Monday, November 30, 2015

Create - Gotcha!

Buzz words, superlatives and "gotchas" get us in so much trouble. Rather than trying to come to understanding and reaching agreement, we want to end the discussion - end the debate - get the "win".
Grey area is hard. Finding common ground along a spectrum is hard work. It really isn't either/or in this world unless you want to walk alone. It's about finding a path we can work on together. It's about seeking something - together. Working together toward something - working outside of our comfort zones - is how we all grow toward something much greater than we could have ever found alone.
Here's the important part. If someone wants to nail your feet down in place or walk you backward, don't let them! Looking back is fine. Going back is lost momentum.  It means nothing is being created. Why stop creating?
And why would you want to nail anyone in place? Why would you walk backward? Don't!! Look back to appreciate how far you have come. Imagine how far you can go. Create! Believe in that same energy that brought you this far.
Appreciate - get ready for the growth that comes in the understanding more. Delete the buzz words, superlatives and "gotchas".  Understand. Discuss. Debate.  CREATE!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Snake and the Spider....

A snake once got into a man's friend's house. Everyone suspected that the snake got in through a crack in the foundation. The man hated snakes and grew fearful that one might enter his house. So, he carefully checked his foundation and ensured that all cracks were well sealed.
Then someone said, a snake would come in if there was any chance a rodent could get in. So the man sealed every crack he could find from the foundation to the roof and he felt safer. Then someone said, birds could get in through the chimney. Birds carry disease, people said. So, he covered his chimney with screens.
Then a poisonous spider bit a neighbor and he became very ill. Somehow it had gotten into his house. They suspected the spider got in through a vent or maybe through the screen in his chimney. So, the man sealed the vents and his chimney. Nothing was getting in. Through the summer - no snakes, no rodents and no spiders. He was very happy.
Winter came. They found the man dead in his house. It wasn't a snake. It wasn't a rodent. It wasn't a bird. It wasn't a spider. He had sealed his house so well, it filled with CO2 and the air killed him.
The moral of the story is that we can become so obsessed with potential enemies that we kill ourselves with our own solutions.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Spirit Walking

Spirit Walking...
Spirit is the place where connection resonates. Spirit walking means to live in connection with your self, with your surroundings, with those surrounding you, with those beyond your comprehension. Spirit walking is living in a deep belief in a divine connection with the universe - past, present and future. It is the deep understanding that nothing is beyond you, nothing is separate from you, nothing is apart from you. It is the deep understanding that you are part of everything in the universe. It is an awareness that you are a tiny spec in relation to the universe.
Spirit walking is the conviction that your tiny spec of existence can make a difference that influences the entire universe. Spirit walking is the understanding that you may not know how your tiny spec of influence sparks something but you are convicted to make it be a spark of positive change.
Spirit walking is about relationships - all relationships - every person, creature, thing. It's about a conviction to leave every person, creature, thing in a better place. It's about being purpose driven in every encounter, every act and in every thought. Spirit walking is about the determination to leave a tiny spec of hope in the universe that will resonate far beyond your expectations or understanding.
Spirit walking is about faith that your tiny spec of existence here is just the beginning of something more and is intricately tied to some past. It is beyond our understanding now and beyond our comprehension now, but if we have faith - if we believe in leaving hope - we will create cause for celebration.
Spirit Walking requires seeking connection first. First, we must seek connection with our own spirit within. That spirit within has the great understanding of the divine and universal spirit. It is imprinted in our own spirit from before our birth. The world is filled with noise that can overpower our ability to tune in. How do we know what is noise? If it causes us to feel disconnected to all people, all creatures, all things - it is noise. If it causes a "them and us" feeling, it is noise.
Spirit calls us into reconciliation and connection. Spirit is powerful with all who seek reconciliation and connection. Only love and compassion can create reconciliation and connection. Spirit drives love and compassion.
Spirit walking is the place where connection happens. We seek connection first. We lay down our fear. We lay down our resentment. We ignore all slight against us. We are resolute in our search for connection.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The question of security OR compassion....

