Monday, September 28, 2009

"Not me..."

I have posted this ponderance of mine before, but I will here again. Ever notice when we wrong others, we desire 'silent accountability'? However, when others wrong us, we require 'public retribution'?

Now this mind you is quite interesting, but I think the deeper part is that I find, many people do not think the rules of life/society/spirituality apply to them. I notice this so often, sad to say, in the simplest of environments. For some reason, as I have been able to take my son to kindergarten, I too have gone "back to school". Many of my insights have come in the mornings as I observe and reflect in these simple moments that start my day.

For simple example, I see how especially in, but not limited to, our children observe what is going on around them to justify their actions as being 'acceptable'. Kind of 'monkey see, monkey do'. They will also look up to get the nod of approval from their parents, and those they look up to to justify and reconcile their actions. I notice in my own kids how they are somewhat aware of what is expected of them, but as kids do, they will push the boundaries, perhaps out of 'expressing themselves' or just simple mischief, but it is we the parents who are responsible for keeping our kids "between the ditches" and on the straight and narrow.

Aside from the social laws we have to abide by, there are also ones of courtesy, comfort, and those that regulate the flow of the days procedures that are imposed by my children's school. From the 'stop, drop, and go' point where you let kids out of the car, to a 'no dogs' policy to keep our school grounds free from animal excrement for health reasons, and a variety of others, I have observed an epidemic that our kids are being exposed to on a regular basis. The epidemic that "the rules apply to you, and not to me".

For example in reference to the above points. I see daily, people bringing their dogs on school grounds blatantly after the school has sent out a message that it is unacceptable. With a smug attitude of "not me" and poo bag in tow, I see it regularly and have to explain to my 5 year old why he cannot walk his dog to school. That some parents maybe have to go back to school to learn to read the memo.

I see daily people parking in handicapped spaces right up front of the school, thinking that "I will only be here for a moment", when perhaps the rest of the city would feel the same as we ALL only need a moment to drop off our kids. It is simply the law, and God forbid, if it was their child who was in a wheel chair needing to utilize the space. Not only public retribution, but public execution would be summoned.

I see parents jaywalking past the crossing guards. This not only disrupts the fact that the child has had to wait five years to be able to obtain the right and authority to sport the safety attire and the right to represent their school as a safety attendant, but it also states that it is okay for "my kid" to bypass the rules, to put themselves in harms way, and that the traffic laws do not apply. Now, what would those people do if someone walked right past their child with the same flagrant attitude of disinterest for their position without even the care to cast their eyes upon them with any acknowledgment of their duties? Would they "let it go" if someone accidentally hit heir child with a car someday when they did it in absence of their parents?

I see not only traffic and social violation, but I find the difficulty in trying to explain to an impressionable young mind why it is "okay" for some to break the rules and not others. Why my children are held accountable and not others. I see the confusion in his eyes and I find it disturbing. I find it disturbing that some will allow themselves to act in such a way with complete abandon, but if done to them or in their presence, they will find it apalling, disturbing, or at least of concern worthy of gossip and finger pointing.

I have heard it before that all we ever need to know, we learned in Kindergarten; "follow the rules, keep your hands to yourself, play nice" to name a few. I think after seeing many 'repeat offenders' dropping off their kids daily at school to get "an education" should remember that we as parents are our kids greatest teachers, and they mimic those they respect. The school has their job as we do on the homefront. Our kids observe our actions and how we follow the rules to find out how they too should follow the rules and to how they will be help accountable. Let's not confuse them any more than the world tries to. If this concept is too hard for some to grasp; perhaps some people should take another round of Kindergarten.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time flies when you aren't having fun...

This was an interesting revelation as I was strolling this Friday morning with my son, enjoying our early morning walk to school, well, his walk to school, my final march before work, and something hit me as I found myself noticing how fast the apparent week had flown.

The week, as well as many other days, and even years had flown by as I, and a multitude of others, seem to wish ourselves ahead trying to "get through" certain obligations and obstacles that stand between us and that which we desire to enjoy. From our frequented phrases such as "hump day" pertaining to getting over the hump of the week, and onto TGIF, which I am sure we are all aware of the acronym's definition, we seem to place ourselves in a continual state of longing. From wishing we were older as children, to wishing Christmas would come, to desiring the unhindered ability to drink a legal beer, we often find that there is often something between us, and that which we crave to enjoy. The culprit is time.

