Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Returning to MY CAFE (A metaphor for My Life)

As I sit here…at my table on the sidewalk of this modest little ‘cafĂ©’ that is my life…I read, I listen, I observe, I feel, I think (a lot), and people pass by.

Occasionally, someone will wave a “Hello” to which I respond appropriately. At some times, an individual will stop by and chat.

There are moments when someone will pass by in traffic and speak through their open window or even pull over for a moment in the temporary “Load/Unload Zone” and visit at greater length. Rarely, a chair will be pulled out and occupied for an extended time and we will speak of deeper and fuller things.

All the while, the world passes by… doing all of the things that need to be done and going to all the places that require going to… while I can be counted on… even want, more than almost anything, to be counted on… to be in my spot for whatever kind of invitation is deemed necessary by whomever deems it so. And I am delighted to be there for each and every one.

What I yearn for is someone to share my table with… permanently. Enjoying the sights, sounds, fragrances, pains, joys, and events that visit our place. Happy to be with me… of me… in me… and never jealous, resentful, or envious of the complete focus that I give as my loving gift to whomever requires a part of me. This I yearn for hourly.

[I note here the fact that this "Revisited" article was originally posted 14April2006. I present it, again, to allow new readers to have this perspective and insight... that they may know me better. JMB]

(IMAGE: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Monday, January 29, 2007

As I / You See It

Have you ever had the sense that "they just don't seem to be able to see it my way!" ? Do you know the frustrations accompanying the awareness that your very best presentation is slipping down impenetrable walls of incomprehension? Are the words "we seem to be speaking a language foreign to you" familiar? Please allow me to offer a glimpse behind the "curtain of frustration" that may be obscuring your vision of what is occurring.

All recollections of my schooling history have, as their accompanying background theme, the anxiety of falling behind. There began, from the outset of everything presented for assimilation, a sense of impending confusion to be followed by frustration and fruitless effort. I always had an awareness that, if I could somehow grasp the concept being introduced, I could master almost anything. (I later learned that I am a “spatial, concept learner” as opposed to the majority who are “concrete, data oriented learners.)” What created the tension that haunted me until my fourth decade of living, was the hourglass of opportunity quickly draining away those moments for seizing that subject’s ‘picture’ as soon as the subject was presented. All of education became an intense race to grasp every concept as quickly as possible lest I fall behind and lose any opportunity to keep pace with the class as new data was constantly being issued. I began to understand the dynamics of this life-long challenge through the prism of being a father responsibility for mitigating my Son’s challenges with cerebral palsy.

At his earliest sessions with therapist/educators, my son was presented with various exercises designed to determine his right/left-hand dominance. When I queried the professionals as to the significance of this determination, I was told that the dominant hemisphere of the brain determined how information was introduced to the brain for processing. This was my first exposure to a working use of what I had heard previously referred to in casual conversational terms as “Right Brain/Left Brain Dominance. Now I was being told that there was an actual and functional reality to what had seemed before to be a personality quirk. What made my son’s situation even more vexing was the obvious lack of communication between the two hemispheres of his brain. Quite literally, his left hand did not know what his right hand was doing. Upon moving an object or task from in front of his right eye to a position in front of his left eye… there was a distinct pause… as if his brain was saying “Hey now! What’s this?” So, there existed a clearly distinct separation of input mechanisms for his brain.

So, to what end does this little story serve you, My Dear Reader? I ask you to consider the reality that there are… all about you and in contact with you in every instance of human contact in your life… individuals who are taking in “the stuff of life”… that is, life’s data, circumstances, information, and experiences… through their own filter of brain function. They may “see” life through a dominant hemisphere that is strongly data inclined… the “just the facts please!” sort of functioning. These folk are the majority of life’s population (75+%). Or they may be of the minority group who must “see” the “picture” before being able to insert the details of the situational “puzzle.” Most likely, they are adept (to widely varying degrees) at having both hemispheres of their brain trained to share in the “input filtering.”

