Odyssey of the Heart

February 20, 2021

Depression Made Me Do It

Pedro L. Rodriguez

Depression made me do it. Yes, the beauty of depression is that it makes you delve deep into the crevasse of your pain. That uncomfortable place between drowning and surfacing. That incredibly secret, fertile place where inspiration dances with your tired soul.

That's the state that I found myself in when I had to relocate to a small town in Central New York from the hustle and bustle of New York City. From 8 million people to 12,000. From ethnic restaurants to McDonald's. From the greatest library collections to the small town library, devoid of Shakespeare's works. From the kaleidoscope of humanity to the homogenization of humanity.

In the mist of this culture shock and dearth of social interaction and interconnectivity. I found myself yearning for the Men's Group I was once a part of. This is how the Circle of Men came to be.

The Old Carpenter

A carpenter with years of experience, was ready to retire. He communicated to his contractor about his plans to leave the house building business to live a more leisurely retired life with his wife and family. The contractor felt a little upset that his good and experienced carpenter was leaving the job, but he requested the carpenter to build just one more house for him.

The carpenter agreed with the contractor but his heart was not in is work like it used to be. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials for building the last house of his career. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter completed the house and the carpenter came to inspect the house.

He looked around the house and just before he exited the house he handed the front door key to the carpenter. "This is your house,: he said, "my gift to you." This was a huge surprise to the carpenter. Although it was supposed to be a good surprise, he wasn't feeling good as he felt a deep shame inside him. If he had known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently, Now he had to live in the home that wasn't built that well.

MORAL: Like the carpenter, we build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up with less rather than the best. Give your best. Your attitudes and the choices you make today will be your life tomorrow, build it wisely.

Author Unknown

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire;

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something;

For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times;

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations;

Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge;

Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes;

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary;

Because it means you’ve made a difference.

………author unknown


Radical Joy for Hard Times


Literature is filled with examples of fathers passing their wisdom down to their sons, from the biblical Book of Proverbs to Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. While not everyone had a father to teach them life lessons, Kipling’s most read poem provides an education in living that anyone can benefit from. Soldiers and athletes have drawn from its wisdom, and boys (and men!) have committed its lines to memory for over a century. A celebration of the British “stiff upper lip,” this Victorian classic is worth meditating on every so often as a reminder of the virtues and actions that make up a life well-lived." -



by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

"If—" is a poem by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), written circa 1895. as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson. It is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism.[2] The poem, first published in Rewards and Fairies (1910), ch. 'Brother Square-Toes,' is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet's son, John.