Friday, July 14, 2006

"He that lives in hope danceth without music."
George Herbert

Hope is like music, it feeds the soul in such a satisfying way. It has a tempo that keeps our feet marching, even through the most brutal terrain. Without hope we become listless and overwhelmed by even the slightest irritations. And life is irritating in the extreme... but it is also precious enough to treasure by wrapping it with hope, when things are less than perfect.
And...face it folks...less than perfect is how everything is. But hope smoothes the bumpy patches. It gives breath to the winded. It straightens crooked backs and winding thoughts. It is all we have sometimes, but it is always enough to get us across even the widest of chasms if we allow it to lift us up.
I always hope for a better tomorrow, and see the best in even the darkest today. I view hardship as a challenge and sorrow as a lesson that I must master before I can move on. Opportunities are not all dressed in party clothes, some are ragged and tattered. When I feel naked and exposed, I simply wrap myself with hope and dance forward at whatever pace is possible.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Calmness is the cradle of power."
Josiah Gilbert Holland

The ability to stay calm no matter what you are facing is very hard to master. With me it is an ongoing battle, sometimes I win... sometimes not, but I always try my best to not add to the insanity around me with any of my own. I have noticed that when I keep my balance it seems to help others retain theirs.
Doing it for the peace of the majority is a good reason to exercise it when I am tempted to unravel. When no other excuse is handy, I use that one as encouragement. Panic only adds fuel to any blaze; it is much easier to smother the flames with a peaceful attitude than it is to stop, drop, and roll once you are on fire.
The power of calm touches those closest to you in the most soothing way. It eases even the most brutal of worries in our lifetimes. When my husband was dying he was much less tormented by fear when I was cheerful and happy. A lot of the time it was an act for his benefit, but it was a small price to pay to see him relax inside the serene setting I created. Adding to his terror... by sharing my own would have been unfair, since there was nothing he could do to ease mine.
Being as calm as possible makes solutions easier to sort out. It inspires hope in even the most hopeless situations. Life takes its toll on each of us, giving it more than it demands is foolhardy. Using the power of serenity as fuel will get you through most anything. Panic only makes us run in tight circles, when the fastest way through the darkness is a straight shot toward the light.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself. Often well beyond any latent ability previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses."
Bryce Courtenay

Possession or use of this power is not automatic; some have very little confidence in their judgment or belief in themselves, but it can be built up with exercise. The critical things other people say can affect our equilibrium, yet more often than not it is the critic in the mirror that does the most lasting damage. Training that voice to use encouragement instead of criticism is no walk in the park, but allowing negative reinforcement to be the navigator will guarantee a brutal journey to nowhere nice.
Why concentrate upon everything that is wrong? Any dark picture that is stared at will only grow bleaker unless some light is shown on its surface. Looking at just the negatives over-shadows the positives until forgetting that they even exist is all too effortless. Gazing at the good will not make the bad disappear, but it makes the next battle less overwhelming.
And battle we must, whether we want to or not. The bloodiest battlefield is often the one where we war with ourselves. Losing there can and will set up failures elsewhere. Blaming others for the things you are determined to hold soul-deep is as asinine and senseless as constructing a bomb, arming it then sitting smack dab on top to watch it explode.
Time would be better spent in building a bomb shelter. The most protection from life's explosions comes from the power a person grows inside. A healthy garden there begins with healthy seeds and the better weeded it is the more nourishment it will produce.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

You may get skinned knees and elbows, but it's worth it if you score a spectacular goal.
Mia Hamm, American Soccer Player

Knees and elbows will heal, but the opportunity to score a spectacular goal may never present itself again. Some things are once in a lifetime possibilities, if not met full force you may be sitting on the sidelines regretting that you missed the chance. It is much easier to swallow a defeat than it is to suffer through years of what if's, and if the only thing standing in your was is you....better move and find out what happens next.
It is not always the fear of failure that keeps us from giving it our best shot, sometimes the thought of success can be much more terrifying. But to not attempt at all is admitting that you see yourself as unworthy, and negative thinking can derail even the best of intentions.
Rigid people are never happy, life has a bend and flow that they never master. Rigid thinking is all hard lines and it keeps us imprisoned in a place where the brass ring is well out of reach. Never stop trying for something better, richer, or more fulfilling than what you possess right now. You may be battered and bloody at the end of the battle, but even if you do not score a spectacular goal, trying is a victory all on its own.


