Category 5: a reminder of our fragile lives and the audacity of the federal government . 

The island of Puerto Rico where I was born and raised has suffered a severe storm catastrophe.. it has been almost destroyed. One hundred percent of its power was wiped out. There was no communication for days. We could not reach our loved ones in the island so we did not know if they were dead or alive. It has been one of the worst natural disasters for puertoricans in a century.

It just makes me think about how fragile human life is.  In a few hours everybody’s lives were dramatically changed. . A few people died and others were just left homeless .

Now people are struggling to survive in an island with no power , no water, and few resources .. Food is scarce and gas is limited.  And now the federal government is finally arriving and helping out… but it’s not enough .  The mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, Mrs. Cruz, made it very clear that there are people who are dying and there is  not enough help from the federal government.

No way to go to hospitals or gas stations because there is not enough gas… can’t get gas because the gas stations are empty or have long lines.. can’t go to the grocery stores to get water and food because there is no gas in cars… can’t call anyone because there is no signal or internet… so on and so forth. 

And now the president of this “great nation” is saying that the mayor of San Juan has poor leadership skills, and that the people of Puerto Rico want ” everything to be done for them.”

Screw him! 

Now he is planning to travel to Puerto Rico this Tuesday.   To do what? Make a show and pretend he cares about the victims ? It’s all politics, and he should be politically incorrect ..  the government will spend too much money sending this clown and protecting him during this trip . This money should be spent helping the people of Puerto Rico.  

The mayor or San Juan said she is mad as hell… we should all be mad  as hell. 

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Obsolete thinking

We are living in times when there is still communities and organizations that adopt a way of thinking that should be obsolete by now. Thinking and believing that one particular race is superior to others is simply ignorant and immature. 

These are individuals who cannot accept the fact that their way of thinking is already obsolete. Cannot accept the fact that we are finally realizing that we are one community under the description of simply “being human.”

We have been growing and becoming one community.  Those who resist and practice hatred continue to choose to live in their own premature and underdeveloped frame of mind.  They identify with the old way of thinking that is based on segregation , division, and discrimination.  It is simply a lazy way of describing our society.  It is trying to feel better about themselves by putting others down . Practicing hatred and discriminating is another way of bullying. 

Choosing to perceive one’s race , ethnicity , culture, and belief system as superior to others says a lot about our own insecurities.  It says that we are afraid. It says that there is something we don’t like about ourselves without admitting it .  It says that I cannot look at my own faults and shortcomings , so I’m going to focus on others instead who seem different than me and then attack them.  It is basically based on fear. 

But we can do better. We can live our lives, not based on fear, but based on acceptance and love.  We can live our lives accepting each other as mere human beings and learning to live as one community.  We can still do this and celebrate diversity.  A rainbow would not be a rainbow without its different colors .  A forest would not be a forest without its various kinds of plants, animals, and trees. Our bodies would not be a complete body without its different parts performing their own functions and still work harmoniously together . 

Let us unapologetically expose  the hatred , and then replace  it with acceptance and love . 

Accepting the inevitable 


It is so hard to admit what cannot be denied.  It is difficult to accept that this life has an end. But it is a step that we all must take in order to live a full life. 

My dear mom asked me the other day:  “And what if he gets worse ? ”  She was referring to my Dad who is currently in a nursing home and who is deteriorating rapidly.  And my response to her sounded cold and harsh.  I said , “He is going to get worse.”  

 But it is the reality.  It is simply what we all must face eventually and live peacefully with our mortality.

  I don’t want it either.  I want all of us to continue to live on.   Forever.  But what I want is not always what needs to happen. 

We will all eventually meet our destiny. We will have to say good bye to many loved ones. 

We will have to face the ultimate experience. 

We will have to accept our mortality. 

Shifting gears: developing a new perspective in life 

Beginning to explore new ways of seeing this existence we call life.   Starting not to care so much (or at all) about what others think of me.  Letting go of an unexplained anger that is consuming me.  Learning to say goodbye to decaying loved ones without regrets.  Living each moment peacefully. 

 These have been my latest challenges.

I don’t want to continue to live through the motions.  I am beginning to realize that caring about what others think about me is very detrimental… it can limit how much I can be myself.   Because that’s what I want to be: myself.   Manifest my talents..  Express my opinions freely.   Do what I love.  Accept my limitations. 