Frequently I tune into the local Christian radio station on my way to or from work. That might surprise some people. I'll just say I don't do it expecting inspiration or encouragement but today I was surprised. I caught a conversation that was both encouraging and inspiring. It was a conversation about the Syrian Refugee issue.
The host described our country's conflict - pitting security against compassion and encouraged listeners on both sides of the argument to frame the issue differently. What followed was a wonderful dialogue with guests that caused me to pause and really listen. It was a message of hope and reconciliation speaking to both sides of this issue. It spoke to me and I'm happy to try to share.
Those of us speaking about compassion need to acknowledge the very real and legitimate security concerns. And those concerned about the security issue need to acknowledge the very real and legitimate needs of the refugees. First and foremost, we need to acknowledge each others' concern.
What followed on this show were several guests who then did just that.
The security concerned person acknowledged that she had not known how much scrutiny was in place and how long the process was for a refugee. At the end of last week, I realized that most people - even Congress - are apparently unaware of the process. The bill passed last week by the House of Representatives seemed to me to mirror the process already in place. In reading the news reports about the bill, I felt encouraged. To me, it looks like a way to help the country accept refugees with assurance of the highest scrutiny.
The discussion I heard from an unexpected source gives me hope. Let's not pit security against compassion. Let's acknowledge the need for both. I believe we can. I believe we should.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seeking the Constant

Consistency is the great challenge in the world. To be consistent in thought, word and deed. To be consistent in holding yourself to the same standard you hold someone else - that is the great challenge.
I ask myself often if I am consistent. Do I hold myself to the same level of standard I am holding the other person? Do I give in the manner I expect to be given? Do I love in the way I want to be loved? Do I forgive as I hope to be forgiven? Do I expect more from others than I expect from myself?
Am I consistent? Am I true to the values I espouse?
Do I place conditions? Am I conditionally consistent? Do I accept the same conditions to be placed on me?
I have failed. I have suffered. I have wronged. Should my failure, my suffering, my wrong be held differently?
Am I consistent? When I question myself, I find much greater capacity for compassion for others. I find that I expect FOR others in a greater context. "There but for the grace of god, go I."
There is one consistency that never fails - love and compassion.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's God Calling....What's your answer?

The world is calling you.
There is pain. There is violence. There is suffering.
The world is calling you.
What is your answer?
More pain? More violence? More suffering?
The world is calling you.
What is your answer?
God is calling you.
There is pain. There is violence. There is suffering.
God is calling you.
What is your answer?
More pain? More violence? More suffering?
We are the hands and feet of God.
God is calling you.
What are your hands and feet about to do.
More pain? More violence? More suffering?
Are you declining the call?
More pain? More violence? More suffering?
It's God calling.
Is this your answer?

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Cup of Hot Chocolate

Over the weekend I heard a small nugget of a story that continues to roll around in my mind and stirs my spirit. A young woman had suffered a severely abusive childhood and was seeking help to heal from her anger and bitterness. She was asked to recall anything from her youth for which she was grateful. She could only recall a day when a kindly woman offered warmth and cup of hot chocolate. From that one memory, she was encouraged to build a view of gratitude - to seek it - to embrace it in the present. Her healing began with the memory of one simple act of kindness that happened many years before - a cup of hot chocolate.
There are two important lessons from this story. First, we never know what seed we may plant in a single act of kindness - no matter how small. That seed may grow years from now and for reasons we cannot comprehend. Kindness is a seed that heals and it will grow when the time is right.
Second, kindness sparks gratitude. When we feel gratitude, anger and bitterness melt away. If we want to end anger and bitterness, gratitude is the path. Kindness sparks gratitude. It may not spark today but when the time is right, it will surface.
In my darkest moments - in those moments of hopelessness, anger and bitterness - it has always been gratitude that has provided a light that guided the path toward healing. Gratitude for even the simple things grows a sense of healing. As focus on gratitude grows healing also grows.
There are many hopeless, angry and bitter people in the world. Perhaps many are beyond reach. But if you are reading this, you are not. You can walk in gratitude. You can become a spark with kindness. Something as simple as a cup of hot chocolate might be the difference.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Bitter Branch You Chew...