“Is this real?” you may ask. “Absolutely!” I can attest. For, from the earliest awareness of my son’s impending life of frustration, anxiety, and exhausting discouraging efforts (remember my earliest recollections), I charged myself (without an expressed understanding of all that was entailed and/or what would be involved in the quest) to saving my son from the loneliness that I had lived my life in as a person struggling with life in a world that marched to a far different set of drummers (and has little, if any, tolerance for anyone hearing a drummer of differing cadence.) I, therefore, made it a constant point of awareness for me to alert his brain to what was happening in every moment through playful gestures and comments that would ask his non-functioning hemisphere to join the game afoot with “Hello there eye (knowing that each eye is controlled by a separate hemisphere)… wake up! There is something good being said… or being done… or to be enjoyed here.” Over the years (he is now over thirty years old) of games, and challenges (“Did you see that? [something well to the side extreme] Or that? (something to the opposite extreme.)”, he has strengthen and reinforced those perceptual skills to the degree that most people interacting with him are unaware of any difficulties.

And, Dear Friend, I extrapolate from these years of learning how our individual personalities and temperaments not only take in life’s offerings but process, express, and live with those elements in a beautifully wide spectrum of differing ways. The experience reinforced truth that we have, for our individual election, the option to embrace the tapestry of intricately woven opinions, perceptions, contributions, and abilities offered by all of those with whom we share this planet… if only we will accept, respect, embrace, honor, and celebrate our wondrously created diversity. I have seen the beauty of the emergence of a happy, well-adjusted, socially comfortable, and loving young man who is my son… partly because he learned to accept his unique challenges and (with some humor) make compensations for the given elements of… himself. He is a living microcosm of what we as a world can be... if we will but opt to.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

True Measure

I have recently been confronted with situations in which seemingly adult individuals have behaved in a way that brings to question the maturity and/or development of their character. Just yesterday, it took all of the effort that I could muster to avoid confronting a man (well past mid-life in years) with the little maxim that I share with you today. (It played over and over in my mind as I listened to him throw his temper tantrum over a totally insignificant issue.) Here 'tis for your own use and reference.

"The truest measure of a man's character is...

the size of what it takes to upset him."

IMAGE: SONY Pictures

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"The Rainy Day"

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

… And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

… And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,

… Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

IMAGES (Rainy Days) through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Living This Moment

When the Instructor had himself situated in front of the waiting class, he looked over the group and asked for a show of hands in response to this question; “Who, among you, has either implemented or made an attempt to implement all that we have discussed in our sessions up to this one today?” Finding himself want of so much as a single hand raised amongst the group, he continued “It is obvious then, that we are in need of no new instruction, inasmuch as you have not made use of what has been given thus far.” He then made a deliberate step back from the rostrum and looked out at us… silently. His lesson for that day was satisfactorily communicated. Every member of the class had his or her own personal indictment. We had been accumulating a prodigious quantity of information… to no beneficial end.

On another occasion, and from another instructor, I was handed a tool that has proved invaluable, over the course of many passed years, in the business of living. This instructor simply asked “Is what you are doing emotional tension relieving… or is it primary purpose achieving?” We were then asked to reflect on our daily activities and determine if there had been any times when we found ourselves “tidying up” the clutter of our desks or workspaces in the guise of making ourselves ready to work more efficiently… when the truth was that we were merely practicing an avoidance of some task of primary importance that seemed daunting, unpleasant, challenging, or some combination of any of those. Were we doing what relieved the emotional tension created by some visual or circumstantial clutter while hiding from the demands of those things that required our attention for meaningful purposes? And did we then, at end of the day, find ourselves wearied by a day of activity spent in “busy work” … still facing the now-larger (for want of timely attention) monster that had intimidated us away from addressing it?

