Steps to a Success – Ownership

The combination of sinus bones crushing into the dura covering the brain and a lumbar drip altering the spinal fluid pressure in your head has to be one of the most painful experiences of my life.


In the hospital I had a day when the pain was so debilitating I could not stand. The tears flowing down my face were a combination of pain and frustration. I was so angry I could not will myself to stand my body collapsed into the hospital bed in a puddle of sweat. My mother was in the room during that ordeal and I cannot imagine the pain she felt seeing her son being crushed. So she did what all moms do, she shared a story.

My mother suffered from migraine headaches her whole life. She endured those times as best she could but sometimes the pain crushed her as well. She told she was able to manage her pain by asking God for a favor. She asked God to give her more pain, the most pain her body could take but not let her complain about it.

She took ownership of her suffering and that ownership helped her deal with her lifelong tormentor. While in the hospital I tried to ask for the same strength, not to complain. My pain did not subside but my thankfulness grew exponentially. By not complaining I took ownership of my thoughts to focus on the good rather than the bad and that little shift gave me a great deal of peace.

St. Francis of Assisi asked “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” I am not going to turn this into a religious discussion, but note what was asked. He did not ask for a miracle nor the death and ruin of enemies to peace. Francis asked to be an instrument, i.e.  a purpose driven device. My mother and St Francis both took ownership of their thoughts by focusing their purpose and committing to it. (in both cases through their religious faiths)

Own Your Mind 

It shames me to admit that many times I am not the master of my own mind. Thoughts wander in aimlessly and I do very little to regulate them. Media, commercials and politicians each shout their propoganda and rather than making a conscious effort to monitor the chatter I just let it in. Letting all of that in all the time leaves me feeling tired and lethargic often for no reason at all. This little break has motivated me to be more mindful of my mind and do a better job of regulating myself.

I want to keep positive, stay alert and focus on the good in others rather than worrying about every possible thing out there that can harm my family. Am I repeating what I heard? Have I taken the time to form an informed opinion? Does that opinion reflect my beliefs?

If I have taken the time to form an opinion and the facts make sense to me should I impose it on others or keep it to myself?  I have found in 95% of the time it is best to stay silent. When a topic is especially heated like religion or politics I have found only a handful of people can listen, discuss and disagree and remain friends. (Note: many of these people are found running trails)

My Parents – 40 Plus Years of Marriage

Being cognizant of my thoughts and taking ownership of them has forced me have to think about them. You cannot own thoughts what you do not try to understand. My perceptions, prejudices and opinions should be my own and I take responsibility for them. Being responsible for my own mind means being compassionate and respectful towards those I may disagree with.  Gandhi said it best “be the change you want to see in the world” and that all starts with the battlefield between the ears.



  1. Well, for what it’s worth, you can’t go wrong contemplating Francis! I’m an Episcopalian but the rector at my church is a huge Franciscan and my wife is Catholic (with a last name like Toscano, that’s almost a given!) so I’ve had lots of exposure, all good!


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