Thursday, July 26, 2007


“Why must I learn Patience?”
I asked of Life.

“Hold that thought …”
Life responded,
“… and I will get back to you.”

IMAGES: (upper) Science Daily, (lower) University of Leicester

Monday, July 23, 2007

Write a Caption

We do hope that no one remembers that you were, at one time, part of us.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


LIMITS, parameters, bounds, outer limits, confines, extremities, barriers, thresholds.
Thesaurus of ENGLISH

It seems to me that what we seek in a relationship with another is in radical opposition to the concepts encapsulated in consideration of personal boundaries. I am hearing, more and more frequently, a call for the establishment of individual boundaries … and this in discussions centered on promoting a rewarding relationship. Please forgive my simplistic reasoning here … but isn’t that somehow akin to the building of fortifications as a form of creating closer neighbors? Are boundaries not a form of protective structures with the express purpose of staving off unwanted attention, advances, or intrusions? If so, then how, in the world of reason, can we hope to create, build, and enhance oneness with another when we are focused on constructing systems, methods, and predispositions designed to limit or exclude that other from sharing a life experience with us?

And this thinking is not limited to interpersonal relationships. There are the same sort of conflicts in philosophy being dealt with, at this very moment , by nations, communities, and organizations who are desiring the benefits of unbounded commonality … whilst clinging to ethnic, national, religious, or ideological singularities that are threatened by those very wishes for a more embracing unity. Automobile makers want to offer special qualities inherent to another particular brand of car … so they buy that unique company with the intention of enhancing the depth and range of the parent company’s portfolio. But they then find that by maintaining the identity and character of the acquired brand, they, as a parent concern, cannot integrate the new acquisition into the “family” of existing systems, methods, and philosophies that form the character of the owning organization. The European Union is an openly obvious illustration of a diverse group of individual entities wishing to enjoy the familiarities, conveniences, and economies of a single statehood … but struggles, even as we speak, with the desires, of each participating nation, to maintain their selected and chosen boundaries in a variety of particular considerations. So, My Dear Reader, this conflict between desires and intentions is not something particular to nor unique to your present struggles in your interpersonal interactions. So … what to do?

If I may be so bold as to reduce an infinitely complex set of considerations to a childishly simple scale … allow me to offer this “lens” through which we may see a manageable perspective. First … clear the “table” of all of the conflicting elements. Then … place on that table of consideration the one single, lone, and overriding desire that motivates us to engage in the exercise. Simply put … “What do we want?” But only in one short sentence … even better … one word. No embellishments. No amendments. No ancillary addendums. The one single, primary desire. Now … anything else to be considered must be weighed against its enhancement of … or diminution of our core desire. This is not hypothetical. Do it now! Take a moment ... or many moments ... and "know thyself."

It is a well-established fact that all personality/temperament types have, as aspects of their natural make-up, specific sets of inclinations and preferences. As example … some thrive on constant intimacy whilst others find intimacy to be something best “taken from the shelf” only on occasions deemed appropriate and timely. Therefore, we are best served by recognizing our individual propensities, and those particular to those with whom we wish to live comfortably, when seeking some state of harmony between what we have elected to place at the center of our table of choices, and what is the choice of those who occupy places of significance in our world. If our desire is for intimacy and theirs is for autonomy, it is pre-ordained that we will be engaged in a constant effort to tear down barriers and boundaries that are being hastily constructed and reinforced by the other as they attempt to protect their “space.” A situation that, obviously, holds little promise for a relaxed and enjoyable relationship.

How many times, over my lifetime, have I heard one spouse relate their frustration with their attempts to engage their mate in a desired activity only to be met, repeatedly (and often for many, many years of repetition), with rejection and even occasional hostility. Something that could have been easily dealt with if only they stopped … set aside all of the accumulated detritus of experiences wasted … and shared with each other their single and central desire. From which they would be able to agree to accommodations that would support each others’ wishes. (The underlying conflict could, of course, have been avoided if only they had taken the requisite “moment” to be still … and look rationally at themselves prior to binding themselves in the constrictions of an ill-fitting commitment.) But ongoing warfare and conflict can … and often does, become a comfortable state of unhappy being. Far too often preferred to that fearsome and dreaded (by individuals, nations, organizations, and groups alike) savior … communication. (A saving mechanism usually avoided with the excuse that we want to “avoid conflict.” How bogus is that?!)

All of this having been said, I offer you this. If you exercise the rational good sense to avoid a hostile environment … you will need little thought of establishing protective, defensive boundaries. If you find that your energies are being depleted in constant efforts to establish and reinforce boundaries … perhaps you are in need of … relocating. A habitat that compliments and supports your desires needs no fortifications … only more avenues for the importation of beneficial experiences.

I thank you for your indulgence and patient consideration of my little ideas and perspectives … and for your continued hospitality and gracious kindness. As I remain, Your constantly loving Friend and willing Servant.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Love Given

Giving someone all your love is giving a gift …
never an assurance that they'll love you back!

