The Box

Lori Hernando Ride

In the beginning….

I believed I understood you,
but I only saw what I wanted to see –
a mottled reflection of me.

I built you a box
to share with
my dreams.

Inside those paper walls,
I danced to the illusion
that we were safe.

And as stormy years
deteriorated the box;
I blindly set to work,

patching every tear
with scraps of soured dreams,
spackled with delusion.

The box, poorly constructed
and badly repaired,
could no longer hold.

And when it was time to tear it down,
I realized I hadn’t built the box for you,
I had built it for me.

Lori Roa
May 2014

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I See You


No longer compelled

to project

my views

on you

I am liberated

to see


and You are


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IMG_0953If only

Innocence would play

In the fields of men

In the autumn

As it does in the spring,

the beast

Would have no place

to rest and no fallow

to sew its thorns

Lori Roa 2012

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Every Smile is a Gift

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Theresa

He had a beautiful smile.

He was pedaling down the sidewalk toward me on a bicycle that looked to be as old and worn as he was.  He was upwards of sixty years and looked a bit rough. I surmised that life had probably not been particularly kind to him.

My car blocked his path as I waited to exit the parking lot following a lunch time visit with my daughter. He was making good time, and I hoped that traffic would clear enough to let me cross the road before he reached me. As he pedaled closer his face darkened with concern over how he would navigate around the obstacle in his way, so I shifted in reverse and backed up about 3 feet so he could pass.

And as he passed on the sidewalk in front of me his eyes lit up and he waved and rewarded me with a beautiful, toothless smile.

Thank you, friend. Keep on smiling.

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What Choice Do We Have?

“A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation.” – Neale D. Walsch

In his book, “The Success Principles,” Jack Canfield writes in Chapter one that each of us must take 100% responsibility for the condition of our lives. I searched the pages of that chapter looking for concessions I was sure he would make for those who have been victims of the choices of others – I couldn’t find anything.

Making excuses for our unhappiness and casting blame on others  will only lead us to accept mediocrity instead of a triumphant and vibrant life.

So maybe it’s time for a little self reflection?

Consider this simple illustration provided in Canfield’s book:  E (event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome)

For instance, if I’m overweight (Event) and fail to improve my eating and exercise habits (Response) then I can only expect to remain overweight (Outcome).

We have the gift of choice. Every decision we make in response to every event in life is what has brought us to this day.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch 

Consider 23 year old Corporal Todd Love. He is a triple amputee who lost both legs and one arm in Afghanistan in 2010. He competes in endurance sports. In 2012, just 2 years after he lost his limbs, he competed in a grueling 10.5 mile endurance race called The Beast over rugged terrain that included 75 obstacles. He wrestles alligators, climbs mountains, and jumps from airplanes. Wow!  You can read Corporal Love here.

So now I’m left to think about my own choices. Not the ones I made yesterday, or 5 minutes ago, but the one I make next.

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... and the light broke free

… and the light broke free

I could have drowned
Deep in a bottle
and indifferent

Or slept hidden
Behind dark windows
and Unconscious

I could have left
Without saying a word
and Illusive

But I chose
To face the night
and Free

Lori Roa
May 2, 2013

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Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Zig Ziglar

Zig was onto something. In fact, after extensive research, Stanford University determined that 87.5% of all success is the result of a person’s attitude. Not college degree, not skills, not looks – attitude.

“There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.” – Meister Eckhart

Several years back I was fortunate enough to have Jose as my “Waste Management Technician.” He had an attitude and a smile that lit the neighborhood.

I can’t imagine a job much worse than collecting the stench we leave at our curbs twice a week, but if Jose hated his job you would never have known it.

If we forgot to drag our waste cans to the curb, Jose would often take the extra time to collect the cans from where we stored them and then after he emptied the trash he would  set the cans upright with the lid replaced. He wasn’t paid extra for this. Jose always had a smile and a greeting. I miss him. He wasn’t out garbage collector for too long. In less than a year he was snatched off the truck and placed into management.

People like Jose are memorable because they stand out and they attract others to them.

“The greatest discovery of  my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.”James Truslow Adam

The truth is we get to choose our attitude every day many times over.

Think about someone you know with a positive attitude. How does it feel to be around this person?

Now think about someone else you know who reeks of negativity.  How does it feel to be around this person?

Who would you rather be around?

Who would you rather be?

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us but the attitude we bring to life.” – Wade Boggs

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