Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Failure ... the Road to Success

In response to the supposition that my enthusiasm for Life is founded in a history of successes … I have had a few occasions to set ‘the record’ straight. And invariably, after even the most abbreviated recounting of my litany of always-very-public personal losses … I get a look that silently says, “How in hell … ?”

So I was comfortably familiar with the conversation between Charlie Rose, and his two guests tonight. Each of them are world-renowned Chefs. One was the early Mentor of the other, and has consistently been referred to as the greatest Chef in the world today, by an impressive array of notable Peers. When they responded to Mister Rose’s question, dealing with their ’secret’ of success in their field, I found it very gratifying, and significant, that it was with a recalling of a distant moment, that they illustrated their willingness to embrace Failure as the root, of each of their respective sets, of accomplishments.

Hence, I am happily enthused to offer a couple of my favorite quotations for your consideration today. I do sincerely hope that you find some thread of useful substance in them.

“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.

I've lost almost 300 games.

26 times I've been trusted ...
to take the game winning shot ... and missed.

I've failed over, and over,
and over again, in my life … and that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

“Success consists of going from failure, to failure …
without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Sunday, March 29, 2009


While they are, admittedly, always at the center and core of my Heart's affections, I have, of late, been even more keenly focused on Children.

Please share with me a few moments considering ...
our Children.

"Better to be driven out from

among Men ...

than to be disliked of Children."

Richard Henry Dana

"All Children wear a sign saying, "I want to be Important NOW!"

Many of our troubled Children carry with them their Troubles, because no one was willing to read the sign."

Dan Pursuit

"Children have never been good at listening to their Elders ...

But they have never failed to imitate them."

James Baldwin

"If a Child lives with Approval ...

he learns to live with Himself."

Dorothy Law Nolte


Thursday, March 26, 2009


When, midst all of the imagery
of our world's struggles, pain, and conflict ...

I discover a Spirit-lifting Gift ...

I simply MUST celebrate it with You,
My Dear Reader.

namaste ...

IMAGE (edited): AP/BBC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What ... Who

I listen, and reflect back what I hear,
in all that you are brave enough to reveal.

I provide, no classification System,
or Labels … no Judgments.

But an open and receptive Space,
that welcomes You … all of Who You are.

That we may share in what you have been afraid
to know … including those secret Treasures.

I provide, for us, a Place that knows
neither Alien nor Enemy.

The borderless land of Loving Respect,
and Individual Honor.

This is the sought-after definition
of what I do … Who I am.

For, I was, once, the One in need
of Acceptance … a peaceful Harbour.

25 March 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

To celebrate the role of women in technology,
today has been named Ada Lovelace Day.

Augusta Ada Byron was born in 1815,
the daughter of Lord Byron,
she is now known simply as Ada Lovelace.

A skilled mathematician,
she wrote the world's first computer programmes
for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.

Years ahead of her time,
she realised that the Analytical Engine
"might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music
of any degree of complexity or extent."

She died, aged only 36, on 27th November 1852.

Text: BBC News (edited)

Photo: (edited) Hulton Archive/Getty Image/Circa 1840/Published 24 March 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sowing and Reaping

“He must be Crazy!” “Is he out of his mind?” That’s the craziest thing that I have ever seen!” We can imagine all sort and manner of exclamations that would seem completely appropriate to the scene of Stevie Wonder driving off in the Driver’s seat of a big beautiful Bentley automobile. Surely the man knows that he has limitations that make such an adventure at least impractical, if not insanely dangerous. There can there be no doubt that he is aware of all of the rational reasons for his dismissing any idea of ever driving an automobile. But there he was … driving away with a look of absolute happiness and joyful freedom on his unconcerned face.

Have you ever heard any voice tell you that some idea or desire of yours was not reasonable? Have you been told that you were being impractical or unrealistic in your aspirations or dreams? Or, even worse, have you been taught that your yearnings or hopes were all flying foolishly in the face of a superimposed ‘reality’ that you (and indeed all mankind) are living under an “Adamic curse” that condemns you to the follies of “fleshly lusts and desires” that are not of “spiritual merit or worth?” Hence you should squash, disregard, and turn your back on any such aspirations and ignore any and all of your Individual or Personal aspirations … and seek only some set of mandated guidelines and behaviors. (Yes! I do speak from personal experience.)

