Friday, December 25, 2009

Born To Be Me


I had a delightful Christmas Eve listening again to the story of Susan Boyle, the 48-year-old Scottish woman who stunned the world with a voice from heaven! She did not win the “Britain’s Got Talent” program, placing second after a group called “Diversity.” However, it is safe to say she made a major mark on the entertainment world since her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” from “Les Miserables” went viral on the Internet. Her first album was released in November 2009 and had already sold a million copies by Christmas!

Her dream had been to be as successful as the renowned Eileen Page and, perhaps, even to sing a duet with her sometime. In the Christmas Eve program she performed beautifully with her idol to a standing ovation from the audience. But what really struck me was when Ms. Boyle sang “Who I Was Born To Be.” From her humble beginnings she rose to super stardom, and the beauty of it is that it was a dream she felt certain she could achieve. When first appearing on “Britain’s Got Talent” she knew the audience dismissed her as soon as she took the stage because of her frumpy appearance, but her attitude was that it didn’t make any difference how she looked. It was a singing contest and she knew she could sing. And sing she did! We are all richer because of her belief in herself.

The added lesson for me personally was the reminder that I also am who I was born to be! It is up to me to believe in my dream and to sing the song that is my life, regardless of the opinions of others. There will always be detractors quick to criticize what they do not understand. If I live according to the perceptions of someone else, I am not being true to myself. We are each born with our own song to sing and life to live. It is up to each of us to muster the courage to express that dream to the best of our ability.

WHO I WAS BORN TO BE

When I was a child
I could see the wind in the trees
and I heard a song in the breeze
it was there, singing out my name

But I am not a girl
I have known the taste of defeat
and I have finally grown to believe
it will all come around again

And though I may not
know the answers
I can finally say I am free
And if the questions
led me here, then
I am who I was born to be

And so here am I
Open arms and ready to stand
I've got the world in my hands
And it feels like my turn to fly

When I was a child
there were flowers that bloomed in the night
Unafraid to take in the light
Unashamed to have braved the dark

I am who I was born to be
I am who I was born to be


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Bells Are Ringing!



So, today I tune my Internet radio to Christmas music while I work at my computer. It is a bit early for me, but somehow I just felt in the mood. Besides, it may help get the Christmas Spirit flowing into everything I do between now and the New Year.

Thanksgiving this year was a personal feast, as I noted in my last blog entry. I got through the meal without seriously over eating and managed to prepare portions such that only the turkey breast had to be delivered to the freezer in packages for later sandwiches or hot turkey and gravy meals. Well managed if I do say so myself!

But back to Christmas. To all who read this entry please consider this my Christmas card to you. Each year the list of “snail” mail cards gets shorter. I am not sure how many will go out this year. In some ways, the older we get the more long-time friends begin to make their move on in life. Perhaps that is why the “seasonal blues” strike so many of us. At this time of the year when gathering with family and friends is so important to many of us, it becomes clear that some of those family members and friends are no longer with us physically.

What is particularly interesting to me, however, is that since opening a Facebook account, friends from out of the past have found me, or I have found them. In some ways this is a wonderful compensation for the loss of those who have moved on. I hope that any of you who may be feeling the onset of the seasonal blues, will take heart in the realization that you are loved and supported by many folks you may have thought were no longer aware of you. Love is out there in their hearts as they remember you and the impact you had on their lives. I certainly have experienced this in the reconnection with friends with whom I shared an important period of my life many years ago. My experience has convinced me that once our paths have crossed, we are together forever in some way. Throughout this holiday season it is a good time to reconnect in our mind and heart with those who have touched our lives in some way. As you send out your love to those who come to mind, that love will multiply as it returns to bless you.

Wow! It is going to be a great month enjoying the music, special programs, and most all your friendship! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving One and All!

Everyone around the world may not be celebrating Thanksgiving as we do here in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean I can’t send Thanksgiving thoughts to all who may be reading this blog.

I hope that wherever you are, you have the opportunity to take a few moments and accept the blessings of love and peace that are being sent your way—from my home to yours. I hope that your table is abundant with food and that you have family, friends and special people with whom to share the day.

As for me, I am preparing all the traditional foods. The cranberry sauce is made and two pumpkin pies. The turkey will be going into the oven soon, stuffed with dressing. Later, there will be mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans almandine and salad. A glass of wine to brighten the taste buds and then time to savor the blessings I am so fortunate to enjoy.

I wish you all could be at my table today! I pray for you to have a Happy Day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nobody here but us chickens




I just read a new post by the folks at one of my favorite blogs.  It is such a logical view of the silly state of affairs we are experiencing, and have for a long time, in Congress and politics in general.  Here is the lead to the post:

With all the buzz around Washington these days about Lobbyist Reform, and in light of recent abuses, perhaps now would be a good time to put this in perspective for the average American “outside the Beltway." 

And what could be easier for the average person to understand than banks.  After all, that is where almost all of us put our money for safe-keeping.  Therefore most people should favor Bank Robbery Reform, right?

Please, head on over for the full story.  You may want to bookmark this blog for future reference.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Word in Due Season

And a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Proverbs 15:23

The other day I had a simple experience that brought the above text to mind. A friend had written a word of appreciation to me. It came out of the blue, so to speak, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It felt so good to receive that appreciation!

When someone takes the time to connect with us in a way that could easily be taken for granted, it is important not to let it pass that easily. Not only is a good word pleasant to hear, it can also move us to lift our own appreciation of self. Left to our own devices it is sometimes easy to forget that others look up to us in some way or are grateful that we are in their lives. When we accept their simple gift of a word spoken in due season, what a blessing it can be!

Never underestimate the power of a word of praise or appreciation, or an act of simple thoughtfulness. I know I was lifted up by the thoughtfulness of the person whose words I received. When you are moved to send a thoughtful word to someone, it may be because it is a due season in their life at that time. Your word may bring new hope or self-acceptance, or deep joy at a time it is really needed. Even if you never know how the word was received, trust that you have been led to give the blessing and that it has been received.

