I’ve Fallen for an Older Woman

January 7th, 2017

And that’s not the worst of it, she’s four months younger than my mother, and she’s been dead for what will be 24 years on the 20th of this month. Audrey Hepburn is her name. Some might remember her. I don’t know how I missed her growing up or since, but I guess her heyday coincided with my first 20 years during which time, I pretty much was oblivious to anyone that wasn’t me or anything that didn’t affect me. Of course, too, we were poor, we didn’t have television most of those years and we didn’t go to movies – I was pretty much unaware of Hollywood or theater or anything that wasn’t sports, school or the coming military draft.

But I was bored Christmas Eve, not well, home alone but not in the Home Alone way, and though I tried some of the shows I’d dvr’d over the fall, they were boring too and I deleted them. So I did a voice search (X1 remote) for romantic comedies – thought maybe something light would amuse. Up came a movie called Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn. Now I knew of Katharine Hepburn, I’d seen a documentary about her life, I think I may even have read a biography about her, and I wondered if this was her daughter – so I tuned it in, it turned out to be a musical. I’m not a fan of musicals. It also turned out to star Fred Astaire with her and I’m really not a fan of his either nor any other dancing man from those days, but it didn’t start out with him, it started out a bit like an excerpt from 13 Going on 30, starring Jennifer Garner, which I really did like, so I kept going with it, even when they broke into song (that’s the thing I don’t like about musicals, people just don’t break into song at any old time during the day and it would most annoy me if they did), I stayed with it. Then SHE showed up, and I was intrigued, she looked like, sounded like even, a girl I was very enamored of for my high school years and a bit beyond.

I put the thing on pause after a half hour or so, and watched something else, don’t recall what but came back for the last 20 minutes of the movie and liked that too. I don’t like the formula of most rom coms, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, sometimes several times over. They bore me, annoy me and the sheer stupidity of it all just frazzles me. I get this is a formula and tried and true and all that, I just DON’T like it. If boy and girl are going to be good together, all that stuff in the middle is just inane and annoying, BE together, be good together, have some freaking prescience about yourself and life itself please. Don’t treat each other like idiots, don’t play hurtful games, don’t tease, don’t follow stupid rules someone else made up. Be. Or not, I don’t really care, but choose and stick with it. For my part, I’d choose not, and be on with life – in point of fact that IS how I’ve lived and plan to continue, and I fully get that is not how most want to play the game of life and am okay with that too – and I wish people would write stories like that. It isn’t like they aren’t out there, but they don’t get optioned into screen plays, not without that formula that was trite before there were talkies.

So, anyway, as I finished that movie, it was still early and so I did a search for Audrey Hepburn movies and up came Breakfast at Tiffany’s. All I knew about that was the song from the 90’s. But I sorta liked that, so I clicked on it and it turned out the girl from Funny Face was more talented than I thought, quite a bit more. I don’t like George Peppard, her costar, but all I knew about him was from a tv show he did with Mr. T, who I think is STILL Mr. T, and who I found arrogant in that show. I don’t like arrogant either. Yes, I am opinionated. Aren’t we all? Shouldn’t we be? I mean, if we can’t tell ourselves what we like and don’t like, and follow through on that, then what is the point of sentience? Yes, yes, I know what one is one moment is not what one will be in the next and I have changed my mind about things, more than once, including some vegetables I used to hate but do no longer. I mention that to show that I can grow, evolve. That’s the other point of sentience. I guess there might be more, but they’re not relevant to this story. Yet anyway. So, young Mr. Peppard was every bit as arrogant as old Mr. Peppard, but somehow that didn’t detract from the movie, it was so thoroughly dominated by Audrey. I won’t say she was every boy’s dream, because that certainly wouldn’t be true, and her character would likely drive me insane, but that had no effect on how I felt about her performance which was masterful, touching and more than a little endearing. I identified with her spirit, her wild thing persona, her wandering through life searching for what she didn’t actually know, not until the last 5 minutes anyway. That is not what I am searching for, but I identified with her search. And there was a lot more of her in me than could be coincidence – which I do not believe in anyway, if you ever look through other things here, you’ll see that and you’ll see why, so finding her was no accident.

Audrey

Audrey Hepburn

I was so intrigued I began my own search and learned she was born May 4, 1929, my mother January, 1929, the similarities end there if that’s where you think this is going. So I read about her, Wikipedia is quite a treasure really. I researched her a bit, I guess. I found a list of her top ten movies and I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket, well, actually my desktop but pocket sounds more dramatic, don’t you think? I don’t either. So I went to Amazon and ordered the five movies for which she’d been nominated for Oscars beginning with Roman Holiday, her first big movie and her only Oscar. I had them all in a few days and I spent New Year’s weekend with her (and by the end of it, had ordered five more including this time Funny Face and Breakfast because I wanted to see them whenever I want to see them), the first two were in black and white. Since I grew up before color television, I’m not a fan of black and white but it turns out that didn’t detract from the movies at all. I barely noticed really, I was so captivated. It turns out she is not a great actress. Great actors and actresses (yes, I KNOW they are all just actors today, but not in MY world) to me are people who can play ANY role and make you believe they ARE that person – there are no more than a few each generation, MOST artists (for the sake of not having to say actor and actresses a thousand times) are exceptionally good at playing themselves in front of a camera, so you get essentially the same performance every film from them. Entertaining but not great. The vast majority of us can’t even approach that, so it isn’t as if that isn’t a gift it is, it just isn’t greatness.

It is a rare individual who plays essentially the same character in all films that I will still consider a great artist. Audrey Hepburn is one such. She does play herself, in Breakfast, the “extras” include several 20 minute little vignettes (one of which apologizes for that ATROCIOUS character Mickey Rooney played, one of the ugliest, most racist characters I have ever seen, yes, it was a different time, but that was still, and is today, unforgivable, it does detract from the movie) one of which includes a statement from her son that she was the same off screen as on. I believe that. I’m glad of it, actually, because that means what I saw was real, was her. And there is no other way to know her than through her films. And I want to know her. She was a bit different in each film, but always essentially her, and the her she played was SO attractive, so darn cute, so precious that I can’t imagine anyone knowing her and not loving her. That kind of person is unique and rare and special. As I understand it, what I understand at this moment, is that is precisely true of her. I’m not a twosome guy, but if I were, the other half of me would have to be someone very much like her, I can’t imagine a life with another kind of person. I suppose there is a generation of men out there who felt that way about her back then. Though she was apparently as well liked by women. Transcendent personalities are rare, and she was one.

While waiting for the last batch of five, I don’t think I will order more others weren’t rated highly, I did watch her only western. The Unforgivens, silly title, stupid movie. Burt Lancaster starred. She was HER though, and that I loved, but the story was inane, the acting ham-handed and over the top, filled with logic gaps that would cause me to stop watching, or reading, anything else in a few minutes. I stayed with it though, for her. Won’t watch it again, but it wasn’t a total waste of time only because she was in it.

I watched Breakfast again last night, I watched it for three hours, and it is a two hour movie, because I kept playing scenes back that so amused me, that so endeared her to me, that she was just so wonderful in. Sometimes I just stopped the film and looked at her – I’ve a 65 inch Ultra HD 4K television, just saying the picture was big and beautiful. And so was she, that’s where I got the picture in the middle of this post. I wonder how many times I will watch that movie. I watched several of the extras, I’ll go through the photo galleries too I suppose, and I know I’ll watch it again, probably many times. Though I’ve still two I’ve not yet seen, plus I haven’t actually watched all of Funny Face, what’s left unseen is My Fair Lady (another musical, in which she did not sing!?) and Two for the Road with another man I don’t like, but only know as an old man, Albert Finney (the Jason Bourne movies) but which got good reviews. Audrey died in 1993, January 20th. Here I am 24 years later just finding her.

My mother is still living, has her mind, and will be 88 at the end of this month. When I see her, I’m going to ask, apart from the usual, what she remembers of Audrey Hepburn. Mom was into movie gossip back then, I remember movie magazines she had, not unlike the stuff you see at supermarket checkout lines today, so she may have been more aware of the outside world than I, well, I’m sure she was. Teens really don’t have an outside world, so busy constructing ourselves are we, that the outside world only exists in periphery to our internal world. Still, I feel this yearning, and it is such an unknown feeling to me that I need to explore it a bit. 67 and still learning something new every day. I say often that is the key to a happy life, or at least to keeping life interesting, and, you know what? I actually believe that. So my obsession with my new love will go on a bit. I rather like the idea. And most certainly like Audrey Hepburn quite a lot.  Excuse me, please, for a bit, I’ve a date with My Fair Lady.

2 Samuel 19:4

October 15th, 2015

I’ve not written anything in a very long time.  I keep telling myself I will and I keep not doing it.  Perhaps one day I will again.  Maybe when I retire.  Or before.  Or not.  If you have read anything in my earlier posts or on my main site, you know a lot about me.  This is that too, but not.  It is hard to not take all this personally because it is so personal.  But in the last, what will be 19 years on 2/11/16, I have not gone a day without thinking the words Kind David said in that verse that is the subject.  Nor understanding what he felt, feeling what he felt, in the very core of my being.  No parent should ever have to feel that and I’ll go there in a few minutes, but I do, many do.

Today is the 5th anniversary of my oldest son’s death.  Evan Gene Jacobson, the light of my life, my first born child, my best friend.  He had others.  I did/do not.  I hold myself to account for my sons passing, the why is more complicated than I am going to get into here, the how is simpler, they were my only real responsibility and they are both dead.  I said, more than once, in jest, to them both, my job is to get you to 18, after that you are on your own.  Well, I did that, and how I wish I could take those words back, bring them back.  This week I’ve been sick, can’t sleep, just doze, but I keep jolting awake from the same dream every few minutes.  I am alone in a field, fog higher than I am, and completely lost.  The last two days have been the same during the day, I hurt physically, but I cannot focus, my mind just drifts off, unable to focus.  Maybe that is because they were my only real focus in life ever.  I breezed through life until they came into it.  I was reckless, careless and unafraid.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted.  Life was easy.  A piece of cake.  I didn’t care deeply about anything, I appreciated what I had (which was only family, we were dirt poor), I was smart, I played and never got tired.

Then my boys entered my life.  Their mother suffers too.  I know.  But we were never meant to be a two, I guess, I think we only came together for them, but the next thought is WHY?  And I haven’t an answer to that.  Well, that isn’t entirely true, Jenna has answers, it is me that finds those answers unforgivable.  She, truly, is the only reason I am still here.  But still, my thoughts are dark.  I am not pleased with this creation.  I KNOW where we all come from, I have seen it, felt it, in the light experiences, and I cannot understand why any being, having felt THAT, could possibly want THIS.  She says I will understand, I do understand, but wanted to experience creation personally.  And so I have.  I know what love is.  And now I truly know what it is not.  Evan, Brandon, my sons, would that I had died for thee.

A Cure for Intolerance

March 29th, 2015

From my friend, Steve Goodier’s Newsletter You’ll see why this is such an important post shortly – and it also fits my web site name. We believe the same thing, Steve and I, even if not in the same way.  :^) gene

 

We live in an age of intolerance and extremism.

Intolerance is an infectious social disease. It has always been prevalent and is usually spread by fear and misunderstanding. It can infect any kind of group and most any individual. Humorist Mark Twain noticed it in the religious communities of his daytime. He once said that he built a cage and put a cat and a dog in it. After a while they learned to get along. Then he added a bird, a goat and a pig. After some adjustments they, too, got along. Then he added a Baptist, a Presbyterian and a Catholic. Soon there was nothing left alive in the cage.

The disease of intolerance is not communicated only in religious groups. I’ve seen in infect racial groups, economic groups and even whole nations (where it is often cleverly disguised as patriotism). Intolerance always fences people out. It creates one group we call US. And the rest we call THEM.

But intolerance can be cured. Let me give an example. An undated letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can be found in the archives of The King Center. It was written by a certain Jefferson Poland who spoke about his grandfather. Here is an excerpt of the letter and King’s reply:

Dear Rev. King:
This is something I think you will want to know.
A few weeks ago a man in Panama City, Florida, one Ross Mullin, sent you a poem which criticized prejudice. This man was my grandfather. He had been against Jews and Negroes almost all his life. When I had gotten thrown in jail for sit-ins, he had been shocked and angered. Finally, after some 60-odd years of hate, he grew to the point where he wrote you that poem. I had not had time to write him of my pride and joy before I got a telegram telling me he is dead….

Dr. King replied:

Dear Mr. Poland,
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of recent date. Your story was indeed moving. It is encouraging to know that it is possible to grow and change after a long heritage of prejudice. Certainly your participation contributed to this growth and understanding on the part of your grandfather….

His grandfather had been infected with the disease of intolerance. But his grandson showed him a different way and, to his credit, he was cured. As Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

There is a cure for intolerance. It requires learning a different way. A better way. The cure for intolerance is to recognize a fundamental truth about humanity: there is no US and THEM. The construct of US and THEM is entirely artificial. It is not real. There is only WE. One world. One people. One family. Only WE.

We can cure the disease of intolerance. We must do it if the world is to survive.

No us. No them.

Just we.

– Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Potato’s spoil, People don’t spoil

February 3rd, 2015

From Steve Goodier’s marvelous newsletter:

I knew a woman who worked with children all her life. She was especially good with children we would call “at risk” — children who acted out, children from rough backgrounds, children who built impenetrable walls to keep others out. In time, she always found a way into their hearts. Children acted differently around her than around others, even their parents. I often remarked on it and she would sometimes say, “Children need a lot of love. You can’t spoil a child with too much love. Potatoes spoil, children don’t spoil.”

Don’t get me wrong. She had boundaries, and when children misbehaved, there were consequences. But the consequences were fair. And the kids she worked with eventually learned that they could depend on her constant love and concern for them through it all. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of day it was, she would be there with arms open.

Can you love someone too much? Perhaps you can show the wrong kind of love, but I’m sure you can’t show too much.

One of my favorite stories tells of a woman who finally decided to ask her boss for a raise in salary. All day she felt nervous and apprehensive. Late in the afternoon she summoned the courage to approach her employer. To her delight, the boss agreed to a raise.

The woman arrived home that evening to a beautiful table set with their best dishes. Candles were softly glowing. Her husband had come home early and prepared a festive meal. She wondered if someone from the office had tipped him off. Or did he just somehow know that she would not get turned down?

She found him in the kitchen and told him the good news. They embraced and kissed, then sat down to the wonderful meal. Next to her plate the woman found a beautifully lettered note. It read: “Congratulations, darling! I knew you’d get the raise! These things will tell you how much I love you.”

The supper was perfect. Afterward, her husband went into the kitchen to clean up, and as he left the room she noticed a second card that had fallen from his pocket. Picking it off the floor, she read: “Don’t worry about not getting the raise. You deserve it anyway! These things will tell you how much I love you.”

Someone has said that the measure of love is when you love without measure. What this man tried to convey to his spouse was total acceptance and love. Whether she succeeded or failed, whether she won or lost, he loved her regardless. Love without measure. Sometimes his love might celebrate her victories and other times it was there to soothe and comfort.

Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa said: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Yes, love your family, and also love your friends. For some friends are truly family. Love the people in your life. Love them without measure. And don’t worry about spoilage. Potatoes spoil, people don’t spoil.

– Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Be the Light.

November 25th, 2014

This is another from Steve Goodier, particularly appropriate for this week, for all weeks really.

More Light and Less Noise
A great story from one of America’s greatest story-tellers, Abraham Lincoln, was apparently related by the president during those anxious days of the American Civil War. A delegation of well-meaning patriots tried to impress upon the president the gravity of the war. They implied that his administration was neither as wise nor good as it ought to be. He listened carefully, then responded with a memorable anecdote.

He told them that he once had a neighbor who found himself in a tight situation. The neighbor was traveling home one dark and rainy night. There were few bridges in the country and he came to a stream that he would have to ford. But because of the darkness and the rain, he couldn’t see well enough to know just where to cross.

Lightning flashed and he saw his way for the briefest moment. But the man was perplexed because there seemed to be more thunder than lightning. He was convinced that every lightning flash was followed by several loud peals of thunder. The poor man just stood at the edge of the stream in his confusion about how to proceed. He finally prayed, “O Lord, if it is just the same to you, give me more light and less noise.”

The delegation clearly got the point that the president needed more solutions and less complaining – more light and less noise.

The world can use more light and less noise. More solvers and fewer blamers. More folks showing a better way and fewer folks complaining about how much better things used to be. More folks offering help and fewer folks wringing their hands about the problems. More hope bringers and fewer hope killers.

To use another image…the sun rises every morning and sheds light, vanquishing the night’s darkness. The rooster also rises every morning only, unlike the sun, he simply makes noise. But the darkness of the night is dispelled by sunshine, not by the rooster’s crowing.

The world can use more light and less noise. Where I can, I want to be light.

– Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

It has been a while.

September 25th, 2014

And may be a while longer. It isn’t that I’ve nothing to say, more that I have been stilled within for some time and still am. But this song has been following me around for a while now and each time I watch it again, the same feelings overwhelm me. I have no musical ability whatsoever but I know what I like. The goosebumps, and a tear or two, tell me. This is a bit of a set up, I guess, or the music was added later, but the looks on the faces of the crowd, those two little ones hand in hand who approach, and that miraculous voice are just worth seeing, and hearing, again and again. So, here is a little food for your soul, if I had but one wish it would be to have a voice such as this, to experience the wonder of moving people as does this man. I hope you like it too. You Raise Me Up

An odd evening

October 13th, 2013

I know it is not the current political climate that has me so emotionally riled up these days, something deeper is going on and I don’t know what. I just feel like talking about last night. I was in no mood for television so decided I would watch an old movie or two and ended up watching four of my favorites. I began with the Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner and I still think one of his best movies ever, a multi-layered testament to “true love” and its power. I found myself bursting into tears half way through it. I’m not really a burst into tears guy, though I have shed my share. It was then I realized the evening was about my emotional state which is, for some reason I don’t really yet understand, pretty raw. This movie introduced Robin Wright, later Robin Wright Penn, she made a wonderful Princess. It ends with this song, Storybook Love, which I will never understand not having been a big hit. It is with me.

I moved on to Made in Heaven, with Tim Hutton and Kelly McGillis, another magical movie filled with Neil Young music, he’s IN the movie as is Tom Petty. It has the most beautiful description of heaven I’ve ever read, it isn’t quite accurate but it is incredibly beautiful and loving. I can’t tell you how long I had to wait for this movie to come out in DVD. This clip has the main theme song of the movie in it plus a bit of the ending of the movie as well. This one too brought me tears. We Never Danced, I don’t know what the subtitles are about, but the rest is wonderful. Anyone guess who Emmett really was? I did. I don’t think I ever saw her in another movie.

Then, to City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage, another just amazing movie with a magical view of love and what it really means, how it connects us all. Of course, with a favorite song, from one of my favorite artists of all time, Sarah MaLachlan, In the Arms of the Angels, hauntingly beautiful. I do have this CD, but this clip is from the movie. I have experienced this it seems, it feels, incredibly painful loss, twice, as my sons have both preceded me, though as Seth says, I would not have changed anything for one touch of their hands, one kiss, one smile made the time we had together worth it all. So great is love.

Last, I pulled out Contact, the only fiction Carl Sagan ever wrote. I already knew of him, had Cosmos and This Demon Haunted World, and Contact came out the year my youngest son died, 1997, I saw it first with my oldest son. Its about love too only in a different way, this love is universal. It says we are most definitely not alone, that this is not all there is. And I knew that. My entire main site is about that. Carl did a magnificent job. and still virtually the only one, of saying that if there are others out there, why do we assume they are hostile? Hollywood has made so many movies about aliens and they are all the same. Horrifying. They say that if there are other intelligences out there, they come to kill us. Which is patently ridiculous to me and always has been as I grew up reading Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, two literary and philosophical giants of the 20th century. There are 400 BILLION stars in just our tiny galaxy, the Milky Way, tucked out here at the edge of the universe, and countless billions more in countless billions of galaxies. Why would any species intelligent enough to be able to reach this planet bother coming here for our fresh water when there are certainly billions of uninhabited planets to harvest, if harvest they must. But we here on this tiny blue oasis in space thrive on fear when love is our only salvation, our only ultimate truth. I was again overpowered by Jodie Foster’s performance and dug around until I found my copy of Contact and began rereading it. The books are always ever so much better than the movies. I’ll find Cosmos and Carl’s other works too. I’m not a math guy, but he, and Stephen Hawking in his A Brief History of Time, gave me a big picture view of physics that I could never have come to on my own, one that fits tidily within the view, the truth, I have within me. I’ll be forever grateful to both for that. Actually to all of the people involved with all of what I’ve just written. They have expanded my view of the universe, of love, in ways beautiful and wondrous. The tears aren’t sad, though in a way I suppose they are, they’re tears for what I miss most, Home. Would that I could give what I have seen, felt, even for just a split second to everyone. Jodie says that in the ending of Contact. I say it here. We both mean the same thing. The world would never be the same. I think that a good thing. I know it would be. It might even be our salvation because as it is the tears are also for what we are doing to this beautiful planet we live on and all who share it with us out of greed, out of money before everything mindsets. We are not good stewards but we could be. If we were simply to choose again. I live in hope that we will. One day.

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Charm School

September 1st, 2013

It has been a while. Not that things have been quiet, but I have, here anyway. Perhaps that will change. There is much going on in the world today to talk about, almost none of which does not have a spiritual component – the reason I created this site was to talk about that, spirituality, what it means, how it applies to life. Life has not gotten any simpler since I created the main site nor have things truly improved in most of the world so I think I’m going to bring myself back more often to speculate, perhaps, on how we might improve our lives, for all of us, not just 1% of us. I don’t think it inappropriate to begin with a lesson from Steve Goodier.

CHARM SCHOOL

A well-to-do woman sipped tea with a younger and not-so-well-heeled acquaintance on the veranda of her spacious mansion. “When my first child was born,” she said, “I decided to do something especially nice for myself. So I built this exquisite home.”

“Well, isn’t that nice,” said the other with a bright smile.

“And on my 40th birthday I bought myself that beautiful antique Rolls Royce in the driveway. Why, I think it’s the most gorgeous automobile in the world.”

“Well, isn’t that nice,” said her friend.

“And for no reason at all, I decided I needed a special gift, so I acquired the most wonderful collection of ridiculously expensive art I only show to my most cherished friends. I hope you can see it someday.”

“Well, isn’t that nice,” came the pleasant response.

“Now tell me, what have you done for yourself lately?” she asked.

“I went to charm school.”

“Charm school! Land sakes, child, what on earth for?”

“So when I feel like saying, ‘Lady, who gives a rip?’ I smile and say, ‘Well, isn’t that nice.’”

How often is tact just having something you want to say and not saying it?

An interesting story comes from 19th Century England. According to the account, Queen Victoria was once at a diplomatic reception in London. The guest of honor was an African chieftain. All went well during the meal until, at the end, finger bowls were served. The guest of honor had never seen a British finger bowl, and no one had thought to brief him beforehand about its purpose. So not knowing what else to do, he took the bowl in his two hands, lifted it to his mouth and drank its contents down.

For an instant there was breathless silence among the British privileged guests, and then they began to whisper to one another about the breach of etiquette. But the queen herself saved the moment when she likewise lifted her bowl to her lips and drank. The diners caught on and a moment later 500 surprised British ladies and gentlemen simultaneously drank the contents of their own finger bowls.

It was the queen’s tact and consideration that guarded her guest from certain embarrassment.

I know we’ve traveled a long way from the antiquated customs of Victorian England and it can sometimes be hard to relate. But it’s summed up well by a piece of advice attributed to a certain J. Masai: “Feelings are everywhere — be gentle.”

Maybe that’s what it’s really all about. Feelings are everywhere and the world is harsh enough. Just be gentle.

Do you think they teach that in charm school?

— Steve Goodier

You know, somehow I don’t. But they should.

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Significant Living

June 2nd, 2013

This is from Steve Goodier. Wonderful article.

I heard someone say, “Forget love…I’d rather fall in chocolate.” I guess I’ve never liked chocolate that much. It was author Linda Grayson who said, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” Sorry. You can leave the chocolate out of my friendships. I’m just not a great fan. I know…what kind of monster dislikes chocolate? Well, you’re looking at one, I suppose.

But I am passionate about some things. I love music – don’t think I would want to live without it. And I care quite a bit about some big things, like living my life fully and helping others to do the same. I care about the welfare of people and building a world where people matter. All people, not just some. I believe it is important to care deeply about a few things that matter.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel says this about the importance of caring:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

And what’s the opposite of indifference? It is concern. It’s caring.

I think most people want to make a difference, even in a small way. They want their lives to count for something. But it can never happen until they care about something bigger than themselves. Something that really matters.

American president Teddy Roosevelt knew about passionate living. He never did anything in a small way. Several years after serving two terms as president, he decided to run again. The early part of his campaign consisted of traveling by train from one state to another to stump.

Roosevelt reached Chicago on October 13, 1912 from Iowa. His throat was so sore from speaking that it had been necessary to cancel previous addresses in Indiana and Wisconsin. But this time he insisted on making a speech the next day in Milwaukee, no matter how he felt.

As he left his hotel to go to the hall where a crowd was already gathered, Roosevelt was shot in the right breast in an assassination attempt. He did not know the extent of the injury – it might have been fatal as far as he knew – but he insisted on speaking to the crowd before allowing his gunshot wound to be treated. He told them that he would make this speech or die. He had something to say and there was no canceling.

Visibly pallid and sporting a bright red stain on his chest, he began in a low tone. “I am going to ask you to be very quiet and please excuse me from making a long speech,” he said. “I’ll do the best I can, but there is a bullet in my body.” He went on to minimize the injury and told his audience that he had a message to deliver and would speak as long as his life held out. Then he said, “It matters little about me, but it matters about the cause we fight for.”

Causes do matter. And the world is changed by people who care deeply about causes – about things that matter. We don’t have to be particularly smart or talented. We don’t need a lot of money or education. All we really need is to be passionate about something important; something bigger than ourselves. And it’s that commitment to a worthwhile cause that changes the world.

I know – not all of us are interested in changing the world. That’s okay. But any life will be significant when we expend energy and passion on important matters.

And at the end of the day, I’m sure it’s okay to save a little passion for chocolate, too.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

WHAT ABOUT TRUST?

January 25th, 2013

From the always marvelous Steve Goodier, another gem. What is life without trust? Fear. I prefer to live in love with life, not afraid of it. :^) gene

A veterinarian prescribed three huge pills to be given to a sick mule. “How do I get him to take the pills?” the farmer asked.

“It’s quite simple,” replied the vet. “Just insert the pill into a pipe. Put the pipe in the mule’s mouth and blow on the other end. He will swallow the pill without realizing it.”

The next day the farmer returned, looking sickly. “You look awful!” said the doctor. “What happened?”

The farmer explained, “He blew first.”

And if, like the pill, you find that story hard to swallow, then you’re in good company. A healthy skepticism is probably needed to get by these days. My email spam folder is filled with offers from folks who want nothing more than to help me get rich – even total strangers who want to send me tons of money and all I have to do is to give them enough personal banking information to make the deposit. It’s probably a good thing that I’m not willing to swallow every fantastic claim that comes my way.

Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip once had Calvin asking, “Who was the first guy that looked at a cow and said, `I think that I’ll drink whatever comes out of those things when I squeeze them’?” No, just because someone says the water is fine, I don’t have to fling myself in. If there is any truth in James Thurber’s assertion that “you can fool too many of the people too much of the time,” then I don’t need to be the first to volunteer.

But what about trust? I don’t want to become too cynical, either. I don’t want to go through life believing that behind every act of kindness there is a hidden motive, that inside every silver lining there is a dark cloud ready to disgorge bucketfuls of water on my little parade. I don’t want be wary of every stranger I meet and turn a suspicious eye to any good thing that comes my way.

Why not? Because I want to trust people. It is not nearly so important for me hone a sharp edge of skepticism as to be somebody with a keen ability to trust.

Relationships that work, after all, are built on trust. Trust in families is essential if want to raise healthy, happy children. As adults, we want to be trusted by others and our closest friends are usually people we can depend on. And what’s left in marriage when trust is shattered?

This is equally true in the world of business. My friend and business entrepreneur Bob Burg teaches, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” He should know. He built a business, and a life, on the principle of trust.

I am discovering that I can live far better without cynicism than I can without trust. And so I worry less these days about naively swallowing everything I hear and more about fine tuning an ability to catch glimpses of whatever good there may be around me.

