Monday, July 27, 2009

Note from Lime

Greetings all,

John-Michael contacted me this evening and asked that I make this post. His current absence from online life is due to a crash of his computer. He was concerned that there may be those who were afraid he was neglecting them or that some serious problem had befallen him personally. He will be back as soon as the stone is rolled away from the tomb in which his poor computer is now interred. In the meantime, he encourages us to watch the southern sky for smoke signals.

If anyone wishes to leave a message for John-Michael, I will see that it reaches him

As a messenger of his love for you all,


Monday, July 20, 2009

Me (and YOU) ... as an Onion

Many years ago, I was offered the opportunity to research the impression that my clients had of me (as an Individual) through a device known as a “Social Style Profile.” The intent was to provide us (the Brokers and Agents in the financial planning Firm) with insights that would equip us, to better relate to our Clients. I sent a lengthy questionnaire to the six people, who I felt knew me best, and awaited the “profile” results. What ... a ... disaster! I was not disappointed … I was (quite literally) devastated. It took me weeks of agonized reflection to overcome the impact.)

The person that my closest and most intimate acquaintances saw me to be was a JERK. They did not arrive at this "definition." They thought that the Me that they saw was pretty terrific. They were impressed with that image of Me. But that defined Person was all that I detested. I was appalled! And very hurt. This marked the beginning point in my journey of Self discovery and Self realization. I subsequently gained, over the span of much time, a disjointed and jumbled accumulation, of test results and data, that provided more frustration than resolution.

To the rescue; Dr. Edwin O. Timmons of L.S.U. (Louisiana State University.) Now settle back a bit and consider, with me, what Dr. Timmons had to offer. He illustrated this conflict between the ME that I suspected myself to be, and the ME known to others… as an ONION.

That’s right, your garden variety vegetable (or whatever an onion is.) It was his idea that if we were to chart a description of our natural Creator-given traits, and connected the points on that chart with a line, we would have our true inner selves represented, by what he called “our inner Zig-Zag.” (Pretty high-tech stuff, Eh?) Bear with us now, it gets better (I promise.) [smile]

Let’s suppose that when we first make some expression of our little “Zig-Zag” our expression is met (probably by Mommy) with some form of rejection or reproof ... “No!, No! ... mustn’t do that!” We, for the first time in our fledgling experience, modify our behavior to gain acceptance and/or approval. This “layer of behavior” Dr. Timmons referred to as an “Onionskin” of behavior, put in place to protect our ever-sensitive, and fragile, inner Self's “Zig-Zag” of Temperament and Personality.

Over the years of our lives, we develop (through countless Experiences ... with innumerable Persons .... in myriad Circumstances) an infinite number of these layers of behaviors that insulate our inner-selves from any chance of hurt to ourselves, or offense to others, to whom we feel responsible. So what my Friends recognized as ME (in their responses to that Social Style Profile questionnaire) was the carefully accumulated “Onion,” of outer behavior, that I, with the best of intent, had painstakingly surrounded my fragile Self with. This is what they perceived from without.

What the Meyers-Briggs temperament evaluation brought to my awareness was that, previously unidentified, Zig-Zag. The results explained the conflicts that had so-troubled me for so long. This test validated and reinforced the results of the previously taken "16PF" [personality factors] test; grapho-analysis [handwriting analysis] and many other self-examination systems (I have, over the years, accumulated a file of prodigious girth filled with these instruments of evaluation and measurement.) I could then begin the liberating (for me … confusing and bothersome for others) exercise of peeling away my layers of uncomfortable and binding Onionskins. I was free to elect my choice of behavioral “skins” for re-employment (as I deemed appropriate for the purposes of honest presentation of myself ... in forms suitable for the each of my life's settings.)

