Sunday, November 18, 2007

I am back to square one!

Interesting sermon today in church : "suffering will always be with us, but it is never permanent even as we can tend to despair while enduring these events. Hope should be our anchor knowing that better days are always ahead ". Recently my brother endured a double-lung transplant and is well on his way to a strong "recovery", yet even as the news of his progress improved, my own feelings were morose and full of anxiety and dread - a shock to the emotional well being was my ongoing feeling. It seemed to permeate all aspects of my life even as I have so much to be thankful for! This experience brought me back full-circle to that young boy who was taught that God is my friend and my companion, always. Years of cynicism and doubt about things not "reality based" were surrendered into His hands, not so much as a bargain, but more so in the fact that I have so much to be thankful for. So I am now again that young boy appreciating his companionship and feeling blessed. Believe me, it is not religion that brought me back - it was love and humility.

I am THANKFUL for all things!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How Job got his groove back aka "Why me?"

What’s So Good About Suffering?
William Doverspike,

Written almost as early as the Book of Genesis, the Book of Job is considered one of the great classics of all literature. Job lived almost 3,000 years ago and was described as a model human being, one who was "perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1). As the story goes, God allowed Satan to test Job’s integrity of faith, stripping him of his family, his wealth, and finally his health. Throughout the story, Job’s suffering was compounded by the ineffectual advice of his wife and friends. Yet throughout his trials and suffering, Job’s faith never weakened.

Job eventually pleads his case before God, asking God to explain the reason for his suffering, asking God to answer the question why. Near the end of long narrative, God finally speaks. Interestingly, it is the longest speech that God makes in the entire Bible. Yet God doesn’t give a single answer to any of Job’s questions! As an ancient story of the timeless problem of innocent suffering, the story of Job provides a model for the modern survivor of suffering: Job’s suffering came to an end when he stopped asking the question why. From a psychological perspective, Job’s recovery began not because he learned the reason for his suffering, but because he stopped asking the question why.
Overcoming suffering is not about why something happened in life; it is about how we respond to life. Inspired by the illness and death of his son, Rabbi Harold Kushner (1981) wrote a book titled When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Described as one of the ten most influential books ever written, it is interesting to note that the title is often misquoted as "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People." In his analysis of the question of innocent suffering, Rabbi Kushner emphasizes that we need to get over the why questions that focus on the past and the pain: "Why did this happen to me?" Instead, we need to ask the question which opens doors to the future: "Now that this has happened, what shall I do about it" (p. 137). Kusher makes the following observation: In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people translates itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened. (p. 147)

The English novelist Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) once said, "Experience is not what happens to us, it is what we do with what happens to us." What we do with our suffering is more important than what has caused our suffering. Huxley had originally planned to become a scientist, but poor eyesight forced him to turn to writing. Despite his poor eyesight, Huxley developed a futuristic vision which was the basis of his utopian novel Brave New World.

Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Victor Frankl also turned to writing in the dark corners of a death camp in Bavaria. In Man’s Search for Meaning, expanded from its original title, From Death-Camp To Existentialism, Frankl wrote, "For what matters above all is the attitude we take toward suffering, the attitude in which we take our suffering upon ourselves" (1969, p. 178). Frankl’s understanding of suffering was forged out of his survival of three years in four different Nazi concentration camps. Upon liberation from the death camps, he discovered that he had not yet experienced the limits of his suffering. When he returned to his native home of Vienna, he learned that his wife, his brother, and both of his parents had been killed in the camps.

In living to reconstruct his lifetime achievement, which once had been a crumpled manuscript destroyed on a floor in Auschwitz, Frankl completed a book that eventually sold more than 9 million copies in 23 different languages. In an interview shortly before his death at the age of 92, Frankl noted that he was still receiving an average of 23 letters each day, mostly from those thanking him for writing a book that changed their lives ("Frankl dies", 1997). Frankl’s lifetime achievement was not only his monumental book, but also the fact that his suffering was forged into an instrument of redemption that changed the lives of millions. His life is a story of redemption, the process of transforming suffering into a meaningful purpose in life. His story illustrates that how we take on our suffering is more important than why we suffer. As Frankl concluded, "Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way in the moment that it finds a meaning" (1969, p. 179).

The Russian novelist Fedor Dostoevski (1821-1881) once said, "There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings." Our sufferings can be either obstacles or opportunities. The only difference is how we view them. Our experiences can be either stumbling blocks or stepping-stones on the path of life. The difference is how we use them. It is not our circumstances but how we react to them that matters. It is not what happens to us, but what we do with what happens that matters the most in life. Reprinted from Doverspike, W. F. (2001). What's So Good About Suffering? Georgia Psychologist, 55(3), 23.

Georgia Psychological Association 2200 Century Parkway, Suite 660 Atlanta, Georgia 30345Phone: 404-634-6272 Fax: 404-634-8230

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Living on borrowed time.....

Over the last two weeks, my brother Roberto, 40, has endured a series of dramatic health related events, none of which we would wish to encounter over a lifetime. Eleven years ago he was diagnosed with PIP, a chronic pulmonary disorder that produces protein when fighting infections. Most individuals simply expel the protein as the infection is reduced. In his case the protein builds and eventually suffocates him. Doctors at Duke University Medical Hospital have been able to "wash-out" (lavage) the protein build-up over the years, yet with each treatment lung tissue is destroyed. Roberto was transported from Carolina's Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. to Duke 10 days ago in critical condition, unable to maintain oxygen levels. At the last minute Medicaid approved his application, at the last minute he was placed on the lung transplant list and less than 12 hours later lungs were harvested and transplanted earlier this week. Roberto is now living on "borrowed" time as he would have surely succumbed by now without the transplant. His eventual and uncertain recovery will be long and tenuous. I wonder how Roberto will choose to live his "second chance"? I wonder how he will approach everyday life? How he will treat his loved ones and his fellow man? I was reminded again how short and precious life is. I also met a host of unselfish and kind people at Duke which will be our "home away from home" for many months to come. They understand that life is short and kindness should be our state of "ATTITUDE". See his site at:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

even faith needs a little positive attitude.....


