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Monday, April 1, 2013



By Silvia Uribe  

Life, in its simplest way, tends to work quite well. We wake up every morning, and start our daily routine: maybe some exercise, a shower, breakfast, and off we go, with our “magic touch” to put things around us in motion. Our family –whoever is encompassed in it –each one of them do their thing too. Our work, is no different. We know – hopefully – what we’re doing, what needs to be done, and even we know what cannot be done at a particular time, and we plan for the right time to do it.

We do this – within reasonable parameters - every single day of our lives. We count on perfectly balanced bodily functions, a perfectly balanced family routine, perfectly balanced work activities, and in general, we count on a perfectly balanced life. Until one day, in which it becomes very clear that, what we have been taking for granted, is in fact a delicate, constant balance act of us walking on a very thin thread of good luck, at a great height, with no protective net beneath us.

What are we to do if anyone in our family gets suddenly sick, and the perfect balance in his/her body doesn’t exist anymore? What if that person needs to stay in the hospital, and you have to be at his/her bedside? What would happen then to your routine, your family, your work, and your life? What if, because of this situation, you cannot plan how your next week, or even your next day will look like? In one word, what if the balance you’re so used to, crumbles beneath your feet, and you realize you are on a free fall, or at least you think you are? This very scary experience recently happened to me.
From it, I’ve learned a few things that are worth sharing:

1. We cannot predict the future – when things get out of balance, the next hour becomes a huge question mark. No matter how much we try, we cannot know what’s to come. Stop trying to predict. It is not for us to control what happens next. 

2. Stop resisting – the more we resist, the more we suffer and make others suffer. When things are not in balance the whole situation becomes foreign to us. We cannot understand it, and we don’t have the power to change it. Acceptance then, is our best bet. Accept the situation as it is, and let it go through as it will. What’s going to happen is going to happen, no matter how much we fight it. 

3. Take one day at a time – Maximize the enjoyment of each good day – not anticipating what will happen tomorrow – and deal with the not so good days as best as you can. 

4. Know that you are not alone – Trust in a higher power. Whether you call it God, Jehovah, Allah, Brahman, or Nature. You can be sure that he or she is watching over you. 

5. Reach out to your family and friends – Many of us have the false believe that we must be super-heroes, and quietly deal on our own with anything that comes our way. Well, we are not so. Ask for help to those who love you. If nothing else, tell them the situation, and ask them to call you, and cheer you up. Or, to lend you a helping hand if they can. Or, simply, to tell you that they love you, which may be just what you need to hear. Or to pray for you – sending you good vibes – since these are never excessive. Or, to distract you with their conversation – a couple of laughs never hurt anyone. 

Particularly when things are “out of whack” around us, we tend to be nervous, frazzled, and lost in our own imbalance. That’s when it is important to put the right ingredients in place, much like in a fast cooking recipe, to calm our souls and restore our inner peace, if nothing else, until the circumstances around us – whatever they may be – come to a perfect balance once again… and, they will.



As my husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary, people asked me to write about how to achieve a successful marriage, so I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the subject.

Getting married is such a big commitment - we have all at least heard, if not experienced, this fact of life. Frequently, however, we see that the supposed commitment is broken with such ease that just the opposite becomes clear - people are, in fact, not committed. From the get-go it was just an empty promise. Particularly for those who, before they get married, are thinking, "if it doesn't work, I'll divorce him/her."

I’m not advocating here in favor of allowing someone to disrespect our spiritual, physical, or emotional boundaries, as would happen in an abusive relationship. Abuse should not be tolerated. What I’m talking about is the kind of commitment that gives us the internal strength that allows us to fight to unknown limits in order to save a good relationship with a person who’s worth the effort.

To break it down, let’s say that the good times are those whimsical periods in which everything goes well; when both parties are very agreeable and there is almost no noticeable difficulty. This period usually happens in the beginning, and during many different periods along the life of the marriage.   After a few weeks, even a few months, when we discover the differences we have with our partner, the bad becomes obvious. Even though we try to be tolerant, it is not always possible. The friction – from differences in education and customs and from those shenanigans that we do every day – becomes insufferable. The arguments ensue, the passive-aggressive behaviors take center stage, and we start double-guessing our decision to tie our life to such an undesirable person, who quite frankly doesn't listen, doesn't understand, is selfish, and is not willing to change.   Since using logic doesn't seem to work, and yelling worsens things, we keep those feelings silent. We avoid making waves until the day comes when we cannot stand it any more and hell breaks loose. Then we start considering the possibility of divorce. Yes, most successful marriages have gone through these periods, also.

In my view, it is at these very moments when the difference can be seen between a successful marriage and one that ends in divorce. Marriage is a contract, after all. Those couples who stop in their tracks during the difficult times and go back to analyzing why they signed this "contract" in the first place, have a better chance of achieving  their common goal.  As in business, when we sign the contract we shouldn't expect that it'll be an effortless endeavor, or that we won't find pebbles, stones, rocks, or even boulders in the way. We sign knowing that we will overcome almost anything in order to realize the desired outcome.

But wait, we have not yet gotten to the ugly part of marriage, which I consider those periods in which huge, life-altering events come our way, out of the blue in most instances. Those moments in which it seems like not only the marriage, but also the whole world is coming to an end (most couples go through at least one of these periods, if not a few). It is then that a couple needs full commitment, the decision to succeed, and reassurance that they can hold onto each other until the storm passes.

You may have noticed that I used the word successful, and not “long-lasting” marriage, as these two things are not necessarily the same. A successful marriage is one that both parties value and enjoy throughout the years. A long-lasting marriage may persist even if one or both people are miserable but for one reason or another – family pressure, custom, or finances – it doesn't get dissolved.   Long-lasting, successful marriages aren't always easy and breezy, but they are not impossible either, as long as we choose the right person – not necessarily the cutest, funniest, or richest, but the one who’s going to have the same level of love, respect, and commitment to work on the relationship as we do.

Then, our marriage will be strong enough to survive the good, the bad, and the ugly, hand-in-hand with the one we love.