Archive | May, 2013

There is a Reason for Everything in Life

31 May

Many people believe that we live in a chaotic universe where we have absolutely no control over what comes into our life. I fervently disagree. I believe that God has a plan or function for each of us. Whether we achieve that plan or reach our function is entirely up to us.

We have each been blessed with the most wonderful of gifts; we are free to make our own choices in life. Each choice we make either moves us forward towards God’s plan for us or away from it. The good news is; we can make our own choices without any interference from our higher power. The bad news; we must live with any and all consequences from those choices (decisions). So always choose wisely.

But sometimes things just seem to happen to us and no amount of prayers or raging at the heavens can change that. As a kid I sucked at sports. At recess or during gym class I was always the last one picked for a team and then it was pure hell once the game got started to not screw-up and become a laughing stock amongst my classmates. I hated those moments, feeling the fear and helpless to do anything about it.

When I was 21 I was in a minor traffic accident, but came away experiencing some severe back pain. An orthopedist checked me out and then informed me that I had a congenital deformity in my lower back; a missing 5th lumbar vertebrae and a slight curvature to the right at the base, which caused one leg to be half-an-inch shorter than the other.  The reasons behind why I was such a hopeless athlete.

In explaining my problem he commented, “I have good news and bad news for you, Michael. The good news it will probably keep you out of the Vietnam War. The bad news is you are going to have severe back problems all your life. He was right on both scores. Because of my physical deformity, which caused me tremendous emotional pain as a child, the Army refused to accept me and sent me home. My name is not engraved on a black wall in Washington, D.C.

But, it has taken me a lifetime to finally understand God’s plan for me. My function was to live the life I lived, with all its good and all its pain, and to write and teach about it. And then to turn around on my path and reach out to all those behind me.

You are one of those behind me. Now it’s your turn to take my hand and let me help you overpower your fears and live the perfect life that is awaiting you.

With Love,

Michael

Do You Really Need Your Ego?

29 May

Your ego is your friend. Am I right? No! That’s WRONG! Your ego is your sworn enemy. In fact, if you died tomorrow, your ego could not care less. Of course, when your body dies, your ego dies too. But your ego doesn’t know that.

At birth you had no ego. But as you grew you began to develop this ego to help distinguish your being from others. My name, Michael Luckman, and my ego differentiate me from all other humans. And thus I live and act in an ego based world.

The reason I dislike the ego so much is because it constantly compares us to others. We ask ourselves: Am I as smart as Roger? Is my home larger than my neighbor’s? Am I taller than John? Is Bob a better baseball player? Am I as pretty as Suzy? Is my car more expensive than Sam’s? Is my dress sexier than Sharon’s.

When the answers to these inquiries are yes, you feel pretty good about yourself. But what happens when the answer comes back a no? What then?

Typically, the first emotion you feel is fear, and a total emptiness inside. Then comes a loss of self-esteem followed by a loss of self-confidence. And when that happens you are unable to function at your best; at work, at home and at play.

What would happen if you killed off your ego and stopped listening to it? Actually nothing. Nothing, except for the disappearance of all negative feelings of jealousy, frustration, fear, rage, shame, anger, embarrassment, depression, inferiority and worry (did I miss anything?).

Not a bad tradeoff. Right?

With Love,

Michael

Who Do You Want to Be?

28 May

My one regret in life is that I am not someone else. ~Woody Allen

As a fan of Woody Allen, and knowing his humor, I find this quote very amusing. But for way too many people this quote speaks volumes. These are the people who do go through life wishing they were someone else.

My heart goes out to these individuals because they don’t love themselves nor even like themselves. They see themselves as unlovable and for some unknown reason, flawed.

Somewhere in their childhood someone convinced them that this was true. It probably started when they were very young and continued as they grew-up, until they didn’t need the other person to tell them of their worthlessness. They were quite capable of doing that themselves.

But are these people really worthless? Totally without value? Of course not. It is my belief that God does not make mistakes. Every one of us was born perfect, and inherent in each of us are the talents and skills necessary for every person to achieve his or her own Greatness.

If you wish that you were someone else now is the time to change your mind. And you do this by changing the thoughts in your mind about who you are. You are no longer a flawed human being, but the perfect child of God himself. You are the one he loves.

With Love,

Michael

No Regrets – Part Two

23 May

Recently I was made aware of a wonderful book written by an Australian palliative care nurse by the name of Bronnie Ware, entitled, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Each of the five regrets is monumental. I recently wrote about the number one regret in No Regrets; I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Today I would like to share with you my thoughts on regret number two; I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

Ms. Ware describes this as mostly a male thing but says that many women, especially in our western culture, are beginning to experience this grievous regret at an alarming rate. This regret is typically felt in the form of guilt that we are not spending enough time with our children.

Let me tell you my story. I was created to work. To work hard and to sacrifice myself so that my wife and children would have everything they desired. It was infused in me from the time I was a small boy, handed down through hundreds of generations as if it was the 11th commandment: Thou shall provide handsomely for thy wife and children…even if it kills you. So, there was never any doubt that when my wife and I had our first child, I would turn on the afterburner and become, Super Provider.

I had a great role model, my Dad. When I was ten years old he started his own business with a partner and we never saw him again. Yes, I am exaggerating, but he did work the first few years nearly seven days a week, tapering off to six days a week in the following years. He wouldn’t leave work until 6:00 PM and by the time he arrived home it was just in time for dinner. We all ate fast so we could race off to the living room to watch prime time television, which started at 7:00. By the time prime time ended at 10:00 PM Dad was usually asleep. So the only time we really had any one-on-one time was just about – never.