Don't expect love in return …
for a gift freely given has no expectations.

Just wait … and, perhaps, Love will grow in their heart.

But if it doesn't … be content with its growth in yours.

I regret that I did not make note of the source of this IMAGE ... If you know it, please let me know, and I will gladly credit the source.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Making Love to My World

A dear Friend, Ray, an elderly gentleman who I noticed as he walked silently by (week after week… going about his business in a dignified, stately, and private manner), made an impression on my Spirit, with the beauty of his Spirit. “Please forgive my intrusion, My Friend” I said with a hand raised in a ‘please stop’ gesture, “but I am compelled to tell you that your eyes, your comportment, the very countenance of you, all speak together to say that the man behind all is a man of worthy and noble character. I want you to know that your regular passing of this spot, where I sit, has blessed me and made my world a better place for your presence in it.”

Ray (being a very shy and introverted man) blushed with this extremely out-of –the-ordinary declaration and thanked me. “You are quite welcome” was my simple reply and I immediately returned my attention to the work that was before me so that he would feel no requirement for further engagement. This “sense it, say it, leave it” (my words…not his) methodology was gleaned from the teachings of Leo Buscaglia, a Teacher, Lecturer, and Motivator of the mid-to-late 1900’s. The key elements, as taught by him, were to ask (and by the asking make clear your respect for and appreciation of the ‘space’ of the other) for “forgiveness for the intrusion.” Then, after your message has been stated, remove yourself straightway to make clear the absence of any hidden agenda, thereby giving a complete sense of safety to the individual upon whom you have just intruded.

Ray and I, over time, became quite good Friends. And it was on one of our more lengthy visits (which, with Ray, were hardly more than fifteen minutes… [for him constituting something of a marathon of dialog]) that he and I had the following exchange. “John-Michael, I have to tell you that I envy the frequent and varied relationships that you seem to enjoy. I am so shy and retiring that I could never be as open and free with myself as you are. It is clear that you do genuinely love all of these people with whom I see you interacting and they, you, in return. That is something that I must say that I do envy.” “Ray, My Dear Friend, I make love to all of the world around me every moment of every day. But, Ray, you speak of the glory and warmth of your relationship with your wife who you clearly adore and by your comments, make clear, to any observer, the fact that she participates equally in her adoration of you. You go home, after witnessing my daily love-fest with life, to her and immerse yourself in the totality of that love. I go home alone. Ray… I envy you.”

“Making love to life” is the most accurate portrayal of my living. The intimate engagement in the most compelling of life’s elements … the core of life (for want of a better term) … is the level at which I sense, acknowledge, and respond to my world. I take no notice of roles or titles for I have played many roles in business, religion, society, and family … and have done so wearing the many varied ‘hats’ appropriate to the roles (and did it all quite well and even to the laudation of each relevant world). And, in the doing, I learned the temporal nature of such things … passing; for the moment; and then to be gone as though never there. But love, whether revealed in unspoken, distant appreciation or intimate exchange for the briefest or more prolonged engagement … is forever.

I am simultaneously saddened and challenged by the climate of today’s social, political, religious, and cultural atmosphere. Anger, vehemence, criticism, castigation, condemnation, confrontation, and refusal to respect, appreciate, or even consider the perspective of another is the comfortably accepted norm. I simply cannot participate in (what I consider) this sickness. The twisting of the soul of a participant is the price-tag for involvement that I would rescue all within my domain from paying. I have chosen to demonstrate the satisfactions, joys, happiness, and comfort of embracing others in the exercise of admiration, recognition, appreciation, adulation, and yes, even love.

This choice of behavior is not without pitfalls. I have found no models after which I may follow. There are, to my knowledge, no systems for the practice of such behavior that would have all potential misunderstandings and miscues worked out. I, therefore, find myself blazing a new trail with all of the elements of risk and even danger befitting such an adventure. But the quest is far and away worth the scrapes and bruises encountered along the way. I can endure the passing looks of skepticism, doubt, uncertainty, and even rejection encountered with extreme rarity amongst the more frequent and almost constant smiles of appreciation, satisfaction, enjoyment, and even surprised delight that my behavior evokes. This is “making love to my world” as I am called by the conviction of my heart to practice it.

(originally penned, 2004)

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Childishly Silly

I am daily deleting all of the several newspapers from around the world that I currently subscribe to. I simply can not bear any more heart rending input. My emotions are frazzled and worn to depletion. But I do check in on the "pictures" section of the BBC News site. For I often find images that inspire and/or lighten my spirit. Here is one, from the Associated Press, that triggered a childishly silly caption in my mind ... I do enjoy Childishly Silly!

"Crow, Crow, Crow Your Boat ... "

I know ... it's REALLY BAD! ... (but it DID make you smile)


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Our Brothers' Message

A 60's era Marine does not fail a present-era Marine's request. Hence (with my thanks to Elaine for passing the message along), here is a message from 1st Sgt Dave Jobe, Baker Company, USMC, now serving in the only remaining Marine Infantry Battalion still serving in Iraq. "Semper Fi"

The proud warriors of Baker Company wanted to do something to pay tribute to our fallen comrades.