As we near Thanksgiving use the occasion to let your family, your friends and your associates know that you care about them. Share a simple act of kindness by complimenting some quality they are expressing, or thank them for something they have done that easily could have gone unnoticed. When you see something worthy of praise, give it. Conscious caring for and loving one another has been limited in many cases these days due to our busy schedules, and the clamor of lesser things for our attention. There is nothing more important to our mutual health and well being than a word spoken in due season. It is a simple act with deeply satisfying potential.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who or What Is At My Door?




At the recent Peace Convocation Master Djwhal Khul suggested that our every experience is a door and that as we pass through that door we will see Who or What is showing up to offer us a learning experience.  All too often, however, we are more concerned with what appears in the doorway than in what the opportunity may be.


As we work our way through life seeking to better understand who we are and what our purpose is in this experience, we always hope that when we open the door a messenger of glad tidings will appear to grant us some gift for the good job we have done so far.  While there may be a gift to be received, we usually find it in a container wrapped in papers and obscured from easy view.  Until we actually clear away the wrapping and explore the container, we cannot see what the gift is.  Sometimes our expectations of what is in the container get in the way of enjoying what we finally discover our gift to be.

For example, I have found that as I have worked my way through a tangle of family relationships over the last several years I came to expect that when I opened the door everything would be just fine.  There would be smiles and hugs and joy in greeting each other as if arriving for a gala family reunion.  My expectation of how that would appear got in the way of seeing what was actually there—a tentative, but deliberate beginning to see each other in a new way rather than in the old and negative way that had begun the tangled web of unhappiness.

I understand the positive thinking aspect of expecting the good.  I accept the importance of building such positive attitudes in order to develop a consciousness of attraction.  I also understand that sometimes what we think of as expecting the good goes no further than being excited about the wrapping paper on the box concealing what our real experience is all about.

So, Who or What is really showing up at my door?  Are my buttons still being pushed by the presence or actions of others?  What is that telling me?  How am I going to take the next steps to resolve the karma in this situation and with these persons?  I can only conclude at this time with the degree of understanding I currently have, that only unconditional love is the answer.  Unconditional love is not based on what the other person does.  Unconditional love flows outward to bathe all persons and all situations with the bliss of knowing no power can quench it, no wall can withstand it, no heart can fail to embrace it.  It is not my job to figure out how that will be.  It is my job to welcome Who and What is at my door with that flow of love and joy.





Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Master Djwhal Khul Revisited


Last October I had my first connection with Master DK as I attended the Matter of Mind workshop in Denver. Colorado. I wrote about that experience on this blog. During the weekend of September 25-27, 2009 I attended the Eighth Annual Peace Convocation in Carbondale, Colorado. The focus of the Convocation was on creating balance in our lives. It was not difficult to feel harmony in mind and body as we met near the base of Mt. Sopris, considered a mystical mountain by native Americans. It is one of the most impressive mountains in the state. Its mile of vertical exposure creates an impressive backdrop for the town of Carbondale. In this article I will highlight some of the lessons made available to participants with which I particularly identified.

During the opening evening program, Master invited us to write down five statements representing our obsession with being out of balance, what beliefs we were holding that interfered with establishing a balanced life. After identifying those thoughts, we were invited to write down on a separate piece of paper the same statements in a positive form. For example, suppose I wrote: Why do I not do the things necessary to bring balance to my life? The positive statement might be: I do whatever I need to do to bring balance into my life. Then we were asked to take the positive list crumple it up into a ball as though we were going to throw it away. Instead, however, we were to toss the ball of paper around the room. After awhile we stopped and each person read the paper they were in possession of at the end of the exercise.

What an amazing surprise! When I began to read the positive statements on the paper I ended up with, I discovered statements that actually reflected ways to address my own limited beliefs that I had originally written down. This exercise demonstrated several things to me. First, it was very helpful to see the positive statements that could help me reshape my belief system so as to restore harmony in the certain areas of my life that I had identified. Second, I was able to realize again how very similar the needs of most of us are. Few of us have just one problem. Usually, we have a number of things going on that we feel need to be changed, and those things are quite similar for each of us.

With that in mind, it became clear to me that together we are a powerful force for change. As we individually bring our thoughts and feelings into harmony with each other around a positive focus, change in our world will come about. The peace we all seek is possible. This is supported by research repeatedly performed using EEG and ECG equipment that register electrical energy in the brain and heart. The tests showed that when a person regularly practiced bringing their own heart/brain energy fields into coherence and directed that energy toward another person, he/she would come into a synchronous pattern as well. This is also the concept behind many types healing accomplished through prayer and meditation.

Everyone wants harmony, peace, balance and goodness in life. We are all looking for the same thing in this respect. The ego mind tries to make this a difficult process. The ego wants to be in charge. When we let it control our thoughts and feelings, we experience a chaotic world and feel helpless to do anything about it. The truth is, it is our inherent right to have peace, balance and harmony.

Who are you when you don’t get what you want?

During the Saturday morning lesson this question arose. I have heard the question before, but as it was considered this time I thought about it in a different way. When I forget who I am, I may feel I am not getting what I want. This is usually a sign that the ego is trying to control things. Actually, it is a myth that ego has this power. As we harmonize with our true nature we let go of the need to control things. We are then able to experience what is without the judgment of “right” or “wrong.” Every experience becomes a door. Passing through that door we will see what is showing up to teach us whatever we need to know to get on about life.

Who is showing up to teach me? What buttons are being pushed? How will I respond?

As you proceed along your spiritual path, seek to be a worthy vessel ready to be filled with learning. Free yourself from this and that. There are many mazes that have been constructed by our old habitual thinking focused on limitation. But within every form of confusion there is something sane. What appears to be insane turns out to be enlightenment as we let go of the old way of thinking. It is here that one clarifies the difference between knowing and knowing about. Knowing is your direct experience in transforming the mazes along your path. Simply observing others may only result in knowing about how overcoming was achieved without the benefit of personal transformation

Djwhal Khul advised us not to let the mind go where we do not want it to go. We have a choice. We may begin by asking, “Why is this happening to me?” It may be that we are simply “in the way” of something passing through, but which is not ours. If we mistakenly think it is ours, we will have to find a way to deal with it. Taking on such problems actually dissipates our energy.