I found today, as I often do, that I was projecting forward to the tasks that lay before me that I had to either tackle or endure to be able to find myself in the mental state of "leisure" and unobstruction, to where I could find peace and or happiness that would allow me to enjoy what I consider "freedom". I think "freedom" is a chosen "perspective" that is the antithesis of having obligations that we either find mundane, or cumbersome; and that our jobs, kids, chores and whatnot, often are hinderances to us, disallowing our "freedom" to be able to enjoy that which we as simple humans have to perform for financial as well as physical sustainability. Basically we gotta work to be able to play. We have to be there for our kids, so our kids will want to be there with us. We have to pay our bills and our dues as a normal course in our lives to have the ability to have that "freedom" we find elusive. As has been stated, "freedom is another word for nothing left to lose".

I find also interesting that once we get our "weekend" or "freedom" per se, it is not long before we begin to project and dread the upcoming new week that can hinder our ability to truly enjoy the time which we crave. We will often spend the "quality time" bemoaning that it will soon be over as many do on Sundays. We hop immediately back on the "mental hamster wheel" further making it difficult to "be where you are when you are there"...

In always trying to "get through", or to get ahead, or to wrap things up, we will seemingly diminsh the most precious of resources we have and that is time. In "working for the weekend", or "hang on baby, Friday's coming", or clock watching, we seem to speed up the resource of time therefore propelling us towards our demise as fast as we propel towards happy hour. In longing for this time to speed up, it often ironically appears to us inversely and seems to slow down while we long for the end of our suffering, working, or tasks before us. We can't get through things fast enough. Therefore the paradox lies that in "wishing our lives" away, we can often find ourselves lamenting and wondering where the proverbial time went. Well, due to our desires and perceptions, we wish it away with our wishes being granted. This not only includes the stuff we dislike, but the joys and memories that can be contained therein, as well as time is 'collective' and does not isolate certain things categorically. This I mean is, it is an 'all or nothing deal'. If you wish time would speed up, so does our joys, our youth, and the youth of our children, and the multitude of other small wonders that fill the gaps in between the time we work. In a normal week, we have 168 hours, and spend 40-ish on the job, meaning we spend less than 25% of our lives working. That 25% subsidizes the "freedom" and joy we crave. Not a bad return on investment, and one I wish I get get in interest or stocks.

I also observed that when we are also enjoying ourselves, time does appear to fly as our desires to hold onto a moment battles with the reality of fleeting time. The harder we try to hold on to our youth, joy, intimate moments, our children's youth and attention is rivaled with the reality of the clock's progression. However, I have found that when I am truly present and not bound by projection; disconnection and sadness that the event will conlcude, I can be present in the moments I cherish, and they seem to disconnect from normal time perspective, and can seem to take on a 'mystical time isolation' that is free from time that is stated on the face of a watch. We can detach and drink in the moments we crave with enduring joy not only in experience, but also in reflection, and memories that we can indellibly stamp in our lives and our minds by remaining present in our daily routines. By having one foot placed on the fast-forward button, we take that one foot and place it ahead of us, unstabilizing our footing in what can be a much more pleasant "now". So time can "slow down" when you are having fun as well if you let it...

I have found that it is how we choose to embrace time whether or not it will drag, or propel at alarming rates in what goes on now in front of us. In the grand spatial perspective of our lives, this is also true when we look back at our lives as a whole. It is our "perspective" of what is happening to us and how we label it as "good or bad" or "happy or sad" that makes the endurance tolerable. One thing though is true; time is our most precious resource. Time does not care how we feel about that which goes on around us as it ominously ticks away. Next time you are in front of your DVD player or DVR, hit the fast forward button of a movie you have never seen, and then see how much you get out of it. See how many of the details you remember. How interesting is the dialogue? One thing is for certain, there is no rewind button in life.

So as I continued through out the day, as I examined those comments from people wishing the day/week to be over, "happy hour approaches", and desires for a rapid conclusion for the week, I am reminded that I need to be more mindful of how I can throw my life into hyperdrive. No matter my will or desires, there will always be the same amount of minutes, hours, and days in a week. I cannot truly speed up or slow down time. I can only choose the perspective in which I observe it all. I have also found that we all will reach the "finish line", but I realize that is a race I really do not care to win.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember...

I remember stating eight years ago today, "our lives as we have known them are going to change forever!" Standing in the small crowd accumulating in our breakroom at work, we struggled to see the small TV we found to watch the day's tragic events unfolding. I remember recoiling for a moment in the realization that my statement was true and was going to effect not only me in my selfish fear of losing my beloved "comfort zones", but to the fact that this boulder in the pond, created a global ripple to where not only me, but my state, country, hemisphere, world, and future generations would feel somehow the sting of this momentary happening, that could last for generations if not eternally.