If so, Dear reader, imagine all of the voices, advice, and opinions that must have been offered to Mister Wonder each time he suggested that he wanted to know that experience of driving a car. Don’t you just know that he heard all sort and manner of loving, caring, concerned, and sincere advice and counsel … all intended to redirect the focus of his Dream … into more “reasonable” considerations. But we all saw him drive off in that car. We watched the video tape of his laughter and exuberant joy as he did, indeed, take complete control of that magnificent machine and realize the direct and immediate sense of actions producing sensations. When he turned the wheel, he felt the vehicle respond. His pressure on the accelerator gave back the satisfaction of sensed increase in speed. Braking delivered the immediate and direct feedback of its application. He was controlling his set of experienced sensations … all of which he had only been the recipient of, prior to this moment of initiating the entirety of the motoring experience.

So, what made the success of the moment possible? Simply put … Stevie Wonder took responsibility for the entirety of his experience. He addressed each element of his abilities … and compensated for his limitations. He is physically able to perform the mechanical functions … and he employed coaches and assistants to ride with him and perform the tasks that his eyes were not able to perform. He has the ability to execute the driving maneuvers … but acknowledged the laws and regulations that protect all vehicle operators with specific rules and guidelines … and he situated his experience on the vast, uncluttered, and open expanses of a deserted airfield. He found and tailored an Environment that would support and encourage the fulfillment of his Dream. He shrugged off the confines and limitations of the norm … and made, for himself, a place where his Fantasy could fly.

He (Stevie Wonder) says, "There's a kind of excitement
about the idea of driving a car yourself.
I can feel me driving my car,
and it feels good.

18/06/2004 09:09

With an acknowledging nod given to that old adage “We reap what we sow,” I would point out that a great part of what we “reap” is made possible … or discouraged by … the Environment into which the “sowing” of our efforts is entrusted. For, My Very Dear Friend, what you and I “sow” … all that we initiate … whatever we generate, construct, enact, or do, is done in a “field” or environment that comes to us with its own set of influences and consequences. The very nature of the ground (if you will) in which we sow our efforts and commit our acts of constructive or destructive (as the case may be) behaviors has (as a natural aspect of itself) “fruits” to be dealt with. (And some of us have been blessed with far more forgiving and supportive environments, in which to grow and develop.) But to illustrate this business of "better grounds" let me share what I saw demonstrated.

Stevie Wonder did not discount his Yearning as illegitimate, unreasonable, irrational, or foolish in the face of the prevailing restrictions, limitations, laws, and confines of the usual setting for such a quest. He did not berate the System that denied him access to the fulfillment of his Desire. No anger, frustration, or bitterness found a place of welcome in his heart or mind. He simply created an environment that encouraged, supported, facilitated, and made enjoyable his realization of his Spirit's Longing. Might there not be a lesson for us all in this? If who you yearn to be is not supported in your present set of circumstances ... if you are belittled, mocked, or shown disrespect in the arena of your Present ... I would suggest that Mister Wonder's example might hint at the reasonable option of ... Change. Taking responsibility for your happiness and fulfillment might dictate making some alterations to your Life's environment. It the 'Seed' of your ideas and aspirations has found itself resting on the surface of a discouraging 'Rock' ... dig yourself a nice, welcoming place in 'soil' of circumstance that will support and encourage the blossoming and growth of your Personhood.

Now! Why do I venture here? Because, Dear One, I have, throughout my life, engaged my Self in the Cause of mitigating the suffering and pain of many, whose paths have crossed mine, whilst they needlessly bore erroneous condemnation for what they were taught was, solely, the result of some choice or behavior of their own election. Countless are the number who, at this very tick of life’s clock, are weighted down with that most sadistic of monsters … Guilt … inflicted by their belief that they are reaping their own personal fruit of their own sowing. And this in the form of sickness, infirmity, disability, misfortune, rejection, condemnation, hatred, or even, an untimely death. They have been trained to this belief, that they, and they alone, are responsible for all of the suffering that touches their lives. And, I have never in all of my three-score and soon-to-be-three years heard anyone say “Look at the field!”