Some believe the mystic path is one of withdrawal from the world. We tend to fantasize about the spiritual life of the ascetic. Certainly there is value in taking time apart on occasion. However, where is the balance between withdrawal to the mystical and the expanding embrace of the mind? In the final analysis, it is how we live in the world that matters. In fact, it is also how well we understand and express our oneness with others and all life. That we are separate is an illusion that we must overcome. We are spiritual partners with others on the path and as we learn that, those others will clearly be recognized. This is a beginning of a balancing of our lives. That process continues through all aspects of our experience—our feminine/masculine nature, our emotional/rational mind, love/wisdom, ebb and flow, resistance and resilience—all of these find their perfect harmony. It is the true resolution of karma.

One of the things we discover as our understanding develops is that things are not as they seem. Everything is an illusion, unreal in any sense of permanence. The unreality exists because we do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. We actually seldom meet the other people in our life. What occurs is that we are relating to our notion of the person. When we are looking for a certain type of experience, what we have in our mind’s eye is so persuasive that we often do not see what is right in front of us. So it becomes important to ease up in our relentless search for Truth. The Truth is in and through all things. We have simply let our version of truth limit our ability to recognize it in any form other than our preconceived notion of it.

Through this powerful weekend we had numerous opportunities to examine how we may be blocking the true freedom and harmony that naturally seeks to express in every aspect of our lives. Each person most assuredly touched on some significant aspect of his/her life that they could now address more positively. We experienced specific exercises in one-to-one exchanges where we shared some of the issues of which we were becoming aware. The cathartic release of emotion that had held those issues deep within broke down the walls of ego protection and allowed a new freedom to emerge. An immediate rebalancing began to take place in which we could see ourselves through eyes of wholeness and harmony.

The weekend was concluded with an “initiation” into that newly discovered sense of harmony and balance. As each participant began a walk through the grounds of our location they were greeted by a “gatekeeper” with the blessing: Welcome, noble aspirant. May you walk in balance all the days of your life. Other greeters along the path offered other blessings. Finally, each of us met personally with Master for an individual blessing marking the conclusion of our experience.

After breaking bread together we began our homeward journeys, enriched, fulfilled and with a new sense of harmony and balance and peace.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eighth Annual Peace Convocation


I am just home after four days attending the Peace Convocation devoted to bringing a greater sense of balance in our lives. The Convocation is in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 event that shook the consciousness of our nation—the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and the crash of the commandeered plane over Pennsylvania.

Conducted by the Vajra Flame Foundation and led by Master Djwhal Khul, through Kathlyn Kingdon, the program offered participants a deepening of our connection with the true spiritual essence of our lives. We were able to examine the attributes of consciousness that provide a balance in our lives in the many areas that we so easily seem to get out of balance. Not only were the presentations by Master DK powerfully shared with each of us, but also the final celebration of peace and balance were extraordinary in reaching the depth of our personal being.

I will be writing more about this very special meeting of individuals with Master DK and the celebration of peace we shared. Come back to LifeCentering soon for more about the Convocation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Inspiration For Change

I came across this quote in an email a friend sent me. It seemed familiar but I am not sure where I may have seen it before. The author was not identified.


"Those who matter don't judge me .... those who judge me don't matter."

As I often do, I searched Google for authorship. This quote was on almost everyone’s list of favorites, but no one seemed able to identify the source.

What I found interesting was how many web sites and blogs there are out there that are dedicated to sharing quotes that have made people feel better about their lives and their world. I am going to share a few for those of you who are interested.

The Old Guy Rules: http://www.theoldguyrules.com/motivationalpage.htm

Quotes to Inspire: http://richineverysense.blogspot.com/

Inspiring Quotes: http://www.helium.com/items/1348106-life-quotes

Inspiration for Change: http://www.heartsandminds.org/quotes/quotes.htm

These are but a few so if you don’t find something you like here, just Google: Inspiring Quotes.

Have an enjoyable search, and better yet, find the words that motivate you to bring about the changes in your life that your heart desires.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trails, Paths and Forks in the Road

I recently went to one of my favorite parks where I could enjoy the tall fir trees, shady trails and sunlit ponds and streams. The Tualatin Hills Nature Park has numerous trails, some of which are paved and nice for bicyclists as well as walkers. Then there are the winding dirt and gravel side trails that meander more deeply among the bushes, trees and open areas. I have gone to this park many times and always try to take visitors there as well. While there are some small hills, the whole area is easily traversed by just about anyone.

And as is my usual planning (read, lack of) I just decided to get away from my computer and go. Of course, this day is another one of those record high temperature days for the Portland area. I think it was about 93 degrees. But then, what the hey, it will be shady in the forested park. It was, but it was still hot and I still enjoyed it.

A thought kept running through my mind as I hiked along, stopping to take pictures of the trails and pathways, and especially of the wooden bridgework that spanned the many wetland areas. At each fork in the path I thought of how we are constantly dealing with forks along our life pathways. In fact I wrote about it some time ago in one of my former newsletters.

For most of the time our life path is broad and easy to follow, much like our major freeway network that crosses the country. Once you are on it, you pretty much can go nonstop to your destination—almost. I don’t know of any freeway that goes directly to someone’s house or ends in the parking lot of a major shopping center, or even a downtown hub. To get to these places you have to take an exit ramp that leads to a smaller, often more congested boulevard or street. Sometimes you even have to make further turns onto even less traveled roads. This is particularly true if your destination is a campground in the mountains or along the beaches.

I couldn’t help but think of this as a metaphor for life. There are those who say that life is like a school. You are here to learn lessons, to figure out what you need to do to grow and manifest happiness, health and success. From my experience it seems that I grow the most through the decisions I make, the choices of which roads to travel. I have made my share of “wrong” turns as I am sure you have. But, I have usually found my way back to the main road, trail or pathway. I think the fact that I am here writing this article shows I did make my way back home!

As I walked through the Nature Park on this occasion, I chose to take mostly the side paths that I had not been on before. These paths were different than the nicely paved main paths from which so many smaller ones diverged. It seems to me that a different level of learning is encountered as we travel new roads to adventures. Nothing can be taken for granted. You have to pay attention. You have to clearly examine the markers at each fork in the path. Sometimes it will seem like you are lost or going the wrong direction. If you have maintained your alertness and paid attention to the markers along the way, you will usually enjoy the experience.

