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Showing posts from 2010

Got a Quarter?

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Traveling during the holidays can bring episodes of nostalgia, memories of times lost, of events of the past, stirring thoughts of days long gone, of memories of “the good times” of the life of our youth. In driving to my home town to see my family over Christmas, my own children and wife sleeping in the van as I listened to the music of a different era, of my era, songs sung by John, Paul, George and Ringo, Janis, Elton, and Kevin Cronin, my mind was flooded with such memories of the past relationships and related events of my youth. A nice escape during a four hour cruise. The Christmas Season can do that do us, bring back memories of times gone, of lost opportunities, of choices both good and bad, as it signifies a coming new year, with new hopes and dreams and anticipated changes in life. I like my memories, even the not so joyful ones, for they tell me where I’ve came from, hint to me where not to go back to, and stimulate my being towards the endless options God brings into my

Now That's A Fire

The family gathered, cooked, ate, enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner, enjoyed time together, took naps, and relaxed.  The three guys build a huge fire, flames surpassing 20 feet, pine trees burning as the sun went down, the heat warming the cold New York air.  Three woman sat inside, watching the television, comfortable inside from the cool temperatures in the darkness of outside.  Watching the flames, feeling the heat, being outside, it just felt good.  Sitting inside, watching the guys in the cold of darkness, outlined buy the flames of the fire, they felt happy to be inside.  Different views to same situation and different definitions of being content and happy. As we move closer to the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year, we all sit at different places in life.  Our perceptions of where we are and our desires of where we want to be become more profound. Sometimes the struggle in becoming motivated to make the changes we need in life to live the life we desire is movin

Oh, The Comfort Of Those Blinders

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Have you ever walked through life oblivious of your surroundings, such as arriving home from work not really remembering the drive, being so absorbed in your own head that you were on “autopilot”? While walking in the woods or enjoying nature from my back deck, which is really just the neighbors trees and the beauty of the sky, I can often become unaware of what’s occurring around me, until my senses are jarred. This is a common practice for those of us who meditate or practice mindfulness, being in the exact moment of time, void of the past and future. In the change process of life, being oblivious to the effect of problems in life is referred to as pre-contemplation, or in a state of denial. When we are in this state, we often view the problems in our lives as not a problem. Being in this stage is feeling complacent in our current state or believing that we have no control over the behavior. Being in this state, we sometimes don’t understand how the problem is affecting our lives or

So, I See

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Listening to Christmas music, the song, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, plays and as I look out the window, it is cold, but I won’t say it’s looking a lot like Christmas.   The skies are blue and very clear, not a snow cloud in sight.   But then again, just because I view Christmas time as a soothing blanket of snow doesn’t necessary mean the next person sees Christmas the same.   Change is much like the holidays, we see it differently, yet we see it just the same.   Some of us see change as huge and challenging, others see change as exciting and worthy, while others see change as fearful and scary.   How we see change is probably motivated by our experiences and the views of those who still whisper silently in our ears, scripting our belief systems and views.   Change entails many factors, and I suppose the first is to recognize the need for change.   To recognize is begin to see that change is necessary, or at least desired, even if at the same time the efforts

Changes

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Time continues to move forward, much as the colors of the fall trees continue to brighten, fade, and leave the safety of their branch homes, covering the ground, preparing for the winter.   With a new year comes a new spring and new growth, from that which passed before, from the activities of the winter, from the changing seasons and climate of the environment.   The cycle of the seasons comes to an end in winter and begins again in spring. We’re much like the cycles of the seasons.   We are born, we rely on the warmth and sustenance of our mother, the protection of our father, and the support of our family.   We grew from child to teen, discovering the self of who we are created to be.   Growth moves us forward into adulthood, and eventually, we grow old, and we too return to where we came.   The cycle of life comes to an end on this planet and begins again in our immortal state with God. Along the way, we make choices in our lives, all in an effort to get our needs met, to find lov

The Inevitable

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Life is full of the inevitable, like change, growth, and death. We don’t always like the inevitable, but they come, and they go, and in the end, they just are, or were. Another inevitable is conflict. Doesn’t it seem that we have the most conflict with the ones we love the most? But then again, shouldn’t we? I often joke that if I haven’t had a good conflict in a week with my wife, I’d better start one because it means we’re probably not communicating. So in that context, is conflict always bad or can it be good, or both? Conflict exists because human beings exist. It has been around since the first creation and will see the death of the last creation. We become consumed in the conflict instead of focusing on the solution, keeping the conflict alive and breathing. We need to shift our focus on who we are in conflict with and what they mean to us, in terms of relationship. We need to realize the extent of the relationship, if it is healthy and functional or unhealthy and dysfunctional.

