This past March I was blessed when Dr. Edmund Nagem Jr. performed open heart surgery on me. He replaced my aortic valve with a cultured tissue one. So many friends and loved ones expressed how sorry and concerned they were to hear about my condition. I am so appreciative to have my heart now functioning properly and thankful for all those concerned.

For a very long time I have been a big believer and promoter of the "silver lining" phenomenon. Now taking advantage of the time away from work I am able to really and deeply reflect on Life, Death and Purpose. While I was in the Heart Hospital the two patients next door to me both died. Again I am so thankful to be able to share this story with you.

While still in the hospital even though extremely sedated I was able to feel the LOVE and CARING of some of the nurses. It was so real I could distinguish the difference between the ones just doing their job and the ones who really cared. Thank GOD for PASSIONATE people.

Getting strait to the point of my perceived silver lining would be the opportunity of much SOLITUDE. The first four or so weeks my wife Andre'e "Andy" would drive me to the Doctor and Cardio Rehab. With the time away from work I have been able to meditate, pray, listen to healing sounds & music, read, listen to audio books & podcast, journal and just chill & reflect on life.

As my health has been improving and getting out meeting with others around town and a couple of road trips, my focus is to listen as much as possible. This is definitely easier said than done however as soon as I catch myself speaking I think and turn to asking more questions relevant to what was just said. This process really validates concern for others.

For many many years I have been listening to audio books and watching/listening to videos. Personally I have been so pumped upped and inspired after learning about genuine HUMBLE people making a difference in other people's life around the world. Now to get to my personal DILEMMA. Quite often when I try to execute and help others with these untraditional ideas and concepts it just seems to frickin BACKFIRES on me.

I know how I have made SIGNIFICANT and POSITIVE impact of influence on many people around the world. One that I am most proud of was inspiring Governor Kathleen Blanco to change the unfair taxes on the manufacturing industry in the State of Louisiana. Rather than toot my own horn about so many other accomplishments I would rather just Thank GOD for my life to be able to serve others.

With all of this additional time of solitude, I believe I am on the improved path of SUCCESSES. (Remember Earl Nightingale's definition "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal") If you read my last blog you may remember me addressing the Art of Listening . As I mentioned in the third paragraph, slowly but surely I Have been adapting to The Art of Listening. Also as I become a better listener I hope to discover my true purpose in life.

Until next time go hug a friend and tell them you love them.

Don "The Paradox guy"