Think not that this was all accomplished overnight (or over many nights) for, in truth, the finding of the key tools and contributors in my pilgrimage of self-discovery has spanned decades (you are, now, having it all served up on a 'virtual tray’. [smile]) But, my Friend, do not be so silly as to expect a fast-track to painless and/or easy Self-establishment. It is, however, a most rewarding journey for those desiring the option. For, through the loss of Career, the loss of Marriage, the loss of church Affiliation, estrangement from my Children (I just told you that it would not be painless didn’t I?) there evolved the life that I now breath, and touch, and taste … hear and ingest into my spirit ... with every moment of life. And it is GENUINE. My outer “Zigging” is in complete harmony with my inner “Zig” and the same holds true for my “Zag.” My “onionskins” of behavior are translucent and merely magnify the Me at the core. My life is the ME as I am created to BE ... and I am fully accountable for the living of that identity.

I share all of this in the genuine hope that my experience will serve that Individual for whom Life has encouraged me to post it. Whoever You are ... and in whatever circumstance You find yourself ... I send my most tender Love ... and offer all that I am for your encouragement and sustenance. You are welcome through "comment" (at the bottom of this page) or by Email. I am, lovingly, your willing Servant ... and Friend.

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of

Saturday, July 18, 2009

World Peace

It is not so large … this World of mine.
Some would deem insignificant in Space and Time.
But it is the World, that I touch …
And is all of the World … to me … as such.

Mine alone is this chance to express,
All that is Kindness, and The Best.
Open, only to me, is this moment to show,
Expressions of Love and Compassion I know.

In this instant of contact, in our shopping …
Or, perhaps on the street, we pass.
My chance to say “I love you”
Only briefly, will last.

So I catch your eye, give you my smile …
Say “Forgive my intrusion, please.”
“I am aware and have noticed a way …
To appreciate You … and give My World … Peace.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Making Love to Life

A dear Friend, Ray, an elderly gentleman who I noticed as he walked silently by (week after week… going about his business in a dignified, stately, and private manner), made an impression on my Spirit, with the beauty of his Spirit. “Please forgive my intrusion, My Friend” I said with a hand raised in a ‘please stop’ gesture, “but I am compelled to tell you that your eyes, your comportment, the very countenance of you, all speak together to say that the Man behind all is a man of worthy and noble character. I want you to know that your regular passing of this spot, where I sit, has blessed me, and made my world a better place, for your Presence in it.”

Ray (being a very shy and introverted man) blushed with this extremely out-of –the-ordinary declaration and thanked me. “You are quite welcome” was my simple reply and I immediately returned my attention to the work that was before me, so that he would feel no requirement for further engagement. This “sense it, say it, leave it” (my words…not his) methodology, was gleaned from the teachings of Leo Buscaglia, a Teacher, Lecturer, and Motivator of the mid-to-late 1900’s. The key elements, as taught by him, were to ask (and by the asking make clear your respect for and appreciation of the ‘space’ of the other) for “forgiveness for the intrusion.” Then, after your message has been stated, remove yourself straightway to make clear the absence of any hidden agenda ... thereby giving a complete sense of safety, to the Individual upon whom you have just intruded.

Ray and I, over time, became quite good Friends. And it was on one of our more lengthy visits (which, with Ray, were hardly more than fifteen minutes… [for him constituting something of a marathon of dialog]) that he and I had the following exchange. “John-Michael, I have to tell you that I envy the frequent and varied relationships that you seem to enjoy. I am so shy and retiring that I could never be as open and free with myself as you are. It is clear that you do genuinely love all of these people with whom I see you interacting and they, you, in return. That is something that I must say that I do envy.” “Ray, My Dear Friend," I replied "I make love to all of the world around me every moment of every day. But, Ray, you speak of the glory and warmth of your relationship with your wife, who you clearly adore, and by your comments, make clear, to any observer, the fact that she participates equally in her adoration of you. You go home, after witnessing my daily love-fest with Life, to her ... and immerse yourself in the totality of that love. I go home alone. Ray… I envy you.” We exchanged understanding smiles.