Winds of Change

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I have to admit, I do like the cooler seasons, especially fall. The first cold morning a few weeks ago, I swear I could smell snow building up from the north. The landscape explodes into waves of color, reds and oranges and yellows, as the greens of summer fade from the branches of the mighty trees. Soon, they will lose most of their colors to the approaching winds of winter. How I love the changing of the seasons. We as humans travel through our own changes as well. Our bodies grow, age, wither, and eventually fade. Our minds change with increased knowledge and awareness, grasping higher levels of insight and understanding, memory skills diminishing, eventual withering away with our bodies. Our spirits sore with energy and wonder and move into life responsibilities, resting eventually in the warmth of our stories. With the seasons, we change, but at a much slower pace. Change is neither good nor bad, it is just inevitable. Change has no other purpose than to change. It is how we a

Soulful Noise

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The vibrating sounds scream forth from the alarm clock, signaling a new day, an awaking, to face the challenges of life once again, out of our slumber and warm bed into the reality of life. Noises begin as showers start, others in the home awake, and with their rise, more noise. Televisions and radios and computers come alive as well, and the noises of the outside world fill the senses. The quiet of silence enjoyed throughout the night is now forgotten memories, having left along with the peace and serenity she brings. The day has begun; the horses are on the track. So much of our day is filled with noise that blocks the sounds of silence, the teachings of the soul, and the words from our God. For some reason, silence has come to represent awkwardness, fear, rejection, anxiety, and loneliness, to name a few. We often have lost the power of silence and the wisdom it can bring. I have spent time with others who in the sounds of silence run as fast as they can into the noise of the worl

The Inner Coverings

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A major focus in my life, in fact the one word which represents a huge concept that keeps me centered, is serenity. It’s not that I like the word as much as I feel it’s meaning when all in life is centered, no matter the peace or turmoil that lives in the external of my world. When the internal is serene, the external can be given up to be whatever it needs to be. As the external skin keeps the internal body covered and creates a boundary around the physical body, the soul creates a boundary around the mind, the heart, the reality of the human being, as the body will grow old and fade and die and the true self, the soul, the spirit, remains eternal. We cover our bodies for modesty, protection, and warmth with clothing, shoes, hats, etc, and we must cover the soul with concepts such as serenity, which keep the being in the human protected from the elements of life. It is much easier to keep the body protected than it is to keep the being protected, as physical coverings are tangible

Peace of Clouds

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The clouds outside the widow fill the blue skies with dancing figures, slowly making their way towards the direction of the blowing winds. They are graceful and elegant, changing shapes as they move, rotating above the surface of the earth. They bring to the heart a peace of being in the moment, yesterday and tomorrow, equally unimportant and irrelevant. For today, they linger, and shift, and just are; oh what we can learn from a cloud. Life moves along the winds of change as the cloud moves along the winds that blow from one corner of the earth to the other. We often say in times of great joy, “oh, to wish this moment would last forever”. We also often say in times of great pain, “oh, if only this moment would vanish, and life would return to what it once was”. Neither is realistic, and neither will occur. Life moves and with life, we are to move as well. With all birth comes death and with all death comes life. With misery comes joy, pain with healing, failures with success, and o

Courage of a Hero

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A young friend wrote the other day why a drug addicted star receives constant media coverage while American Soldiers lose their lives on the other side of the world, ignored by the same media, too busy chasing after a young lady who so eagerly throws her life down the toilet of drug addiction. Coverage after coverage of people behaving badly, abusing and hurting each other, of people who have more money than they will ever use or need living a lifestyle of entitlement while others down the street go to bed hungry or worrying about their children or mortgage or a multitude of real problems. We jump behind the slick charisma of politicians who have no real life experience while we turn our backs on the elders who have walked the journey, ignoring their wisdom. What we throw money at and who we lift up on our golden pedestals of idol worship must sadden the Ones who have passed before us, dedicating their lives to what we so readily take for granted. It is an easy task to align ourselve

