Thursday, August 24, 2006


Because I am enchanted by the lovely spirit of this work, and it gave me such pleasure to read... I offer it to you with my appreciation to and admiration of its author; Jenny Joseph.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

IMAGES: Dress; Velvet Garden, Hat; Green Mountain Creations

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So... Life Has "Dumped" on You

(The instant that I saw the "enhancements" made to this building by what we would usually consider "unpleasant deposits" by its guests, I knew that I had to deliver the following message to you.)

So... I see that life has "dumped" on you.

There are some who would say that the resulting effect is quite an improvement.

Once again, it seems that there is another way to look at every situation.

Remember... perspective is the one element that is totally within your control.

IMAGE: Mark Pritchard, BBC

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thorns and Blossoms

My thoughts today are the confluence of four separate streams of truth contributed by sources both of today and many yesterdays. I am grateful to Life for my conversation with SA wherein I offered something akin to “All you need do is BE available to the new and desired circumstances that Life will bring to your awareness.” Her response was “And I will not be available if I am busy with the old and undesirable.” Then I was given the gift (just this morning) of a vehicle-to-vehicle visit (him, on his way to work… me, finishing my newspaper deliveries) with BLY and his offering of “It’s all good… all you have to do is find it.” He then smiled a knowing smile and added “There… that will give you something to ponder.” And I admitted, to him, that I would, indeed, ponder that thought (or, as he added further “That will be a new cud for you to chew.” as he smiled again and drove away toward his work place, and I continued on my newspaper delivery route.) Life was, once again, speaking through the insights and in the inspired voices of special lives in my world.

By the time that I had finished my delivery duties, I was certain of what I am obliged to offer to you, My Dear Reader, today. Four elements from four sources (two of whom I have already revealed.) The other two are the biblical psalmist, and Dr. Alfred Adler (both of whom I have quoted in previous messages to you.)

Beginning with SA’s “And I will not be available if I am busy with the old and undesirable.” I reflect on the imperatives that demand the attention of our minds and insist on the focus of our activities in our daily walk. These imperatives are (for the most part) forces that we are not even conscious of. They are instilled in and reinforced in us by the voices and pressures demanding our attention from our earliest moments of life. Voices of family, peers, significant others of all sorts and description (including the “voices“ blaring at us from all forms of the news and entertainment media)… all insisting that we conform, adhere, and mold ourselves to their perspectives on every element of our lives. I liken them to the thorns of life. Those aspects that warn us of life’s threats and survival demands… but have as well their own potential for inflicting emotional, physical, material, and even psychological harm if not balanced with what BLY referred to as the “all good.” (And I do not discount the element of necessity to hearing and respecting their voices… to ignore the “thorns” of life would be nothing short of foolhardy.)

But… and it is very big BUT, indeed… to internalize the thorns to the exclusion of the blossoms… the “all good” of life… is to create an inner monster that will cripple and slowly devour us. I cannot count the number of individuals, who I have had opportunity to share life with, who have had themselves damaged, stunted, lamed, and/or (at the very least) hindered by the words and actions of significant others in their lives. Thus triggering the survival response of focusing solely on the threat of supposed thorns of self-worthlessness, inadequacy, incompetence or other limiting mind-traps that have made their lives a miserable succession of unhappy attempts to overcome imposed shackles. And they, in that state, are not “available” to the beauty and joy of the other presence in their lives.

Those blossoms of talents, gifts, abilities, and personality traits that are right there all the while… but not in what Dr. Adler called “our realm of phenomenological awareness.” That is to say… those phenomena that are the always-present “good” do not even exist to our awareness when our focus is locked on the “thorn” which becomes the entirety of our existence. Great is my joy when I can reveal a glimpse of the bloom to someone who has been languishing without a prior awareness of its presence. When I can awaken and expand the view of one who has been blinded by the thorn-meisters of life.

So, I must slightly amend BLY’s thought to read, instead, “It’s all good… all you have to do is be available to it.” And… yes, the thorns… the details… the demands… the necessities of life are also good and proper in life’s balance. And therein lies the key… BALANCE. All that we know (and all that we have yet to discover) is created in a wonderful balance and with a glorious purpose. This I am absolutely certain of, Dear Friend. Thus, I can, once again, present the imperative of the Psalmist; “Be still… and know.” Please stop the repetition of behaviors that leave no opportunity for awareness of the new. Please permit yourself the refreshment of discovery of the “all good” that has always been present… waiting for your acknowledgement and celebration. Still yourself… step off of the treadmill of habit, custom, and familiarity… and breathe in a fresh breath of the “all goodness” awaiting your appreciation and embracing. BLY is quite right… “It is all good.” SA is quite right… “I will not be available if I am busy with the old and undesirable.”