I am not getting any younger, so I am taking a new shift in my life. 

Whether people like it or not, I am moving forward in my journey.   I am not stopping unless it is completely necessary.  Maybe a pause here or there to deal with pain and suffering that life brings sometimes. But on a continuous path to growth and enlightenment.   

I am tired of pretending . I am tired of hesitating and waiting for something to happen or to come.  I am moving forward.

 I am introverted , and that is not a disability or a problem. It’s just the way I am.   It is also a label, like many labels we put on ourselves to try to make sense of this senseless world.  To try to identify with something … to belong to something.  

But I will express myself more freely. More assertively.  

Thanks for reading. 

There will be more. 🙂

Identifying with the Self: Part Two 

 I had a counseling session with one of my clients.  She is a cutter and was questioning whether or not she would be getting any better in her life.  She was comparing herself with others who also receive therapy and who seem to be getting better faster. My client thought she was not improving like she should and asked about the concept of PTSD and resistance to treatment.

I try to explain to her that PTSD involves living in the past after a traumatic experience… versus learning from the past without necessarily reliving the past.  When we experience PTSD , we tend get stuck in the past and not move forward.  When the pain is avoided then we continue to experience PTSD and continue to relive the past and experience an emotional cycle which is nourished by substance-abuse, self harming behavior, and depression.

On the other hand, when we learn about the past, we develop new skills and we develop new ways to cope with the upsetting memories.  One of the ways is to talk about it, process feelings, write about it, and accept the fact that the pain was done.   When we choose to develop new skills and process feelings by accepting the pain, then we begging to acknowledge that it was a difficult time in our life and be able to move forward with new skills.

And then there was the question of why she is still cutting when she’s in her 50s now, when most of the cutters are either teenagers or young adults.

Then a lightbulb turned on in my head. I asked my client who she would identify as and she could not answer the question.  She first said “I’m already in my 50s why am I asking this question now? ” Then I asked her to not think about her current age but to focus on the question itself : who am I?

The observation that most cutters are teenagers or young adults gave me the idea that, since she has always been dependent on others to tolerate her who she is and what to do with my life, that sounds almost like what teenagers and young adults do in the early lives.

Basically my client is experiencing what most teenagers and young adults experience : finding their identities in life, facing the unknown after depending on the parents.  My client said she always depended on her parents and she was taking care of and nourished as a child even during her adulthood.  This can explain why she has difficulty identifying who she is now in her 50s. I explained that most of us experience the same identity crisis in different times of our lives. Most of us identify with what we have been assigned to be, for example our names, our ethnicity, our gender, and our religion. But we ultimately face a time in life, usually during young adulthood, where we start questioning  our assigned entities and find our own identities. And maybe that’s what my client is experiencing at the present moment.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we mostly live inside our heads. Inside our thoughts and perceptions. We rarely get out of our thoughts and face reality. We don’t usually live in the present moment.  But we rather stay living inside our heads.  Inside our minds. But we rarely step aside and start perceiving ourselves as we really are.

Have the rest of us done the same thing in our lives?  Have we taken the bold step of “peeling the onion” all the way until we find our true selves?

In my own experience , that “true self” remains a mystery.  It remains a great part of the unknown, which is why I tend to ignore it and replace it with all the entities I have been taught to identify with.

I have learned to identify with being a Hispanic middle age male, an American, a mental health professional, a  Florida resident, a parent, a husband, a son, and many other entities.  All of these I can question and deny if I choose to.  What I have not identified with as much is what can never question or deny.

My true self.

But what is the true self?  Is it simply being human? Being a person? After all, isn’t that what we all have in common? Identifying with being Human beings ? Anything else could be used to separate and segregate us.  But being humans could only keep us united.

Identifying with the self

What makes us who we are? How do we determine our personalities ? Does the self even exist ?

Identifying with the “self” is what determines our feelings and perceptions. If I identify with the concept of being a “husband” , and my wife leaves me, then I would feel distraught..   If I identify with the concept of being a “professional” -and somehow I lose my professional license , I would feel ashamed and sad.  If I identify with the idea of being an “American citizen” and a terrorist attach occurs in my country, I would feel anger and rebellious.  But only if I choose to identify myself with these entities.  But do these entities really exist ?