Monday, July 10, 2006

"Life can be lived more fully if people simply quit pretending to be who they were told to be, and be who they really are…"
Doug Firebaugh

I spent 40 years trying to please loved ones, dancing to whatever rhythm they chose to play on my heart strings. I was rarely rewarded with anything except a changed song whenever I came too close to getting the steps right. When their objective was to keep me constantly off-balance that was how I constantly stayed.
I do not dance much anymore, unless I am the one spinning the tunes.
I still have a hunger to please... that is simply part of my nature. I just learned the hard-ass way that if the tempo does not match my own it is much better to be a wall-flower than it is to trip the light fantastic with a puppeteer. The knowledge I gleamed from 40 years of dancing lessons is invaluable to my mental health and emotional happiness.
I know things, learned in brutal ways, that have emancipated me from the special prison of CONDITIONAL love. I am certain of many things now that eluded me in my youth. Hard knock school has its true rewards and freedom is one of its highest honors. Living in certainty is so much better than settling for being eternally clueless.
Some of my favorite certainties are as follows:
Anyone who truly loves me will not seek to alter the very things that make me who I am.
I am not a blank canvas, to be painted on by other artists.
I am a masterpiece of my own creation.
Each of us can claim a masterpiece trophy, what we do with it is the only uncertainty.
Not everyone who carries an instrument is a virtuoso, some are tone deaf and should never be allowed to even play, let alone lead the band.
In the struggle to live at peace we often do what seems easiest at the time, but...
It is much easier to learn how to play your own drum than it is to try to force a monkey to learn the measured rhythmn of the song that will soothe your soul.
It is foolish to expect him to even care what tune he plays when all he really wants to do is make noise and watch you flinch.
The only lasting happiness comes from being comfortable, first inside your own skin then inside your own space... and that cannot be accomplished if you are constantly playing name that tune with those closest to you. Snatch the drumsticks away from the primates and set your own's the only way to dance.
I got the following as an email and liked it enough to place it here. Enjoy and pay it forward...THINK ABOUT IT...LET IT GROW...THEN DECIDE

The Cracked Pot

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."
The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them."
"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them. So, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less."
Kurt Hahn

This quote is so true and I needed to remember its message. I am days and days behind in my writing, after a crash and burn moment or two dealing with some hard realities. In my confusion I forgot to do what always helps. For just a short time I overlooked who I am, and what makes me tick...tick...tick. I am made of much stronger stuff than anything that pushes against my space. My orbit will return to its rightful tilt if I just keep that reality at the top of the list I am struggling through.
I am not one to settle for crumbs for long. I give all, but if nothing comes back I limit the length of service given to any lost cause. As my soul-mate says, "I own this place." Renting it to fools seems a waste of pristine space, and each of us is pristine in our own fashion.
Settling is for dust. Humans are not made to settle without a price that is steeper than any of us can afford, if happiness is the our destination. I have had many moments in my lifetime where settling for whatever I was given was almost costly enough to kill my soul. How I lived through some is a mystery, how I thrived through others is a miracle, but the fact that I did should encourage everyone who reads here.
I am nothing special, no more human than the next person and if I can do it anyone else can too. All it really takes is determination to own what really belongs to you. I do not mean material things at all. I do not value manufactured products in a personal way, having none I would truly pine for except my computer. I only put it above the rest because of my writing, and the people I reach through its practice. What I truly value are the mostly hidden things inside each of us.
Life is so precious, even when it is less than perfect, and we are too. The real trick is internal balance and harmony. I found the place inside of me where the control switches are and nothing can truly defeat me as long as I stay within reach of them. Settling demands that you hand control over to someone else and that is never healthy in the long run. I learned that the hard way, from more than one source, but I finally have it centered at the top of my list of things to always remember... no matter what else I do forget.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Refrain from asking what is going to happen tomorrow, and everyday that fortune grants you, count as gain."

There are times when thoughts of tomorrow torment a weary mind, wondering about someone else's agenda can cause us to fly in a holding pattern that is most disconcerting. After a short spell spent circling "What If Town", I travel on toward "There's No Sense In Fretting Village" and when I am very lucky I reach the edge of "I Only Give A Shit About The Here And Now Town" long before the day has ticked away too many wasted minutes.
What will happen... will happen, pre-worrying only lengthens any eventual wounding or shortens whatever possible happiness we already possess. Worry is mostly a useless emotion, changing nothing by its use except making obstacles grow in stature inside our panicked minds.
In all honesty, I would rather slowly open the gift of each new day without fretting about next week, or next month, or next year. I would rather savor every moment without wondering about time yet to come. I would rather digest one banquet before I sit down to another. I would much rather gain today than fret about yesterday or worry about tomorrow, so truly claiming today leaves me little time for anything else.


