Thursday, December 31, 2009

Building Project

My, oh my! How discouraged I have, so often, been. My past was colored by the belief that every element of my life was to be held up to a Final Inspection … the ultimate examination that determines the acceptability of a finished structure. With each disappointing incident along my life’s path, I felt myself (afresh and anew) a Failure. I labored under the misconception that each step along the way was a decisive and final one. I now know better.

What I now understand is that this whole deal is a construction project. Yep! I was, and continue to be, under construction. What I did not see was the purpose and intent of the Great Architect in my life. Happily, I now get it. I see all of that yucky and unfulfilling work, that was so exhausting and unglamorous, as the necessary clearing away, of all that would impair the ultimate enterprise … the building of the ‘Who’ that I am (someday) to be. (A lot of “site preparation” was required in my life. Much removal of faulty ideas, tainted mindsets, prejudices, and biases cluttered the environment of my “job site.” A lot of rubble and unstable substrata needed removal.) This was played out in a host of frustrating and painful experiences and choices that seemed (at the time) to spell “More Failures.” (These are the times when the world around us may think that we are wasting our time or our talents. They see no impressive outer evidence of anything laudable in our lives … for “site work” is neither glamorous nor entertaining to those looking from the outside.)

With each confrontation with conflict or change, I felt that I had, once again, fallen short of some mysterious Standard. (A religious fundamentalist upbringing contributed greatly to this mindset.) Instead of the refining of myself that I now know was taking place … I saw my walk through life as stumbling and disjointed. Relationships, jobs, and associations seemed to lay haphazardly strewn in my life’s wake. Now I know that each was necessary for the construction of a Foundation upon which I could become who I was designed to be.

I could have built my life as a Lean-To that would provide rudimentary shelter. I had plenty of encouragement to settle for that. “Know your place, and stay in it!” was the constant message from all of the ‘Significants’ of my world. But the Grand Architect of life obviously had other plans for me. And it is definitely so for each of us … you included, my Dear Friend!
So, I ask that you consider, with me, the reality that is our shared life experience. I ask that you allow a new perception of what is going on in your life, as a necessary (and useful) stage or step in the building of a finer and more fulfilled You. Where you see yet another instance of something incomplete, consider that it might be the digging through, and removal of the unsteady ground of unstable thinking or fears … in order to pour a solid foundation of reliable certainty, and resolute determination.

When the ‘walls’ of your life’s structure seem to be so slow in taking shape today … couldn’t it be that Life is guiding you in carefully setting in place a ‘cornerstone’ that will determine the true and certain reference point for sound and reliable choices in your tomorrows? I encourage you to permit patience in this critical step in your life-work. It will make for many happy moments of satisfied reflection as you watch, with confidence, your life’s ‘structure’ take shape. Please be patient with yourself … and Life.

I relish the idea that I may never complete the finishing touches on this building enterprise. For I can reflect on those marvelous cathedrals that inspire and give comfort to all who either stand at a distance and allow the wonder of them to touch their Spirit … or, upon entering, embrace whatever elements of these grand edifices they find speaking to their core. These cathedrals have been built, not by one generation of builders and craftsmen … but by many, who added their contributions to what they had been inspired by and drawn to. It is my hope to have contributed to the site work, foundation preparation, and perhaps even cornerstone laying and wall beginning, that will give inspiration and enthusiasm to succeeding Souls who will enjoy adding their own skills and talents toward the building of a world that will promote loving acceptance of others; caring service to our community; gentle support of neighbors; and a place of respite for those who are weary and worn by life’s storms and trials. Whatever I can add to that Cathedral is a good thing!

This is the cathedral that I give myself to building. This is the blueprint that I have envisioned and given myself to. In this understanding, I can accept all of the ‘site work’ that is my past. I embrace all of those pesky changes and alterations that I had to make to what I had heard others tell me was what I should be … or ought to be doing. (It is now clear that there are all too many “sidewalk superintendants” who are willing and anxious to voice their opinions, as to what they see as the ‘proper’ edifice, that our lives should take shape as.) Happily, I trust the Eternal Architect of life, and rest in the vision that I am given for today’s efforts. I know that the application of my best efforts, in each of my “Todays,” will, ultimately, result in something worthy. This frees me of concern for whatever the “finished product” will be. Giving my best to what is at hand is my immediate responsibility.

I am completely content with allowing Life to take care of whatever the future might be. Not my job! Had I leaned on my past understandings, I would have settled for some lesser structure that would have disappointed and failed to provide comfort for my Spirit. I am now enjoying my daily installments toward something that I am certain will be far better than I could have ever imagined. (For I celebrate my present state of Being as exponentially better than I had ever hoped for.)