I remember, once I really tuned in, once I reached into the intuitive space in myself, I could feel the energy vacuum that was changing humanity. It was like someone adjusted the thermostat in the room, and all were unaware at first why, but they were all of a sudden uncomfortable; we were cold. The indelible images of people falling to their death, the realization that we were repeadtedly being exposed to a massive execution not only of innocent human beings, but to an era, and that of a collective spirit. We were watching our world change to what we most feared, right before our eyes in living color.

In retrospect I now also see, not only in a fear of an unobserved predator preying upon us, but that it was that "suckerpunch" to our smug attitude of invulnerability and our slow to respond indifference to the fact that there is a force that "does not agree", was willing to do what it takes to rob those of their sense of security and that all will remain "rosey" as long as we keep our chin up and chest out. It was this event that got our attention.

I see over time, after fear has subsided, that at least an awareness level has been challenged to awaken in us; this level requiring us to become awake and respectful of that which occurs around us. Not from a paranoia standpoint, yet these events pose obvious opposition to that statement, but to the fact that it is difficult to impose global views and doctrines upon the masses and expect total participation. There needs to be a mindset of understanding, and acceptance, not endorsement or participation, but simply to understand that which occurs and impacts our world. Most importanly, our conciousness in that, and our desire to open up, as opposed to close up, is what will allow us to move forward in a world that perhaps will respect, as opposed to place violent judgment upon that which frightens them or that which challenges their doctrines or dogma. A lofty ambition I know, but I see a shift occuring.

Aside from any stance on war, isolation, pre-emptive miliatry involvement, sanctions, and the like, diplomacy can start on a level of individual participation. We can try to seek a desire to build not only our buildings and defense, but relationships closest to us, in that of one of understanding. Again, it does not have to be an endorsement of any practice or activity, but I have found understanding dispels irrational fear, whcih may be a step toward finding our peace in the insanity of the events giving a unique meaning to today's date. We do not have to sit down nor cower over that which we know in our conciousness is humanly wrong either. I see now since the years have slowly passed, and the bleeding wounds have evolved into scar tissue, our resolve has changed from the intial fear to that of trying to insure that we will never experience an event like this, especially on our soil again. The horrific event of that day caused brother and sister, stranger and friend to unite toward one goal of restoration and resurrection of a state of common peace and security.

What I have seen also is the appreciation of that which was once common. Our armed forces, our local law enforcement and public service men and women for example. We find gratitude when our parents and children arrive at our door safe. We can find a small degree of solace of understanding better those who choose not to yet understand us. We have an awareness of how other feel about our actions and to some event we have found the world holds us accountable on their terms as well. We can now appreciate what we have that made this country great to begin with, yet over years eroded into something taken for granted. At times we have to lose something to feel the value of that we once had. Sometimes the message is unfortunatley in direct proportion to the intensity of how bad we need to receive it. Sadly our message came at the senseless loss of innocent human lives. Yet we rally. We emerge. We rebuild.

I have seen today many, many shows in positve remeberence of those who have fallen and gave the ultimate gift of themselves in service of others. I have also seen a proliferation of available TV shows rehashing the graphic events allowing us to vividly expereince the nightmare once again. Even in a historical context, today should, in my opinion allow us to look upward and extend a thanks to those who fell and not indulge in the media blitz reminding us of how sad, mad, or fearful we should be. While looking upward, say a prayer that we never have to experience an event like that ever again. We can also give a nod of thanks for the awareness we have been blessed with and our evolution, no matter how uncomfortable, that allows us now to appreciate the world in a new frame with a new resolve. We can now place a level of gratitude upon the simple things like our family arriving home safe to us as there are many who are still out there fighting to insure that we someday all may be able to have that level of security.

My heart extends to those who have the void of a lost loved one. My soul aches for those in foreign lands whose days exist only to devise ways to destroy those they hate under some religious doctrine. I lament for those who are dodging bullets, and for those who have to make the decision to send them into battle. I feel for those whose children are carrying out the military tasks, as my kids are home and safe with only the threat of being out of their favorite cereal facing them. I thank those families and soldiers. I am blessed to live in America. Finally - if you are going to spend the day in reflection, do it with a moment of gratitude and love for those that have been taken from us not only on 9/11, but the days afterward, and those who suffer daily from the loss of a loved one, or those protecting us from having to endure it again. We all stand and suffer as one, and we all shall recover together as one. It is that which hurts the most that often becomes our strongest glue.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The power to heal...

As a kid my friends and I used to talk with one another, vivid imaginations active, about what type of "super power" we would want to have. Of course super strength topped many a list, cool outfits, and emulation of our favorite comic book heroes also were discussed. Upon adolescence, X-ray vision of course was a pre-pubescent must, but for some reason I always defaulted to that of wishing I could "heal".