Friday, July 07, 2006

"If you take a single step toward positive change, that divine energy will take a hundred steps toward you. New worlds and unbelievable possibilities will open up for you. The synchronicities that will begin appearing in your life will become a source of delight and amazement."
Joan Borysenko

Synchronicites are defined as the relation that exists when things occur at the same time. Synchronizations are the adjustments that causes something to occur or recur in unison. There is a symmetry to life when it is in perfect synch. True balance and real happiness can only come from embracing positives. Change is the key to every locked door, without it our existence is stunted to an area barely large enough to sustain life.
We cannot really live inside of such a barren territory. Going through the motions is about the best that can ever be achieved if we are not willing to mutate throughout our lifetime. Change should be viewed as an adventure, but all too often it is seen as an enemy. When one level is mastered it is only right and proper to go on to the next. If you reach a place that is too far above your ability then retracing steps is an option, while going as far as you deserve is a privilege. Just the attempt is a victory of sorts, trying is its own reward, succeeding is the icing on the cake.
Inside of each of us there are treasures just waiting for discovery. Dreams lay breathlessly waiting for life. Hopes are within easy reach, propping up whatever is sagging from too much pressure is a happy task. Depth is something that can only be reached by digging, and who better to man the shovel than the one who owns the property.
Life is not a spectator sport. The weak walk in safe ruts, never disturbing the surface of things. They are quite safe from most deep agony, but joy eludes their grasp as well. Life... real life... is awarded to those who push the envelope, risking all for just the chance to feel one moment of pure joy.
Unpolluted exhilaration only comes from positives. Negatives are soiled by nature, better left in the dirt than planted in any living tissue. They narrow our point of view to mean slits in the walls that surrounds them, draining the nourishment from any healthy roots within reach.
We all program our own minds to accept or reject whatever enters there. If your brain if filled with garbage, guess who is to blame? The power of will is astonishing, but it has to have someone at the helm to be of any use. During a fire it takes a fireman to direct the water to put out the flames, a hose without someone to point it is quite useless. In the same fashion, a mind left to its own devises will ramble and drift this way and that, directing the traffic inside your mind will avoid any major crashes. And clarity of thought will keep the traffic flowing smoothly upon any change worth making highway.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." Eleanor Roosevelt

This is so true, but I find it extremely tiresome too have to demand what should be mine without the asking. Respect is important in any interchange, and belittling is disrespectful. Try to make me feel small, so you can seem taller, and I will chew your feet off as soon as the shock subsides.
I will not feel less whole just because someone else needs me to react in a certain way to feel complete. I will not fragment myself to glue someone else together. If you need a hand up... I will reach out without hesitation. If you need a step ladder... they sell them at the hardware store... so please keep your dirty shoes off my throat. I have placed control in other hands, but I learned some brutal lessons that help keep me much safer from footsteps of the brutal kind.
Any power given freely can be recalled in the same fashion at any time. Nobody else has control of what you take to heart. Fools speak more often and much louder than the wise. Volume in measure or acoustics does not signal that what is said is valid. Truly speaking, the opposite is true; screamed words or endless sentences are mostly fierce posturing by a weak individual. Nine times out of ten it is only hot air, blown for their agenda and has less to do with you than they ever wish you to realize. Puzzle that out and disarm them instantly. True power belongs in the hands of each individual to play whichever role we choose. If I am weak it is because I allow myself to be so, and when I tire of any jabbing by the clueless, I simply grab their pointer and break it over my will to survive.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"Inside every older person is a younger person -- wondering what the heck happened."
Cora Harvey Armstrong

Age is such a funny thing, seeming a concept much more often than it resembles reality. A number is just that, and words on official papers fade with the years. Some of us age at hyper speed and some drag their feet.
I say why rush to be aged, why hurry to be old, why run toward the rocking chair if you can choose a more productive or exciting destination. If we live long enough we will get old, if we live fully we will be well-aged, and if we are lucky our body will crumble long before our mind ceases to function.
There is an eternal teenager inside of each of us; some let it steer, some smother it into submission, some deny its existence, but the wise among us validate it by looking through those magical eyes from time-to-time. Yes, we risk the horror of suddenly remembering our age on paper, but we also have the chance of reclaiming how young we still remain.
I do not dwell on paper age, either with myself or my friends. It says very little about my reality, it is just a concept after all, and tells no major things of importance about my life. Yes, I am 52 on paper, but older in experience, younger at heart, ageless of soul, so which is the true measure??
I will not waste my time acting out someone else's idea of how my paper age should behave. I will not age my heart or shrivel my soul for the sake of conformity. I will be a crazy quilt of all the ages I possess and in that way stay less fractured than most. And when I hit that rocking chair I will have some precious memories to contemplate, but that is surely eon's from the here and now. Hell, I don't even own a rockin chair yet and I'm in no hurry to obtain one if it dooms me to a stationary position in the stunted space of my paper age.


