Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Freedom of Now

Many of us live as victims to life and circumstances. We choose to allow our jobs and other people to be responsible for our happiness and fulfillment. We wait and wait and wait for the next "phase" of our life to finally lead the happy life we always wanted. We use people, schooling, and events as mere stepping stones on the pathway to happiness in a never-ending dance of "practice" for the "real thing". A never-ending dance of waiting to be happy after we achieve x, y, and z...and then r, g, h and t....and then d, q, c and v and so on. You know exactly what I'm talking about! We worry so much about looking good for others who are so caught up in having the same exact worry for us. We attach meaning to childhood events that have held us back from the freedom of now as though they actually have to mean something when really nothing has to mean anything and the past doesn't even exist, except in our minds. Life is inherently meaningless until we give it meaning and no matter how much society tells us what things mean, the choice is ultimately ours. We are the creators of our own meaning and the meaning of things. Every moment we experience exists in an infinitely empty space of nothing with endless possibilities for the creation of anything. The best part is we are the creator of those possibilities! We settle for living an inherited life of inherited meanings when we can be living a created life of created meanings or simply no meanings. Understanding that the meanings we attach in life are only creations of a life that is inherently meaningless makes you unmessable with and that's powerful.

The best way to make a difference in your life and in the world is to first take full responsibility for your life and stop blaming circumstances and other people. If you have been, pick up the phone and call the person whom you have thought to be responsible for your happiness and apologize by acknowledging who really is. Second, understand that you are the creator of your life and every moment exists in an infinitely empty space of nothing from which you can choose to create the possibility for anything. Thirdly, don't take life too serious - we will all be dead soon. Fourth, understand that love is about acceptance, not judgement. Understanding this concept will allow you the ability and freedom to love and accept anyone fully as they are and not try to change them because we all know how that turns out. Fifth, do not make yourself right and someone else wrong. Make it about workability and what works best without the self-righteousness, domination, and  stubbornness of "being right". Sixth, understand that being powerful isn't about dispossessing conditional human traits, such as judging others, because we can't help that - it's about being aware when we do this and taking accountability for those little voices in our heads. Seventh, understand that your Word is who you are and the foundation of your Word is integrity. If that is all you get from reading this, then you will live a powerful, authentic life! Eighth, understand that it's much easier to be small and blame others. Being big in life takes risk and courage. Be big. Ninth, commit yourself to something bigger than your life, such as taking on hunger in NYC or joining the movement to stop climate change. It may help keep you out of trouble with your restless mind and relationships while doing good in the world. Tenth, stop beating yourself up over meanings of something that don't even have to mean anything. Love yourself as you are and improve where you please, but without the resentment towards yourself. Forgive yourself and create a new possibility with the past where it belongs. Finally, understand that your identity, not You, is a result of your reaction to a few events which happened to you growing up. You may think they have to define you, but every moment presents a new possibility for you to redefine your life and identity. The more you speak this identity, the more real it becomes.

What the world really needs are more people who have truly come alive. More people that don't look outward for happiness and fulfillment, but understand their own power to generate it within despite their circumstances and relationships. By creating and sharing love, compassion and happiness, you exert it out into the universe which is like a two-way mirror flinging it right back. Again, every moment we experience exists in an infinitely empty space of nothing with endless possibilities for the creation of anything. Think about it. The best part is we are the creator of those possibilities! Authenticity, integrity, and profound existential awareness for your own power to create possibilities from nothing will create breakthroughs for a better life and consequently, a better world.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Heroic high school football player killed shielding teenage girls from gunmen

A brave young man sacrificed his life to protect 3 young girls without even thinking.