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Why This Blog?

Welcome… I invite you to join me (not for the first time… but, as in early April, a revisit to an oft-repeated theme in my consciousness)… in a spiritual time and place… a place where we are unencumbered by any of those pesky elements of life known to us as ‘responsibilities’, ‘schedules’, ‘expectations’, and/or ‘imposed distractions’ visited upon us by ourselves or others.

In this place we are the lone occupants. Think of it as an open patch of ground (in my youth it was a vacant lot between my home and our neighbor’s.) And here we are… nowhere else to be… no sense of demands or requirements… just this moment and the presence of those clouds overhead. All of those slowly passing, ever-so-present objects in our otherwise uninvolved consciousness, drawing our attention to the myriad possibilities sculpted in their ever-changing forms.

You can see a [--whatever you see --] in that cloud, and I see something quite different. You try to demonstrate the legitimacy of your interpretation and solicit my agreement, while I point out the clarity of my perception and entreat you to acknowledge the viability of my interpretation. With extended explanations of our individual definitions, we can both admit the possibility of one another’s validity. All the while we are enjoying the shared stretching of our imaginations and the intimacy of our willingness to expose our minds’ mutual expressions of themselves… and the clouds, themselves, are changing.

There is present, in this special moment, no criticism, no condemnation, nor any hint of disrespect for one another’s perceptions… quite to the contrary, it is our differences that make the game so alive, so challenging, rich, and so very enjoyable for us both. For, you see, we respect, appreciate, and honor one another’s diverse views without preconceived prejudice borne of any academic, ethnic, political, religious, or other outwardly-imposed bias. We are freely open to our own inward inclinations borne only of our individually-private inner voices. We are celebrating the expression of those spiritual voices in our translations of passing clouds.

Passing clouds are, after all, in the eternal scheme of things, all that our past experiences, exposures, happenings, and relationships amount to. They had, in the moment of their dominance, absolute form and definition. But they have since passed on (just as this moment, with all of its priorities and demands, will, at the next blink of our collective eye, be but a memory.) And just as history will relegate all that is, today, so demanding on the pages of our newspapers into indistinguishable forms tomorrow.

Therefore, I, (in the little essays and thoughts that I offer) drift some of my ‘clouds’ through the sky of this moment that we are sharing. I express to you, my Dear Reader, the shape that I see in those clouds. Not that I hold my definition out as “the one true perception.”; but only my own perception, subject to all of the failings and vulnerabilities of my knowledge base, experience, and temperament. And, in so doing, I encourage you, Dear Friend, to accept the legitimacy and worth of my views and the equal worth of the views of all of our fellow pilgrims in this shared adventure known to us all as “life.” It is my hope that this gentle, all-accepting, unassuming presentation of my perceptions will awaken, in you, some awareness that will make your life pilgrimage more pleasant, spiritually rewarding, and even more enjoyable.

So, as you peruse the articles in this blog, turn everything else off… shut all else out… and allow yourself to be occupied with the consideration of what my private inner voice describes in the shapes of life’s clouds as they have appeared in my life.

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Friday, August 18, 2006

"the Hour of Living Rightly"

Lest we mistakenly believe that this business of living “in the moment” or pursuing the “carpe diem” imperative is something of a “New Age” construct… Please consider these words from Horace.

"He who postpones the hour

of living rightly…

is like the rustic who waits

for the river to run out…

before he crosses."

Quintus Horatius Flaccus
(8 Dec 65 BCE to 27 Nov 8 BCE)

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Garnish That View

Even if we cannot change the things that present themselves to us today… we can, certainly, change the experience of looking at them.

Whether our personal window on the world is that

of an elegant life,

or a humble one…

a confined and limited view,

or an old, tired, and weathered outlook…

We can enhance our experience of taking in life’s sights today…

by improving the setting through which we take it all in.

The voice of a dear friend…

a cup of our favorite beverage…

the music of a cherished melody in the background…

fresh flowers placed strategically where we have them framing our activities…

All are simple and available garnishes available to us for the enrichment of our view of all that lies beyond our window today.

Look through fresh and enhanced lenses…

We can do little to change circumstances…

We have complete control over how we perceive them.