Monday, July 03, 2006

"Keep your face in the sunshine and you can never see the shadow."
Helen Keller

We are truly masters of our own fate in ways we do not always care to admit. It is much easier to pretend to have little choice in most things we battle, shouldering any responsibility forces us to cope with the very issues we are trying so hard to ignore. Huge things cannot be easily controlled. but dominate enough of the small stuff and larger ones shrink to a much more manageable size. Leave it all to twist in the wind and any stiff breeze will take you for a mighty ride.

The choice is always ours to make; we all have the same options for coping with or caving under whatever pressure our lives contains. The rainbow really does exist, but if you never raise your head it might just as well be an imaginary figment. If the view does not suit, adjust and refocus. If thoughts attack disarm them before the whole army appears to claim unprotected territory.

Looking on the bright side keeps footsteps firm and detours to a bare minimum. Treading through shadow can be risky, heading in that direction willingly seems foolhardy in the extreme. Travel toward the light, keeping all shadows to your back. Do not imagine them as nonexistent, nothing disappears just because you refuse to acknowledge its presence. Instead, see yourself as always one step ahead of the darkness trap, head up and searching for the rainbow.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

"If you train your mind to search for the positive things about other people, you will be surprised at how many good things you can observe in them and comment upon."
Alan Loy Mcginnis

When special attention is given to positives they tend to multiply, commenting on them only adds more reason for others to act accordingly. Approval is a very heady motivation for most of us, it can strengthen a sagging resolve in no time flat. Pleasing someone you care about is so satisfying, especially if they are alert enough to notice and not take it for granted.
I always look for the best, and most times that is what I find. There is no use expecting the worst, whatever you serch for in life will be what is found.

Cherokee Wisdom
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
Charles A. Beard

The darkest times have a habit of resetting priorities, suddenly ordinary things develop a new importance. Small pleasures are sweeter, larger ones become almost magical, people seem more precious, and each beckons with a brilliance that was unnoticeable before this space of deepest shadow.

In truth, they are no more vital to our happiness than they were before. They simply look bigger from our stunted position. We retreat deeper inside ourselves when storm clouds appear, withstanding the next tempest is much easier if the time spent there is used wisely. There is so much clarity in a place where we are forced to face ourselves without mask or costume.
The dawning of understanding is only one of the positives that glimmer and shine while we stumble through an eclipse. Using the things that suddenly shine with such brilliance, against the backdrop of adversity, to navigate by is the only way to travel safely. Do not underestimate the illumination that comes from starlight alone. Sailors have always used them as guides. Prudent travelers learn to pilot their vessels in the same fashion, minimizing the amount of time spent drifting at the whim of the weather. THINK ABOUT IT... LET IT RIDE...THEN YOU DECIDE!!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

"Don't let negative people determine your self-worth."
Denis Waitley

Negatives function as drains, while positives operate like fountains. Negative people can quickly suck the life out of you, even in the best of times, but when they criticize their words cut soul-deep. Tender hearts get crushed under the weight of a heavy tongue, and if it is wagging in the mouth of someone you love it is hard not to believe the messages it delivers.

Love is not meant to deflate; to insulate, inflate, and elevate are loving actions, none of those can be accomplished by using negative means. How could a minus add anything of value to a friend or loved ones journey? Hard truths can be gently said, if it is your place to voice them, but most would be much better left unuttered. Examining your motives, with an open mind and a closed mouth, might save everyone a lot of agony.
If you are on the hearing end of derogatory remarks do not instantly swallow them as if they are factual. If you love the one talking it makes it harder to ignore. The person speaking may have an agenda that depends on your taking the baited hook they cast your way, but be a fish with a clue and swim on by.

I received the following as an email. It was a joke with some great advice mixed in, so I deleted the foolishness that made me laugh, and share here the profound that made me think. I added a new flash movie to this post, under title, just click it to watch. Enjoy, pay it forward, and as always.... think about it.... let it ride... then YOU decide!!!