Yes, My Dear Reader, I do know something of the barriers to moving ahead that we all must contend with. Yes, I do understand the debilitating power of fear. I am intimately familiar with the force of scale when perceiving myself as the ‘David’ of mere mortal abilities confronting the ‘Giants’ of life’s challenges. So my heart was ready and receptive when I discovered the teachings of Ann Kiemel as she presented examples of her own life walk. Thus, when she repeatedly spoke of the times that she presented herself to settings that required more of her than she and the attendees of the moment thought possible, she had taught herself the power of the truth in her well-practiced declaration “I am just a small person in a great big world… but I have a giant of a God in me, and He, and I, and Love are changing my world… one day at a time… one challenge at a time… You just wait… you will see.” So impressed was I with this simple, honest, and direct approach to living the moment, that I found a way to contact this amazing young woman to express my appreciation for and admiration of her and her demonstration of the power available to us all. And I have incorporated her spirit’s freedom into my own ever since.

So, Dear Friend, I offer you this encouragement. You have all of the powers available to you that have, from the commencement of time, been available to anyone. So, let us, you and me, agree together to stop this business of “getting ready… to begin to prepare… to start… to live”… and simply LIVE! Ask yourself those questions… “Am I implementing what I already know?”… “Is what I am doing AT THIS MOMENT simply emotional tension relieving… or is it primarily purpose achieving?” Tension relieving or purpose achieving? “Am I changing my world with the combined forces of all of my spiritual and physical resources combined with the directional navigation of love… one day at a time… Nay!, one breath at a time… right now?”

(While this message was posted previously, there have been some recent situations/questions that beg a reprise of its thoughts. JMB)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Holiness... in the Ordinary"

"We live in a world of theophanies*.
Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary.
There are burning bushes all around you.
Every tree is full of angels.
Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.

Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels,
but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary...
by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure."

Macrina Wiederkehr

* “A visible manifestation to humankind of God or a god.”
New Oxford American Dictionary

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Matter of Focus

It appears to me to be a question of focus. Focus on you, or on me, or on “us.” I think (at this juncture) that those are the defining elements of any relationship. Where are you focused? Where am I focused? No other question is as critical to the definition of any association of parties. And, this world all around me makes me keenly aware of the results of unharmonious focus. Where you and I are both focused on you… we get along just fine… harmony… agreement. Where you and I agree to focus on me, we, again, have no conflict… hence harmony. (Sounds a bit like the “courtship game”… does it not?)

Where two have opted to demand focus on and prioritize different elements of their relationship (to the exclusion or minimalizing of those of their mate‘s), they… can (at their option)… be as destined to running aground, or crashing on life’s rocks as any ship being navigated by two separate navigators charting separate courses. This is, all too often, dealt with by living lives of “confrontation avoidance” that sail inefficiently around potential dissention hazards in a course that leads nowhere. Or… they …can (again, at their option)… accommodate those individual sets of priorities in the charting of a course of living that compliments both sets of intentions. All is well (but limited in comforts, possibilities, and pleasures) while we each maintain responsibility for the safe passage of our individual little one-person life-craft. But in choosing to unite our abilities and seek out deeper life-waters by launching a joint endeavor known as “Us”, we then choose to share in the navigational responsibilities of that larger vessel of a Relation-ship that we commit our mutual best hopes to.

It seems to me to be just that simple. Yet how complicated when considering the matter in our daily walk. So many voices urging us from so many divergent pulpits all declaring the righteousness of their ideology. How many books and television shows are making a healthy income from individuals selling their particular formula for satisfaction of this desire for a rewarding relationship? And we find ourselves just “trying to be happy” in our simplistic naivetĂ© and desire to experience a life of serene harmony (that we are hard-pressed to find demonstrated by any living soul in our personal world of awareness.)