The Point of The Needle

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Natives have a concept of being centered in the universe, where one focuses on all aspects of being human; spiritual, physical, social, and emotional. When all parts are meaningful and focused upon, one achieves, or lives in, being centered. For me, my centeredness is represented by the simple word, “serenity”, which in no way is easy, just simple. As I’ve walked the journey with others, I’ve helped them to determine their centeredness as well, or should I say helped them to discover what has always existed in the inner realms of their beings. It’s funny how other creations of the Creator so easily just be what they have been designed to be. You don’t see a cat striving to be a cow or a dog trying to be a tree or a mountain attempting to be human. We humans seem to be the only creation that becomes confused in the purpose of the Creator. A Native Therapist, who’s name escapes me and my lack of motivation prevents me from searching my boxes of books to obtain his name, suggested that

It's Got To Be Me

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There was once a snail that was in the market for a new car. He arrived at the car lot and was met by a crab that had been selling cars for a very long time. The crab attempted to interest the snail in a variety of cars that the crab knew his boss was trying to unload. The snail, however, was persistent in what he wanted. Finally, the snail eyed a bright pink Cadillac in the back on the lot and told the crab, “That’s the car I want”. The crab was relieved as the snail had been shopping for over 2 hours (snails move pretty slowly you know). But before the snail would purchase the Cadillac, the snail requested that a huge “S” be painted in bold dark black letters on both sides of the car. The crab couldn’t believe that the snail wanted to destroy this beautiful pink Cadillac, but the crab ordered it to be done as the snail desired. Not being able to resist any longer, the crab said, “I just have to ask you, Mr. Snail, why in the world would you want to paint bold black S’s on the sides o

Important, Not Urgent

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Walking the beaches of Longboat Key, the warm water bathing my feet, tide in and out, kicking a soccer ball with my son and finding shells with my daughter, enjoying time with my in-laws, a nice breeze, beauty all around, all help me to be very present and focused on what is important in life, on my God and His Majesty, on all that is good and important. In such moments, love becomes so easy to embrace, and Holyness so simple to see. In such clarity, it amazes me how easily we will allow the words of another, the perceived stress of the world, the busyness of this life, the clock, and so on, to so quickly disrupt the peace and serenity in our lives, of the pureness that God desires for us. We so quickly forget and allow the urgent to destroy the important. For today, focus on what is important and let the urgent take care of itself. (The writings in this post are random thoughts and observations and are NEVER intended as professional or personal advice. Take what works and leave t

Accentuate Serenity

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“The country is going to hell in a hand basket”, “These kids today, they have no respect”, “No one knows how to drive around here”, “The world is such an awful place these days”, “People are jerks”, “It just isn’t right what’s happening today”, “no, no, no”; just a few comments of negativity that are so much easier to hold onto when one embraces the life of negativity. Negativity is that easy and wide and vacant road that so many people, so many of us, chose to travel when stressed, helpless, and emotionally unsettled. Negativity is like a vast open brown dirt filled desert who’s heat dries up and burns the flesh, ripping moisture from the body, leaving it miserable, sad, painful, lonely. Negatively is often formed in the shadow of habits, not seen, that creep into our being from our family, our parents, our spouse, our friends, our coworkers, those we surround ourselves with, those who walk our journey. People who live in bars believe everyone drinks, those who lie believes everyone

Legion be Gone

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Have you been walking along in life, minding your own business, peaceful and content, when out of the cranial darkness leaps an uninvited attacker, a predator, a monster whose sole purpose is to mess with your shui . The beast can take many forms, and like the demon Legion that Jesus cast out in that old story of long ago, can have many names, many faces, and many traits. The one, who has shown his face to the face of my soul, revealing his presence lately, has been irritation. Oh, I suppose his partner frustration is there with him as well. But then again, when the emotional demons arise, do they ever really travel alone? Driving this morning, while many youth in the homes I passed remained sleeping in their summer slumbers of hibernation from the institution of education, it dawned on me that I've continued to meet these demons with the same reactions, never gaining a continual peace from them. In fact, I suppose I've actually increased their strength and tentacles that wrap