In life the forks in our path are often more challenging than those walks in the park. We may truly feel that we are wandering in the wilderness. How do we make confident choices under these circumstances? The only way I can answer that question is to look at how I have made my choices over the years. Looking back is certainly easier than having to make a decision right now, but a review will most often remind us that we did, in fact, come through those times calling for decisive action. Would we change some of those decisions using hind sight? Maybe. The important thing is that we made a decision. We moved on as best as we could.

A decision most of us will be faced with from time to time is how to respond to the actions or words of another person directed toward us in anger or frustration. At this fork in the road will we choose to have hurt feelings, or will we make a different choice? Is it possible to take a deep breath and accept that the person is frustrated and is trying to release that energy and get through the situation? Even if the intention is to hurt you, it is your choice to feel hurt. Making the choice to not feel hurt is not simply stoicism. It is a conscious response aimed at defusing the situation so that both parties, in calmness of mind can dialogue and move toward resolution.

It doesn’t make any difference which fork in the road you may be facing. Either path will offer a set of experiences from which you can learn and grow. If you have made a practice of paying attention to the markers along the way, each new choice will draw upon the confidence of past choices with which you were satisfied. Or, if you made a choice that did not provide the result you hoped for, you will be able to remember the markers—the side path brambles and thorns—and use that awareness to choose the other path.

Paying attention to the markers is simply a process of being aware. Be conscious in the choices you make. Let your deepest feelings of knowing open your mind and heart so you can more clearly see the potentials in the choices to before you. Most of all, remember that there is a guiding spirit with you and being aware of that is how we are able to know which choice will be most satisfying.

Once again, we look to Yogi Berra for advice: When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Take it with confidence, anticipation and joy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Strange Thing


I want to tell you about a strange thing, or shall I say, event?
I was working on the book I am writing.  I was involved in searching from one computer file to another, selecting items to include in what I was writing.  When I got ready to close down the research files and return to my main writing document, it happened.  As I selected that document I received one of those MS Word screens that asked, “Do you want to return to the saved document?”  I didn’t think about that statement this time.  I just clicked on “Yes.”
Big mistake!  I lost several pages of what I had written, plus the research that I had added to the document. %$&#@%@!  I spent several hours trying to retrieve what is referred to as the “autosaved document.”  I Looked up help files, searched the computer files, recycle bin, online help—nothing suggested turned out to be anything I could find in my computer.  I finally gave up the search, closed my document (after SAVING it!) and went on to other things.
But, here is the strange thing.  I could not get it out of my mind.  I have lost several pages of work!  It completely sent me into what I can only describe as a form of “writer’s block.”  I could not think of a way to get started again.  Not only that, but I didn’t even want to read anything else.  That was a problem because I am reading a very interesting new book that the author would like me to review for him.  In fact, right now, I took a break from reading it because the notion of this article came to mind.
And here is another thing that occurred.  I found myself thinking about how our mind works, and sometimes, doesn’t.  I thought about the search for files that I embarked upon after losing the work is so much like trying to remember things after aging has begun to take the edge off our memory cells.  You begin searching around in that big hollow space that used to be your brain.  You try to get the feel of the end of your tongue, where lost names and words usually are hiding and escaping our recall.
Now, in the same way we manage to go on even if we cannot recall a name or a word, suddenly, here I am “going on.”  I am writing.  It doesn’t make any difference what is being written, except I hope it will resonate with you in some way. To me, this is simply another example of how everything in our life is somehow important and related in some way to everything else.  Because I believe this is true, I know I can now return to my book and pick up where I left off.  Maybe I won’t recreate exactly what I had before, but maybe what I write this time will be even better.
Someday, if I decide to publish what I write, you may have an opportunity to find out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It Just Isn't the Same Anymore

Somehow, when someone dies, it just isn’t the same for me any more. I suppose you could say it is because as I reach my advanced years I become so much more aware of the personalities I have known or heard about for most of my life who are now beginning to leave us. As a child I remember my parents remarking about the passing of some public figure, be it a movie star, politician or local celebrity that everyone knew, and saying how it seemed that all the “good” people were leaving us. The older I get, the more I am aware of those same feelings. It is like the pool of friends is getting smaller every day. That is not to say that I have a personal relationship with the more public figures. It is just that due to who they were they influenced my life and my world in some way that made them seem personal to me. Unfortunately, I often don’t realize that until they are gone.

The night of August 25, 2009 the nation lost one its most ardent exponents for social justice, human rights and equality for all—Senator Edward Moore Kennedy. I wanted to write my own thoughts in tribute to him. The newspapers, TV and radio all echo the voices of those much more articulate than I so I let the notion slip by. Then, this morning I received the email from our President, Barack Obama, reflecting his feelings and those of Michelle. As far as I am concerned, what he said fits for me. So, I am sharing it here for any of my readers who may not have seen it.

Daniel -- Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me. In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom. His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives. For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family. Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.
Sincerely, President Barack Obama

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crabby Old Man


As I was searching through my writing resource files I came across the following item. It was sent to me quite some time ago as one those emails making the rounds. I don’t know why I saved it, but as I look at it now I seem to reflect on it more personally than I might have at first. I remember as my grandparents aged and as my mother reached the 100-year mark. I know of others who also found themselves in declining years with the declining abilities that come with the territory.

When I checked the story with Snopes, an Internet hoax tracker, I found it to be a well worn story with a number of different starting points, but not without a sense of authenticity. I decided that, for me, it didn’t make any difference where it came from. The story is worth repeating.

CRABBY OLD MAN

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation (here) has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

What do you see nurses?......... What do you see?
What are you thinking.......... when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man......... not very wise,
Uncertain of habit......... with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food......... and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice......... 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice......... the things that you do.
And forever is losing......... A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not......... lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding......... The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?......... Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse......... you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am......... As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding......... as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten......... with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters......... who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen......... with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now......... a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty......... my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows......... that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now......... I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide......... And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty......... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other......... With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons......... have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me......... to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more,......... Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children......... My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me......... My wife is now dead.
I look at the future......... I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing......... young of their own.
And I think of the years.......... And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man......... and nature is cruel.
'Tis jest to make old age......... look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles......... grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone......... where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass......... A young guy still dwells,
And now and again......... my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys......... I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living......... life over again.

