Sunday, December 28, 2008

"True Generosity" ... (a Quotation)

"That's what I consider true generosity.
You give your all,
And yet you always feel
As if it costs you nothing."

Simon DeBeauvoir

IMAGE: James Crowhurst (Viewer) BBC

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sharing An Interview

Having been interviewed by a Contributor to a Web site that provides "timely, in-depth, trusted medical information, personalized tools and resources, and connections to a vast community of leading experts and patients for people seeking to manage and improve their health" ... I looked over the completed interview, and considered the possibility that some, of what was shared there, might be of some benefit to Readers of this site. So, with the blessings of the Interviewer, I am posting the complete interview here. I do hope that You, My Dear Reader, will find some idea or thought to be of use to you as an encouragement, consideration, or, perhaps, a provocation to further thought. I have deleted the name of the medical information site as well as that of the individual mentioned in the Interviewer's introduction to the interview. The interview is, otherwise, unedited.

How to Cope
When Your Adult Child has a Physical Disability

I was looking over the questions asked here at [DELETED] and I began to smile as I re-discovered a question from a lady named "[DELETED]." And just by the sweet nature of how she posed her question, there was no doubt in my mind that her moniker was quite accurate. She was worried about her adult son who had been diagnosed with MS. And although the title of her question was: "Can MS affect the ability to match clothing (plaids with stripes) and colors?" the true intent of her question was to be found in reading between the lines.

This was a mom who was worried about her son's disease and how he would manage the potential physical and mental challenges that Multiple Sclerosis could bring. I began to think about this disease from a parent's perspective. No matter how young or old your child is...they are always still your child. How does a parent cope when their child faces the daunting challenge of a physical disability? What is the best way to be of help?

In order to delve more deeply into these questions I have enlisted the help of fellow blogger and self help writer, John Michael. John Michael's extraordinary way of writing stems from having to face his own unique challenges including parenting a son who has cerebral palsy. You may find more of John Michael's insights by visiting his blog authentically entitled, "Just being John Michael."

Based upon your life experience, what comfort would you give to a parent who has an adult child who is facing physical challenges?

To begin with, please know that I do not, in even the most remote way, hold my opinions or ideas up as any kind of standard of measure or (God forbid) sort of rule to go by. They are, quite simply, my own perspective and individualized inclinations. That said, I can tell you (and any Parent reading) that my comfort with what Matthew (my son) and I share, in our partnership in life’s challenges, began with my acceptance of, the reality that we all … every living, breathing, struggling one of us, live with our own set of ‘disabilities’ and ‘handicaps.’

While Matt’s are more obvious and clearly pronounced than others’, I have accepted the fact of my responsibility to confront and manage my own … and to help him identify (in the most gentle and tenderly ways possible), and deal with his. I have, simultaneously, allowed my Self to be open to, and receptive to, the difficulties and frustrations in the lives of those whose life-paths intersect mine. And I discuss, with Matt, these obstacles, to ease-of-living, so that he can share, with me, an active appreciation, of the hurdles that beset others. We discuss possible ways that we can compliment and make easier the lives of Friends. And we have conversations centered around our responsibilities, as Human Beings, to the world around us. This has given him a sense of participation and worth, in caring for people along the way … and has (while not spelling out or focusing on his own set of Complications) allowed him to gain a sense of worth as a Care-Giver for others. It, also, takes the intensity of focus off of all of the daily irritations that his cerebral palsy unrelentingly visits upon him.

This “Mechanism” (if you will) has proven to be a ‘tool’ of some considerable worth in my set of ‘coping implements’ … for us both.

How emotionally difficult is it for a parent to see their son or daughter unable to do things that others may take for granted?

The “emotional difficulty” is compounded by the reality that (in Matt’s life) he does not possess the mental acuity to enable him to thoroughly process the complexities of his handicaps. While he is at a high level of what would be labeled as “trainable” (God! How I do hate those labels!) he is obviously vexed by his awareness of the areas of life and living that are part of the experiences of those around him … and his inability to participate or be included in them.

I then, accept the responsibility (inasmuch as I am able) to “feel” and “sense” these vexations for and with him … then translate them into means of communicating to his level of comprehension and appreciation of them … to him. All the while wanting (at my emotional core) to curl up in a corner and weep for him. Emotional exhaustion and an ever-present sense of being emotionally spent has, consequently, been my life-companion.

How does a parent express concern for their child's well being without coming across as overly intrusive or pushy?

In a word … you can’t! Yep! That’s about it. My experience has been that if I am willing to let Individuals or Organizations … whose role or mission in life is to ’administer’ the programs or services (I use the word advisedly) that are intended, by well-meaning Initiators, to reach out to the needs of those who find themselves less than optimally functional … operate at their own discretion or with their own set of priorities … my son will suffer neglect and even some measure of abuse.

Yes, I know that that sounds harsh. And I do wish that it was not the fact. But it has proven, over and over, to be the Reality. But … when I take the active, involved, persistent, and (in the view of some) “overly intrusive or pushy”, I have found that I can cut through the layers of superficial and uncaring individuals and programs … and mine the nuggets of wonderfully committed and professionally devoted gems who give of themselves willingly and thoroughly, for the benefit of those to whom they have dedicated their lives and careers.

So, I make Matt the “Good Guy”, and take the mantle of “Enforcer” upon myself, for his benefit. This has worked out to be most successful and beneficial for all concerned. It gets past the layers of incompetence and wasted time and efforts quite quickly. And gets us to the “good stuff” with a minimum of wasted energy and emotion (which, by virtue of living with this situation, are already in short supply.)

What is the best way for a parent to offer help?

I think that this is most effectively accomplished by becoming a living and breathing part of my son. I have permitted my Self … nay, demanded of my Self … to be … actually and legitimately become an element of my son’s Being. I feel what he is unable to feel. I think what he hasn’t the capacity to think. I sense what he wants to sense, but can not get through the haze, of his brain’s unwillingness to cooperate, to sense. I offer tears when appropriate … whilst not giving in to self-pity. I offer determination … where he is not equipped to be determined for himself … whilst guarding against insensitivity or lack of empathy. All the while recognizing that this commitment to Matt is made at the expense of other life-demands that must be sacrificed (willingly … even happily … and without remorse of bitter regret) for his ultimate benefit.

