Category Archives: Philosophy

How to get through a Breakup for Guys

“One is easily fooled by that which one loves” – Molière

“If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write”
– Billy Joel in For the Longest Time.

“Why would you ever choose to be with
someone who is not excited to be with you?” – Mark Manson

“All farewells should be sudden, when forever.” – Byron

Thought there should be equal time for guys who have just gone through a breakup. First, it does hurt. and second, know that you will heal with time. Breakups happen a lot. Everyone goes through a couple of relational train wrecks. It’s part of learning what you want.

Sometimes, it’s a surprise. You get along well, enjoy being together, there are a lot of really amazing  fits and commonalities, no major fights, it gets better day by day, you both have smiles in your eyes, you really like being together, you increasingly think this is long term, and then she announces she’s out.

Other times, there’s plenty of evidence – disagreements, one or the other (or both) doesn’t feel good when you’re together, and finally one has had enough and ends it.

Sometimes it’s just rejection. It’s harder if betrayal is involved.

Women make mistakes too.

We all make mistakes. We all have different perspectives, different priorities, different interpretations.  Sometimes decisions are made for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we may reflect back and think “her decision was really stupid”. But, so be it. It’ s what it is. Let it be and move on.

“Humans hardly know what they want, how they want it, or when they want it.” – Miguel Ruiz

The Teacher Appears.

It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  Perhaps, the lady was there for us to learn something about life, about what we really do want.

Intent versus Outcome

Sometimes, what we want is very different from what we get. In retrospect, it can be funny.

Vettriani and Lucy and Charlie Brown snatch the football, Peanuts
Relationships – Intent versus Outcome – Vettriani vs. Peanuts

The Rolling Stones had a song about that:

“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need.”

It’s Not Personal

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his The Four Agreements, states that we all are products of our experience. We often project world views, or our own interpretations of what someone does or who they are. If someone doesn’t fill in the intention, reason, purpose of something, we’ll do it for them (probably incorrectly). At the end of a friend’s relationship, he said the woman made some comments to him that were strange. With time to reflect on it, he knew her conclusions weren’t right, and that for her to say those things meant that she had projected some of her own assumptions that weren’t correct (and which she didn’t verify with him).  She had run a mental video of her own assumptions about him that didn’t reflect his realities at that time, and made her decision based on her own life views.  This is the same mechanism when you see a person meet a total stranger and behave badly to them even though the new person doesn’t know them and has never done a thing to them.

Search If There’s a Pattern.

Take the opportunity to see if there if there is any pattern recurring in your relationships – e.g. the type of people you have been going out with, or a similar category of complaints about you. Learn from it. If you don’t put some energy in changing it, you will continue to get the same outcome.

That’s Her Loss

Know that in a relatively short period of time, you’ll get yourself back together. As with a physical injury, you will heal. You will find a wonderful person that will be happy that your old relation didn’t work, and she will say out loud about your old friend – “Her loss”.

Some of God’s Greatest Gifts are Unanswered Prayers.

Sometimes we think that a breakup is not right/ unfair/ unjustified/ a misunderstanding… and we wish and even pray that a relationship happen or gets “saved”.

Garth  Brooks wrote a song  that speaks to that:

“Just the other night at a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he’s doin’ after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered

Some of God’s greatest gifts are all too often unanswered…
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”

“Unanswered Prayers” – by Garth Brooks

Clear the space for what you want.

It’s important to get through the pain. But stop moping around. You have a choice of either replaying what was good and how wonderful it was AND how miserable you feel lacking that (over and over again), OR you can turn your focus, like a flash light, away from that negativity and non-productive thought and feeling, and use your time and energy to build something you do want.  You can keep digging around in the hole you are in, or use your precious time and energy doing things that will help you build the type of life you want. You have to make the effort to make a clearing for what you do want, make the space for it to happen.

I Just Haven’t Met You Yet.

The Census says over half of the US population is single – 128 million people.  In a  lifetime, there are probably 12 to 20 people you could meet with whom you could live with happily. In just this country there are probably 8 million people of the opposite sex that are withing 5 years of your age. Even if you are really finicky and like only one in every thousand females, there are 8,000 women that you could be happy spending the rest of your life with (just in this country. There are 196+ countries [depending on the day]).  You just have to get out there – JUST SHOW UP! The great philosopher Pooh said ” You can’t stay in your corner of the forest and wait for people to come to  you. You have to go to them, sometimes.” Henry Cloud says – if you only wait for the right person to show up at your doorstep, you’re going to end up with a Jehovah’s Witness or a delivery person.

Life’s Rule of Irony #1.

