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 clich├ęs 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, FreeFoto.com

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, FreeFoto.com

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 ...
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_PIadFsvDk&feature=related . You will be glad.)

Alecia


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

John-Michael
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.


John-Michael
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])


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life's 'Handiwork' ... It IsWell


There is, today, a great deal of “Hoo-Ha” over this business of “God or No God.” There is animosity, conflict, hatred, division, and even killing, over the name ascribed to One’s chosen deity.



I have been invited by Cesar (my ‘adopted,’ Gift from Life, Spirit-Son) to go to see the new comedy/satire movie “Religulous” this coming weekend. And I am looking forward to an enriching exchange of intimate conversation with him after we share that experience.



I had a conversation with a dear Friend a couple of days ago. And her dread and fear of these being the prophesied “Last Days” … trumpeting the arrival of “The Great Tribulation Period” … was palpable. I listened and respectfully offered what reassurances I could.



So, My dear Reader, in light of these surfacing concerns and interests. I will give you a hint of how I think and feel about the whole question.



Though I have neither a determining say nor any influence over the eternal truths that are none of my personal/practical business … I have a sweet and comfortable confidence in the “I Am” at the genesis of all that we can see displayed in these photos from the Hubble Telescope.



The marvels of generating energies at the center of every galaxy (known as “Black Holes”), and the intricacies illustrated in the wondrous balance of all of these incomprehensible exercises in power and infinite control … all mesh beautifully with the still, small, intimate whisperings of my inner Spirit … and give me a constant sense of complete rest and assurance … that all is in order and well in “hands” far more worthy of trust than any of my feeble concerns could ever deserve.



So, My Darling One, rest, with me, in the spirit of that old song that conveys the gentleness of rhythm and chord that I enjoy … and let your Spirit sing along with mine in the harmonies of “It Is Well With My Soul.”



“The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the Firmament sheweth His handiwork.” [1st verse of the 19th chapter of the book of PSALMS.] (How cool is that? It’s all just “Life’s Handiwork.” [loving smile])



I bid you “Peace,” and “Namaste.”






Photos: (with my sincere “Thank You” to Carole for her Email with the Gift of “the Top 10 Hubble Pictures.”) Top to bottom.

The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are asmspectacular as its appearance It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.

The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes... The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.

In third place is Nebula NGC 2392, called "Eskimo" because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.

At four is the Cat's Eye Nebula.

The Hourglass Nebula, 8,000 light years away, has a "pinched-in-the-middle" look because the winds that shape it are weaker at the centre.

In sixth place is the Cone Nebula. The part pictured here is 2.5 light years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return trips to the Moon).

The Perfect Storm, a small region in the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away, described as 'a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of oxygen, sulphur and other elements'.

Starry Night, so named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.

The glowering eyes from 114 million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant Canis Major constellation.

The Trifid Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light years from here, it is where new stars are being born.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Up Close & Personal



This is something that I very rarely do. But, this morning ( 1:27AM, Sunday, 12 Oct 08), I (for whatever unknown reasons) want to allow You a bit of an intimate peek into an element of Me ... that I normally keep very quiet about.

I am motivated (or inspired) to speak with you, as I am ... because I have no one else to share these reflections with. So, in departure from my customary lesson-leaning, insight-sharing reflections ... this is only about me ... and my life's circumstances. Let me begin with the thought that has occupied my mind for a few hours now. I have been thinking "I could easily become spoiled to these comforts and conveniences." What comforts and conveniences do I speak of? Well ... the lovely, hot shower that I just enjoyed, for one. Not bathing from a small bathroom basin ... with water heated in a pot, on a hot-plate ... but in a nice shower stall with hot running water that ACTUALLY comes straight from the spout ... is something that I could become habituated to. And (please do forgive the "indelicacy" of this revelation), enjoying the utility of a toilet that FLUSHES ... instead of clearing one out over the course of a day with pails of water poured slowly in until the slow draining of it accomplishes the desired clarity of water by late at night (all to be repeated as a "routine" through the next day) ... is something that I find decadently delightful. Then there is the luxury of a stove ... with MULTIPLE burners ... instead of the afore-mentioned hotplate (that is used for heating water as well as the cooking tasks.) And ... blessed happiness is having the use of a cloths washer AND dryer ... right at hand (I finished folding and stacking the last of the 20 loads of laundry that I had accumulated (over the course of over 2 years of no such convenience. [Hand-washing items on an "as needed" basis ... again, in the small basin ... is what I usually do.]), just this morning. Then, sleeping on a REAL bed ... WELL, just let me tell you that I have slept like the proverbial Baby, for the past 5 nights (and, on this ... my last night of house/pet sitting for two dear Friends ... I am looking at that very bed with a lovely longing for savouring the last of these nights [HUGE smile].)