History in the Making

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I’ve always been a firm believer of letting go of the past so that I can live in the present and positively impact and influence my future. At the same time, I’m a lover of history. I’m fascinated not in the facts and accounts of history as much as I’m fascinated in the human condition of history, good and bad, heroic and cowardly, righteous and evil. History is a rich mixture of who we are, where we came from, the errors of those who’ve walked before us, a recipe for success, and a road map of wisdom of what to avoid. When I think of history, both long ago and more recent, such names as Ronald Regan, Winston Churchill, Adolph Hitler, Gandhi, Alexander the Great, George (W and H) Bush, Al Capone, Billy Graham, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, George Patton, Carl Jung, and of course Janis Joplin, come to mind. Literally hundreds of names flood my mind when I think of history and even though I never knew any of these people, mentioned or floating in my brain, they have impacted my life, influe

To Find That Loving Feeling

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A man walked among the living wondering why he wasn’t living, where life got lost for him. He looked into the faces of the people he passed on the streets he walked in his life. He thought to himself that surely in one of these faces he would find the look that he seemed to have lost so long ago. His life seemed to be about making it through the day of his existence so that he could sleep at its end and begin the same day again yet on a different day. In his hopelessness, he didn’t realize that what he was looking for was just that, hope. The man looked for the why of his lack of joy and hope and never realized that in the search of the why he remained entrenched in the mire of the problems that continue to rob him and strip him naked in the pits of despair. Somewhere on the streets of his life he bought the lie that life is a problem and his goal is to continue to suffer in the birthing pains of life that it brings forth in our journey. He has forgotten that hope, love, and joy are

Leader of the Pack

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It’s funny how dogs can teach us how to be human. My little dog Charlie, who died last summer, was the best dog who ever called me friend. From the time she was a puppy, she had a need to be by our side. She enjoyed lying on the couch or bed, when we let her, body to body with her family. We were her pack and I believe in her mind, we were to always belong together. I miss my little Charlie and all the joy she brought to my family. Charlie understood what we humans are so soon to forget, that we belong in a pack. Charlie found her place and claimed us as her pack. We were not so much individuals to her as we were a family. Individuality is a wonderful thing, and as a somewhat reserved and solitude type of guy, I appreciate my individuality. At the same time, we were created, on the whole, to be social creatures, social in marriage, in family, extended and immediate, in work, and in our communities, again, both immediate and extended or global. As our culture has shifted from group i

So, How Are You?

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There he sits, across the parking lot, never moving, always present, always on guard. He has been there the longest, he is the tallest, and he stretches above all others, witnessing his surrounding brothers, his relations of all kinds, taking nothing for granted, just being, just living, just enjoying what is brought his way. Not all have survived, he has seen many of his brethren removed before him, and he has been blessed to continue his existence. He is full in the spring and summer, colorful in the fall, and bare, mighty, and powerful, in the winter. When I first arrived, somewhat battered from past negative experiences in my journey, he was the first I saw as I looked out my window. I was drawn to him and found many peaceful moments in his presence. To commune with another creature of the same Creator can bring insight into the world we both live in, we both influence, with so many similarities. We both have struggled to maintain our place in this world. We both have roots that

"Don't You Love to be Loved?"

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One of my favorites, and the subject of an earlier writing, is Janis Joplin. I’m still known to say, “Don’t you just love being loved”, one of Joplin’s famous sayings, and you can still catch me singing “Mercedes Benz” on a rather common basis. Janis wasn’t the only one to sing about love in those bygone days of the roots of rock music, the music that changed the sound of the radio, caused fear in our parents, is still played today, and gave us permission to be just plain weird. Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, Mott the Hoople, The Rolling Stones, Nazareth, and Joe Cocker, just to name a few, all sang of the oldest and purest emotion to humans, love. Sure, they also introduced us to the world of altered states of awareness through psychedelics, pharmaceuticals, and cannabis, but that’s for another time. From the time we leave the womb, screaming and kicking into a scary bright and cold world, until the time we leave the world to return to our Creator, we are creatures in search of lov

Keeping It Real

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A reflection is an amazing occurrence of color, light, and images, bouncing off glassy bodies of water, polished metals, mirrored glass, and other objects. Beautiful pictures of majestic natural sites, such as mountains and glaciers, reflected off lakes and oceans, cover walls in offices and homes and litter the pages of Google image searches. Mirrors in bathrooms, along halls, in small rooms to give the impression of a more vast area, are common in our lives. In our youth, we stare into the mirror to mold our physical look into what we want the outside world to see, unaware of the significance of our inside world on our beings. As we age, we dread the mirror as it reflects back to us our vanishing hairlines, the gray forming in our eyebrows, beards, and hair, the wrinkles that surround our eyes and mouth, and the slowly changing physic due to our body changes, weight and gravity. It’s funny how the mirror we gazed into for so many hours in our youth has become the painful reminder of