I live with an insight painted across the canvass of my awareness. An illumination that is, by no means, a new revelation. A reminder of long known truth. And a sometimes-unpleasant reality. I am reminded (by the Author of all truth) of my role in the myriad relationships of my life (it is called “personal responsibility”)… youth to present… business relationships; religious relationships; community relationships; and yes (the most disappointing of all) personal relationships. My present states of personal aloneness; strained economic status; religious separateness; and social isolation will give ample testimony to my success in all of the aforementioned. Hence I can speak, with some degree of authority, on the subject of divergent focus in a relationship… of any kind. Yet, My Dear Friend, please be aware… these are all the result of my own conscious and willful election. I have chosen to Be… to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually Be that person that was specifically created to be who I am, with my focus where it is… as my own responsible and intentional determination. (But that knowledge does little to mitigate the occasional pain of solitary confinement… even though it is by choice.)

So, Dear One, I am telling you from a place of living truth… please be mindful of where your focus, in your life, is. I promise you that there are inescapable consequences to your election of focus. Pay heed to the focus of that organization with which you are affiliated. If it is your intent to remain with that group… ask yourself “Do we share the same focus?” Then determine, from that insight, what the likelihood of long-term harmony is for you there. And (yes… I know that your mind has already raced to the following applications ahead of my ability to type the words… but here it is) apply that same test to all of those people, places, and things that you are entertaining hopes or aspirations of being part of today… and in your tomorrows… and permit yourself the healthy and constructive examination of focus comparisons.

And… (I ask that you pay particular note here)… because there are social, familial, and economic imperatives that sometimes require our participation with those with whom we have divergent focuses on life matters… please mitigate the potential damage done to your spirit by these occasional associations with the implementation of some (or even one) providing positive and reinforcing support. Balance the damage with pleasures… the tears with laughter… strained and difficult relationships with those of acceptance, accommodation, and comfort.

Though I know that all of this can seem vague and somewhat generalized to the point of scattered… I also know that there are some for whom this perspective is exactly where they are in readiness… at this very moment. For you (if you are one of these), I offer this encouragement. If you are one for whom these considerations seem somewhat abstract and foggy, I offer this seed for your planting until such time as your life is ready to utilize its germination.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Revisiting Life's 'Sweet Shoppe' People

There are few places, in the course of our lives’ travels, where we enter in with the foreknowledge and predisposition that we are there for the express purpose of indulgent fun and pleasure. The Sweet Shop (also known as the “Candy Store” [or, equally, the Bakery]) is, without question, one of these special places. Even the anticipation accompanying the opening of that door brings a moment of giddy delight. Then, when I immerse myself in the surrounding sensory overload of fragrances, colors, shapes, and possibilities I find that I can be quite sated with just the experience of presence alone (though I, admittedly, never stop at that.)

And so it is with some of the “Sweet Shop People” in my life. These are individuals who stir a smile at even the notice of their name in my address book. A momentary consideration of all of the treats incumbent to their individuality brings a delight not unlike that momentary giddiness (yes, even in the soul of a crusty old relic like me) at the door of the Sweet Shop. And, then, in the environment that surrounds contact with them, I am brought to a completeness of satisfaction that begs neither activity, nor exchange beyond that gift of that visitation.

So it is that (as I listened to my quiet Inner Voice today), I heard a reminder of that treasure that is my life’s assortment of “Sweet Shop People.” And then, a sense of urgency to bring this thought to you, My Very Dear Reader. Take a look about you… spend a moment in reflection over that cup of coffee, or during that boring meeting or class (you didn’t hear it here), or with your own address book… and relish an appreciation of your own Sweet Shop People. Then give your heart license to respond to that appreciation in some way (a phone call: “I appreciate you”; a potted plant sent w/a note of appreciation; a passing squeeze of a shoulder or other gesture of acknowledgement.) Open your heart’s window of expression to the beautiful light of opportunity. Present a “Sweet Shop Moment” to that person.

Indulge your Soul’s “Sweet Tooth.”

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Voice

“All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie…
We must love one another or die.”
W. H. Auden (1907-73)

I needed to find My Voice. You know; the mechanism that responds to that question (common to us all)… “How do I communicate to those around me what I am feeling, what I understand to be true, what I yearn deeply for…without having them look at and listen to me as a complete FREAK.” I had already established the understanding that my Life Direction had to come from within (in response to the whispers of my own spirit)… with my compass settings to be determined by choices to benefit eternal (as opposed to temporal) accounts.

