COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Opening Day - We begin again

By Fred Cavaiani This week is opening day in many ball parks. Monday, March 31, the Detroit Tigers begin again. The park is filled with hopeful spectators. Opening Days are occasions for hopes and dreams. They are also occasions for celebrating life and fellowship for sports fans and non fans alike. In each ball park throughout this sport- energized nation of ours, the baseball fantasies of making the playoffs and even the World Series begins on Opening Days. For a few hours and a few weeks hope springs eternal. For the last week or two I have been hearing conversations like: "Are you going to Opening Day?" "I am taking my son or daughter to Opening Day." "A whole group of us are going to Opening Day." Enthusiastic, dedicated and optimistic fans prepare for the celebration of Opening Day. It is like everything good can begin again in baseball. The hope of new beginnings and new successes becomes a national breath of baseball hope this first week of April every year. I think that the whole nation can be influenced by the enthusiasm of Opening Days. It is like new hope can spring up in each of us. It reminds me about life itself. We all need Opening Days of hope and change in our own personal lives. Sometimes we can experience losing seasons in how we are dealing with life. We get into life slumps much like baseball teams can have losing slumps. An Opening Day for life is a chance to focus on what needs to be improved and changed in our life. But like baseball we need these Opening Days to energize ourselves into making positive changes. Spring, baseball and Easter seem to coincide every year. Warmer weather, more sunlight and the thawing of frozen ground starts in April. Maybe we can learn from this. The frozen hearts we can sometimes experience and the darkness of negative thinking need light and warmth. Our Opening Days can consist of reflection and listening to the deeper voices within our hearts that tell us what we need to do to improve our chances of having a personal winning season. We each have inner coaches within ourselves that say to us "Love more, be quiet and reflective. Slow down. Listen to other people. Stop being so angry and judgmental. Why aren't you calmer and more relaxed? You are too busy." These 'coach voices' are really present within each of us. It is the better self in each of us that points us in the right direction. Some call this conscience. Others call this God's inspirations or God whispering to us or trying to direct us. Whatever these 'inner coaches' are, we all have them. And they are really All Star Coaches. The problem in life is that we are often like lazy ball players who do not want to do the hard work to improve. At other times our ego gets so big that we refuse to listen to the 'inner coach' inside of us. In pro sports there are many athletes that can have a rather inflated opinion of themselves because they are paid so much money. Money becomes equated with self-worth instead of humility and hard work. We all need Opening Days. It is important to have an Opening Day when we really open up to our deepest selves and start listening carefully to that 'positive coach' inside of us. When we don't listen carefully we can fail miserably because as pro-athletes who stop working hard and think they can get by only by their natural abilities start falling on their faces, so do we fall short when we avoid listening to the "coach voices" that tell us to get back to the fundamentals of life. These fundamentals are meditative silence, giving up judging other people, developing a spiritual life, and embracing all of our feelings and showing love and compassion towards all. These are the qualities that personally put us into a winning season. Find an Opening Day to celebrate these qualities and see how you can put them into practice. ---------- Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is Published: Tue, Apr 1, 2014