So I'm going out with this girl for the first time and we're going to the movies and as usual I'm throwing out bread crumbs. And she asks me what it is that I'm doing and I tell her that I'm throwing out bread crumbs so I can find my way home because I have this really bad sense of direction. So she laughs like its a big joke and I say I don't see why my personal troubles should make such a big joke. And then she said "LOOK - don't worry- I'LL take you home!" So I get mad. I said "Look we each have our own way of finding ourselves. Who is to say yours is better than mine?" and she says "You can't make a whole life's philosophy out of bread crumbs." So right out on the street we had a fight. and I got SO mad I walked away and completely forgot to follow my bread crumbs. And an amazing thing happened - I had no trouble getting home.............. It seems to make my whole past life invalid. (J. Fiffer from Fiffers People)

I'm just a young collage student. But I find the older I get I become more and more like my parents, those who rased me. and I trap myself within my "world view" and hide. I'm set in my ways. I lay out my bread crumbs and sometimes I can't take the courage to look past them and trust in myself to walk home on my own.

I can choose to do what my instincts ell me, what's easy or I can try to strive past, take a step further and allow myself to be all that I can be. Powerful beyond measure, and me.

Just to give you the play bill. My speech is on life and Death.... but more importantly all of the days in-between. The title (for now) Love me while I'm living. For those of you who like to flow...... I'll be starting and the end and ending with the start and smiling in-between. My first section is death.

Time magazine had a survey of the top twenty five fears of the common American. Among the top four were Speaking in public and death. So standing here giving a speech on the ever after, I should be scared out of my gourd. But a wise man, With a job hallowed in truth and purity... the president...... Teddy Roosevelt once said "Any man who is afraid to die is afraid to live, and I refuse to live a life in fear... sadly he's dead now, but his words live on.

What are we afraid of? The unknown, fiery pits, endlessness. Or the fact that we haven't done all that we wanted to. I don't know.

I do know that I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't wanna be there when it happens.

Though people do always seem to say such nice things at funerals, it's to bad that I'll miss mine by only a few days.

isn't that sad that we wait until then to tell them. Do we not have enough time in the day to tell people how we care about them. To tell them that we love them.

I don't do it enough. I don't hear it enough. A lot of the time I think "they already know how I feel" or I don't want to burden them.

Has it ever been a burden to you when someone has told you that you mean so much to them as a friend. Has a note saying GREAT speech ever ruined your day?.... it wouldn't mine either.

I have a lot of friends I haven't called, or written back. I need to. before my annual repentance thoughtful stage I go through every year I wrote to a lot of my friends and actually had the audacity to say. "I'm worried about how you see me. Tell me, honestly how you feel about me. If you can't be honest please don't write back.

And you know what? because I had the courage to ask, the e-mail's that poured into my box were the most refreshing, inspiring, and helpful to make me a better person then anything I have ever experienced. I found That I was loved, and that I was Perfect? no that I had a lot to work on, but they would help.

they were willing .... because I empowered them, because I told them it was OK to not like my hair cut or not like my brown belt and black shoes.

I empowered them to Love me While I'm Living

A few days ago I had an epiphany (10th grade English) I know where all the problems in this world originate. Bad people NEVER die. they go on living forever.. somewhere out there doing all of the bad things. No I'm serious after I thought about this I followed the obituaries every day when I came home. Its completely filled with good people who did nothing but good things.

I'm going to pause for a moment If there I anyone in the audience who is morning I am very sorry If anything I have said or might say makes you uncomfortable. Laughter is some peoples way of dealing with things that are hard for them. I am trying to face an all encompassing topic. One we all deal with many times in our lives. and this is the best way that I know how.

This brings us to a very important point. Who is the funeral for? there is nothing more we can do for those who have passed. We do it for the living. For those who have to carry on the torch.

In Shakespeare twelfth night Lady olivia is in morning for her father and her brother and the fool comes up to her and says (paraphrased and modernized) Why do you morn. she quickly replies because my brother is dead. he come back... My lady I think he is in hell. olivias eyes flare up and she angrily states I know his soul is in heaven. Ahh says the fool why mornist though if you know his soul is in heaven. who's the fool.

