Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hidden Spirits

“How do you lift spirits that are hiding and refusing to come out?”

This is the question directed to me by a new acquaintance last week. And, before I could respond, the person initiating the question informed me that they had decided to retreat behind the walls of their familiar fortress of sarcasm and feign indifference to the matter.

I am left, therefore, to offer an answer to the question, posed in a moment of fleeting openness, and hope that even if that person does not choose to consider it … perhaps Life has someone else at a point of readiness or need for this thought. For, I readily recall that on more than one instance, in my own life, the same perplexing query challenged my mind. So, I ask that you consider, with me, the possibilities in this idea.

For, My Dear Friend, the answer to why we have some aspect of our Self “hiding” and not allowing our conscious awareness to address it … just may simply be … Fear. That’s right … we do indeed hide parts of ourselves away from the dangers of ridicule, rejection, disapproval, and belittlement. And, unfortunately, the source of all of those negative responses is, all too often, ourselves. So we are saving ourselves the perceived possibly of conflict with ourselves … as well as all of the world round about us. Which leaves us still with the question … “What to do?”

The easy (yes … it can, indeed, be easy) answer is … create an environment that will be supportive, respectful, and honoring of all elements of our particular and individual inclinations, appetites, opinions, and persuasions. Generate a space, in thought and in practice, that validates the innate worth of that “spirit” that is seeking the shelter and protection of concealment. Accept and then rest in the knowledge that every element of each of us has merit. And should be treated with dignity and respect (whether it is socially, politically, or culturally “correct”, or not.)

To the rescue; Dr. Edwin O. Timmons of L.S.U. (Louisiana State University.) Now settle back a bit and consider, with me, what Dr. Timmons had to offer. He illustrated this conflict between the all-inclusive ME and the ME that I allow myself to acknowledge, and make known to others… as an ONION. That’s right, your garden variety vegetable (or whatever an onion is.) It was his idea that if we were to chart a description of our natural Creator-given traits and connected the points on that chart with a line we would have our true inner selves represented by what he called “our inner zigzag.” Pretty high-tech stuff huh? Bear with us now, it gets better, I promise. Let’s suppose that when we first make some expression of our little “zigzag” our expression is met (probably by Mommy) with some form of rejection or reproof “no, no, mustn’t do that…” We, for the first time in our fledgling experience, modify our behavior to avoid conflict or gain acceptance and/or approval. This “layer of behavior” Dr. Timmons referred to as an “onionskin” of behavior put in place to protect our ever-sensitive “zigzag.” That “spirit” that we hide away behind our protective “onionskins.”

Over the years of our lives, we develop, through countless experiences with innumerable persons in myriad circumstances, an infinite number of these layers of behaviors that insulate our inner-selves from any chance of hurt to ourselves or offense to others to whom we feel responsible. So what my friends recognized as ME … and I permit myself to accept an awareness of … was the carefully accumulated “onion” that I, with the best of intent, had painstakingly surrounded my fragile inner spirit-self with. This is what I give license to be perceived from without.

Now … with this insight, perhaps we can relax a bit, and put out a “welcome mat” for those aspects of our Being that have been, heretofore, so painfully repressed. “It’s all cool!” we can tell ourselves, “All that I am is valuable and worthy of my acceptance, respect, and yes, even celebration. And I will accept nothing less from those who would be my life companions. What I am, and who I am is my gift from the Creator. And I am grateful.”

With my sincere gratitude to the One who sent that original question to me … and my loving desire for those who may benefit from this little insight to find something of use in my expression … I bid you, Dear Reader, all kindness and happiness as we walk this life-path together.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I share my celebration of my brother, Steven, with you today. For, you see, he is an embodiment, of this poem, who I appreciate an intimate knowledge of. And, in knowing him, I know a pleasure and delight that makes my life richer and happier.

(author unknown)

To touch the Cup with eager lips and taste, not drain it;
To woo and tempt and court a Bliss … and not attain it;
To fondle and caress a Joy, yet hold it lightly,
Lest it become a necessity and cling too tightly;
To watch the sun set in the west without regretting;
To hail its advent in the east … the night forgetting;
To smother care in happiness and grief in laughter;
To hold the present close … not questioning hereafter;
To have enough to share … to know the joy of giving;
To thrill with all the sweets of life … is living.