I think of the years--all too few......... gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact......... that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people......... open and see
Not a crabby old man.....Look closer....see......... ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS POEM
The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart. God Bless.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Not By Chance -- Again!

Just as I posted the previous article on “Not By Chance” which discussed air accidents and the question of why some persons are involved in the disasters and some seem to escape them, there was the announcement of the crash over the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey of a small airplane and tour helicopter. The irony in this story is that once again a woman was interviewed who had just missed the helicopter flight that crashed. She said the experience gave her a “second chance” to appreciate her life. Almost every day there are experiences like this occurring.


If you have a Facebook account check out my “Notes” where you will see a comment by Raven Dana that further discusses the subject of chance and coincidence.

Not By Chance

Right after the heroic and safe crash landing of US Air Flight 1549 I wanted to write an article about why people end up having experiences like that. I jotted some notes and left it for later. I guess today is the “later” I was waiting for, so here it is.

For most of my life there has been an aspect of my personal philosophy that has stood out. Somewhere along the line I developed the belief that there are no coincidences. Nothing happens by chance. There is no happenstance and there are—now brace yourself—no innocent bystanders!

Now that I have your attention, I hope you will read on to find out how I came to this belief and perhaps you will consider it for your own personal philosophy.

We have all heard and read the story about US Air Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River in New York City with not one fatality. We have seen the heroic story of Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, the captain of that fateful flight. There is no question that it was a miracle flight with “miracle workers” on board. Did you also see the story of the young man who was supposed to be on that flight, but changed his plans? One may ask, “Why did he decide to change his plans? Why wasn’t he on that flight?” We also wonder why everyone on that flight survived. We do not know the specific answer to those questions, but we do know that for every disaster that occurs there seems to always be someone who avoids it in some way.

On June 30, 1956 a United Airlines plane and a Trans World Airlines plane met in a mid-air collision when over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, resulting in the crash of both planes and 128 fatalities. In terms of loss of life, it was at the time the worst aviation disaster in history, and would be a catalyst for sweeping changes in the regulation of flight operations over the USA. At the time I was preparing to host the International Youth of Unity Conference with over 350 teen attendees. One of the young men arrived at the conference to tell us that he was supposed to be on that flight. At the last minute he discovered the flight was delayed a half hour and he could take another flight though it would arrive at Kansas City later than his original flight. We all asked him why he would take a flight that meant he would arrive later than he originally planned. He offered no special insight to answer the question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Grand_Canyon_mid-air_collision

This young teen later entered Unity Seminary and became a successful minister and a long-time friend. I particularly remember discussing this event with him. We were “positive thinking” persons and naturally took the position that he was somehow guided to avoid that flight. That his life took this different course was not due to any obvious outer reasons. Yet how can we know whose life, besides his own, was touched by his ministry. Could this have been the reason he was not on the doomed flight?

A friend shared the story of Gerry McNamara who was on USA flight 1549. You can find the story in several places on line as well as this one:

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?noframes;read=140532.

I was particularly impressed with the ending of his story that follows.

There is a great deal to be learned including: Why has this happened to me? Why have I survived and what am I supposed to do with this gift? For me, the answers to these questions and more will come over time, but already I find myself being more patient and forgiving, less critical and judgmental.

For now I have 4 lessons I would like to share:

1. Cherish your families as never before and go to great lengths to keep your promises.
2. Be thankful and grateful for everything you have and don't
worry about the things you don't have.
3. Keep in shape. You never know when you'll be called upon to
save your own life, or help someone else save theirs.
4. When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when
you'll end up in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and
pajamas and of absolutely no use to yourself or anyone else.

There is power in our lives that somehow guides us beyond our own limited understanding. As we seek to understand that presence and power, I am convinced we will always be in the right place at the right time and for the right reasons.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It May Be Happening!

For some time I have been threatening to write another book. Others have encouraged me to do it, but for the most part it seemed to be a task beyond my current energy level.

However, in the midst of the hottest weather on record, when even my computer is heating up from the outside as well as the inside, this seemed to be the time to strike! I was surprised at how easy it was to begin pulling ideas and articles together. Who knows how it will eventually turn out, but for now Moments, the working title for the book, is under way.

I plan to include many of the articles and poems I have written through the years laced with the personal growth experiences that produced them. There will be genealogical background as well as cultural influences that have been so much a part of my life. My writing has always been about what was going on in my life. As I have said before on this blog, writing has allowed me to more clearly examine my experiences and hopefully come to a better understanding of how to manage and enjoy them.

Don’t hold your breath. This is a huge project. But it is under way and for my part I am already feeling excited about the prospects of completion. Now that I have “blabbed” about it, I guess I’ll just have to do it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Journals, Diaries and Pathways Update


This article was originally posted in July 2008, but I have again been thinking about the subject and wanted to add a post script to update it. It is easier to first reprint the post so you will better be able to understand the update that follows this reprint.

I do not know how many of you maintain diaries or journals, but for the last forty years or so I have kept many. I have journals in which I have jotted down ideas, plans, experiences, hopes and dreams. I have meditation journals where I recorded meditations and insights. I have dream journals dedicated strictly to night dreams and patterns that I have seen there through the years. I also have records of several hundred “trance” experiences I have had through the years.

For me the value in keeping these journals has been how they help me clarify and refine my consciousness. Often, in our minds, thoughts flow through so quickly and chaotically that it is difficult to pin down any meaning. It is like a word jumble. When I write down my thoughts and feelings, it slows the process down so that I can more deliberately examine content and understand the meaning.

I have on many occasions returned to past journals. What a revelation that can be! First, I notice patterns of recurring experiences which show me that I have still not resolved certain issues. It may be that certain types of people keep showing up in my life who irritate me or cause me to become defensive. It may be repetitive experiences that leave me feeling unaccepted or still lacking in some manner. On the other hand, I can clearly see progression in how I have dealt with issues in my life. Some challenges simply don’t appear in my life any more. Some of the dreaming has actually produced results in changed life styles and new people in my circle of friends.

