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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pleasure and Pain and Thank you Jennifer

Thursday October 8th, 2009
Day 20 Mission Oaks Rehabilitation Center, Los Gatos, CA

Good and Bad, Right and Wrong, Pleasure and Pain

Drawing on the eternal but undeniably true cliché of Good vs. Evil, I find myself seeing the importance of opposing forces in my every day lately.

In my rehabilitation I find the truth in the basic human instinct to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. Each day I recognize short term hardships and work to overcome them and see them as temporary in a larger effort to find pleasure. Finding pleasure in the freedom of walking on my own again? Pleasure in the ability to be ability to hold our soon to be newborn and not worry that I might fall with her in my arms. In the recognition that these things would be considered pleasurable I cannot avoid the understanding of how painful it could be to not have them. I picture a graph with two opposing wave lengths where the more pleasurable something is, conversely there should be an absence of pain at the same point. The more pleasure the greater also is the absence of pain, or so it should be at least. And so, because, I place a high value on these pleasures I can’t help but work towards them. If I contemplate them and can visualize the pleasure that they would create for me, I will gravitate towards them. If I were to get caught up in the short term pain of my current hardship or in the daily regime of my therapy and the pain that it causes my muscles and nerves, or in the discomfort of being away from my family, my natural tendency would be to avoid doing those things that cause me discomfort. So it is imperative to have goals that represent a greater net positive than the sum of all the pain that has to be endured to get there.

What a lesson!? Its applications are everywhere, all of the time and in everything. All of the time we lose perspective, we get focused on the unimportant; we place incorrect or illogical value on things. We lose our focus. My three weeks in hospital have given me back focus. I need to reevaluate what I was shooting for in life, what I have to offer, how lucky I am, and then refocus on some short, medium and long term goals that may represent short term discomfort but will undoubtedly lead me and my family and friends toward a greater good. Good decisions, made with good and cognizant intention.

As we go along, I realize that we are victim to the paradigms and patterns that we create in our lives. As we get older we have that feeling that time is flying by. It’s actually not going any faster we are just not stopping to see each second or minute because we model so many days to follow the pattern of previous or upcoming days. We get into a rhythm, good and bad. It’s like when you snap out of a daydream while driving and think to yourself, how long have I been driving and not paying attention? We need to decide to make good decisions and to own each minute in the day. We also need to value those minutes and make sure we aren’t just giving them away.

It really is all about good decision making. Learning to trust the little voice in your head that tells you if you are right or wrong. Net pleasure vs net pain. Each Good decision that we make is compounded by also representing the benefit of not having made a bad decision, not having had to endure the pain that a worse decision might have caused as a result. So the benefit of the good, plus the absence of the potential bad. Or when we make a bad decision we not only suffer the consequences of the poor decision we also miss out on how me might have benefited from the good decision. Double Whammy!

OK so I’m starting to run on and this will take some more time to think about and find applications for and to hone, but let me finish by saying one thing. We don’t get to chose the family we are born to, so I am just lucky to have been born into mine. They have been incredible. We do get to choose our mate and so I am giving myself a high five because my choice has been validated throughout this turmoil as Jennifer has been all any husband could ever want from their spouse in a time of need. I love you, you are the best decision I ever made and the best bad decision that I didn’t make, ever.



  1. Jimmy,

    Great post. The temporary pain will add strength to you, your family, your friends and everyone around you - creating a ripple of positivity starting with your and spreading outward. We can feel it all the way up here in Canaja.

  2. Jimmy, just a little note to let you know that we are thinking about you and your family. From the time you were a little guy, you always had a goal and a positive way of looking at life. I know that is being tested right now but have no doubt that with all the good things in your life you will overcome and continue to be an inspiration to everyone around you. I am really glad you are doing this blog - we will tune in regularly. Give our love and best wishes to Jen and your Mom & Dad.
    God bless.
    Jackie Dunn

  3. Mossy,

    I just received your email regarding your current medical condition. First of all I want to tell you that you have the full support of your U-15 Nor-Cal lax family during this challenging time. Your presence this summer in Baltimore with the team was unforgettable and meant a lot to Will and his teammates. If there is anything I can do for you or your family please don't hesitate to ask. I will share this news with Will and Jack McCormick and they will have the opportunity to have their classmates at De La Salle pray for you at the beginning of each class. You will have 1,000 Spartans praying for you during your journey and like the Spartans at The Battle of Thermopylae, they will not fail. Hopefully that example will give you strength as a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds.

    I will miss seeing you this weekend at the Brown/UNC game but my thoughts will be with you. Keep fighting this formidable competitor and "Never Give Up!". I have no doubt that by spring the Axe Man will Cometh and I look forward to that day with joyful anticipation.

    Take care Mossy and thanks for keeping us posted through your blog.

    Your friend,

    Phil & Will Montero and family