All too often, I have known parents who let it be known that they are some figure of “Noble Sacrifice” and are ’giving up’ something for their child. Horse hockey! (That’s about as ’cleaned up’ as I can make that. [smile]) Firstly, their child is constantly aware of this added burden upon their shoulders. They hear and sense their parent’s bemoaning of their ’plight’ in life. And that child has this ’gift’ to deal with, in addition to all of the garbage that is incumbent with whatever life has given them.

No! My son’s handicap is something that I accepted, at the very outset (when he was diagnosed, at less than one year old), as Life’s enabling me to grow and develop into far more than I ever would have, otherwise. I had to become more of whatever a man can be … to be what my son needs his father to be. I accepted Life’s challenge to develop Character and Strength that I would never have known without the demands and needs of my son’s circumstances. Matthew has only sensed and known the reality that I am indebted to him for my life’s flourishing. And he has a comfortable and calm assurance that I appreciate him … far beyond his cognitive abilities to reason out those truths.

These are my own perceptions of the best ways that I can be of help to my son … and simultaneously, my Self. Best summed up in ... give. (Which, I suppose, is the best way to benefit any relationship.)

Can you give any advice to the parent who has been seemingly pushed away after offering help to their adult child?

This question stings.

Three years ago, Matthew phoned me and asked me to cease phoning him, and/or seeing him. “When you call or we are together, it upsets Mom. And that makes me nervous. And I can’t deal with it.” he said. Understanding his Mom’s temperament and personality (which I have [Thank Goodness] taken a good deal of time and invested a considerable amount of effort in studying), I understood what he was saying. So, I agreed. And said, “Goodbye.”

Because I have an absolute certainty that Matt’s ability to make that phone call to me was born of all that we accomplished over the thirty two years prior to the call … and I know the stresses and tensions that he was referencing (after twenty years of marriage to his Mom) … and my certainty that I can look Life full in ’the face’ and give an honest account of my Self, and my having given absolutely all of all that I had of Me, to him … I have accepted, and respect, his choice.

For me to demand some form or sort of “Parental Rights” in maintaining contact with Matt, would be an exercise in selfishness. It would be at the expense of his comfort and tranquility. And it would serve no purpose other than negative ones, including putting him in the center of a tug-of-war that would render no possible benefit of value. So, I have had no contact with the Son who I spent every week-day, of every year, after he ’graduated’ from school (9 years) … for nearly three years now. Hence the “sting.”

In your experience of parenting your own child who has a physical disability, what was the hardest aspect for you?

The loneliness.

What gave you the greatest joy in parenting your son?

The day that he looked at me and said “My brain doesn’t cooperate sometimes.” It was a bitter-sweet moment in which he attained the level of acknowledging his challenges. This represented a heartbreak in our joining of awareness … and the joy of his readiness to deal with some of his own frustrations.

Last thoughts?

Life is … ultimately and beautifully .. GOOD!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Floor is Covered With Tomatoes

“The floor is covered with tomatoes” my dinner companion exclaimed. And I turned to look … with the full expectation of seeing some significant ‘spillage,’ by either a patron (for the mode of service there relies on guests carrying their own trays to a table of their choosing), or perhaps a staff member of the establishment. But I immediately saw that what was ’expected,’ was not the case. In fact, what my Friend was pointing out, was the design of the carpet that we were surrounded by. The floor was, quite literally, covered with tomatoes. Big, bright, brilliant tomatoes. Tomato vines that carried the illustrated produce everywhere. There were whole tomatoes; slices of tomato; wedges of tomato; tomatoes seen from their tops; from their sides; bottoms; every possible angle and rendering of a tomato that One could envision … all around us. And I had never known that they were there until the light of Awareness illuminated them to my mind. And I was struck with a realization.

“Doctor Alfred Adler was, once again, right!” I offered. And, as you might expect, my Friend responded with a questioning look. “This demonstrates, so clearly, the truth of what I was fortunate enough to learn, from that late, great Viennese physician (credited as the Father of the theory of “Individual Psychology“), named Alfred Adler. Doctor Adler put forth the theory that states that “Nothing exists … or is ’a Reality’ … to us, until, and unless, we accept it into our individual ’Realm of Phenomenological Awareness.’ Just as that sea of tomatoes that we have had all about us, each and every time that we have dined here, did not exist as a reality to us until you just brought them into your own ’Realm of Phenomenological Awareness,’ and shared their existence, with me. We now know that the name of this restaurant is carried through in the flooring design that we will, never again, be unaware of.” (The name [I know that you are just dying to know, so, My Dear Reader, I will tell you] … is “Sweet Tomatoes.” [grin]) “This illustrates … perfectly … Doctor Adler’s theory.” I continued.

“We all have, at our command, the ability to be cognizant of … or remain oblivious to … every-Thing, and every-One that we share our world with, in every second of our lifetime. And, as you just saw demonstrated in my going over to tell that other Diner how beautifully evident her loving Spirit was, as it was reflected in her countenance … and how her countenance, and its grace, had touched and encouraged my Spirit. Then you saw and heard how a sweet moment of intimate sharing, of life and living matters, evolved from my recognition of a generous and kind Spirit in the young lady who looked after our dinner needs … when I expressed my appreciation of her … to her.”

“Those sorts of opportunities are possible only if and when I first embrace and make ‘Real’ (in my personal ‘Realm of Awareness’), that ‘Phenomenon’ that is that Person. They are, each, a “Tomato” (if you will). A ‘Tomato,” out of a sea of ‘Tomatoes’ surrounding us, that becomes a ’Real’ part of my own ’Reality’ when I chose to become aware … really aware … of them.” This is my mission. This is my quest. To see! To know! To integrate into, and make a vital part of, all that is my personal Truth and Reality, every element and aspect of Life, as I am blessed to be exposed to it.”

“So,” I went on, “you can see that to be judgmental of, or condemning of, your Self … or, heaven forbid, Others … with statements like … ‘How could you behave in that manner, given the circumstances?’ or “Don’t you know that your choices are inappropriate for, or disrespectful of [whatever the example is]?’ … is to make the assumption that you, or the other person in question, were actually aware of the reality of all that you are holding your Self or that One accountable for. When it may very well be, the actual Fact, that those Circumstances or Elements of what you are so aware of at the moment of judgment … simply were not in existence in your own Being or theirs. They, or You, quite simply did not know of the ‘Tomato’ in question, at that moment of decision-making, word-speaking, or notice-taking,” though the big, ripe, red 'Tomato of Circumstance or Fact' is glaringly and unavoidably obvious now.