In his poem “Desiderata” (1927), Max Erhmann offers this deep wisdom:

“Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full
of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full
of heroism. . .

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and
disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. . .

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion
of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery,
and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”

It IS a beautiful world. May I have eyes to see it.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Earth Cry

October 26th, 2012

I’m not going to lecture. Overmuch. But we, of a certain age, the over 30 crowd and there are many of us, have some things to answer for. And I have no answers. I do have the questions, they are contained in the song appended to this post. I’ve written of this many times but now that it is virtually certain I will speak of what I know is coming. There are those who will dismiss what I say out of hand. They are the ones invested above all else in a way of life, a policy of life, that not only causes me distress but which I believe will lead to the greatest mass extinction event this planet has ever seen. The essence of this policy is simple. Dollars before people. My life has been dedicated to the opposite proposition, people before dollars. This is the essence of the conflict being waged here and now.

There are those who believe we can “kill” Earth. They are wrong. That is human hubris, nothing more. We CAN, however, make the planet uninhabitable for oxygen-based life. In short, Earth will chew us up, spit us out and continue her path around the sun as if we never existed. This is what I expect to happen. There was a period 640,000 years ago scientists call the Great Ice Age, it, they think, was something they call Snowball Earth, the entire planet encased in ice, miles thick, even at the equator. I have written of this here before. What we do not know is how long it lasted. It could be as much as 50,000 plus years. The Earth during that long slumber beneath the ice will heal and when the ice again retreats, life will have another chance here. This did not have to happen, not now, not this way. Our CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been above those that caused the Great Ice Age for nearly 14 years now. We, humanity, still have taken no action to reverse the damage we have done. The proposals, so far, have been ludicrous, not nearly enough, though our politicians, in their usual way, think they can pass a law reversing the course of nature. Two states have already done so. North Carolina passed a law forbidding any rise in sea level. Virginia passed one allowing an 8 inch rise. I am sure Nature is taking notes.

What global warming causes is climate change. The Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting at unprecedented levels, there is open water at the Arctic – our response? Drill for oil. Of course. What business, and government, fail to understand is that the melt increases the surface water which increases evaporation which means more moisture in the atmosphere, which fuels stronger and more unpredictable storms. We have seen in recent times downpours that dwarf all existing records. In places where such is not expected. That is climate change, produced by global warming. We are seeing tornados of size and ferocity never before seen, in times and places never before seen. Hurricanes are appearing out of season, larger and stronger than ever before seen. This will continue. We, or our descendants, will see drought where it is not expected, torrential downpours where they are not expected, ever stronger and more violent storms where and when they are not expected. Scientists have been warning of this for many years, business has produced its own scientific reports denying global warming in its entirety. Dollars before people.

Upton Sinclair said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He was right. I don’t think he went far enough though. It is not only difficult, but impossible, when the people with the dollars spend them on producing “junk science” to refute anything that threatens their prosperity. I really don’t understand that. They don’t care about their descendants either, because what they have wrought upon the planet will prevent their descendants from life here. I don’t care how high you stack your dollars, you will not be able to burn them fast enough to prevent what is coming. Real scientists, those with no stake in the issue other than their dedication to truth, now say they believe we are past the tipping point where we might have been able to reverse what we have done. We is not really appropriate since it is the few, not the many, at cause here, but the collective “we” have allowed it to happen.

If we are past that tipping point, then there is no hope for homo sapiens. And no adequate answer to this poignant and hauntingly beautiful song. Enjoy it, and if you have answers, bring them forth. We need them. More to the point, our children need them. Earth Cry.

Would that I had hope for an answer.

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

A Better Prayer

October 12th, 2012

This is from Steve Goodier’s newsletter, there are several of his wonderful pieces here, this is among the best. And the wisest.

“One man, too inebriated to drive, was walking home along railroad tracks when his foot suddenly became stuck. He pulled and tugged, but could not free it from the tracks.

Then he heard a noise and turned around to see an oncoming train. In a panic, he prayed. “Dear God, please get my foot out of these tracks and I’ll stop drinking.”

Nothing happened.

With the speeding train closer, he tried again. “Oh, Lord, get my foot out of these tracks and I’ll stop drinking AND I’ll quit cheating on my wife!”

Still nothing, and now the train was just seconds away.

He tried one last time. “Lord, if you get my foot out of the tracks, I’ll quit drinking, cheating, AND … I’ll become a minister!”

Suddenly his foot shot out of the tracks and he dove out of the way of the passing train. Dusting himself off, he looked toward Heaven and said, “Never mind, Lord, I got it out myself.”

Does that kind of prayer sound familiar? How often are prayers, even when one is not in a state of emergency, concerned only about physical needs — health and safety?

Mahatma Gandhi claimed to have never made even a minor decision without prayer. Gandhi was known best as an Indian nationalist and spiritual leader, but he was also a man of rare courage. He developed the practice of nonviolent disobedience that eventually forced Great Britain to grant India’s independence.

He spoke often about spirituality and prayer. He told about traveling to South Africa to oppose a law there directed expressly against Indians. His ship was met by a hostile mob and he was advised to stay on board. They had come, he was told, with the express intention of lynching him. Gandhi said of the incident: “I went ashore nevertheless. I was stoned and kicked and beaten a good deal; but I had not prayed for safety, but for the courage to face the mob, and that courage came and did not fail me.”

Gandhi preferred courage over safety. If accomplishing his goals put him in the way of danger, then he wanted to face that danger bravely. His prayer was to receive enough courage to do what needed to be done, not to live his life free from harm.

Rabbi Harold Kushner speaks about such prayer. He reminds us that “people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often find their prayers answered. Their prayers helped them tap hidden reserves of faith and courage that were not available to them before.”

Like you, I know what it is to be afraid. I’m afraid of accidental injury, dismemberment or death. I’ve been afraid of a pending medical diagnosis. There must be a million different faces to the fears of life.

I’m tempted at these times to hope for, and pray for, a way to avoid the danger ahead. I want to be safe, secure and healthy. But none of us is always safe, secure or healthy. So, I, too, have come to see that the better prayer is for courage to face whatever life may bring. And in some place deep inside me, I am not only convinced that the courage will come and not fail me, but that it will be enough. Always enough.”

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

At the Complaint Counter

August 20th, 2012

An interesting little story from Steve Goodier:

I understand that an Athens hotel posted a sign that read: “Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily.” So, visitors and actually expected to complain?

Of course, complaints in themselves are not bad things. I realize that something has to be addressed before it can be fixed, and I believe that there are times when dissatisfaction should be expressed. What’s more, I realize that we all have different temperaments. Some people naturally see the glass half full, some see it half empty and some just see that they will probably end up washing it. Some people are naturally more accepting while others complain quickly.

But a tendency to constantly look at what is wrong can become a habit. And habits can take over. I just don’t want to become a person who spends a lot of time “standing at the complaint counter.”

Like the woman who frequented a small antique shop. She complained constantly about the prices, the quality and even the location.

The shop owners took it in stride, but one day, while ranting about selection, she blasted the clerk with: “Why is it I never manage to get what I ask for in your shop?”

The clerk smiled and replied, “Possibly because we’re too polite.”

I find that if I fill my mind with the little irritants of life, I have no room, or energy, left for anything that nurtures and feeds my spirit. No room for genuine appreciation. No room for understanding. No room for enjoyment. No room for fond memories. No room for storing a list of things that bring pleasure.

I actually believe there is much to feel good about. Humorist Bob Orben rightly said, “The next time you feel like complaining, remember that your garbage disposal probably eats better than thirty percent of the people in this world.” I want to leave room in my mind for a long gratitude list that I can readily recall when I need a boost. I want to notice what’s good and right about the world. And I want to fill my heart and head with that which brings some joy so that I may go to bed each evening contented.

Attitudes are habits. Like television producer Barbara Gordon says, “While others may argue about whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, I just want to make sure mine doesn’t end with a whine.” I can’t put it any better than that.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

The coming global warming holocaust

June 14th, 2012

“Scientists are still trying to fully understand the ramification of a disappearing Arctic, but one of the things they do know is that it’s not good news for Earth.”

“…“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. It has huge implications for the global system. And one of the reasons people are legitimately concerned about melting of sea ice are the uncertainties associated with the consequences of that for the rest of the planet.”

“…The Arctic is particularly important in that it keeps the planet cool by reflecting sunlight back into space, but as ice melts, more sunlight is absorbed and sea levels rise, creating a ripple effect we have only just begun to witness.”

Sorry for all the quoting but those three statements are of crucial importance to understanding what happens in global warming. They are from an article The Fight For the Arctic by Tara Holmes, posted on Care2.com June 13, 2012. The first quote is rather nebulous and disingenuous at the same time, because scientists do in fact understand exactly what the ramifications are. Al Gore documented them in An Inconvenient Truth in 2005. The data he used has gotten MUCH worse in the past 7 years. The only scientists NOT in agreement are those work for industries dependent on polluting the planet for profit. Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” And Gilda Radner said, and that’s the truth, pthhh. I agree with them both.

What happens in the arctic doesn’t stay there. Al’s documentary shows graphically the ocean vectoring system which circulates water all over the planet, bringing cold water down from the north and up from the south to the equator and warm back up. When that shuts down, as it did nearly 640,000 years ago, between Greenland and Europe it ushered in an Ice Age that resulted in a snowball earth, which means the entire planet was covered with a mile or more of ice, including the equator. That would be a mass extinction event today that would dwarf any that came before. How that was discerned was in ice cores drilled into the Ice Sheet covering the Arctic. One could only hope at that point, and we may be past the tipping point where we could prevent this already, that enough of our folly survived so that the next sentient species to arise on this planet in 50,000 or 100,000 years could keep it from happening again. None of us, more importantly, none of our grandchildren and great grandchildren will survive this extinction event.

The third statement explains precisely why global warming will result in global cooling, because as the ice is gone (and if you have seen An Inconvenient Truth, you will have seen the difference THEN between what the major ice sheets looked like 10 years before and in 2005, some had already nearly disappeared) and more sunlight is absorbed, sea levels will RISE in a major way. North Carolina has dealt with the problem by passing a law against it. Virginia by passing a law allowing only an 8 inch rise. Classic ostrich behavior. As the planet heats up, deserts will grow, deserts will be where they are not now, storms will increase in frequency and ferocity – we are already seeing this happen. More water will evaporate into the atmosphere, eventually blocking more sunlight from reaching the surface and cooling will begin, the vectoring system of the oceans will shut off and the extinction event will be upon us.

How anyone can see this evidence and yet deny it is beyond me, beyond even Upton Sinclair’s caustic observation. That the 1% put their personal profit ahead of the lives of everyone else on the planet is beyond me. That pandering politicians put the 1% and their campaign contributions above the lives of their constituents is beyond me. That some scientists can be bought is beyond me. I simply do not understand this, the science is irrefutable, we already see evidence of all that has been predicted happening and still the great nations of this planet, led by our own, refuse to act because it is not in their short term interest. There was a time when statespersons served in our offices, people who looked 25, 50 years into the future and said, “we need to do this now, in order for that to happen then.” That was how the infrastructure of our planet was built, our countries infrastructure was built – how we got interstate highways, a national electric grid, water mains and sewers built, railroads to transport us and goods around our country.

Now we have leaders who think in two year terms, if it does not aid in their next election they are against it. It does not matter what happens in 20 years, the next election is what matters. And we have gotten so locked into ideology that compromise in the interest of the greater good is unthinkable, let alone possible. A true civilization is one in which no one will have something that comes at the cost of another. We are so far from that reasonable, golden/platinum rule place that it would be laughable were it not so horribly sad. So prepare as best you can for what is coming. Moving inland will save you for a time from the rising seas, but it won’t protect you from the giant tornado’s that will and already are snarling ever more frequently throughout the world. The planet will survive, we can’t kill it, but we can make it uninhabitable for our species and just about all others. Earth will simply chew us up, spit us out, heal itself eventually, and life will begin again. Hopefully this time, sentient life.

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light. much love, :^) gene

You’re Stuck With Me

June 12th, 2012

Silence forever then two in one day, will wonders never cease?

Again from Steve Goodier’s Life Support:

Even though her toddler was throwing a furious tantrum, (or, as my southern American friends might say, pitching a fit) from the seat of a grocery cart, one mother was unfazed. “You may as well give up on the crying,” she said as calmly as if she were soothing her to bed instead of leading her out of the store. “It won’t work. You’re stuck with me for 18 years.”

That little child may not know how lucky she is to be stuck with her for 18 years. Even when she’s cranky, out of sorts or otherwise going through a phase, her mother will be there. She’s stuck with her. Most relationships that truly matter are built on that kind of sticking-power. And not everyone has someone they can always count on to stick around.

A university instructor posed a riddle to her graduate education class. “What has four legs and leaves?” she asked, hoping the students would realize that by considering alternative meanings to the words “legs” and “leaves” that they could arrive at the solution – a table. However, one woman unexpectedly answered, “My last two boyfriends.” Maybe you can relate.

People will leave relationships for any number of reasons. And sometimes we should put certain relationships behind. Not every friendship or romance has a healthy future. Sometimes we bring along so many destructive problems and behaviors that a happy relationship has no chance of long-term survival. Sometimes addictions make staying in a relationship impossible. Sometimes leaving is necessary.

But there’s also a time to stick around. Something all relationships of many years have in common is this: every one of them is made up of people who have had plenty of opportunities to bolt or quit, to move out or to move on, but they stuck around. Maybe because they knew that the people they love are not always “lovable” or easy to be with, and that’s okay. They want a relationship that matters, one that is important and lasting, and that kind is nurtured by patience and understanding.

Author John Gray sometimes tells about a young mother who asked her visiting brother to get her some pain pills. He forgot and, when her husband returned home, she was upset and in pain – more than a bit crazy. He experienced her anger as a personal assault and exploded in defense. They exchanged harsh words and he headed for the door.

His wife said, “Stop, don’t leave. This is when I need you the most! I’m in pain. I’ve had no sleep. Please listen. You are a fair-weather friend. If I’m sweet, you’re okay; but if I’m not, out you go!” And then tearfully, and more subdued, she said, “I’m in pain. I have nothing to give. Please hold me. Don’t speak…just hold me.” He held her and neither spoke – until she thanked him for being there.

I suspect there will be plenty of other times their relationship will be tested. And I also suspect that every time it goes through a rough patch and survives some sort of adversity, every time they decide that being together is important enough to stick it out and fix what’s wrong, then it will change. Maybe not much, but a little. And in time, little by little, that relationship, their “togetherness,” will become a thing of beauty; a pearl of great value.

And definitely worth sticking around for.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Growing Good Corn

June 12th, 2012

From Steve Goodier’s Life Support

Have you noticed how all of life is connected? You probably know about the relationship between honey ants (farm ants) and aphids. The ants can’t seem to get enough of the tasty honey dew left behind by aphids, those tiny sap-sucking insects probably living in your garden. These two insects have a fascinating relationship. In exchange for all the sugary treats aphids deposit on leaves, the ants wage fierce battle against wasps, beetles and spiders that try to dine on aphids for lunch. As those aphids keep their ant friends happy, the ants keep their aphid buddies alive. Everyone wins, except the plants, of course.

The ants do better because of the aphids. The aphids do better because of the ants. It’s a relationship called mutualism, and the rest of us could probably take a lesson. People, too, succeed best when they help others out.

James Bender, in his book How to Talk Well (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1994), illustrates how it benefits to everyone when we mutually help each other. He relates a story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his best corn in the regional fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him to learn about how he grew blue-ribbon corn year after year. The reporter discovered something interesting. He learned that the farmer actually shared his best seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seeds with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition against yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

It’s a simple and important principle. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves. He cannot succeed simply by watching out for Number One. He succeeds best by helping his neighbors succeed. That’s mutualism.

And I am aware that it goes for me, too. Do I want to succeed? Then I must help others to succeed.

Do I want to live in peace and harmony? Then I need to help my neighbors also live in peace, and the very peace they experience will add to my own.

Do I want to live meaningfully and well? Then I should help to enrich the lives of others, for my own happiness and well-being is bound up in the lives I touch.

In other words, if I want to grow good corn, I need to help my neighbors grow good corn. Call it mutualism. Call it a principle of success. Call it a law of life. I only know that none of us truly wins until we all win.

— Steve Goodier

For me the really important part of this wonderful little article is the very last sentence. I call it life in our times. It doesn’t matter really, what it is called as long as it is true and all of us know it. The only way one of us is free, is if all of us are free. The way we do that is just as simple. Make your own choices about your life, how you wish to live, what you wish to believe, what you wish to worship – or not so long as they harm no one else nor infringe on anyone else. And allow everyone else the same freedom to choose. If we did that, if ALL of us did that, if the WORLD could just DO that, war would end tomorrow as would starvation, intolerance, strife. That last line. “I only know that none of us truly wins until we all win.” Says it all.

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Peace on Earth

March 8th, 2012

Well, now, that isn’t exactly a topic for a brief conversation is it? Unless it is. :^)

I was thinking about the divisions between us, not just country to country, but closer, within countries even. The overwhelming victory by Vladimir Putin in Russia’s recent presidential election, one in which he speculated before the vote for THIS 6 year term, that he might just run again in 2018. Sounds like a return to the days of the cold war doesn’t it? Except in the reaction of the Russian people, with the notable absence of those Russian nationals with green cards who make their living here, live here in the United States and are, for the most part, fabulously wealthy. Haven’t heard a peep from them about how they feel about the “democratic reforms” underway in their homeland. And I have noticed they’ve not yet yielded their green cards and moved home. Not that I understand that process to begin with, I mean. Poor people the world over want very much to come to this country, still. With our economic woes and the sharp divisions in our own political arena, people still want to come here. I was thinking about why that is.

And I’ll talk about that in a minute, once I finish off a pet peeve of mine. I do not understand how it is that elite athletes can just show up here and get green cards, make monstrous salaries, live with the one percent, while people from impoverished nations wait in camps, if they are lucky, for a chance to win the lottery and make it to our shores. Someone like Maria Sharapova, for instance, she calls herself a Florida girl, lives there, travels the world for her sport, came here at 8 and has been here ever since. How did she and her father qualify? Her budding talent got her into the exclusive Nick Bolliteri tennis academy, but how and why did she jump to the front of the waiting line. Many other examples of this, I am sorry to say, what I view as biased immigration policy exist. She got enormously wealthy here, is one of, if not the highest paid female athlete in the world – I don’t know how well her fashion lines sell in her homeland but they do well in the rest of the world. But she plays as a Russian, IS a Russian, plays Fed Cup for Russia and I imagine will return home one day when her career ends – which I am afraid will be sooner rather than later as she seems to have topped out at least in the tennis world and others with more versatile games are moving past her. But why did she get in and those children starving in camps around the world not? Okay rant over.

Lets go back to peace on earth. Religious traditions, Christian at least, speak of this often, it is a staple of Sunday morning sermons, hymns and political rhetoric. So why is it is so darn hard to actually achieve? We manage it here, at least we don’t have armed conflict in this country, as of yet. Nor do I expect it – soon. But every nation that has had as large a gap between the wealthiest and the poorest as we do has collapsed from within. We will too if we do not find ways to overcome that inherent deficiency in our current economic system. Selflessness would be one way – CWG says that a true civilization is one in which no one will have that which comes at the expense of another. Anyone think we are close to that? No, me either.

The Arab spring of 2011 gave me hope, and still does, but the cartoon in my previous post is also still the norm in our political discourse as we ramp up to the elections this fall. We draw these lines in the sand all over the world. Sometimes we draw them with troops on each side, sometimes with ideas, sometimes with troops on one side and ideas on the other, sometimes with ideas on each side. What has made America what it is still, a beacon of freedom, has eroded over the past 30 years (that is the reason for my caveat in the previous paragraph) to the point where we try to demonize those with ideas that differ from our own. It is no longer okay for you to believe what you choose and me to do the same. We have moved over the past thirty years to a place where our 18th and 19th and 20th century missionaries, though they had good intentions (isn’t it said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions?) led us. It isn’t enough to believe what you believe, it is also necessary to convert those who believe something else. This is also at the heart of extremist elements in the peaceful religion of Islam. Our electioneering this year has just brought us the most hateful rhetoric of all. The unleashing of hidden money into Super PAC’s has degraded the public discourse immensely. It isn’t enough to have better ideas any more, you must know also have the “right” religious take on life. Who defines that take depends on who is talking.

What made this country great, and the retiring Olympia Snowe is a perfect example, was the ability to look into the long term best interest of the country, not demonize the other party, but reach across the aisle and find common ground. The essence of compromise is that no one wins and everyone does. Everyone gets something, no one gets everything. That isn’t how things work in our political OR economic environments any more. And that is at the heart of why peace on earth is so hard to find. We can’t even find it in Washington or New York because compromise has become a dirty word. A sign of loss, not victory. That denigration of the idea of compromise is at the heart of our inability to find common ground and STAND TOGETHER on it.

The answer? Is so simple. And it is universal. It could happen overnight. All that is required is that we choose again. That we, all of us, determine that the path we are on is the path to ruin. That we accept the idea that every human being has certain inalienable rights – is any of this sounding familiar yet? That we stop drawing lines in the sand. That we accept the basic premise that every person has the right to believe whatsoever they choose without interference from anyone so long as their exercise of that belief does not infringe upon the rights of another. We may have to make a compromise to achieve this. We may have to restrict the definition of another to those already born. I understand this is difficult for many. And I don’t dispute their right to feel as they do AND act on those beliefs, what I do dispute is their right to impose their definition on anyone but themselves. I don’t want to lose this in a debate on abortion – all I will say about that is, if you don’t want one, don’t have one. But give everyone else the same freedom of choice. That does not lessen you. It may lessen how you see another, but it does not lessen you. What does is this insatiable need to make everyone else behave as you think they should. We have to give that up.

No interference in other countries internal affairs except where the world community determines those internal affairs to be a threat to human decency, freedom and neighboring countries if not the world. Then a consensus of the world community may require that those internal affairs not involved genocide. I don’t think that an extreme position. I don’t think even arms dealers like Russia should. Find another way to make a living, if the way you make your living involves repressing or killing people with whom you have no legitimate grievance, people who did not physically attack you, people who simply believe something other than what you do.

Treat all people, at all times, as they would have you treat them. The Platinum Rule this is called and it requires no one be killed. Ever. And there’s our answer to peace on earth. Love each other as I have loved you Christian tradition says. Make that the slogan of this world, versions of it are present in every culture, and we have taken a giant step towards becoming a civilization enjoying the fruits of our labor, taking care of the sick and the infirm, loving each other as family, because we ARE. Hating no one, countenancing no hostile acts toward anyone by anyone, government or individual. And, above all, enjoying the freedom to make decisions about what to believe and how to exercise that belief in ways that do not infringe on anyone else’s freedom to do exactly the same thing. Be yourself and let everyone else have that same freedom. Peace on Earth. It IS that simple. We simply have to choose again, step away from our past, learn from it and move forward in freedom and love for all people as our guiding principle. We CAN do this. I hope we will. Soon.

If today brings even one choice your way,
Choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

The irony of Rick Santorum’s views on our Constitution

March 1st, 2012

This editorial cartoon is from the Minneapolis StarTribune on 2/29/12. I just thought it too funny and ironic not to share.

I’m so surprised Mr. Santorum is disgusted by the Constitution of the United States of America.  I suppose we can expect a constitutional amendment revoking the separation of church and state shortly after his election as President.  Or, IF he is elected, I should say.  I wonder which religion he will want in his theocracy. :^)

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Now that Election Season is once again upon us

February 28th, 2012

Yes, I capitalized Election Season for a reason and not a good one, not to emphasize its beauty, say, or its eloquent presentation of ideas designed to foster debate and improve the human condition, the planetary condition along with the condition of all our planetary co-inhabitants. No, I capitalized it because it is really the season which brings out the worst in us, at least here in the land of the free. One must make allowance for that, freedom, freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean one has to like it. And I don’t begrudge their right to express themselves, it is the way they do so that I find objectionable. We have one half, though I truly do not believe that is the case, I think the harbingers of hatred are a much smaller percentage than half, but they did get themselves elected into control of the House of Representatives. Now that they’ve been there two years and showed their true colors, the depth of their fear and just how far they are willing to go to protect the top one percent, just how many lives they are willing to allow be lost that the wealthiest of us might maintain a lifestyle so foreign to the majority experience as to seem more like the way the highest echelon of the Roman Empire lived, only with airplanes so this group can have houses on both coasts and in hidden havens as well. The group that thinks nothing of jetting across the Atlantic, or Pacific for a birthday celebration. 99% of us don’t understand that lifestyle and a good percentage don’t envy it either, I find it profligate, distasteful and a waste of that which might sustain those who live under bridges or lack food, health care, the basic necessities of life. I truly don’t understand the mind that can spend like that without feeling guilty. And I know that CWG would say guilt is not necessary, but for me, that which comes at the expense of another, as that lifestyle MUST, is not worth having. Perhaps that is the vestiges of my Lutheran upbringing, no matter, it feels, and therefore for me is, wrong. Wrong to party the night away when others are dying in the street. I’ll talk more about that another time. It is a treatise unto itself, I assure you.

The real reason I am here is that the lamp next to my bed burned out last night, it is a small thing, very old, and bulbs for it are difficult to find, so I buy two, always, though they last quite a long while. So I just opened the top drawer in the dark and reached in, a dangerous task as I have sharp edged things in there and I am prone to nicking myself quite severely in the brightest of light and always have been, but unerringly my hand was guided to the last bulb in the packet, but it was covered by a page I’d jotted down in the night sometime, I have no actual recollection of having done so. So I unscrewed the old bulb (hot, hot, hot) and put in the new one, nearly blinding myself in the process, then I looked at what had covered the bulb and decided I must have intended to put it here. And since I have put nothing here in quite a long time; there have been anniversaries to get through, one a first, one the fifteenth, and the holidays as well, I’ve not felt like writing in a while. I should more. I think I will. I finally edited the main site to get rid of the reference to IE 6, lol, which has been dead for many years, at least I hope there are none of you out there still using it, it is a “holy” mess, or maybe that is holey. Both apply. Anyway, assuming you are all safe browsing by now, I cleaned out that bit. Then thought that while I was here, I’d drop in those couple paragraphs I wrote some time in the past, no real idea, no memory of writing them, though they are most assuredly me. I don’t know where they came from, well I DO know, my subconscious, maybe it is more that I don’t know when they came from, but they were true then and are now as well. You’ll see.

“They are not saints, those who come to you in the name of religion, for they serve not God, but men. They do not give you anything for the sake of love alone. They have ulterior motives, they want your obeisance, your money, and your fear. It is these things that gives them their power.

Those who come to you in their own name, with open arms and love in their hearts, who ask nothing but to be allowed to help you. These are saints. These are people well along the path toward realizing themselves in this reality as the fully evolved souls they are in ultimate reality.”

I wonder what I was dreaming when those words came to me and what woke me enough to write them down. And how long they’ve been sitting in that drawer – like I said those bulbs last years, lol. Then again, nothing has changed, if anything it has gotten worse. And we have not yet reached bottom. I’ve noted before, though I don’t recall if I have here, that every society that has had as great a gap between the richest and poorest of its citizens as we do now, has collapsed from within. I don’t know what the tipping point is, I’ve not studied history that closely, but at some time, people decide they have had enough and a leader emerges and the society falls or changes greatly. But we aren’t really just one country anymore, though most of us still seem to think so. We are a global community now, not a civilization, things happen every day around our globe that would not be possible in a true civilization, terror, rape, bombing, abuse, degradation, denial of the basics of subsistence to the poorest of us, hoarding far beyond that which could be spent in a dozen lifetimes, refusal to even see those in need of help, food, shelter, clothing, health care. As long as it isn’t in our backyard, we ignore the suffering around the world. And we do so at our nation’s peril. I still have hope we’ll emerge from the “dark age” we are in capable and willing to lead the world into the light, we have the resources, we lack the will. The “haves” around the world must decide to share with the “have nots”, must decide that what is good for one of us is good for all of us, what is bad for one of us is bad for all of us, must bring morality and by that I mean the Platinum Rule (Do unto others as they would have you do unto them” into our business and government in every possible way. Then we will be taking baby steps toward becoming a civilization. It could go the other way too and the way it sounds, in America, that is likely, but I hear beacons around the world, small voices becoming louder, small lights shining brighter and I see a generation coming of age that will not countenance what has been but will forge a new world. There are blueprints for change out there and people with vision strong enough to implement them. May that beginning come soon. Much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Gifted for something, or do you just have vision?