So, how does one find his or her “voice”? Where can we go to learn a way to express what we have seldom been able to whisper, even to ourselves, in moments of introspection? I had no one to go to for directions. Even if there had been a mentor figure (and who, pray tell, is so blessed) I am certain that I would have been incapable of framing the question. What does one ask?…”Excuse me, but I am in search of a voice, and wonder if you might have a recommendation?” No… the way seemed to be to listen to the voices around me…and sift out all of those incongruous to me (with an increasingly discriminating mesh) to single out that one, or combination, that comfortably sang my spirit’s song.

For my quest, I found two such voices. They sang different parts in life’s chorus, and they produced a harmony in which I, for the first time in my life, felt freedom to express myself.

The first was (and still remains, some thirty-plus years later) a treasure who stopped me cold in my tracks with the simplicity, candor, intimacy, and unadorned caring of her voice. This is a person whose audiocassette brought me (literally) to my knees in gratitude and admiration. I know that she would, today, be embarrassed with the simplicity and unrefined quality of that early message, but it was the perfect thing for me… right there and right then in my journey. Ann Kiemel’s “Hi, I’m Ann” was, and remains, one of the most momentous discoveries of my life. From that tape and the book with the same name, I discovered the spirit with which I could speak to my world… every day…in every circumstance… with each individually unique person… and maintain the integrity of my own soul’s purpose… to heal… to encourage… to minister. But Ann, as an attractive young woman, was not a figure who would be perceived in the same social context that I would be. Had I presented myself with the same vocal script that served her so well, I would have produced a completely different (and undoubtedly unacceptable) response. So I needed another thread, to weave with Ann’s, in the making of the fabric of my personal voice.

Then came the discovery of Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. From Leo, I learned the art of approach… address… and retreat. The language and manner of those elements, in caring and honest combination, allow me, almost daily, and sometimes frequently in a single day, to approach complete strangers with a message of how they have touched me in some specific and enhancing way. Let me give you an example.

It was one of those “The well is dry… I have nothing more to give… please leave me alone… EVERYBODY!” days. I intentionally chose a ‘Hamburger Joint’ that did little business (due to its bad location) to minimize the chance that I would have to interact with anyone. Upon entering the place, I was encouraged to find that there was only one customer, other than myself, there. This gentleman was a rather tall, robust, elderly fellow who moved through the traffic-control maze with a slow, stooped gait that reflected the wear of the years. In the quiet of the near-empty establishment, I could not help overhearing the gentleman presenting a well-worn copy of a cartoon to the order taker. This young girl was, quite clearly, not amused (not with the cartoon, being there, doing her job, or [at that moment in time], with life in general.) The gentleman was simply standing there… waiting…hoping to make some pleasant contact in his seemingly lonely world. What he was being met with was an irritated indifference… and my heart could not stand to witness his disappointment.

My very Dear Sir,” I addressed the note written on personalized note paper (I had gone out to my car and retrieved the very nice paper to make the impression that the gesture was worthy of care),Please accept this note of thanks and appreciation for your willingness to reach out in a world that often is not ready to accept reaching out. Your generosity in offering humor touched me and made my world a better place. I feel better because of you and salute you.Then I signed the notea fellow pilgrim,” added my name, and when the man went back for his free refill of beverage, placed the note on his tray and left the restaurant. Upon reaching my vehicle, I looked back and was instantly brought to tears of gratitude by the radiant smile and hearty salute sent to me by the man with a small note of encouragement and appreciation in his hand. We were two comrades joined in the quest to abolish indifference in our shared world. This was the expression of the “voice” given to me by Life. The intimacy learned from Ann Kiemel, expressed with the technique gleaned from Leo Buscaglia combined to give my soul its voice.

