And stepping into the flow that calls us by name. The heart that has lost its passion waits to be aroused. Giving up is not an identity it’s only an identifiable trait stealing the rewards resolve bestows.

Friends don’t hurt you or make things hard for you. They don’t support you in-spite of your blemishes; they support you because of them, cheering you on to greater heights. Reminding you to reflect, redirect, and connect with the power of your own dreams. People who don’t forgive do not represent divine intention. Since all judgement begins with hypocrisy we can move on counting are blessings as we go. Leaving behind the opinions and attitudes of those who are wrapped up in themselves.

I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t walk with a limp.  They simply can’t be trusted as the gatekeeper of providence. We don’t all have the same issues but issues have we all. It’s a tragedy to forfeit the education disappointment affords. It’s not about what’s left of your life, it’s about the rest of you life.

euphoria by h.koppdelaney on flickr

Image via flickr.com courtesy of h-koppdelaney

Whether we are confronting severe betrayal, or the worst self inflicted wound we are in an defining moment. Your failures don’t define you unless that’s where you stop. Your achievements don’t define you either; keep going. As a man who’s dysfunction took him to the brink of destruction I can attest to the reality of  overcoming disappointment.

Hope springs eternal. (Alexander Pope) Every disappointment requires a Now Action. The time for disappointment is NOW! Get over it, expeditiously.

How do you deal with disappointment?





It’s been an honor to participate in celebrating fathers during this Father’s Day season. And to hear the good and sometimes difficult stories around what others experienced with their fathers. Our stories matter to our present and future generations. It’s been a journey for me to get to the place where I can look forward to this day every year. It’s been worth every step to get here.

Thanks to manlytraining.com for sponsoring this event.

Well done,

Eduardo Quintana

Click on the link below to read my article.



How To Deal With The Empty Chair On Father’s Day?

Call me old school and I won’t debate you. I think fathers matter. My father not being there left me more than alone. 

The Empty Chair free image pixabay

Free image courtesy of pixabay

The wonderful accessories that sometimes adorn the unfortunate and make up for losses didn’t make it to my house either. Poor, literally, with scalable adversity my path was set before I graduated puberty. Fillers are abundant just not adequate to foundationalize security.

There’s no beef jerky and tears on the menu; I become an adult some time ago. I’m a man acquainted with grief. Emotions don’t rattle my cage. I like being touched and being in touch with other people’s pain. The fences we climb and the valleys we traverse makes each and every victory indescribably nutritious.

Emotional and intellectual defilement are holes we can’t see through. The walk away dad, or the present but unavailable dad, marks his offspring with manufactured dysfunction. Layering authenticity with lies and innuendo. Forfeiting precious time allotted for love and replacing it with peeling off the sticky and trying to survive.

It’s not about the kids. It’s never about the kids. But because the level of deprivation defies logic the innocent internalize the unconscionable. And we act out the feelings we can’t shake. Forming core beliefs that create the habits of our lives.

Some things are wrong and will never be right. It’s the effects we want to affect. Some get to involve their fathers in their reconciliation, others must become one on their own. Dealing with the empty chair involves the truth! We deserved better. We’re worthy of love and respect. We don’t have to live our whole lives looking through the kaleidoscope of parental breakdown.

I celebrate every father who has been there; loved, cherished, guided, protected, and provided for his children. You don’t get enough recognition or admiration. And though you may not seek it, you’re due honor and high praise. Celebrating fatherhood, for me, is an accomplishment to appreciate.

For those who experienced that coveted relationship with their fathers and have to endure the hollowness of their passing, I trust you can live from the memories in your heart. For the father who has to deal with outliving a child I can only embrace your trauma from the empathy of my imagination. I pray for your peace.

My daughter asked if I wanted to go to breakfast on Father’s Day or if I would rather she cook breakfast for me. Just having kids, and a grandson that want to acknowledge me is more than I need. I didn’t get to take my father to breakfast or enjoy a single Father’s Day with him. I’m thankful to have overcome the ramifications of a father who was never there. I’m doing fine. The empty chair has been filled! 

How are you doing this Father’s Day?



Want a puck-me-up?


I have been held hostage in ‘Slackerdom’!!! It’s a little kingdom that has kept me from writing as much as I usually would for Two Drops of Ink and for my personal blog. The inhabitants of Slackerdom usually visit me when I get caught up in work. They convince me that work is more important than pursuing my passion. What’s funny is I do what I love for a living. #Amwriting and doing #socialmediamangement daily but work is work. Returning home to the creative realm on a daily basis is an almost impossible trip. I fall prey to the #impossible forgetting that #I’mpossible!!! Half written compositions are evidence of my attempted voyage but I am unsuccessful in reaching my destination. I get lost along the way!!! Practice what you preach, Chica!!! Is what my creative side screams from the recesses of my being. The workaholic puts her in chains and throws…

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Trading in Futures!

Please! Don’t beat around the bush. Give it to me uninflated! Tell me what to invest in that guarantees a satisfactory rate of return. I would love to take out the risk and go straight to the reward. Who wouldn’t? right.

