Be Selfish — Forgive



Forgiveness always benefits you more than it benefits the person who hurt you. To forgive is to be free. If you don’t have it in you to be magnanimous, be selfish— forgive. 

The day is perfect. The sun shines warmly, good things happen all around, yet in the midst of pure delight, you feel nothing but a sharp pain coming from a tiny splinter lodged in your finger. The dang splinter is nothing in the grand scheme of things, your friends are laughing, the sun is shining— what is a splinter in the light of life. But how can you enjoy life when the gnawing pain imbibes your focus?

Unforgiveness is a splinter in the soul. It doesn’t matter how insignificant the original offense was. Once the thing gets lodged inside of you, it produces a gnawing pain.

The pain from a splinter is not the issue. In fact, the pain is healthy. It alarms you that something is wrong. There is a foreign object stuck in your flesh, and you must drop everything to pull it out before it causes serious issues. The soul splinter is just the same. Offense gets lodged inside of your heart, and you must remove it before it causes further damage.

If you keep a serious splinter inside of your body long enough, the risk is gangrene; it becomes life threatening. When unforgiveness is left inside of your heart, expect all sorts of havoc. It’s a deadlock that holds you to the past, you can’t move forward in the relationship with the person that caused the offense, and it takes a toll on other relationships as well. In your desire to seek revenge or to hold them hostage with your refusal to forgive, you destroy your present happiness to prove something to the past.

How do You Remove a Splinter?

It’s gonna hurt, baby. When removing a splinter, expect pain. But suck it up, deal with it, and as soon as the thing is out, you will forget it completely. The body has an astounding ability to forget even the severest of pain as soon as the issue is solved and healing sets into motion.

For sure, to forgive a person can hurt like hell, after all, the forces of hell are bent on keeping you in a state slavery to the past, to the pain. To attain and maintain freedom is a constant battle, never a resting place. You have to fight to free yourself from anything that gains mastery over you. The grudges, hurts, and pains that you cling to, have direct mastery over you.

The only way to break the bond that ties you to the person who hurt you is to is to forgive them. You only need to do it one time, but in the moment you must forgive genuinely and completely. This action seems like benevolence towards another, but in reality, forgiveness benefits you more than it can ever benefit anyone else. When you forgive you free your own soul.

If you don’t have it in you to be magnanimous— be selfish! Drop everything and make things right for yourself. Call those who offended, write them, repent of your part, forgive them for their part, and feel the splinter no more.

As soon as the thing gets done, the healing process begins. Eventually, you will forget the pain that once imbibed all of your focus. You will be able to laugh with your friends, and delight in the shining sun as if nothing ever happened.

Forgiveness Doesn’t Erase Responsibility

As a side note, forgiveness doesn’t wipe out consequences. The legal or material responsibilities still lay on whoever wreaked havoc. But it’s so much more pleasant to take care of wretched business when you’re emotionally free. Free from pain, bitterness, and the maddening desire for revenge.

All is Ephemeral— This too Shall Pass




No matter where you are at this moment. Whether you are basking in the heights of glory or trudging through the depths of despair— remember that all is ephemeral and this too shall pass.

I don’t wear rings often and not being used to having things around my fingers, I constantly play with them when I do.

While twisting a ring I had on the other day, that completely out-of-commission custom of tying a string around the finger to remember something came to mind. My constant finagling of the ring could be a good reminder if I could link it to something worth remembering.

With that in mind, I went on a hunt for a good version of the ring of Solomon, in time, I found a good one. I showed a picture to my brother for a second opinion.

Why do you want the ring of Solomon? Said he.

Just to have the ”this too shall pass” reminder. Like when I’m going through something stupid and it feels like it will never end.

He thought about it. “Yeah, that makes sense.”

Several days later.

I just did something that took all the courage I could muster. I kept putting the thing off because it would set off a trail of events— all things I did not want to deal with. But in a state of resolution, I did it. Now, I’m about to take the next step in the trail of consequences.

Trying to get composed before heading out. I make tea. I sit down. It’s too hot. I get up. Pace back and forth. The same brother appears. Sits down. I explain what I am about to do. I walk back to my tea. Leave again. Come back again.

He hangs out for a bit, then walks off saying something. I miss the first part, only catching the tail end of his sentence. Four words,

“This too shall pass.” Said he.

Being wrapped up in how much all of this sucks, I had forgotten that which I wanted to remember. No matter what I face right now, the moment is transitory and on the other side of misery is happiness. I didn’t have the ring yet, but I got the reminder.  My circumstances had not changed, but my perception of them did. No matter what this moment brings, it too shall pass.


Music Therapy: Classical Music for Health

Melanie Rodriguez 1



Classical music is not just ear-deep, it has a profound effect on your nervous system. The intricate structure of timeless melodies will work to improve your health, while you get your entertainment. 

Ever wonder why classical music shows no sign of withdrawing from concert halls, despite being around for ages? There are many reasons, but one of them will benefit your health directly.

Those intricately structured movements have a profound therapeutic effect on your nerves, helping to restore your nervous system on a subconscious level. That calm state you fall into during a Beethoven concert is no coincident. Your body is in therapy mode.

Most people can’t escape to a natural haven to rejuvenate their minds and relax their nerves, yet having time to reorganize mentally on a regular basis is necessary for overall health.  When people ignore this fact for too long, they get frazzled, nervous, and ill.