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC) Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple filter?"
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?" The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued. "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really"
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"
Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you either hear, or are about to repeat a rumor.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level."
Max L. Forman

There is such a fine line between walking with confidence and prideful striding, crossing it can be a very humbling experience. Life has a special way of punishing vanity. Conceit isolates, while self-assurance elevates. Anything totally ego based is selfish, both by nature and by design.

Imagining ourselves as truly superior, quickly erodes our perspective. Perfection is simply not a possibility, yet an egocentric person will claim it as their surname. Viewing so few as being worthy of peer status leaves little chance of developing any real friendships, anyone good enough to be considered a contemporary is certainly smart enough to recognize a peacock. Life should have some sort of balance and symmetry, but extremes of any sort instantly disable our equilibrium. An ego maniac is rarely rational enough to achieve any sense of balance.

Thinking too little of yourself does the same thing in reverse. Nothing derails confidence and takes the wind out of our sails more quickly or completely than a negative self-image. The real truth is that most of us are either less important than we imagine or more precious than we realize, depending upon our nature and the input received from whoever shares our space.

Sometimes we get positive encouragement, sometimes we are overburdened with negatives. We think much less of ourselves when we suffered constant censure, but there comes a point when we have to stop believing the bull-shit and start believing in ourselves. We should not feel better than anyone else, but if effort is put into improving our balance, we can certainly feel better about ourselves. Making peace with who we really are keeps our heads erect and our noses at a much friendlier level.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"I claim the right to contradict myself. I don't want to deprive myself of the right to talk nonsense, and I ask humbly to be allowed to be wrong sometimes."
Federico Fellni

I claim all those rights as a human, yet examined a bit closer a contradiction is not always what it seems. Nonsense has a valid place and time, and being wrong is not a crime any of us is ever free of committing at periodic intervals. They are every humans birthright, but we should try to limit their use to a controllable level. A proper balance is the position to strive for, reaching it takes forethought and dedication to understanding yourself then making yourself understood.

A contradiction is defined as an opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas. Sometimes, when we contradict ourselves it is because we have not fully examined what we really think, so we wobble this way and that in the most irritating fashion. Sometimes we say something and only then think about all the implications involved and flip the script to rearrange our point of view. Changing our minds in mid-stream, can be our way of setting things right, not simply a fickle nature in action.

Talking nonsense is therapeutic in the most delightful way, if it is purposely done at the right moment, and not just a mindless around the clock babbling. Our minds should be hooked to our mouths, and the former ought to be engaged before the latter is given free rein. Saying the first thing that pops into our brain is asking for trouble. A few seconds of pondering can often save us a fat lip or puzzled frowns from anyone standing near enough to hear whatever is said that would have been much better off left unuttered.

Mistakes are certain, looking at them as opportunities to learn helps make them far less torturous. Many can be avoided by keeping our traps shut and our options open for as long as possible. We should not rush to decide things, or too quickly take a stand. Eating crow is not a pleasurable meal, it tastes like shit, is hard to swallow, and leaves the most bitter taste in your mouth.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "It's not what you pay a man, but what he costs you that counts." Will Rogers, 1879-1935, American Humorist and Entertainer

The personal cost of every encounter with our fellow man is worth so much more than any amount of cash that may be involved. Some people bankrupt us on all levels at once; others pick and choose, taking a bit from various spots so we don't become unduly alarmed before they're done. They may simply take as if we're some sort of vending machine and grow angry when all the treats are gone. They may seem to deposit freely while they linger then poof they're only a memory. We may win or lose in ways much too precious to calculate. The possible combinations are limitless and as unique from one another as snowflakes.

There is no way to assess beforehand just what kind of outcome will occur at any given time. The mystery is part of the driving force that moves us toward one another. Our own personal needs figure into it too; pretending otherwise won't make us any less needy. We may hunger for someone to fill what's empty and fix what aches, which signals to the vultures we're an easy meal. Until we learn that nobody else can fix us we continue to make the same poor choices. When brain surgery is needed calling a plumber is asking for a bad outcome. Seeking inside ourselves for the answers is half the battle won, and most of the war guaranteed.

Nowadays with the anonymity of the internet we're often out on a limb long before we even hear the saw cutting into our perch. I was badly burned, but it didn't stop me from believing in my fellow-man. It did not shake my confidence in myself either; all it did was prove that in this one case I paid a staggering price for NOTHING. Hell, that happens to all of us from time-to-time. Once I realized my true worth and altered any self-destructive actions the vultures stopped circling overhead. Once I stopped short changing myself it became impossible for others to do likewise.  