You see, My darling Reader, there is just so much ‘life-stuff’ demanding a place on our proverbial ‘plate of consideration,’ that for some observer to miscalculate our state of awareness … on any matter … is an altogether very likely possibility … even probability! Hence, I would encourage my Self … and You … to try a bit of respectful consideration with ourselves. A mite of tenderness, perhaps. I would whisper a gentle suggestion to notice some possibilities … some aspects of a situation … some ‘Tomato’ that just may not have been known to us prior to this particular moment in our journey. And instead of issuing an indictment for past failures to think, or speak, or behave in some better fashion … allow some Grace and patient Accommodation that will encourage progressive steps of healthy growth, development, and ultimately … flourishing instead.

This is easily possible … for us all. We can each be a bit more attentive to Life’s opportunities to nurture, forgive, encourage, give succor, and, yes … even love. Those ‘Tomatoes’ of opportunity cover the respective floors of our lives … waiting … wanting … yearning for our notice … and embracing of them. I genuinely hope that You, Dear One, will tenderly give your Self permission to acknowledge new awakenings and revelations in your personal world … every day. I give you my loving promise … You will like the experience … A LOT!

I love You.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Long-Overdue "Thank You" to Emily

I thought of her whilst having a chat with a special Friend. I was telling of my appreciation of that singularly exquisite instant ... when, in the midst of all of the bombastic grandiosity of some work of symphonic expression, that person, in the percussion section of the orchestra, strikes a pristine note on the unimposing little triangle ... and I thought of that girl, who quietly attended to that contribution to our school band and orchestra. I have thought of her, quite a few times, over the course of this past year. Her unassuming grace, as she patiently endured all of those very long periods of tacet waiting ... counting those measures and bars, that heralded the upcoming moment of required precision, in sounding that unique tonal gift, that highlighted the score.

Always present, and unfailingly constant, was her sweet countenance. I made it a conscious point to watch her, as she applied that tiny mallet to just the right cylinder ... at just the right instant ... with just the right blend of delicacy and decisiveness ... on the chimes. I can recall no one else ever playing that heavenly instrument. It has always been hers. I found an intimate satisfaction and reassurance in her Presence. And I always admired and appreciated the blessing and, yes, even joy that I knew in her being there. But I never expressed my appreciation for, or admiration of, her ... to her. For I did not have, at my disposal, either the confidence, or self awareness, that would have been required to communicate such an emotion, or thought. I had no facility of language, that would have made available the terms or phrase, that could have given her an understanding of what I, as that adolescent, bungling, and awkward sixteen-year-old, was sensing. But today, I can.

So, Dear Emily, I come, today, to thank you for making my world, of all of those years up to, and including, our graduation from high school, a far better place for my Spirit and Soul to live, and develop, in. Thank you, Dear One, for the depth of character, that was an ever-present reality, in your eyes. I thank you for your quietly wry smile, of patient acceptance of my silliness and inanities. And I thank you for your lingering Presence ... that still, today, makes my moments of uncomfortable unease, less distressing ... by reinstalling your beautiful reassurances, of pleasant and tranquil calm. I have always loved the wonder of Who you are. You are one of my most treasured Gifts from a loving Life. There! I have finally let you know! [smile]

Monday, December 08, 2008

Life Sculpture

a poem

George Washington Doane

( Born 27 May 1799; died 27 April 1859 )

Chisel in hand stood a sculpture boy
With his marble stock before him,
And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
As an angel-dream passed o'er him.

He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
With many a sharp incision;
With heaven's own light the sculpture shone, ...
He'd caught that angel-vision.

Children of life are we, as we stand
With our lives uncarved before us,
Waiting the hour when, at God's command,
Our life-dream shall pass o'er us.

If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
With many a sharp incision,
Its heavenly beauty shall be our own, ...
Our lives, that angel-vision.

In response to the 'comment' (see below, right) of my Dear (and very insightful) Friend, 'Lime,' I gave this work some additional consideration. And to free the fuller, potential beauty, that lies within the metaphorical message of this sweet poem ... I offer these thoughts.

While it is so true that some of my most non-compliant characteristics require the severe application of Life's lessons ... that would be akin to the chiseled blows of the stone sculptor ... I am ever-so grateful for the majority, of my life-experience, that is far more in harmony with the creative forces, of the Painter or Sculptor who works with the more-malleable clay.

To have experiences applied to my development with the soft strokes of Life's lovingly applied brush-stroke, is a joy that I eagerly anticipate as I rest in the assurance that the canvas of my Being is taking on a continually improved and more satisfying presence. And to sense the addition of an insight or perspective, as a fresh bit of clay ... to have it tenderly and confidently applied to my willingly submitted form, as I choose to accept its modification of my previous Self ... in complete faith in the generous intent of The Creator ... is always an exciting new adventure.

Thus, when those less-compliant elements of my more-rigid Self require the well-aimed stroke of an occasional chisel blow ... I know that the unfolding work of Life's Designer is always directed toward that 'angel-dream' that will be the Masterpiece of my completed life. It is to this end that I willingly submit my Self to all of Life's artful workings.

I do hope that my little contribution, in no way lessens the impact of this lovely bit of poetry ... but will, instead, allow You, My Darling Reader, to enjoy a more satisfactory enjoyment of it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

OVER the HEDGE by Michael Fry and T Lewis

(and ... finally)

Michael Fry and T Lewis

Friday, December 05, 2008

OVER the HEDGE by Michael Fry and T Lewis

(now that I have You addicted, I suppose it only fair that I 'maintain' You [loving smile])

Michael Fry and T Lewis

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Silly Caption 'Out of Your Shell'

"You were far more lovable before you came out of your shell!"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Snippets of Dreams

Snippets of Dreams,

That sift through the seams,
Of Awakening fresh,
And anew …

Seem to, so often,
Caress, gently soften,
The petals of Conscious …
As moist, morning dew.

Lingering near,
This image, so clear,
Dwells, as if a Truth,
In my mind.

And, reluctant to wake,
From this Gift I will take,
Your Presence … My Being …

27 November 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Have Our Dreams

by Michael Fry and T Lewis

Friday, November 21, 2008

Embracing That Role

It was 1960 … I was 14 years old. I had etched into my psyche, imagery of a Father, his Son, and a loving Friend. The Father was Ed Wynn, the comic; the son Keenan Wynn, an actor; and the Friend, Red Skelton. They were telling the true-life story of their interactions surrounding the filming of a famous movie (“Requiem for a Heavyweight”), produced in 1958.