“Making love to Life” is the most accurate portrayal of my living. Intimate engagement in the most compelling of life’s elements … the core of Life (for want of a better term) … is the level at which I sense, acknowledge, and respond to my World. I take no notice of roles or titles for I have played many roles in business, religion, society, and family … and have done so wearing the many varied ‘hats’ appropriate to the roles (and did it all quite well and even to the laudation of each relevant world). And, in the doing, I learned the temporal nature of such things … passing; for the moment; and then to be gone as though never there. But Love, whether revealed in unspoken, distant appreciation or intimate exchange for the briefest, or more prolonged, engagement … is forever.

I am simultaneously saddened, and challenged, by the climate of today’s social, political, religious, and cultural atmosphere. Anger, vehemence, criticism, castigation, condemnation, confrontation, and refusal to respect, appreciate, or even consider the perspective of another, is the comfortably accepted norm. I simply cannot participate in (what I consider to be) this sickness. The twisting of the Soul of a participant is the price-tag for involvement that I would rescue all within my domain from paying. I have chosen to demonstrate the satisfactions, joys, happiness, and comfort of embracing others in the exercise of admiration, recognition, appreciation, adulation, and yes, even love.

This choice of behavior is not without pitfalls. I have found no models after which I may follow. There are, to my knowledge, no systems for the practice of such behavior that would have all potential misunderstandings and miscues worked out. I, therefore, find myself blazing a new trail with all of the elements of risk and even danger befitting such an adventure. But the quest is far and away worth the scrapes and bruises encountered along the way. I can endure the passing looks of skepticism, doubt, uncertainty, and even rejection encountered (thankfully ... with extreme rarity) amongst the more frequent and almost constant smiles of appreciation, satisfaction, enjoyment, and even surprised delight that my behavior evokes. This is “making love to my world” as I am called by the conviction of my Heart to practice it.

(originally penned, 2004)

Please accept my invitation to spend a few moments with some Friends who express my convictions ... in their own, beautiful, way ...

Peace Through Music Film Clip: Playing for Change from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

I do Love You, my Dear Friend ... and thank You for sharing these moments with Me.

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Thoughts of Daddy

I don’t remember ever calling him “Daddy” in my younger, and even ‘middle,’ years. But it was always what my Soul called him. He and I were not comfortable with each other. We were not comfortable with the world around us.

I was his first child … and he repeatedly made it clear that I was an inconvenient intrusion on his honeymoon. The termination of my presence was something looked forward to … and I got the message (loud and clear) that when the time necessary for my raising was exhausted … there was no place for me under his roof. Sitting around his dinner table (after divorce had removed the Element of conflict from between my mother and me) there was some discussion about all of those years between my leaving home, and rekindling contact. Mom wanted some help in understanding (or, better yet … wanted me to suffer through an attempt at justification for) the twenty-plus years that we did not speak. The wedding that I chose to not invite them (any of my immediate family) to; the children who did not know that they had grandparents (on my side) or an aunt, uncles, cousins, and on and on. “How could you live like that without it bothering you?” I was asked.

“It was really quite simple” I replied. “I had lived so many years hearing the house, that I lived in, referred to, by my parents, in phrases like “as long as you live in my house …” that I had no difficulty in understanding that it was not OUR house. I was living, out of a temporary necessity, in YOUR house. So, first … it was never ‘home,’ and secondly … it was, quite clearly, not MY home. When you are raised to understand that you are an unwelcome intruder into someone else’s world … leaving, and then dismissing, that world, is to rid oneself of the burden of being constantly reminded, of your ‘unwelcome alien’ status.” And, at that point, I recall looking around the table … and seeing looks (on all faces present there) that showed the light of an awareness that silently said “Oh! I remember saying those things. Oops! Didn’t know that they would be taken so literally.” And, in Daddy’s eyes … I saw the “oh shit!” look. A well-recognized look of having failed … yet again. That look that, certainly not for the first time in our pilgrimage, gave me cause to feel oh-so-badly for him.