Posted by PicasaIMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Moments With You

Softly… delicately… the sweet song with warm mellow tones moves gently through the chords of my heart.

‘Tis the harmony, without structure or discernable melody, of united impressions, emotions, inclinations that join together as the instruments of an orchestra.

And the resultant sound… the completed effect… the blessing enjoyed is the music of a happy heart… to the tempo of an energized spirit… and soaring hope.

What concert hall… what conductor… what gathering together of elements can produce such a happening?

Moments with you.

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


In searching for "just the right images" to communicate the spirit of a message that I have been considering for some time... I visited one of my favorite places on the web. You who have read me, for any length of time, will be immediately familiar with the work of Jon Sullivan. I have been honored and blessed with the products of his photographic skills for a while now. So, today, I returned there for a new gift. And, in looking through offerings on his sight, I saw the image to the right. And Life spoke to me and said "STOP!"

Without either question or hesitation, I knew that what you, My Dear Reader, need today is not my idea. You do not have a hunger for my viewpoint. Life told me that what you require of me today is a respite... a moment of pause... a spiritual refreshment offered in the elegance and splendor of this creation of the Creator of us all.

So, my message (relayed to you from the Author of all thought and Life itself) is "STOP ! "

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Monday, August 14, 2006

My View of "My World"

You and I see the same world. The news reports transmitted to me are detailing, illustrating, documenting, and elaborating the exact same events as those offered to you. And it just may be that it is at this point that you and I take somewhat dissimilar paths in our perceptions of our world. For, My Dear Reader, I had the epiphanal experience of learning (many years ago) that there is a place known to me now, as “My World.” My world is defined by the borders and boundaries of my personal reach. Those persons, items, properties, and events within the radius of my individual potential to touch… constitute the world that I am responsible to… and for.

Though I am certainly cognizant of global circumstances with all of their complexities and overwhelming challenges, I accept only those elements of that natural world that are available to my influence, as part of my personal world. I have chosen to live in a phenomenological world that I am intimately involved in, and can have a responsible relationship with. A world whose pain is something that I can soothe. A world whose confusions I can gently address. A world whose inhabitants I can know and be known by. A world that can reach its own sphere of influence… touching and affecting changes in worlds of its own… beyond my personal knowledge and awareness.

Hence… I do not permit myself to be caught up in the frustrations of “world events” about which I can do nothing. I do not drain my emotional resources watching the images of starving peoples whose condition I can offer no relief for. I do not engross myself in imagery of death, devastation, criminal behaviors, or political foolishness that is beyond the reach of my direct personal intervention. For I have sufficient, and more, demand for my involvement in opportunities brought daily to my physical and spiritual “doorstep” by Life. And I dare not have squandered any part of my abilities to respond to these welcome visitors. I must be prudent and disciplined in the allocation and budgeting of my individual material, physical, emotional, and spiritual stores, lest I be found wanting in providing for them. (And if, or when, some of them attempt to take advantage of or demand excess of my resources… I dismiss them with the same disciplines that allowed my initial provision for them.)

This is my view of my responsibility to life. I offer it as a perspective worthy of consideration. It is a view not of my own creation… but thankfully learned from others far wiser than myself… and now offered to you. If yours is a life of scattered and ineffectual efforts and interests that frequently fall short of accomplishing their intended good… perhaps you might consider pulling back the “borders” of your world to encompass a land of more manageable and attainable involvements. If there are lives that you cannot give full focus to and find yourself feeling a frustrated guilt for neglecting… perhaps you (and they) would be better served by scattering less of yourself to the fringes of your present world… and concentrating a greater quantity of You on a smaller patch. Your reward could be in the fruition of hopes and dreams in lives that can then go out into those more far-flung fringes where they can accomplish what you now only dream of.

I bid you “Enjoy, appreciate, honor, and embrace your immediate world.” And trust the Giver of it to you with the care of all of those interests beyond your personal reach. As a practitioner of this discipline, I heartily recommend it to you.

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Your cold indifference served as an instrument of cauterizing...

Against the open wound of my injured heart.

Sealing, with a searing, uncaring touch, the vessels that had been so alive and functional...

Just the moment before.

The operation complete, mine is now the task of post-operative care…

Mindful to guard against the infection of bitterness.