That movie was of no consequence to my early-teen-age mind. The particulars, of the presentation of this story, held no significance for me. (I only learned yesterday, that it was a presentation of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, and was entitled “The Man in the Funny Suit.”) What was, profoundly significant to my hungry young mind, was the legitimate and intimate offering of the struggles known to a Dad and his Son as they combated the forces of life tearing at their identities, and their relationship, with jaws of circumstantial demands and situational expectations.

What was meaningful in the mind of a fourteen-year-old boy, was this presentation of someone else’s actual battles to maintain a bond of familial respect and honor in the mêlée’ of the world’s requirements and insistence. This I could relate to. This I lived every day of my own life. This struggle with, and for, Identity, I remember with absolute clarity … right up to the 20th day of November, 2008. For, My Dearest of Friends, this is where the Soul of this boy has lived.

So … here is what the whole ‘deal’ was all about. Ed Wynn and his son were telling the story (in this later-produced portrayal) of the painfully trying experience that was theirs as Ed tried to play a dramatic role in the “Heavyweight” movie. Ed had never done anything, in his professional life, other than Be the “Funny man.” Or, as this presentation of the story, by Westinghouse Desilu, labeled him, “The Man In The Funny Suit.” So as filming efforts were made, and Ed encountered moments of unfamiliar slip-ups or confusions, he would fall back on what he was familiar, and comfortable, with … his comic persona.

But this was a dramatic and very intensely ‘heavy’ story … no place for silly comic behaviors. The tension and concern mounted as the time for final film ‘takes’ came closer … and Ed was increasingly doubtful of his ability to ‘play his role.’ So, he sought out his life-long Friend and fellow-Comic (who had, with some measure of success played various roles in film and stage) … Mr. Skelton. “You have to ‘not be Ed Wynn’, but be the character that you are portraying.” Mister Skelton coached. “Forget that Keenan is your son. He is that Character that he is portraying. And your Character hates that Character played by Keenan. So you, in Character, must (as that Character) hate him.” was his advice.

This story struck home with that guy watching his family’s black-and-white television screen’s presentation. That 14 year-old boy was being told to play ‘Roles’ in life … even as a teen-ager … that were contrary to who he felt himself to be. His peer group … his church … his relatives … his neighbors … his school administrators and teachers … all had scripts that demanded performances that he felt “out of character” in. And he was living in a place of unhappy discomfort … that he saw portrayed by these men playing out their own real-life conflicts … right there in his home … on his television set. And it struck home in his Soul.

As I reflect on this happening of my Yesterday; and the successes and notable career that became Mister Red Skelton’s; it occurs to me that he became that Man of fame and note, known to us today, because he made the choice to … Be … Red Skelton. He elected to be that Person that he was so beautifully created to Be. Even in all of his silly ’roles’ portrayed in skits of hilarious memory … it was always Red Skelton doing his ‘bit.’ There was never any reference to the character portrayed as the Identity being referred to. His fame was in playing out the scripted role in life that had his own name on it. He was a marvelous success at Being Red Skelton. Methinks that there is a bit more than a small message in that.

And, for his place in the minds and hearts of all whose lives have been uplifted and sweetened by the Presence of Mister Ed Wynn on our shared stage of life … he, too, is remembered and revered for Being himself … the incomparable Ed Wynn. You will have great difficulty finding anyone who recalls his role ‘played’ in the ‘Heavyweight’ movie. All of the anguish and pain so eloquently portrayed in the Westinghouse Desilu presentation was such a waste of effort … unless you give value and worth to what it meant in the Mind … Heart … and Soul, of a solitary teenage boy who hungered for every morsel of insight and inspiration that was delivered to his small home in Tampa, Florida, on that day in 1960. You can then compound that value for every time that he recalled that story (and there have been many) over the ensuing years, to this present day. Life has such a beautiful way of providing what we need. [smile]

Thus, My dear Reader, I had all of this stuff washed to the surface of my awareness last night … and as I awakened with its presence this morning. In reflecting on the story (with an extraordinary Loved One) last night, in the moments following our shared search for the identity of that long-displaced set of circumstances, that left only the vague impressions of the individuals mentioned, and their interpersonal challenges … I was impressed with the core truth that the elements of the whole matter that had a lasting effect on me were the intimate and personal matters of each of the participants lives. I had no recall of names of movies, programs, dates, situations, or any other of the details that would be the stuff of note to anyone caught up in the fascinations of entertainment trivia. I had the lasting residue of the 'people stuff’ as my companion. For, you see, this is what matters to who I am … the People Stuff. Not the Detail stuff.

And this is the ‘stuff’ that makes up the props and setting surrounding the Character of John-Michael. In embracing my role in Life’s script, I have, as the elements of my life’s ‘set,’ the inner aspects of the lives of those with whom I am blessed to share Life’s stage, in any given moment. And I have given all of my Self to Being the John-Michael (that Life has cast me to be) in my responses to each ‘cue’ and ‘prompt’ that life’s Supreme Creator/Producer/ Director gives.

I listen with expectant ear, for a whisper of need, desire, or openness for nurture or succor, from every other Player on my life’s stage. I hear and feel the rhythms and themes of Life’s orchestral accompaniment as it plays out varying aspects of living’s spectrum of possibilities. I weep genuine tears and issue forth unmeasured laughter in honest response to the demands of each moment’s situation and circumstance … lest I lose the depth and richness of that instant’s significance. And all this is possible because I am in character … with my Self. I am neither torn nor confused by the distractions of standing in for some other role or character. Oh no! No longer!

When I review my performance … as we must all, someday do … I will celebrate my Soul’s recall of my responses to and fulfillment of all of the moods, themes, spirits, and intents of The Director in each scene that I was part of. For I am in that role … I am that Character … I am fulfilling the requirements of the script for my Being … in this day’s presentation of my life’s Play. And I tell you this, Dearest of Friends and Most-Faithful of Readers, in the hope that I can encourage, challenge, and stimulate you to set aside all conflicting Roles being offered to, or thrust upon you … and Be that magnificent Character that is singularly yours to play.

