JUAN CARRERAS

Perspectives and Insights

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STAYING CONNECTED

April Issue 2020

If our current situation were a sci-fi show, it would land a spot-on prime time television, with a script possibly written by Stephen king.
Collectively, our lives have been turned upside down in an overnight fashion. Our norms have come to a screeching halt as we scramble in our minds to make sense of many uncertainties being delivered our way.
Store shelves are empty, people are outside masked and gloved, healthcare workers and first respondents are fighting an invisible threat, vital supplies are running low, elderly and immune compromised, people are dying, hospitalizations to no end, families torn and quarantines in the works for entire cities, states and countries.
All governments are in response mode, but they are up against something they have no manual for. Strong, smart leadership is the necessity, and while some have ‘let the ball drop’, it’s important to highlight that many have also acted in response to this pandemic.
I have seen firsthand the overwhelming response some elected officials are providing to their constituents. They are having personalized conversations, holding late night conference calls, working the 7 days of the week, gathering and prepping staff to be prepared to help as many people possible. In this moment there are more questions than answers but at the core of it all, the people just want to know that all bases are being covered to achieve the best possible outcome.
This is life in 2020 right now and as we search for that silver lining let us also keep in mind that we must do our part. This virus indiscriminately chooses its host and our role is to flatten the curve by adhering to the prevention guidelines set.
Hopefully, sooner than later, we will reflect on these happenings and describe it as a time that ironically got us closer to what really matters. Our families, staying connected, looking out for one another and seeing past what has separated us. Not as a compromise, but as a realization that we ultimately are one people with the same basic needs, wants and desires. Everything else comes in as a distant second.
We will not only get better but also be better! Peace and love family, looking forward to life post COVID.
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PARENTAL GUIDANCE

March Issue 2020

One of life’s treasures lies in the beauty of having a child. It’s an immense responsibility and as vast as the sky regarding parenting styles.
My perspective has allowed me to witness the changes that occur as the child goes through several developmental stages. Coupled with those stages, the parents also go through adjustment phases in which you aim to meet the child’s mental, physical and emotional needs. Within the context of this relationship, you carry the hat of life giver, caretaker, guider, first example, adviser, disciplinarian and the list are truly endless. Parents quickly learn the intensity of sacrificing and overcoming whatever obstacle to ensure the child’s well-being. Having a child is the purest form of unconditional love. It’s a sacred relationship that should be respected as such and held to the highest regard. However, I find that a shift is occurring where parents are trading parenting and aiming for the “best friend” title instead.
Let’s explore this a little further. According to the dictionary, a friend is one who is ‘attached to another by affection or esteem.” A friend is an individual you can trust, mutually support, love and choose. The key driver in a friendship is that you possess the choice for the person to be a part of your life for varying reasons. This choice is eliminated when it comes to your children. The relationship is not chosen but assigned to a degree and so naturally it takes on a completely different connection. I’ve asked myself plenty of times why the best friend path is chosen, and I’ve concluded that this generation would rather be “cool” parents because it’s the more popular option, and the one they never experienced with their parents; which merely reduces their roles to titles.
From the family unit to your work unit, or any unit, you are a part of – title means something. Your boss is not your secretary, your associate is not your CEO and your child is not your best friend! You are a mother or father and that encompasses so much more than that of a friend. A child might innocently say you are their best friend, which is inherently heartwarming, but clarity needs to be given to not confuse the roles. Declaring yourself as your child’s best friend will lead to confusion and skew the fine balance of the parental relationship and can eventually lead to a lack of respect.
In my family structure, I opted to delineate the parental roles and reinforce the unconditional love that I have for them, no matter the adversity; and subsequently, this strengthened my family unit. The phrase “friends are like a dollar in your pocket, here today gone tomorrow” sums up why your children are not your friends. It’s simply cannot be ranked in the same category.
In closing continue to navigate parenting with the approach of always looking to improve. Do it with love, honor, and respect.
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A CHANCE,
Living with Multiple Sclerosis