It’s like living a comic strip where the bubbles above our heads are our thoughts and perceptions which we believe to be true … and which we choose to identify with.  

I read a quote the other day that said:

“As soon as we are born, we are assigned a name , a nationality, a religion, a race , a sports team. We will spend the rest of our lives defending a false identity.”

This is so true.  We are given several identities , simply because we feel that we need to belong to a certain organization or group so that we don’t feel vulnerable .  We need to think that we are part of a whole so that we are not alone. So that we can distract ourselves from the inevitable destiny we call “death.” We decide to continue to live an illusion that keeps us in a dream like state and prevents us from experiencing confusion and chaos.

But we can’t escape it forever. We will eventually realize and accept the fact that our various identities ; our numerous fictitious entities that we desperately try to defend and justify, are meaningless and useless when we are facing our final days.

It bothers us when things end because  we don’t like to admit our mortality.  We feel  sad  when a vacation ends … We feel disappointed  when our favorite sport team loses.  We often experience sadness when a loved one moves away or decides not to be our friend anymore.  We rather want  the pleasurable experience to go on.  It is like going to the theatre and enjoying a movie even if it’s fictitious, and we don’t want the movie to end because that would mean exiting  the theatre and facing reality again.  We rather stay inside and continue to enjoy the fictitious movie. We prefer  to pretend to be immortal and prevent having to face the reality of our existence.

We prefer to stay inside the “womb” which keeps us warm and comfortable.

But the closer we get to our inevitable death, the more meaningless all the fictitious fabricated identities become.  And the more we are forced to accept our true identities.

Going back to the “bubbles” above our heads, which represents our thoughts, can illustrate how we live our lives. We mostly live inside our heads.  Inside our thoughts and perceptions. We rarely get out of our thoughts and face reality.  We don’t usually live in the present moment.

But we need to, if we want to live this life more fully.

And the question remains : what is outside of our heads? What is this so called “reality”? What would we be facing when we live in the present moment ?

Peace.  Serenity.   Freedom.  Acceptance.

I will continue on this topic at a later post .

Papi, what is happening to you?: The unforgiving reality of old age


Visiting my Dad , whom I call Papi in Spanish, has been a sweet and sour experience.  I came to visit him in Puerto Rico for a few days… because I miss him and  I wanted to see him again.

During the time I spent with him during these few days , I start questionning again the absurdity of this existence.   What is, if any, the purpose of this life ?  Why are we born to simply die and cease to exist at the end?

Papi was an active man who worked very hard, had many friends and went to many parties.  He was known as having a good sense of humor and making jokes all the time.  He always dressed up with the latest fashion and style.  Papi often took good care of his belongings, particularly his hair.    He also has been a jovial and friendly individual.  He laughed hysterically and made jokes with his friends about politics and life in general. He enjoyed drinking with friends and eating spicy food.

He went to the army for a short period of time, but he often reminded us of his military routine.   Papi married my mom and had four sons.  He worked hard at a pharmacy warehouse . I remember visiting him at his job which was upstairs.   Papi would buy me candy and sandwiches “medianoche” for mid morning snack.   He also taught me one time how to ride my bike, how to take a shower, and how to clean my shoes.  He was very particular about his personal belongings.


Now most of that is gone.  He can barely walk and is more forgetful.  He is in his late 70s and does not eat very much. He is retired and can barely take care of himself.  It’s almost like he has become a different person.   It makes me wonder,  what is happening to my Papi?

In spite of the changes, he continues to do certain things that shows glimpses of who Papi really is. He enjoys doing word search puzzles.   Papi sometimes still makes the kind of jokes he used to make.  He remembers most of his family members and friends.

I can’t help but to question again the reason for this existence.   The purpose of us living in this state of awareness we call “life” if at the end it is going to be gone.  My Papi was a jovial and active man.  Now he is a weak and serious old man.   Like the winter that comes and takes away all the beauty of the trees and the flowers and the sunshine, so does old age take away the sunshine that I often found in my Papi.   Will there be a spring after this?

Most of Papi is already gone.  Most of what he reflected has faded away.

I guess Papi is not completely gone.  At least not in my heart.