There is too much anger in the world. Anger grows out of frustration and resentment. All too often we see it grow into violence. For some reason, anger and fundamentalism seem to make great partners. They use violence to dominate the heretics or the infidels. It works for a time until violence overtakes their domination and on and on and on it goes. Seeds of hatred and anger are constantly planted and watered.
Every so often a great leader and a great teacher emerges to say we can overcome domination with love and compassion. We can stand strong in a non-violent way. But it is not the easy path. It takes much discipline and a very clear vision. It requires a long term commitment. You have to believe in the greater spirit - be it God or the universal spiritual desire for happiness. You truly must believe that love conquers all. You must believe that the light will overcome the darkness. If you cannot believe that, you too will become trapped in the darkness. You will be angry, frustrated, resentful and prone to violence. You will be your own terrorist.
We will never be able to walk down the street and know who the next terrorist might be. We will never be able to lock our borders or lock our doors and know that no terrorist will intrude. Our anger, frustration and resentment will never make us safe.
We have to love our world out of this anger. It starts right where we stand. Right where we are. What grudges are we holding in our own lives? You expect a terrorist to change - how about you and I? What bitter branch are you chewing?
If we want peace in the world, we each have to create peace in our corner of the world. Then we need to support those who are able to create greater peace in the world. We need to understand and comfort those who are angry and resentful in a way that leads to peace. We have to love each other out of bitterness. We have to start a new world. It starts right where we stand.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


At one time or another most of us have said "I hate drama". But that is only half true. Our lives are full of drama. Our lives are a drama. Who doesn't love watching a friend tackle the seemingly impossible thing and succeed?  We love watching a contest of endurance or competition. We LOVE drama.
We spend hours watching movies and TV shows. Even the news is now a drama show. We LOVE drama.
We love sharing our drama. We post on facebook. We twitter. We instagram our drama.
So, when we say "I hate drama", what do we really mean?
For some, it seems to mean "I hate people questioning me!"
For others, it seems to mean "I hate all the excitement over this?"
I'm a PG, Hallmark Channel, kind of person. I do tend to get excited over certain things though. Mostly, if I was asked to define "drama" it would be generating UN-neccessary trouble. But watch - trouble and conflict make the most popular drama.
If you "hate drama", the only thing to do is tune out of the drama you hate. Tune into the drama you like. It's all drama. It will go where we go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On Veteran's Day

On Veteran's Day I feel humbled and a little embarrassed when someone thanks me for my service. I'm proud to say I'm an Air Force Veteran but I served in peace time and was an entertainer for those doing the heavy work.
In my last year, I was stationed at the Air Force Survival School headquarter in Spokane, WA setting up a media relations program for the Public Affairs office. There, I met POW's from Vietnam and many of the Survival Instructors I worked with every day were veterans of that war. When I think of veterans, I think of them. I think of my nephew who served 3 tours in Iraq. I think of cousins who served in the Gulf war. I think of Uncles who served in Korea and in World War II.
During my tour, there was only one night I feared and wondered if I might need to risk my life for duty. But it did not come to that. While I remember it, it has never caused me nightmares. I witnessed no bloodshed. I experienced no terror.
I know a veteran of such experience - witness of bloodshed and terror - by the look in their eye. They have been to a place that never quite leaves them. To these men and women I humbly defer recognition of service. They lost a part of themselves in that place that never quite leaves them. It becomes a ghost that follows them - distant but hauntingly real.
I can only hope to entertain them.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Writing on...

Why do I write?
At some point in my young life I discovered that writing - words and tunes - provided a sort of release valve for expression of feelings I could not quite grasp but needed to explore somehow. Words grew important. I grew weary of spoken words floating around me that were ill thought and questionable in motive. Writing provided opportunity to carefully select the right words or to simply let them flood the page and then I could look at them for careful reflection.
All these years later, writing is still a release valve. More and more I find I need to write - just need to write. Then I go back - read the words - go back to what I wrote a year ago or 5 years ago and check myself. The words provide a measurement. The thoughts and expressions of feelings about issues or events helps to ground me and to check my compass. Was I - Am I - pointed in the right direction.
Those words from years ago through to now are a map. They foretell where I am going.
I write to map my present location and push myself to explore the next.
Writing is my adventure.