February Issue 2020

Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Is a disease that causes
the body’s immune system to attack the
central nervous system (CNS).
The CNS includes the brain and
the spinal cord.
Some say the “beauty of life is in the struggle.” German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche even went as far as saying “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Poetic in nature for the over-comers, but what about those during their despair. Could this ring true to them? Let me bring you into my world to demonstrate how that struggle can indeed lead to beauty.
Circa 2005, I experienced total numbness on the left side of my body. Several tests later, the doctor walked in to tell me what I then considered the definition of life being over. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 21 years old! Filled with denial and despair, I simply could not see a way forward. The life I envisioned did not include having a debilitating condition in it. What it had were plans and dreams that now felt impossible.
The reality I described above is now 15 years behind me. With time, pain, and tears, I came to terms with everything. Truthfully it wasn’t due to some grand revelation or even a spiritual journey, but indeed the struggle life presented to me. I just needed to survive, and that survival was driven by two forces, my girlfriend (now wife) and my first son.
With reflection, it became clear to me that the beauty was in the paving. The paving despite the difficulties is what allows you to overcome. We must keep going even if it’s just to survive for that moment because you don’t know what is waiting for you in the next.
My survival in taking it one moment at a time, yielded me four (4) beautiful kids with my wife. I have accomplished and endeavored in things that not even my pre-diagnosed self could have imagined. The beauty is regardless of MS I still have more to do.
The roadblocks don’t stop you; you just become better at handling them. My most recent bump was being placed on disability and relearning how to walk. I will spare you all those details, but what I will say is that instead of being a recipient of Medicare at 36, I am a licensed agent distributing it. Keep going, keep fighting, keep striving, keep giving yourself a chance for the beauty of life to reveal itself to you….
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 2 0 2 0

January Issue 2020

He met himself in the afterlife and rejoiced when he learned he surpassed the plan set out for him. If this is the end goal, let us regress and consider the following….
First, as we delve into a new year and a brand-new decade in 2020, this is the perfect timing to settle this notion! Perfect timing to focus our mental and physical energy on beginning/continuing to manifest our deepest desires, necessities, and callings.
Second, development of the methods in which you will enable yourself to discover/enhance what you are manifesting. Some suggestions that can help are, meditation, positive affirmations, breath work, reading or writing.
Third, when incorporating those methods into your daily routine, soon enough they will become your new healthy and empowering habits.
As the days turn into weeks, and into months, without a doubt, you will face adversity and challenges. Motivation and willpower will not be enough to keep you going, as I am certain you have experienced the death of many motivations in the past. However, this is when a positive community makes its entrance. They are there to encourage and support you, should you fall.
Remember, the end goal that we created this plan with must be just that, an end goal. Within it you have determined the methods and habits that will maintain your daily focus. This is vital, as it will keep the stress of a big goal to a minimum. As a result, you will feel empowered to tackle each task, as you have already broken them down to doable daily actions.  Even with all said planning, the harsh reality is that the potential to revert to our limbic reptile non-thinking reactionary brain exists, and it can totally derail you. Whether it’s from lost motivation, willpower, or worse, our minds change constantly and we often credit those changes with many different external factors. The truth is that our brains are dominated by chemical reactions, and knowing this, gives you an advantage in controlling and managing the daily peaks and valleys. In other words, its time to flip the script and be the captain of your ship – your brain.
As sentient beings, we possess a unique ability to contemplate and redirect our minds to align with our goals around the clock. A superpower that would make Professor Xavier proud. Simply put, our brains, our Malleable, ever-changing, non-static but dynamic by nature. We have the power to change our neural connections!
Meaning we can change ourselves and lives by the simple reprogramming of our thoughts, habits, and actions. With this extraordinary gift, we owe it to the world to make the most of its beautiful possibilities. In making this your reality, approach each day with the excitement as if it were you first and with the appreciation as if it were your last. Cheers to doing just that and making 2020 your year of abundance and clarity.
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