Are we not all growing in a natural life-field that is replete with inherent maladies and adversarial elements? When we plant a new and delicate seedling, do we not pay heed to the preparation of the soil and environment that will be the bio/eco-world for that plant? We do that because we recognize that the fruit of that plant is vulnerable to all of the natural forces of the environment in which we plant it.

Is it any less so with each of us. Do we not all respond to the elements of our growth-environs? Have not family, neighborhood, school, church, friends, job, community, and even geography had an impact on us in every aspect of our development and daily function? I think … absolutely, Yes! So, My Friend, can we not accept the truth that what we perceive as the “fruitfulness” of our lives is going to be only-partly influenced by our own individual talents, abilities, and motivations. But, perhaps, that not-mentioned part ... our environment ... might just be subject to our resolve, as well.

So … when considering those “outcomes”, or consequences visited upon us in the course of this life … be aware (with an 'ear' that hears how the Vintners speak of the combined effects of soil conditions, vagaries of weather, and employed nurturing and care, on a particular vintage of wine) of all of the elements that influence the harvests of each day of our lives. Give every consideration to all that exercises an effect on your growth (those, clearly, of your doing ... as well as those beyond your immediate control) … and celebrate the successes that you have enjoyed over those difficult elements that might have had a detrimental effect, beyond what you have (thus far) brought to realization. Give yourself credit and honor for the attention … the love … the care and devotion that you are investing. Do not hesitate to grant your Self a hearty "Ya done good!" when you recognize your tiny victories and accomplishments. Then go forth from this moment looking forward to an even better harvest … a more excellent vintage … tomorrow.

And, please remember ... You have, as a constant Resource, a Friend who is happily ready, and lovingly willing, to provide whatever 'Compost' of experience and perspective, that you may deem useful, for your Spirit's nourishment and succor. For, don't you know ... I love You. [smile]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Real Problem

I simply MUST share Today's offering from StoryPeople (one of my every-day inspirational Treats.)

" The real problem with details is ...

there's so many of them "

Do I hear a great big "AMEN!!" from 'The Congregation?'

[Huge, Loving Smile]

Monday, March 16, 2009


‘Tis my favorite One, of two Favorites …
this Eventide of day.
When all is glowing … and nothing a glare …
as I look across the room.

Fingers find their way, around the keyboard,
in the soft, dancing glow, of candlelight …
To avoid the perverse harshness,
of artificial lighting.

For I am enjoying the comfort,
of the Indistinct ...
In this freedom from the confines,
of absolute Definition.

All about me is bathed,
in lovely Homogeneity …
That is this world,
of Grays.

Absent those course, and unyielding,
Blacks and Whites ...
That allow for neither Interpretation,
nor convivial Compromise.

Could be rolling Hills,
in a beckoning distance ...
Just as well as the shapes, and contours,
of elements of my tiny Chamber.

Cozy, and soft Abiding,
are the sensations, known to my Awareness ...
As I rest in an easy Acceptance,
of Life’s twilight Lullaby.

16 March 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Someday ... Not Now

Someday, You will be listening elsewhere,
Your attention on some other voice.
But, for now, I enjoy your attention,
My Words and Message … your choice.

Someday will find you refocused,
On new Vistas, Horizons not now known.
But, for now, I enjoy your attention,
My Heart, my Desires can be shown.

Someday, you will go over yonder,
Discovering and exploring new Worlds.
But, for now I enjoy your attention,
A tapestry, of Possibilities, unfurled.

Someday, you will forget what I’ve told you,
Circumstance diluting what we share.
But, for now, I enjoy your attention,
Delighting, in this chance, to show Care.

Someday you may ask, “Who has loved Me?” …
In a moment of Loneliness or Fear.
But, for now, I enjoy your attention,
Repeating, again, “I love You” … happy that you are still near.