The Winter Blues

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Winter, for me, is a time of excitement, the upcoming Christmas Season with all the celebrations, an escape from the heat of summer, and most of all, snow. And this year, the snow has been in abundance. The multiple inches, leading to running in the snow with Reggie the Wonder Dog, sledding with my children, snow ball fights, and building an igloo in the front yard, which my daughter enjoyed eating snacks in and my son and the neighborhood boys enjoyed destroying with body slams. And oh, the beauty of a snow covered landscape, even more so in the light of the moon. And at the same time, many of use are not fond of this season. I spoke to an Elder in the elevator the other day who stated to me, "This snow is hard on people of my age and very dangerous". I had empathy for what he was saying, as I'm concerned for my mother’s welfare when snow and ice cover the walks and streets of her town. For many, winter also leads to what many call the "winter blues". Feeli

Worthy and Wanted

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Many of us attempt to start our days each day in a positive manner, with a direction that will guide us in a meaningful and healthy manner throughout the remainder of the day. Some begin with exercise, others coffee (yes, coffee is very meaningful), others some form of relaxation, others meditation, and others prayer, or a combination of more than one. Beginning our days in a purposeful manner helps us to manage and resist the coming anxiety and stress that life in the real world brings. In beginning a day, I came along a prayer from another person, penned anonymously, in a daily reading, which was simple and yet so complex. It read, “I pray that I may never make anyone feel repulsed or unwanted”. Sounds good, sounds simple, sounds easy enough. And then, when I contemplate the depth of such a prayer, I realize the true difficulty of such a prayer. A similar prayer echoes through my mind, “Lord, help me to return to this bed causing as little harm as possible throughout my day”. Such

Burning Sparkles of Light

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The beauty of the past weeks snow has become the dark masses along the edges of the streets, and the rains and raising temperatures of the present have turned the dark masses into flowing streams of water, returning to where they came from, all in the cycle of nature. The beauty of the snow only belongs in the eyes and minds of those who see it as beauty, not in the minds of those who see it as a hindrance with awaiting danger. The flow of rain and melted snow is seen as nourishment to the earth by those whose perceptions guide them in this direction, unlike those who see the approaching flood waters due to their perception of their location, along rivers and flood plains. What is beauty and awe to one can very much be danger and fear to another. The mountains are like a welcoming town full of friendly trees and loving nature, and to others, a place of terror with looming threats to their wellbeing. The ocean is a refuge into serenity and comfort, an orchestra of soothing sounds and b

Beautiful People

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So many throughout the United States, and the world, have lost sleep these past weeks, watching their favorite athletes compete in the Winter Olympics. It is amazing to watch the human form in such grace and beauty, whether on skates or skis, completing physical feats that most of us cannot even begin to imagine, in awe and wonder. So many great athletes, so much polished talent, in two exciting weeks. This year’s Olympics have delivered into our homes exciting tricks on the snow board, amazing flights on skis, and magnificent poise on skates. What most of us see as the hazards of ice while driving or the play of snow for sledding, snow ball fights and igloos, athletes around the world use to demonstrate their skills for our entertainment (and their country pride). These athletes demonstrate the perfection of the creation of the human being. In God’s Greatness and Perfection, God created man in His image, unique to all other creations crafted by His hand. No other creation was made

Happy Birthday, Little Girl

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The little girl often felt somewhat left behind, having older brothers who moved fast and quick, always on the go. She often felt, at age 4 or 5, that she would never be able to keep up with her brothers. On a rainy day in the later part of a long ago October, she began worried that she would be left behind as everyone began to run home, through the rain, only about 8 or 9 blocks, but miles in the mind and small legs of a 5 year old little girl. Her older brother, the youngest of all her brothers, seemed to understand her fears and looking over to her, told her, “Take my hand and you’ll be able to run as fast as me”. Trusting her older brother, she reached out, grasped the secure hand of her brother, and much to her amazement, was able to run faster than she ever had before, feeling not small as the little girl she was. The boy, the brother, young himself, never told his little sister that that time, and times that followed, that he really just slowed down to encourage his little sis