I always found the power of healing amazing from hearing stories of Jesus' amazing feats to those of fantasy lore in the charachters I would play in Dungeons and Dragons, Warcraft, and the like. I always found it not only noble, but necessary to be able to resurrect, restore, and to revive those in dire straights. I thought, "how cool would that be to be able to simply bring someone back from illness or pain?" I know how awful that certain conditions can be and yes, being able to bench press a dump truck may get the chicks, but to be able to eliminate pain and illness, now that's where the heroes are.

This became more real to me, and the reality of helplessness in this ability as through my life I have experienced infirmity and illness, as well as having had cancer take the lives of loved ones and many near misses along the way. Maybe it is my ego coupled with the difiiculty in surrendering to a Divine intervention or understanding when the medical miracles I request are not met in my time frame, but I always gravitate to those in pain or in need out of love I would say, but am always placing myself in a state to where I wish I was able to do more. I resort back to my childhood dream of being able to call on a lightning bolt from God to come down from heaven to "shock" away the illness and to solve the issues of those in need or those who suffer. I truly realize that "I" am totally out of the equation, and that "I" have nothing to do with the intervention or lack thereof, and my empathetic nature and hopeless romantic side allow me to follow the tractor beam back to these feelings. Yes, I still wish I could help, and I do know that it is in God's hands, and my human and egoic dream would be that His hands were mine, if only for a moment to where I could "Zap" away everyone's pain.

I spent the morning today arising at 5:00 am to meet with a dear friend who suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy and yet is blessed to be an on-air spokesperson for the local Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. Amy is witty, spiritual, beautiful, and is a true role model for anyone who ever tries to let their circumstances get the best of them. If you give her lemons, she not only makes lemonade, but makes it for everyone, and would make sandwiches, turn on the music, and set the table with fresh flowers if you get where I am coming from. She makes the most of every day to where I, and many others could be considered so lucky.

In watching her prepare for her day today, she appeared in all her glory as this, as she puts it, is like her "summer camp". Since she is considered "too old" to be a "Jerry's kid", she is a "Jerry's adult" and helps rally the troops at the telethon, and does what it takes to be the best cheerleader for the kids. She is heaven on wheels, and her robust zest for life is enchanting. All this being said is I find myself wishing back to when I did as a kid that I could magically call upon a mystical ability to wipe away her disability. As I watch her valiantly struggle with the tasks that healthy hands engage in daily, putting on shoes, taking a sip of coffee, applying makeup, I find that I get, I don't want to call it angry, but what it is I am not sure, but I wish that I did not feel this way toward the hand she has been dealt as she deals with her tasks without much agitation all things considered; I also find I struggle with this apparently more than she. Even without the use of her legs, she stands taller than I.

Upon completion of her hair makeover I do for her in her hotel room every year to get her ready for the annual TV appearance, she always gives me a genuine hug, and she radiates gratitude for the skill I love to generously share with her. In the salon, her hair services only cost her brownies, in the hotel for the telethon every year, only a hug. We are "square" on all accounts.

When I returned home, I quickly turned on the TV to see Amy on TV in her royal purple dress with her jeweled accents glistening, and her hair a golden blonde curled as if she were rolling down the red carpet. I think that that would pale in comparison to her as not only is she able to be on TV in all her engaging glory, but she is doing what she loves most and is bringing a raised conciousness to those in need. She always places others far before her in line when it comes to needing the healing hand. She works a twelve hour shift, in a tight dress, confined to a chair, under hot lights, suffering from effects of diabetes, and does it with a never ending smile. She will not stop if at all possible until she feels her message is heard, and the kids are recognized. She has the power to heal...

Before writing this I looked up the definition of "Heal" to see what it said. I expected to "cure" and "to remove illness" and the like, but what I found interesting is the component that I noticed I can actively and immediately participate in, right now. The definition mentioned, " to restore a person, and to make someone right". I realized that what Amy often wanted from me was indeed "healing", but my kind of healing in her eyes. My simple and "taken for granted gift" of being able to restore her beauty and to make her feel better and to like what she saw in the mirror was how I was able to "heal" her. I have often seen her elevate to a state of unparalled happiness after being pampered. Her light and energy then is restored to where she is charged enough to share that light with others. By being able to give of ourselves unselfishly, we can heal to the greatest capacity we as mortals can possibly offer. In my studies of other healing arts, I realize with the intention and motivation of love in that we do for the wellness of others is truly "healing". In "healing" others, we can then indirectly connect to those they touch and create a contagious avalanche of healing that extends far beyond our reach. I find now that to "heal" is to "restore" others and to let the "miracles" come from God. I have my role, and to feel sorry for myself, even on the behalf of others drains the energy I have to give in the benefit of others. I realized today that I can truly heal, as well as am grateful to have spent time in the presence of another healer as well. Our gifts are personal and individualized, but join synergistically to help all those we encounter.