The more you go out, the more people you get to know – the more you will find things that you do want in your ultimate partner,  the more confident you will feel about yourself and the more natural you will act, the more you will be able to not give a f– about personal rejection, which will allow you to use “Life’s Rules of Irony Number 1”, the less you give a f– about an outcome, the more attractive you will become, and the more likely you will get it. The reverse corollary is equally true. Those people who care desperately about the outcome of something  will transmit that vibe and others will move back away from such a strong negative feeling.

Don’t Spend Your Present in the Past.

I know a divorced woman who was looking for a new life partner. She was a successful insurance sales person who learned well not to take rejection personally.  She was very particular and patient. If one person didn’t pan out, she took the attitude “Next! (and, implicitly, don’t let the door hit you on the backside)”.  She didn’t spend a lot of time in the past.

Keep your eyes and thoughts on the present where you are truly living. Walk towards your goals but stay focused on the now of the journey. That’s the attitude that will keep you moving towards your goals. The past cannot be changed.         Move On

Here are two general rules for breakups – and for life in general:

  1. Do not spend your time on people who do not spend their time on you.
  2. Do not spend your time with people who don’t make you feel good, uplifted and alive.

When you feel stronger, follow Rumi’s advice:

“Set your life on fire and seek out only those who will fan the flames.”

Music for Guys to Get Past a Breakup

Dreamers of the Day are Dangerous Men.

Dream and Act.

“All men dreaTE Lawrencem, but not equally. Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible. ”  – T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly,Gladiator who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat”         – Teddy Roosevelt

Human beings are the only life form that will do less Redwoodsthan it possibly can… there has never been a tree that didn’t grow as tall as it possibly could…
– Unknown

Whatever you do, Steve Jobsor dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius and power and magic to it.   – Goethe

Dance with your heart

Wisdom from an old Serbian Farmer

A world traveler was talking about his trips, He would enter one country and make friends during his stay.  When it was time to go on the road again, they would tell him that their country was friendly, but to look out when he went into the neighboring country because they were of a different background and it was a dangerous place. He would enter the new country and again find new friends. As he was leaving that country, he smiled as his new friends, in turn, warned him about the people in the next country.

During these travels, he met an old Serbian farmer who told him something that I know from my heart to be wonderful advice:

“Dance with your heart, and
Smile with your eyes”

That’s an overwhelming combination. Hopefully, you have had the gift of knowing someone like that. More importantly, I hope you have the gift of being that person.

If you have any plans of going to Europe (I do), there is a new website that could help you get around. With, you can enter your departure city, your destination city and date, and the site will respond  with the availability and price of the different travel modes available (rail, air, bus). For example, if you wanted to go from Madrid to Barcelona, Bus is the cheapest (and longest 12 hrs.) for $56. Rail is the fastest and most expensive $147. Air is a hair longer (2 minutes) but somewhat less expensive  at $112.  Couple that with and Bon Voyage!


A Wedding, A Cello, A Tenor and A Song.

I was invited to a wedding down in Puerto Rico.  The ceremony was held in an old catholic church that was refreshed for the wedding. The bride was beautiful, her gown was perfect for her and truly complimented her. The groom was young and lively, also an engineer. They were a great couple. The selection of the musicians was also well done.  Two violins and a cello provided the music and then then during the ceremony, a young tenor began to sing. He hit the notes perfectly modulating between soft and strong, and sang with great feeling. The tenor and the strings filled the church with their music through the ceremony playing so exceptionally that, by the end, the two hundred families and friends were applauding both the new couple as well as the musicians – particularly the tenor, Carlos Feliciano.

One of the  songs  that he knocked out of the park, I wanted to hear again, but  didn’t know the name – it was in Italian and operatic in style. Searches of Puccini and Verdi were unsuccessfully. So, I called up my cousin, father of the bride, and found out the  piece was called Nessum Dorma for Puccini’s Turandot.

The story line is that a beautiful, icy (and dangerous) princess, Turandot,  daughter of a powerful king. She doesn’t wish to be married, but accedes to her father’s wishes with the condition of requiring that any suitor must answer three riddles to win her hand. If they answer incorrectly, they lose their heads.

The latest suitor is the Prince of Persia.Poster_Turandot But, he couldn’t answer the riddles and will have his head cut off at moon rise. In the crowd for that event is a young man named Calaf, the hero. He runs into an old man with a young slave woman, Liu, whom he recognizes as his father – a deposed Mongol king. The slave girl he recognized from his youth.