I know that all of this may sound at least a bit ‘spatial’ and abstract. But I ask that you permit my thoughts a place in the quiet of your consideration … that your own Inner Voice might whisper whatever Truth or Encouragement that may germinate from my whimsy.

Ultimately, I do think that we can, together, find some measure of comfort in considering this Moment as an acceptable, and even satisfying, step in the direction of our meaningfully enjoyable lifetime. I know that your love and encouraging support have made the structure of my Being much more sound and comfortable. And I thank you for your kind and generous contribution. I bid you “Good building!”

[loving smile]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Cavorted

“Cavorting!” … This is the word that proclaimed itself to my mind in the instant of my awakening. That is what Dad and I had just been doing. Then I awoke … and had the immediate realization ... “Dad is gone!” (for this is, in truth, the sad fact.) Yet I was stilled for a moment by the suddenness of my recollection. What I had just been enjoying was a memory of something that had never been a common reality for Dad and me … “cavorting together” (though he and I had a long-running, tacit understanding that we would have loved to.)

The closest that we ever came was on that Thanksgiving Day, some years ago, when I showed up, at the home that he and Mom shared, with the promised Thanksgiving feast purchased from a restaurant. All of the side dishes were prepared and ready. All that was required (as I now recall) was the baking of the turkey, made ready, by
the restaurant, in a pan.

Given the fact that a span of a few hours was needed for the roasting of “the bird”, Dad and I obtained the reluctant approval, from Mom (who did not like the idea of joining us, in our excursion, "just for the fun of it") for the two of us to set out on an exploratory drive ... in my new Jeep Cherokee.

So … off we went. And I do not remember having ever seen Dad letting himself enjoy such a child-like delight in an adventure. Lighthearted laughter and freedom of spirit were our comfortable companions. Me and my Dad. My Daddy and I. Us! Father and Son. It was glorious!

We drove to a spot that had a view over the Bay to the flashing light of, what remains of, the Egmont Key Lighthouse, where his Dad (my Grandfather), had served as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, in Dad’s youth. We read the inscription on the memorial to the sailors lost in the sinking of a Coast Guard ship … whilst savoring the distinct aromas of the head-waters of the Bay.

We treated ourselves to some silly snacks from vending machines (something that Dad had always considered an expense far beyond rational reason.) I showed him new avenues of travel made possible by the construction of bridges and roadways that he had no idea existed. And we arrived back home later than Mom had allowed was considerate of her.

As I spoke with Dad through the open window of the Jeep, upon taking my leave, and subsequent to a very miserable evening, of strained submission, to an air of guilt and reproof, Dad said only “I’ll never do that again!” Which proved (unfortunately) to be quite prophetic, on his part.

But we did,
just that once, cavort! And it was enough for me to have a recollection, upon my awakening, of how wonderful it was.

I miss you Dad. (And I miss all of the cavorting that we would have loved to have done ... but never did.)

[Definition: “Cavort”/ To act or behave in a jovial and exuberant fashion. ]

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How Real?

There is always the remote chance that someone reading my thoughts, or engaging me in a bit of a chat, focused on our responsibility to the Moment, will question "How Real" my actual practice of what I profess, might be.

I am sharing today's living demonstration of just such a happening. (Mind you ... I would never offer my personal response as any sort of 'standard' ... only my own individual choice of "Muse satisfaction." [smile])

'Twas upon seeing a very familiar name on a list of fellow graduates from my high School. Good ol' reliable Muse whispered her conspiratorial "Lest she never know!" And I clicked on the "Send Email" icon.

The message speaks for itself ...

Hi [name withheld],

It has taken these many years ... and Life 'nudging' me through Mom's reminding me of the instance (she was always very fond of you,[and knows how much I cared about you]) ... for me to muster the courage to confess what caused me to allow our budding relationship to wither.

Please know that I was totally enchanted with you. And on that night (that you have probably completely forgotten by now) when I was taking you home in our family car, I stopped and told you hurriedly that I had to "check on the strange noise coming from the rear of the car." What I did not then ... and it has taken 'til now to ... have the courage to tell you, was that I had an undiagnosed problem with my bladder. I, in fact, had to frantically get out of the car and hide behind the open trunk, to deal with the fact that my bladder had failed me. Yep! I wet myself. Hence, when I got you home, I could not get out of the car and walk you to the door. My pants were wet. (Believe me, this is still painful to recall.) I was humiliated beyond words.

When I heard later that you Dad forbade you to see me again because of my demonstration of poor manners and disrespect, I was despondent. But it was too much for me to speak of. Even after the doctor diagnosed what he called "spastic colon", and remedied the temporary condition with some pills, I could not overcome my humiliation, and sorrow, to tell you how devastated I was at the loss of whatever our relationship may have held the promise of being (and have revisited that loss with remorse many times since.) I was truly in love with you. There! At long last, I have told you.