I see now that I, as well as others, have the power to heal. I may not be able to remove leprosy, but my gifts are unique and are divinely inspired. I also see that most everyone has a special ability to heal if they choose to share it. To be aware of this ability I feel we must not seek that "power" we wish we had, but be in tune to that which we see that others may need. I must finally realize too that healing in and of itself may not come in the form of of removing one's infirmity entirely, but that we can offer a breif reprieve to where they can feel whole and human even if only temporarily. This "power" may appear in our connection and presence with another, kind words or a warm gesture, and for me, sometimes healing can materialize in a simple can of hairspray.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A gesture of love...

I had found myself obligated to be a "soccer Mom" for a portion of the Labor Day holiday weekend. My wife works at our business and this particular Saturday she was scheduled there, so I was to fulfill the transportation caravan to get my daughter and a friend of hers, as well as my son to the tournament about an hour and a half away. The day and drive were pleasant, and outside of a few grumbles of the address not appearing on my GPS, we arrived unscathed and emotionally intact. I will admit that I never have watched soccer prior to my daughter playing, probably won't after she resigns at some point in her life, but I love to celebrate her growth into adolescence and am grateful she has the ability to make it to be able to secure a spot on the team, as some are not as fortunate. Upon sitting on the field, a text from my wife alerted me to the fact that she was finished with work early as our business was slow due to the local college football team celebrating its' opening game. Our entire city pretty much celebrates every game with more fervor than Christmas; every Saturday is a national holiday in the fall.

I admit I was a bit jealous, as she noted that she was in a local pub with a friend awaiting the final close of our business, and mentioned that she was going to the game, tailgating, and then partying afterward and that her friend, as well as another would be spending the night. Then she had asked if I would make them all breakfast/brunch in the morning. I admit I was jealous and a bit taken back as I realy had not logged, (nor was I entirely informed) that I would not see her for twelve or more hours and that I would then be in charge of childcare after the game. Childishly, I pouted that I would not be able to do anything "fun" that day, as I really did not miss the festivities involving intoxicants as I no longer participate, but I hoped maybe for a brief reprieve to go grocery shopping, and perhaps to get some new clothes which I honestly have not done in over a year. It is a holiday weekend as well as the end of summer, so I thought it may be fun and therapeutic. I held my tongue and returned my attention to the soccer field which reminded me I was an hour away, was "on-call" for many more hours, and had a drive home to make. In my mind the whole world was at home "having a ball" and I was not invited. This resentment led me away from the ability to have gratitude for my beautiful daughter playing in her passion al on a beautiful sunny day.

The game ended to a loss for our team, and we consoled ourselves over fast food an silly chatter. We eventually drove home, with silence from the backseat, the girls passed out, as did my son. It really was a nice drive, and I found in case, an old CD that I made some ten years ago with some of my favorite songs of the time, making the drive a "mental music video" of memories from the time. It was peaceful, as the wind allowed my left arm to "air surf" the wind that propelled by my window. Upon returning home, I was reminded again of being "on call", and that also my daughers' friend's parents would be even later so I was actually "on duty" for the duration of the evening (I absolutely love my daughters' friend as part of our family and she is welcome anytime), causing me to pout moreso. I got home in time to catch our team win the game in the last 1:42 seconds which allowed me to continue the "poutfest" as I caught this information online and not in front of a big screen somewhere.

I got another call from my wife asking me if I had received her messages about whether or not I was going to cook for her guests, and I was thinking, "I just found a hiding place from the onslaught of 'I'm boreds' from the kids", and she had asked me agan, if I was going to cook for her and her friends in the morning. I was terse and short and answered with a "maybe", as I was feeling sorry for myself being home with the kids on a holiday weekend missing the first game of the year and being nudged into whether I was going to make "hangover helper" for my wife as she called me from a pub somewhere. Honestly, I knew I would, I just wanted to be bitter. I love my kids, I love my kids friends, I love my wife's friends, as well as my wife, I found that my ego was "renting space" in my head, placing selfish thoughts on me, and did not allow me to realize, that what I was doing, I don't mind, I couldn't care less if my wife goes out with her friends; I, as many of us do, just end up in a selfish ego-laden place from time to time. The evening passed without incident, she and her friends arrived home safe by cab, and my son and I enjoyed a calm evening together as my daughter and friend stayed at her friend's house.