Is there a heaven? (this isn't going to turn into a religious sermon I promise.) I don't know. It makes me feel good to think there is. It makes me want to strive to reach a higher goal so I can deserve to get there. Though I personally don't believe in hell. Some of my friends, people who I love dearly don't believe in god or heaven.. and so they live for today. There are those who believe in multiple heavens, reincarnations, hell's, rewards and punishments....... which one is the best? The one that works for you, the one that makes you happy and strive to be a better person.

What constitutes a better person? Fame, Power, Money,

Ya can't take it with you. There's an old saying that states "we spend the first half of our lives trying to collect things and the second half trying to give them away.

So do I want a big fancy funeral with a gold encrusted coffin. a few years ago I would have said YES! but then a hard thing hit me when a friend of mine was in a car wreck. When I went to the funeral and looked into the coffin it wasn't Steve. Sure it was his body, but he wasn't there. when you look at someone who's sleeping. their eyes shut, not moving..... you feel a presence, but I knew Steve wasn't in that coffin.

This..... this color...this hair.. this zit. it isn't me. It isn't who I am but it is a part of me. its my favorite possession. I wash it every morning. we'll almost. And I get very upset whenever it gets damaged. and when I'm done with it I want it to be treated as such. My favorite possession. I would like to be wrapped in a prayer shall and placed I a hole overlooking the bear lake in Utah.

And with talk of a headstone, we'll move on to a brighter topic.

This is a headstone. I wonder where we came up with the idea of placing a big rock on them... Hum.

What's your name? ..... it goes here. The year you were born? .......... Don't worry the full sized stone one will be mailed to you for only $35.95.

Brother, Son. and lets put the death date as 2150... isn't science grand. and there is a complete headstone. Did you choose your name? No it was given to you, how about the day you were born, you must have had some say in that right.... no, me neither, I don't even like to think about it. When I was born I was so ugly the dr. slapped my mother. But here after eight plastic surgeries I'm looking OK! You were born a brother and son and I guess you might get to choose husband and father. None of us know when were going to die. James Dean left us with this immortal wisdom. "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as though you'll die today.

The Jewish faith teaches that you never know when your going to die but when its bound to happen it will happen and there no escaping it. I don't remember when I first heard this story to explain that belief but here it goes. A man looks out his window and sees death standing there so he packs up all of his stuff runs out the back door drives to the airport and flies to Orlando. A few min later another guy comes jogging by and sees death standing there and says, who are you waiting for? Death replies "I'm just killing time...... .I have to meet someone tonight in Florida"

So every section covered, what represents you and your life best. this funny little thing here, the dash between the two dates. That's your life. Day by day... every one or your choices and all the power there in. soooo without further delay TO LIFE!

I pray twice a day. Once at night thanking the almighty for giving me the day. and once in the morning to give thanks for another opportunity. An agnostic friend of mine used to go off into the woods for an hour a day and just think about everything that made her happy. Wven Wane Dire clams to spend an hour a day doing absolutely nothing. How dose he fit it into his busy schedule. Well he works other things around because , he believes its the most important thing he can do.

Meditation, relaxation, or prayer. its a tough world.

Where are we in such a rush to get to. I need to pay for school ,I'll relax when I retire. I need to feed my family, I need to pay for the house, and we even jam pack our vacations with so many sights to see that we come back needing a good weeks rest.

when I first herd about this I said " I don't have time for a whole hour a day" and now I can't believe I said that. I couldn't give up an hour of TV or Music or that in-between time trying to decide if I really want to do my homework or not.

But in that hour I can see the big picture, de stress, relax, make a plan for my day, center myself and just be. Because if I can't enjoy my own company..... who can?"

A minute ago I was asking others to love me while I'm living and asking myself to love them. Now I need to find a way to love myself while I'm living.

Here follow this example with me. You open a new bank account. They tell you that since you are the lucky winner of the big prize your bank account is started with $86,000 and you will get another 1,500 tomorrow but whatever you don't spend doesn't carry over. every day 1,500 no more no less. What are you going to do?

