Thursday, July 31, 2008

What I Desire

I have been asked what it is that I desire. This is not a new question. I gave the matter some consideration early in 2007. And, having reviewed my response, at that time, I find that nothing in my core desires has changed. Thus, I respond to the current inquiry, as I also share with You, My Dear Reader, what I would have “That Special Someone” in my life, know.

It is my desire …

To read poetry to You and watch your eyelids float to your cheeks in serene rest;

To listen to your breath and sense your peaceful comfort in my presence;

To awaken You with kisses lingering at every line, curve, shadow, and highlight of You from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head;

To greet each new day with the awareness that it is to be another together … You and I;

To listen to my spirit, in a moment of solitude, as it communes with your spirit … wherever You are;

To walk through Life’s gallery applauding, celebrating, and reveling in the beauty of all of Creation … knowing that Life’s Masterwork is forever in the chamber of my Heart;

To look heavenward and say, oft and joyously, “Thank You!”… at the thought of You;

For You to know, in every fibre of your existence, that in our Now and in our Forever ... we are One in eternal intimacy.

This is what I desire.

IMAGEs through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Man Carves Wife a 6,000 Stair Path in Mountain

When Carole (my Dear Friend of 40 years) sent this story to me (she knows quite well where my interests lie), I simply HAD to present it to You. So ... "Thank you Carole."

An incredible love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world.

It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half a century.

The 70-year-old Chinese man who hand-carved over 6,000 stairs up a mountain for his 80-year-old wife has passed away in the cave which has been the couple's home for the last 50 years.

In a twist worthy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, friends and relatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference and the fact that Xu already had children.

Over 50 years ago, Liu Guojiang a 19 year-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin..

At that time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.. To avoid the market gossip and the scorn of their communities, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality.

In the beginning, life was harsh as they had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to light up their lives.
Xu felt that she had tied Liu down and repeatedly asked him, 'Are you regretful? Liu always replied, 'As long as we are industrious, life will improve.'

In the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began and continued for over 50 years, to hand-carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily.

Half a century later in 2001, a group of adventurers were exploring the forest and were surprised to find the elderly couple and the over 6,000 hand-carved steps. Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, 'My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day. He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother's convenience, although she doesn't go down the mountain that much.'

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife's hand even after he had passed away.

'You promised me you'll take care of me, you'll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?'

Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband's black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10 love stories from China , collected by the Chinese Women Weekly. The local government has decided to preserve the love ladder and the place they lived as a museum, so this love story can live forever.

IMAGES and STORY from: Chinese Women Weekly

My "Thank You," to them, as well.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Impatient Child

Please do not allow yourself to be fooled by the white beard. I ask that you disregard the vocabulary and all that would seem to be unwavering confidence. For I must, in all candor, let you see the truth. There is a part of who I am that is yet, an impatient child. Yes … ‘tis all too true. And I can give you an example of my childlike impatience.

It was in the early morning … dawn had yet to declare itself fully. And I was about my business of considering the significance of life … all of life … and my own individual life as well. I was engaged in a dialogue with the distinct (yet silent to the ear) Voice of Life … as It whispered to my Soul.

You might ask (as many have, well before our time) what language Life speaks in. And I can bear witness to the fact that Life speaks to each of us (in whatever country ... continent ... or nation we inhabit) in whatever linguistic form and style we are receptive to … and open to hearing. Testimony to that truth can be heard in Life’s response to my articulated question on that morning … several years ago. “What is all of this for? Where am I going? To what end is all of the accumulated experience, that I have known?” I queried. And Life responded, not in a dialect familiar to the King James version of scriptures. Nor in any rhythmic rhyme of homiletic agreement.

Life responded in a language … and a form, that delivered Its Truth as a key, that is intricately designed to satisfy the discriminating requirements, of one particular lock. Just as distinctly as any declaration made, by any other companion, in any moment of my life … Life said (gently and softly) “None of your damn business.” And I stopped the van, that I was delivering newspapers from … and laughed. Out loud and with neither hesitation, nor doubt … I laughed with Life. And I understood.

It is all about Trust. Belief and confident faith in Life is what it all revolves around. And if I have that Faith … if I am confident in Life’s worthiness of my trust … knowing where the path is ultimately leading, is, indeed “none of my damn business.” Hence, I have been completely comfortable with all of the bumps, detours, hurdles, and challenges that I encounter … as I faithfully exercise my confident faith, in Life, to tend to whatever Purpose, my living may serve. And it is a wonderfully enjoyable place … that my Soul rests in.