When the shooting began Thursday night in Knoxville, Tenn., Zaevion Dobson faced a split-second choice: run away and save himself or use his body as a shield to protect those around him.
Nobody would’ve have blamed the 15-year-old Fulton High School football player for doing the former. But Dobson, survivors would later recall, sacrificed himself, jumping on top of three teenage girls who were sitting on a porch with a few other friends when two men approached and began shooting randomly into the group, according to the Associated Press.
“If it wasn’t for Zaevion, if he would have just ran off the porch, we would have probably been shot,” Kiara Rucker told CBS affiliate WVLT.
Dobson was killed by a bullet that struck him in the head, police said. He was the only person among the group who was hit.
“You’re my hero, I’ll never forget you,” Faith Gordon, who credited Dobson with saving her life, wrote on Twitter.
“Unfortunately, they picked a random group of young men and women who were just hanging out and trying to prepare to celebrate the holiday,” Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch told the AP.
Zach Dobson, the victim’s brother, told NBC-affiliate WBIR-TV that the shooting took those on the scene by surprise. By the time the group of young people realized that Dobson had been shot in the moments of confusion that followed, it was too late.
“He was laying there, and I just pick him up and put him in my arms,” his brother said. “He was dead. Unfortunately, he wasn’t lucky, but he saved two lives.”
“I pulled on him and said ‘You can get up now’ but he didn’t get up,” Gordon told WVLT. “So I just went upstairs, and by the time I came back to make sure everything was real, (I saw) he was shot in the head.”
A day later, Dobson, who described himself as “shocked,” was still trying to understand what motivated the shooters.
“Why would you shoot at random bystanders,” he told WBIR-TV.  “For nothing. We were just sitting there chilling.”
Investigators are wondering the same thing. They believe the shooting was part of a series of gang-related shootings that began Thursday night when a 46-year-old woman was shot inside her apartment several miles away. The victim, 46-year-old Lisa Perry, is expected to survive, according to the AP.
In a an act of retribution gone awry, police say Perry’s son, — 23-year-old Brandon Perry — joined several other men, drove to Dobson’s neighborhood and went on a shooting spree. Police don’t believe there was a motive for shooting Dobson.
Perry was eventually shot as well, after crashing his car into an apartment, the AP reported. He died Friday.
Police arrested two other men who fled the scene of the crash, but released one of them.
The detained suspect — identified by authorities as 20-year-old Christopher D. Bassett — is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation, according to WBIR-TV. He is being held without bond, the station reported.
“These cowardly and senseless acts of violence must stop,” Rausch told the AP. “We should be preparing to celebrate the Christmas holiday, but now we have two men who are dead.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I don't necessarily have a story to share or an excerpt from a particular time,  but, on a near daily basis, I come across patients and their families that have no choice but to live rather than exist. In today's Healthcare landscape, most severely ill patients deal with, not only their host disease, but also the ills of a system too complex to manage.  I believe it is inherent in most humans to do the right thing, to care and have compassion, but when that becomes lost, systems are put on place to assure its longevity. When that begins to fail, then it is up to some very special humans to remain human and to have the fortitude to believe in what is good and to care enough to care. Many of these types go unnoticed as our headlines never fall short of sensationalizing the other end of that spectrum, but the other end of that spectrum is not courageous. For those that choice to be courageous,  I say, "Onward, brutha!"

Saturday, September 19, 2015


A Texas teenager has become the second woman since World War II to be awarded the Silver Star for bravery in combat. Texas medic Monica Lin Brown, 19, used her body to shield five wounded comrades from gunfire while she treated them after their convoy was caught by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, reports the Houston Chronicle.
"We stopped the convoy. I opened my door and grabbed my aid bag," Brown said. "I didn't really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of. I was in a kind of a robot-mode." Brown is scheduled to leave Afghanistan next month. She joined the military to get a college education, said her grandmother, who described the young medic as "a strong young woman and very caring."

Lion-Hearted View: We need to be more appreciative of the young men and women of this country who risk their lives to keep us safe. Here is a great example of one of the great women we have on this planet that young girls can look up to. Pass it on!

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Hey!  Wazzzzzup?!?!?!...
And welcome to THE COURAGE BLOG!!!