When the moon rises, the crowd pleas for the life of the Persian Prince, but Turandot appears and silently motions for the execution to proceed. Calaf sees the Princess for the first time and is overwhelmed by her beauty. After the execution, Calaf orders the gong sounded to announce he will be the next high risk suitor.

Calaf is presented the deadly riddles. The first is “what is born each night and dies at dawn?” He thinks and answers “Hope.” He is asked the second riddle – “What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire?” He thinks and then responds “Blood”. He is asked the final riddle – “What is like ice yet burns?” Calaf reflects on this and answers “Turandot” and survives the test.

Yet, the Princess refuses to marry him. So, in order to win her heart, Calaf offers her a challenge – if she can tell him what his name is by sunrise, he will forfeit his life.

Turandot accepts, but issues a proclamation that No One Shall Sleep (Nessum Dorma) until they find out the man’s name. If they don’t, she will have the entire city killed. Frantically, they try to find out his name. They figure out that the slave girl Liu knows the answer. As a young girl, Liu had fallen in love with Calaf, Turandot has her tortured with no result. She asks Liu how she can resist the torture and Liu says “Love”.  Turandot directs the soldiers to increase the torture and Liu grabs one of their knives and takes her own life, before she gives Calaf up.

As the sun rises, the Princess has run out of time and Calaf sings he has won (vincerò) and forcibly kisses her for her first time and begins to turn her heart.

Pav2Here is Luciano Pavarotti singing the same song from the wedding: Nessum Dorma – Calaf’s song of victory.

Yesterday, listening to my smorgasbord of stations on Pandora, a song started playing! Turns out it’s a fairly recent song – very melodic with a touch of wistfulness to it. There lyrics are even more so:

“There is no light if you are not here with me. Lands that I never shared with you, I shall experience with you on ships across seas that exist no more. With you, I will go. I know you are with me”.

Con Te Partiro by Andrea Bocelli


This was my first exposure to Bocelli and he too can hit the low as well as the high notes.  I think of him as an international  Frank Sinatra – only more mellow and with less brass. He also did a classic Spanish song that’s a mix of love, passion with a dash of the uncertainty , insecurity and ephemerality in relationships . It’s a great song for lovers to dance to:

Besame Mucho –Andrea Bocelli


Looking over his songs, there was a surprising discovery –  a duet cover of another classic Mexican love song “Somos Novios” sung by Bocelli and Christina Aguilera, who, although having a latin name, I have never heard sing in Spanish. (Shakira sings in English and Spanish, but her voice is most powerful in Spanish).

The words start:  “Somos novios,
Pues los dos sentimos mutuo amor profundo,
y con eso, ya ganamos lo mas grande de este mundo…”

“We’re a couple, we both feel profound mutual love,
and, with that, we have won the biggest thing in this world…”

So here are Andrea and Christina:

Somos Novios –   Bocelli and Aguilera


Speaking of Shakira. she was a judge on The Voice and had a thoughtful, soft approach. Though English may not even be her second language, she has an incredible English vocabulary to describe precisely what she’s feeling. In fact, they did a compilation of her comments over the season that was really impressive to listen to. She’s a polyglot speaking five languages!  In addition, she is reported to have an IQ of 140. (She gets more amazing the more I learn about her.) Her mom is Colombian and her dad is Lebanese, and she honors both musical traditions. Her name means “Thankful” in arabic and you can thank her paternal grandmother for introducing her to belly dancing. Here’s a short clip of her on The Voice and another while interviewed on-tour.

Shakira on “The Voice”.

Shakira Interviews On-Tour


Below is the song that I was thinking about in audio format.

Ojos Asi – Shakira (audio)

Ojos Asi – Video – The Mongoose Tour – Rotterdam

Shakira puts on a great show and selects a team of top musicians, stage and lighting designers and managers.

Petraeus and the “Terrrible, Horrible,  No     Good, Very Bad Day Year” 


One of my current reads is “All In”  about Soldier/ Scholar David Petraeus. He’s a man of amazing abilities, talents, intelligence, a leader by example, and he has his own weaknesses (which he, like everyone, also has to live with ).  Back in 2007, David Petraeus was transferred from the US and reassigned as the commander of the rapidly disintegrating situation in Iraq. Nothing was going his way, but stabilizing and turning it around was his challenge. In reflecting on the situation, he said:

” The situation …is dire, The stakes are high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard…
But hard is not hopeless.”

He consistently did new, multiple, different things, took risks that exposed his troops and himself to danger, got involved with the local population and leaders, created security for them, won their trust and turned the situation around.

His philosophy, and practice,  is useful in life:   Hard is not hopeless.

Food for Thought – A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools. – Thucydides