The beauty of classical music is that no matter where you are, you can synthesize your nerves, rest your brain, and relax your body– no environment change needed. Throw on some headphones, turn up the Chopin, and drop in for therapy.

Not All Sounds Are Therapeutic

City noises and various incoherent sounds of everyday life are not just annoying they disturb the nervous system, and it’s important to find a way to balance the adverse effects of negative sounds.

A sound is not ear- deep. A loud noise makes us jump.  A scratchy high-pitched voice, makes us cringe. It is said that a pleasant voice multiplies friends— it lures.  Have you noticed that when you jump, or cringe, or find yourself lured into someone’s tale, your physical reaction is not a conscious choice, but rather a subconscious response? Our bodies react to sound as much as our minds respond to words. It has to do with the complex way that sound waves penetrate the nervous system.

While living in the city, white noise penetrated my apartment walls.  On a good day, I could deal with the sounds of sirens and jangles of construction, but when my immune system was waining the noise was physically disruptive. When I discovered the physiologically calming effect of classical music, I would turn up the Marcello or Bach during moments of stress and felt my body begin to blossom from the inside.

It may take some digging to find classical music you genuinely like, but well worth the effort to have a few go-to compositions on hand for moments when your body calls for some R and R.

Try Classical Music for Your Health

Even if classical music isn’t your top choice, try finding a few works that move you and revert to them in times of stress or physical exhaustion. After all, classical music beats meds, instead of reaching for the Advil turn up the Albinoni and you will feel better. Trust me. My current favorites are Chopin’s Melody of Paradise and Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in D-Minor

A Woman Who Wears No Perfume Has No Future



“A woman who wears no perfume has no future.” Coco Chanel

I’m in Portland, about to meet someone at Irving Street Kitchen. I walk up to the, SW Park and Mill streetcar station and step aside to wait. A man stands several feet up and to the left, doing what everyone else is doing here, waiting for the streetcar.

It’s a beautiful day, sunny with an occasional light breeze blowing strands of hair into my face. Luckily, I’m not late and have nothing more important to do than to enjoy the moment. I relish the soft bursts of wind.

The man to the side of me slightly turns his head. He doesn’t turn enough to look at me, just turns it my direction. A few moments later he does the same thing. The wind blows, and his head turns, yet again.

I take a few steps back hoping to get out of his peripheral vision. But then again, a slight puff of wind, and his head turns, this time further back in an odd neck cramping manner.

He doesn’t make any effort to make eye contact or to say anything. His head just turns every now-and-then while he keeps waiting for his streetcar. He’s well dressed, clutching a distressed, brown leather messenger bag with one hand, and looks like a person who has places to go, and people to meet.

I hear the rumble of the streetcar coming our way. It’s the green line; I’m waiting for the red.

The streetcar stops, the door slides open, the rest of the passengers rush on, but instead of walking towards the door, this man turns back and steps in my direction.

By now, I’m beyond curious to see what this one’s all about; I watch him as he approaches me.

“I don’t know what perfume you’re wearing, but it smells amazing!” he says.

Not waiting for a response, he swings around, walks towards the streetcar, moves up the steps, the door shuts— he whizzes off.

I should have known what this was all about.  The breeze kept blowing my fragrance his way. I was wearing Chance by Coco Chanel (the green one). Not even my best scent, but still, a fragrance is a fragrance and Chanel knew what she meant when she said, “a woman who wears no perfume— has no future.”

Glide Through Europe with 7 Travel Tips


Photo: Vadim Izoita

Everyone I know is traveling. I am too, although not via trains, planes, and automobiles, vicariously through them.  The sad thing with this kind of traveling is that my collection of travel advice is as idle as my unpacked suitcase. I would love to share it with you, perhaps you can make better use of it?

7 Travel Tips To Help You Glide Through Europe

My best tips came from, Mr. Basil Moutsatsos, my Greek Humanities teacher from way back. Since I’m not using them right now, maybe you can benefit from this brilliant travel advice:

  1. Always carry water and toilet paper. Lock bags and do not store anything in those little outside compartments of your luggage, they are pickpocket territory.  Watch your belongings closely.
  2. When searching for good quality food at good prices in a city such as Venice, look around until you spot an elderly woman confidently marching somewhere.  Follow her at a distance, if she enters a restaurant — go there!  Venerable local women may be trusted in this matter for two reasons: they do not eat bad food and they do not waste their money. 
  3. Do not dress like a tourist, leave the khaki shorts and binoculars at home, they are red flags for bulls.
  4. When traveling through beautiful, antiquated cities do not worry about getting lost.  Getting lost on the wrong side of Austria may open up a whole world of unmarked fineries to relish.  Do not waste the entire trip staring into a travel manual; look up, wander and stumble into things.
  5. When in France check if the person you wish to speak with knows English before offending him or her with amateur French. The French prize beauty and eloquence above all things and butchered French is neither beautiful nor eloquent.  They prefer to butcher your language rather than suffer the abuse of their own and as a guest— comply.
  6. If there is a language barrier, repeating the same phrase louder and louder with each repetition will not enhance communication, use hand gestures or consult Google.  Yelling at people in strange tongues is bad foreign relations.
  7. Do not point.  Do not stare and never ever climb public monuments—

Travel Away

Now that you have these morsels of travel advice, I hope you can put them to use. Happy traveling!