I have lived, for a long time, with the guiding life-navigating star of "if it holds the possibility of ever being an 'I wish I had' ... do not let the moment pass without doing or saying whatever holds that potential." If I had not let you know the truth about that miserable night ... it would forever remain an "I wish I had."

I truly hope that this strange and unusual note finds you basking in the fullest of this Christmas Season's joy and happiness. I remain, forever, your admiring Friend and Servant,


There ... now You, Dear Reader, know that I do (even in the most awkward and challenging of circumstance) honor my Spirit's claim on me. As bizarre and odd as this example may seem, (and I know that you cringed [with me] as you read it) I cannot deny Life's claim on me. Responsibility to the demand of the Gift of each moment is what drives me on. And I promise You that it is a joyfully satisfying and fulfilling path to follow.

Just listen ... then trust the result or response to the omniscient power of Life's unfailing Love. It NEVER blunders.

I love You.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Linger With Me ... For Just 4 Minutes

Now ... close your eyes ...


(I knew that you needed that.)

[loving smile]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tarry a While

I am a horrid Travel Companion. I frustrate and fluster my partners. While they are eager to hurry and see more and more of whatever there is to see, I am compelled to tarry. It is my way. My right-brain dominated senses cannot take in the essence or nature of a setting or sight in fleeting haste. I must dwell in that set of stimuli in order to process it all. Then, and only then, am I able to appreciate, ingest, and celebrate what is offered.

It is so, for me, with every element and aspect of life. I do not recall having ever been totally sated with any indulgence in experiential foreplay. I have an unquenchable desire for the prolonging of every exchange of sensory awakenings. The climax of an experience spells an end to the magic of the arousal. And, be it physical. Intellectual, or ideological, I thrill in the adventure of every aspect of each unique moment.

So, please save yourself the exasperation of my company if you are inclined to hasten toward something beyond the ‘right now.’ I will be lingering with, and savouring, what is. I will be slowly inhaling the aromas and sampling the textures of the smallest and simplest of each note and tone constituting the symphony of this moment.

I do invite You, Dear One, to consider abiding (for just a wee little bit) with me. Know the joys of dwelling in this singular Present, and Place. Grant your Self, sweet repose, in a giddy bit of lollygagging.

[a loving smile]

: Through the generous courtesy of Jon Sullivan,

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Our 4th Visit to an IDEALIST Neighborhood Card Shop

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

There are far fewer "Card Shops" than there are other merchants. There is good reason for their infrequency. Life’s day-to-day requirements have material need for far more of the providers of ‘basics.’ It is also true that The Almighty created a fewer number of us Idealists in life’s mix. (Providing evidence of obvious 'Divine Intention' in this design ... fewer 'spices' are necessary in the 'recipe' of living.)

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

(Those of you familiar with this blog will recall having seen this message before. I replay it here, once every year or so, to allow new Readers to know me better. I do hope that this little 'window' into my Person serves that purpose well.)

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

Monday, December 07, 2009

Lovin' Louis

"Ain't nobody played nothing like it since, and can't nobody play nothing like it now," he told an interviewer around the time that he recorded his last album.

"My oldest record, can't nobody touch it. And if they say, 'Which record do you like the best?' I like them all, because I didn't hit no bad notes on any of them." Louis Armstrong

Friday, December 04, 2009

Our 'Youthful' Choice

I was QUITE resolute in my determination to NOT watch (yet AGAIN) the presentation of that well-worn (and recreated twice) film,
The Bishop’s Wife.

Then (don’t you know) there it was … playing on the television when I concluded one of my many delightful telephone conversations with Mom. (Today is her birthday.) So, YES! … I am watching it even as I type this little note to You … My Lovely Friend.

‘Tis through eyes moistened by tears of awareness of all that my Spirit and Being are, that I write these words of loving encouragement and endearment to you. This precious bit of a movie awakens all of that in me. It always has. (Which is why I had determined to not open all of Me, by viewing it again.) [smile]

Please allow me to share a bit of my reflections motivated by one little line spoken by ‘Dudley’ (the angelic character in the film [played by Cary Grant].) He said, "The only people who grow old are the ones who are born that way." And I must take exception to that statement. (Those who know me best can easily understand how I can take exception to [and even involve others in my reflections on] a statement from a 1948 movie.) [grin]

I tell You, Precious Reader, that the only people, who grow old, are the ones who make the choice to be so. Happily (for us all) some are mindful of … and choose to stay in touch with … the glories and richness of their youthful Selves. The opportunity to remain forever fresh in our perceptions; to maintain the giddy joys of curiosity; and to glory in newly realized sensations and experiences, is at the disposal of each of our individual Spirit’s.

I lovingly bid each of us (yes … me too!) a constant renewal of those joys, glories, and freshness.

I love You (I

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

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.