For, you see, Dear Reader Friend, I have always sensed that Daddy wanted to experience a tender and yes, intimate, relationship with me (in fact, with All in his world.) But, alas, he never had a clue how to allow that to happen. Raised by a man who knew only military discipline (my granddad served in the U S Coast Guard [after the dismantling of the Lighthouse Service] as a civilian Keeper of navigational aids in and around the manatee River and outer Tampa Bay. He bore the total responsibility for raising his three sons, after his wife [Daddy’s Mom] passed away, early in their lives.)

There was NO affection, nurturing, tenderness, encouragement, praise, or even remote validation in that home. Only discipline. Orders, and punishment, for orders not perfectly followed. So … poor Daddy … he had all of his feelings, yearnings, desires, and emotions … all stored, pent up, confined, and compartmentalized … and for the first time in his life he had a window of opportunity for releasing them all … and having them eagerly accepted, embraced, and appreciated. He had his wife. Bliss! Then ... he became a father. And the full weight of parenthood landed on his unprepared shoulders. And the only script that he had for that role … was the one given him by his father. And he hated that script. But it was all that he had. Hence, the Conflict, that my presence, visited upon him. And no more, the freedom to explore all of those neglected, suppressed, and denied inner workings of his most passionate and caring Self. Responsibility and duty were, once again, his masters.

( My suspicions of the presence of a complex, of hidden aspects of his inner Self, were confirmed with Mom’s sharing, with me [fairly recently], his letters written whilst they were courting [and he was away in the service of the U S Navy.] She stumbled upon the letters [long forgotten] as she delved into the bowels of ‘The Cedar Chest.’ That vessel of ancient Treasures holding all of her life’s artifacts and mementos. She phoned me, in excitement and with an urgent need to share these resurrected Intimacies. It was with an obvious sense of wonder, and even surprise, that she read Daddy’s words of endearment. He was open, unguarded, romantic, insightful, empathetic, and yes … even poetic, in his messages to the first person who he had ever been able to expose those beautiful aspects, of his inner Self, to. As I listened, I heard (in the background of recollection) a lifetime of Mom’s chiding and belittling remarks about what she deemed to be “the inherited inability of the Brown boys to have any sense of romance, tender affection, or regard for the feelings of, anyone.” I had heard such declarations so frequently, and openly, made, for so many years, that their echo was deafening. And then, here she was … over the phone, reading words that reminded her … and informed me … that my Dad was, in fact, a gentle and caring Romantic. Further confirmation, to my predisposed and sensitized mind, that my birth had confused and discouraged Daddy’s sensibilities and capabilities. No wonder, indeed, that he felt so threatened and resentful of the circumstance of Parenthood interrupting his first chance to live out all that had been denied him before falling in love with Mom.)

Equipped as I am with the Temperament and Nature that is mine, I had been keenly conscious (throughout all of those years of his rigidity and frustrated anger) of an unidentified current that flowed beneath Daddy’s well-rehearsed surface. So, as I said earlier, I knew … but had no definition for … another Being that was him. For many years he and I battled that unspoken, invisible, and troublesome ghost relationship. Prior to my leaving home (at age twenty-one) … and then after our reuniting (at age forty-three) we had both struggled with what we sensed that we wanted to realize … but had no facility for claiming.

And then, Life gave me the Gift of understanding and appreciating the beauties of freed and enjoyed thoughts and feelings. Thankfully, I was (in Daddy’s final few years) able to celebrate telling him that I love him … at my parting, after every visit. And to tell him with the tag of “Daddy.” “I sure do love you Dad,“ I would say. His discomfort and unease lessened noticeably over time. Even more wonderful is the way that he accepted my Heart’s message … embraced it … and learned to share it between us. Unfortunately, I am the only one of his children, in whom he found that sweet Place. But I am so delighted that I was given the lovely opportunity to invest those few years that were required to nurture it into reality, for us.

I tell you, Precious One, these things … so that you can grant yourself (and perhaps some specific Others) some measure of patience and maybe even forgiveness. I give this to you, to offer real and tangible Hope, for what can be … now that you know that good stuff can be born out of yucky stuff. Daddy and I want you to know that. [smile]

I do love You … really!

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