I awoke that morning excited to cook the meal requested of me and with my wife having a new friend stay with us, whom I had never met, I had an opportunity to share my culinary prowess with her and the others, and upon being thanked for the meal I later presented, I noted that I would rather spend a couple hours making what I do, more than a bowl of cereal. I made sliced fingerling potatoes with shallots and red onions, dusted with cumin and sauteed in olive oil to accompany the egg Strata with a bed of lightly toasted potato bread on the bottom of a dish with a topping on one half of asparagus and baby portobella mushrooms with some shallots, and the other half with maple sausage and smoked mozerella for the carnivores. The appetizer was a martini glass with fresh blueberries on the bottom, layered with vanilla yogurt, then raspberries, more yogurt, and repeat until full. Top that with a garnish of the fruit and some crumbled granola and they were set.

This meal was not planned as it never is, but I will often arise to go to the store, select some soothing "Zen" music, and then arrive and wait for the menu to "appear" to me from an inspiration. Without ego I can say I rarely disappoint on the selction, as I stated, I get the menu from a "place" in myself I find rather Divine. I get a grateful feeling for my abilites I have acquired in the kitchen, and love to share. Bless you Food Network! The more inticate, the more pleasing for me, as long as someone is around to share it upon completion no matter the level of their palate's cultivation. I also know my wife likes to "share me" upon those mornings we host guests, as she can recline and I can serve a meal to her friends making it worth the stay.

Any resentments I had upon being asked to do what I love most were erased upon me arising that morning as there is nothing I would rather do than to cook for someone. From the gathering of ingredients, to the tedious preparation, presentation, and cleanup, I enjoy it all. The reason I found, is to me, I find this all a tremendous gesture of love when I cook for others. The gift of being able to nourish, entertain, and allow fellowship to occur over a meal that sustains us is a place I love to find myself in. When I am in a place to where I am performing a gesture of love, I find it extremelydifficult to find myself angry, or in a state of ego-blistered mental activity. It becomes a zen-like state, or trance even, as I love people being fed, filled, and in a relaxed state all at the edge of my table. I found until having to conjur the words to write here, I had all but forgotten of yesterdays' adolescent behavior. I had nothing but joy in the couple hours I had to gather, prepare, and present my meal as I was totaly in a state I wish I could find myself in more often. I noticed from the lady at the coffee counter, checkout line, to the new friend I met, everyone had their "light on" today, or maybe it was the reflection of mine bouncing off of them. Either way the morning was illuminated!

I find now that if I ever find myself in an ill-state, I can perform a "gesture of love" to get the "wrinkles" out of my day. It kind of smoothes things over and also gets me out of myself and into what is important and that is the right interaction I share with others. I have many things I do as a gesture of love, but now I am aware of something that can shake the "proverbial Etch-a-sketch" and clean the slate. I emplore upon you to seek a gesture of love you may have, something that connects you to the you, you know you should be; one that is a gift to those around you. Whether it be cooking, writing, painting, singing, playing, cleaning, helping those less fortunate, counseling, you name it, but we all have that in us which cleanses us through the gifts we bestow upon others. Find it and use it!

I see now that I will have these infiltrating moments of selfishness. I will get in a "place" that I do not wish to be. I do now also see yet another window I can escape out of. So from here on out, if I am found to be a brat; don't send me to my room, send me to the kitchen!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hurry up!

I spend many a mornings bellering "hurry up" to my children. I get up early myself to enjoy some coffee, and to be able to assimilate to the day's routine, so I factor in the "sleepy time" my kids require to get going in the morning and to ready themselves for the walk to school. I also accompany my young son who is in kindergarten, but my daughter, 11, speeds ahead as walking with us is less "cool" than it used to be.

I will allow them time to open their eyes, and to stretch and remain silent without rousing them too much as that is what I would want, and then slowly escalate the nudges to where by the end of the hour, I am "sargeanting" them to "make sure they have their backpacks", to "make sure they eat", to "brush their teeth", and the usual list of requirements to get out the door prepared. I find tht I often am proclaiming that, " we are gonna be late, hurry up!" I spend alot of energy in trying to move their internal "dials" to panic mode as I am pacing the floor, "hurry up", to the other room, "hurry up", and then repoeating this pattern until my kids cross the finish line, which truly is the starting point of the day.

Since this is the start of a new year of school, and I am starting a new way of thinking, I have become mindful of these old behaviors escaping, and to the mention of my son yesterday that we had to "hurry" along our walk as to "not be late"; I noticed I was negatively programming him to always be looking ahead to "not be late" and realized maybe I needed to either switch to decaf, get up earlier or both, but the morning bonding does not need the stressful overtone of impending tardiness.

Today I noticed I nudged a bit (old behavior), but with a simple "don't forget your hoodie", and a " you ready to roll kids?" The same departure time, but new perspective. The air was crisp and the walk pleasnt and it was nice just observing my son skipping, and strolling as 5 year olds do, erratic. He will twirl, pick up a leaf, make a gun out of a stick, push the cross walk button repeatedly, and all without the focus or lack thereof of a youth. I should be so lucky.