Learning from it before traveling on is the only way to get rid of the bitter taste. Faith has proved me right, often enough to allow me the honor of controlling the final cost of each encounter. I refuse to add to the bill by giving into negatives. Disappointment is only important in the lessons it teaches, so in a twisted way it pays its own price for its brief journey inside my orbit.

I thank God every day for that bitter disillusionment and the price I paid. If I had held onto that dead horse, I would have been in the wrong place to discover what I possess now. God bless the broken road that led me here. Travel swiftly through the bitter times, they hold nothing worth keeping once the lesson is fully learned. A better tomorrow is fairly earned by living through all the less than perfect yesterdays.



Monday, June 26, 2006

"Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." Dorothy Parker, 1893-1967, American Writer

Words are wonderful tools. Every emotion under the sun can be invoked instantly by words spoken, heard, or read. One of the best uses is humor, and the spark ignites in an ever widening circle as others just naturally join in with the nonsense that one truly witty phrase can inspire.

Irony is one of my favorite styles of humor, using it as a measure most things can be seen as worthy of a chuckle or two at their expense. Ironic topics teach us to not take everything so seriously; often dry humor removes the stinger from a pesty situation, making it much less threatening to contemplate.

A well-put witty notion can be like a snowball rolling downhill, picking up speed as it travels. I have seen dozens of people transformed into quivering jesters, with tears running down their faces, by some of the strangest inane statements. A whole mass of people with the same foolish notion become as one, each trying to outdo one another, and nobody within earshot is immune to its healing magic.

When life seems too burdensome, there is nothing quite as welcome as a belly laugh to get some perspective. Giving into doom and gloom only weighs down an already too heavy load, but laughter gives us more energy for carrying whatever we must. Mirth is as beneficial to the spirit as a daily workout is to the body. Exercise your wit and it will transform a sagging spirit to buff and beautiful in seconds flat.

I wrote this in 06 and as I look around 11 yrs later I'm often horrified by how insane the world has gotten. First off speaking at all has become as iffy as walking through a mine field. You might reach the end of a sentence without being blown to bits but making good sense without calling a spade a spade is a real challenge since so many of our precious words are suddenly verbal TNT. The list of things that cannot simply be said grows daily... like crossed off items on what used to be a rich and delightful menu... and most of the waiters in this twisted banquet hall have an agenda. Request the wrong item and you'll surly get lectured about something.

Humor has been altered by the censorship of a sort of mass madness that has infected a loud and angry portion of the audience. Irony is still thick and rich in possibilities, but left mostly untouched. Laughing at ourselves has been replaced by the strange fashion of being overly offended by damn near everything. I refuse to jump on that bus. Words are my delight... all of them... it's only how they're strung together that matters. And frankly I think that too many people simply don't listen to the whole of a message before they get stuck on stupid because of a word or two here and there. Words gently put could be our salvation, but nowadays they're all too often bent on our destruction.

Too few are gently said... and fewer still are truly heard. The struggle is all too real nowadays; when every word is picked over, twisted, and reported as poison it's difficult not to find yourself intentionally misunderstood by someone with an agenda and too much attitude. Land sakes lets get a grip before speaking at all goes out of style. Stay sane or who'll man the asylum? Stay centered in this tipped sideways world or risk being driven off a cliff by the stampede of those freely spinning people who feed problems until they're bloated beyond recognition.

They never offer any solutions while they gather, create, manufacture, and mutilate our language to be used as weapons in a war of words that never encourages any healthy debate. Remember just because someone is the loudest it doesn't mean they're correct... fact is when any human is driven to such madness to get their point across then more often than not it's ego that's talking and not reason. All bullies don't look alike, but they do sound the same. Nowadays we have more need than ever for laughter and less reasons to exercise it.

Rebel... don't play their game. Say what's in your heart, but say it gently. Use all your words in a reasonable manner so that when the screaming stops there'll be a choirs of peacekeepers singing for the benefit of every listener. Don't give voice to your ego... let your soul be your spokesman and have a message worthy of our beautiful language... uncut, uncensored, and unconditional in its love for our fellowman. God Bless You All AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!      



Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it: Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The art of dreaming is a humans saving grace, without some sort of image of something dream-worthy it is all too easy to become hopelessly overcome by life. Without day dreams of a better tomorrow, today would often be too brutal to contemplate. But a vision is only that, and nothing more, unless solid steps are taken to create it as reality.

As children we use our imaginations constantly, fine tuning them to a flawless point. I can recall countless times when kids from my neighborhood and I created a world all of our own, without the aid of the fancy gadgets they have today. We role played through years of summer days and most of the magic came from the creative thinking of young minds. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood too many of us misplace that ability or smother it, until all that is left is the distant memory of a time when anything seemed possible.