In this effort, I hope that I can be that ‘Red Skelton-like’ Friend who you can be uplifted by in loving and caring support. For, don’t you know, I play, for You, that wonderfully satisfying “supporting character role” in this scene of our shared Play. And I like it! For I do, indeed, love You. And I long to see your name “up in lights” on Life’s marquee.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Integrated and Segrated Relationships

I am most fortunate. My choice to BE a Parent, was encouraged by a Son who could not play the role of a child. My son was born with cerebral palsy. Hence, his options were, from the get-go, limited. He would never have, at his disposal, the usual ‘tools’ and devices made readily available to most children. His mind would never process all of life’s data as other children’s minds do. I, therefore, had my early-on choices made clearer for me by the immediate demands of a Person whose opportunities in life rested more distinctly on my shoulders than would be the case for most new fathers.

I did not have the ‘luxury’ of taking the business of fatherhood on a day-by-day, develop-as-you-go proposition. My son needed someone who would agree to become One with him. Where he was not equipped with the usual capacities to develop chains of sequential thought … he needed someone to slowly, methodically, and repeatedly make distinct those elements of sequential thinking that the unimpaired brain has the customary capacity to develop … every day of every week, of every month, of every year, of his growth and development. His ability to come to a knowledge of, and develop a healthy appreciation for, Who he is, was not going to be functional.

So, he needed a surrogate participant to integrate into him … and (without his conscious awareness of it happening … or feeling of discomfort or embarrassment at having it happen) guide his growth of self-imagery and satisfaction. And, My Dear Reader, none of these considerations had even the foggy clarity or distinction of a thick morning mist as I heard that Neurologist say “Your son has cerebral palsy.” I just knew that this tiny child who looked at his Daddy with eyes of complete faith, trust, and confidence, was going to need an extraordinary man as his Dad. And I was the only candidate for the job. And I was an insecure, confused, irresponsible, totally ill-equipped specimen of a screwed-up (though consummately delightful, entertaining, caring, and loving) young man.

So, I had the choice to either grow up, become someone who I did not have a model for, an example of to study, or image to emulate … or … run (as I later learned, many choose to do.) There was only one choice for me. And I began a terrifying, challenging, scary, demanding, discouraging, daunting, and hilariously wonderful journey into becoming a Dad. Not, mind you, fulfilling a Role as a Dad figure. Oh, no! I willed my Self to take every aspect of my son, each element of my Self, and weave them together into a fabric of relationship that made us one continuous, seamless, and tightly woven tapestry of Father/Son-ism. I elected to freely reveal my fears and hesitations to him … to insure that he would know no boundaries to his freely expressing his to me. I opted to change my pace and rhythm of functioning to function in stride with his. I became Him that he could become a Me that I was (simultaneously) developing “on the wing.”

I tell you, Dear One, of this, because my Lovely Lady Muse has recently drawn me into a reflection on my relationships with my own children, while pointing out, in dramatic and distinct ways, the dichotomy between those who go through their parenting experience fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a Parent, and those who find a way to become the Being of a Parent. And I am compelled to make an attempt to draw the distinction between the two. One functions and operates across a gap of separate individualism, whilst the other is integrated into the personhood of their child. One follows a set of dogma, doctrine, and expectations visited upon them by society, familial experience and example, and cultural dictate. While the Other joins their Self to their child in a unity of definition of Oneness. They Become one parent/child unit. And for that Unit, that parent/child identity, there is no “good for You/good for Me” debate. There is, instead, a “good for Us” understanding. There is no “As long as You are under My roof, it will be thus and so …” dictate. But, instead, there prevails a “We are made better, and can enjoy more, if we do thus and so, in our Home.” The desegregation of Parents and Children in favour of an integrated Family produces a life-long dividend of shared life-joys, as well as burdens and pain. This I have been blessed to witness, and marvel in, in the lives of Friends and Loved Ones in my little world. And the distinction and resultant loss/benefit outcomes require me to reflect on my own personal experience … and present this opportunity for you, My darling Friend, to reflect on yours.

I do hope, with every fibre of my crusty old Being, that you will allow these considerations to dwell with you for a brief moment. And apply whatever insight or idea, that your own Muse might whisper into your consciousness, toward your relationships … be they Spouse, Child, Parent, Sibling, Colleague, Lover, or Friend. I encourage you to do some Soul-Weaving with the threads and yarns of those individual characteristics, quirks, and idiosyncrasies that define those with whom you would desire a tighter, richer, more beautiful, and more satisfying relationship. You have my earnest prayer for your fuller enjoyment of every aspect of your relational life. I love you, ya know! [a loving smile]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Uncertain Times

OVER the HEDGE by Michael Fry and T Lewis

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Life's Theme Song


▶ noun UTOPIAN, one who forms ideals, visionary, one who lives according to some standard of perfection, fantasist, romantic, dreamer, one who pursues high and noble goals, Don Quixote.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The GREAT ROOM of our Spirit

Available to each of us, is a magnificent Place in which our consciousness can dwell. To facilitate your awareness of this ever-present possibility, is my fervent desire. I would have your Spirit stroll around, with ease and comfort, from one ‘Conversation Area’ to another … in complete freedom and gentle pace. No hurried moment (born of response to requirement or expectation.) But complete liberty for your Mind’s inclination to move you to, or from, any and every Topic, Subject, Reflection, or Curiosity.

Neither thought nor concern for loss of coziness or chill of distance from comforting warmth. For in each wall of this Place, Life has provided an enormous fireplace constructed with stones native to all that surrounds your happiness and satisfaction. And each fireplace has its hearth centered between floor-to-ceiling windows, revealing panoramic vistas, as the windows join at each corner. Each crackling fire is maintained by Life’s never-wavering attention maintains each fire at just the right level of crackling perfection.

I would have you bask in unimpeded views of both near-by Forest, Glade, Stream, and Shore that surround Terraces, Balconies, Gardens, and Lawns. Each side offering its respective access to distant Peaks, Waves, Meadow, and pristine Wilderness.

Each ‘Conversation Area’ of your Soul’s ‘Great Room’ is distinguished appropriate rugs woven with loving care employing the threads and yarns of the particular theme and focus fitting to its place in your world. None is either greater or less, in significance , to the other. No ideology, technology, theology, or “ology” of any stripe or sort, holds dominance of preference. You are completely free to taste, touch, sample, consider, leave or return to any place of contemplation at the whim or desire of your inclination and interest, alone.