Trading in futures

Image courtesy of pjchmiel via flickr.com

Let’s see now. We can’t drive a car without hazards. We can’t make a career move without taking a chance. We can’t fall in love without being vulnerable. We can’t bungee jump without signing a waiver. Shucks, we can’t even watch the news without full body armour. I’m talking about the sheer terror of mundane things.

Forget about not, “jumping in until you know how deep the water is.” We are already soaked. Keeping ourselves from drowning is a work in progress. Carving out a piece of safety, to stand on, is a tall order. If sticking my head in the sand offered the slightest promise of reprieve I’d build a sandcastle.

I’m all for staying positive. Repeating coveted mantras to fixate on the Terra firma of paradise. I practice encouraging others, which helps me, by the way. I have learned the hard lesson of not poking every air bubble that flies by. It’s a good thing to avoid scammers. (good for us not for them) Some things work out and some things don’t.

I’ve picked myself up too many times to believe in quitting. But, there are days I just want the world to shut up and listen. And, there are days I would spend my last dollar to hear what I’m not hearing. Anything, that would make me giggle in places that have never laughed before. We are all in it; but not necessarily, all in.

Conformity has taught me the impossibility of “one size fits all.” Every thought we entertain and feeling we embrace leaves residue on our intentions. So many voices leading to mountaintops where we can’t get occupancy permits. We follow trails expecting to find our throne only to discover we have a visitor’s pass.

No time spent sharpening the sickle is wasted unless we leave it unused. The best Aha! moment in the world will max out at shrinking violet, if it doesn’t escape our mind and find gainful employment. All activity is not productive. We have to remind ourselves that our best is energetic, creative, and full of life. The desire to make a difference is tangible only when it passes through us!

The particles of cynicism, self-doubt, and fear of disappointment are invisible pollutants filling our lungs; leaving us gasping for air. The work of converting potential into accomplishment, living out our own definition of success , and wearing a crown that we orchestrated yields priceless returns.

The harvest of tomorrow is rooted in the efforts of today! The art of knowing where we are going makes the power of now a reality. Wishful thinking will always be a liability; Taking and never giving back! Residing in the hope that someone will make it happen for us is an alternate reality without any accountability.

Doing what we can, with what we have, is a little known surety. We mustn’t  trade away our futures by focusing on what we can’t do, what we do not have, and what hasn’t worked. When we settle our purpose, clarify our mission, and determine our passion we are ordering our tomorrows.

When we celebrate our own lives we invite others to join the party. Tolerating useless ideas, attitudes, and personalities “rips us off.” Our time and talent is our mutual fund. To fill our lives with abundance, and give it all away, is the stock market of the soul. We trade in our futures with harmony or disarray!

Feeling the power of our own dreams, allowing the force within to direct the traffic in our minds, puts our end in plain sight. If we couldn’t do it – we wouldn’t be dreaming it.

What is the future you see from where you are now?


Rising Beyond the Past!

Some of us walk with a limp. Maimed by what’s behind us. Struggling to find the door, the answer, to the life we want deep inside. It’s possible! Probable, if you choose to unravel the imposter living in your stead. ifonlyihadadad_front

If Only I Had A Dad

Read sample:

I was teary-eyed for my daughter who was in distress. But my tears were also mixed with anxious expectancy for the entrance of my grand boy. I needed to be a calm presence in the room, but I had more adrenaline than blood pumping in my body. I was in the room with Tina for the birth of both of our children. But this was somehow more eerie and majestic at the same time. I was a different man, older, wiser, with more to offer—my greying hair proof of my qualifying credentials. As a young father, I wasn’t capable of the same deliberateness that I now had as grandfather.

I perceive what this boy needs from me. And I’m willing and eager to provide for him. 

Jaden’s father was not in the room. In fact, he decided to not be in Jaden’s life. Now Jaden will deal with the plight of the fatherless. I am aware that all the love and attention that we will provide him will not alleviate the thoughts and feelings associated with not having a dad. My own experience provided this insight.

He will have good questions where there are no good answers.

When Jaden parted the atmosphere of this world, I had a moment like no other in the totality of my life. I became more aware than I had ever been. Significance was no longer attainable; it just was.

The nurse took Jaden to the other end of the room. I left my wife and medical staff to attend to the needs of our daughter, and I followed my boy. As she prepared him, I was right there, hovering, watching every move she made. I wanted to see any flinch of a muscle and hear any sound that might come from his mouth. I was on a mission to give my grand boy a red-carpet reception. Perceiving the creative energy of life, I was standing still but pacing on the inside, waiting for the moment I could introduce Jaden to my love and affection.

After she prepared him the nurse wrapped him in a nice, warm, baby blue blanket; and, because they were still dealing with our daughter, she handed him to me. Divine design?  I received this living, breathing gift and held him close. As the rush of love meshed the two of us as one, I reflected on what I knew about my own birth.

I arrived a little beaten up by my exit from the birth canal. Besides my unwanted entry wounds, I emerged with red hair, eyebrows that were barely distinguishable, and very light skin. Wrapped in a nice, new baby-blue blanket, I was presented to my mother.

“That’s not my son!” she exclaimed. “My son has dark hair and olive skin. You need to go get ‘my’ son!”





©Rick Amitin 2016 all rights reserved.