Another day, another rose, another sign…

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“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

I wrote on a post  last week that I found a artificial flower on the street.  Today I found another one.

This one is also a red rose, but it has a small bud on the side.  In the picture below they look similar but they are actually very different.  They are made from different materials and different shades of red.

I do live near a florist, but in 10 years living here I have never found any flower on the street, real or artificial.  I welcome them as little gifts from heaven. Little signs of God’s beauty and grace;  and of the bright future to come.

When I picked it up I immediately thought of my friend that lost her daughter, one week ago today.  

It is her and her daughter, the rose and the rosebud. One part of the other. I am giving it to her.

“The loss of a loved one is like the loss of a part of oneself; an arm or a leg. At first, the pain is so physical that it is hard to ignore. The trauma is so intense that the mind finds it hard to cope with the loss. With time the pain eases, the body recovers and the brain figures out new ways to go on.”
― Federico Chini, The Sea of Forgotten Memories

powerless…

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This is post about death. If you are not comfortable with that subject please stop reading.

On Thursday I was on the office phone with my Mom, happily talking to her about the skiing trip that I had planned for today.  My sister and I, and a couple of friends, were going to spend Sunday and Monday at Camelback mountain in Pennsylvania.  It was my sister’s first time on skis, so we were super excited.  We were also looking forward to the feeling of being free.

My cell phone rang and it was my friend A.  I answered and asked if I could call her right back.  She said: “no, my daughter is dead”.

I felt as if I had been punched on the stomach.  Her neighbor came on the line and gave me the grim details. My friend A. had just found her 24 year old daughter dead from an overdose.

I hung up and went back to my mom, that had been waiting on the line.  At that moment I didn’t know how to give her such news, so I lied.  I said: “Please pray for A’s daughter, she is not doing well”. 

I paced back and forth a for a minute, feeling momentarily lost.  Then I put my coat on and walked to her house.  I got there as 3 detectives were leaving.  They told me my friend was inside.

A. was surrounded by a couple of friends that I hadn’t met before.  She was repeating to herself that her daughter was dead and she was a bad mother.  My heart broke for her.  The women that were there started to say a prayer.  She ran out of the house.  I ran after her.

I caught up with her.  I said the usual platitudes, not knowing exactly what to say.  We just walked up and down the street for awhile. 

What could I have said that would have made any difference?  At that point I don’t think that she was even capable of hearing anything.

She alternated from silence to admonishing herself.  She didn’t really let herself cry until much later.  I stayed with her until later in the evening.  I left when additional friends and family arrived.

“Death is not the end
Death can never be the end.

Death is the road.
Life is the traveller.
The Soul is the Guide



Our mind thinks of death.
Our heart thinks of life
Our soul thinks of Immortality”

Sri Chinmoy

The next day, I went with her to the funeral home. Because of Covid they were only allowing 2 people to be there. The family asked me to go. 

The girl had mentioned to her sister and friends that she wanted to be cremated.   The mother didn’t want that but, after a lot thought, decided to abide by her wishes.  

There had been a lot back and forth amongst the family as to the issue of burial or cremation. Some family members also felt the mother had to see her daughter one last time to say good bye.  They, themselves, wanted to see her and say a last good bye.

It turned out that no one could see her. An autopsy is being performed and then cremation.  In these situations, there is what we think happens, what we think it should happen, and then there is what actually happens.

So many people, well intentioned, had a lot of advice to give.  The mother was confused and second-guessing herself.  My advise, as in any situation, is to pray asking for guidance.

I said to A., as I say to all, follow your heart.  Unfortunately, now is the time for acceptance. We can only do so much, and the rest we need to accept.  She needs to make the decisions she can live with it.  

She has already gone through so much. I am not listing here all her hardships, as I feel I would be invading her privacy.  Trust me, even before this tragedy, I often said to her: “I don’t know how you do it”.

She had tried so hard to save her daughter.  In the end, nothing could have saved her, but herself.