I won't even mention the companionship of a darling dog (Henry) and cat (Billie) who have made my visit here even more a pleasure. Nor will I go into the marvelous ambiance of breakfast beside the swimming pool ... watching the butterflies and birds whilst not hearing the sounds of one of the county's busiest highway's traffic tat runs in front of the cozy cottage that I have known as "Home" for the past 20 years. Ahhh! Sweet bliss, this is. But alas, it ends tomorrow. And I will be back in the primitive, but adequate, place that is my personal place of respite and reflection. But ... Boy-Oh-Boy!! I could surely become spoiled to this style of living [grin.]

So, My Darling Friend, I retire with a smile of gratitude for this sweet interlude. I bid you "Good Night."

Friday, October 10, 2008

A World Made Better



Because I am one of those “right-brain-dominant” people who process life’s input in a conceptual way … I have learned (from many, many combined years and experiences) to back away from things … allow my funky brain to process the elements of what has been observed … permit my mind to form a perceptual image that comes together in a coherent form … and only then … respond. Here is an example.


I was raised in an environment regulated by a set of standards that demanded perpetual self-deprecation and denial of worth. This system is based (to some twisted degree) in the fundamentalist, religious teachings that would have us see ourselves not as loved and wondrously created individuals … but as innately flawed and unworthy. That was the climate of my earlier life … no more! There is, in that still-thriving-world, a prevailing demand for dismissal of recognition and declination of compliment. And all in the name of “humility.” I now offer what I have learned … to the contrary.

My memory of that sphere of stifling dictates was stirred by a dear friend’s response to my public mentioning of his act of loving expression. His comment (after reading my acknowledgement of his thoughtfulness) was,
the personal recognition was not necessary, but appreciated nonetheless.” Kinda leaves you chilled, doesn’t it? I was left with a feeling that has taken me a while of contemplation and consideration to sort through (in my INFP, right-brain sort of way.) Here is what I have concluded from that thought process.

Contrary to his statement, my expression of my heart’s sentiment is, most assuredly, necessary. Absolutely necessary and elementally required … for the sustenance of the quality of life that I am committed to being individually responsible for. For, My Dear Reader, I am not satisfied with the idea of living some cadaverous form of life, maintained at the rudimentary level that would be reflected in that image of one who is bound to existence by the barest of “life support” mechanisms. Indeed not! Each breath of my life is invested in knowing the highest “quality of life” that can be realized in whatever circumstance presented. And I have committed myself to the same for all whose lives I am given an opportunity to affect. I intend the highest possible quality of life for us all.

I know that I can enhance the most barren of surroundings with a kind word. The most stark of settings can be transformed with a smile. A song lightens the darkest of moments and the beauty of even the most childish of artistic efforts serves to elevate any setting. And, I ask you, are any of these “necessary?” Of course they are! They are necessary to a finer quality of life lived in that moment. They are the necessary response to any moment’s option for betterment or diminishment. Necessity is the presiding rule when considering whether or not to enhance any situation with our offering of our better self … if we want to make our world an ever better one.

So when you offer that kindness … demonstrate that loving sentiment (in whatever form you are comfortable with in that moment) … say that generous word … or give that gift that is the expression of your heart’s desire … I will acknowledge your spirit of willingness to make my world better … with a simple “Thank you.” And I will thank Life for your contribution to my life’s betterment. I will be happily grateful for your enrichment of my present-moment world. And I will lift the spirits and hopes of others with my telling of your willingness to contribute to our world’s beauty and enjoy-ability. This is a worthy “lens” through which to view our time together … and I am committed to polishing and offering that lens for your viewing … as frequently and in as many ways as possible.

So I ask that you … STOP … before responding to the word or behavior of another. And … consider … if what you are about to say or do is going to validate, or cast a veil of doubt, over their offering. Are you at the brink of dashing their expression with a cold splash of self-deprecation borne of less-than-uplifting habits learned in your past? Please allow me to urge you to make the choice to, instead, encourage, support, and contribute your part to that person’s willingness to improve your world … with a loving … “Thanks.” Then lean back … and bask in a world made better … in whatever small way.

Monday, October 06, 2008

at Intermision

Life’s stage has gone dark.
Each performance, as now reviewed,
was ripe with Potential.
But all concluded with this empty void.

In the illumination, of a dedicated spotlight,
each Player, in my repertoire of life encounters,
turned from our dialogue,
and exited our shared stage.

Now, in the fading echoes, of accompanying applause,
I consider the ascension, of each former Leading Lady,
as they, in turn, have risen to their new Roles.
And I, at Intermission, yearn for a Partner,
to share this stillness with.




IMAGE: UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE ARTS

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