September 19th, 2011

Steve Goodier tidbits on Life and Love:

GIFTED FOR SOMETHING?

I heard of a woman who operated a daycare for children from her home. As she transported children in her car one day, a fire truck zoomed by. The kids were thrilled to see a Dalmatian on the front seat, just like in the old-time stories.

They began a conversation about the duties of a “fire dog.” One child suggested that they use the dog to keep the crowds back. Another said the Dalmatian is just for good luck. But young Jamie brought the argument to an end when he said, “They use the dog to find the hydrant!”

He reminds us that we all have useful abilities, if sniffing out fire hydrants is a useful ability. Some of our skills are apparent. Some are hidden. Some probably haven’t even been discovered. Some can be improved with work — lots of mine fall into this category.

Madame Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (she won two), said this about giftedness: “Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

I like that. “We must believe that we are gifted for something.” Do you believe you are gifted for something? Do you know what that “something” is?

American football’s William Floyd probably thought his athletic ability was his greatest gift. But then he injured his knee halfway through his 1995 season with the San Francisco Forty-Niners. The talented athlete was out for the rest of the season. It was then that he found a gift he may not have known he possessed.

William Floyd still wanted to contribute and he did NOT want his self pity to spill over to the rest of the team. So he stood on the sidelines at every workout and in every game and encouraged his teammates on. He shouted and cajoled; he motivated and consoled; he became a dominating presence and a source of great inspiration for his team. He had a remarkable ability for bringing out the best in others.

At the end of the year, his teammates voted him the player “who best exemplifies inspirational and courageous play.” As much as they needed him on the field, they discovered how much they needed him on the sidelines, urging them to do and to be their best. I wonder if his newly-found life skill, his gift of positive motivation, could prove more useful than even his athletic ability?

What if we believed we were “gifted for something”? What difference would that make? And what if we believed we should do something about it? What difference would that make? What difference COULD that make? I think a lot of life is about finding that out.

Gene completely agrees!

HOW’S YOUR VISION?
One woman laughs about the time she took her 14-year-old daughter and her daughter’s best friend to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert. They were all fans of “oldies” music from the 60’s and 70’s and felt lucky to get front row seats. When they returned home, her daughter said, “During the show, we looked back and saw hundreds of little lights swaying to the music. At first we thought the people were holding up cigarette lighters. Then we realized that the lights were the reflections off all the eyeglasses in the audience.” (Thanks to “Reader’s Digest”)

My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, either. But as Helen Keller (who could neither hear nor see) said, “The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision.” Maybe I should be more concerned with my vision than with my eyesight.

There are numerous stories of people who lacked vision. A Hollywood producer scrawled a curt rejection note on a manuscript that became “Gone With The Wind.” He had no vision for the success that movie would enjoy.

Orville and Wilbur Wright felt excited. On December 17, 1903, they had finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for 59 seconds. Immediately, they rushed a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio, telling of this great accomplishment. The telegram read, “First sustained flight today fifty-nine seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas.”

Upon receiving the news of the successful flight, their sister was so excited that she rushed to the newspaper office and gave the telegram to the editor. The next morning the newspaper headed the story: “Popular Local Bicycle Merchants To Be Home For Holidays.” The hapless editor saw what was obvious, but missed the real story.

Vision is never about seeing the obvious. It’s about looking ahead; about seeing what is not there — YET. It’s often about seeing the potential behind the obvious.

Like the potential in people. Spotting the potential for success in a student who, as is obvious to everyone else, will likely fail.

Or recognizing the potential for something good to come from a situation others are writing off as lost.
If we want to see what is really going on, we will need to learn to spot what is not there, then act on it.

So… your eyesight may be perfect, but how’s your vision?

Now, then, as I am back in control of the keyboard, what do you think of that? Perfect eyesight but lack of vision. I wonder if it isn’t lack of vision that keeps us standing still or mired in the past, rather than looking forward, using the present moment we talked about in the previous entry to build toward a future of our own design. I don’t think any great artist started a project by simply splashing paint randomly on a canvas, then again – I don’t really get modern art, lol, or sat down to write without an idea of what to write about, or began a series of physics experiments aimlessly. No, I think for anything to have a chance of real success, we must first find that inner vision, then work to make our outer vision match the inner. If one does that, well, I think that one might be called a master, for he or she will have discovered that the path to happiness always goes through ones own heart, that the road to success, however one defines that term, goes through ones own thought process, originating within and perhaps ending there as well or being shared with the world at large. In any case, be it micro or macro, it begins with an inner vision – that vision may not be one of beauty, it may reflect a woeful life, but it also contains within it the seed to a life filled with love and purpose. The choice is always our, whether we believe that or not, and it begins with what we do with each precious moment of life we are granted, living in that moment and shaping it to our own will as determined by our inner vision. We are all but models in clay, what we become, what we do, what our finished product looks like when we reflect back on our lives, is and has always been, within our control, no matter where we live nor what we believe, this is a truth which is universal. Life IS what you make of it. The choice has always been yours. And mine. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A reflection on parenthood

September 12th, 2011

Last week was my first birthday without either of my sons. One has been gone 14 1/2 years, frozen in time at 21; the other not quite a year. I took the week off, knew it would be difficult and it was. But it was more than that too. It was a week of reflection, rest and rejuvenation. I experienced every emotion we humans can, I think.

There are those who choose to remain childless and to them I say simply, you are right, there are no wrong choices here. But I have to say as well that through my sons I experienced a love I would never have dreamed existed. The bright flash of new romantic love is exciting and wonderful and flares brilliantly, like a newborn star, most of the time when that starlight burns out, as is the case with most stars in our universe, we are left with but an ember, not always a pleasant one, but when that first all-encompassing delight begins to dim, as it must, but gives way to an enduring companionable love, that too is wonderful.

But without the privilege my sons accorded me in allowing me to be their dad, even though for me, for far too little a time, I would never have known this other side of love at all. Parental love is like no other, there is nothing you would not do for your child, including the cliched “leaping in front of a car” for them. This love is completely without condition, it can’t be stopped by a misbehaving two year old, or a snarky 13 year old, or a troubled teen or an adult who sometimes made unwise choices. You simply do not understand that feeling, that love, from the other end, I didn’t. Oh, I knew my parents loved me but I didn’t know what that meant until I held my own children in my arms. Until I went through as much of life with them as I was accorded. It could never have been enough time for me, I loved them both that much and still do. But even with having lost them both, I came out of last week knowing I wouldn’t have forgone the experience for anything. They taught me far more than ever I taught them. I would be a lesser man, I know, had I not had them in my life at all. So, even with them both gone, I am still learning from them, and still loving them with all my heart. We’ll see each other again, I know that too. I came out of last week knowing, despite it all, I was blessed by their presence and will always be. What a great gift they gave me and I still AM a dad, I doubted that for a while, quite a while, but I don’t any longer. Blessed be, my sons. I shall see you soon in paradise. love, dad

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

My taste in sports with a bit of opinion on them

August 26th, 2011

I’ve recently updated my Facebook profile with some of my favorite things. They are all women’s things. No, not clothing. Sports. I have been an athlete all my life until two knee surgeries a few years back, but I have come to realize over the last ten years that I no longer enjoyed watching male athletes. There are many reasons, I cannot abide the spitting in baseball, they even have little leaguers doing it now, gross. They no longer all chew tobacco so why? Turns my stomach. Then comes virtually every other sport with the trash talking, obscene salaries and the sham of “student athletes”. What I did discover 10 years ago or so was that what I used to love about male sports is now only true of women’s sports. Teamwork, trust in each other, actually graduating from college, sportsmanship. And none of them spit anything.

Lindsay Whalen, as a young Minnesota Gopher, ignited my interest and I attended a basketball game for the first time in 20 years at the University of Minnesota, but my interest has since spread to so many other sports. Because I found the same thing there. No chest thumping, no whining, no horrible behavior at all, but women who give all they have to their sport, excel in the classroom, and give back to their communities, and in some sports, like women’s professional golf, to every community they visit. They acknowledge their fans, they don’t spit on them. They are role models any parent would be proud to have his/her children look up to and emulate.

One thing that does bug me about women’s sports though is male coaches. And I don’t care how successful they are, Geno Auriemma, for example. There are a trillion opportunities for men to coach men as it has always been. Women have been playing long enough now that there are more than enough to fill the coaching ranks, give THEM the opportunities. I don’t normally preach discrimination, well okay, never do I, but in this one particular area, men have no business.

My fervent hope is that people everywhere will realize that these young women bring the same dedication to their sport that men do and they play a wonderful game, if you don’t expect them to be men, but can admire their talent level for what it is. I have been a golfer all of my adult life, but I can’t identify at all with any PGA pro, we don’t play the same game (360 yard drives and 200 yard 7 irons), and besides they don’t talk to peons. But the LPGA pro’s not only play a game I can aspire to they are good people as well, they sign autographs till their fingers are about to fall off, they promote their sport, they are wonderful to their fans and so appreciative of the ability to do something for a living that they love. That, and them, I admire. Women’s fastpitch softball is an amazing game played by amazing athletes, women’s volleyball is not one set and thunderous slam, but true teamwork and incredibly more entertaining than the men’s game. I’d go on a bit, but my Lady Gophers, ranked number 12 in the preseason polls are about to begin playing their first match of the season at Penn State and without the coach who led them to great heights, the one exception I’ll concede in terms of male coaches in women’s sports, Mike Hebert. I am very much looking forward to it. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

The Keys – something only I could do

July 6th, 2011

Well besides getting tricked into thinking today was going to be nice and turning off my air conditioning this morning, anyone could do that, (though as it turns out, I opened windows, but I didn’t turn off the air, sigh) it takes a special kind of nincompoop to manage what I did yesterday.

I have had a life long love-hate affair with keys.  I love them, they get me into stuff, like my car and house, they hate me and run away as soon as I am not looking.  I could probably have built my own car by now just out of the house and car keys I’ve lost.  I had a little yellow Fiesta I bought in 1980 that I liked so much I kept it ten years, lost the keys to it so often, or locked them inside I used to do that a LOT too – twice in winter at the bus shelter I’ve done that WITH the engine running, before cell phones so I had to walk a half mile to a gas station and call the lease people to send someone out to get me back into that toasty warm little car where I had been patiently shivering for an hour – both times the tow truck guys thought it was hilarious.  Anyway, I used to carry a screwdriver and a hanger in my bag, just so I could pry open the door of that little Fiesta enough to drop the hanger in and hook the door handle.  I even bought one of those little magnetized tin key holders and stowed it under the wheel well, first time after that I locked myself out, it too had fled.  I took to carrying two sets of keys in self-protection, that doesn’t help if you lock both sets in the car.  I lease because I don’t put many miles on my cars a year and I thought those new electronic keys would be just the thing for me, the first set of them I had, I lost one set within a week.  Never did replace it because they cost like a hundred dollars.  But was VERY careful with that other one.  THEN, they came up with the best idea of all, a lock that couldn’t be locked with a key in the ignition.  I thought  I was saved and for several years I have been, it has only been house keys I lose – when I moved into my current place 16 years, before I had a garage door opener yet, the very first run I went on, I locked myself out.  That screen is still broken from when I had to pull it off so I could get back in.  The odd thing is NONE of these keys I lose have ever turned back up.  There must be 15 or 20 somewhere in my house, hiding in the dark and probably giggling.  I should try a metal detector rental maybe.

Anyway, yesterday, as I now do almost always, I had both sets with me, took them out and put them in my desk, because these ergonomic chairs, if you have a bulky key chain (one of my other tricks, put so much stuff on there that they’d be too big to lose – that doesn’t work either) in your coat, it will catch and as you stand you’ll hear this ripping sound which is how a suit coat sounds when it is being ruined.  Two coats later, I started putting them in my desk, except in winter when they’re in my winter coat.  So, I was the 4:30 guy yesterday and was talking to Amy near then when we both realized it was past 4:30, so I hurriedly shut everything down and caught a bus.  I realized when I got to the Foley park and ride and reached into my pocket what I had done and exactly where both sets were.  So as I got up to the driver, I told him I would need to ride back downtown with him to get my keys, he said he was done and was headed to the Brooklyn Park garage, but another 850 bus was coming soon that would go back  downtown – this isn’t the first time I’ve done that, three times I’ve driven in, forgotten I did, bused to the park and ride and wandered through it pressing the little alarm button before remembering my car was under the library, well, only twice did I wander, the third time I knew.  Before the Northstar light rail, there was an 851 bus that ran to Riverdale, 5 miles from my place, Foley is a bit over 2, twice I got on the 851 and realized what I had done as we sailed past the Coon Rapids Blvd exit and I looked down at Highway 47 from an angle I’ve only seen twice.  Long walk in a suit, July both times I did that.  I did learn to LOOK at the number of the bus before getting on one after the second one.  Though not perfectly, a couple months ago, I got on an 854N which goes to Northtown, not Foley, and if the driver had not announced last stop for the 854N while still on third street, I would have done it again, as it was I just panicked and pulled the stop cord and he did.  I will still probably forget I’ve driven in some time again, I do that so infrequently and my little rituals are so ingrained, that I am half way home before I remember my car isn’t there.  Although, the last time that happened, a couple months ago, as I was standing waiting for the 850, I was visualizing where my car was – Foley is a BIG place and I never am in the same spot two days in a row – when the library popped into my head as I was getting on the bus and got right back off.  I might be learning.  Maybe.

This story does have a happy ending though, because a young woman heard me talking to the bus driver and so when I got off and was deciding whether to just walk home or wait for the next bus and hope I could still get into this building (my 24/7 card isn’t anymore) she asked if she could give me a ride – turns out she used to work for us when we were on the fourth floor of the GC and remembered me.  I wish I could say the same, so after deciding she probably wasn’t going to mug me, I said, yes, please.  She took me home, waited to make sure my garage door opener battery wasn’t dead – I have NO idea when I replaced that last and wasn’t sure about the code either – and it did, and she even came back and took me to the bus this morning.  There are angels every where if you keep your head up so you can see them, unlike with keys where it doesn’t matter what direction you are looking.  :^)

 


If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Jon Stewart’s Conversation with Jesus

June 24th, 2011

Jon Stewart

Jon

I woke up last night to the sound of laughing and realized I’d fallen asleep with the TV on. It was 3 AM and I knew it was Jon Stewart but I had to fumble around for my glasses to see who his guest was. Unbelievable! It was Jesus, in his robe and all. His nose was bigger than I thought, his skin a lot darker, but his eyes were more piercing than I’d ever imagined. It was like light came out instead of going into them.

Jon was making some joke about both of them being Jews and Jesus, after laughing harder than I thought he would, said quite seriously to Jon, “Yeah, that’s one of the weirdest things, isn’t it? How could they forget that?”

Jon was all over him with questions from the daily news. What was his take on the whole Mosque/Ground Zero fiasco? Jesus said he’d seen some newscasts on the story and couldn’t believe the drama and fear it was bringing up. “They want to build a public building for prayer, education and community gathering. That’s a good thing. A better thing perhaps, would be the construction of an interfaith building, There’s room for everyone, and it’s these distinctions between religions that’s causing all the problems in the first place.”

Jon looked incredulous. “An interfaith building??”

“Yes, a multi-tasking mosque, with a synagogue, chapel and meditation hall in it. A building where people of different faiths come together to make a better world together. That’s the point of religion right? It’s not about doctrine. It’s a plan for action, an opportunity to be a bigger force for good. Religion is just the map. Faith is the real adventure.”

“I don’t know….” said Stewart, making one of those funny mouth movements he does after hearing a strange idea.

Jesus pipes in, “What could be better in that spot than a building that represents, by its very structure, a coming together, a new vision that goes beyond religious borders? It’s like taking a good idea and making it great. The real prophets of the day know this. Where are their voices? Why aren’t you interviewing them?”

“Hmm, I thought I was,” says Stewart, tapping his pencil on the desk.

“You know why you have border issues here? Because you believe the borders are real, like they MEAN something. Muslin against Christian, Mexican against American, Republican against Democrat-all those borders are made up. You put up walls to defend your ideas-and not even your OWN, but ideas passed down to you from someone else-and then you make other people look like demons. It’s no wonder this country is in a state of collapse. You don’t even get it how connected you are. You’re like five fingers on a hand who think they’re separate and make up reasons why not to get along.”

Jon sat there with his mouth open.

“You’re like children playing war games. You spend all your time, all your energy attacking the “other side” instead of realizing you need to bridge the two sides in order to get across to a higher level of thinking. Even news shows are at war. Look at how you make fun of FOX. What light does that add to the world? All the time you could be giving to real visionaries, all the ways you could be role-modeling good behavior, showing the audience how it really WORKS to bring great and opposing minds together, and you sit there poking fun at another station. That’s really enlightened, isn’t it?”

This was the first time I’d ever seen Jon Stewart speechless. He looked like an embarrassed 6th grader. No pencil tapping now. More like a puppy with his tail between his legs.

“What in the world are you people doing? The ones who call themselves “religious” are often the most immature, the most judgmental and intolerant. What is THAT about? That’s exactly the opposite of what every religion teaches. And I mean EVERY religion,”

Jesus said, as he looked away from Stewart and spoke right to the camera.

“All the religions say two basic things,” he said, holding up his fingers in a peace sign.

“First, there is no distance between you and this one you call God. God is the creative force behind all things. It’s invisible, but you are the manifestation of it. I’m telling you, the Sistine Chapel should have been a mirror.”

The audience laughs, but Stewart stares into those deep eyes of the Nazarene.

He goes on, ” You are the eyes, the hands, the feet of that creative force. That energy is in you. It’s called your breath.” He holds up his index finger and taps on it a few times. “That’s the first thing. Don’t think there’s some man out there pulling strings. Grow up. This civilization-if you can call it that-is YOUR creation. This earth, it is not a bunch of resources to be exploited. It is not to be owned. It is your mother, the womb that you sprang from. You are its consciousness, its neural cells. The whole earth is the organism that you belong to. You did not come down to earth, you came up from earth, as I did. Its well-being is in your hands. Can you be proud of what you’re doing? Are you going to be the ones who kill it off, after all that talk about pro-life?”

Jesus was getting a little worked up, like that day he stormed through the temple turning over the merchants’ tables. Jon cut to a commercial, “And we’ll be right back to hear the 2nd basic thing from our guest tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth. Stay tuned…”

They were laughing about something when they returned from the commercial, Jesus stretched out in his chair with his long lanky legs covered by his tunic, his sandaled feet hidden under the desk.

“OK,” Jon says, “You were saying there were two things. Let me see if I got this right. There’s no bearded guy up there on a cloud. That God we talk about and fight over is the creative force inside us and around us? It’s invisible and we’re like….(a long pause) its shadow?”

“Not exactly,” says Jesus. We’re like the physical form of the same energy. The ice cube version of water or steam. Same elements, different form. The sea and the iceberg. You’re all icebergs in the Sea of God,” he said, half-laughing at his own quaint metaphor. “But the problem is you don’t realize that underneath it all, you’re all connected. There’s just one big iceberg with a lot of tips. The truth is, you’re Creation continuing the co-creation of Itself.”

“Oh my,” says Stewart. “Let’s leave that discussion to Bill Moyers, What about number two? What’s the number two thing we’re supposed to know?”

Jesus holds up his two fingers again, tapping the tip of his middle finger. The camera zoomed in so closely on him I could see a scar on his forehead. “It’s not so much what you need to know-that’s part of the problem, all these peoples’ belief systems. That’s what gets you in trouble. No one has to believe in me to get to heaven. A…there is no heaven to get to and B, it’s not what you believe but how you act that matters. If anyone learned anything from reading that Bible they should have picked up that one. There’s 3000 references to helping the poor in there. But let me get back…”

“Yes,” says Stewart. “The second thing..”

“The second thing is this: forget everything you ever learned in any holy book and just treat everyone like a brother and a sister. I mean that literally. If it were your brother coming across the border…your sister with cancer and no health care….your child unable to get an education….your mother with no food in her house. And even further, your brother who was gay or hated gays, your sister who was a corrupt politician, your brother who bombed an abortion clinic, your sister who got an abortion. What does it look like to love unconditionally? To bridge differences, to come together over what we can agree on? Can you get through one day without thinking you’re better or less than another? That’s the thing to strive for. That is living faithfully.”

“But…but…” says Stewart. “What about the Tea Partyers, the terrorists, what about Fox News and hate crimes?”

“If you think they are so different from you, be the opposite of what you think they are and enact that powerfully in the world. Don’t focus on who’s wrong. Just be a greater force for good.”

“Not focus on who’s wrong? How could I do my show?”

“Exactly. Remember what Gandhi said? Be the change you want to see in the world?”

“Sure. I have that quotation on my refrigerator.”

“Well, it’s time to take it further. You’re evolving as a people. You’ve come through the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the wrongly named Period of Enlightenment. You’re now in the Information Age. You are growing your consciousness. In the physical world, you have Olympic marathon trainers who run 10 miles or more a day. They spend every waking hour in training, eating the right foods, researching the right clothing and equipment, working out, following a discipline. And in the metaphysical world, the spiritual world, you have people doing the same-they are your mystics and prophets-engaging in spiritual practice, accelerating their wisdom, expanding their consciousness, transcending judgment and radiating love into the world. You might be in that category.,.”

Stewart does one of his choking, ahem things, putting his hand over his mouth. “Out of the question,” he says frankly. “I thrive on judgment.”

“Good to know yourself. You’re all evolving at different rates. In the fall, when you look at a maple tree, you see leaves that are green, yellow, orange and red. They don’t all change at the same time. And that’s what makes life exciting. You all know different things. That’s why you need each other. Like that guy Ken Wilbur said, “You’re all right, only partly so.”

Stewart nods his head in agreement, tapping his pencil on the table again.

“But back to Gandhi. I agree with what he said, but I’ll say it a different way, just to shake things up a bit, which I love to do. By the way, it’d make a great bumper sticker:

Be the God you want to see in the world.”

“Oh-oh, sounds blasphemous to me,” says Stewart.

“You know as well as I do, every good idea starts out as a blasphemy.”

“OK, great, we’re out of time,” says Stewart, as the camera swings over for a shot of the audience. They’re all standing, some crying and laughing at the same time, the most incredible look of collective awe I’ve ever seen. And Jesus walks over like Jay Leno and starts shaking hands with them. What a night!”

So, parents and the loss of their children

November 12th, 2010

I’ve had an experience now, twice, that no parent should ever have in their lifetime even once and it doesn’t get easier with repetition. In my opinion. I’ve written much here about my youngest son, Brandon, who suicided at 21, caught in the throes of meth. Both of my boys had asthma, severe, though Evan’s got worse as he got older. He, Evan, died on 10/14/10. Shortly after he went to sleep, still no word on the cause. He was still in excruciating pain every moment of every day, though his fight through that pain was worthy of admiration, and I did, the rest of what he’s done since his accident 18 months ago is grow stronger in every way.

His last several years were miserable for him, after he and his now ex-wife separated, he wasn’t able to see his kids so he drank, a LOT. April 23, 2009, he was in a horrible accident. He was very drunk but not driving. He underwent nearly 11 hours of surgery the first night, we were told he might not survive that because of his asthma. He did. He was in a coma for 6 weeks and he healed. He did every rehab assignment they gave him. He was still in tremendous pain which we were working on and which has to, after that much time, weaken one considerably. He had a lot of trouble with his asthma the last week. We were told last April that if he didn’t make some big changes his outlook wasn’t bright. 5 years one of them, doctor, said. He had to lose weight, stop smoking, and continue his rehab.

So, this event, since he’d made no real progress with his new regimen, wasn’t surprising completely because I’d been afraid of it since that diagnosis last spring. It was still a horrible shock and surprise because I thought we had him at least 5 more years and potentially a normal life span. Not being surprised is not the same thing as not being hurt. Apart from outings, I spent every Tuesday evening with him too while his mother worked, that week, as I left, I gave him a hug and told him I loved him. He said, I love you too, Dad. And made me promise to text him when I got home as he usually asked. Two days later he was gone. Those were his last words to me. I have to admit that has tears streaming down my face. He was my first-born, the most like me, and we got along in every way. We could, and did, always talk. He was the reasonable one, though some of that was just good acting, the good child, the easy baby, the easy toddler. I have a cell because he insisted. I would never have gotten one otherwise. He said I had to get into the 21 century, even if I had it just for emergencies. Then he proceeded to text me until I got a I text package too. He was wonderful to his last breath.

I think that is what these last 18 months gave him, not dying in that accident, was a chance to rebuild his life. And he did. He was so lonely a lot of the time and had to fight depression constantly, he felt and was so alone – stop drinking and your drinking “buddies” disappear. Which made me cry. But he kept going, he never gave up, though there were many times he wanted to. But in the past 18 months, he turned himself back into the son I’d fallen in love with a bit over 36 years ago when a nurse placed him in my arms a couple minutes after his birth. He was, despite his troubles, loving and cheerful for the most part. Willing to talk. Every other weekend (he started seeing his kids again in September – a HUGE milestone for him) since he got out of the hospital and was able to get out of the house, he and I would go see a movie and get a meal. I’d ask, text, and he’d always respond that sounds great dad. Which made me cry, I’ll tell you why. We’d go see a move, we saw lots of very good ones, eat and I drop him off and he’d be so glad we’d gone out. And so I’d cry all the way home again. This is why. For a man my age, 61, to have a best friend be so much younger isn’t unusual, particularly with parents, but it just broke my heart that he was so alone that he was happy to have my friendship and love. Someone his age should have been with friends, not their parent, and that is what made me cry.

It was a nice outdoor non-religious service. A LOT of people came, he only thought he was alone. And he may have had some portent as he had been getting in touch with people over the last couple months he hadn’t talked to in years. He WAS my best friend. I can’t imagine life without him in it anymore than when Brandon died. I, a month later, am still numb with shock. I feel like earth just after the asteroid that created the moon hit it. Off my game for sure. And I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. I think I am waiting for something that will never arrive. This time, the good news is that at 61 I won’t have as many years to miss him. God, I loved that boy. Both of them, but aching now for the one that stayed the longest with the hardest road to follow. I love you Evan, I always will.

If today brings even one choice your way,
choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

Is your ladder leaning against the right building?

August 6th, 2010

Below is a wonderful story from one of the best people on this planet, Steve Goodier. Now you shouldn’t find that surprising since I so often use his articles here, sometimes alone, sometimes with commentary. This time with lots of commentary. Not all related to Steve’s article. As you’ll read below, it is hard to escape, or set aside, our nature. Or our natural self. And it is as hard to accept life on terms other than those we know to be true, or more clearly, to accept life as it is, not as we wish it were. I am one who falls into a category that Steve doesn’t list in his last paragraph. I believe I share this “condition” with others, including a most beloved friend, Sandra Seich, who has gone back into the light, and so knows who I am, and would be correcting my syntax as I type. Yes, one can be successful in life without making it to the top of your particular ladder. Sandra would agree though that it is vitally important to be certain you are leaning your ladder against the right building. And that can only happen through insight into oneself that is not commonly available.

SHE had the tool. What has happened to it, or what will happen to it, I do not know, but her magnus work, 3 SIDES OF YOU, was so far ahead of its time that I mourn not only her passing but also the loss of her creation as only SHE could interpret it. She was moving in commercial directions and I don’t blame her for that, but still, the effect her first effort had on me back in 1998 and the effect her tremendously expanded book had in later years was and is, enormous. Personally, I think the book should be made available to everyone on the planet and that every person seeking office of any kind, including those of the harmful clandestine kind, should have to take her test and make public their results. The planet would be a much better place were this true and the norm. I suppose one could lie, but Sandra was smarter than liars, who you ARE cannot be hidden. Nor should it be. Lest you find yourself leaning your ladder against the wrong building. I’ll come back to this because it is a subject I am immersed in at this time, my life is completely out of balance, I live and work in a world that is not of my design, nor my desire. How does one cope with that? That is the next topic. Unfortunately, it will be without the wonderful guidance of Steve Goodier. It’ll just be me. No worries, I’m not mean, much love, :^) gene

From Steve Goodier:

Rabbi Harold Kushner tells a wonderful story about a bright young man who was a sophomore Stanford pre-med student. To reward him for having done so well in school, his parents gave him a trip to the Asia for the summer.

While there he met a guru who said to him, “Don’t you see how you are poisoning your soul with this success-oriented way of life? Your idea of happiness is to stay up all night studying for an exam so you can get a better grade than your best friend. Your idea of a good marriage is not to find the woman who will make you whole, but to win the girl that everyone else wants.