How does one convince a mother that all is going to be okay? What is okay for a mother that lost her child?  Nothing will ever be the same, and yet life has to go on.  Normal has now another meaning for her.

I continue to believe that after every tragedy there are miracles. I will forever look for them.

Cherish life! It is fleeting.

… and as I write this, I just learned that the brother of a lady I know, a successful married father, jumped from a bridge to his death…

the feeling of powerlessness and sadness attempts to take over as I search for rainbows and miracles. I pray. I hope. No matter what.

“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
and
the greatest times
times

we will know it

we will know it
more than
ever

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
and

we will wait
and
wait

in that space.”
― Charles bukowski

 

2 pennies and a rose: how lucky can a person be? or should I say blessed?

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“When we’re interested in something, everything around us appears to refer to it (the mystics call these phenomena ‘signs’, the sceptics ‘coincidence’, and psychologists ‘concentrated focus’, although I’ve yet to find out what term historians would use).” ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

I believe in signs. I believe that if we are paying attention, if our minds are still, we can notice signs all over.

I don’t pay attention.  I am never quiet.  My mind is always going 100 miles per hours. I am sure I go through life missing signs. But every now and then, I see something and it feels like a sign.

I am that person that believes in everything that cannot be seen or explained. I believe in unicorns, angels, miracles, fairy-tales, soulmates and all of that is magical and unexplainable.

I pray that I am able to see the signs as I encounter them. Yes, I believe in the power of prayer too.  I pray for signs that show me that I am in the right path; that I didn’t veer off into the wrong path.

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.” ― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

The other day, as I was walking to work, I felt a pebble inside my shoe. I stopped, and as I flipped my shoe, two pennies fell off. I was surprised.  It felt like a tiny pebble and not coins. (see picture below)

How did it get there? I don’t know, and I don’t really care.  I see it as a sign. A sign of abundance and prosperity, of money coming my way. Based on what, you may ask? On nothing; just my crazy ever so optimistic mind.

I got to work and a few minutes later I got an email from my credit card confirming a $1,000 refund for a ticket to Brazil that I had already given up on.  



Today, as I am again walking to work, I see a rose on the sidewalk. I was passing on by, then I thought to myself: If it was money, I would pick it up, why not a flower?  I went back and picked it up. (see the picture below)

It is one of those flowers made of fabric.  It looked perfect, clean, and so out of place lying on the sidewalk on this frigid winter day.  

To me, it came bringing all sorts of messages. It signals goodness blooming. It means love, happiness, good fortune, good days ahead. All that goodness coming and going, to me and from me.   

No, unfortunately I didn’t get to work and Prince Charming was waiting for me 😦  But it could happen.  I believe!


That is me! Always a dreamer!  May I always be in the moment and alert to see the signs gifted to me from above.

I think I notice signs walking to work because that is when I am at my quietest.  It is early, not a lot people on the street. I don’t have the TV or radio going.  I am not fiddling on the cell phone.  I am doing 1 thing: walking, instead of 3 or 4. I am just walking, happy, feeling the cold air on my face and feeling ever so alive.

“I believe in signs….what we need to learn is always there before us, we just have to look around us with respect & attention to discover where God is leading us and which step we should take. When we are on the right path, we follow the signs, and if we occasionally stumble, the Divine comes to our aid, preventing us from making mistakes.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Your Love is King, my heart is your castle!

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“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

I am dealing with the opposite of writer’s block.  I have had so much I wanted to share and so many ideas, and yet I can’t manage to finish a post.  It is 2am now and I promised myself that I will not go to sleep until I hit the Publish button. So forgive the typos.

I have started doing to my posts what I do with books.  I start multiple ones, but never finish them.  I need to change this bad habit that is starting to permeate all areas of my life.

Because it is Valentine’s Day I want to leave you with a song that I love. I love everything about Sade and her music.  This song also reminds me of when I first arrived in the US, in 1984.  It had been released at that time.

It was a time of newness, discovery, uncertainty, sadness, excitement, and so much belief and faith.