We forget how much power a dream can possess. We forget to believe that they can come true, and without faith we simply cannot manufacture enough energy to breathe any life into them. We forget often enough to make dreaming at all pointless. The remembering comes hard, but the magic is still there waiting for us to recapture its wondrous spell.

Dream large and small, short and tall then do what it takes to see one of them as your reality. Reach as high as you can then pull yourself up above where you stand now. Soar upon the winds of a real awakening and before long what was lost will find you. Have faith in yourself and create a life worth dreaming about.



Saturday, June 24, 2006

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own."
Benjamin Disraeli

I know people of great value who for one reason or another doubt their own worth. I speak gently of the jewels I see sparkling here and there amid the fresh wounds and old scars that mark their travels. I offer a point of view that comes from long sight. My eyes don't simply scan the surface and dismiss someone in crisis as deserving of their burden. I look beyond the debris and clutter of the storm, overlooking the image of victim that they portray and see so clearly what can be if they choose to remove the costume they wear. Hell, there comes a point where it's up to you to change your footwear, no matter who put your feet inside of those cement shoes in the first place. What matters is how to move forward and the blame game is useless fuel, all it creates is more dead bitter space.

I used to walk in the same posture of defeat, head down, feet dragging; I know what an effort it takes sometimes to just breathe in and out. When life kicks you in the teeth often enough you start to expect it and somewhere along the line you lose any true sense of self. I've been there and will never go back down that dead-end road. When I'm very lucky someone shuffling along raises their head and sees their true reflection in my eyes. When they can match what they see with what I do it's a victory for both of us, but it takes faith in the worth of the journey and effort of the deepest kind to guarantee their transformation.

I try to let people come to the point of effort on their own terms, pushing what I see down a clutched throat is too hard and yields much less benefit than encouraging them to swallow at the speed that is most comfortable. I attempt to stay mostly silent, except for what I write here, unless asked point-blank, but I stand firmly beside those who wish to have me nearby. I'm not a miracle worker, but I've watched many being performed. Lives changed in my arena have changed me and how I view all who travel within my range of vision.

Hope is my tool of choice, I use it often and produce it without trying. I place it here freely for use by all who come for their daily fix. Nobody close to me is without merit; each earned their special place in a different fashion, but all are valuable beyond what they realize. I'm acquainted with swans in tranformation mode, and mice who have learned to roar like lions, and stompers who struggle to glide more smoothly without losing any of their attitude, and true seekers of understanding who study constantly to find true enlightenment. I know and love many walking wounded in various stages of healing. My life is peopled with warriors of many kinds, from yummy mummy's to brightly tighted knight's and I see their beauty even when they don't. Stop demanding that other's continue to fail, when just a bit of gentleness can encourage them to fly. Help them up or get out of their way!!!




Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Conquer your foe by force, you increase his enmity; conquer by love, and you will reap no after-sorrow."

This quote has such depth. I've seen it in action in my own life, so I know the truth it foretells. Force implies wrestling of body or mind; one opponent overpowering the other... one left prone in the dirt... the other towering above. To allow goodwill to direct the actions of your spirit and the moving of your lips often alters the ones you're dealing with from foe to friend, leaving no bitter residue behind for either to swallow.
Synonyms for the word conquer are: dominate, overpower, subdue, subject, subjugate, vanquish. These are all powerful words with negative definitions, unless they're used in the context of conquering a negative inside of yourself. To place any other person in the subjective role by force enslaves them and slaves have such a nasty habit of rebelling.

Enmity is defined as hatred which may be open or concealed. Either way it'll rise again to bite the one it's directed toward, while damaging the one who harbors it inside the deepest recesses of their being. A bit of restraint and patience can eliminate the need for any after-sorrow on either side. Even if it doesn't help your foe, it'll always benefit you.

To respect the boundaries of anyone you're in conflict with instantly leaves space for compromise. I talk gently to people even when they don't do the same to me. I don't take instant offense at things said out of anger and frustration. I attempt to stay balanced especially when others are wobbling. I've found that to do so helps my state of mind and also leads to a spot where real communication can and mostly always does occur.