“That’s not how people are supposed to live,” the sage admonished. “Give it up; come join us in an atmosphere where we all share and love each other.”

The young man had completed four years at a competitive high school to get into Stanford, plus two years of pre-med courses at the university. He was ripe for this sort of approach. He called his parents from Tokyo and told them he would not be coming home. He was dropping out of school to live in an ashram (a spiritual retreat).

Six months later, his parents got this letter from him:

“Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you weren’t happy with the decision I made last summer, but I want to tell you how happy it has made me. For the first time in my life, I am at peace. Here there is no competing, no hustling, no trying to get ahead of anyone else. Here we are all equal and we all share. This way of life is so much in harmony with the inner essence of my soul that in only six months I’ve become the number two disciple in the entire ashram, and I think I can be number one by June!”

You can take the boy out of the rat race, but can you take the rat race out of the boy?

I am concerned about some people’s narrow and dangerous ideas about success. Achieving more, getting more, becoming number one. Not that there is anything wrong with healthy achievement. It’s just that there is a difference between earning well and living well.

A successful life is not always a high-achieving life. Sometimes it is about accomplishing a worthwhile goal, even a private, personal victory. Sometimes it is about improving one’s character. Sometimes success is best defined by living into one’s own personal mission, or finding a meaningful purpose to organize one’s life around. And sometimes it is about learning how to live in peace, happiness, generosity and love.

Someone put it like this: “I spent my life frantically climbing the ladder of success. When I got to the top I realized it was leaning against the wrong building.” Even if she got to the top first, it made no difference. There is no merit in being first to arrive at the wrong place in life.

You CAN BE successful in ways that matter. And your life can be truly meaningful. If you’re leaning your ladder against the right building, it doesn’t even matter if you make it to the top. Any life spent going after things that count, will count as a life well spent.

— Steve Goodier

A change is coming

July 28th, 2010

Which is a very good thing, in my opinion, for what is life with nothing new to look forward to? Every civilization in history has fallen when it became so content with itself that it became stagnant. That ennui will kill anything. Change is the only constant, I’ve heard, but I think I’d go a step further with that and say that change is necessary for the continued growth and success of the human species and spirit. Stagnant water isn’t safe to drink, I don’t think stagnant humans are much safer to be around. Change doesn’t have to be large, it just has to be THERE. When one stops to consider what changes have come in the last century, well, this world would be impossible to understand to a person of 50 standing on the doorway to the 20th century, don’t you think? Not all those changes have been positive, one could argue some have been harmful, but we learn from those mistakes too and continue to move forward, well, most of us do – there are those out there, after all, who would have us return to the 12th century as if that were the harbinger of human civilization. Fortunately they are, and will always be, in the minority, for it is the nature of humanity to reach – from an example in CWG, Book 1 that I particularly love, of a three year old girl reaching as high as she can to grasp a door knob and open a door as she has seen her big brother do to that of the people of our time looking into the night sky and wondering what else, who else, is out there and whether we will meet them in our life times here, or travel to them at some time in the future. Some changes meet with quick reversal, but on the whole, change is necessary, and exciting, and what makes living here in the relative universe so interesting. We live in a period in which the fastest series of change our planet has ever seen are happening every day as testified to in the wonderful little story from Steve Goodier below. It illustrates nicely what I believe. Change is coming, faster than we think, and that is a very good thing indeed. :^) gene

CHANGING WITH THE CHANGES

A clerk at a Philadelphia airline counter picked up the telephone and heard the caller ask, “How long does it take to go from Philadelphia to Phoenix?”

She was busy with another customer just then and intended to put the caller on hold.

“Just a minute,” she replied.

As she was about to press the hold button, the caller said, “Thank you,” and hung up.

We live in an age when it seems almost anything is possible. But a trip of a couple thousand miles in a few minutes?

Our time is one of unprecedented change. I understand that 2005 was the first year that there were more spam e-mails sent than cans of  Spam sold. And if you wonder what a can of Spam is, then you see how much things have changed.

In a restaurant, a mother noticed her eleven-year-old daughter staring at a movie poster on the wall. The picture portrayed Superman standing in a phone booth. The girl’s mother whispered to her husband, “Doesn’t she know who Superman is?”

He told her it was worse than that. “She doesn’t know what a phone booth is.”

I heard someone mention that he believes most of the changes that will ever take place already have occurred. I am sure that isn’t so. Our new reality is one of constant and unending change.

Some changes can be good and some we may feel are not for the best. Most change is uncomfortable and awkward at first. But, of course, if we don’t occasionally feel awkward with what we’re doing, maybe we are not doing anything new. And unless we’d rather live in the past, we’ll be happiest learning to embrace this world of change and to change and adapt along with it.

The world can still be a wonderful and exciting place to live. Do you believe that? If so, change with the changes. Resist your resistance to changing. Your attitude toward change is one of the most important measures of determining whether you can be happy.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way, choose to be a Bringer of the Light :^) gene

A VERY HUMAN THING TO DO

June 1st, 2010

First, from Steve Goodier:

A VERY HUMAN THING TO DO

Someone made the statement: “To err is dysfunctional, to forgive co-dependent.” Sometimes I think I operate that way – afraid to err and slow to forgive.

Of course, we’ve all heard Alexander Pope’s famous assertion that to err is human, to forgive, divine. But I don’t agree. I think that to forgive is one of the most human things we can do.

A number of years ago, Hildegard Goss-Mayr of the “International Fellowship of Reconciliation” told this true story. In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970s, a Christian seminary student was walking from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed Druze guerrilla fighter. The Druze ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot.

But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian, who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the Druze who was ordered down the trail.

As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of his scripture, “Love your enemies,” “do good to those who hate you,” “turn the other cheek,” he found he could go no farther. He threw the gun into the bushes, told the Druze he was free to go and turned back up the hill.

Minutes later, he heard footsteps running behind him as he walked. “Is this the end after all?” he wondered. Perhaps the young man had retrieved his weapon and meant to finish him off. But he continued on, never glancing back, until his enemy reached him, only to grab him in an embrace and pour out thanks for sparing his life.

That was a very human thing he did – foregoing the impulse to strike back. It took a strong spirit. Yet every time we decide not to get back at somebody who hurts us, we exercise one of our greatest powers – the power to choose a better way.

Somebody else put it better than I can: “Life is too short for drama and petty things, so, kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.” It’s one of the most powerful and human things to do.

— Steve Goodier

Then, from me. Isn’t that last part really the key to human survival? The ONLY way we overcome our baser instincts and, as a species, become a true civilization? Simply by exercising our power to choose a better, more loving, way? May we ALL find that become a necessity in our lives and soon. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

In the Living Years

April 30th, 2010

My dad’s been on my mind lately.  It’ll be 26 years this summer since he passed, I’m just two years younger now than he was that year.  This afternoon this song began running through my mind, no idea why, though I have every idea why.  It made me cry the first time I heard it and it did again today when I went and found the lyrics and the video of Mike and the Mechanics, that fits, my dad could fix anything, except me.  Enjoy both, and tell your loved ones that they are.  Loved.  Thanks.

In the Living Years

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So Don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

If today brings even one choice your way

choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Possession and the Time Traveler’s Wife

April 4th, 2010

“What is it? My Dear?”

“Ah, how can we bear it?”

“Bear what?”

“This. For so short a time. How can we sleep this time away?”

“We can be quiet together, and pretend – since it is only the beginning – that we have all the time in the world.”

“And every day we shall have less. And then none.”

“Would you rather, therefore, have had nothing at all?”

“No. This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere.

–A. S. Byatt, Possession

I’ve been reading a novel lately, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, written in 2003 and in 2009 released as a marvelous movie starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. I wanted very much to see it when it was in theaters but somehow never got round to it. The quote above is from page 282 in her novel which marks the beginning of part II. I could not resist it since it is also the title of a song written by my favorite artist, Sarah McLachlan, and I believe I will go find it too.

I saw the movie first, I don’t normally like to do that, I am first and foremost a lover of reading, and I guess have often been disappointed when I have seen a movie and then read the book upon which it is based, at how much, so very much I find important to the story, was left out, or worse, changed in the film. I can’t say that with this duo. I love them both. The movie was, for me, as noted in my previous post, a half a kleenex box experience. I then went looking for the book and found both a Blu-ray Disc AND the book together for a mere $15. Needless to say, I bought both. I wanted first to savor the book and to this point, I have and am, very much, doing so. Had to stop reading the book on the bus though, people were giving me odd looks as I read with tears streaming down my face and nose running at full tilt. Not a pretty picture.

I left this in draft for a while, but now, I’ve finished the book and watched the movie again and was pleasantly amazed at how true to the story the movie was, but for the ending, I prefer the ending in the book very much, though the movie’s was sweet, the book’s ending was ever so much more poignant for me. It is a book I will read again, as I do often with favorites, and a movie I’ll watch again from time to time as well.

What comes to me from both is that we all share Henry’s condition in a way. Not that we skip back and forth through time, but that we are all first born outside of time, then descend into it, the relative universe to have our experience here as flesh-covered spirits. Now that is not quite the way CWG puts it, but it is the truth of us, from timelessness we come and to it we return. Not with the heartbreak Henry suffers as he moves through time because our beginning is in the light of the strongest love possible and it is to that love we return. No sad endings for us, no bittersweet memories, those are for this place, this universe our Creator gave us to experience life as we are not that we might love even more that which we truly are when we return from this brief stop in our soul’s life, for alive there we are, so much more than here. I “get” the attraction of what happens here and I understand its creation and purpose, but I’ve never felt comfortable in this shell, somehow I’ve always known this skin is not my own, that this place is not my home, even through the trials and tribulations and tears and love I’ve found and experienced here, I’ve no greater longing than for our true home. That may be unique to me as I know virtually all others will return, many times, and I know that I will not, this is a once only journey for me. Once is quite enough and I know that too. And, I remain perfectly okay with the choice of others to continue to come here, that won’t ever be taken away by our Creator, I am sure. But as much as I am homebody here, I am there too, in the place where we were born. Enjoy the journey, blessed be, much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way

choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

I didn’t know he was for me

March 26th, 2010

I put this on the Rainbow Bridge website a bit ago. I’d been sent, again, a story about an old man who was walking along a road with a dog when he suddenly realized he was dead and so had been, for many years, the dog at his side. He approached a place with pearly gates that looked wonderful, there was a person sitting at the gate. He asked what the place was and was told it was Heaven. He asked if he could come in and get a drink, the person said sure, then he asked if his friend could come too, and the person said, sorry, we don’t allow pets in here. He decided to keep walking. After another long spell, he came upon another gate, no fence this time, and again there was someone sitting at the gate, he asked if he could get a drink, the person said, yes, so then he asked if his friend could come in too, and the person said sure, there’s a bowl by the pump. He got himself a drink of cold water, filled the bowl for his dog, then walked back to the gate and asked what this place was. This is Heaven, he was told. He said he’d been told another place back down the road was Heaven, and the person said no, that’s Hell, and we thank them for weeding out the people who would leave their best friend behind.

That got me to thinking about my Cisco so I went back to the Rainbow Bridge site and posted this:

My youngest son, Brandon, wanted a dog for his 20th birthday so we went to the local Humane Society to get one. As we walked in, there was this one tiny little guy, out front in a huge cage all by himself, he yapped hello to us and the front counter people told us he was too young to be back with the others.

So my son and I went in the back and looked at all the marvelous dogs but he couldn’t really decide, there were two beautiful Shepherd mixes, brothers, but we couldn’t have two and I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one to separate them anyway. So we went back out front to look at that little guy again. I knelt down and stuck my finger in the cage and he bit me, then sat down and smirked. He was jet black, but for a splash of white across his hind toes and a little splash on his chest. He was half Lab, half Shepherd, they told us, though he looked like a Lab but with the long black hair of a Shepherd only thick as a Lab. No dog on earth has ever shed like Cisco!

He was 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 7 weeks old, and we decided to take him home. AFTER I signed the paperwork and wrote the check, they said we might notice he was a little noisy at night. A little? That first night he slept, well he didn’t sleep but he was IN a box by my son’s bed. He cried ALL night long, he’d cry till his little voice would give out in a squawk, he’d be quiet a couple minutes then start crying again. The next morning, my son told me, “Dad, I don’t think I can handle another night like that.” I told him I couldn’t either, from then on Cisco slept with my son, quietly and contentedly.

For just 13 months, then when Brandon took his life, Cisco became mine. For the next 13 years we shared everything together. They said he’d get to be about 65 pounds, he stopped growing at 120, not fat, tall and strong. We walked our suburb at all hours of the day and night, often very early so I could let him off leash, a dog that big needs room to run, and he loved running. He’d run with me with that perfectly efficient movement all dogs have for 5 miles, then I’d be done, and we’d stop at a park and he’d race around by himself for another half hour while I cooled down.

The first time he saw water, he was about 7 months old, he and I were walking through a park near us, a good-sized creek ran through it. About halfway through the creek had a big bend, on the other side a huge old tree hung out over the water and two boys, maybe 10 or 11, had a rope tied there and were swinging out and dropping into the water. Cisco and I were about 5 feet above the water on a ledge, he looked up at me his Lab instincts at full alert, somehow we were ALWAYS able to read each other’s mind, and I knew he was asking, “can I?”. I said, sure, buddy. Well, he took off running in the OTHER direction and I thought oh-oh, but 20 yards out he turned and circled back, and leapt off that ledge all the way out to where those boys were dropping in. He came up sputtering and looking at me like “WHAT did I just do?”, clambered up the bank and did it again. The two kids were as amazed as I was at what he did and were literally rolling on the ground laughing. We had many such experiences.

He wasn’t a typical anything, certainly not a Lab since he didn’t like to play fetch. Occasionally, he’d bring me a ball, I’d toss it for him, EVERY time he’d give me this look like “WHAT did you do THAT for?”, go get it, bring it back, I’d toss it, get the look, and after 3 or 4 tosses he was done with that. But he NEVER did that without giving me that “Are you crazy, I just GAVE you that, look.”

He had horrible separation anxiety his first three years as do many Labs. My internet research found that Labs will often chew when anxious for the first three years of their lives. The first year he only ate my son’s shoes and such, when Brandon would leave him alone while I was at work. But when my son died and we became each other’s, he turned to MY stuff, he ate furniture, woodwork, wallboard, a couch, lounge chair, how I have no idea. But I’d hear him as I left in the morning for work and got into the car in my garage, a heart breaking howl. On his 3rd birthday, I told him, okay, buddy, now you’re 3 and that chewing stops! He quit on his own terms the way he did everything about three months later.

If I had known when we got him that he was going to be mine alone in a year, I couldn’t have borne the thought. But when my son died, Cisco was the only reason I got out of bed many days, because he needed me. He was the best friend I’ve ever had for 13 blessed years. He passed in August, 2009, age and arthritis, tumors, he couldn’t always get to his feet by himself, couldn’t manage stairs anymore, would sometimes fall while outside and meet my eyes with what I KNEW was a “please help me” look. It was his time and now all I have left of the two of them are a small rock Brandon gave me when he was 5, an old piece of tar he brought in all excited to give me, it was multi colored and I asked what it was, and he said, its a beauty rock, Dad, for you. It’s been on my kitchen counter ever since and next to it now rests a clay paw print of our beloved Cisco. An angel sent to me straight from God to guide me through the grief and sorrow of the years following my son’s death, who ultimately meant more to me than any dog I’ve ever known. He better be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, or some entity will be dealing with one very unhappy spirit, because no afterlife would be complete without him, as is my life now incomplete without him. Cisco, love of my life, the bestest puppy boy the world ever saw, who loved everyone he met after first scaring them witless with his size, and who gave me his whole being for so many blessed years. I didn’t know he was really meant for me, but I’m glad he was. I don’t know that I would have survived the blow of Brandon’s suicide but for him. He made my life mean something again, he gave all he had to me, every day and I only wanted to do the same for him. I really want to see him again, Brandon too, of course, but this piece is for Cisco, my rock and my best friend forever.

I still miss them both with all my heart. I live, but life is a bit emptier than it should be without them. If there were “A” thing I could change here in this wondrous universe, it would be to expand the life span of our fur babies. I realize that could be difficult, but for me? I’d still be surrounded by a small menagerie of wonderful friends from Bullet, who protected me, to King who raised me, to Cisco who saved me. That would be close enough to heaven for me. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A Character Defect – my little secret

February 19th, 2010

Or at least that is what my son calls it. So, I confess, I like chick flicks. Not sure why. I don’t like, don’t read, romance novels and never have, no interest at all, and I don’t like the formula “love story” either. You know the one, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. There is too much pain in those for me. So much unnecessary pain in them, maybe they are why so many of our relationships play out so badly. We expect more than we have a right to and we don’t dare bare enough of ourselves to allow ourselves to be seen. Oh, that kind of movie breaks my heart, many times over, but I prefer movies where the people treat each other right and where the ending IS right, even if tragic.

The greatest gift God ever gave us, He says so Himself in CWG, Book 1, is relationship, this relative universe. For only here can we find out who we are as we define ourselves by learning who we are not. We’re not doing so well on that score as a species, I’m afraid. We say forever, but we really mean until. Something changes, or we do, or we stray, or we tire, or we give up, give in, quit. There are good reasons for all of those things certainly. We aren’t at a place in our evolution where we CAN say forever, for we know not what that means. It sounds good, I’ll give it that. And there are some magical relationships among us as models, but far too often we fail. Maybe that’s why we get so many chances to get it right. Maybe in all of our incarnations at some point we DO get it right. That is worth waiting for. When God talked of relationship, He wasn’t speaking only of human relationships, but in truth was speaking of the relative universe as Einstein described it, where we know what one thing is because we know what its opposite is. Hot – Cold. Here – There. Like so.

But the particular version of relationship I am moved to make my first post of the year is about human relationships, I don’t care what kind, I mean, all relationships are holy, not just man-woman, but all. And it seems actually that in same gender relationships all of the miscues of opposite gender relationships occur as well, but with perhaps less frequency in long term committed relationships. Same gender, particularly male – male, are often only about the physical component, it is that which keeps the AIDS virus alive and moving, unsafe sex. And I’m not talking about that either, only noting what I have observed. No, tonight, I want to talk about what ails me. Chick flicks.

I go long periods avoiding them, though I have long left violent movies behind for the most part, there ARE some that make points worth seeing, hearing and feeling. There are things worth dying for and some very violent movies have made those points dramatically. Often, the thing worth dying for is love of country, while I understand this emotion, feel it, served in Viet Nam, though I opposed that war, it is drama heavy and I fear what leads young men to martyrdom. Land is not sacred, no one piece more than another, it is ALL sacred in that nothing that exists in this universe was not created from the body of God, there IS nothing else but Him and all of it is sacred in that sense. We define ourselves in how we relate to that. And very badly most of the time in recorded human history, much evil has been committed in the name of God, there can be no greater blasphemy than to kill in the name of the being who is nothing less than pure, unadulterated, eternal love. But we do. A lot. We need to change that. I think we will. One day. Not today.

Another thing worth dying for is in defense of another, this I find a noble end, though of course it is also death on sequels. Much better to live a love-filled life, in my opinion. And that is what I find in the sort of chick flick I love most. Oh, I’ve learned through the years, to not go unprepared, to make sure I’ve got kleenex with me, because I will cry. How can one not at something so beautiful as the best of humanity shining in relationship one to another? An example, last weekend I rented “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, I wanted to see it in the theater, but never got to it, maybe my jen protected me because I was a blubbering mess not far into it at all. Scenes, of incredibly strong emotion do that to me, not manly I suppose, but I think we have done men a disservice in denying them the right to FEEL and express those feelings. I wrote of sacred tears a while ago, I hold these in that category. I absolutely loved that movie, loved everything about it except perhaps its quixotic ending, but even that I found bittersweet. And would have written differently! But the love that couple had for each other was marvelous, Rachel McAdams, who I first saw in a very funny movie, The Hot Chick, was glorious, wonderful, perfect in her performance. And the tragedy that everyone knew was coming did and I cried through the whole damn thing. It was so beautiful, ridiculous premise – maybe, but love conquers everything in that movie, it even transcends death. Which it really does, though not quite in that way. Still, I loved it. Took it right back to Hollywood Video though, couldn’t put myself through that ringer again and I knew I would if I kept the remaining two days I had left.

Tonight, after work, I went to see another movie, I’d seen previews on tv, Dear John, I was misled by the previews, I was expecting more than I got, it was formula, a bit of a twist, and a too serendipitous ending. And I cried through half of it. Came home with a screaming headache, thinking about why we do such things to each other, why does it have to be so hard, why do we make it so hard. This young couple were perfect 9/11 intervened and she actually did Dear John him while he was in mortal peril. I have another confession, the same thing happened to me during the middle of my tour in Viet Nam, so I know what he felt – better than he, because I lived it, he acted it. That was one of the things the army did to us while they tried to turn us into automatons, necessarily mind you in a hostile situation you HAVE to be able to depend on the guy, or, now too, girl next to you to do what they are supposed to when they are supposed to do it, without thinking. Your lives depend on that. And so the Army breaks you down then builds you back up so that you really understand what team means, not some silly athletic gig, but life and death teamwork. You march in unison, you eat in unison, you exercise in unison, you clean in unison, and you run in unison. One of the ways our instructors, good men for the most part but for one sadist, kept us in unison while we marched or ran, was to sing a cadence, you’ve all heard some of them I’m sure, one that Dear John was about went like this, “Ain’t no use in looking down, Jodie’s got your girl and gone”. Try it, it’ll keep you marching right in time. And it was the truth of what happened to many of us, I can’t speak to the part that happened back here, where the betrayal began, the pain or fear or lust or whatever led to it, only to what it felt like on the other end, when you are counting on someone who promised you forever, but whose definition of forever turned out to be six months.

So, anyway, in the movie, years later he does something I would never myself have done, and in the end it all turns out swell. But from here to there and the distance between there was heartache. I don’t pretend to know how to fix that. Well, I actually I DO know how to fix it but I am not sure our species is evolved enough to handle that. No, that’s wrong, I AM sure our species is not evolved enough to say forever and mean it. Very few of us manage that and many that do aren’t happy doing it. That is what makes me cry at chick flicks. The pain we inflict on each other in the name of love, the way we make it so hard to be trusting and trustworthy. We’re better than that. Or we should be. I’m sure we can be and I believe we will be. But not until we learn one simple rule and live it every day in every way, love everyone you meet, no matter who, no matter where, no matter their race, gender, religion or lack thereof. The ONLY thing that has EVER been able to save us, to bring us into true relationship, is love. When we have re-membered THAT lesson, we will be ready to live in peace, join in humanity’s evolution back to where we began. We can make this universe, Eden. It IS already, but we’re so clouded in our vision we can’t see that. We lose ourselves in the small things, differences in skin color, geographical location, us versus them. When we learn to shed those small things and see the beauty of each soul for what it really is, a living representation of our living Creator, then we’ll begin to understand love and live in the Garden He built for us, forever and ever, amen. I think chick flicks lead us closer to that triumph than anything else. Not religion, religion divides us, not family, family creates us and them, not music, for most of it is of sad loss, that which is lucid anyway, the beauty of the music and voice lost in the darkness of the lyrics. Nope. It’s chick flicks. Good ones, like “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

When Someone Grieves

January 1st, 2010

This is from Steve Goodier’s newsletter, with his permission. I have a word or two of my own following.

What do you say to someone who is grieving? (“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” probably tops the list of the kinds of conversation starters that should be avoided.) And actually, there are a lot of ways we can go wrong here — saying something that isn’t appreciated by one who hurts. Even when we are trying to comfort.

But chances are, we have been, or will be, put in the position of trying to comfort someone who is experiencing a painful loss. That is an important role we all play from time to time. So, what do you say to someone who is grieving?

I often remember a story told by Joseph Bayly when I struggle to say the “right thing” to someone who is hurting. Mr. Bayly lost three children to death over the course of several years. He wrote a book called VIEW FROM A HEARSE, in which he talks about his grief. He says this about comforting those who grieve:

“I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He said things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish he would go away. He finally did. Someone else came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He didn’t ask leading questions. He just sat with me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.”

I have found Joseph Bayly’s experience to be excruciatingly typical. Both men wanted to help. Both men cared. But only one truly comforted. The difference was that one tried to make him feel better, while the other just let him feel. One tried to say the right things. The other listened. One told him it would be all
right. The other shared his pain.

When put in the difficult position of comforting someone in emotional pain, sometimes what needs to be said can be said best with a soft touch or a listening ear. No words. And though at times the quieter approach has felt inadequate to me, I have come to realize that it can make a bigger difference than I may ever know.

— Steve Goodier

It seems I have known little but grief over the past 13 years beginning with the suicide of my youngest son in 1997 and the pain that never left, then nearly losing my oldest, only, son in April of this horrid year, and then losing the best friend I have ever had, Brandon’s dog, Cisco, this past August. I want to say the worst is behind me and I certainly hope it is, but I could have said that at the beginning of this year and been as horribly wrong as I actually was. I had such high hopes for 2009, not one of them came to pass. I almost feel I daren’t hope for better in 2010 for fear that even worse awaits. But Steve is right, as I know, I still have to answer questions when what I really want is for most of those people to just go away. I don’t want platitudes. I don’t need advice. Sit with me quietly, let me feel your love, nothing more is required. Blessed be. gene

A loss

December 27th, 2009

I’ve been informed that Sandra Seich, who authored the book, and test, that I talked about in the Top Strengths section on my main site, passed away on Christmas Eve, 2009. I’ve been blessed by her friendship and love as the world has by her incredible talent, will and insight into what makes we humans who we are. I will cherish forever her memory, and read often the one post she made here, she had full editorial privileges but was, as was always true with her, consumed with her latest project, and, of course, her battle with cancer, she made it 20 months past what her doctors told her would be the end. I am not in the least surprised. She was a wonderful woman of great intellect and her passing leaves this world just a little emptier. I know she is in a place of incredible love now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss her every day I remain here. Much love Sandra, very much love to you and yours. gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Sacred Tears

December 17th, 2009

I want to talk about tears tonight, first, yes, long time no post, but still, I intend to be here more often, it is only that life keeps getting in the way, some of that life part involves tears.

I know that men and women experience tears in very different ways, at least superficially. As an example, I’ve never experienced tears of joy. I have certainly had many joyful moments in my life, but in my own experience, have never cried at something joyful. Perhaps that is a pleasure awaiting me, in some part of me, I truly believe it is, but that will be in the moment I return home, I think, I hope. I love Ghost Whisperer, though it is essentially nonsense, it still moves me to tears in most shows, at various points. Often at the end. But I don’t feel that as joyful tears. Maybe it is open to interpretation, as is all of life. I dvr’d the last Hallmark Show, A Dog Named Christmas, and I swear it was at least a 12 kleenex movie for me when I watched it. Overpowering emotions.

When I was a younger man, I didn’t feel things that way, I suppose upbringing, not manly to cry and all that, but in truth, I didn’t FEEL things in that way. Maybe it was my youngest son’s suicide that broke a wellspring in me, I know it certainly broke other things, but since, in moving moments on television, or in life while talking about him, or others issues, that harsh, hot, stinging arises and my eyes well up. THAT I know and understand. I’d be interested in the female point of view on this as I know it is different from mine.

One thing I have noticed in the years since Brandon has been gone, that strong emotional moments in movies or television, bring tears to my eyes, especially when alone, I just let that happen. Feel the honesty of the emotion I am experiencing. There are things I won’t watch because I know they will make me cry, but generally those are things of horror, war, suicide bombings, shows that highlight the darkness in us all. We are born of light but in this world of duality, everything has its opposite, and the darkness, for me, is unbearable. I have wearied of it. It is all over everything, and I think that fact breeds more of it. We sensationalize the ugliness and ignore the goodness.

It used to feel, for a part of my life, that it was impossible to cry, though I clearly remember doing so as a child, I thought I’d lost that. I know that crying, for women mostly, is or can be cathartic or cleansing emotionally, I have never experienced that either. I am drained when I cry. I don’t feel good when it is over, I don’t mostly care much for whatever it was that made me cry, because so often that is someone else in pain. As cliched as it is, I can’t watch a woman cry, and I say woman only because rarely have I seen a man cry, without feeling this overwhelming urge to make it better, even if I can’t as is most often the case. Perhaps men and women cry for different reasons. But seeing tears, brings them to me, unbidden, sudden and surprising. Other times are much the same, they come to me in an instant at something I see or remember, or talk about fully expecting NOT to cry, but suddenly finding myself in tears anyway.