“What have we to fear, we who believe?” ― Victor Hugo

What I don’t remember having at that time was fear.  I was too young at that point to have any fear.  What a blessing it is to know no fear.  I was 17 years, and even without speaking the language, having any money or job, I did feel I would be okay in this foreign land.  I didn’t know the details of when, what or how, but I knew I would be okay. 

It was not a feeling of complete invincibility. Perhaps it was just ignorance of fear. I was ready and eager to embrace the future. I envy the focus and hunger of that young girl.  I want to be her again.  I want to be that fearless and determined again.

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― Roy T. Bennett

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish you courage.  The courage to open your heart and allow others in.  Be willing to be vulnerable.  Anywhere you go leave a trail of love and kindness!  Let the ones you care know that you do. 

Above all, be amazing to yourself.  Treat yourself with kindness! Do what brings you joy! You are unique, special and deserving of love!

I love you for coming here, reading, liking, commenting, and reaching out to me in other ways.   It brings me joy, warms my soul and it makes my heart sing. It means the world, it makes a difference!  I am grateful!

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Your love is king, crown you in my heart
Your love is king, never need to part
Your kisses ring, round and round and round my head
Touching the very part of me, it’s making my soul sing
Tearing the very heart of me, I’m crying out for more
Your love is king, crown you in my heart
Your love is king, you’re the ruler of my heart
Your kisses ring, round and round and round my head
Touching the very part of me, it’s making my soul sing
I’m crying out for more, your love is king
I’m coming on, I’m coming
You’re making me dance, inside
Your love is king, crown you in my heart
Your love is king, never need to part
Your kisses ring, round and round and round my head
Touching the very part of me, it’s making my soul sing
Tearing the very heart of me, I’m crying out for more
Touching the very part of me, it’s making my soul sing
I’m crying out for more, your love is king
This is no blind faith, this is no sad or sorry dream
This is no blind faith, your love, your love is real
Gotta crown me with your heart (your love is king)
Never, never need to part (your love is king)
Touch me (your love is king)
I’m coming (your love is king)
(Your love is king) making me dance

Your Love is King – Sade

Online dating blah blah blah

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“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.” ― E.E. Cummings

I signed up for OKCupid.  I haven’t had much time to actually be online, but still I have managed to connect with several people. 

Guy 1. 49 yrs old. Funny and smart.  After speaking a couple of days online I gave him my number.  After the initial pleasantries his first message was an offer to send me a picture of his d.  I declined and said that we clearly want different things.  He said he understood and we continued to text.  But every now and then, he offers to send me a picture. 

Why do I have this perpetual need of being nice? Why do I keep giving people second chances?  I guess I need to listen to Maya Angelou when she says: “When someone shows you who they are,  believe them the first time.” 

Guy 2. 45 yrs old. Smart conversation. I gave him my number.  We texted.  He seemed very interested.  Asked me out.  I said yes.  Then he just seemed to fade.  I am still waiting to hear about tonight’s date.  At this point, 11am, even if he reaches out I am no longer interested.  I guess some people just want to get the date but not go through with that.

Perhaps some people are only after that initial excitement, the thrill of connecting with someone new.  

Guy 3. 58 yrs old. He is all about volleyball.  It is funny because that is all he talks about.  He started playing recently.  I haven’t played since I was 16. He wants me to join his league. I am not sure about that, but I am going on a date with him next week. Well, I am still deciding if I should go or not.

Should I still go on a date with someone that I am not terribly excited about?  Would that be wasting their time?

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have encountered a bunch of catfishes already.  I even managed to give my number to one, before I realized it.  I am embarrassed about that.  I should know better.  I have to pay more attention.  Lesson learned.

Then there are the guys that are all about sex.  I know they want sex.  I want sex. We all do, but why lead with that? Read the room, I mean profile, people!  I want sex but as part of a committed relationship, and I state that in my profile.

Worst of all, at first they want to change my mind.  When that doesn’t work, they try to gaslight me by saying that I am overthinking things, that sex is not all they are about.  Those guys are exhausting!