15 March 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Did You See ...?

I always look forward to traveling as a passenger. So much, of what surrounds me, is lost to me, when I drive. Thus, I find myself 'discovering' all manner of 'new' sights, when free to let my focus take in the fullness, of all that surrounds, in what may be a very familiar area. If I mention my discoveries to whomever is driving, they often declare that I have found things, that they had not, previously, been aware of.

Just as this is true in travel, I find that we all 'find' different sounds in shared enjoyment of musical selections. I am very fond of the Oboe and Bassoon, while my companion may be more inclined to being attuned to Strings or Percussion. Our different perspectives make for an enhanced life experience, when we share.

These diversities of awareness occurred to me as I engaged myself in one of my favorite pastimes ... perusing the "In Pictures" area of The BBC News. So, I thought that it might be fun to share some of my recent discoveries ... and see if those elements of the photographs are the same 'focus draws' that attract your attention. Kind of the same exercise that we did as children looking at the same cloud formations ... yet seeing completely different images in them. So, here goes ...

The Photographer saw this image from a Fashion Show, one way ...
Photo: Philippe eLopez/AFP/Getty Images/BBC

But I saw something else in it ...

Here, the Photographer asked us to see the Dogs
following the Trained Monkeys ...

Photo: DeShaka Ivan Chowdhurt/AFP/Getty Images/BBC

But I saw something entirely different ...

And (as you will note from their shared "comments"),
'Lime,' and 'SulDog' found this young man more interesting

We were asked to see the pattern of Circles in the Snow, as created by the Traffic ...

Photo: BBC

I prefer to enhance the Pattern without noting the causation ...

A Tasting of Cooked Rice, was the Subject here ...

Photo: BBC

But not for Me ...

'Sam the Koala' has been popular for his survival of his injuries
in Australia's recent tragedy of wildfires ...

Photo: AP/BBC

But his magical Expression grabbed my attention ...
I surely have enjoyed sharing these Moments and these Images with You, Dear One. I thank you for your companionship. And please remember ... my happy focus is always unwaveringly on my Love of ... YOU. [smile]

All IMAGES from BBC News / In Pictures / The Big Picture

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sisterhood Award

I am blessed, by Kimberly Drever, in her post at http://thejourneyofpassion.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-got-award-and-get-to-pass-it-on.html , with a singular honor that, at first blush, would seem a bit outside of the “Norm.” But I beg to linger with Kim’s sweet and altogether kind Gift to me … and let You, My darling Reader, know just how very meaningful this lovely Award is to me.

You see, the Award is one of a declared “Sisterhood.” And in her including me in the group to whom she gave this recognition, Kim said, “Now, the award is 'Sisterhood'... but these are a few 'token sisters' that I just couldn't leave out:” Then, she made some very kind remarks and sent it my way. And I am quite moved!

For, don’t you see, “Sisterhood” is a form of Kinship … an intimacy of Relationship, not born of genetic predisposition … but of election and exercise of Personal Will. That makes Kim (to my individual sense of comprehension), someone who has chosen to indicate a desire to be Kin with Me in a Spiritual Bond of familial choice. “Oh, John-Michael, you are making all too much of all of this!” you might feel yourself wanting to declare. But no! I say that we miss out on far too many opportunities to see … know … acknowledge … connect … and find Kinship with our Fellow Beings … when we allow invitations to Kinship, to slip by … unheeded, or unrecognized.

All of this surrounds the “Sisterhood Award” on its surface. But I have, earlier, heard Kimberly Drever’s Voice through her messages in comments and on her blog, “The Journey of Passion.” And that is why I chose to respond by making what she has to say, a regular part of my daily life. I began “following” her blog when I first became aware of her. And now, I smile in my acceptance of this lovely Award from her Spirit to Mine.

I am, however, departing from the prescribed set of “rules” attendant to the Award. Instead of posting the details of those whom I am “nominating” for the Award … I am sending an Email to Each, and will amend this post with only the names and details incumbent to those who elect to embrace the Award. I trust that the Guardians of the Award will be amenable to this deviation from the guidelines. (I am just too hesitant to put anyone “on the spot.”)

All of that said … I simply MUST add, “Thank You Kim!”