I do, genuinely, live in accordance with the scriptural lesson taught in the fifth and sixth verses of the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs, as it says (to my Heart) “Trust in Me with all of your Heart, John-Michael, and lean not on your own understandings. In all of your ways, acknowledge Me … and I will direct your paths.” And that, My Darling reader, is all that I need to know about “Life’s meaning.” That is everything that I require for my personal GPS guidance in living. I highly commend it to you. That ... guided by Love ... does it for me. (And quiets my inner, “impatient Child.”)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First-Aid Kit

Knowing our innate predispositions, and understanding our natural drives, perspectives, and inclinations, does not … in any way … immunize me against the effects of those characteristics. Oh No! All of the bruises and wounds that my individual nature is naturally susceptible to, I am readily vulnerable to. My preparedness (by virtue of my understanding of our natural temperaments), for our behaviours, neither shields me from, nor inoculates me against, those words and actions that flow from your Nature … and run contrary to mine.

So what good then, all of my knowledge and understanding (would be the expected question) does this awareness serve? Simply that, as I choose to see beyond the complex of our individual sets of fundamental differences … in order to permit Love to flourish between our eternal Spirits … I can prepare myself for those inevitable incidents of wounding and hurt. As I am aware of our disparate Personality traits … I can ready my triage of remedies to heal my anticipated injuries. This … and this alone … is the long-term benefit of knowing our Temperament/Personality types. That I may have my ’first-aid kit’ always in readiness for those instances when you unconsciously, and quite naturally, allow those traits that are quite understandable and normal … to flow freely. And I experience all … that is the natural conflict between your perspectives, and mine … that clashes in (what I feel as) an injurious collision, of malice-free disharmony.

I have learned that my feelings will, rarely, be hurt. I am fairly adept at navigating a course of conflict-free sailing. But when we run afoul of each other … and hurt occurs … too frequently, or is abusive … or if malice is, indeed, the root … I can withdraw from the Source of the clash. But I can NEVER change the natural temperament of any other person. I can only enjoy whatever span of moments we share ‘sailing the seas,’ of harmonious acceptance, together … in the bliss of mutual respect and compromise of desires … and relish that Gift, as the Gift of that moment … only. If that moment should meld into a span of moments flowing into days, years, and more … all the better! But I understand that I must, as a precaution against devastating surprise … keep my little set of understanding Awareness … my ’first-aid kit’ … available.

(Yes! … I was just reminded of this!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Our Silly Arrogance

As any Parent watches, with a knowing chuckle,
Mother Earth allows the foolish escapades of Man to play out.
He speaks of his Wisdom, Insight, Knowledge, and Might,
as he pursues his course of childish Selfishness and petty Greed.

Whilst he claims advances, in Understanding and Power,
he catalogues Earths messages, recorded in layers of stone.
There, for his information and enlightenment, She reveals her past.
And he proudly displays, all that She has shown,
in pretentious exhibition.

Yet, he misses her most profound of messages and declarations,
as he chooses to forge ahead in his willy-nilly abuse of her Gifts.
There … in museums, archives, and documented histories … She speaks,
“Go ahead … destroy yourself. You were created, out of Me, once.
I have all that is needed ... to do it, yet again.”

17 July 08

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I submit this bit, as an admission of failure. I have laboured, for some while, at composing a short poem speaking to the enchanting effects of one of Woman's loveliest of gifts ... her shoulder. (It has been said that this is a 'Southern Gentleman's fancy.') And I have found the task beyond my abilities (though I keep the project open.) But, today, I must confess my shortcomings in this offering.


It is hopeless. There is simply no way.
All attempt at conveying the scope of her Substance, is futile.
All forms of expression, once considered, fail to satisfy.
The Artist knows complete loss, for a means to represent.

Stone can be shaped … brought into submission …
But will never yield a semblance of her might … her force.
Oils … manipulated; blended; mixed and applied …
Fail to reflect the alchemy emanating from her flesh.

Notes; chords; tones and tempos in infinite combination,
All fall short of translating the intoxication of her Essence.
And words … however inflected, articulated, or combined,
Struggle to echo the enchantment of her voice … and fall mute.

For she is Woman. Her Being is beyond capture.
Her effects far too deep … her possession, too complete.
Sculptors, Painters, Composers, and Poets, will forever labour.
Never to capture, nor contain … the exquisite Wonder of her.

So I submit this treatise of surrender … my admission of ineptitude.
For I have, like all of the others, toiled to frustration.
Thus, I relegate my Self to the countless legions who have preceded.
A Man in awe … paying meagre homage to Life’s best … Woman.

15 July 08

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Allow This Moment

Allow This Moment

Please, do not be discomfited,
As I stand here … in still, and silent gaze.
A moment is required, for my senses,
To rest in the wonder of your presence.

No greeting … indeed, no words,
Can convey all that is my satisfaction,
In this wondrous Gift … that is You.
And I find my Self to be overcome in Joy.

So, I ask, please grant me this short while,
To gather all that spills from my cup of rapture.
That I might find some serene and gentle way,
To tell You, again, of my adoring Love.