Then there are the offer of being friends with benefits. It doesn’t appeal to me.  This is no judgement on anyone that enjoys that.  I become attached to people, and I would suffer later.  I know me.

I do reserve the right to change my mind on that.  On anything.  I am evolving as the earth is moving.

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
― Walt Whitman

I am always open to making platonic friends, but rarely guys on dating site accept that.  Some say they have too many friends. Some agree to being friends, but then just fade away.  I get it.

Speaking of friends.  There are 2 friends that I met on Plenty of Fish. Among all the catfish and other fake profiles I found 2 friends. 

Guy 1.  I have written about him here often.  I call him A-the doctor.  We went on a few dates.  Then he disappeared.  When he came back we became friends.  We go out often to brunch and dinner.  We talk a lot about health, spiritual things, soul, Rumi, etc. Lately, most of our conversations are about Cryptocurrencies. He believes they are the future and that I should invest heavily on them.  

Guy 2. This person, I all call him P-the Investor. I have known him for a couple of years, but I don’t think I ever mentioned him here.  We never met in person.  I will write more about him in a next post.  For now he is a friend that has become dear to me.  Lately our conversations are all about stocks.   He wants me to stay away from cryptocurrencies and focus on stocks. 

At the moment I find myself more interested in reading about stocks then dating profiles 🙂

“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over,
nothing is all you will have gained.” ― Neil Gaiman

 

 

Unsolicited Help Anyone?

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“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” ― Brené Brown

Last week I went to get a foot massage.  This place in my city had been closed for a long time because of the pandemic.  Now that they have reopened, my sister and I try to go there as much as we can.  We feel bad because we think they are struggling.

I asked the owner, a Chinese man name Tony, if he has applied for government assistance, EIDL, PPP loans, etc.  He doesn’t speak much English.  I don’t speak Chinese.  So, it was very tough understanding each other.

His wife got a translator app on her phone.  It helped some.  I tried to explain to them that there are different types of assistance available.  We kept going around in circles.  They remained confused.  I grew frustrated.

I then remembered I read about a volunteer program that RXR Realty set up in New Rochelle.  It is aimed at helping small businesses with navigating the loan applications, etc.  I found the site online and filled out an application with them. I had to put my email down because Tony doesn’t have an email address, but I put his cell phone as contact.  I requested a Chinese speaking volunteer.

This going back and forth with this translator app and then completing this application took almost an hour.  The calmness of the massage that I had just gotten was long gone by then.

A few days later I received an email from RXR asking me to confirm that I no longer needed assistance. They said Tony was contacted and said he didn’t need help.

I was surprised and requested that the person that had spoken to him call me.   Joan, the very nice volunteer called me.  She mentioned that Tony just said he didn’t need anything.  She spoke Chinese, so they understood each other clearly.

I said to her that he was probably just confused. He was probably getting a lot calls, as I am, with offers for PPP funding. She offered to call him again and this time explain it all. She said she would call in the next couple of days because she was busy the rest of the day.

“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ― Steve Maraboli

The next day I stopped at the store to let him know that she was going to call.  He said, with the help of the translator app, that she had already called twice the day before.  He said that he told her really didn’t need help.

I looked at him surprised.  He explained that his accountant said he should not apply for anything.  I kept trying to understand, and also to make sure he understood that there was help available. I was trying to explain that it is a loan, but that he wouldn’t have to pay back if the money was used to pay for business expenses.

At one point Tony reached into a bag behind the counter and shoved a bunch of Toblerone chocolates in my hands.  I got the message!  It was his way of saying thank you and shutting me up.  It worked.  Chocolate always works with me. 😊

Perhaps his accountant isn’t giving him sound advice. Perhaps his business practices are not on the up and up.  Perhaps he doesn’t really need any help.  Whatever it is, it is none of my business

My take away from this episode is:

  • I don’t know people’s circumstances. I don’t know if they NEED or WANT help. I can’t force people to accept help.
  • I am embarrassed for getting frustrated over the language barrier issues.  I once barely spoke any English. I am forever grateful for the people that showed me patience and understanding.  It is good to have reminders of where I came from and realize that I am not that different from Tony and his wife. I am them and they are me.
  • I need to continue to work on being compassionate, patient, and non-judgmental with others. I don’t know everything.  I actually know nothing.
  • Be and let it be!