And what (you may ask) makes all of this immediate, and happening setting, a Reality to and for you? Simply your functioning and available Vocabulary of Choice. The words and language that you elect and choose to make available to your Mind … Spirit … Soul. The Terms, Phrases, and Labels that you permit … that you support and encourage to dominate, and roam free in, your thoughts.

These keep at bay all of the partitioning, closing, and, yes … imprisoning Walls of bias, bigotry, prejudice, and polarization created by language of Partisanship, Sectarianism, Extremism, and Exclusion. The potentials for blocking, from view, the beauty, majesty, wonder, and ecstasy of your Great Room’s pinnacle position of perspective, are always present. And must always be guarded against with vigilance, lest the forces of social, political, religious, community, culture, or even (all-too-sadly) family pressures, be allowed to confine you in narrow passageways of limited appreciation of life’s available bounty.

You can easily find your Self enclosed in a maze of endless corridors defined by walls constructed of slogans and clichés of single-mindedness, hate and disrespect-filled language, and dismissive slogans.

Oh, what a tremendous loss for anyone to be blindly, angrily, and unhappily winding their daily way through such an unsatisfying labyrinth, when just beyond those artificially constructed, temporary and fleeting, and totally arbitrary barriers, is the constant, life-enhancing, joy-inducing transcendence of a Great Room of our Creator’s provision.

I heartily, and lovingly encourage you, My Dearest Reader and Friend, to dismiss all barriers, discharge all voices of limitation … and give permission, license, and endorsement to the eyes and senses of your grandest Awareness … to drink in the infinite magnificence of all that awaits your acknowledgement , acceptance, and eternal embrace. And made possible and readily available at your implementation of a vocabulary for thought, that employs language of Inclusion, Respect, Acceptance, Tolerance, and Harmony.

I pledge my Self … and the force and power of my Love for you … in support of your daily efforts, and encouragement of your Spirit.

IMAGES through the generosity and courtesy of Ian Britton,

Love, Adoration, and Romance

Love: A feeling of strong personal attachment induced by a sympathetic understanding or by ties of kinship.

Adore: To feel or express reverent admiration for; to regard with fervent devotion and affection; to idolize.

This whole thing with me is about Adoration…not love. Do I love you? Of course I can have a feeling of strong personal attachment to you. You have presently or in the past instilled a sense of understanding and kinship in me. But do I adore you? Ahhh… there is a question that goes to another place entirely.

Must I be inspired, energized, motivated, even awestruck by my love for you? I think not. The awareness of my love for you may compel me to behavior only because of a sense of obligation or responsibility or some other uninspired yet worthy dictate of conscience. What cranks my motor… charges my batteries… launches my rocket... is Adoration. Give me only that and I will be with you more than you could ever have dreamed. I maintain that that is what was asked in “Fiddler on the Roof” when the question was posed (by the lead character, of his wife); “Do you love me?” What the character really wanted to know was “Do you adore me?”

Hence, it is my deduced conclusion, drawn from very personal experience, that what have, in my past, been encounters of mutual enchantment have encompassed neither the personal attachment of love, nor the fervent devotion of adoration. While on a pedestal of prominence, popularity, power, or influence, I may have been what was desired... I was fleetingly Enchanting (if you will.) Then, when brought down to the level ground of rational intimacy, with all of my foibles exposed, the option of Me didn’t look as appealing as it had before.

Just as the performer on film, or stage looks so desirable… then offstage the performer is seen as a person… not an icon, I have known (in many past circumstances) the attentions of admirers. Then, with the onset of recognition of the mortal Me, cold logic and personal agendas were applied and the scales of overall life preferences exerted influence much more heavily than those on the side of intangible fancy. While I may have inspired a momentary “WOW!” factor… I did not establish that more preferred and quietly elusive (and whispered) “oh my!“ of appreciation. And it is for that shared sigh of blissful recognition… that reverential gaze of wonder that I wait. That reflexive adoration expressed by two lovers mutually worshiping each other in an idolatry expressed in inspired union. This is what I hunger for. For it is my conviction that adoration is the life-blood of a living and thriving romance. And I am, undeniably, a romantic.

So, “Why share all of this with me?” you ask. Certainly not to present answers...but to, instead, place considerations… definitions… perspectives in new unused vocabulary… before you. To offer you exposed thoughts and feelings that you would otherwise not bring to the surface of your awareness. To allow you to explore and discover fresh vistas of yourself that will peel back curtains of uncertainty that have, heretofore, not allowed you to appreciate all of your capabilities. To breathe into you a fresh breath of living borne of awareness of more of your Self. This is my desire for you, Dear Reader. That you will “Know Thyself” better through your consideration of this gift of my little reflections.

IMAGE: Mary Russell, BBC

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Don't Know Why

I saw this photo ... and I simply HAD TO share it with that unknown Someone, for whatever unknown reason, to touch that unknown need.
Life knows "Who" and all of the "Why"s ... that is enough for me. I love you ... Yes! ... You (Life knows your identity [smile])

IMAGE Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Over the Hedge by Michael Fry and T Lewis

(2nd installment)

(with all of the STUFF that you are being deluged with ... I hope that THIS gives a bit of a happy respite. ['cause I do love you, don't Ya know! J-M)

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Differ

There are some things that are (by their nature) a bit difficult to discuss. Topics that cause a little uneasy squirming in mentioning. Orgasm is somewhere near the top of that list. The very word encourages a turning away of the gaze, and nervous shuffling of feet. But I found myself speaking (albeit in a somewhat obtuse manner) about orgasm and foreplay during a prolonged exchange of candor with a dear Friend, just yesterday. So, as is the natural course of things with Yours Truly, my mind continued on with an expanded consideration of the subject, today. And, bless your enduring and tolerant heart, you, My Darling Reader, are now confronted with the outfall of some of those considerations.

I have been, for quite a long time, bothered by, and even, with some regularity, aggravated by our world’s fascination with and propensity toward what we lump together under the heading of “Extreme Sport.” I am vexed by all of the expense that is funneled into … and all of the time, energies, and pre-occupation devoted to .. Bungee-cord jumping, sky-diving, snow-boarding, black-course ski slopes, running of the bulls … well, you catch my drift. I listen, with intense focus, to the interviews of participants as they breathlessly describe the orgasmic satisfaction achieved at the peak of their short-lived experience … and I have yet to be impressed. And, until the light of understanding began to glow in my conscious awareness, yesterday, I really dismissed my lousy attitude as just some individual, and yet-undiscovered, hang-up. But I now know what “the deal” is with me. I yearn for foreplay. Yep! That’s the whole story in a proverbial ‘nutshell.’