Perhaps the most meaningful result of reading these journals up to now is that I realize I have become much freer from dogma and the many shoulds or should nots that I accumulated along the way, starting from childhood and continuing through my seminary experiences. By the time I left seminary for my first church I had pretty much set my beliefs in a stone mold. Oh, I did expand upon them and continued to learn, but I was clear about the base of my belief system. As I worked within the system that I had trained for, most of my beliefs were not challenged. It is only as I left that system that I discovered another whole world of people who thought quite differently. They had radical ideas that challenged the status quo, political correctness, and racial/ethnical standards of the day. I found myself stimulated in mind and heart to explore these new, open vistas free of my old judgments of the way things are supposed to be.

That was the beginning of the Whole Life Learning Center. That activity was operated successfully for ten years before I closed the organization and began a different adventure in the more typical business community. Periodically, I reached back to those times in my life and attempted to reactivate some aspects of what I did during those earlier years. While this was an invigorating experience, nothing seemed to catch on with me totally as it had in the 70s. The last attempt to “live in the past” ended just over a year ago with the cessation of the new Whole Life Learning Center.

What I have come to understand in terms of what is important in my life right now is that I thrive on exploring and writing about new insights that come to me as I meet my everyday challenges. I enjoy the friends with whom I am privileged to exchange ideas. I appreciate in a deeper way my family, both those near and far. I also realize my “family” is more extended than I once thought. Some who have been friends are really my family in the truest sense of the word.

How does this have anything to do with journals and diaries? Well, I have been able to arrive at some of my current conclusions by reviewing the unfolding of my attitudes and beliefs in my various journals. Even though I have at times felt stuck, my journals reveal that I am at a different place in consciousness for dealing with some of the situations that appear similar to past conditions. So I will continue this process. I encourage you to do the same. If for no other reason, writing down your thoughts and feelings will help organize them and you will understand them more clearly.

Postscript to the above article.

From time to time I consider destroying my years of journals. I think about this from the standpoint of making it easier for whoever has to make decisions about my “stuff” after I have moved on. One of the things that I appreciated about my Mother was the fact that she had arranged for her final days in such a way that handling details following her death was remarkably easy. Through the years I have not only accumulated numerous notebooks containing my journals and miscellaneous writings, but also many other things that might well be taken care of while I still can. But that is another story.

Years ago when I was taking psychology classes in college I had a Skinnerian behaviorist professor who engaged the class in a number of experiments that besides teaching us about that aspect of psychology, gave us an opportunity to learn research procedures. Of course, there was a lot of work involved in these projects. The professor occasionally would tell us about how once in a fit of anger he had destroyed all of the research he had done on a pet project. I think his purpose in telling us that was to encourage us to respect the work we did and not to follow his foolish example.

You can imagine the surprise in class the day he stormed in, obviously enraged over some apparent slight he had experienced from his peers, and told us that he had destroyed all of his recent project work!

Every time I consider destroying my journals I think back to that class. So, for the time being, I will delay any such action because I still find them to be a resource for gauging how I am doing in my growth process. I still journalize, though not as regularly as I once did. Again, I think this is in response to considering the “clean up” after I am gone. For what is worth, I encourage you to consider journalizing your experiences. I know you will look back upon the entries over time with a sense of amazement at how prescient they turned out to be.

Friday, July 24, 2009

OMG, This Would Be Funny If It Weren't So Damn Stupid!



For most of the time since Barack Obama was elected I have been having a good laugh at the loonies out there that cannot get over the fact that the nation overwhelmingly elected a black man to the highest office in the land. Instead they continue to foist upon us one of the wacko false fantasies such as his not being a citizen. Will they never stop coming out of the woodwork? These guys and gals remind me of backwoods hillbillies who are so isolated they still speak the “King’s English” as in they just got off the boat!

But now it is just too much. While network news programs don’t keep pushing these fantasy conspiracy theories about Obama, the cable networks can’t get by a single day without citing new or revised stories by the likes of Liz Cheney, Fox “News” personalities, Dr. Orly Taitz, DDS, the attorney defending Army Reserve Major Stephan Cook, who refused to re-deploy to Afghanistan because Obama is not legally our Commander In Chief because he was not born in the United States. ( She lost her first suit, but has since filed a second one. Oh, by the way “Dr” Taitz, DDS, is also an attorney and a real estate agent.) You should have seen John Stewart handle this one! Then there is Rep. Bill Posey, a freshman Republican from Florida. He is presenting a bill in Congress that will require anyone running for President be required to furnish a “legitimate” birth certificate. I’m not sure what will constitute a “legitimate” certificate, since they haven’t accepted that Barack Obama’s certificate is valid.

Warren Holstein, a satirist, in his Huffington Post article posted July 24, 2009 entitled: Liz Cheney: Birther of Crazier Conspiracies, list three things he identifies as Top 3 conspiracy theories. These are some of the crazier theories out there. I’m going to briefly list them here, but you can read his full article for yourself by clicking on the title.

Number 1 was the theory that Obama’s father was recruited to assist in the staged Apollo Moon Landing/walk in the desert somewhere.

Number 2 was that Obama was the third shooter on the grassy knoll from which Kennedy was shot. Never mind that Obama would have only been two years old and hardly could have handled the 6.5 MM caliber Carcano rifle.

Number 3 theorized that Obama is not only an alien, as in born in a foreign country, but also he is an alien, as in from outer space.

Puleeeze folks! Where do these loonies get this stuff? I think they are watching entirely too much science fiction TV.

Unfortunately, the bottom line in these conspiricies seems to be that there is still a significant radical section of the populace that just cannot accept that an African American has been elected to serve the nation. Bigotry and racist hate speech are still a problem in this country. I personally know people who consider themselves upstanding and unbiased who have severe blind spots when it comes to the color of a person’s skin and who are easily duped into believing the conspiracy theories that are circulating. They do not realize they are expressing bigotry or racism because they attach themselves to other theories, such as the birth certificate issue, which are not in themselves based in racism.