“7 Effective Ways to Make Others Feel Important

1. Use their name.
2. Express sincere gratitude.
3. Do more listening than talking.
4. Talk more about them than about you.
5. Be authentically interested.
6. Be sincere in your praise.
7. Show you care.”
― Roy T. Bennett

 

 

The healthcare industry is making me sick

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Disclaimer: This may sound like I am bashing all doctors.  I am not!  There are plenty of great ones out there.  I am only venting my frustration with some recent experience with my doctors.  

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

Is everyone as sick of the healthcare industry as I am ?

Perhaps I just don’t understand how it all works.  I don’t go to the doctor often, but lately every time I go I end up disappointed.  I always feel that I am being overcharged for poor service.  

Months ago I went to an ENT because of vertigo symptoms.  First I was given an hearing test, then I saw the doctor.  When leaving I asked how much I had to pay.  They said my co-pay of $65.00.  I paid and left.  A couple of days later I get a bill for another $65.00.  Apparently there was a co-pay for the hearing test.

Why wasn’t that disclosed at the time?  I am guessing a doctor’s office cannot charge 2 co-pays for the same visit, and that is a way around that.

On that visit most of my symptoms had subsided, so the doctor couldn’t arrive at any conclusion.  He said to stop all medication (I mentioned I had taken allergy and motion sickness pill a day before) and come back in one week.  I asked: “What if I don’t have any symptoms by then, should I still come back?”   

He said: “yes, I still want to see you.”  I didn’t go back.  It didn’t make any sense to me. I felt that all he wanted to do was charge me for another visit.  

“I only care to see doctors when I am in perfect health; then they comfort one, but when one is ill they are most depressing.” ― Oscar Wilde

I am entitled to one free physical a year.  I went to get one on December 14.  Today I got a bill for $45.00.  When I called the office, the person said it is because of the Vitamin D blood work. “Your insurance doesn’t pay for that” – she said.

I called Aetna who said that they had paid for Vitamin D 100%.  The problem was that the doctor put in the wrong code. Instead of putting the code as Annual Physical they coded as a regular visit.

Honest mistake or trying to get away with something?  The doctor’s office is still saying they are right and the billing department has now referred it to the Claims Department to review it.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
― Alexander Pope

While on the phone with Aetna I confirmed that they cover 100% of the COVID antibody test.  I needed to get a doctor’s prescription though.

I called my doctor’s office and they said they couldn’t just issue a prescription.  The doctor needed to see me.

What for?  I asked.  I saw him a month ago.  She then offered a virtual visit.  Is it free? I asked.  Of course it is not free.  After inquiring with Billing she came back and said it was around $49.00. 

I refuse to pay $49 to look at the doctor on the screen so he can write me a prescription. 

“It was a little thing, but on top of the other little things, it broke something in me.” ― John Howard Griffin

It all sounds like a big scam to me.  My employer pays almost 1K per month for the insurance for myself.  I rarely use it, specially with $65 each time I go.

I hate the feeling of being taken advantage of.  I hate that all is not explained to the patient at the time of treatment.  I should have been told that the hearing test was an additional co-pay.  I should have been told that asking the doctor to check Vitamin D levels could incur an extra charge.  

It all should be easier than that.  I am now learning to ask the right questions.  The main question: Is this going to cost extra?

This is another wake up call to emphasize the need to take care of my body as best as I can, so that I deal with the medical profession as little as necessary. 

“We’ve established the most enormous medical entity ever conceived… and people are sicker than ever. We cure nothing! We heal nothing!” ― Paddy Chayefsky,  The Hospital

Addicted to Potential

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“What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?” ― Hermann Hesse

My dating life at the moment is non-existent. I am planning on joining another online dating site, but cannot decide which one.  I have been on Match, e-Harmony and Plenty of Fish before. They were all okay.  I have met jerks, but also met some great men. But, for some reason or another, I remain single and still searching.

