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.