I do not expect this article to change anyone’s opinion. I guess I hope that those who read my blog are not counted among those reported on here. In any case, I could not restrain myself any longer. It is simply too scary to think of what can happen when some one or some group takes it upon themselves to take care of the problem by doing something stupid. We have seen this before too many times in our short history as a nation. I pray daily that wisdom and love will prevail in the minds and hearts of all of us and that we will see through personality to the spiritual core reality that abides within each of us, and that if allowed, will emerge to heal our differences and bless our nation.


Friday, July 17, 2009

And That's the Way It Is . . .




The most trusted man in America has signed off for the last time. Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) has left us.

We all knew that this day was coming. Walter Cronkite had been seriously ill for sometime. But like so many we know personally who have moved on, a part of us simply can’t believe it. From my early twenties until he retired from the CBS Evening News, I was one of millions who had to watch the “real” news as reported by this incredibly humble and thorough reporter. He was a reporter’s reporter honored by his associates and his so-called competitors.

Bob Scheiffer, on the CBS Evening News with Katie Courac remembered Walter mentioning that the Beatles first visit to US television was not on the Ed Sullivan show as so many think, but on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite. “If there’s some credit in history for that, I want it!” Walter said with a huge smile and laugh. Some have referred to him as America’s minister, priest and rabbi because of his absolute integrity and his warm appreciation for humanity. Up to the moment of his passing, he continued to receive volumes of mail. Many continued to want from him what was really going on in the news.

My personal recollections of Walter Cronkite’s reporting and emotional connections to his viewers included the assassination of President Kennedy. As a minister at the time, I was on a call to a congregant in a rest home. As I walked in the door the television, and Walter Cronkite were announcing the news. My mind immediately went to my own family. My son, David, was the same age as John John, the President’s son. I wept because somehow that made the event closer to my reality.

On the occasion of our first landing on the moon I was in New York City on a business trip. Again, it was Walter Cronkite I turned to for the news. His genuine excitement reached through the TV to all of us. His emotion, freely shared, reached us as well. Here was a man of deep feeling. He rarely let it though in his reporting, but when he did, you knew it was real. On the side, I realized that I had just won a bet with my Mother made years before that we would have space travel including the moon within ten years. The prize was a $100 US Savings bond.

Walter covered the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago during which the Viet Nam anti war riots broke out. I watched for an honest report of the news behind the news. Walter ultimately had to express his opinion that the war, at best was a stalemate. Finally, President Johnson recognized, “If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost the war.” Not long thereafter he indicated he would not run for re-election.

I will miss this man, even though he has not been in the news so much lately. I have so many memories of . . .

That’s the way it is!

Wisdom From the Coach


I just have to suggest that you take a quick trip to visit the blog posted by my friend Raven Dana (Stress Wizard Coach). Even though I have both her web site and blog recommended in my left column, her recent posting and her current newsletter are significant in the wisdom she shares on getting one’s life back on track (or if you are not off track, it will be even better).


Contact Raven and ask her to forward a copy of Reality Check to you. Then read her article on Things You Can’t Do With the Law of Attraction (Intent). Raven has also developed an interesting self-directed meditation process that lets you develop a meditation CD in your own voice along with binaural beats that assure whole brain approach. You will find this and more in her newsletter.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stress Wizard Coach Visits

My long time friend and associate, Raven Dana (Stress Wizard Coaching), just found a weekend in the midst of her busy teaching and coaching schedule to come out to Oregon for a visit. She must be a Wizard, because we had outstanding weather—blue skies, sunshine and moderate temperatures—the whole time she was here.


Besides catching up on the many years since we had actually been in the same place geographically, we took the obligatory trip to the Oregon Coast visiting all the parks and drive outs from Ecola State Park to Depoe Bay. Of course, the Max Line trip to downtown Portland where “walking the waterfront” was the objective of the day was also enjoyed.


After a home break for a late lunch, we were off again to take a stroll through the Tualatin Hills Nature Center. Naturally, after that we were hungry again so we were off to find a place to eat. (That’s another story for another time, but suffice it to say, a senior moment seemed to lose the location of the restaurant where I thought we were going to eat!)


I met Raven when she was connected with Whole Life Learning Center in Denver, CO, a wholistic education and growth center I founded in 1973. Since then she has continued to study with the best in her field and enrich her life with new skills that have led to her successful coaching practice. We lost touch through the years, but thanks to Google I relocated her several years ago. She has been a powerful support to me as I have worked my way through my own “stuff.” Her support comes from a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it is place that absolutely knocks one off his/her duff of complacency, or whatever else may be holding you back, and gives you the opportunity to see a new way of climbing out of darkness into the light.


There are few people in life with whom you can truly say anything and not only be understood, but accepted, while at the same time not allowing you to get away with excuses for not being who you are capable of being—all this and still a strong friendship. Many people might wilt under such intense reality. For me it was a refreshing and renewing experience. I think it was for her as well, particularly since it was her vacation!


It may be another lifetime before we visit each other again (not!), but there is much to savor in the meantime. I wish we could all experience such friendships.

video

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Maintaining the Body Infrastructure

In August 2008 I wrote a post on “The Infrastructure of Well-being” after a visit to my cardiologist’s office following the placement of a stent in my one remaining coronary artery around the heart. Yesterday I went for my one-year follow up and was pleased to find that my heart is still beating and the EKG showed no further problems. Seems like the blood is flowing to all parts of the body. Excellent!

It has been an interesting year since that hospital visit last July. I found myself faced with having to take specific steps to get off my duff and do some serious walking, bike riding and moderation to my diet. It was a struggle at first. My legs ached and my feet were sore. The good news was that I no longer had the stress in my arms that made them feel like water logged sponges. For the most part I maintained the exercise program and my twice-weekly aerobics class. However, I found myself tending to use excuses for not walking because it was too hot or too wet or . . . You know, don’t you, how easy it is to give up on something that seems to interfere with other things you want to do. I do faithfully attend my aerobics class because taking a class is one way I have found that is self-encouraging. I have an excellent instructor who is very well trained, especially in senior fitness. Also, I enjoy the others in the class all of whom sign up for every term and have since the class began several years ago.