Sure I felt deprived of my Dad’s attention, but wasn’t this normal? After all, this is what I was being taught, so it couldn’t be wrong. I wasn’t a very good athlete but I was on my high school’s football team. Let me tell you how many practices and games my father attended; if my dwindling memory serves me, one. The only time I ever got to be with him alone was when I went to work with him. I relished those times, because I not only got to spend time with him, but with my grandfather and his two brothers. What stories they could tell.

And so I became my father. I worked hard believing I was doing the right things for my wife and daughters. I even had my office in my house so after dinner I could retreat there to do more “important” work. And I missed so very much. Even as I write this I grieve for my children, growing up with a father who was hardly there for them. Who missed so many parent-teacher nights, recitals and important moments that can never be reclaimed.

And so, let me offer some advice to those of you raising children today. And I’d like to do it with the words to one of my favorite songs from Fiddler on the Roof; Sunrise-Sunset. “Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older, when did they? Sunrise sunset, Sunrise sunset, swiftly flow the years, one season following another laden with happiness and tears!”

May you never have to die with a single regret.

With Love,

Michael

 
 
 

Sacrifice

21 May

Over the weekend I was going through my writings from the last 15 months and came across this article from last May. As I reread it I was once again choked up with emotion and thought you too might enjoy reading it once more.

 

At least once a week I receive in my inbox a missive like the one below. Some tell wonderful stories that tug at our hearts, while others get us thinking about life in the 21st century. This is one that did both.

 

“Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

 

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

 

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”.

 

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.” This is truly a story of generosity and love.

 

There was a time in our great nation when parents taught their children that they have a responsibility to not only their God, family and country, but also to those less fortunate than themselves. And so we learned charity.

 

There was a time in our great nation when parents taught their children to set aside their wants, needs and safety (even their very lives) for the greater good of our country. And so we learned sacrifice.

 

There was a time in our great nation when parents taught their children that some people may be different from us, but we are all God’s children deserving of respect and equality. And so we learned tolerance.

 

I don’t long to go back to the “good old days,” I lived through them, and in reality they weren’t all good. But I do long to go back to a time when “I” stood far behind “we”.

 

Isn’t it time for all of us to lay down ”our weapons of words” and find a way to join together for the benefit of all 330 million of us.

 

With Love,

 

Michael  

You Are What You Choose

16 May

Make quick choices and you may not get what you want. Make wise choices and you get the life of your dreams. ~Michael Luckman in Luckman’s Laws

The good news; the choice has always been yours. The bad news; you often make the wrong choice.

Life just happens. Right? WRONG! The life you are living today is nothing more than an amalgamation of all the choices you have made since infancy.

Each and every day we are faced with hundreds, perhaps even thousands of choices.  From the simplest; what should I have for breakfast? Should I take the freeway or surface streets to work? To ones with far reaching consequences; is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? Is this the perfect career for me?

For many of us we make these choices without much thought and consideration. And, often we choose the easiest and most expeditious answer. Just as we like fast food we like to make quick decisions. And there lies the problem. We now must live with the consequences of that decision.

Choose to yell at your kids. Live with the consequences. Drive drunk. Live with the consequences. Have unprotected sex. Live with the consequences. Get the picture? You can’t evade the ramifications of cause and effect.

Today choose to choose wisely.

With Love,

Michael

Everyone Dies But Not Everyone Lives!

15 May

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. ~A. Sachs

Recently I was speaking with an old friend about a mutual friend who had recently passed away. As we shared stories about our friend it wasn’t long before we reached a consensus, our friend never enjoyed a peaceful tranquil day in his life. Now that’s a pretty broad statement made about another, so let me explain.

Our friend, we’ll call him Jonathan, was a constant worrier. Growing up as a group of friends we would do some really crazy and stupid things. You know; typical boy stuff. Although we could usually get Jonathan to go along with our ideas it was never easy. When faced with any new challenge Jonathan would immediately go into “downside worry mode.” Soon after a choice was made we would begin hearing a litany of all the things that could go wrong with our decision.

I sort of lost touch with Jonathan after high school but my friend stayed in touch with him. He told me that after college he went to work for the Internal Revenue Service, got married and had two children, but never lost his penchant for worrying. My friend then added, “I don’t think Jonathan ever really lived a day of his life free from disappointment, guilt and worry.” That statement reminded me of the above quote from A. Sachs.

Yes, we all die. Death is certainly universal. It touches all living things and we can’t avoid it. But how many of us really live our lives to the fullest? How many of us on our deathbed can honestly say to those gathered around, “I have lived a full and complete life. Each and every day I faced new challenges but overpowered each and every one of them. I took calculated risks and succeeded more than I failed. I loved my brother as myself and gave everything I owned to receive everything I have. I felt the cold hands of fear daily but never let it win. I have lived a life of purpose. I have mattered.”

I don’t think many of us could make that statement. But it is never too late to live the life that this quote describes. If we so choose.

Life is lived in the moment, not yesterday and not tomorrow. And, it is in this moment that we create our future, the one we truly desire.

Each of us has been given the gift of free choice. Decide now to face and overpower your fears and worries, and to always choose wisely.

With Love,

Michael