So. Last night I watched a show I normally don’t, or quit on after its first year, Criminal Minds, because EVERY freaking week they find another serial killer wreaking inhumane slaughter on other human beings. I just don’t enjoy seeing that. And it isn’t the truth of us either. Stuff like that would make the news, believe me, the same press that are trying to trail a Tiger would be as sensationalized over anything resembling a serial killer, so in truth they are few and far between, which speaks to the ultimate goodness in we humans. I am not talking about the misguided souls of Islam who think it honorable to kill any “infidel” who does not believe what they believe. THAT kind has always been with us, and ultimately, as we always have, we will repudiate it, that needs begin with the followers of Islam who know the truth of their religion, that it is a religion of peace, tolerance and understanding, and who put down those who pervert their faith. Christians have had many such over the centuries too. It is just right now that Islamic radicals are holding sway.

Back to the show. All I really want to say about it, is a quote that was spoken over the last scene. This show generally opens with a quote over a scene and ends the same way. Last night’s caught my attention. And I forewarn you that I have not personally vetted it. I may. But I find it sufficient as it is, and completely true.

One of the characters said, “Washington Irving said: There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.” I think I understand tears now, on the largest scale. Though I have much to learn about the smaller scales as I mentioned above. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

The Greatest Gift of All

November 17th, 2009

This is, again, from Steve Goodier, the Methodist minister with the newsletter I have been receiving by far the longest of the many things I get daily, these are no longer daily, but are always treasured. This one is most appropriate for my blog too. You’ll see why. :^) gene

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

A little boy and girl were singing their favorite carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy concluded “Silent Night” with the words, “Sleep in heavenly beans.”

“No,” his sister corrected, “not beans. Peas.”

The story reminds me of the wonderful and hectic holiday season many of us are approaching soon.

Dave Garroway was, for many years, the host of the TODAY show on NBC television. Someone once asked him about his understanding of Christmas. He replied: “I’ve noticed that when people are asked what they want for Christmas, nine times out of ten, they answer with something material. That used to be amusing to me, but it’s not amusing to me any longer. I happen to be one of those people who can afford anything he wants, but I find what I really want, I can’t buy at all. I want peace of mind, peace of soul; the kind of peace you have when you don’t really want anything.”

What do YOU want for Christmas? Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you want for your life. For your world?

For me, what I want cannot be bought or gift wrapped. What I want most can best be summed up in words like “faith” and “hope” and “love.”

For myself, I want faith. Faith enough to see light in even the bleakest of situations. Faith enough to believe that goodness will prevail in the end.

For my loved ones I want hope. Abundant hope. Hope in tomorrow. A hope that helps them believe that better times lay ahead so they can take that next step.

For my world I want love. And I believe that the solutions to most of our biggest problems will only be found when we decide that we are indeed one family. The problems of war, health care, crime in city streets, immigration and unemployment take on a different hue when I am talking about my brothers and sisters whom I love dearly. Do you also want things you can’t buy? What if we all decided to go after those things this year that truly matter? That could be the greatest gift of all.

— Steve Goodier

Steve, quite by accident, has stated the theme of my entire site. We are one people, one world, one family, when we are talking about brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts and uncles, there is no distance we would not go for them. When we broaden OUR horizons and become more inclusive, rather than more separatist, then will solve the problems our one world lays before us, together, always together. :^)

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

The Blue Bird of Happiness

October 7th, 2009

This is all Steve Goodier, a wonderful story, and a little spin at the end, that would be me. :^)

BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS

A sign in a pet store read, “If anybody has seen the Bluebird of Happiness, would you please notify this pet store?”

Happiness seems to be in short supply for many people. If the results of recent surveys can be trusted, there is a general decline of happiness in today’s world. And people were not all that cheerful a few years back! It was Oliver Wendell Holmes who stated, “I might have been a minister for aught I know, if a certain clergyman had not looked and talked like an undertaker.” (I have to say, though, that some clergy and undertakers I’ve known could teach the rest of us something about joy.)

Joy and happiness are not always the same things. Happiness can be thought of as more of a temporary, emotional condition, often based on outside circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is deeper. It is often contentment in spite of the unsettling present. We can be basically joyful, regardless of a particular unhappy situation that we may be enduring. It is sometimes just a matter of keeping perspective on our troubles, and especially when those troubles seem to be in long supply.

You may know the story of the man who had a marvelous way of keeping joy in his life. He was a carpenter. He followed the same ritual every day when he came home from the job. He stopped by a small tree in his front yard and placed his hand on a couple of branches. Then, when he walked into his home, it was as if a magical transformation had occurred. All of a sudden, the stress was lifted from him. He became energetic and joyful, able to fully interact with his children and his wife.

He explained it this way: “That tree is my trouble tree. When I come home I stop by the tree and, just like I leave my tools in the truck, I leave my troubles outside of my home. I hang them on that tree before greeting my family. Anything that does not have to come in my house stays outside. Anything that I do not have to deal with at home, I leave on that tree. And in the morning, I stop by the tree and pick up the troubles I left there in the evening.”

Then he adds, “It’s a funny thing, though. Every morning I always find fewer troubles remaining than I hung the night before.”

Here is a man who has no doubt seen the Bluebird of Happiness. Chances are, it is nesting in a tree just outside his home.

There is wisdom in knowing that some problems can wait until tomorrow. And more wisdom in knowing what to hang on the tree and what to bring in. Managing daily problems well is vital to maintaining joy.

— Steve Goodier

That is exactly what we struggle with every day. Understanding what is the little problem of the day and what is the big one. And understanding which is which. We all face so many issues and problems every day that it is hard to tell which to tackle first. Steve points out a formula that we can all use every day while deciding what to do next. Always choose the thing that troubles you most. Work on that, feed on that, fix that, and the rest of your issues will fall into place, waiting their turn. Nothing can defeat you, but you. Never forget that. :^) gene

The Last Mimzy

September 11th, 2009

This isn’t new, but rather a repeat, that will for reasons of your own become obvious as to why. Not the best thing I’ve written, but it makes me feel so much better about life. And today I need that. :^) gene

I don’t rent many movies, most genre’s that at one time appealed to me, do no longer. What I mean by that, is over the years I have lost interest in many things that at one time I had a lot of interest in. I think of that as growth, change certainly, but growth as well. For instance, I used to enjoy thriller-type movies, we all love, or many of us do given the success of such movies, the sensation of being safely scared out of our wits as with the “Jason” or “Michael Meyer” type movies. Actually I lost interest in those a long time ago, but I used to enjoy action movies too of the “Arnold” variety, the summer of 1997 found me unable to be in the presence of all that killing, the only one of that genre that I can still stomach, even enjoy, is the original Highlander – I so love the soundtrack, Queen, Freddy Mercury‘s heavenly voice, and the ultimate outcome which though arrived at violently, is ultimately about hope.

So, you can understand, that what is available now that I can enjoy is a rather limited selection. I have some favorites but they all tend to be now movies that demonstrate something good, even wonderful about us, we spirits here having this human experience. I just love the American President, Contact, Regarding Henry, the Kid with Bruce Willis in an interesting role, a handful of others, all movies that I find hope in, that I find what I consider to be the best part of us in. So, though there aren’t really all that many movies, I do find interest in these days, still sometimes, Jenna will take me to Hollywood Video and lead me through the place, I’ll look at lots of things, most of which I have no interest whatsoever in, but what will eventually happen is I’ll find myself standing in front of something which does, that she wants me to see. For instance, City of Angels, lol, which they have but one copy of and which is not new, but which she actually had me ask for by name a few months ago and which she has since asked me to watch once again – that is the movie in which I first heard Sarah McLachlan, by the way. I’ve come to some very out of the way movies this way as I am wandering and she just sort of stops me, or I stop somehow, right in front of what she wants me to say – not at all unlike the way Book 1 came to me.

This past week, I was up that way on another errand and she asked me to go in, so I did, this guidance works in what I’m sure some will think an odd way, she doesn’t tell me WHAT to do, but urges me toward something she wants me to do, or see. We do have very specific conversations, long ones sometimes, about a lot of things, but when it comes to choices, those are always mine and mine alone. Again, because this is my experience not hers, and there are no scripts. Free will here really does mean exactly that. So as I wandered the store, looking at the new things, nothing really struck my eye, until I came to the Last Mimzy, a kids movie really, or so I thought upon first glance. But she said, THIS, is what I’d like you to see, gene. So I picked it up. It is a sci-fi movie, really, and though I love sci-fi, I don’t watch a lot of those movies, because, well, again, they are too violent for my taste.

I want to tell a little story here about how that came to be. I think it was a gradual sort of weaning process that began in me long before Brandon died. I used to be just a voracious reader, we are talking many books a week growing, mostly mysteries as those were what my mother, the only other reader in my family, liked. I found a couple people at my work who shared that interest and we began exchanging Robert Ludlum and Dick Francis books, but sometime 15 years or so ago, my taste just began to change, I was troubled by the violence in fiction, I think I started to see our “fantasies” as affecting our lives. I know there are no studies that prove television, or movie, violence begets physical violence, but I think the more one sees that, the more one becomes inured to other people’s suffering, the more one comes to believe that the end justifies the means. And I don’t. Believe that. This was, of course, Jenna’s gentle influence in me that caused this gradual turn away from that genre of print and screen media. It is a rare show I will watch that has much violence in it. For instance, in its first season, I really liked Criminal Minds, because of the thoughtful, insightful way they were able to characterize human behavior, but they had to come up with a new serial killer, ever more horrible, every single week to keep the show going. And that is NOT what our world is, it is NOT what our country is. There are people here who do evil things, yes, (don’t worry we’ll talk about judging another time, what that means for us as human beings I mean) but we do not have new serial killers every week. They are, blessedly, rare, few and far between. So Criminal Minds lost me. I could not live with the horrors they dreamt up no matter how brilliantly acted and presented they were.

When the movie part of this first became obvious to me was the summer after Brandon died. I tried to go see a new “Arnold” movie, xxxxx, and I found myself so overcome by the violence in it, that I left after less than 15 minutes, I was literally panic-stricken by it, I felt like I could die right there in the theater and I just couldn’t stay. I thought maybe it was ALL movies, but it wasn’t, Contact came out that summer and I made my oldest, my remaining, son, go with me – just in case. But it was wondrous, not horrifying – I was already a Carl Sagan fan and had read his only novel, but still, I wasn’t sure if it was movies, the crowd, or the dark, or the genre that had terrified me so. I learned watching Contact that it wasn’t the theater, the crowd, it was the violence. The next summer, on the CWG list, people were extolling the virtues of Saving Private Ryan, what great lessons it taught. My question to the group was, given its subject matter, was, was it bloody and violent? Yes, was the answer, but the overarching lesson was not. I knew I could not see it, so I listened to the discussion and said that if I ever did see it, it would have to be when it came out on video, so I could watch it on a small screen, in a place where I could shut it off for periods and watch it in chunks if I needed too. I have seen it now. About a year ago. And, yes, the idea that drove it was a noble one, and I was able to deal with the violence of it – I’m stronger now than I was back then, but I am as horrified by movie violence as ever. Even more so by the real violence taking place all over our world, but so graphically depicted in what happens in the middle east every day. There is no greater blasphemy, in my opinion, than killing in the name of God.

Back to science fiction. :^). I said I loved it, but that isn’t completely true, I really have only read two authors, and all of their work, I own, most I have read so many times, I could write them from memory, lol. I don’t agree with all of what they wrote, by any means, but there is so much eternal truth in their work, and so much good, that for the most part, I can excuse any excesses I found. And I really only found those in Robert Heinlein‘s work, he has SO much right, so beautifully, but I cannot abide the way he has characters treat each, beginning with Stranger in a Strange Land, a wonderful book in many ways, his characters, grew ever more rude personally, sort of in the way people who know each other well are teasingly insulting to each other? I can’t stand that. It is passive-aggressive cruelty in my opinion. We ought be more loving to those closest to us than to anyone else, in my judgment, not less. A cruel comment is a cruel comment no matter how much you love the person to whom it is made. Those of you who have been to my main site, know this is what brought on, or accelerated my awakening, interpersonal communication of less than a polite nature. I have bought, read, and thrown away one of Robert’s books at least three times over this issue. His early work was directed toward teens and young adults, I still have those and I love them, this issue was there too just not to the degree that it appeared later. I just find that unfortunate, because he was SO far ahead of his time in SO many other ways. The other sci-fi author I read, though I came to him as an adult, was Isaac Asimov, I have nothing to criticize about him. I loved everything he wrote, I think it was prescient and compelling. And coming.

So, the last Mimzy, we come full circle, though a “young” movie, Jenna wanted me to see it. When she does this, wants me to see something in particular, whenever we get to that point in the movie, or book for that matter, she tells me clearly, THIS is what I brought you here to see, gene. And in this case, though the whole movie is wonderful, what she wanted me to see was at the very end. A little speech that, really, ends the movie. I paused and copied down what was said. “But Emma’s tears were the instruction’s for an awakening. Our precious quality of humanity had been turned off. And it spread like wild flowers. People shed their protective suits and over time humanity blossomed again.”.

In my opinion, humanity has YET to blossom. We have NEVER been all that we can be on this planet. THAT is what I think is coming, an age, not an era, but an age, where we will become a true civilization, one people – one world. Where will be able to lay down our weapons and build a little bit of heaven right here on this beautiful blue oasis of love given us by our Creator for this very purpose. That humanity is due for an awakening to the truth of ourselves, to remember who we really are, and to begin to live THAT experience here on Earth. And then, we may take ourselves to the stars, where experience of all manner can be had, where what has happened here may well be forgotten, until sometime in the millennia to come, Emma’s tears are remembered and humanity blossoms again wherever it has taken root. It requires will and strength and sometimes violence to gain a foothold on a planet, to become the dominant species on a planet, and in that doing, the truth of us can be lost as we become immersed in the experience of simply living. Robert talks about this beautifully in one of his very best books, Time Enough For Love (the story of darling dora), but the experience of forgetting who we are only to eventually re-member, is how we ourselves evolve, from creatures, back into the love we are. The last Mimzy is worth seeing, dear ones. much love, :^) gene

Man’s best friend, My bff, My Cisco

August 9th, 2009

This week I lost the best friend I have ever had in this life. Cisco, born 11/14/1995, died 08/07/2009.

I want to just talk a little about this furry wonder who came into my life when he was 7 weeks old weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces and full of spunk already. He was a Lab/Shepherd cross, though he looked all Lab but he held his ears like a Shepherd, which made a lot of people think he was a wolf, because he was so big, and jet black, but for the tips of his toes and a splash of white on his chest. But there was nothing wolf-like in his being, he was just a huge bundle of love.

I consider him to be my furry grandchild, my Cisco. He originally belonged to my youngest son, Brandon. All Brandon wanted for his 20th birthday was a dog. So we went to the local Humane Society, Anoka County, USA, and as we walked in, there was this little guy in a HUGE cage all by himself out front. They said he was too little to be back with the others. I don’t really understand that because all of the others were also in cages. I think it was so we would see him first. We looked at all of the beautiful animals they had back there and Brandon couldn’t make up his mind, so I said, let’s look at that little guy out front again. I stuck my finger in his cage to touch him and he bit me. Then sat down and smirked. I told Brandon I think he’ll be fine, he said okay, dad. After I wrote the check, they said you might notice he’s a little noisy. He was the last of a litter of 7, 7 pounds 7 ounces and 7 weeks old. What could go wrong?

That first night we had him in a big box next to Brandon’s bed, his room adjoined mine. Cisco cried all night long. He’d cry and cry until his voice got hoarse and would give out, he’d be quiet 30 seconds and start again. The next morning Brandon said, Dad, I don’t think I can handle another night like that. I said, I don’t think I can either. From that night on, Cisco slept with Brandon, that was all he wanted, companionship. They told us he’d get to be about 60 pounds, but he stopped growing at 7 months and 115 rock solid pounds, tall and strong as a bull.

Brandon got caught up in a horrible drug, crystal meth, over that next year and a month after his 21st birthday he committed suicide. He’d had Cisco for 13 months, though all but a few weeks of that time he was with me in my home. Cisco is how I got through that. There were so many days I didn’t want to get out of bed at all but I did because he needed me.

Labs have horrible separation anxiety. I thought it funny that when Brandon was out, Cisco would chew his shoes. But when Brandon died, he shifted his love to me. I’d leave for work and as I got in the car, I’d hear him cry as if the world was ending. And while I was gone, he’d chew. Walls, floors, furniture, woodwork, I couldn’t believe he could get his teeth into some of those things, but he did. They say dogs can’t remember what they’ve done wrong so they have to be corrected immediately, in the act, or they won’t know why they are being chastised. Bull.

I have two ways into my house, through the garage door and the front door. A couple of times I left through the front door to go across the street to a convenience store and came back in through the garage door. Cisco would be sitting at the front door watching it. So I’d say, what are you looking for? And he’d jump like I had scalded him, I only got away with that a couple of times, from then on and to this day, when I leave one door, he goes to a spot where he can see both doors and greets me from there.

For 11 years he did that every time I left and came back. Unless he’d done something he knew I wouldn’t like, if he had, he’d be on the other side of the dining room table, where he could still see both doors but be hidden, and I’d find him peering at me from under the table. Some times I never did find out what he’d done. Others were obvious and some as I looked around I found. But he could not help himself, he busted himself every time. So those who say dogs don’t remember are full of it. Cisco was living proof.

We were so fortunate he and I. Both had good health, he used to run with me until knee surgery stopped my running. But we explored the world together as much as we could. And then two years ago, he began to age. Since then there have been many good days but also many where we had to be content to just be together. And truthfully, that was enough for both of us. As I told him often, we were just two guys who lived together, loved each other and took care of each other. Believe me, I have had many moments where he alone has kept me grounded and sane, when I was lost and through his love, he found me and brought me back to life, through my grieving, through the travails of life, he always stood firm against anything that wasn’t pure love.

But a year ago he got arthritis in his hindquarters and had been on pain/anti inflammatory medication since, and we couldn’t take those long middle of the night walks anymore. He started coughing about two months ago, a month after his annual checkup, I thought it might be allergenic, those darn cottonwood seeds that float through the air. But it didn’t pass and I took him back to his doctor. It turned out he had an enormously enlarged heart and the larynx in dogs passes right over it, that pressure is what is caused his cough. He knows that disturbs me, because he sounded as if he was hacking up his lungs, and I’d ask him, are you okay buddy? So somehow, he managed to suppress that while I was downstairs with him, but when I go to bed, I’d hear him start and he not stop all night long.

He’d been falling, since this past winter. I have a screen door, with a lift-up glass pane for the winter, and when I’d take him out sometimes my hand would slip off the handle and the door didn’t open, it is full of dents from him hitting it at full speed, which is the way he has always exited our home. He suddenly couldn’t do that anymore. This past winter when he’d try, he’d slip and fall, never before did he do that, he always navigated the snow and ice as if they were nothing.

In the past month, he has begun falling in the grass outside, wasn’t always able to get up from the linoleum in front of the door, his preferred spot. I’ve had to lift him up and once on his feet he’s been okay. He lost 25 pounds over the last year, which still left him a very big dog at 90, but in the past two weeks he’d been increasingly unable to stay up at all. His doctor added two heart disease medications and another pain reliever over the past two weeks but none of them helped.

Two weeks ago one evening when I got home and took him out, he stumbled like a drunk, his head and legs moved one way and his hindquarters another. He had bone spurs throughout his hindquarters. Were that me, I wouldn’t even try to walk. But he did. He didn’t want me to know he hurt. But when he’d fall, and that particular day he fell 10 times, he looked at me with the clearest communication we’ve ever had. His eyes said “help me”. So I did. He’d squat and fall into his stool, so I wiped his butt and brought him back in telling him what a good boy he was.

When his doctor told me, last week, that there wasn’t anything more we could do for him, I knew I had to let him go. He was suffering, though he tried SO hard to hide that, I couldn’t let that just and so the day I’ve dreaded for years finally arrived. It is his time, I know, but somehow I always hoped he’d outlive me and yet in another part of me, I’ve had this vision for years of him passing quietly in my arms. And that’s what was. That little bundle of love who gave me reason to get out of bed each day when Brandon died because he needed me, well, I determined to give him the love and respect he deserves. He’s the background on my phone and the reason I’m still here – love that knows no bounds. If he can, I can. We all can. God made no mistake in creating dogs, and it is no coincidence the dog spelled the other way is God. We could learn so much from them, I have, unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, no matter what you do to them or let be done to them, they love you without reservation anyway. We humans could take a lesson from that. If Cisco has a legacy, let that be it. I love you no matter what, no matter why, and forever. That’s his answer. And my own commitment to the dear ones in my life. I want to thank all who have been, and are, so important a part of my life. If you have need, call me. I WILL be there. Cisco taught me that.

I still, a day later, can’t believe we have had our last everything. Thursday afternoon I took the afternoon off and we visited places we used to go all the time, that was HARD, partly because he hasn’t the strength to get in the car and I have to lift him and he doesn’t like that and partly because it was the last time we’d ever be there together again. But we did it, we walked where we walked when he was a baby, we looked at the bank of the river that he flung himself into when he was 6 months old. I have to tell that story here, we were walking in a nearby wooded area through which runs a creek, I had him off leash so he could sniff as he pleased. We came upon two boys at a bend in the creek, they were on the other side swinging on a rope out over the creek and dropping into it. He looked me right in the eyes and as was so often the case, I could read his mind, he was asking, can I? I smiled and said go ahead, buddy. He started running AWAY from me but turned into a tight circle and headed for the bank. It was at least a six foot drop to the creek and he sailed out to the middle where he landed with a huge splash, the two boys on the other side shocked as all get out and laughing so hard I thought they’d fall over too, he came up sputtering, looked at me as if to say, WHAT did I just do, swam back, clambered back up the bank and did it again, at 6 months his Lab instincts were very much there. He loved water in any form, snow included. So on this past Thursday we walked slowly and he snoofed as much as he pleased, and then I cooked him a very rare steak. He can’t manage the stairs anymore, so Thursday night I slept on the couch downstairs near him, as for most of his life, he slept upstairs next to me, I didn’t mind the coughing, not at all.

I’ve seen several stories about this experience, one of my favorites is the one where a man dies and meets his dog and won’t enter any place that won’t allow his beloved friend in too. And as someone, maybe Will Rogers, said, if dogs aren’t allowed in heaven, then I want to go where they go. But the story I like best is the Rainbow Bridge. There one day I hope to re-unite with Cisco, and a few others of his loving kind who have been important too, in my life, though none more than he. Along with many humans who have been too. But this is not about them, it is about him.

I will never stop missing him, I will never stop loving him. I will be 60 in a few weeks and he is the last dog I will ever have and he wasn’t even mine. I’m his grandpa, not his dad, though as has been pointed out to me, he IS my dog. Which I do know. And I love him with all my heart still. 12 1/2 years alone together, and 13 1/2 years of life is not nearly enough. I am NOT done loving him and he is NOT done loving me. He has been my rock, strong when I’ve been weak. And had I the power I would have spared him this weakness. He has been a monster, strong as any truck all of his life, that he cannot be what he has always been was killing him. And me. I know it is his time, but I feel a Judas nonetheless. I pray he will forgive me for what I have done. I WILL never stop missing him. My furry grandchild, my beloved Cisco.Cisco

An update and a few words

July 14th, 2009

For those of you following my son’s story on CaringBridge, you’ll know that is where I’ve done most of my writing the past, nearly three months now. His accident and his slow recovery, now beginning a long and painful rehabilitation process, has consumed my time and attention pretty much completely since April 23.

But he is recovering, his last surgery, we hope – there is some question yet as to whether he suffered an injury to his left shoulder that will need more than rehabilitation, was three weeks ago to perform plastic surgery, a skin graft, on his left foot and heel. That was successful and in another week he should be able to bear weight on that leg, for now they are just working his right leg, having him stand, last week that required assistance, this week, yesterday, he got up himself and stood on his right leg for a full minute. That doesn’t sound like much but considering he came within an eyelash of dying April 23rd, that it took 12 hours to stabilize him enough for surgery his doctors weren’t sure he’d survive, that coming out of that surgery they thought they would have to amputate his left foot about halfway up to the knee and that he then spent the next 5 weeks unconscious, tethered and sedated. Tethered because when he’d come up a bit out of the sedation, he’d buck like a bronco trying to get out of that bed, he did NOT like being tied at the wrists, though that was only to prevent him pulling tubes out of himself, tubes that were keeping him alive, and sedated because when he wasn’t he’d buck like a bronco. Yes, circular, but the truth nonetheless.

There were periods during those five weeks I thought he was gone, his eyes would open look blankly at the ceiling, no light in them at all, no recognition of anything, then close again, but we were assured there had been no deprivation of oxygen so no anoxia and no brain damage, which in itself is a bit of a miracle. I’ve told him, we all have, that he definitely had an angel sitting on his shoulder that night, because in the interim, I’ve seen many stories (in the way that once you get a different car, you suddenly notice them everywhere, when before you hadn’t noticed them at all?) of people having the sort of accident he did and virtually none of those people lived. He has no memory of the accident at all, a blessing that.

But at 5 weeks he came back to us, got moved to a long term acute care facility, got pneumonia and went back to the original hospital, North Memorial, got that cured and went back to Bethesda where he is still. His real rehabilitation only began last week. He still has a lot of pain in his right thigh, understandable considering they cut a tunnel from mid calf up over his knee a few more inches to insert the rod into his femur, then cut another six inch slice in the side of that thigh so they could repair the femur and attach the rod. There’s a lot of scar tissue there, cut muscles take a long time to heal, I recall from a long time ago when I had my appendix out the old way when I was 15. But it has begun, it will be a full year before he is really back to normal again, or as close to it as he’ll ever get. No idea how long he’ll be in a facility, but his medical bills are over $120,000 as of 7/20, a small portion paid by his auto insurance, we are a no fault state and they can’t look to the driver because he lied about having insurance when in fact he had none.

And so many people think we do not need single payor national health care. I’d like to prescribe some medicine for every legislator, every lobbyist, every lawyer, every health insurance official myself and that would be to sit down and watch Michael Moore’s wonderful documentary, Sicko. We brag so much about our health care but our statistics are dismal compared to other countries in virtually every category. Oh, sure, the RICH have wonderful health care, but no one else, and many have none at all. Single payor works in every country Michael visited, CUBA has better health care than we do, Americans go THERE to have procedures done they can’t get done here and at virtually no cost. Yet we have this cowboy mentality that says if it is American it is the best. The real truth is: That ain’t true no more. Not by a long way. We need to get there sooner rather than later and if that means a few HMO exec’s stop making 7 figure salaries, well so be it. We could do this for a fraction of what we are spending in Iraq. Yet lobbyists are screaming as if the world would end should this wonderful thing come to be, the AMA, which represents about 20% of American doctors is dead set against it, we hear a LOT about them, but not the other 80%, many of whom DO support the idea as in the best interest of their patients. We could DO preventative health care rather than emergency medicine which is SO much more expensive. It WILL happen, even if in increments. Because it makes so much sense spiritually, humanly and fiscally, though all the arguments use those three things as a basis to deny this need to the American people. Lest anyone think, I became an aficionado of this idea after Evan’s accident, well dig through the archives a bit, lol. And believe me when I tell you I gave copies of Sicko away as Christmas gifts last year. It is an idea whose time has come, my son’s desperate situation notwithstanding. So anyone reading this, I’ll debate it with you, I’ll send you a copy of Sicko, and I’ll ask you to ask your Representative and Senators to support it. It is time, this is right, and we need act. I hope to be here more often, but time still is constrained, though it is in me that will not be so for much longer. We’ll see what happens then. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Dark night turned into a bright new day

May 24th, 2009

I’ve not been here for a bit and while doing some housecleaning thought to check back in here and noticed my last post. I thought I’d best update things!

Evan spent a month in the Critical Care Unit of the ICU but last Thursday was moved to the “normal” ICU. He had us all very worried for much of the month and I’ve spent most of my non-working hours there with him. He was mostly comatose, kept that way, for three weeks. On the rare occasion his eyes would open, they were a blank, vacant stare. No sign of him at all. But last week, he suddenly began improving again.