We briefly sat in the schools window sill ledge, and had idle chats withother parents. I noticed the other folks and tried to simply soak in the moment. I noticed different energies and observed others who appeared to be in a "hurry" too. I then looked down to see my son wrapped around my arm with a huge contented smile as we bonded and figured, if I am pushing him so far ahead to be on time, he wont have the time to be "here" with me.

As I walked home after handing my son off to his teacher, I plugged my headphones into my ears for the nice stroll home. I observed parents with children locked in a hand to hand embrace as they interacted. On the way home, the pressure of "being on time" was relieved and the parents were walking with younger siblings to return home to await the elder sibs. The pleasant interaction and engaging nature was a happy one that I observed. Kids noticing how "tall" they were as the morning sun stretchd their shadows to only heights they could dream of reaching some day. A random hand flipping the dew off the branches then a casual brush of the moisture on clothing upon noticing the cold moisture...It is not "ignorance" of time, but "innocence" of it that our kids have, and we often enter into the reciprocated form. We could only be so lucky as to re-engage into the wonder of our children in the mornings. To start our day without stress and that of wonder, to look at the world through 5 year old eyes again... to be that lucky...

I find it funny that I was encouraging so much "hurry up" in these times as these are the times I am safe and home with those I love. These are the moments many look back and reflect that were among the most special. Why am I rushing them along to be lost in the dust of oligation? Both my kids will ventually find it no longer "cool" to spend this time with me, at least for a while, why not at least drink in what I can when I have it in front of me. What am I trying to hurry up to? Work? Stress? The "real world"? Why would I want to speed up kissing my kids on the head to wake them? Why speed up holding the hand of my son and listen to him humming a random song he learned in school awkwardly navigating through the words? Hurry to get to what? I spend all day yearning to get back to here to often only "hurry" it away.

With awareness I can work on this and try to rework my morning pattern. It takes time, and with that precious resource fleeting, I must make a solid attempt quickly. I can spend time, or waste time, but now I must manage it better. If we find that these moments in our life are not among the most blessed, perhpas we are doing it wrong...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The journey of a thousand miles...

This blog is going to simply expand upon and extend the observations from my recent writing, and soon to hopefully be published book, "The Artisan of the Human Spirit". My book is a collection of vignettes, or just thoughts on things that occur around us, often considered to be mundane or inconsequencial. These things however, if explored with eyes that desire to open to the soul, can often be deep and enduring life lessons. I have grown weary and empathetic in a sense of hearing of how people feel disconnected, disgruntled, and disenfranchised with life in general. I personally have travelled a long and bumpy road to find a new grounding; a new spiritual connection and in that quest have been able to turn my life from a dim perspective to that of a new life in "high def". I do not feel that one needs to spend alot of time of money to acquire many tomes of inspiration, DVD's, Cd's and the like. Yes, they can be a "finger pointing the way" but are articles to use to get somewhere, like a map. If you spend too much time looking at the,map, you are going to miss the scenery of the ride.

My road is not "special", it is simply mine. I do not claim to be anything other than that of a guy who cares about his fellow man a "regular guy" mind you, and feels that once we remove our proverbial "heads off our desk in life's classroom", we can then experience the lessons that have been presented to us for some long in many forms. Our lessons are personal and are presented to us in a manner we are best prepared to receive them. These lessons do not necessarily need to come from a church, temple, or synagogue, exclusively, but from a variety of Divine and inspired sources that are "placed" before us to allow us to get the most of our life's potential. If we are not enlightened, then perhaps at least these thoughts, words or events, can at least be a nudge toward a new direction and provoke contemplation or examination of something fresh.

In my book I scribed many little scenarios to where I gained knowledge, gratitude, or insight among other things by choosing to accept that maybe the same old things can be examined in a new context, and therefore have newer and more valuable meaning. I here will share, as well as invite expansion and contribution from all with the mindset of a "Share-apeutic" type of environment. I am hoping that people may read and simply go, "Yeah, me too!" I am not the type of person that ever believes one doctrine is all encompassing, all inclusive, and is good for everyone, or at least good for everyone everytime. Our receptors change so therefore our receptiveness needs to change. I have found that if I am at least able to hold back on any judgment upon first contact with something, I can often find a deeper message that may have some use to me. In trying to understand something, does not mean an acceptance of, or an endorsement of it. My understanding is only a tool to gain more peace in the fact that I am aware of it's presence in the world, and that it may not be my "truth" but somebody's "truth" who is entitled to the same respect and dignity as I in holding firm in my beliefs or of those I share with others.