Last week, I thought about you when my pastor in his sermon spoke about how one’s attitude and determination in life and at time of adversity can affect the outcome. Several times, he used the phrase: It’s our attitude.

He also spoke about how we can learn from the outcome that is not what we expected and worked for. Our attitude, he said, can turn a negative situation into a positive result, even if what we end up doing is not what we were thinking about doing or expecting to. He said, the Lord may have other plans.

It was a good sermon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Motivation is your own...

Motivation is caused behavior, it is not something someone gives to another. Case in point is my daughter Felicia who has been very active in local theater, dance and vocal for many years. Tonight was a culmination of sorts when she was awarded a full scholarship for the coming year with her theater group. The traits are clear and obvious: the person is passionate and lives/breathes the activity and behaviors required to be successful; the person rubs unto others through their enthusiastic and positive attitude; the group's outcomes are improved due to the enhanced effort by all.

I believe all people wish to be successful, some have an innate ability to figure it out on their own and do so, the remainder simply need to be shown how. However, it has become very clear to me that some people simply do not want to work hard enough to achieve their goal or potential. Even the most holistic teams can not attain their potential with these sort of individuals, regardless of their intelligence or know-how. We are each responsible for how successful our lives become and ultimately our lives.

It is what it is.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Changing Reality

You know the feeling. That rock in the pit of your stomach as you contemplate the changes that must be made, while at the same time allowing individuals the time to make appropriate changes themselves, it is the cycle of "chicken or the egg". Then, it becomes clear that ownership must be your own. Change is never popular, even in the face of its necessity. It is interesting how perspectives can be constructed from above and below, all relative to points of view and sometimes from mere perceptions without any base of factual data or even in the face of facts. There is nothing more dangerous than bases of power influencing decisions without facing reality. I struggle to be and remain objective as to the given reality, yet persuasion and influence, aided and unaided can become a driver, notably when performance pressure is in full throttle. Regardless, once the change is made, it must be seen through. Once the change is made perceptions and realities begin to change. Once the leadership enjoins the behaviors necessary to cause permanent change, then change occurs. Deming stated that "knowledge always comes from the outside, and by invitation only" - our responsibility is to make the invitation.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I AM.....

I think, therefore I am.....?

10:34 Sunday night and I have had a week to think, and think and shudder and fear. Is all of life some brittle moment in time, one at a time, and yet all future - however enthusiastic we may view it, come wrapped in uncertainty? Do we simply take steps hoping for the best? Not taking steps make us go with the wind someone or something sets. How much is our own course? Not much maybe as it gyrates about the headwinds and obstacles, some seen and many unanticipated. Funny, when we look backwards - our fears were mostly imagined and did not come to pass. This is not to say that bad things do not happen, they do. Yet over time the pain lessens, some. I believe it takes 25 years to dampen deep hurt and anger. Maybe more to relieve grief, maybe never. So what do we do? We take the step; then again and again. To stop is to die? In some ways yes. Fear of failure is the albatross around our neck. We step and over time we look backwards and gain confidence, pride and self esteem. I do not know any other way.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Germinating behaviors


Where did the hours and days go? Since taking a few days off during the holidays, it seems that January and February have been a blurr. Large and complicated processes demanded huge amounts of time, leaving one feeling disconnected from team mates and clients, and then feeling inadequate about doing the things that make it all go during this period. Don't get me wrong, we have not just been thinking about how to get the year started, yet it seems that we have to awaken other's desires to engage the client. It is not improbable that the clients are involved in the same "coming out of the gates challenge".

Come on sunlight, warmer temperatures, and less pessimistic attitudes! The economic seeds that now begin to sprout in our pipelines are the same ones we planted and nurtured even a year ago. Are you planting the seeds today for your benefit tomorrow? Visit your stakeholders and create new ones, not because the leaders say so, but for your own benefit. Otherwise you create your own demise. We are not talking about survival but about self-efficacy. The YOU that you are meant to be.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The poetry of Felicia Lobo

as you blink....

life spirals
children play
adults work
they can't get enough
they work and work
their bones to death
to make a living
to make a home
for the children they have raised
they dont relize they are missing life
their own
and their childrens
dont you blink now
their childhood will be gone
you'll miss it
they'll say "im doing this for you"
but all the children want is time
time with you,
mom and dad
nothing more than time
it takes them too long to relize
and then childhood is gone
their precious time is gone
the time they could've had
the time they didnt take
the children grow older
now who wants the time
they want to break away
while your just now getting close
these parents they want their time back
but sorry its too late
dont be over protective now
leave them room to grow
room to open their hearts
room to open their minds
no, now you're too close
you're the walls closing in
your over protective
see they crossed the line
between innocence and ignorence
let them find the difference
let them find their path
you need to back away
they will never grow this way
you may accept it now
but the guilt is still on you
but dont blame me sir and madam
i told you not to blink ...

Felicia Lobo