They had begun weaning him off the respirator last weekend, until then he had been unable to sustain breathing on his own at all. I think the problem was, not only the severity of his asthma, but the smallness of the passenger seat compartment in the vehicle he was riding. He had severe bruising on both sides and I think his sides were hammered by the center console and the caving in of the passenger door multiple times during the accident, severely bruising his lungs. Once THEY healed, he was able to be weaned off the respirator, by the end of last weekend, he was breathing on his own entirely, and Monday night when I got there to visit him, the first thing I noticed was the room seemed empty – that was because the respirator had been removed. He was breathing entirely on his own, through the tracheotomy site, receiving slightly moistened air, but initiating breaths on his own. His improvement since then has been remarkable.

Friday evening when I arrived, they had installed an ingenious little device that allowed him to talk, on his own, hands still tethered, but when I came into the room, he looked at me and said, “hi, pop”. My son was back in his body, mind lucid, no memory of the accident but fully conscious and hardly able to believe he had missed a whole month. His wounds are healing well, he still has a lot of pain with the right leg and hip fracture and the left ankle is being kept going by another device, a wound vac, that is usually used with burn victims, which flushes the area 24/7 with fluids and nutrients. The sole of his foot was reattached with staples, which were removed this past week, as the reattachment “took” and there is healing going on there. It is still likely he will need a graft of some kind as he lost so much tissue, but he will keep his foot and a plastic surgeon will make it functional. He will be moving from the hospital to a care center in two to three weeks, where he will begin rehabilitation, to learn to walk all over again and regain the strength in his body. He has virtually none now, they removed the tethers from his wrists yesterday, but after over a month in one position, everything is sort of locked in one place and it is excruciating to move, even though vocational rehabilitation has already begun to help him regain range of motion and strength in his arms and shoulders. Anyone who had seen him bucking like a bronco as the medications would wear off over the past three weeks, trying to get out of bed, would find it hard to believe that he is now this week. Drugs are powerful fuel though and the enforced position has left him weak as a kitten. But the news is all good and he will again regain the strength of a lion, it will just take some time. And more time with him is what we have now, thanks to the angels of mercy, they call RN’s, who work 12 hour shifts with just two patients in the Critical Care Unit and whose professionalism, kindness, expertise and optimism kept our whole group of family and friends going these past four weeks. They are selfless and dedicated and marvelous human beings. And their ranks are being cut by 100 thanks to the skinflint we have as a Governor, Tim Pawlenty, Mr. No Taxes on the rich, who is preparing to end any sort of medical care for single adults, employed or not, able to care for themselves or not, so his rich friends aren’t inconvenienced in any way. For a party, Republican, that bills itself as Christian they seem to know little of how Christ treated the poor and infirm. That will be another post. This one I will end with a small prayer of gratitude to my Jenna and the angels who work with her for giving me back my only child. Thank you. Much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

What dark night is this?

May 1st, 2009

So, my third post of the year. Why? Well, the year has been taken with concern for and dealing with my only remaining child. He has been dark and depressed for most of the past three years as he separated from his wife, I will not go into why here, that is his and hers, and this isn’t about fault, for none of us are perfect. Still, it has been a long and contentious process and they are not yet divorced. He has taken more than his share of that weight on his shoulders. Much more. He has hated himself and the world. He has lived only for his children. He has struggled with alcohol. He decided six weeks ago to cleanse himself of that addiction, found and entered a treatment program. But he was too smart for his own good. Those of you who have come here from my main site know that I lost my youngest son a bit over 12 years ago. I have cherished my remaining son, my eldest, in the years since, though he too, as well as his mother, has suffered from the loss of our littlest one. Each of us in our own have absorbed blame we did not, perhaps, deserve for Brandon’s final act. He chose for himself. I wrote at length about my own part in the post about complicated bereavement. Knowing what happened to me within has not changed how I feel within. My oldest is a very smart man, he’s got an IQ of 157 and is as smart a man as you will ever run across. But he has a demon following him, a demon that follows many and has strewn many of our family, on both sides, across the fields of life and death.

Evan decided to enter a treatment program, found one and did. He attended two and a half weeks. After his Tuesday session in the third week, when I picked him up, he talked all the way home about how the evening had gone. His group leader had made some statements, categorically, which Evan knew to be wrong. And he spoke up, proved the truth he knew, and changed the dynamic of the group. From that point on, people asked his advice on issues, his take on their situation, the group leader as she threw out new questions to the group would say, what do you think about that, Evan? In his fourth meeting, he was running the group. That was a huge mistake, not his, he was being himself, but the group leader who allowed it to happen. It isn’t a new thing, Evan has been a leader all his life, people are drawn to him, and they want to do what he wants to do. When I would take him out to play at 5, before that I kept him inside, and he’d meet with other children, within minutes whatever they were doing stopped and they were doing what he wanted to do. He never commanded, or threatened, or did anything but be himself, they just wanted to do what he wanted to do. This has not always served him well. For to be a true leader, one needs the wisdom that comes with age and experience, to lead without that, can have dire consequences. All his life he has led whatever group he associated with. He is a dynamic but not domineering presence. And he has great compassion. But his choices have not always been wise. They’ve been his and he’s been successful with them, he only ever got in trouble when he relied on others to do their part and they couldn’t be him. I worried that night and the next day over how that last session had gone. He was feeling his oats, cocky, and in control. But that is NOT the point of treatment. The point of treatment is to recognize that something has power over you that you cannot control, and to learn mechanism’s to take back that control. In this case, his demon was alcohol.

I went to bed Wednesday night at 10, he sat downstairs fighting the urge to drink, and lost the battle, he took a cab to a bar, met a young man who had been of legal age for 2 days, celebrated with him and let him take him home rather than taking a cab as usual. I don’t know all of this yet, though it happened on April 23rd. The reason I don’t know is that at 2:23 that morning, that young man, on a residential street with a speed limit of 30 mph, was driving 80 mph, 30 feet from a stop sign at an intersection that ended that street. There was a gentle curve leading to that intersection, he couldn’t navigate it, and they drove through the curve into a yard and hit a large mature tree head on. The driver was thrown through the windshield and was up making calls in a couple minutes. Evan was trapped in the passenger seat as the car wound around the tree, the engine flew into another yard, part of the firewall came back into the passenger compartment and sheared off the sole of Evan’s left foot, leaving a gaping wound 7 inches long exposing the bone and cartilage of his left foot. The passenger door caved in and broke his right femur, shattered his right hip, and the dash crashed into and cracked his sternum. His scalp was lacerated and had to be reattached. He obviously saw it coming because he threw his arms up in front of him and his arms looked like he’d been in a fight with a mountain lion, and lost. He has been unconscious, in critical condition, in the critical care unit of a level one trauma hospital since that night.

It took 7 1/2 hours of surgery that night to repair his right femur and hip. It took the rest of the morning and day to save his life, THEN the surgery. I wasn’t contacted until 12 hours after the accident. When the investigating detective went to the hospital that morning, she asked if the family had been contacted, the staff said no, they had been busy trying to keep him alive. They can be proud, they did. Angels of mercy are they, who work 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, without regard to holidays, secular or religious, because lives depend on their care. They are modern day living angels.

So. He’s been unconscious most of the time since, under heavy sedation and pain medication. Only one night was he lucid enough to react to my talking to him. Currently only three people are allowed to see him, at his express wish that night he was semi-lucid. He doesn’t want anyone to see him as he is. I don’t blame him. That he has been unconscious is merciful. That machines can tell when he is in pain and relieve that pain is a modern miracle. That I cannot hold and hug and tell my son that everything is going to be alright and he’ll be whole again is hell on earth. Twice now this experience. Am I blessed or cursed?

At least this time, my son is breathing, albeit via respirator, but his left ankle is so badly damaged that if they can save his foot, and that is far from certain, it will be always deformed. Was there a divine purpose in this horror? Obviously the group he was in for treatment was NOT right for him, group members are there to learn, not control. Did he need a lesson to learn that? Did he need to be humbled so that despite his intellect he could finally understand that intelligence alone is not enough to survive in this world? That we need each other to do that? His angels. Those who care about him? Those who are devastated by what has happened to him. Will he emerge from this a stronger, better man? Will he survive at all? All questions I cannot answer. He has had various procedures done unto him these past days, each has caused its own trauma. His asthma is so severe that it complicates everything the medical people are doing, he goes into respiratory distress during procedures. Today his blood pressure went over 200 and his heart rate over 150 as they LOOKED at his ankle and performed a tracheotomy so the intubation tube could come out of his throat after 9 days. His eyes never even fluttered while I stood by him, though he grimaced with pain in his drugged slumber.

The sole of his foot MUST reattach, or he will lose it completely, it is a horrible wound. If the sole finds his soul and reunites, a skin graft can be done to cover the gaping hole left by the tissue torn away during the accident. He will always have a deformed foot, but he will be able to walk, if. It will be a 6 to 9 month rehabilitation process, 4-8 weeks in the hospital and then a care facility, at the moment the high end in the hospital is looking most likely because they are treating his trauma and his asthma is getting palliative care and THAT is what is causing his respiratory distress. He has has asthma since he was 5 I know what respiratory distress looks like and this is worse. I have twice given the trauma station people his asthma specialists name and number, they MUST coordinate care with him, because what they are doing now for his asthma is palliative and that isn’t enough. Two weeks ago he began a regimen of three injections every two weeks, each series costs $7000.00. He’s had one, the next is due on Monday 5/4, and he won’t get it.

I am dealing with his business, I’ve a list of 13 things that have to be done, people that need to know things, that have to be informed, insurance, police, agencies. There is an SSI appeal going on because we filed a claim last fall and though the specialist the SS administration sent him to, showed 17% lung function in the lower half of his lungs and 40% in the upper half, they denied his claim. Why? Because the fact that he had been able to work for 8 of the previous 10 years proved he could work. Completely ignoring the fact that because his asthma has gotten so bad the last 2 years he hasn’t been able to work at all. His lawyers are sure we’ll win that. So am I. But then there is also the divorce, the consequences of his alcohol induced errors, his car, his recovery and rehabilitation. And so much more. I’ve had a headache for 4 months, I find myself hoping it is a tumor because I will not seek nor accept treatment for it. I’ve not really slept since Brandon died and watching Evan in this state is even worse. Brandon was one night, Evan is so strong he is holding on and fighting, but I feel like Chief Joseph, I wish to lay down my weapons and fight no more forever.

For any who wish to verify, or visit, or see, or understand. I have a web page set up for him, he could use your prayers and good thoughts. http://www.caringbridge.com/visit/evanj731

The Beautiful You

March 17th, 2009

From Steve Goodier’s wonderful newsletter:

We place great emphasis on a narrow idea of physical beauty.

In an American history discussion group, the professor was trying to explain how, throughout history, the concept of “beauty” changes with time. “For example,” he said, “take the 1921 Miss America. She stood
five-foot-one inch tall, weighed 108 pounds and sported a 30-inch bust, a 25-inch waist and 32-inch hips. How do you think she’d do in today’s version of the contest?”

The class fell silent for a moment. Then one student piped up, “Not very well.”

“Why is that?” asked the professor.

“For one thing,” the student pointed out, “she’d be way too old.”

Good point — she’d be way too old. But beauty is a peculiar thing, for it means something a little different to each of us. And it isn’t always about appearance. Sometimes beauty is a quality that softly shines from inner depths. And you may actually radiate more inner beauty than you realize.

An elderly woman noticed that her granddaughter felt embarrassed by her freckles. “I love your freckles,” she said, kneeling beside the girl and admiring her face.

“Not me,” the child replied.

“Well, when I was a little girl I always wanted freckles,” the grandmother said, tracing her finger across the child’s cheek. “Freckles are beautiful.”

The girl looked up. “Really?”

“Of course,” said her grandmother. “Why just name one thing that’s prettier than freckles.”

The little girl peered into the old woman’s smiling face, aglow with kindness and love. “Wrinkles,” she answered softly.

The physical beauty of youth will fade. But the beauty of a spirit, when nurtured, can grow forever.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A God Too Small

February 17th, 2009

From Steve Goodier:

A GOD TOO SMALL

I enjoy a story about baseball great Joe Garagiola. He once stepped to the plate when his turn came to bat. Before assuming his stance, however, fervent Roman Catholic Joe took his bat and made the sign of the cross in the dirt in front of home plate. Catcher Yogi Berra, also a devout Catholic, walked over and erased Garagiola’s cross. Turning to the astonished batter, Berra smiled and said, “Let’s let God watch this inning.”

If I were God (and thank goodness I’m not), I think I would have wanted to simply watch the inning.

I likewise appreciate the story about an old Quaker who stood during the church meeting and told his fellow Friends about a young man who was not a Quaker and who lived an undisciplined life. This young man invited a pious Quaker friend to go sailing one day. A sudden storm came up and the wild young man was drowned. Having made his point, the old Quaker sat down.

Silence returned to the meeting until the old man once again arose.  This time he said, “Friends, for the honor of the truth, I think I ought to add that the Quaker also drowned.”

And if I were God (and again, thank goodness I’m not), I think I would have felt sadness for both losses. Neither was a greater tragedy than the other.

I know that religious piety can be a wondrous and beautiful thing. But it disturbs me the prominent role religions have historically played in wars and brutality over the ages. If I imagine a god so small as to favor those who think like me, worship like me and act like me, then I know very little of life and less of faith. I can’t help but think this world would be in better shape if the gods most of us believed in were a little bigger.

— Steve Goodier

I love these little synchrhonicities that pop up along the path.  I was thinking about this very thing this weekend past.  Wanting to bring the conversation here back to the books I started this blog with.  And the thought that kept running through my mind, is how we humans have crafted God to be as small as we.  Each side, no matter what the debate, claims to have the support of God.  People, virtually always men, but increasingly, in the middle east anyway, women too, are willing kill innocents because they believe their particular book, or their interpretation of it, means they must either convert others to their brand of piety, or kill them.

We humans in our forever religious fervor try to make God as small as we feel.  When the truth is so much greater than that.  We may, or  may not, have been created in His image, although that does seem to leave the female population out in the cold, so to speak, but what we have done with that idea over the centuries is use it to write books in which we condemn all who believe in other books to death and damnation eternal.

When I think along those lines, I always wonder how people can take them seriously.  What sort of God would allow the creation of 6000 religions and then expect each of His or Her children to FIND that ONE true religion, even if born in a part of the world that has never heard of it, and then condemn to eternal torment all others?  Well, I have an answer to that question!  No sort of God would do that.  No sort of parent would do that.  Which brings me then to the idea that it isn’t God who wrote those books, nor came up with those ideas, it was men, for the purpose of exerting power over other men, and women and children too.  How?  By causing them to live in fear.  Our creator is not fearful.  Look to my main site for descriptions of what it feels like to be, even for a few seconds, in the presence of God, because that is what I believe I experienced, and why that site exists, to speak to that truth.  God is love.  Humans are fearful.  And the last thing God wants is for us to fear Him/Her.  Our creator is so much more than we puny humans with our never-ending bloodthirsty will to kill everything and everyone who dare have a different idea, or believe in a different book.  I tell you all those books are lies, concocted by humans for human purposes, not divine.  The closest words of truth that you will find about our Creator are contained in Conversations With God, Books 1 and 2, by Neale Donald Walsch.  And in my next post, soon, I am going to talk about what God says there and the truth of those words.  Until then, much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Breaking the Silence

January 21st, 2009

Which will be welcome news to some. I think. I’m still not sure how much I will be writing, but I will again be writing. While on my hiatus from this blog, I’ve been fully engaged in life, struggles, issues, day to day things that have, and continue, to consume my time. However, one of the things I’ve done is consult with a family therapist, no, not related to the complicated bereavement issue I wrote about before, but, yes, in a way that was, is, part of it. It is shocking, really, how deeply the loss of a child affects an entire family. I don’t mean for a few moments or months, either, the echo’s of a suicide reverberate through time, it seems endlessly. While time itself makes the wound bearable, it leaves scar tissue that is exceedingly tender and which can be cut, again and again. Sometimes in completely unexpected ways, others in more predictable ways, but it isn’t just me who has been affected by Brandon’s choice to leave the earthly plane, but our entire family, in ways both obvious and not so much. It’s hard to decide what issues that have arisen since that horrible event are attributable or had their beginnings with that event and which did not.

So, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have my remaining son living with me, since August, 2008, for the first time since he was 21. It has taken time to get to know each other again, for me to get used to having someone else in the house where I’ve lived alone, but for Cisco, for 12 years. There have been and are frictions, most not caused by our living together, but by issues in his own life that have caused him, justifiably, enormous pain and stress. Those issues continue, which is why I saw a family therapist, to try to find ways for me to cope with this situation. He has his own ways and needs, our interests don’t really coincide, except in a handful of areas, and that in and of itself causes friction, sometimes more. It has not and is not, easy. For either of us. I have faith though that we both will be okay. One of the ways I’ll be okay is to write again. That was the suggestion of my therapist, there were others but they aren’t relevant here as this is my blog, not True Confessions, lol. So, I am going to start making time for my own interests again, things I’ve ceded or given up entirely, this blog being one of those things.

I’m not going to begin by going back to the books, though that IS where I will be going, today, I just wanted to reintroduce myself, talk a little about why I’ve been gone, and then talk a bit about a discussion I had following President Obama’s inauguration. I was on a message board where someone said he was confused about why the world cared about this event, that the President is President of the United States adding somewhat ominously, yet, and that this one in particular was little more than an empty suit. So I responded with what I see as reasons for the world to join the American people in celebrating this event in the following way.

“I don’t doubt your confusion. But what the world sees in the ability of an overwhelmingly white country to elect a man of color, is hope. Hope that if we can set aside racial differences, trust our leadership to a man of color, that their own lives might be bettered. Perhaps that the rest of the world too might be able to achieve a peaceful transition of leadership every few years. But mostly I think they feel hope that a new America is emerging. An America that can lead the world to a place of peace and prosperity globally.

I share that faith and as a veteran of the Viet Nam conflict and a white male, I applaud what this country did last November. So does the rest of the world. President Obama is far from an empty suit, he will lead us through the challenges we face with courage, integrity and honor. The world is a better, safer place for what America has just done. And the world, though perhaps not you, recognizes that.”

What some Americans fail to recognize is that although our nation is overwhelming white, the rest of the world is not. That a man whose father, as he said in his speech, would not be served in some restaurants, to say the least, 60 years ago, could rise from poverty to the highest office in our country, supported by millions of white voters, IS an event of global significance. There were parties and celebrations around the world as the inauguration took place. Every person of color in our own country can hold their head a bit higher today. It is no longer acceptable for persons of color to allow hopelessness to dominate their thinking, to believe that the way things were is the way they will always be. Every child of color in this country will grow up KNOWING there is no more glass ceiling, that cannot be used as an excuse for bad behavior, for lack of effort, for giving up before getting started. Hope is the one thing the world cannot live without.

Hope is what this election brings to the world. Hope for a new way to live, a new path to follow, a new experience to have, hope for an America interested in and committed to, the well-being of every citizen of this wonderful planet. I think that is a wonderful thing and as much as I believe we need a female head of state too, I believe we first needed to prove to the world that we are not a nation of racist cowboys, that we as a country, repudiate the events of the last 8 years, indeed also the events of the early years of country when we counted people of color as less than fully human and unworthy of freedom and a place at our table. I believe this election proves and demonstrates that we are committed to amending what wrongs we have done and that we will support the cause of freedom for all the people of our planet.

I think Barack Obama is the perfect choice at the perfect moment in history to lead this challenging country, indeed, the planet, though he is not, as the original writer pointed out, President of anything but America, it is still true that America leads the free world. I think a substantial percentage of the world will enjoy increasing freedom and prosperity through the efforts President Obama will undertake and, I believe, successfully bring into the light. He was right about one thing, more than any other, in his speech when he said: “And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” It has long been my own position that the business of the public, if it cannot be conducted in the open, cannot withstand public scrutiny, probablly should not be conducted at all. Closed door meetings during which decisions are made, without the consent of the American people, are wrong. If you can’t say it in public, then you probably should not say it, let alone do it. I can’t begin to tell you the excitement and pride I feel at this new juncture in American history, indeed, Earth history. This President has my full confidence and abiding faith that he can bring the world to one table of thanksgiving. May it be so. Much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A goodbye

December 9th, 2008

I am shutting down writing for a while. This blog was never the main point of my buying this website name in the first place. My main site One People – One World was, and is, the reason. I’ve been told this should be about the light, well, there is very little of that in my life these days for many reasons. It is hard to see the light in the midst of a very dark tunnel and that is where I find myself of late. So, I’m going to just stop. For a while or forever, I don’t yet know. But for now certainly as I find myself afloat, a ship without an anchor, so I leave for some period of time with this song:

Goodbye Stranger

It was an early morning yesterday
I was up before the dawn
And I really have enjoyed my stay
But I must be moving on

Like a king without a castle
Like a queen without a throne
I’m an early morning lover
And I must be moving on

Now I believe in what you say
Is the undisputed truth
But I have to have things my own way
To keep me in my youth

Like a ship without an anchor
Like a slave without a chain
Just the thought of those sweet ladies
Sends a shiver through my veins

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I’ll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Goodbye stranger it’s been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye mary, goodbye jane
Will we ever meet again
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Now some they do and some they don’t
And some you just can’t tell
And some they will and some they won’t
With some it’s just as well

You can laugh at my behavior
That’ll never bother me
Say the devil is my savior
But I don’t pay no heed

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I’ll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Chorus, repeat

Remember, please, if today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light. Mayhaps, I’ll see it and we will share a cup of coffee and talk it through. :^) gene

Boogie

December 5th, 2008

My youngest son’s nickname among his friends was Boogie, so this made me mist up a little, but it is a wonderful site, be sure to scroll down, there are wonderfully wise words that fit life perfectly and a nice little tune too. :^)

Boogie

Merry X’s to you my son. love, :^) dad

I’m not hearing sound there, but I know it is there.  And it isn’t my speakers…

I think I have it.

November 29th, 2008

I finally have it, my purpose, why I came here, gawd, is this a relief!

I am here to teach the world how not to be. Not of the scale of a Hitler, but of a more personal nature. Hitler taught us how not to be on a global scale, I teach how not to be on a one to one scale. So, an example am I. I hope the world notices. Because what I’ve done, how I am, is important as an example of how not to be. We are learning as a species how to get along on a global basis, it is important, too, perhaps even more so, that we learn what not to do on an interpersonal basis. I can be, I am, the poster for that. Signing off, love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light: Heed him. ^) gene

We need each other

November 29th, 2008

Okay, this starts with a Steve Goodier piece. Please read it. Then read me, sorry I took most all of that out, too dark. So it turns out I don’t have a lot to say about it. Though I don’t understand why, well, I do, but I don’t get why I can’t get it. Or can get it but with everyone except those closest to me. Somewhen, this part of life left me. And for the love of humanity and God, I cannot find the spot in the forest where last I saw it.

WE NEED EACH OTHER

Many living things need each other to survive. I have lived for most of my life near trees known as Colorado aspens. If you are familiar with this tree, you may have noticed that it does not grow alone.
Aspens are found in clusters, or groves. We’re told that the reason for this is because aspens can multiply from the roots. They send up lots of new shoots every year. These become saplings that grow quickly and make new baby aspens of their own. In some groves, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots. It is as if they are one tree.

Another tree, the giant California redwood, may tower 300 feet into the sky. We’ve seen pictures of tunnels carved into massive trunks wide enough to drive an automobile through. It seems they would
require the deepest of roots to anchor them against strong winds. But instead their roots are actually shallow — they spread out wide in search of surface water. And they reach in all directions,
intertwining with roots of other red woods. Locked together in this way, all the trees support each other in wind and storms.

Aspens and redwoods never stand alone. They need one another to survive.

People, too, are connected by a system of roots. We grow up in families that nurture and guide us. We learn early to make friends who support us in different ways. We are not meant to survive long without
others. And like the giant redwoods, we do best when we hold onto one another and help each other to keep standing through life’s storms. We need others to hold us up, encourage us and to stand with us.

When I’m not doing well, it is often because I am going it alone. I don’t always let others in. I forget to ask for help; I keep my problems to myself. And though I may not see it, others around me might be doing the same thing.

It helps to remember how much like those trees we really are. It might be time to let someone else help hold you up for awhile. Or perhaps someone needs to hang on to you.

All I really wonder about at this point is why this seems not be true for me. I have yet to experience the joy of a healing touch, or presence. Would that I could. Much love, :^)gene

I add this, because I always do, though I no longer know what it means, it has just been within me forever. If today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Gifted for something or do you have vision?

November 24th, 2008

Steve Goodier tidbits on Life and Love, continued:

GIFTED FOR SOMETHING?

I heard of a woman who operated a daycare for children from her home. As she transported children in her car one day, a fire truck zoomed by. The kids were thrilled to see a Dalmatian on the front seat, just like in the old-time stories.

They began a conversation about the duties of a “fire dog.” One child suggested that they use the dog to keep the crowds back. Another said the Dalmatian is just for good luck. But young Jamie brought the argument to an end when he said, “They use the dog to find the hydrant!”

He reminds us that we all have useful abilities, if sniffing out fire hydrants is a useful ability. Some of our skills are apparent. Some are hidden. Some probably haven’t even been discovered. Some can be improved with work — lots of mine fall into this category.

Madame Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (she won two), said this about giftedness: “Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

I like that. “We must believe that we are gifted for something.” Do you believe you are gifted for something? Do you know what that “something” is?

American football’s William Floyd probably thought his athletic ability was his greatest gift. But then he injured his knee halfway through his 1995 season with the San Francisco Forty-Niners. The talented athlete was out for the rest of the season. It was then that he found a gift he may not have known he possessed.

William Floyd still wanted to contribute and he did NOT want his self pity to spill over to the rest of the team. So he stood on the sidelines at every workout and in every game and encouraged his teammates on. He shouted and cajoled; he motivated and consoled; he became a dominating presence and a source of great inspiration for his team. He had a remarkable ability for bringing out the best in others.

At the end of the year, his teammates voted him the player “who best exemplifies inspirational and courageous play.” As much as they needed him on the field, they discovered how much they needed him on the sidelines, urging them to do and to be their best. I wonder if his newly-found life skill, his gift of positive motivation, could prove more useful than even his athletic ability?

What if we believed we were “gifted for something”? What difference would that make? And what if we believed we should do something about it? What difference would that make? What difference COULD that make? I think a lot of life is about finding that out.

Gene completely agrees!

HOW’S YOUR VISION?
One woman laughs about the time she took her 14-year-old daughter and her daughter’s best friend to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert. They were all fans of “oldies” music from the 60’s and 70’s and felt lucky to get front row seats. When they returned home, her daughter said, “During the show, we looked back and saw hundreds of little lights swaying to the music. At first we thought the people were holding up cigarette lighters. Then we realized that the lights were the reflections off all the eyeglasses in the audience.” (Thanks to “Reader’s Digest”)

My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, either. But as Helen Keller (who could neither hear nor see) said, “The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision.” Maybe I should be more concerned with my vision than with my eyesight.

There are numerous stories of people who lacked vision. A Hollywood producer scrawled a curt rejection note on a manuscript that became “Gone With The Wind.” He had no vision for the success that movie would enjoy.

Orville and Wilbur Wright felt excited. On December 17, 1903, they had finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for 59 seconds. Immediately, they rushed a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio, telling of this great accomplishment. The telegram read, “First sustained flight today fifty-nine seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas.”

Upon receiving the news of the successful flight, their sister was so excited that she rushed to the newspaper office and gave the telegram to the editor. The next morning the newspaper headed the story: “Popular Local Bicycle Merchants To Be Home For Holidays.” The hapless editor saw what was obvious, but missed the real story.

Vision is never about seeing the obvious. It’s about looking ahead; about seeing what is not there — YET. It’s often about seeing the potential behind the obvious.

Like the potential in people. Spotting the potential for success in a student who, as is obvious to everyone else, will likely fail.

Or recognizing the potential for something good to come from a situation others are writing off as lost.
If we want to see what is really going on, we will need to learn to spot what is not there, then act on it.

So… your eyesight may be perfect, but how’s your vision?