I think its a fair assumption to say most of us are going to withdraw every cent every day. We have a bout 86,000 seconds a day that's about 1,500 minutes. if we use them we will have what we spent them on - be they worth less or long-lasting forever, and what we don't spend doesn't carry over. It doesn't add up in the end. I guess its the one case where he who has spent the most and has the most wins.

When you pass someone in the hall and they say "how are you doing?" how do you respond? "OK" "fine" "better than if I were Dead"?

I've made it a habit to say "Excellent" it stops people in their tracks. They think Wow what gives him a right to be doing excellent, or how dose he do it, or what is going on that makes him feel that way. Even when I'm not feeling excellent it makes me feel better to say it.

Maybe it was said best by Marianne Williamson best (you might have heard it more recently in Nelson Manellas inauguration speech)

"Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are

powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small

doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory

of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let

our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the

same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates

others."

When I wake up in the morning I get to choose how I'm going to feel. How I'm going to face the day. I can look in the mirror and say wow, I've gained weight and I have, you guessed it, a zit. or I can say wow, at least my wrist is skinny.

Who gets to choose how I'm feeling. If I say I have had a bad day, is it my bosses fault, my home ec teachers fault. Who gave me that bad day? Do I want to impower others to the point of letting them deciede how my days ... my minutes will be spent.

Actions happen to me and I react to them. I choose if I want to look on the good side of them, if I want to be a learner and if I am willing to move on. Or I can stick with them and let them suck me down as I fall into the role of victim. I choose. What a Power.

I even Pushed my bed up against one wall so its impossible to get up on the wrong side. Do I still have bad days? sure, I'm human. But I only have them when I want them.

I don't want to waste my bank of minutes

.

A lot of my non debate friends have told me Paul ... That's my name Paul. Paul they say. If every second of every day is so important to you why do you waste so much time at these debate tournaments, is it to win the trophies? no. I want to tell you why I'm here. This room is packed with some of the best speakers from their schools and they all have a message that they want to share with me Without even knowing me they already love me enough that they want to share their insight to improve my life. and I want to do the same. Sure the points are positive feedback but so are smiles during my speech.

People who write speeches in order to win rarely do.

The clock is winding down. It's time for my conclusion. so what do I want you to do? I was given ten minutes to change your lives, to make you walk out that door a new person. It's never going to happen.

But here are five challenges I have for you. Pick one..... for today

1) As little kids every day is an adventure. Every new food is exiting and filled with joy. The scary thing is when I found myself ordering a croissant sandwich breakfast every time I went into Dee's. was I making a choice or following bread crumbs. Probably bread crumbs. Try ordering oysters on the half shell or alligator tail or even cows tonge an a side of pigs brains with eggs. you might not like them but at least try them.

2) Leave someplace better than you found it. Go into a friends house and give them a rose for no reason other than to lighten up the room, leave a note that says "Be happy, because your Powerful! and people Love you."

3) Decide now how the rest of your day is going to be. don't let the tide drift you. choose what you want and see if you can make it happen.

4) Take a risk and tell someone that you liked their speech, their tie... leave positive feedback on their ballots.

5) Take some time, five minutes maybe at first. Sit somewhere comfortable without a lot of distractions and sing a song, see the world, or just let Yourself be... it will make all of the difference.

In my speech I didn't focus on the negative, I didn't tell you statistics of how many people die a year, what causes manic depression, or the hundreds of other horrendous things in the world. Focusing on those issues, on what we can't do, on what we have done wrong would be a waste of my time and yours. I can't change the world...... Today. But I can take it on one day at a time.

I would like to end with a Quote from Jules Feiffer:

I greet the world with a smile. Hello, World! Ya know I used to think that you were my enemy, but I was wrong. Then I thought that you were m friend. But I was wrong again. But now I've researched it and read up and talked to all of my intelligent friends. and I know where you stand world. Why, you don't even know I exist. But as long as I know who I am, and you stay Neutral. I stand a chance.

Thank you.