My sister has never been on a dating site before and I want her to try.  I am suggesting to her Bumble and Our Time.  I think it would be too weird for us both to be on the same site.  We do look very similar on some pictures.  I need to think of other sites.

Any suggestions on what dating site I should join next? I am thinking either OKCupid or Zoosk.

“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it – keep going, keep going come what may.” ― Vincent van Gogh

It is not like it has been ages since I have been on a dating site either. My membership on Match expired at the beginning of December.

The last date I had was in December. I mentioned it in a post how he was such a nice person, that even though I didn’t think there were sparks I thought it was worth a second date.  We also talked about being friends and he was happy with that.  Then he just disappeared.

Nothing.  Not a word. He even ignored my happy holidays wishes.   I am not crying over his disappearance. I learned a long time ago that in these situations, the sooner one accepts it and moves on the better.  I am human, so I am curious.  Why someone chooses to just disappear?

“Potential,” I said, “doesn’t mean a thing. You’ve got to do it. Almost every baby in a crib has more potential than I have.” ― Charles Bukowski

I find disappearing acts childish and immature.  One minute the guy is all over you professing his love, the next he is gone. Not a word.  Strange, weird, but all too common lately.

When people disappear for no reason, with no explanation, I always thank my guardian angels.  I credit them for removing from my life something that would not be good for me in the long run.  I wholeheartedly believe in that. He is still a nice guy, but for somebody else.

I firmly believe that everything that happens in my life is for the best. Sometimes, it may not seem that way at the moment, but ultimately, I am better off.  So, I embrace it all as a gift from above. Disappearing acts included.

And for the disappearing guy I have a poem:

I have more people to meet, stocks to buy,

so thank you for not wasting my time with a good bye.

“Passion creates, addiction consumes.” ― Gabor Maté

And speaking of stocks to buy, I am staging my own intervention.  I have been very busy at work, but whatever little extra time I have I find myself doing something stock related. It seems that, momentarily, I have traded men for stocks.

Dating sites were a distraction from the busyness of work and the craziness of life.  Now tracking stocks is my distraction of choice.

It has been just 2 months since I have started playing the stock market and I already feel the need to reign in my buying compulsion. I have all kinds of stocks, from big well-known ones to obscure niche ones.  From weed growers to bitcoin mining.  I am going crazy.

“This is how we bring about our own damnation, you know-by ignoring the voice that begs us to stop. To stop while there’s still time.” ― Stephen King

It is a lot like gambling and also like treasure hunting. Can I find the next stock that is going to blow up and make me an overnight millionaire?

Of course not.  I know better.  Still, I play.

My addictive personality is addicted to lure of making it big. In the same way I am addicted to the potential of meeting The One in dating sites.  I am addicted to the potential in things.

Because I am addicted to the potential, I look for the good in everything.  I give people and things extra chances. I overdo it.  I overstay.  I keep the door open.

I want to find the needle in the haystack, the diamond among the sea of cubic zirconia.

Hi, my name is Ana and I am an addict!

“Anything that inspires addiction or obsession – substances, entertainment, beauty, secrecy – is dangerous in that it can lead to isolation, self-absorption, and disconnection, to paralyzed stasis: an immobility that gathers like a force.” ― Greg Carlisle

Don’t blame. It is counter-productive.

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“As your consciousness, refinement and pureness of heart expands you will become less judgmental, less corrective, less reactive, less black-and-white, less critical, less apt to blame and less tormented by others and their faults and views.” ― Bryant McGill

I love when I notice an improvement in my actions.

There was a big problem with a trade at work today. Somehow, along the way of setting up a new customer, one final step was overlooked. This was not noticed until the trade was closed. After trying to somehow circumvent this problem, we had to give up. The trade had to be broken and handed to a competitor.

The brokers involved were very unhappy. Our firm looked bad, and we lost money. In their conversations with me via instant messaging I noticed that they were hinting at looking for someone to blame (me).