I am far more enchanted with and excited by the intercourse between the Performer on stage and their engaged and captivated Audience, than I am with the orgasmic applause at Performance’s conclusion. I savour a day of hand-holding and silly whisperings far more than the immediate and conclusive pinnacle of sexual climax. And no! … you may not dismiss this propensity as the natural consequence of three-score years of living. Nope! I have always known this preference as my own. But, until yesterday’s conversation, and today’s writing, I haven’t had the clarity of understanding or comfort in expression, necessary to express my preference. And, lucky you [smile], you get to be the first to be assailed with my opinion.

I clearly remember my tears and sense of wonderment and appreciation as I watched Red Skelton sharing moments of unstructured and spontaneous silliness with his adoring and readily included Audience. Though I always (including today) shed tears of loving admiration at close of each of Mr. Skelton’s performances … as he humbly and graciously thanked those who had granted him the honour of the time and attention shared … I never (before now) examined the “why” of my reaction. I dismissed it as just another example of my over-the-top predisposition to sensitivity. Today, I have a clearer understanding and appreciation of my values. I would live a life of unending foreplay. I would choose the sprinkling of moments of sweet sighs amidst a mist of consistent touches, kisses, messages, looks, giggles, brief dances, and playful comments … over the occasional happening of the wildly athletic sexual rodeo (though those will always have a welcome place in life’s repertoire.)

So, Dear patient Friend, there you have it. Yet another glimpse into the not-so-orthodox inner workings of your John-Michael. I do gratefully thank you for your generous enduring of my altogether personal openness. I accept that as a rich personal compliment ... and leave you with This.

(Note: If you have no success with the link above, I ask that you do your Self the favour of copying, and pasting ... . You will be glad.)


Several years ago, I came to the realization that the relationship between my Self and that of Alecia, (who had become a loved Friend [as we shared the community of folks and services at our neighborhood YMCA]), was mirroring that of a Dad and Daughter. So, one day, I said “You have wanted a Dad for your whole life-time … I love you; I have a place in my heart, and life, for a daughter; and I feel that I am fitting that place in your life now … so, how would you like to establish a permanent and genuine Dad/Daughter relationship between us? I know that I can never be your Father … that is a genetic and natural gift … but I can be a Dad … for that is a relationship of commitment, choice of behaviors and devotion, and willing giving of Self. I am willing.” Happily she accepted my proposal. And this magnificent young woman has been … in the eyes of Heaven, and all who will look upon us here, Dad and Daughter.

Alecia’s birthday was last Saturday. I want to celebrate that anniversary, of her birth, by celebrating the renewal of the birth of our relationship. And, inasmuch as I intend to make that relationship concrete in the eyes of the law as soon as we can work out the legal snags, I want also to make it known to all of you lovely and caring Friends and Readers who have endured my various forms of expressions for over two years now.

Therefore, Dear Ones, I introduce, to you;
My Daughter … Alecia …

Happy Birthday, to You, My Darling Joy, and Heart-Song,
Your Adoring Dad

Over the Hedge by Michael Fry and T Lewis

(I just couldn't resist.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Love's Creator

On the eighth day of April, of this year, I completed the sixty-second year of my personal pilgrimage on this silly little globe. Yes! I do see it as silly… inasmuch as I choose (often) to see the “realities” of life in my own contrarian way. As all about me are declaring the grandeur of our place in God’s firmament… I say “Not so!” For I am convinced that all that we now see… all that we perceive and understand… is but a fraction of what is. And that, My Dear Friend, I find exciting and inspiring. That there is so very much that I have no hint of. That beyond the elements of life that I am thrilled by (and there are many, many such elements… among them, You, as you read me now)… there are realities and worlds that are being born and completing their own cycles of life… without even the slightest of awareness of them, in my perception.

But I digress (as is often my way)… from my central thought of this day. And I would not navigate, today, from what has occupied my thinking for many years now… for I now feel confident enough in my understanding (and in my chronologically established right) to state what has pulled and tugged at my being all of that while. And that is, simply, that there is the Voice of… the message of… the intent of my Creator in every element of all that is. And all I need do, to know… to hear… to have a moment with the Voice of our Creator… is… to be willing. There is a portion of scripture that speaks to the “foolishness” of preaching… and puts in a healthy perspective what we have presented to us by all-to-human voices around us. Another that advises that “if they do not tell of Me… the rocks will speak of me.”… which I always remember when science discovers some new truth about our world’s past… from rocks, with their record of history sealed in their structures. And, for years now, I have read, listened, observed, felt, heard, and enjoyed the growing understanding within my core Being, that the One who Created all that is and maintains all in a beautifully choreographed dance of sublime perfection… withholds knowledge and intimate awareness of Him (if you will allow my use of a gender-specific identification of the One who created gender as we know it)… from… no one! Our Creator is transparent in every aspect of possible consideration… if I am but willing to know. To “be still… and know.”

It is my continual joy to see and hear and discover more about this life in (literally) every day of my life. I listen to what you say when you speak to me… and I not only hear the text of your message… but (because I am listening for it… because I am willing to hear it) I hear the texture of what you communicate to me. I hear the ‘music’ accompanying your lyrics. I sense the depth and breadth of the portrait that you paint… even while you intend only to give freedom to feelings and concerns that you have been wanting to make available to a caring ear. I learn from You as I learn from every source and force influencing my life. All because I am willing to know. I have adopted a lifestyle and adapted to a set of life-circumstances that permits me the luxury of taking whatever time necessary to stop and dwell on the tiniest of details of life. Because I want to understand… I have willed myself to understanding. And what I understand is, without the slightest of hesitations, that every culture… every society… every people of every place in time and locale… has had available to them the insights and understandings to know all that they want to or are able to know about our Creator and the omnipotent Love that governs our very existence… at every level… past, present, and most certainly through whatever Eternity is.

What has served as catalyst for my stating what is my personal conviction and knowledge, is the present (though certainly not new) state of discord in our world… which exists primarily as a direct result of sectarian ‘religious’ influences. Power Centers that use as their ’justification’ some ridiculous idea that they and they alone have an exclusive franchise on access to the One who created us all… equally. Equal in our ability to hear the Voice speaking out the messages of the rocks. Equal in our abilities to exercise our will in accepting or rejecting the influences of ego, greed, avarice, pride, and hate… as well as charity, forgiveness, humility, generosity and love. Equal in our abilities to nurture and care for each other and bind the wounds inflicted by circumstances of all sorts.