John-Michael/Tuesday, 26 September 1989
[Subsequent to a telephone call made to an indifferent ear]

Posted by Picasa IMAGE throught the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Friday, August 11, 2006


How do you know that you are walking “Your Path”? What endorsement… what validation… what affirmation cements your confidence in the right-ness of your elections? Just like you, I had the need for certainty. My confidence skated on the thin ice of a fragile belief and wavering conviction that I was being the person that I was created to BE. I, like you, was challenged by the voices of loving, caring, concerned, and trusted friends who offered their opinions and perspectives on my life choices. And none… absolutely none of them could see the rationale for my determinations. Yet… I persevered on the strength of an inner conviction that I was in harmony with the leading of the Source of all that is true.

Then Life reached out with a steadying hand and a reassuring voice in the person of the only individual who could possibly command my absolute confidence and respect as a consummate human being… a respected and honored scientist and educator… and a deeply committed spiritual being. Inasmuch as he is no longer with me in physical presence (though certainly still-known in spirit) I can, and will, reveal his identity (want, as he was, to remain invisible, humble, and unobtrusive.) SWAMINATHA SUNDARAM, (Professor-Chairperson (Physics), University of South Florida, 1982 [B.Sc.; M.S.; Ph.D., D.Sc., Annamalai University, India, 1960]) became a dear friend, confidant, and joy in my life through our meeting as he placed his mail in the post-box at the curb, and I delivered the morning newspaper in the pre-dawn hours of the day.

It was during one of our treasured lunch visits together, that he (being a man of very few… yet each one valuable… words) said “You, My Friend, are a true priest. You walk your daily path as lead by The Spirit… minister to each life encountered along that path… asking nothing and expecting nothing save the meeting of your physical and material needs, at the direction and through the provision, of that controlling Spirit.” Confirmation! I can tell you, My Dear Reader, that I have never, in all of my life, been more honored, humbled, and moved than at that moment. Life had warranted and authenticated my convictions in terms that I would never have known to ask for or expect. And I can now share this story with you as my personal testimony to the certainty that you will know with sureness the appropriateness of your life elections if you will only exercise your will to follow the inspiration… the inclination… the leading of your own personal and individual “Still, Quiet, Inner-Voice” to (what may sometimes have to be) the exclusion of all outside influences.

I cannot promise you riches, fame, glory, or applause as an expectation resulting from such a disciplined choice. What I can, and do, guarantee you is joy, confidence, peace of mind and spirit that gives (in time… and with patience) rhyme, reason, and meaning to all of the conflicts, pains, disappointments, and sorrows of life. And (at that time and in that place, when and where you need, and are ready for it) a confirmation and validation (from the Creator of all that you are… from Life) that you are BE-ing that unique and particularly special individual, that you are equipped (by nature, inclination, and experience) to… BE. This is, I promise you, My Dear Friend, the greatest reward that can possibly be imagined. To know that you are living in harmony with the intention of your Creator in the world that is your daily walk. And it is to the encouragement, endorsement, and enabling of you, in your personal pilgrimage, that I am committed… as I remain;

Your constant Friend and unwavering Servant,

Posted by Picasa IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Your Voice

What I have to say is of no great importance.

My motivation is to encourage you to give respect to what you have to say.

What you have to say to yourself...

being the first and undoubtedly most important.

Then, with due respect given your own inner voice,

what you have to say to that world that Life has surrounded you with.

My desire is to awaken your voice.

“Hey! I think that too.”

Is what I hope to hear you say.

Or even “No way!”

Posted by Picasa IMAGES (top to bottom) First three: Jon Sullivan,; Fourth: My Sweet Italian Daughter

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"A Gentleman's Fantasy"

Alone in my solitary chamber...
I bring the day to its conclusion,
To the strains of a lovely melody.

I am waltzing with you…
You, positioning yourself...
Not with your waist against my hand...

But, instead, I am holding you in place...
With your head slightly cradled against my palm.

And as you execute a turn,
Your neck turns against my open hand.

Allowing, with each revolution
Our eyes to acknowledge each other.

An altogether appropriate response.
As my spirit immerses itself in a tune
Entitled “A Gentleman’s Fantasy.”


Posted by Picasa IMAGE original source unknown

Monday, August 07, 2006


There are, among us, those who insist that theirs is a better way to perceive life. We have all had various individuals represented to us as someone who “sees the glass as half-empty” versus the one who “sees the glass as half-full.” And, invariably, the one who is representing the particular “Glass Perceiver” is doing so with his or her own favorable or unfavorable bias.