I am hoping that eventually this may turn into a small collaboration of people who in their posts, will create a community that can become a resource for those to read people's experiences and gain an understanding of thepresence of happenings that can truly help us progress towards a better spiritual growth. A growth in our connection with that that has meaning and peace for us, calling that connection what you may; one of nurturing and sharing to where any form of draining of one's power and energy is not encouraged. I have a hard time with some spiritual leaders who spend so much time and energy on "isms" and "thusness" and "suchness" and all these nebulous words that come from people who profess to teach a blessed path of inclusion, but in the presentation of the material, create an air or exclusion with the mindset that one must accumulate so much to be "spiritual", that it may include isolation, Tibet, or a vast library, and conversations of "whom we have read and researched", name dropping, and how may hours of meditation we have practiced. Spirtituality does not cost $19.95 for the DVD or the book, it is right in front of you, free, waiting, and available the moment you choose to receive it's nectar. It is progress not perfection, and to be in a perpetual state of " I am at least 1% better than I was a moment ago, is not a bad path to travel". Should you choose to absorb a multitude of materials and wisdom, God bless, and Godspeed, but it is not "out there" and it is not costly, nor do we need a guru, our journey must focus inward. Our lessons are abundant, present, and available to everyone. I hope by sharing certain observations, we can all grow together by reflecting upon some messages and then starting a dialogue.

One of the biggest epidemics in people who suffer from a spiritual disconnection from circumstances, is that there is a strong feeling of being alone or misunderstood. In this fragile or alone state, to be dictated to that what we are doing or feeling is alien, wrong, or weird, we can further isolate perpetuating this spiral into disconnection. By sharing our stories in a presentation to that of a "buffet" beckoning to "eat what you like", and to take as much as you choose" is an embracing way to help one another without condemnation, or causing people to defend their actions from an accusatory "wagging finger". Please feel free to share positive, and helpful additions to the thread. My hopes is that people will be able to come for a shoulder to lean on or cry on without judgment and love for who they are and to try ot extend an hand to our brothers and sisters who need it. Let's make it a place to find someone to talk to and to get a few pearls of personal wisdom in the meantime. I want to try to diminsh pain and eliminate suffering. "Pain" is the deed that cuts us, and makes us hurt, yet will eventually heal. "Suffering" is what we hold onto, to remind us long after the healing that we were once hurt, and may still need to feel so.

I will post at random some thoughts and perhaps even obscure observations to provoke thought and refelection. Not to impose my truth, but to maybe cause you to search for your own, and if anything is to think maybe, "Oh, I never thought to look there". Let me share an example...

Today as I was walking home after walking my son to school, I was enjoying a nice, crisp walk with my headphones on, listening to some soothing instrumental to accompany the perfect combination of the cadence of my footsteps, the warm sun complimenting the brisk air, and the meditative state I was in. I live in a mature landscaped area with dense vegetation and tall old trees that flank the sidewalk which has become uneven from the roots of the majestic trees lifting them to make way for their growth. As I turned a corner I weaved slightly with my head to steer clear of a shrub's branch. You know the kind with the soft "piney" type of green needles that are soft to the touch. The rush was placed in the landscaped corner of a yard on the corner and the overall bush itself was squared off and manicured, but there were random longer branches of approximately 8-12 inches jutting out every where punctuating the surface of the geometric shape. I noticed that these branches were reaching out and receiving the suns warmth and nourishing light and this was allowing the individual branches to grow even stronger still. They were sporadic at best but were the longest and strongest on the shrub. My thought was that bush was like people in society. The ones who reach beyond the norm can receive the most light and become closest to the heavens. It is when we strive to grow beyond the societal norm, we can become warm, strong, and secure. It is also here when we become apparently "odd" in the eyes of the societal norm, and therefore we become those in the target to be "groomed into shape". Our reach becomes challenged, and we are often "clipped" into submission as it is our reach that threatens those around us. We become "out of place". Nature has no genetic predisposition for how long each branch is allowed to grow, yet we humans try to control and improve upon nature's intention. It is those who seek Higher levels that become the "odd". I find it odd myself though, that it is in the "blemishes" one finds in the ordinary, that many claim to have seen the "Christ". If one can find the Virgin Mother or Jesus in the surface of a grilled cheese sandwich, why cannot we as humans seek the beauty in those around us who seek higher ground, and not impose fear and condemnation upon that which we do not yet understand?

It will be in this type of presentation, I hope people will find humor in and will perhaps join in the observations and share their experiences from the point of helping the reader. My hopes are that we share a laugh, and like those branches, enjoy a bit more of the light than those who are "clipped" around us...