Two weeks ago I needed some maintenance on my pickup. The shop I go to is in Tigard about five miles from where I live. I took the truck down, rode my bike back home (in the rain) and then rode it back again in the afternoon when the job was done. I am fortunate to have access to a wonderful park system that I could ride through for almost the whole trip. I had just a few blocks to go after I left the park.

After the riding experience I realized more clearly I had not been faithful to the maintenance of my own body infrastructure. I know I have to maintain my car so I do, but my body? Having been so healthy all my life I guess I figured it would just take care of itself. You would think I would know better—and I do. I simply had let excuses get in the way. I have just returned from my walk in the park today and decided I needed (for my benefit) to write this follow up to my story from last August.

I do not believe one needs to be a fanatic about taking care of oneself. I do think, especially as we age, that it is necessary to be more conscious of what we do to maintain our health. I also know that our emotional well-being plays a large part in how seriously we make the effort to take care of ourselves. For the year leading up to my operation, I really didn’t care much about anything. I had enough on my mind to just work through an emotional malaise that permeated almost everything in my life. The operation was a wake up call to decide whether I wanted to continue the not caring or whether I wanted to change my focus and determine to live, not simply exist taking up space, but live with purpose and enthusiasm.

That decision was a turning point that gave me a new outlook and some specific opportunities to enjoy my life. A special book[1] came to me that seemed written just for me. I have heard people say things like that many times, but this time I was saying and meaning it. After reading it three times, I found new answers to my questions each time. Subsequently, I attended a weekend workshop in Denver, based on the book, that furthered my effort to regain my balance physically and spiritually. (Go here to read my review.) I know what I experienced was personal and would not necessarily reflect how others might respond. What was important for me, though, was that it worked. It is much easier for me to stay on task with my interest in living and writing. I believe that my present course is assisting me blend my inner/outer self and bring mental/emotional balance.

Other books and articles have also found their way to me, always at just the right time. I took time out to return to the ocean where so much renewal takes place for me. In short, I got off my duff and took charge of my life again. Our lives will be profoundly blessed as we determine to consciously care about life, about our family and friends. I have found a new appreciation for old friends and new friends. They give me reasons to get up in the morning and want to “reach out and touch someone!” It seems the experience is reciprocal, because I find them reaching out to touch me too. All of these experiences are part of maintaining our body infrastructure. The body is only as healthy as its mental/emotional equivalent and that is something that is entirely within our direction.

_____________________________________
1 - The Matter Of Mind, by Djwhal Khul, through Kathlyn Kingdon

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Steve Jobs Commencement Address at Stanford (A Must Read)

With appreciation to the folks at “The View From Outside My Tiny Window” blog, who brought this item to the attention of their readers, I am also recommending this address. Not only is it an insightful look into the life of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Corporation, but it is also a compelling story marking a path for success in business and in life. If you are a graduate or know one, I urge the reading of this address. Click the URL below or cut and paste it into the address line of your browser.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Manifest Results of the Radical Right

I have been having a difficult time refraining from commentary on the continuing rash of nut case killings out there that are incessantly fanned by the insane extreme right wing media, ala Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Riley and Fox News in general.

OMG! Has free speech run amuck? If we cannot use our freedoms with a little—just a little—good sense, we are apt to find a revolution on our hands. People tend to get very tired of radicalism—right or left—and can, as a result, quickly begin to feel justified in radical reaction as well.

It is difficult to balance our unique freedoms with the common sense necessary for them to be productively applied. There is certainly a place for fervent proclamation of one’s views. And there is an equal place for the honest opposition. It was Will Rogers who said something to the effect that a difference of opinion makes a horse race.[1] Out of honest, non-inflamatory debate both sides can be persuaded to consider compromise and beneficial steps forward in most cases. When debate becomes blind rage, there is seldom hope for compromise. When that occurs the potential for destructive behavior is immanent.

This destructive behavior has surfaced increasingly culminating in the murder of Dr. Tiller, the attack on the Holocaust Museum resulting in the death of the guard, Stephen T. Johns, and the shooting of military recruiter, William Long. So myopic is the Republican Party that when the Homeland Security report on the rise in chatter about unrest in the country was released, they forced an apology from Secretary Janet Napolitano. Now, of course, we see the validity of the report.

I am an Independent and I believe constructive dialogue is necessary in order to try to reach agreement on issues that concern the citizenry. That dialogue is generally between our two major political parties with the moderate independent body generally moving toward what they consider the best arguments presented. Now, however, we do not have honest debate. At a time when our country needs cooperative effort to solve our economic and social problems one party—the Republican—has chosen to remove itself from the debate. They not only say “No” to any and everything, but they refuse to be courageous enough to offer alternatives. Into this vacuum of leadership have come the most vile representatives of free speech we have seen in decades—Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich.

Their rants, ravings and outright lying are largely responsible for the current tone of debate and the surfacing of extremists from the shadows with an axe to grind. This hooting and hollering is not necessary in order to promote an opposing view to what opponents or the current administration is offering. All such behavior does is encourage the other nut cases to feel justified in murdering, slandering, and abusing our freedoms. If we are going to tolerate this behavior without challenging in honest debate the merits of our differences, and encouraging a lowering of the raging rhetoric, we are apt to find ourselves armed to the teeth and in battle with each other. (See my post: High Noon At the OK Corral—April 20,2009.)

Folks, there’s real trouble in River City and it’s time for saner heads to prevail. This is no time to simply fall back on metaphysical mumbo-jumbo about how everything is working according to some great plan beyond our present comprehension. I happen to believe in what some may call “The Divine Plan.” However, within that plan is the opportunity and necessity to read the writing on the wall—mene, mene, tekel upharsin—(Daniel 5:25-28)[2] It is time to get busy using our good sense and spiritual power to call for calm consideration of how to get beyond religious and political radicalism—right or left!

Your principles are as important as mine. Neither your principles nor mine will be compromised by our willingness to discuss reasonably the merits of each other’s position. Sometimes I may just be incorrect in my conclusions. Sometimes you may be incorrect in yours. We must be able to recognize this possibility before we can even begin our discussion!


[1] What he actually said was: A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.

[2] The essence of the meaning is: You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.