“Blame and praise have no true effects.” ― Marcus Aurelius

I didn’t become defensive. That was a big a-hah! moment to me.

My first instinct was to fix the problem. I proposed alternatives, made phone calls, but in the end nothing could be done, and because time was of the essence it was wiser to let it go.

Often when a mistake happens the first instinct is to try to assign blame. Second, is to become defensive when being blamed.

I don’t want to assign blame and I don’t want to become defensive. 

For the record, I wouldn’t call what happened a mistake. I would call it an oversight. Second, it was not me, or even the broker.  Ultimately the customer is responsible for this last step, but it is up to the broker to remind him.

I always tell my brokers to remind the customer. This time I don’t remember if I did or didn’t. I could look for the record of the conversations, but to me that would be a defensive action, and at this point useless and negative. I didn’t want to waste time with that.

“Blame is the lie by which we convince ourselves that we are victims. It is the lie that robs us of our serenity, our generosity, our confidence, an our delight in life . . . For it is the act of blaming that can’t co-exist with self-responsibility — or with freedom from inner agitation and strained relationships. Abandon the practice of blaming, and we see the fear melt away that we have associated with being honest about ourselves and taking the full measure of responsibility for our emotional and spiritual condition.” ― C. Terry Warner

This one broker in question was already feeling bad. Why would I want to add to that? Why should I compound his pain with blame? He should have crossed his Ts and dotted his Is, but he didn’t.  He knows it. He lost a lot money on that trade.

It is not going to accomplish anything to prove that I am not at fault for something that it is not my function. Even though they originally hinted at blaming the Backoffice/Compliance (me), they knew better and never actually said anything.

In the past, I would have made a point of pointing out exactly who was to blame and what they should have done. I am over that need.  I no longer need to be always right. 

In the past I would want to make sure that others knew that I had done nothing wrong. I take pride in doing a great job and never wanted my image, somehow, tarnished. Now I am confident in the job I do and don’t need to have the others agree with me.  I no longer need others to know I am right. 

Lately, I choose to focus my energy on the lessons in every situation: Could this have been prevented? How? How can we do better next time? Are there any other areas that need to reviewed with the brokers?

I am drafting an email reminding the brokers of all the steps required to set up a customer and who is responsible for each step. I hope this will help everyone be in the same page.

I am feeling light and productive.  Mistakes (or oversights) happen.  How you handle them and move forward is what makes the difference.  

“A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

More than a Flower

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Before anything, I want to remark how sad it is to watch what happened at the Capitol yesterday.  I cried.  I expect scenes such as those to happen in third world countries, such as my homeland of Brazil.  When it is right here in the US, it is shocking.  I continue to pray for peace and order.  I continue to look for the miracles that are sure to come after so much tragedy.

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” ― Wayne Dyer

I miss you guys. I feel I have been away for months and it has only been one week 🙂 It is my busiest time of the year at work, with audits and other deadlines. 

On the personal side I am helping a friend with her laundry.  She has more laundry every 2 weeks than my sister and I both combined have for 2 months. And what is up with washing heavy winter sweaters after each single use?  Do people normally do that?  

My washing machine has started to make a funny noise.  I guess it has never seen that much action.  Perhaps I don’t wash my clothes enough.  🙂  ok, ok, I am going to listen to Mother Teresa and stop complaining.

“Give, but give until it hurts.” ― Mother Teresa

The mosaic studio is still not open.  I have not managed to do any mosaics at home.  I am reading through some mosaic books I have, including one I got for Christmas, and coming up with ideas and be ready when it reopens.

The piece below was done at the studio about a month ago.  A friend was throwing out 3 old paintings and offered them to me to use the frames.  I thought they would be perfect to make mosaic on.  I used one for my mother’s gift. The second is below and the third one is still in my mind.

This piece was not going to be a flower.  When I was about to start, I took a second look at the fading flower that was already there and decided to use it as a starting point.  

I am very happy with the result.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ― Osho

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

“In the silence of love
you will find the spark of life”
― Rumi