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Alone in the Morning

I began my day, today, with a renewed appreciation for the blessing of being alone in the morning. For it is the singular fortune known to One who is not distracted, by the seductive presence of Another, to be able to reflect on Life’s Wonders. And this morning brought just such an opportunity.

As I allowed my two organically produced Eggs to slowly cook in the little Corning skillet (the heat being optimally utilized by a clear glass lid) I enjoyed the fragrance of bacon bits (the real stuff!) and butter (the real stuff!) simmering into the eggs. And I contemplated my appreciation of the oft-overlooked Gift, from those amazing Masters of that rare endowment, that provides the Concentrated Fish Oil that enriches my living, with each capsule taken … with each Morning’s breakfast.

All too easily, we take for granted the uncanny skills, employed by these Asian 'Athletes Extraordinaire', as they carry on the traditions of gathering Concentrated Oils from the fishes. It boggles the mind to try to grasp the confluence of proficiencies brought to bear as they lull the fish into a state of deep concentration … keeping them suspended in that state whilst the gathering of those Sacred Oils is accomplished … and transporting each tiny Sample to the waters’ surface, free of any contaminates. I smile a smile of gratitude and appreciative honor, as I consider the stamina and expertise working in union as those Artisans dive into the hazy depths, humming arias, from "Madama Butterfly," in perfect time, with their expelled bubbles, of spent air. All to accomplish the end product, that I now incorporate, into my Being. How wonderful!

And to think that there are multitudes of people in the world who begin their days coping with the bothersome company of some meaningless conversation, or physical diversion, not knowing these opportunities for contemplative reflection, that are my daily blessing … is just too, too, sad. So, My Darling Reader, I share with You, my own insightful notions this day. It is all simply too lovely to selfishly keep to myself. (And all of this BEFORE my first cup of coffee!) Isn’t loving and sharing a wonderful thing!

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I am but a simple Man.

Simple, and uncomplicated.
If I like talking with You,
I will tell you… just that.

Folks are not accustomed to hearing
Words like, “I like talking with You.”
And I see some hesitation fleetingly race across a face
Followed, immediately, by a look of happy pleasure.

That doesn’t seem all that hard a thing to do …
That, telling you how much I like your Presence.
And I ask myself how you would know …
If I didn’t make the insignificant effort to tell you.

So, I just do it!
Just like I will tell you that your hairstyle is lovely …
Though we do not know each other, and are just passing.
(I then go quickly on my way to allay any potential discomfort.)

We meet in the market aisle, and have to negotiate around.
You smile, in passing.
Your smile made me feel good.
“Oh my! Such a beautiful smile! Thank you for sharing it.”

And again and again, over and over,
I am faithful to the charge given me
by my High School History Teacher,
Lo, those many decades ago.

If … for the short while, that You are on this tiny planet …
You don’t leave it a better Place, for your having been here …
You will have wasted your Time.
Tony Jonaitis (1962)

I love you Tony! [smile]

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


(note) is an Intelligible Sphere whose center is everywhere,
and whose circumference is

Art is the evidenced result of One being simultaneously
occupied by … and residing in … that Sphere.

To have the brush, breath, quill, fingers, feet, or voice,
transported by the Influence of that Sphere,
is to permit Life to speak.

To stand, in the midst of a Moment, and allow that Sphere
to express Itself through, and in, Us ...
is the essence of living Art.

The most legitimate definition of “Artist” is realized …
in the embodiment, and free expression, of all that is
the Power and Scope of that Sphere …
In any One of Us

(note)The nature of God is ...
an intelligible sphere whose centre is everywhere ...

and whose circumference is nowhere.”


(A last treatise of Empedocles quoted in the Roman de la Rose and by St. Bonaventura in “Itinerarius Mentis in Deum” [ch5, closing line])

"Four Strong Winds"

I was just introduced to this lovely ballad, that is very well known to my Canadian Friends. It is the traditional "Closing Number" at the end of each Edmonton Music Festival. I know that you, My Darling Reader, will appreciate it as I now do.

With a great big "Thank You!!" to Suza

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