Please allow me to suggest a somewhat different take on the matter. I would first offer that both the Glass/Empty and the Glass/Full present potential perils absent in the Glass/ Half-Empty… Glass/ Half-Full. For both the Half-Empty and/or Half-Full Glass offer an equal advantage over both the glass filled too the brim and the glass dry to the bottom. The glasses in a one-half state are both quite safe and benign in their freedom from either the threat of drowning in excess… or death by want. And, in so doing, once again bear testimony to the prudence of moderation. Which should allow both the “half-full” thinkers and the “half-empty” thinkers comfort with both their own and the other’s perspectives.

There… you see? Though admittedly silly… we have again shown that there is always a way to accept each other.

John-Michael/ 17 Sept 2004

Posted by Picasa IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Loving You

I love you because I have consciously willed myself to succumb to my innate inclination to love you.

I could have denied myself this love with the implementation of any of a myriad of mechanisms including reason, logic, sensibility, rationale, normalcies, and standards.

Yet, I have opted to cast my lot with the leading of love.

Love alone... without reinforcement, endorsement, or license… in and of itself only.

I cannot describe this love to the world about me for it is governed, in its perceptions and understandings, by the constraints of all of the aforementioned mechanisms;

rendering it deaf to the music that I dance to;

blind to the beauty that surrounds me;

and incapable of feeling the stimulation of all that energizes me.

So today I live in the ‘otherworldliness’ of this all-transcending experience that is my love for you…

for you are my world (not geography nor physical structures)…

you are my life (not titles, organizations, roles, nor labels.)

You are Life’s gift to me…

and I am, of all men, most blessed.

Dear Reader,
Lest you wonder, in reading the preceding text, the identity of the subject of the writing… please allow me to clarify. The subject is, in all likelihood, you. For, my dear friend, this love expressed is not confined by boundaries of geography, availability, physical interaction or even familiarity of usual description. It has been my pleasure to learn through exercise of my willingness, that love for you is available for the simple acceptance of it. ; I can, therefore, at this moment, know genuine, unbounded, and conditionless love for you as a gift from Life. I bid you “Welcome” to this experience.

Posted by Picasa IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Friday, August 04, 2006

"I Found My Dad"

“I would have settled… but I found my Dad and you wouldn’t let me settle.” I have never heard more precious words uttered in all of my life. To say that I was touched, moved, and quieted with a sense of awe would be a feeble effort in describing my emotion when I received her words. Life has given me ‘children’ to love, nurture, respect, and encourage. She is a daughter to make the heart of any dad swell with pride. Her father made the conscious choice, even before her birth, to not be her dad. I have learned, over the years, that fatherhood is one thing… being Dad, quite another.

Painful experience has taught me that a dad/child relationship is hinged upon the willing choice of both participants to engage in the experience… fatherhood, of course, does not offer the option of exercise of will for its relationship to be established. One is a genetic given, the other a free will election made by both participants. Having lost my “Dadhood” with my daughter by birth as the result of her choice, I am aware of the tangible reality of this truth. Likewise, enjoying free-will inclusion into the lives of several special people (brought to my life by Life) who now know and address me as “Dad”, has brought to my life the reality of the fruitful workings of that responsibility and blessing.

Hence, I had occasion to be discussing (actually… I was listening to the effervescing of a heart erupting with volcanic joy and ecstasy) my Life-Daughter’s newly discovered love. We were reflecting on the pressures brought to bear, by all of life’s forces, to just simply “sell out” our yearnings and deepest desires in favor of “settling” and accepting something far less than the ideal romantic vision of our hearts. It was at this point in our conversation that she voiced the words quoted earlier. “I would have settled… but I found my Dad and you wouldn’t let me settle.”

So why do I share this little bit of personal experience with you, Dear Friend? Perhaps because I know that you too are beset daily, even hourly, with the pressure to “simply settle” for something less than your desire.

And I offer this small (in the universally cosmic scheme of things… but monumental in the lives of the individuals involved) illustration of eminent possibility as an encouragement to (in the words of the scriptures) “wait upon [Life]”… “Be still and know.” If you have the option at your disposal to either move ahead with less or wait for more… please grant me the grace to offer my humble suggestion that you hasten not, but allow Life to bring to you that which your heart desires. It can happen… My Daughter now knows!

Posted by Picasa IMAGES (top to bottom) Tony Harwood-Jones and Ariel; Earl and Perry Robinson from Fathers and Sons; Fatherson; Father and Son Fish
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Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.