Now, then, as I am back in control of the keyboard, what do you think of that? Perfect eyesight but lack of vision. I wonder if it isn’t lack of vision that keeps us standing still or mired in the past, rather than looking forward, using the present moment we talked about in the previous entry to build toward a future of our own design. I don’t think any great artist started a project by simply splashing paint randomly on a canvas, then again – I don’t really get modern art, lol, or sat down to write without an idea of what to write about, or began a series of physics experiments aimlessly. No, I think for anything to have a chance of real success, we must first find that inner vision, then work to make our outer vision match the inner. If one does that, well, I think that one might be called a master, for he or she will have discovered that the path to happiness always goes through ones own heart, that the road to success, however one defines that term, goes through ones own thought process, originating within and perhaps ending there as well or being shared with the world at large. In any case, be it micro or macro, it begins with an inner vision – that vision may not be one of beauty, it may reflect a woeful life, but it also contains within it the seed to a life filled with love and purpose. The choice is always our, whether we believe that or not, and it begins with what we do with each precious moment of life we are granted, living in that moment and shaping it to our own will as determined by our inner vision. We are all but models in clay, what we become, what we do, what our finished product looks like when we reflect back on our lives, is and has always been, within our control, no matter where we live nor what we believe, this is a truth which is universal. Life IS what you make of it. The choice has always been yours. And mine. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A complicated life

November 24th, 2008

Many people wish their lives were less complicated. They remember a carefree time and dream of returning to a simpler day. They yearn for more freedom. Less worry and more laughter. If only they could trade some of today’s complexity for yesterday’s simplicity.

American essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner said, “Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”

Rudyard Kipling yearned for less when he said, “Teach us to delight in simple things.”

Author Augustus Hare observed that “the greatest truths are the simplest — and so are the greatest men.”

Maybe it’s time to make a decision for greatness; a decision for simplicity. Maybe it’s time to let go of that which weighs you downand walk with a lighter step. Maybe it’s time to love life again.

Now even if you don’t play golf, the analogies below hold true. Truer than one might think. I think. :^)

PRECIOUS MOMENTS

I probably golf about as well as a slug wages war…. In fact, out of consideration for my friends (I embarrass them), I quit playing with anybody I know. It was too hard for them to watch. But I can still appreciate what a golf enthusiast said about the game.

He listed three mental techniques to improve one’s golf game. And the great part is this: these techniques not only help to improve a game, they can help all of us live better lives. They are mental attitudes that can help you and me live more in the moment and less in the past or the future. Here they are… golf tips for better living.

1. Resist the urge to add up your score as you go along. If you anticipate your score, you’ll be distracted from the task at hand.

In other words, live more in the present. Clear your mind of past mistakes and even past successes, and try to think only about the here and now.

2. Focus. Concentrate on hitting great shots rather than worrying about bad ones or what others will think if you miss. Visualize the ball going to your target.

This is a terrific technique for daily living. Focus. Concentrate on doing the present task well rather than worrying about what others will think if you should “mess up.” And get a picture in your mind’s eye of succeeding at the thing you are doing right now.

3. Keep your mind on the hole you’re playing. Don’t think about how you are going to play the last hole.
This is about resisting the urge to think ahead. If we pay close attention to the present, the future will take care of itself. Our present moment is full of power and wonder. It deserves our full attention.

Writer H.G. Wells once noted, “Man must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind him to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery.” Anybody can get more out of life who concentrates on and cherishes the here and now – and we’re not talking about golf.

The present is too important not to pay attention to it. One doctor said, “I have learned from speaking to many cancer survivor groups that (when you have cancer) the watch on your hand no longer says, ‘Tick, tick, tick.’ It now says, ‘Precious, precious, precious.'” When the present moment is precious, everything else takes care of itself.

Gene asks: Now, did you notice what all of these tips have in common? They are not about understanding the past or setting goals for the future. They are simply about living in the present moment.

And then I note: That may be easier said, or written, than done, but it is wonderful advice anyway. I try to look at life as if this moment were the only ever. Because in all truth, it is. We are present only in each moment, the past is gone and unchangeable, the future yet to arrive and despite our best intentions and plans, we have no real idea what the next moment will bring. Anyone who has ever been surprised by the next moment, be it a call of warning or news, good or bad, or the spilling of that coffee cup on your keyboard, we simply are not constituted to “know” what the next moment will bring. Therefore the only moment we have, the only one we can affect, or make completely what we wish it to be is the present moment. And it is there that we live. Decide to make each of those current moments precious and see what sort of tapestry you build. Think of each moment as a brick in a road you are building that constitutes the path your life takes, or a brush stroke on the canvas that depicts your history as well as your future. See what happens when you worry only about enjoying the moment you are in, because, truthfully, there is no other moment at all. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

What message does the 11/4 election send to the world?

November 5th, 2008

I’d like to think that what America did last night was not only unique but momentous, one of those moments that changes history forever. I know the world was paying close attention to this election. I hope that the message the world “gets” from it, is the same one I see.

Yes, in America, we still manage a peaceful transition of political power every four years. We do not need nor countenance armed revolution to effect change in our society.

Yes, in America a black man CAN be elected President, we are an open society in which anyone who meets our constitutional qualifications can wage a campaign to lead this nation. For the first time in our history, that will not be a white male. It will be a highly educated black man with an enormous agenda, the drive and determination to see it through, and the patience to work through our political process to achieve goals that will benefit not only Americans but the world.

I hope the world sees that we Americans are NOT all cowboys, able and willing to settle every disagreement with bombs and warships. I hope that some of our former allies will once again come to sit at our table and that many who thought this nation was composed of nothing but war wanting confrontationalists, will now see that our open society demonstrates that freedom is not to be feared but cherished. I hope President-elect Obama will bring his unique style of oration to the world and offer our resources to not only help the world at large but heal it as well.

I hope and believe that he will end the fiasco in Iraq and finish the only fight we should have started in the first place, with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, find him and put him on trial for the world to see. I would have been willing to fight Afghanistan long ago simply for what they did to women, the Taliban, those religious icons whose only foreign export is drugs. They are not religious icons, they are drug lords and deserve no better treatment than any drug dealer the world over might expect.

I know the world was watching and I hope everyone everywhere in the world sleeps a little more soundly tonight for the bells of change are ringing clearly and we would invite you to walk this path with us. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light. :^) gene

What role is racism playing in the 2008 election?

October 26th, 2008

In keeping with the completely non-political theme of my blog, giggle, I submit today an email I got this week. Just read it. You’ll get the point. :^)

Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders.

It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared.

Facts are powerful!!

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?…..think about it.

Would the country’s collective point of view be different?

Could racism be the culprit?

*Ponder the following*

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage,including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to hisstandards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn’t read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

*Educational Background*
*Barack Obama* Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a specialization in International Relations, Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

*Joseph Biden* University of Delaware – B.A. in History and BA. in Political Science, Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.

John McCain*

United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin* Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester, North Idaho College – 2 semesters – General Study, University of Idaho – 2 semesters – Journalism, Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester,
University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in Journalism

Education isn’t everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.

You make the call !!!!!!!

If today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

That Ol’ Jet Airliner

October 20th, 2008

Listening to the radio the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing a song from my younger days that has had me turned inward a bit. It’s an old Steve Miller band song called Jet Airliner. The part that keeps running through my head is the first verse, “Leavin’ home, out on the road, I’ve been down before, Ridin’ along in this big ol’ jet plane, I’ve been thinking about my home, But my love light seems so far away, And I feel like it’s all been done, Somebody’s tryin’ to make me stay, You know I’ve got to be movin’ on.”

That pretty much sums up where I’ve been the past couple months. I feel like its all been done, yet I feel I have a part yet to do. The somebody keeping me here, is of course, Jenna. It is she who is my lovelight and she who tells me I have much left to do here, even if I feel its all been done, she says no one has done what I will, nor in the way I will. So though I feel my “home” is calling me, it is here that I have to stay. Which puts me in a sort of push-pull situation of the kind I really don’t like. Part of me is pushing and part of me is pulling and it is hard for me to know which part to let win. The stasis is Jenna, it is she who swings the balance here for me, she is the reason I keep on keeping on – which is also in that song. Part of my feeling within, is how long must I. Steve sings that you’ve got through hell before you get to heaven. And I believe there is no such place as hell. Rather I believe that life on earth is what hell is. Because here we do not know who we are nor where we come from, nor remember our life there, our Creator. For me, hell is having forgotten these things – and a bit more than a little of having to listen to the world fight about exactly that. It matters not what reason the parties involved give for the fight, whether that be countries at war or two guys at a bar, or for that matter, two guys or two girls in a ring engaged in “sanctioned” brutality – I do not consider any event in which the sole purpose is to do harm to another, sport, which lets you know how I feel about boxing and ultimate fighting, etc. – fighting, with fists or with words, to me, is an always wrong thing to me. And while I do not believe in mythical hell nor a mythical Satan, I DO believe that when are separate from the knowledge of our home and our creator, when we are uncertain about what to do or believe or that there is any place but this one for us, that we have indeed descended into Hell. Unfortunately for us, our experience does not last but three days only, it lasts the entire course of our lifetime.

Why? Why do I believe this? Because I’ve seen the light of home, I’ve felt the peace and love that go with those lights, that exists in the presence of those lights, and though they were but seconds long experiences, nothing that has happened in my entire life here on earth can compare at all. The highest level of joy I’ve experienced here was the birth of my sons. And with one, it did not end well, and I’m not sure it will with the other either. No other experience approaches the joy I felt in the presence of the light globes. Not even close. I guess then, that the length of our stay here, is also the length of our stay in hell. Though certainly not all of the time we are here can be called hellish, because it isn’t. There are many wonderful moments and days and weeks and years in which we are quite happy and content. Real hell is when we lose our connection with the love that made us. And we do that in many ways, personally and generally, as people and nations, as members of one religion or another which vie with each other for converts and believers, particularly those religions which are willing to kill to prove themselves “right”. I’ve said before that I think anything which divides us is not of divine origin but human alone and I include in that statement every religion that exists or has ever existed. I do believe that at a point in time yet to come, we will overcome those divisions and understand that we are in all truth, one. At that time, religion will cease to exist, it will be replaced by love. And we will not be a civilization until we reach that understanding and our faith in it is such that nothing can shake us loose from it, nor from each other.

None of which makes living this life any the easier, I know. I am living proof of that as are many, if not all, of you. In a way I can both understand and accept that. The road to heaven passes through hell. The rational give in CWG is, well, rational. You can’t know what one thing is if you have never experienced anything else. Here OR in heaven. We can’t know what hot is unless we know what cold is, we find such things out here in the relative universe, along with a lot of other less pleasant dualities. And, we can’t know what love is, until we have an experience involving a lesson about what love is not – and there are many of those to be had here too. War, divorce, alienation, mental illness, physical disabilities, death. Since we come from a place where love is all there is, it makes sense to me that our creator would give us an opportunity to know how wonderful THAT place is by allowing us to experince what it is like being in a place that is not like our home. So I get that. But I don’t have to like it, because the experiences I have called to myself have been so difficult, I’d like to think I could have realized how wonderful home is with a good bit less difficulty than I have through what I have lived through, seen and done. Jenna says though that all of it was necessary, that I could not possibly be the man I am without the life I’ve lived. She says that is important. I can’t argue, but I don’t have to like it. Just accept it. Which part is easy enough because I can’t change the past, only remember it. Nor can I see the future, other than in the way we all do, if I do this, then that will likely happen, we can see the future consequences of our actions, but we cannot see behind the curtain. Death is the only way we can do that. God says in CWG that death is the most wonderful moment of our life here because in that instant we are again home, where love is all there is. And I gotta say, even here, I have been a homebody, and I am very much looking forward to being one in my original home.

When waiting is filled and my time here complete, I will be both grateful and ready. I’ve learned a lot here, about who I am and who I am not, about what happens when we forget the highest part of ourselves, and, of course, what can happen when we have NO IDEA at all about who we are, where we came from, who our creator is, and where we are going when we leave this existence. When we forget those things, and the vast majority of people living on this planet have, thoroughly and completely, forgotten any memory of home, which is what allows us to be so barbaric to each other everywhere across this planet, from the caves of Afghanistan to the corporate boardrooms to the spirit crushing rule of dictatorship to the selfish rule of freedom as in my own home country, where the prevailing attitude is “I got mine, screw you”. Love is not known in these circumstances and conditions. I guess so that when we return to our real home at the end of our lives here, we will appreciate home even more than we did to begin with, because having lived in conditions in which love was not present, we will understand and feel more clearly appreciation for our creator and for our life there. But I gotta tell you, it seems an awfully long road to that final destination. It may all have been necessary as Jenna says, but if I were doing the designing, well, there are parts I would have left out. Since Jen says it was all necessary, then it must be so, she is not capable of lying, nor dissembling, nor even misleading me. Still, I yearn for the love and peace I left behind when I came here. And truth is, I don’t ever want to leave that again. She says I won’t either, that this is my first and last trip to relativity. And what I say to that is thank God! Once was more than enough for me. There is more, much more, and she says, as God does in CWG, that everyone has an opportunity to have every experience, to be the audience and to be the actor. Poet, pauper, piper and king. We all have the chance to have each of those experiences and a virtual infinite variety of others. And most of us will choose to do so. I will not. So she says. And, I feel deep within the truth of that. And, woo hoo, is all I have to say about it. There is good in choice. May you all have that which YOU choose. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

So, let’s talk a bit about politics.

October 8th, 2008

You’re right, this isn’t normally a political blog, nor is it my intent to turn it into one now. But it is not possible to be alive in this world now and be unaware of the connections between our spiritual and political lives. I suppose one might also need economic lives at this point given the current state of the American and world economic conditions.

It seems that many in America are deeply influenced in their political lives by their particular spiritual traditions. We have in our constitution protections for spiritual liberty, the idea being that each of us should be allowed to practice whatever faith tradition, including none, we have without interference from our government. That is a far cry from, for instance, Islamic countries, where Sharia, or Islamic Law, IS the government and none other is tolerated. There are gradations, of course, but ours is a secular society and was designed to be so by those who wrote and established our constitutional form of government.

So where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you. Various groups in this country, including the Republican and Democratic parties, claim to have kidnapped Jesus and have exclusive knowledge of His will for us. And they will use His words, or His Father’s, selectively to “prove” their point. There are those who would have us believe that were He here now, He’d be driving a big old truck with a gun rack and watching Nascar. There are those who would have us believe He’d be marching in the streets with those demanding things like universal health care and secure retirements for all citizens. Truth be told, my own inclination, and my Jenna, have me squarely in the second camp.
But, and this is a huge caveat, since He is NOT here among us physically, NONE of us has the right to speak for him, nor tell others what to do on His behalf. If you wish a certain outcome, be man, or woman, enough to say so on your own without trying to sway your listeners by also claiming to have His backing. Because you don’t. When He wishes to make known what He wants, other than what he is quoted as saying, sometimes in documents written more than a hundred years after He returned to where we all come from, He will. Until then, use the persuasive power of your own intellect to move others toward the reason of your position, not invoke someone who is not actually running in this, or any other, election.

That said, I want to comment a bit on the current presidential campaign. I am not an “undecided” voter, by the way, I will vote for Obama on November 3rd without doubt unless evidence comes to light between now and then that convinces me he is a serial killer or something. There are several reasons for my certainty that he is the candidate I want elected.

First, 8 years ago we had a budget surplus and a 5 trillion dollar national debt AND a plan to have it reduced to virtually nothing by now. Now we have a half trillion budget deficit annually and a 10 trillion dollar national debt. That tells me that something we did in the last 8 years did NOT work. And that something is the SAME thing John McCain proposes to continue doing. He has taken to blaming Congressional Democrats for our difficulties, but it must be noted that the Republican party controlled both Houses of Congress from 1994 to 2006. He is part of that history. One of my favorite movies is the Coen brothers, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, for a lot of reasons, beautiful, varied music, wonderful writing, superlative acting and a fun story line. One of the things I remember from that movie was the incumbent governor’s campaign staff suggesting he run as a reform candidate. He reacted by throwing his hat at him and saying, you can’t run as a reform candidate when you are the incumbent. Someone should suggest John McCain see that movie. He can’t run as a reformist, he IS the incumbent in this election or his party is. THEY got us to where we are today.

Second, Sarah Palin. I simply cannot accept the idea of that woman being a heartbeat from the presidency. She may be a qualified governor, but I don’t think she’s been in office long enough to even know that much about her. What I do know is that she has no experience in any area of national government and what I know of her views I completely disagree with. I understand John met her twice before naming her to his ticket. Can you imagine what THAT says to the rest of his party? I have looked high and low throughout the land and the next best Republican, to me, of course, qualified to be president, is NOT one of you in the lower 48 with substantial governmental experience but rather this woman I met in Alaska who likes shooting wolves from airplanes. Sorry. I don’t buy that argument and frankly do not understand how the rest of the Republican party has either.

Third, after 911 we had the largest outpouring of support for our country we have ever had, the largest amount of good will aimed at us, felt for us, and we have squandered it completely with our arrogant and unilateral approach to global affairs. I believe Obama will be a bridge-builder, not a bridge destroyer and I believe THAT is what our country, this planet, needs right now in an American president. No one can deny the influence our economy has on the rest of the world as markets in other countries fell just as ours did earlier this week. Some countries are so aware of this effect that they feel they ought have a way to vote in our presidential elections because what happens here affects the world so much. I’m not sure I’d go that far. Today. But it is undeniable that we have become one world, if not yet one people, and that what happens in one sector of the world DOES affect what happens in others. That is as true economically as it is ecologically and meteorology. We humans inhabit this world, we don’t own it. We just think we do. It was here before us and will be when we are gone, however that comes about and there are a number of scenarios to that as well. We need a president who can reach out to other countries and be accepted as a man of peace and honor. I believe the fresh approach of Barack Obama will be better received around the world than the continuation of the failed Bush policies that McCain intends to push forward with.

Fourth, no one wants to talk about race, but it is a factor in this election. It is TIME this country had a president of color and it is time we have a female president too. That will come. It WILL come. Obama’s election will do more to raise the hopes of our citizens of color than anything that has come before it. Suddenly young men and women of color will have a role model who is not an athlete but a world leader. He will give them hope, something so many in our inner cities lack completely. The hope of a tomorrow that is not what today is. Generations of Americans of color have been raised to believe that what they have is all they can ever have, that every business, every institution, including our political institutions, had “glass” ceilings beyond which they could not go. Obama’s election will demonstrate to them, the disenfranchised, that in all truth, anyone can become President of the United States. I think that will do more for the hopes of young Americans of color than any number of professional athletes ever have. I think it will help them believe that they too can do anything with education and hard work. He will be good for America in so many ways, I find it virtually impossible to believe he won’t be our next President. And if my vote counts, he will be. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

People, Ideas and evolution.

October 7th, 2008

Wow! I bet you are wondering where the H this is going, huh? :^) So do I. As I’ve mentioned, my own personal life has been in turmoil and change for the past couple months as my son has moved back home. After living alone for almost 12 years it takes a good bit of time to get used to having another person in the house. Particularly one who does not share your own perspective on things. He and I agree on most things on a global/political scale, but when we move from macro to the micro, well, that just isn’t the case. I’m not a neat freak, a look around my place would soon prove that, but he has absolutely no sense of neatness whatsoever. He has problems and issues, lots and lots of them. I won’t violate his privacy by going into any of that here. But I gotta tell you it drives me nuts being his maid. He never picks up, rinses off or puts anything away. Putting an item in the sink, to me, does not mean you are through with it, it needs be rinsed and put in the dishwasher. He doesn’t get that part. Floor are not closets which doesn’t seem to be the way he thinks either. It isn’t that we haven’t talked about these things, in fact, I’m pretty sure, he thinks they are all I talk about. I’d quit talking about them, if he’d begin doing them. He doesn’t make that connection either. There are a lot of compromises that need be made in living with another human being. Just how many I’d forgotten after so many years of it being just Cisco and I. We’ll get through it, but it is not easy.

Which explains my absence here. Well that and another knee surgery in mid-September. I had a torn meniscus in my right knee three years ago and had that arthroscopically repaired. That one was a piece of cake, I was okay from day one, could take care of myself and Cisco, recovery was swift and easy. This one was not like that one. That tear was on the inside of my knee, this one was at the back of the meniscus and it was very hard to find so the surgeon was in there twice as long as the first time. When I woke, the nurse really encouraged me to take crutches. I thought, piffle, I didn’t need them before why would I now? Still she insisted, so I took them. Good thing too, because for that first week I could do nothing but take pain meds and lie on the couch with my leg in the air and an ice bag on it. The extra time in surgery and having to trim away a lot tissue and poke and prod just to find the tear caused a lot more swelling and pain than the first surgery did. It’s been a month now and I am still quite sore. The week I took off last time for recovery, this time turned into two full weeks and a third of half days. I suppose it doesn’t help that I keep crashing into things either, lol. The day before I was to come back to work, expecting full time, I took a tumble down the stairs. I thought I could come down normally but as my left leg took my full body weight it buckled and down I went. Nice thick carpet though. Still, my knee blew up on me and that familiar fire under the patella – which had just disappeard on the Friday before came back. I saw the surgeon the next day and he said no damage he thought, I just “stirred” things up in there a bit. And my right knee looked worse than the left from the rug burns, lol.
So recuperation is still ongoing. And the time I used for writing here is not all mine anymore. When I was living alone it didn’t matter what time I ate, or if even, but with two of us we need more regularity than that. Hard getting used to. Jenna says not for long will it be like this. Gene says good and thanks. I love my son with all my heart but living with him ended 15 years ago and at some point I will need my life back because there are things I have to do, want to do, that Jen and I have been talking about for years. And I WILL, if ever I am able. She says I will be and I say good. But still in this moment, this is what is.

What brought about the topic idea in the subject line was a discussion I had with my son about inconsistency. He thinks I am inconsistent in my approach to life. He is sure that is whim, when I want one thing, I am okay with it, at other times I am not. I am supposed to be on a restricted fat/cholesterol diet, but it is his observation that only sometimes do I follow that, for instance. At first, I thought, no, I AM consistent, just in my own way. Later though as I thought about it, I could see his point more clearly. But what he was seeing as inconsistencies were actually “exceptions” I made when with him. He assumed that was how I ate all the time, when in truth it was not, but I do see how he’d get that impression. The same holds true for other things. There are things I may do on an individual basis that I do not believe would be good for the population at large. For instance, I think that compassion, forgiveness, love for all of life are critical components of a true civilization, but am I those things at all times at a personal level. No. I’m not a perfect person. I am a work in process, in the midst of my own evolution. A process I think will continue until my last day. I would like very much for my largest ideas to fit perfectly into and be mirrored precisely in my private life as well. But they are not. Yet. That is a goal, an objective, not a truth. It is my desire that I grow closer to that larger truth by the day, yet I can see from without, that others may see things I do not, or interpret things I do as not consistent with my avowed truths. So that is where evolution comes in. We are each a work in progress, we evolve each day, some of us perhaps devolve on some days, in fact I am quite sure of THAT too. But even baby steps ARE steps. And as long as there more of them taken forward than backward, I find that to be progress. A setback, of whatever nature, does not eliminate all that went before and does not mean one starts all over again. It is like falling down the stairs in a way. You land and lie there a moment checking to see what works and what doesn’t, then you pick yourself up and continue on. Life is just like that. Don’t you think? much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Moments to remember

September 6th, 2008

Steve Goodier has a nice piece in his newsletter this week. He’s talking about the way we remember things. We don’t remember whole days or weeks or years, we remember moments in time. At least, I do. Fleeting moments, that never really leave, that are evoked from time to time through a memory trigger of one sort or another. So look over his words, I’ve a few of my own, and a song, following. :^) gene

MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
Have you ever noticed that you do not remember days, you remember moments?

A strange story about immortalizing moments comes from the book SPIRITUAL LITERACY (Touchstone Books) by authors Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. It is about a Brooklyn cigar store manager named Oggie Rand. Oggie has an unusual habit — at precisely eight o’clock each morning, he photographs the front of the store. Always at exactly the same time and from exactly the same spot. Every morning. Oggie collects his daily snapshots in photograph albums, each labeled by date. He calls his project his “life’s work.”

One day Oggie showed his albums to a friend. He had not told his friend about his unusual hobby. Flipping the pages of the albums, the man noticed in amazement that the pictures were all the same.
Oggie watched him skim through the pictures and finally replied, “You’ll never get it if you don’t slow down, my friend. The pictures are all of the same spot, but each one is different from every other one. The differences are in the detail. In the way people’s clothes change according to season and weather. In the way the light hits the street. Some days the corner is almost empty. Other times it is filled with people, bikes, cars and trucks. It’s just one little part of the world, but things take place there, too,
just like everywhere else.”

This time Oggie’s friend looked more carefully at each picture. No two were alike. Every picture was unique, just as every moment is unique. Through a series of photographs, he became conscious of one of life’s great truths — that each minute that passes is special, even sacred.

I’m reminded of something writer Henry Miller said, “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” And those are the moments we’ll remember; the ones for which we stopped everything else long enough to pay close attention.

The advice for me is this: to pay as close attention to each moment as I can, as if I were carefully observing a series of snapshots. I would like to take time to study the moments. If I look closely enough, I know I’ll see that each is unique. Each is sacred. And each holds a special place in time. I suspect it will be these moments — not whole days, weeks, months or years — that I will finally remember. And much of the happiness and joy I will find in life will be because I took care of the moments.

— Steve Goodier

What I take from Steve’s story reminded me of John Lennon’s song, In My Life,

In My Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more

And this I know to be true, in my life, I’ll love you more, each and every moment. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

A Law of Successful Living

August 27th, 2008

I’m not so sure I’d call this a law, it is more a recipe, I think. I am not a believer in Karma, but I am a believer in doing unto others what we would have done unto us.

A LAW OF SUCCESSFUL LIVING

I am impressed by an incident that happened during Ignacy Paderewski’s (November 18, 1860 – June 29, 1941) career. The famous Polish pianist agreed to play a concert organized by two Stanford University students working their way through school. Paderewski’s manager said they would have to guarantee the artist a fee of $2,000. The boys agreed and eventually the concert was held.

Though the two student promoters worked hard, they took in only $1,600. Discouraged, they told Paderewski of their efforts and handed him the $1,600 with a note promising to pay him the balance of $400. But the artist tore up the note and gave them back the $1,600. “Take your expenses out of this,” he said, “give yourselves each 10% of what’s left for your work, and let me have the rest.”

Years later, Paderewski was faced with feeding the people of his war-ravaged Poland. Amazingly, even before a request was made, thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland by the United States.

Paderewski later traveled to Paris to thank Herbert Hoover, who headed up the US relief effort. “That’s all right, Mr. Paderewski,” said Hoover, “I knew that the need was great. And besides, though you
may not remember it, I was one of two college students whom you generously helped when I was in need.”

The story illustrates a law of successful living: sooner or later we will reap what we sow. Paderewski reaped a harvest of kindness he had sown years before. Those who sow love will eventually reap love.
Those who sow goodness will reap even more. Those who sow fear and mistrust will reap an unwanted harvest later.

It’s a basic law of successful living. And powerful enough to change a life.

— Steve Goodier

And, in my mind, this is how we should all be all the time, remembering those who have loved and helped us and passing that forward with each day. :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Preparing for Tomorrow

August 27th, 2008

This from Steve is a piece I can identify with and can endorse wholeheartedly. What else is tomorrow for?

GETTING READY FOR TOMORROW

You heard about the sign posted on a rancher’s fence? On the other side of the fence resides the biggest, meanest looking bull you can imagine. The sign is intended to strike fear into the hearts of
would-be trespassers. It reads: “Don’t attempt to cross this field unless you can do it in 9.9 seconds. The bull can do it in 10 flat!”

Don’t try to cross that field unless you are prepared! And isn’t that the way it is in life? We have to be ready when the opportunity arises or else we will have little chance of success.

Sixth-grade schoolteacher Ms. Shelton believed in readiness. Students remember how she walked in on the first day of class and began writing words of an eighth-grade caliber on the chalkboard. They quickly
protested that the words were not on their level and they couldn’t learn them.

Their teacher insisted that the students could and would learn these words. She said that she would never teach down to them. Ms. Shelton ended by saying that one of the students in that classroom could go on to greatness, maybe even be president some day, and she wanted to prepare them for that day.

Ms. Shelton spoke those words many years ago. Little did she know that someday one of her students – Jesse Jackson – would take them seriously (“Leadership, ” Summer 1992). She believed that if they were
well prepared, they could achieve high goals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” If that’s true, then it is also true that they only become what they are prepared to become. And a lot of life is just about
getting ready.

“I want to be doing something more significant with my life than what I am doing now,” a young man once said to me. He felt like what he was doing was just not that important. Other people have said things to me such as, “I only wish I had a meaningful relationship. ” And, “I’d really like to get a better job, but I just don’t see how.”