The Creator of all of us has no ’brand name’… no stylish ’logo’ that is a registered stamp of authenticity. We were created before the existence of any of these nonsensical marketing organizations that sell their religious product under labels of protectionist divisiveness… be they operating from mosques, churches, temples, teepees, huts, or under trees. What they are marketing is what has been and will always be before them and after them. And their performance of the illustrative play that tells the eternal tale, is just as it was well before recorded history. A play that has its script spoken through the spirit of EVERY person who has ever been. A script that is the Voice within each breast of each willing listener. And it is the purest folly to make feeble attempts to literal-ize the play performed as a human expression of that script… that individually realized spiritual understanding… and played out in the scriptures of each particular culture and society in the costumes, in terms of the customs, in the language and dialect of the peoples to whom that truth is revealed. For even the most cursory of studies will readily reveal the absolute fact that from the earliest of cave carvings through the recordings of Mayans, Native Tribes of all the world, Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, European, and Western worlds… all have always had at their core… the very same script… the same revelations… the same myths, the same stories and legends, all the same! And the only denominator common to all of them… is their shared Creator… Who has always whispered truth into the ear of every willing soul… individually.

So, My Dear Friend… with this understanding at my core… you can see why I am distressed and saddened by all that we are inflicting upon each other in our world today. And all under some variation of a flag of religious, sectarian, legitimacy. Such a foolish waste! I prefer to “listen to the rocks.” I enjoy hearing the song of nature that awakens each day and serenades the world with reassurances that are consistently there… for all who will but be willing to listen. It is my personal choice to respect and find common ground for understanding with every soul that Life allows me to meet. I celebrate and find delight in learning new variations in the performing of my Creator’s script as presented in other belief practices. I have, indeed, put on my very own set of ’blinders’ that shut out conflict… and, instead, focus my gaze on harmonies. For, My Dear and patient Reader… I am absolutely convinced of the overriding truth of one of the very earliest of scriptures taught to me… “God is Love.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

Your Presence

With the melded effects of sleigh bells and Flamenco finger cymbals,
You come, lively and stimulatingly streaming into my consciousness.

And I am awakened to pleasant interests and quiet challenges.

Wanting to let none of the experience flow by unappreciated,
I am torn between the impulse to immerse my Self … or drink it all in.

Both promise satisfactions … and the moment seems to be rushing by.

Neither knowing … nor caring … from whence you come,
Nor to what … of the infinite possibilities … You are hurrying toward.

I am a bit overwhelmed … while reassured … by this wonder that is …
your Presence.

My reflections on a new Friend

24 October 08

IMAGE: Tim Curnow (viewer) BBC News

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Magical Moments

My initial response (and OH!, what a response!) to this photo was framed in thoughts of the location. But that left me wanting for a more satisfying definition of what the image generated within.

Today, after sharing the picture with a lovely new Friend, I revisited the emotions created by this overwhelming panorama. And now I know what it is that stirs me so about it. It does not relate to anything geographic (with all due respect to The National Geographic Society [its publisher] [smile].) No, Dear Friend, it stirs a core awareness of a relationship. A particular relationship of some twenty years passed. A union of Souls, Minds, Spirits, Dreams, Hopes, and yes, Bodies … that took us away from all that existed without. We lived in the lush, secure, and plentiful bounty of Love freely known, given, and confided in. The world below (for we did, indeed, live in the rarified air of a summit that transcended all that was obscured by the ‘clouds’ of our Bliss) was indistinguishable from where we existed. And it was just as this magnificent creation of art portrays. How gladdened my heart is to find an illustration of those magical moments. What a Gift!

I do hope that you too, Dear Reader, can attach a memory … or, perhaps, a hope … to the emotions and energies of this wonderful Presentation.

IMAGE is entitled “Our Good Earth,“ and is the handiwork of Charles C. Mann; published by National Geographic

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Must Sing

I must sing.
Sometime in Solo … a cappella …
In Chamber of silent solitude.
No bell, chime, or chord to establish a tone.
Neither harmonies of support nor Unison Partner.
But singly … solely responding to my Soul’s demand.

I must sing.
And fly on wings, of celebratory currents.
Rejoicing in Choir, and sustained by Orchestral might …
A chorus of like-spirited Souls …
And Orchestra of harmonious circumstance.
Glorious, yet so rare, these moments of oneness with others.

I must sing.
For silence is no option.
I will not be stilled, by absence of support …
Nor will I allow the pressings of life, to silence me.
My world cries for an elevating theme …
And each life encountered, longs for a song.

22 October 2008

Leadership for the 21st Century

The Harvard Business School‘s presentation of the program
Leadership for the 21st Centuryas hosted by Charlie Rose (and mentioned in my earlier posting), in now available for your clicking on the link here.

I offer this to you in the hope that I may encourage, inform, and and provide some valuable insights and perspectives that will make your walk along life-path easier, less stressful, and more pleasant.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stay Tuned

I am making a promise to you, Dear Reader. Because of the pressing need in our shared world ... I will monitor the site for The Charlie Rose Show's presentation of "A conversation about leadership at the Harvard Business School centennial celebration," for the availability of its video recap.

This superb presentation features an hour-long conversation about leadership at the Harvard Business School centennial celebration with John Doerr - venture capitalist, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Jeffrey Immelt - chairman and CEO, General Electric, Anand Mahindra - vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, Meg Whitman - former CEO, Ebay and James Wolfensohn - former president of the World Bank

I promise you that this investment of your Self will be among the most enlightening and rewarding experiences your Mind, Heart, and Spirit have ever enjoyed.

I do hope that the video will soon be ready for my sharing of its wonderful content. I was informed, blessed, encouraged, and heartened by the insights, perspectives, and wisdom shared by the participants. They candidly, entertainingly, and clearly address Today's world's cares and concerns regarding the economic, energy, scientific, educational, social, and political challenges shared by the States and our World Community.

Stay tuned ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prudent Pruning

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 is my recollection 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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Alternative Investment Considerations

If you had purchased $1,000 worth of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 worth of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have $33.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 worth of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for a recycling refund, you will have received $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon!

Makes you proud to be an American!

(With my "Thanks" to Heather for her generous sharing of these thoughts. [smile])

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