(This passage excerpted from a book in progress)

IMAGES: "His Master's Voice";
; "Burger Place"; Ian Britton,

Monday, January 15, 2007

Not SomeTHING... But SomeONE

"How many cares one loses

When one decides...

Not to be something...

But to be someone"

Coco Chanel

IMAGE: "Christina", By Martina Brandstetter, BBC News

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Revisiting an IDEALIST Neighborhood Card Shop

We Idealists are, if you will, the “Neighborhood Card Shop” of life’s market place. We do not offer the “essentials” of life… the lumber or nails… the motor oils… the bread or butter, nor the wine or cheese. We offer, instead, the reminders of the ideals that make all of the essentials worth their pursuit. Meat and potatoes we do not present… but we do offer the bouquet, the candles, the card that expresses the sentiment that we wish to convey over the fine dinner prepared from the meat and potatoes. We do not provide essential nutrients for the sustenance of the flesh... we offer the reminders of the spirit and soul, the emotion and desire that inspire the heart as well as the mind. We provide the ’soundtrack’ that adds dimension to the ’movie’ of life.

There are far fewer "Card Shops" than there are other merchants. There is good reason for their infrequency. Life’s day-to-day requirements have material need for far more of the providers of ‘essentials.’ It is also true that The Almighty created a fewer number of us Idealists in life’s mix.

I know my place. I do not offer myself as your provider of your day-to-day material essentials. But, My Dear Friend, I ask that you grant proper acknowledgement and acceptance of… respect and care for my place in the “shopping district” of your world. I will serve you happily and faithfully.

(Those of you familiar with this blog will recall having seen this message before. I replay it here in response to an expresion of interest that I accept as Life's whisper to me.)

IMAGES [top]Silvia Doberti,
[center] Ian Britton,
[lower] Jon Sullivan,

Shouting from the Window

When it is opened and its curtains are drawn back to invite an impulse created by you… I am going to shout from the window of my heart and say “Thank You!” If that impulse (whose genesis is you) is one of spontaneous affection and appreciation… you will very likely hear me issue a respectful “I love you!” Should the impulse be akin to that borne of the discovery of a wonderful work of art… you can expect me to say “Please forgive my intrusion… but I am compelled to tell you that you are a lovely lady…”, or “Please forgive my intrusion… but I just noticed the beautiful cut and style of your hair” or whatever expression acknowledges my appreciation of that element of your being that touched me. I will comment on the treasure of your children; your lovely family; your smile; even “cool shoes.” Whatever aspect of you touches and makes my moment blessed, I will express my notice of… so that you will know that you made a difference… you touched another life… you matter… right now; right here; in real and meaningful terms. And I will do this with a sense of urgent necessity. For I live in a state of constant awareness of the fleeting temporary-ness of the moment… and a personal sense of accountability to eternity (and to myself) for each of my opportunities to encourage and edify the lives that pass my way.

So, yes, I do speak to many complete strangers in the market, restaurant, library, dry-cleaners, hospital, airport, wherever and whenever Life splashes another momentary bucket of inspired notice through that window to my heart. I do not tell you this as a recommendation for your living… but only as an insight into another possibility for perspective on living. I trust that there are some who will find in this thought something of worth for a fresh reflection on living and Being that responsible person that you were wondrously created to be.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Friday, January 12, 2007

She is a Sunrise

It is, of course, there all the while… but My Oh My!!… how its magnificence, beauty, and wonder does explode upon our awareness when the risen sun exposes it to our senses.

And so it is with the presence of Maggie-Rose, my Darling niece… this is the effect that she brings to her world. Happy Birthday to you Maggie-Rose.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Responsible... Still!