So since we are part of the only Marine Infantry Battalion left in Iraq the one way that we could think of doing that is by taking a picture of Baker Company saying the way we feel.

It would be awesome if you could find a way to share this with our fellow countrymen. I was wondering if there was any way to get this into your papers to let the world know that "WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN" and are proud to serve our country.

"Semper Fi”

1stSgt Dave Jobe

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Path

Oh yes! There are, indeed, storms.
Storms in fact … Storms of perception … Storms threatened.
All are equally real … all are part of the environment of my life.

No … none! For they are each under control.
Each playing a roll and fulfilling a purpose beyond my need to know.
And I am comfortable traveling this … my road … in their company.

For I know Whom I have believed … and am persuaded that He is able …
To keep all that I have committed unto Him … against all eventualities.
And my reward is my awareness of the beauty that encompasses my path.

(04 July 2007)

IMAGE source is unknown

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Prudent Dormancy

We were discussing the wonder and perfection of Nature’s design … my good Friend and Landlady, Carol, and I … as we contemplated the dried and withered stalks of a fern showing the effects of a hot summer’s sun, and the lack of rain to replenish the moisture baked away. “But I know that as soon as we have a good rain, it will bounce right back” she said. I commented on the marvel of the system that closes down the plant’s exposure to the sun by withering the branches to only the surfaces appropriate to balance what is available from the root supply. When there is adequate supply of moisture and nutrients from the root system … the branches are encouraged to expand and spread a greater surface to the sun’s rays. But as soon as the resources available through the roots is diminished, the branches and leaves wither and reduce the demands on the plant.

I was reminded of a wonderful orange tree that I planted many years ago. It was a Honey Murcott variety of orange tree. I remember being told by the nursery owner that the tree would produce a fruit that could be expected to be of exceptional sweetness and that the tree was inclined to provide a prodigious supply of the sweet product. And, surely enough, in the first year that the tree produced fruit, the limbs were so laden with oranges that the branches were not capable of supporting the weight of what they bore. I remember placing boards under them to lessen the stress of the heavy load. I watered frequently and marveled at how uniquely flavored the delicious oranges were when ripe.

Then the tree died. I was bewildered and returned to, and sought an answer from, the nursery-man. “It over-produced itself” he said. “You should have lessened the demands on the tree by pruning away most of the buds before they began to form into fruit . By allowing all of the buds to develop, you stressed the tree and it could not maintain the demands placed on it. It may have looked magnificent for that short while … but without a balance between its root system, the delivery system of trunk and branches and leaves, and the fruit … the plant can not live. It is commonly known as ‘Murcott Collapse.‘ And, as you have seen … the plant can produce itself to death.”

And this was my recollection as I went about my work this morning. This is how we function. This is a perfect illustration of the nature of the forces at play in all of our lives in every moment of every day of our lives. While we do, indeed, all produce a widely varying assortment of “fruits” or “blossoms”, if you will … and some of us are of the “Murcott” variety that is inclined to over-produce … we are all similarly governed by an internal mechanism that requires that we produce in quantities that are in balance with our abilities to support the production. And when our supply of supporting “nutrients” is reduced by periodic “droughts” in physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental supply … it is a very prudent thing to do to allow ourselves to appropriately withdraw our “exposure” and “wither” a bit commensurate with our lessened resources. Perhaps, a period of “prudent dormancy.“ We can look to even the demandingly competitive and aggressive world of sport, and see that every sporting endeavor has some provision for a “time out” that allows for recuperation, restoration, and rejuvenation. So it is in this “game” of life.

So, My Dearest of Friends and Readers, I bid you glorious moments of celebration of bountiful harvests of fruits of your labours and efforts. I encourage you to bask in all of the breathtaking beauty of all of the bouquets of fragrant blossoms that your love, care, and affection have showered upon your personal world. And I counsel you to be ever mindful of the needs of … The Plant. That plant is (of course) You. I ask that you heed the lessons given us by Nature as you, please, give care to a healthy balance of … Who you are … What is available to sustain you … And what is expected of you (by yourself as well as others.) It is a wise and worthy thing to take a moment to give consideration to what your comfortable capabilities are in the present moment. It is prudent and sensible to survey your physical, spiritual, and emotional resources and contemplate how they can be best combined with your present capabilities for the most appropriate efforts. And then … and only then … give thought to what will be the produce of your Being who you are in this state of a healthy, balanced, and comfortable Self. And please remember (with Me) … it benefits no one … neither others, nor ourselves … if we produce a magnificent harvest … only to “produce ourselves to death.”

And I will be always here … encouraging, applauding, sometimes ‘pruning’, and always loving You. As I remain, your constant Friend and Servant.
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