Rules, Penicillin, and Why Life Is Good

by Belinda Munoz on February 4, 2010

life is good

We’re a complicated lot, you, me and everyone else like us, aren’t we?  I mean, we’re plagued with paradoxes collectively and individually.  Our hearts and minds often disagree which, with little help from outside forces, bring us sometimes self-imposed stress and other times unjustified, unwarranted worry.  Riddled with wants and needs, our spirits, with their unlimited capacity for greatness, at times soar so high only to skydive and sputter; fallen, flightless, all but lifeless for who knows how long.

If any of this proves anything at all, it’s that we’re not a boring bunch.  Are you with me?


Case in point, the other day, I was speaking with my boss and mentor about the seeming dearth of inspiration in politics today, politics being a large part of my day job.  We agreed to focus more on our foundation work and less on political affairs.  Fine.

And then, a mere hour later, we meet a fantastic woman who makes us salivate for a seat in the Senate.  She’s a sixty-five year old litigating grandma, possessing the energy of a twenty-five year old spinning instructor, coiffed with a spunky ‘do and endearing us with a charismatic personality.  On paper, she’s scary intimidating with an impressive list of professional and personal victories.  In person, she’s warm and smiley in a genuine way, with a comedic sensibility that could give Ellen DeGeneres a run for her money.  So, we’re sold.  We are getting involved in her life and there’s not a thing she can do to stop us.

I’m guessing you’ve done something similar: created a rule for yourself only to break it later.

We create rules only to break them. Why?  Because we outgrow these rules.  They fit us like a three-year old stuffed in a newborn onesie.

We create rules only to break them, and by breaking them, we free ourselves so that our hearts and minds align and our spirits soar.

Life is good.


We have immense powers but we often don’t know it.

Sure, sometimes, we stumble.

Take the accidental discovery of the penicillin.  Alexander Fleming must’ve badly needed a break.  This Scottish biologist and Nobel Prize winner neglected to tidy up his laboratory, perhaps a bad habit, perhaps in haste as it was right before leaving for vacation.  When he returned to his laboratory, one of his cultures was contaminated with a fungus that released a substance he later called penicillin.

Sure, sometimes, we stumble.  But sometimes, we stumble upon our greatness.

I give extra special thanks to the great Fleming’s enduring legacy.  Without that accident, would penicillin be in antibiotics today?  Are there thriving lives around now that would not have been otherwise?  And on a more personal level, what would cure my son’s bacterial pneumonia now without Fleming’s genius genus?

Life is good.


Life is good.  And yes, we are a complicated lot, you, me and everyone else like us.  But that doesn’t deny that life is good.

Life is good even when we don’t think so.  Tormented teens.

Life is good even when it seems bad.  Haitians.  Congolese women.  The list goes on…

Life is good even when we simplify the complex and complicate the simple.

Life is good even when we collect clutter and then voluntarily undergo a painful process of decluttering — an existential letting go of extraneous things in our homes, our minds, our hearts our souls.

There are a zillion reasons  why life is good.

Here’s one:

As long as there is a life, there is a choice to live a life that’s good.  Without life, there is no choice.  But, without choice, it’s not much of a life and living a life without choice is not really living. Don’t you think so, too?


Do you think that life is inherently good?

Do you think that we should be free to make mistakes in life?

Do you value being able to choose what you eat, wear, watch?

Do you think that some or any of our choices should be taken away?

If you’re in the U.S., have you been following the controversy regarding the ad that may be airing on Superbowl Sunday?  If so, do you think there’s ever any hope of transcending this kind of, what I think is tunnel-vision thinking, on both sides, so that we may perhaps see a bigger vision?  If you’re unaware about this controversy but would like to know more, by all means, please feel free to tweet me or send me an e-mail at bvmthehalfwaypoint @ gmail dot com.

Image by pamhule

{ 2 trackbacks }

Rules, Penicillin, and Why Life Is Good — the halfway point | Health News
February 4, 2010 at 10:38 am
Clutter to Sputter
February 15, 2010 at 4:04 am

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David - Zen Choices February 4, 2010 at 5:34 am

Rules definitely depend on circumstances. There is wisdom in the maxim, “rules are meant to be broken.” Just don’t try to convince a judge of this. Values on the other hand, I think should be strictly adhered too. When you make a clear value, written and explainable, it should lived out without contradiction. We can still make mistakes, but values are important for keeping inner order – just like rules tend to keep relationships and society on track.


2 Melissa Gorzelanczyk February 4, 2010 at 5:46 am

Life is good … I had a woe is me day yesterday – but you’re right on. Today is a new day.


3 Jeanne February 4, 2010 at 10:24 am

YES!! Belinda, Life IS Good even when we don’t see it or get it.
YES!! to the freedom to make mistakes. It’s all part of the good journey. Some mistakes may lead us to dead ends, others may lead us to our own greatness, like an accidental discovery — “But sometimes, we stumble upon our greatness.” is a profound thought.
YES, I value — even treasure — my ability to choose what I eat, wear, watch; how and where I live; how I support myself, what I value, what I think, what I like . . .