In this forum, the members of our New Jersey-based Brutal Hard Funk Trio, LION-HEARTED, will celebrate true acts of courage.

Since this is my first contribution -- I would like to introduce myself as the band's lead singer and bassist, Marc David Gambino.  I am known by the nickname "Bino", but like to refer to myself as "the UN-famous musician with the infamous last name." 

There is no shortage of people who display courage today, and you're probably thinking of a few right now who are worthy of being commended for what they have done...

But I will start by sharing two stories from the past.  

This is the first of them.  

So, I ask you to imagine feeling so compelled to make a drastic life change that you uproot your whole family in a figurative (but almost literal) heartbeat.  

It is the reason I am even writing this blog today.

Imagine you are married with three children all three years old or younger.

Imagine you own a new house in a small town where your whole family lives, but have dreamed of living in a city 75 miles away.  You literally know no one there.

Imagine that your spouse is the homemaker/primary caregiver of your children, and is not employed.

Imagine you have a secure job as a teacher, but your dream is to make your living as an artist...  A musician, to be more specific.

Imagine you don't care for sports at all, having little appreciation for the skills required to perform them because you have avoided involvement in them throughout your life.

Finally, imagine it is the late 1960's, a time of turbulent change in the USA.  Most citizens shied away from adding to the impact of that national unrest on their lives by doing things to complicate their personal situation.

I have asked you to imagine my father...  But I am also asking you to imagine my mother.

This is a story of courage, but no story of courage has the successful result worthy of being written about without the love required to reach that outcome.

So, before moving on to the actual story, I would like to proclaim that (although this blog is called THE COURAGE BLOG), it is really ALL about love.

(You may also read about this and other stories like it by visiting or by reading "Vagabonds: A Musician's Odessey")

Thom Gambino had developed a circle of dear friends who also played instruments over the years.  He enjoyed jamming with them every Sunday afternoon.

On a winter morning, his friends all informed him that they would not be attending their normal jam session because it was Super Bowl Sunday.

It was at that defining moment that my father reached a turning point in his life and decided he would no longer postpone perusing his dream to move from Trenton, New Jersey to New York City, where he was convinced he would find other serious musicians in a scene that was unaffected by such distractions.

He gave notice at his job, put the house up for sale, and began "scouting" potential places to move to.

The dream was to go to Manhattan, but that expensive reality would be put on hold, and a Queens apartment would have to be the destination.  The love and support of Lorry Gambino was, obviously, KEY in this decision being agreed upon and (again) needs to be stressed.  

No dream will survive in a relationship unless both people share a vision and dedication to making it work through the tough times they know will come in its pursuit.

So, the family of five was packed up and moved within weeks...  Leaving behind the only life they knew, all of their friends, and family that included (most importantly) two sets of parents that did NOT AT ALL appreciate having their three new grandchildren "taken away" to an unfamiliar place that was an almost two hour drive.

Persuing this risky dream would not be possible without ruffling feathers.  Again I ask you to imagine.  This time, the heated arguments that occurred before, during and after the transition.  The result was a bitter fallout that lasted for months without a resolution.
There are obviously MANY stories that followed afterwards, some humorous and some not...  But 47 years later, I know my parents have no regrets about what they did.  

They have had a life that they could never imagine would be so rich, and have given me and my younger siblings lives we are all forever grateful for as a result of their courage.

To me, it remains one of the most gutsy adventures anyone in my family has embarked upon, and (make no mistake) there have been many.

The next blog I write will focus on the second of two stories I want to tell at the outset.  It is the story of how my father (again, with the support and love of my mother) took on The U.S. Government.

The aforementioned uprooting of our family along with the next story are the two things I always ask myself if I would have had the courage to undertake...

The consistent answer being doubtful  only adds to the exponential pride felt over the years, and has no affect on personal confidence based on the sheer magnitude of the question posed.