10 July 08

Monday, July 07, 2008


From the earliest ...
we have had a desire to express our innermost visions ...
our perceptions ... and our experiences.

To make known, to others, the truths, beliefs, values,
and impressions that are ours.

That the treasure of our having known Life ... will be theirs.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Saturday, July 05, 2008

OK ... I'll Tell You

You have repeatedly asked … countless times over many years (usually silently ... with a look, or gesture, or hesitancy) “Why do you do that? Why do you insert yourself into the lives, circumstances, and private space of total strangers?” OK … I’ll tell you.

It is because I have been alone for all of my life … and I see their aloneness. Yes, we (You, and I, and They) have been surrounded by Friends, Colleagues, Family, fellow Worshipers, and Companions, both passing and lasting. Yet we have been alone, in our most intimate concerns, fears, doubts, wonderings, and apprehensions. I see Us, when we are in the company of Others, who defer to our charisma; acquiesce, to our projected confidence; still themselves, to hear our voice; encourage our humour, so that they can laugh safely, out of the limelight of prominence. And my heart hears the beat, of all of our hearts, as they pound out a message of ‘S.O.S.’ in a struggle, with an isolation that is completely alien, to the awareness of all about us.

I recall, from my own storehouse of accumulated pain, the need that we all have, for an answer to our spoken, and unspoken supplications to Life, as we have sought some word, of comfort; some note, of acknowledgment, that Life is aware of our struggles. “Here I am,” I can now offer. “You are heard … Life is with You … You are never alone … You are forever loved.”

This is my mission; my quest; my calling (some would say, my Compulsion); to let You know that Life knows You; hears You; is responding to You; has compassion, care, instruction, and encouragement for You. This I allow Life to use me to do … for You. When I see your name in my address book; when I see your eyes in a crowd; when I see You across a busy restaurant; when I pass You in the market; in all of my life’s moments I am sensitive to You and available for You. I am yours … because I gave myself to You long before we ever knew of each other. Our actual meeting was but a simple detail that I entrusted to Life. And here we are … in this moment … neither of us ever again alone. If we but accept the gift that is ‘Us.’

To Life I say a heartfelt, “Thank You!”

IMAGES are through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Friday, July 04, 2008

"Final Salute"

With my profound appreciation to PBS NewsHour, The Rocky Mountain News, the United States Marine Corps, I humbly invite ... You ... to invest a moment with this audio presentation
(by clicking on "FINAL SALUTE")...


For the full COVERAGE of this excellent report, please click on the "COVERAGE" link ... and click, again, on the image of the Rose that headlines the article.

Semper Fi

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Human Perspective

Without commentary ... I feel compelled to share what Sharon A. was thoughtful enough to share with me ...

Friday Mornings at the Pentagon

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year-long tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon. Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

"10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?

The media hasn't yet told the story. And probably never will."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

They Are ... The Sunrise

They are, of course, there all the while… but My Oh My!!… how their magnificence, their beauty, and wonder does explode upon our Awareness when the risen sun reveals them, yet again, to our senses.

So it is with the presence of these wonderful Individuals, these Gifts from Life. This is the effect that They bring to their world. And how I do delight in each new awareness of them ... as they speak ... make the Presence of their unique Personhood known ... and bless my Being afresh and anew. With their brief, passing comments and gestures, they leave a magical wake on the pond of my life.

If your Spirit is whispering "He is speaking of You, You know." ... you are, no doubt, one of them. Go ahead ... smile. It's OK. You are loved. And the warmth and comfort of your individual Self ... is appreciated.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Through the Open Window

I want to keep it open ... its curtains drawn back to invite an impulse created by You. That I might shout from the window of my heart and say “Thank You!” When 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 one 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 strikingly 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 has just touched, and made an impression on me.

I will comment on the Treasure of your children; your lovely Family; your Smile; even “Cool shoes!” Whatever aspect of you touches me and makes my Moment blessed ... I will express my notice of it. And 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 each moment … and a personal sense of accountability to Eternity (and to my Self) for each of my opportunities to encourage and edify the Lives that pass my way.

So, yes, I do speak to You ... in the Person of 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 model for your living. For I know this to be my personal calling and mission in life. But, perhaps, as an insight into another possibility for perspective on living, and enjoying life on a slightly different plane. I trust that there are some who will find in this thought something of worth for a fresh reflection on Being that responsible (with the emphasis on 'response' ... and 'responding') person that you were wondrously created to be. We all have so many lovely opportunities to appreciate and encourage one another in our daily experience.

I do hope that I can instill a bit of enthusiasm for your enjoyment of your walk ... in your world. All that is needed is for you to agree to ... open that window to your wonderful Heart's awareness.

IMAGE through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,
Creative Commons License
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.