But your last question has me stumped. Choices that should be taken away? I don’t think so. Freedom is one of my mantra words. . .


4 Belinda Munoz February 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

@ Jeanne, LOVE your enthusiasm! The freedom to make mistakes, it’s an absolute gift! And YES, on that last question, I’m totally, completely, 100% with you — I can’t think of a single choice that should be taken away. Not a single.

@ Melissa, Welcome! I’m familiar with those “woe is me” kind of days. And your attitude reflects a great love of life — each day is a new day!

@ David, you bring up a good point about values. They are important for keeping inner order. And sometimes, we develop/fortify/strengthen them overtime after having made so many mistakes and broken so many rules. Tested overtime, in real life, with real living under our belt.


5 Nadia - Happy Lotus February 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

Hi Belinda,

I used to work in politics and I know what you mean about the lack of inspiration. When I was in law school, I worked with US Senator Ted Kennedy and that was a dream come true. After working for someone like him, everyone else seemed such a letdown and then I eventually switched paths. So it is wonderful that you saw such a woman who could inspire. We need more people like that! :)

As for life being good, I totally agree. Every single day holds numerous blessings. The mere fact we can get up in the morning and use the bathroom on our own is a HUGE gift that is often overlooked.


6 Phil - Less Ordinary Living February 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I love it! Another great post Belinda. I believe that we should always be free to choose and always open to learn and change. Not every choice will work out how we expect, but with the right perspective, life is ALWAYS good.

Phil –


7 Patty - Why Not Start Now? February 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hi Belinda – Absolutely, life is good. And reading your blog is one of the things that makes life good. I know sometimes I come here and ponder or whine, but that’s all good to. Choice? Yes. Mistakes? You bet. Rules? Well, I’m kind of an exception to the rule gal. Or not, sometimes. Still good though. And the penicillin story? Always has been a favorite, very good, even though I’m allergic to it!


8 BigLittleWolf February 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm

This is good:

Sure, sometimes, we stumble. But sometimes, we stumble upon our greatness.

Would that it were so. And sometimes, it is.


9 Bob Bessette February 5, 2010 at 9:12 am

I absolutely think that life is inherently good. I also think that you have to make your own life and not depend on others. We can use others (i.e. life coaches, therapists, etc) to help us through life but, when all is said and done, it is up to us to carry it through. We can make positive choices (as your blog tag line so aptly demonstrates) that will help us reinforce our belief that life is good. The older I get, the more positive choices I am making which is a really good sign. Lamenting on past opportunities will stunt any growth that we must make today. I think we can make positive changes and make a difference at any age which was demonstrated by the 65 year-old firecracker grandma…



10 Tess The Bold Life February 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Yes, yes and yes! And no I don’t know about the super bowl add. I love how you describe the 65 year old in politics and how you’re getting involved in her life. There have been people I’ve purposely got to know. I wanted in and they we’re not getting rid of me. I found my life’s mentors that way.

As long as I can breathe life is good. We forget how much we have in the U.S….so much more than our basic needs. Enough to give away and still have enough.


11 Liberty February 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I definitely agree. Life is good!


12 Nicki February 6, 2010 at 6:12 am

Life is definitely good! And, without the ability to make mistakes, we may not realize how good life is.


13 Sara February 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Belinda — Great post, as usual and one that makes me think! Here are my answers to your questions:

Yes. I think life is inherently good, but sometimes the good gets hidden by the bad and we have to dig it out again, which serves to remind us of the good.

If we didn’t make mistakes, we couldn’t learn from them and then our lives wouldn’t be as good as they are.

I can’t imagine not being able to choose how I live my life. I think of countries in which the right to choose is lost or taken away. That is a human tragedy.

I can answer this last question “Do you think that some or any of our choices should be taken away?” as well as your Super Bowl question. NO, I don’t think any of our choices should be taken away. And given this, the people putting the ad into the Super Bowl have the right to air it

Personally, I don’t think this ad belongs in the Super Bowl; it’s not the right place, but I wouldn’t stop it if I had the power to because then I would be taking away freedom of choice.

However, I do have the CHOICE to agree or disagree with the ad and to speak my opinion about it. That’s why freedom of choice is so important to me and makes my life good:~)

Thanks for encouraging me to think about this subject!


14 BK February 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I certainly believe that Life is Good even though it may not at time. But just being alive is reason enough that life is good. Being alive give us the choice to continue to do good and to make a difference to the life of others who cross our path. I couldn’t think of any reason why Life is not good for any other reason.

On the rules, indeed they are made to be broken. The rules are just guidelines which we use to conduct our lives in a systematic and order way. And yet what we must remember is that rules are ‘fixed’ or ‘dead’ but we are flexible. We should be able to twist and change the rules at time to make things easier for others … as long as twisting and changing the rules do not undermine ethical and moral values. The challenge here is not to succumb to pressure of changing the rule unethically and immorally.


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