IMAGE Steve Rannie (viewer), BBC News

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

View of Life

Some call it a “Romantic” view of life. They insist that to see the beauty, to hear the harmonies, to feel the gentleness and opt for kindness is to be “unrealistic” in perspective.
Their argument would have us devalue the very real presence of life’s best. But alas, Dear Friend, for us to adhere to what is proclaimed by news media, public forum, and religious rantings as the “factual” and deny the always-present good and lovely … is to harden our Spirit’s ability to respond to the elements of living that nurture, encourage, stimulate, and enliven its existence.

I choose (and it is, My Friend, a matter of individual choice) to embrace every small moment of joy … to proclaim the merits of all that is beautiful …
to encourage and celebrate each act of kindness, thoughtfulness, loving generosity, and selflessness that I am aware of … to all of the world that is so starved for hope, happiness, peace, and loveliness.

Does this mean that this old Romantic is oblivious to the overabundance of mean, unkind, greedy, ugly, and even evil forces and influences that are a constant presence all about us all? Certainly not, Dear One! All of those aspects of life on this ever-shrinking globe are options that constantly clamor for my focus … but I choose to protect my soul from the excessive pain, discomfort, and agony that would accompany my opening of my Self to their influence.
Again, it is a matter of disciplined election.

So, in keeping with that understanding, I send these hope-filled, spirit-stirring, and deliciously inviting images to your Soul and Spirit today.
Because I do, indeed, love You … and am committed to contributing all that I can, to a joyful and peaceful Today … for You.

These IMAGES through the gracious courtesies of Ian Britton (upper and lower images),; and Jon Sullivan (center 2 images),

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beneath the Surface

As you begin this new week ... please allow me to challenge you to slow yourself ... take a healthy, cleansing breath ... and go just a bit beneath the surface of the experiences offered to you by Life this week.
For, My Dear Reader, I promise you that there is beauty and exquisite wonder beneath that superficial conversation ... that surface phone call ... that exchange with co-worker, family member, neighbor, or friend. If you will but simply relax for a moment ... and permit yourself to drift with the current of the instant and discover the wonder that lies just beneath the surface of your life's fleeting happenings.

I am anxious to hear, from You, about the treasures that you find as you enjoy this exercise.

These IMAGES are from the BBC's presentation of winners of a photo competition sponsored by the conservation group Reef Check … celebrating special life forms found on Australia’s coral reefs. The UPPER IMAGE is by John Natoli, and the LOWER IMAGE by Justin Gilligan

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Those Who Are Wronged

Whilst reading one of my favorite writers (Ken Follett) today, I came across an intriguing paradox that had the 'ring' of a quotation. I was impressed enough to search for the source ... and though I find the thought expressed by several ... none is attributed. It matters not ... for I have my own preference in stating the idea.

So, Dear Reader, whilst you enjoy this image gleaned from Jon Sullivan's travels to Ireland, I offer my perspective on the paradoxical idea gleaned from my reading. I ask that you consider, with me, the behaviors of those who have treated us shabbily ... and now act as though we have caused them some offense as victims of their misbehavior. I smile in rueful recognition. (enjoy the image!)
Those who are wronged … are never forgiven.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Friday, October 05, 2007


When the self-induced demands for more energies ... to apply to even more passion
generated needs …

Find themselves echoing off of the walls of my ‘resource well’, drained dry by my spent focus on more cries for caring than I can give Myself to …

I have learned (through the curriculum of painful and expensive experience) that I can find respite …

In Life’s littlest of romances.

One of my favorites is the romance that is generated by the presence of the humble Lady Bug.

I can find release and renewal in the unimposing and simple innocence of this tiny creature

Its beauty and honesty … free of any demands, expectations, requirements, or encumbrance …

Lightens my Soul’s burden … brightens my path … and encourages my Spirit … just by its mere existence.

So, My darling DM, and others of You who have had your ‘plate’ of Life loaded to overflowing this week …
Please accept this, my gift of a moment of tranquil serenity, as an expression of my loving appreciation of You and gratitude for the marvelous gift of this most-insignificantly wondrous of Life’s miniscule creations … These sweet little … Lady Bugs.

IMAGES (top to bottom) Kidzcraftz; PlanetNatural; Franklin; gtotem; St Michael's Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers
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