When we use hate or resentment as fuel we only build a fire that's out of control in seconds flat. The person you direct it toward may counter with a similar blaze. Two negatives, pointed from opposing sides causes an explosion in each persons soul. When the smoke clears on the battlefield whatever hate each felt at the beginning is magnified to measures beyond description. The war never ends there, no matter who won the battle. PLEASE TAKE SOME QUIET TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT...LET IT RIDE...THEN YOU DECIDE!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Every evening, write down the six most important things that you must do the next day. Then while you sleep your subconscious will work on the best ways for you to accomplish them. Your next day will go much more smoothly. Tom Hopkins

I used to follow this advice. I still make grocery lists, which are oftentimes left behind when I go shopping, but beyond that  I don't write things down like I once did. Nowadays my, "to do" lists are penned with thoughts upon the surface of my mind. I'm an excellent list maker, but I'm an even better list loser. But I do require lists of some sort to gain a healthy level of productivity; doing so inside of a mind I haven't lost yet seems a sensible compromise. It's my belief that when something is written down it constitutes a contract. We pledge future actions, and most of us do our best to accomplish what's put to paper. Lists put to memory can be even harder to ignore. A piece of paper can be mislaid or turned face down, but the mind travels within us no matter where we go.
From time-to-time, life will surely demand a more than fair share of emotional energy from each of us. When times get rough I won't hesitate to make use of pen and paper to redirect my attention and jumpstart my actions. The great thing about owning a useful tool is that once it's yours it remains within easy reach for a lifetime. Just knowing it exists makes needing its assistance much less likely. It allows us to grow stronger, smarter, and more capable of coping without the risk of undue damage. It alters weakness into strength as long as we don't push ourselves past the point of reasonable expectations.

Personally, I think six tasks may be too much to ask of anyone who's easily overwhelmed. The force of whatever knocked us down in the first place simply has to be given some sane consideration. After all, losing a job doesn't sit on anyone's chest as heavily as losing a loved one. Some of us have physical limitations that must  be factored into any equation. Some of us expend a ton of energy into the service of others, making the importance of dusting or mopping less list-able. Our lists must make sense inside of whatever our reality is before we begin or we might as well save our lead. Eventually our catalog will grow to include more of the grunt work, but being too demanding at journeys start can cancel the trip before the first step is ever taken, so list wisely! 

Taking a moment to examine your mindset can also save a lot of disappointment later on. The setting of goals that are clearly unattainable could be your subconscious way of failing while appearing to be really trying. We each have our demons; putting them in charge is like putting a two year old behind the wheel of a car. The trip will be brief and the chance of running into something certain. The unmotivated will see it as torture... the under-motivated will view it as bondage... but anyone who hungers to shake off the do nothings will see it as a lifeline. Don't incite a riot. Don't create a sit down strike. Don't push yourself into yet another nap.  To succeed all that's necessary is to simply reduce the number of tasks, and highlight their importance to better fit your nature and circumstances.



Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change."
Jim Rohn

This is a scary thought, because it's so incredibly true. A person must continue to grow and change or we simply exist in a kind of zombie state of mind. We all seek escape from things, but the most certain and lasting freedom comes from facing the things that are inspiring our need to get away. If you're weary of the urge for flight then the only solution is to stand and fight.

Ignoring something does not make it invisible. The truth is that the longer you avoid facing something the larger it grows. It feeds on the fear it produces, and flashes into mind just enough to keep you irritated. I've come to accept the fact that if a worry is thought of even one time, I better solve it or get used to hearing it again and again. Sometimes the only solution is acceptance of a bitter fact, but until it's faced there's no way to get any peace of mind.

I've been knocked down more times than I can calculate, but so far I've gotten up one more time than I have hit the dirt. Hell, to just lay there means the other guy wins. I demand the right to fight on. The experience of being hyper aware of what goes on inside of me during any crisis has given me a clear understanding of my strengths. I know with certainty that nothing on earth will ever make me hopeless enough to just turn belly up in surrender.

Change is brutal sometimes, but if the alterations are positive the final fit is flawless. It does not happen overnight, which takes the pressure of time out of the endeavor. Your rate of speed matters hardly at all, if it's forward motion. The road to change has the most marvelous people on it, so finding someone to walk beside is a simple matter. When your soul sings in perfect harmony with a fellow traveler then the journey gets much easier.

Those who walk together as one should view it as a blessing and take comfort from its unconditional qualities. Sometimes the support of another walking wounded warrior is all we've got to hold onto. By combining our strength we always have enough to equal whatever's needed for any task. Linking arms with someone who's traveling the same path makes any obstacle surmountable. You never have to travel alone, unless that's your preference. If you've got a need and can't find anyone in your circle that'll adjust their pace to accommodate your speed just give me a holler and I'll be honored to stroll by your side for as long as it's necessary to reach safer ground.