You see, the hell of it is that I do not want any more responsibility… not of any kind, sort or description. I am weary, tired, spent, and yes… probably lazy. But I want to avoid any entanglement in individual accountability. I am through with campaigning, crusading, and the championing of causes. I want to blissfully cruise through the remainder of my decades here on this mortal globe sipping delightfully cold and refreshing beverages and basking in the company of funny, pleasant, and complimentary companions. This does not seem, to me, to be an outrageous desire. I am not holding out for riches, lavish accoutrements, or decadent comforts. A simple diet of daily pleasantries and niceties will do just fine (thank you.)

But alas… life is not served up in accordance with my stipulated selections on my individualized copy of an imagined room-service menu for living. And on 20 December, just three weeks ago, I was confronted with the nasty little reality of personal responsibility, yet again. There I was… ensconced in the intensive care section of a local hospital… feeling very much the weak, wounded, and very much in need of nurturing and care victim of physical mishap. When, at the unearthly hour of midnight, as I was having my “vitals” measured yet again… there appeared before me the figure of some strange being who looked upon me as one would upon a stray dog wandered into one’s back-yard uninvited and unwelcome. No introduction was offered… no overture toward civility or gentility… just a demand to see “the wound.”

I surmised that this person must be the surgeon that I had been fore-warned of by the physician admitting me to the hospital, by surveying his attire and comportment. He was clothed in surgical garb, head to toe (including the shoe-coverings at the floor end all the way to the hair-covering surgical cap.) And he presented himself with the dictatorial finesse of something between John Wayne and George Patton (with just enough Donald Trump to trigger near-nausea.) “You must have immediate and aggressive surgery to stem the spread of that infection and you must have it as soon as possible.” was his proclaimed summation of my state. “But you have no idea of the progress that the antibiotics have already made against the infection since just yesterday” I offered. “Makes no difference,” he declared “you have no idea what can become of something like that if we do not go after it with aggressive and thorough surgery (then he went into graphic descriptions that I will spare you here… all with an attitude that bespoke a desire to intimidate, overwhelm, and make me as subservient as possible as quickly as possible.) Well… (as those of you who know me well know all too well) intimidation, overwhelming, and rendering subservient have never been tactics that have met with any measure of appreciable success with me. And the combined experiences visited upon me by the United States Marine Corps, a legion of doctors vying for control over my son’s life over the 30+ years that we managed his cerebral palsy, and the corporate world have tempered the fabric of my being far beyond any possibility of malleability to the performance staged by this individual. So I told him “No!” (a word that he was obviously not accustomed to hearing.)

My point here is to let you, My Dear Reader, know that I was (prior to that moment) very much in the mental/spiritual mode of “I am not well… I am wounded.. Please care for and nurture me back to health… Take from me all responsibility and rock me in the cradle of blissful dependency.” The visitation of the aforementioned individual snapped me back into the reality of life’s continuum of individual accountability… Damn! What followed was five hours of lying awake in the solitude of that hospital room reflecting on a range of considerations including (but not limited to) my Dad’s death in March of 2006 from the very same kind of infection and how that outcome may have differed had he been able to act on his own behalf… the total aloneness that was mine in that moment in my life (and then recall of many other such moments from youth to then when isolated solitude was my awareness)… the blessing and wonder of loving friends and family that I have as my most treasured resource… and other stuff… all of which concluded (at 5 AM) with my determined resolve to kick butt and take renewed charge of my life straightway.

I write this bit of insight so that you may see that I too have those “moments” that you may feel are yours alone to struggle with. I want you, in the stillness of this moment, to know that we… you and I… are in this “life thing” together… along with all of our accompanying accumulations of doubts, fears, wearinesses, discouragements, and confusions. And we can have a giggle and a sigh of understood unity as we make this shared moment one of mutual acceptance and understanding. For this, My Dear One, is why we are brought together in our pilgrimages… to make the journey more enjoyable, entertaining, and pleasant for each other. To that end, I remain, as always, Your faithful Friend and constant Servant,


Monday, January 08, 2007


From the confluence of varied sources casting together their offerings in tumultuous combination…

To the restive peace of quietude…

My Spirit invites you to join me in the tranquility of this moment.

IMAGES through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,
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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.