You fill in the blanks. What is it you would like to happen that isn’t happening? Perhaps the answer is that you are not yet ready. Maybe you need more time to prepare before you are truly ready for that which you desire.

Think of today as another chance to prepare yourself for that exciting future you are looking for. Today is not wasted. If you desire more from life, then you can use today as training. For you will experience only what you are prepared to experience. Something wonderful can happen. And you can use today to get ready for tomorrow.

— Steve Goodier

Today is a day that will never come again. If time is on a line, each second is a dot on that line, each one unique, each one precious and each one here for that moment and that moment alone, never to be seen again. When you think of your time and your preparation and your life, if you think of it in those terms, you will often find yourselves wondering if what you are doing in any given moment is what you really want to be doing. Need to be doing? No such thing. Want to be doing is the ONLY reason for doing anything. Do you want to? :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

If Life Were Not So Bitter

August 27th, 2008

I’ve barely written at all this month, I know. And it isn’t because I’ve been reading, I’ve not been doing that either. It is that life itself has intervened. Many things, many of those momentous, have gone on this month, I’ll not be airing dirty laundry, or laundry of any kind, here, but I do want to let you all know I am still here. And I don’t like this story. I’ll tell you why at its end.

IF LIFE WERE NOT SO BITTER…

File this story under the heading: “If life were not so bitter, revenge would not be sweet.”

After seventeen years of marriage, a man dumped his wife for a younger woman. The downtown luxury apartment was in his name and he wanted to remain there with his new love, so he asked his wife to move out and said he would buy her another place. The wife agreed to this, but asked that she be given three days.

The first day she packed her personal belongings into boxes and crates and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their candlelit dining table, soft music playing in the background, and feasted alone on shrimp and a bottle of Chardonnay.

When she had finished, she went into each room and deposited shrimp leftovers into the hollow of her curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

Her husband returned with his new girl, and all was bliss for the first few days. Then it started; slowly but surely. Clueless, the man could not explain why the place smelled as it did.

They tried everything. First they cleaned and mopped and aired the place out. That didn’t work. Then they checked vents for dead rodents. Still no luck. They steam cleaned the carpets and hung air fresheners. That didn’t solve the problem. They hired exterminators; still no good. They ripped out the carpets and replaced them. But the smell lingered.

Finally, they could take it no more and decided to move. The moving company packed everything and moved it all to their new place. Everything. Even the curtain rods.

I like the story because of the humor. But revenge is always a poor option if we want to be healthy and happy.

The problem is… we can’t carry a grudge and carry love in our hearts at the same time. We have to give one of them up. It’s a choice we make.

Some resentments are large; they’ve built up over a long time and will not be easy to part with. Some have been fed by years of pain and anger. But all the more reason to give them up.

When we’re tired of the anger and resentment and bitterness, we can choose a better way. We can be forever unhappy, or we can be healthy. We’re just not made to carry a big grudge and a heart filled with
love at the same time.

But I still chuckle at the story.

— Steve Goodier

Now then, the reason I don’t like this story is not its ultimate point, but its mean-spiritedness. Was the scorned wife right to be upset at how she had been treated? Of course. But did what she did make her the victor somehow? Did what she did make the world itself a better place by adding to it a bit of light? Or did we all become just a little darker at our core? I don’t chuckle at the story. I regret it. I regret that for far too many of us, getting even is more important than being right, regardless at whose expense that sense of victory comes. We should all be better than that. Perhaps one day we will be.

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

The Way We See it and Getting it Right

August 4th, 2008

Two wonderful little essays, with a touch of my own thoughts on them. :^)

THE WAY WE SEE IT

The eye doctor instructed her patient to read a chart on the wall. He looked at it and read, “A, B, F, N, L and G.”

The doctor turned the light back on and wrote in her notebook.

“How’d I do, Doc?” the patient wondered.

She replied, “Let’s put it this way — they’re numbers.”

“But Doc,” he argued, “this is the way I see it!”

Much of my happiness or unhappiness is a result of my perception. “This is the way I see it,” I tell myself.

I see some problems as challenges that energize me to action and others as obstacles that stop further progress. It’s just the way I see it.

And sometimes I see new situations as fun, and other times I see them as fearful.

The busyness of my life can be OK if I see it that way, or it can be a major source of stress. And an unexpected intrusion in my schedule can be an irritant or, if I see it that way, possibly the most
important thing I could do that day.

Even an embarrassing mistake can be the beginning of a new learning or an occasion to berate myself. It’s in the way I see it.

One of the greatest blocks to my happiness is forgetting that it is not always about what is happening to me — it’s more about the way I see it.

Like Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” It’s in the way we see it.

— Steve Goodier

It is, you know. Really. Life is as much perception as it is reality. Those who say we are what we think we are, are not far off, for even if we are not something when we begin thinking we are, we may well create that very thing, for good or ill, if it becomes our focus and we come to believe it so. So maybe the lesson here is be careful what you wish for, giggle, or be certain when you do. much love, :^) gene

GETTING IT RIGHT

A young boy was sitting in the back seat of the car eating an apple. He poked his father in the front seat and asked, “Daddy, why does my apple turn brown?” His father answered, “When the skin is removed from the apple, air reaches the flesh of the apple and causes oxidation. This changes the apple’s molecular structure and results in a brownish color.

After a long pause, a small voice from the back seat asked, “Daddy, are you talking to me?”

I know how that boy feels. Sometimes I want answers to some of those confusing problems we all run up against. I want someone to explain how to get through difficult times or tell me what to do in a tough situation. I just want to get it right.

But I think I identify a bit more with the father whose daughter asked him if he would help her with some homework.

“I’m sorry,” he replied. “It wouldn’t be right.”

“Well,” she said, “at least you could try.”

Problem is, I don’t always have the answers I need. And nobody else seems too, either. So I blunder ahead worried that I’ll never get it “right.”

But I’m beginning to learn something about not knowing what to do and making a poor choice. That is — I don’t HAVE TO always get it right. I don’t have to always know what to do all the time. All I really
need to do is try my best, learn from the mistakes and go on.

The affable Dr. Leo Buscaglia once said, “No one gets out of this world alive, so the time to live, learn, care, share, celebrate, and love is now.” Which is pretty hard to do when you’re waiting for the
answers first.

So you got it wrong. You made a mistake. So what? Forgive yourself and try again. Even if you don’t get out of this world alive, you can get plenty of life out of this world if you’re not too worried about
always getting it right.

— Steve Goodier

And there again, is the truth of it. We are all going to make mistakes, it is one of those things that are inevitable, the solution is almost always going to come down to realizing what we have done, making amends if necessary, and then forgiving ourselves and moving on. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Something to pray for

August 4th, 2008

In this piece, Steve shares a wisdom deeper even than he knows I think.

WHAT I PRAY FOR

Many years ago I found a short story about Mahatma Gandhi that I have gone back to several times. It has given me hope and courage. Even if you are not one to pray, I think you will discover that it is useful.

We remember Gandhi as a leader in India’s struggle for independence. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that he brought the British Empire to its knees without firing a shot. He was a small man of great courage. His non-violent resistance was fraught with danger and the cause eventually claimed his life.

Gandhi once spoke about the source of his courage. He related a story about an incident that occurred in South Africa. There was a law directed expressly against Indians in South Africa that he had gone
there to oppose. His ship was met by a hostile mob that had come with the announced intention of lynching him. Gandhi was advised to stay on board for his own physical safety. But he went ashore nevertheless.

When later asked why he made such a dangerous decision, he explained, “I was stoned and kicked and beaten a good deal; but I had not prayed for safety, but for the courage to face the mob, and that courage came and did not fail me.”

I believe he went after the right thing.

Like you, I know what it is to be afraid. I’m afraid of accidental injury, dismemberment or death. I’ve been afraid of a pending medical diagnosis. There must be a million different faces to the fears of
life.

I’m tempted at these times to hope for, and pray for, a way to avoid the danger ahead. I want to be safe, secure and healthy. But none of us is always safe, secure or healthy. So, like Gandhi, I think the
best prayer is for courage to face whatever life may bring. And I am convinced that the courage will come and not fail me.

— Steve Goodier

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Everything Counts

August 4th, 2008

EVERYTHING COUNTS

Early 20th Century African-American poet Countee Cullen spent the summer of his eighth year in Baltimore, Maryland. Shortly after he arrived he noticed a little white boy staring at him. Countee smiled,
but the little boy did not smile back. Instead, he stuck out his tongue and called him a hurtful, racial slur.

Cullen later wrote a poem that included his recollection of the summer when he was eight. In it, he says this:

“I saw the whole of Baltimore
from May until September.
Of everything that happened there
that’s all I can remember.”

The white child likely soon forgot the episode. And he probably never was aware of the pain he inflicted on the young stranger. But the truth is… everything counts. EVERYTHING. Everything we do and everything we say. Everything helps or hurts; everything adds to or takes away from someone else.

Educator and writer Leo Buscaglia put it like this: “The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no tickertape parades for us, no monuments created
in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love
felt.”

How truly amazing life can be when we know that… EVERYTHING COUNTS.

— Steve Goodier

And, the truth of it is, that it does. Though not in the way most of might think. There is no cosmic scorekeeper, only the truth of our own hearts.

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

The Real You – Let Yourself Shine

August 4th, 2008

Another of Steve’s masterpieces, about the truth of us, our essence, and the light we all are within.

THE REAL YOU

One woman describes herself as “Five feet, three inches tall and pleasingly plump.” After she had a minor accident, her mother accompanied her to the hospital emergency room. The admitting nurse asked for her height and weight, and she blurted out, “Five-foot- eight, 125 pounds.”

The nurse pondered over this information and looked over the patient. Then the woman’s mother leaned over to her and gently chided, “Sweetheart, this is not the Internet.”

If you could change your appearance in life as easily as you can make one up on the Internet, would you remake yourself? It’s tempting to think so. We live in an age when most of us are increasingly dissatisfied with our bodies. We want liposuction, face lifts, tummy tucks, silicon implants and cosmetic surgery – too often for no other reason than to look like someone else!

And don’t think I am only talking about women. Men too place great emphasis on their bodies. Studies show that in 1972, one in six men didn’t like their appearance; today, almost 50% of men surveyed
reported being unhappy with their looks.

Of course, our bodies keep changing. I have less hair on top than twenty years ago. An older man who happens to be bald looked at my head recently and said, “It looks like you go to the same barber as I
do.”

According to the book THE ADONIS COMPLEX (The Free Press, 2000), more and more men are feeling insecure about their appearance. In 1996, over 700,000 men had some cosmetic surgery – often in an unhealthy attempt to fix a perceived flaw that nobody else noticed. Eating disorders and steroid abuse are common among males.

The book’s authors Harrison Pope, Katharine Phillips, and Robert Olivardia did an experiment in which men were asked to take a computer image of an ordinary man and add muscle mass to him until he was the size these men wanted to be. On average, the men packed about 28 more pounds of muscle mass on the computer image; women, on the other hand, only added a negligible amount of muscles to the image to create their ideal guy.

Poet Khalil Gibran said, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” When you and I choose to believe that our most attractive qualities lie within, we can let go of those unrealistic expectations of our bodies.

Let’s care for our bodies; we’ll keep them for the rest of our lives. Let’s be thankful for them and treat them well.

But remember, the real you, the essence of you, cannot be improved by a bottle or a pill or a salon. It is a beautiful and glorious light shining from your heart to the heart of the world. Cherish the real you – it’s pretty terrific. And let it shine.

— Steve Goodier

May you all shine forever, much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

I know it has been awhile. :^)

August 4th, 2008

And I can’t exactly promise that it will be better soon, or more frequent I should say. I AM still reading but that isn’t the reason I’ve not been writing. I’m putting two or three of Steve Goodier’s newsletters in here today, for a reason. Each speaks to something that has been in my ear, my heart and my mind for the past several weeks. I’ve had a major life change. I’ve been living alone, but for Cisco who is not really all that demanding a life partner, until this past weekend when my son, Evan, moved in with me. His two children will be with us some good part of the time as well. We are still sorting things out and will be for a while. I don’t know how long he will be here and neither does he. As far as that goes he is welcome wherever I am as long as I live, that isn’t the issue here, but it is the truth. So look over this first piece from Steve, I’ll be along following it. :^)

SOLVING OUR GREATEST PROBLEMS

We have great problems. Insurmountable problems! But we can solve even our most difficult problems if we work together.

Some of the greatest problems we face today are concerned with the gradual destruction of our environment through over-use and abuse of our resources. Unsightly brown clouds; wildlife extinctions; water that can’t be consumed; the disappearance of ancient glaciers. these problems all seem so huge.

So my family does what we can. We take cloth bags to the grocery store instead of using paper or plastic grocery sacks. We buy organic foods when possible. We walk where we don’t have to drive. Our home, like many of yours, is filled with compact fluorescent bulbs and we use water saving faucets.

But does it do any good? When I am the only one in line at the grocery store with cloth bags, am I doing any good? Does my walking to the store or shivering under the drizzle of my anemic shower head
make any real difference to the world?

I recently learned something about flamingos – which probably behave like many migrating birds. These exquisite birds flock in huge groups of a thousand or more. Every year, when the time comes for migration, a few flamingos start the process by taking off from the lake. But none of the others seem to notice, so the tiny group returns.

However, the next day they try again. This time a few more struggle along with them, but the vast majority still pay no attention, so these pioneers come back.

The trend continues for several more days. Every time a few more birds join in but, since the thousands of others still take no notice, the great migration plan is once more aborted.

Then one day something changes. The same small group of birds once again takes wing and a tiny number more join in, just as before. And this time their total number, though still quite small, is enough to
tip the balance. As one, the whole flock takes flight and the migration begins. What a spectacular sight it must be – thousands of flamingos taking to the sky at once!

A few CAN make a difference. It’s true that all of the great problems of the world have been solved because of the persistent efforts of a few.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead put it like this: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If you believe in a cause, don’t give up! Others will someday take notice and together we will solve even our greatest problems.

— Steve Goodier

One of the things Jenna has had me listening to in the last month is a very old CD I bought by a young child named Billy Gillman who was 11 when he recorded it. Yes, 11. One Voice. This song has a line in it that says “One dream can change the world, so keep believing until you find your way.” I’ve had a little trouble with that in my life, the dream is always there, but it doesn’t always seem within reach. I’m working on that and I have help, of course, she who sings to me every day. The point Steve makes above is relevant to all of us, every day. If you believe in something, or someone, don’t give up, don’t EVER give up, because in the end, we will solve our greatest problems and overcome our greatest fears. That is a dream worth holding onto, don’t you think? much love, :^) gene

Against the Wind

July 16th, 2008

I’m still reading. But, at least, at last, I know why. I’m building something, creating something in a way, jen’s shown me what and why and eventually I’ll talk here about all that. That is for then, for now, I’m still just running against the wind, but loving it completely. So two songs I’d like to share with you tonight, the first is self-explanatory, lol. And I’ll explain the second. :^)

Against the Wind

This second song is one I heard for the first time last week. It had a profound effect on me. It has many levels and it is perfectly beautiful. It is by an acoustic group named Dala, they have it on their My Space page, Dalagirls, I think if you listen to it you will as enthralled as I am. And I hope see the possibilities that spring from within it.

Fortress
I will watch you disappear
From my fortress over here
And I will never understand
Every heart’s a foreign land

CHORUS
And I’m so afraid to
So afraid to
Love you

I have turned my eyes away
From the harsh light of your day
And I have slept through pouring rain
It was all that kept me sane

chorus

I can’t help where I’ve come from
I can’t help that I’m so numb
I’m dying for my city lights
You’re dying from your country life

chorus

I have drawn lines in the sand
To remind us where we stand
And I’ll build castles while you thirst
They’ll fall down but you’ll fall first

We are each a foreign land, each brave soul who has taken the step from behind the veil into this wonderland of the relative universe. We all draw our lines in the sand and build our castles well. What we need learn and have not yet is that when the wind blows away the lines and knocks down our castles of sand, is when we need each most. To have and to hold, each other, forever and ever, amen. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Bette Davis Eyes

July 10th, 2008

Okay so someone out there needs to tell me what the hell this means. I am going to tell you a slightly weird story and I know someone out there has the answer, just not who. All day today, I have had this phrase, I didn’t know it was a song, running through my head.

Bette Davis Eyes

And I don’t know what it means. Someone does. Tell me. It is important. Why? Well that I cannot tell you, unless you have the key. much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Limbo

July 7th, 2008

I’m a little crabby about this. That might show through. First though, some context, Michael Moore’s, Sicko. That is where I start. The rest of the world can do this, why can’t we?

This is intensely personal. I might even use bad language. So watch yourselves. :^). If you have been to my main site, if you got here from there, you will know I had two sons. Evan, born 7/31/74, 7 lbs, 14 ounces, and Brandon, born 1/7/76 7 lbs, 12 1/2 ounces. 10:16 pm for Evan and 8:02 for Brandon. Evan is still with me. Brandon committed suicide February 11, 1997 just after 2 pm. I know this because although when I got to the hospital, he was hooked up to machinery, and looked perfectly normal, but for the bandage around his head, the next morning when his mother insisted someone TELL her when her son died, a rather unfeeling practitioner said, the moment he put the gun to his head. No one bothered to tell us that, that night. No one said he was gone. There were these buzzing people who kept talking to us about organ donation, but NO ONE said he was dead, gone. And, I wanted those people to go away. They had no heart, no soul, they were gardeners, tending a harvest. Not people mourning our son. I know they had a noble purpose, but they disgusted me.

We, our two families and Brandon’s friends, spent that night in a place I have too often found myself and do, in a way, again.

Wiki defines it as: “In Roman Catholic theology, In Roman Catholic theology, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a hypothetical afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the damned (gehenna). Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church or any other. Medieval theologians described the underworld (“hell”, “hades”, “infernum”) as divided into four distinct underworlds: hell of the damned (which some call gehenna), purgatory, limbo of the fathers, and limbo of infants. Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a hypothetical afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the damned (gehenna). Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church or any other. Medieval theologians described the underworld (“hell”, “hades”, “infernum”) as divided into four distinct underworlds: hell of the damned (which some call gehenna), purgatory, limbo of the fathers, and limbo of infants.”

I’m not Roman Catholic, but Neale Walsch was raised in that tradition. My own was simpler, you went to Heaven or you went to hell. But limbo is where I find myself, where I spent that night 11 plus years ago and where I’ve spent most nights ever since. Wandering, wondering, thinking. It occurs to me that all conditions possible from Heaven to Hell and whatever other number of postulates one might put between them can, and probably do, exist right here on Earth, in simultaneity with each other, depending on the state and condition of ones life. I’m a little tired of limbo. Jen says it won’t last much longer and that really isn’t where I am anyway, but it IS what it feels like to me. It most certainly isn’t what I felt in the presence of the light globes, THAT condition I consider Heaven, or as close to it as I’ll ever come, I find it hard to even imagine a feeling better than that. And it isn’t one I’ve ever been able to duplicate here on earth. I suppose that may be by design. But if it is? I don’t like that part of the design because it occurs to me that this might be a very much nicer place if everyone had the taste of truth I’ve had. So, the question then becomes, why haven’t they? And the answer eludes me, thus limbo. Of which, as I mentioned, I’m very tired. It is what has been keeping me quiet these past weeks, this question, pondering it. No progress to report. Still here in limbo. And after a bit more pondering, a bit more reading, three things I am working on now, I’ll come back to this and the political season which is upon us once more. Soon, I hope. I’m quite a fast reader, it is the understanding of what I read that I wrestle with, try to put in some shape that makes sense to me. I’m finding that difficult but have hopes what I’m reading at the moment will help with that, that if I pour enough words into the threshing machine that is my mind, eventually a bale of knowledge will pop out. That’s usually what happens anyway. This time, well, I’ll wait see. Until then, much love, :^) gene

If today brings even one choice your way
choose to be a bringer of the light :^) gene

Okay then

July 2nd, 2008

Now that I’ve gotten those out of me, or out of my way, though that doesn’t sound quite right, Steve Goodier is never someone to get out of your way, he is someone to cherish, I do have a couple things to rant about tonight.

There is an old saying, “there is something rotten in Denmark.” I have no idea how it originated and haven’t enough interest to go googling to find out. This is going to be, well, a prelude, though it may not always sound that way, to THE TRUTH of us. And, fair warning, that isn’t always going to be pretty. For what I appear to be, a relatively mellow guy, sort of the guy next door, I have strong opinions and I’m going to share them here. We’re coming back to the books (CWG, 1&2), lol, but we’re going beyond them as well. I have to chuckle here. Because as much as I admire Neale Donald Walsch, in book 1, he said there would be three. 3. Three. And I believed him. You may notice that HERE, I only talk about books one and two. There is a reason. I admire Neale, he spoke the truth, although through his own filter, and he brought God to life for a lot of people. People who were left out of “traditional religion”, excluded from “traditional religion”, as if they didn’t exist. In those first two books, Neale brought ALL of us back to God. He brought us back to the truth of us. The truth we “forget” as we slip into the physical realm God created for us.

Now that isn’t surprising, or as surprising as one might think. God makes it quite clear in the beginning of book 1. If there is nothing else BUT God, how does God know he/she exists? If there is nothing but love, how does God know that? Well, the method God chose to find out is ingenious, and why shouldn’t it be? How can one know oneself as one thing without knowing anything else? And so He created the physical realm, in which we are presently ensconced. Here, it is easy to know what we are and what we are not. We can SEE and FEEL and TOUCH. I am not hot, because I know what hot is, giggle. And I’m not that. No, that is NOT where I’m going. Dirty minds. giggle. But that’s okay too. This story is about my 7th birthday. I’d never had a birthday party before. I started school at 5, first grade, the rule was September first but I was so close, the 7th, that they let me in. How I don’t know. But what that meant was that I was always the youngest and smallest of my class. I mean it worked out fine, I was intellectually ready, giggle, if that can be said about a first grader. It wasn’t then, like it is now, when children are expected to know things, like the alphabet, before starting school. It was just take ’em as you get ’em.

My school was a two room, 8 grade school, grades 1-4 in the “little” room and 5-8 in the “big” room. My class was 5 kids. Three girls, another boy and me. We got out 5 minutes early for recess and I spent those 5 minutes hiding from the other kids. I was terrified. All I knew were adults. And I found our “lessons” tedious, whatever we were told, I remembered. I didn’t realize I was different, really, though I had suspicions, until November when we began practicing our christmas presentation, which was a bunch of songs and several plays. We first graders weren’t expected to do much, just a few lines to memorize and then recite. That was when I first really understood I WAS different. We were standing in line to recite our lines, our first run-through, and I already knew mine. The kid next to me was SO nervous, he had NO idea what to say or do, and I thought, how could you not? And I made my first enemy, there’ll be more, giggle, cuz I am not nearly through, but I laughed, out loud, yep, a lol, because it was so easy. I read them, I knew them. I didn’t know it wasn’t like that for everyone else. And I thought he was making fun, but he wasn’t. That is a story that goes on a while and is not the purpose of this evening’s post. It was difficult, I don’t say it wasn’t, cuz he was bigger and stronger and made my life hell for a lot of years. But it still isn’t the point for tonight.

The point of this post, and I hope Neale doesn’t take this badly, because I don’t mean it that way, but he didn’t keep his bargain with God. Three books. And Jen told me to stop reading after two. Which I mostly did. I’ve read Book 3, and own a couple others, but, as she told me and in my experience after book two, they became more about Neale than God. And I am only interested in God. I have no idea how many there are now but someone showed me a book the other day, by Neale, called Happier Than God. He turned a miracle into a traveling sideshow.

Not alone, mind you. There are quite a few of what people would call “new age” writers. They all speak the same language. They all have the same message. And they have made quite a nice career out of endorsing each others books and seminars. If you pay attention, and I do, you will see that on the jacket of each new book, there will be lauding quotes from other authors, about how this particular book breaks new ground, etc. But if you pay attention, and I do, you will see that these people who are so enamored of this new work are all the same people. They recommend each others books and seminars. I do not cast aspersions here because each of these people have contributed to the global consciousness in important ways, nor do I castigate them for having made a career out of that. Whatever floats your boat. Yes, Mike, if ever you find this and read it, that is for you, giggle.

So we have this group of New Age authors, all with essentially the same message (okay this is THE weirdest thing, I feel like I am wearing a hat, giggle, it is jen, pressing hard on my crown chakra, and yes indeed the chakra system exists – it is one of those things that hold here and there, here and there, without which here and there could not exist, they’d be squooshed into one space) we are all really one. And that is the literal, physical truth, there IS only one of us, we are all born of the same parent, and as such, we are all one. Home isn’t like this place. Where a thing is here and another thing is there. Home is a place where love is all there is. And I have been blessed to see it. That is on my main sight. Gawd, given the amount of words you find here, you’d think this is it, and I wouldn’t blame you, but it isn’t. The truth of me is on the main site, so if you haven’t gone there, do. If you don’t mind. :^). Okay. Not done. But this is large. And so many other things happening. One of the most wonderful person I have ever met is going to give birth this weekend, Friday, I think. My remaining son, and if that makes him sound lesser, then you are reading this wrong, has enormous problems. We’ll talk about that stuff next. Cuz that will be health care, or lack of it. Coming soon to this location, lol, much love, :^) gene

Beauty

July 2nd, 2008

LOOKING FOR BEAUTY

Many people like me feel slightly passed over in a world that seems to place a high value on beauty. But a short poem by Anthony Ewell reminds us that physical attractiveness can be over-rated. He writes:

“As a beauty I am not a great star,
There are others more handsome by far.
But my face, I don’t mind it,
For I am behind it,
It’s the people in front who get the jar!”

Physically, maybe I’m not the stuff dreams are made of. And maybe, as the poem suggests, it doesn’t matter. Because I believe there is another kind of beauty in all of us that can be experienced by anybody who digs a little deeper.

Several times I have visited a natural wonder that is one of the largest and most spectacular of its kind in the world. Carlsbad Caverns is an immense series of limestone caves extending under much of southern New Mexico (USA). Native Americans took refuge in the gaping hole that is the main entrance, but they did not venture far. A hundred years ago settlers in the area were attracted to the opening by the awesome sight of hundreds of thousands of bats swarming from the hole every summer evening. Though a bat guano mining operation was set up, nobody explored much beyond the bat’s dwelling places.

Eventually, a cowboy name Jim White explored deeper. He returned with fantastic stories of gigantic subterranean chambers, spectacular cave formations and unbelievably stupendous sights. Even in 1915, after black and white photographs were taken of the caverns, many did not believe. The government sent skeptic Robert Holley to investigate in 1923. He wrote in his final report, “I am wholly conscious of the feebleness of my efforts to convey in words the deep conflicting emotions, the feeling of fear and awe, and the desire for an inspired understanding of the Divine Creator’s work which presents to the human eye such a complex aggregate of natural wonders.”

A whole new world – majestic, wondrous and awe-inspiring – lay hidden from view. Its unimagined beauty can only be experienced by exploring beneath the surface.

And so it is with people. I have found in people a unique inner beauty that can be discovered by exploring beneath the surface. They may not believe it is there themselves, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Those outward looks we’re usually so self-conscious about don’t matter much. Who people really are may be hidden beneath the outer landscape like a magnificent subterranean palace. And when you care to scratch the surface a bit, you can discover what others have missed.

And you will be rewarded beyond measure.

— Steve Goodier

I gotta say, hmmm, to this one. Cuz I’m no beauty rock. :^). Gotta tell you this story, it fits. When my youngest son, Brandon, was six or so, one night he’d been out with his brother and the others in their age group, we lived in a really unique, and safe place for kids, then. Plus I could see them out my balcony window, lol. I was cooking supper when Brandon came in all breathless, unfortunately asthma, which I am going to talk about in the next post, has that affect, and said, “Dad! I have something for you!” I asked him what it was, hands behind his back and all, giggle, and he gave me this big smile and this rock. It’s, oh maybe 3 inches long and 2 deep. It looks like a piece of tar with little white marshmallows in it. I said, well, thank you, what is it? And he said, “its a beauty rock, dad, and I found it for you.” It has sat on a kitchen counter ever since. Though, at the moment, it is sitting on my computer desk. He’s been dead 11 years and four months. I’ve had this beauty rock for at least 36 years. I want it cremated with me. It’s been part of me forever, why shouldn’t it stay that way? Unless his brother wants it. His brother figures in my next post. I guess I’ve been saving them up and tonight they are spilling out. So, though I am myself no beauty, well, at least I’ve got a beauty rock! much love, :^) gene