Sunday, March 29, 2015

streams of thought.... march 29th, 2015

Thoughts on this Sunday. 

They say that “silence is golden”. 

We are also told “never say never”.

We are told that we are limited by the size of our dreams; therefore, dream huge colorful dreams.

I say that sometimes silence is not golden at all. That there are times when we have to express meaningful and thoughtful words that may challenge the emotive balance of another person or group of individuals.  I think there are times that saying “never” is exactly what needs to be said.  I believe that there are some actions, policies, and thoughts that need to be challenged.  However, yes, I would agree that we are limited by the dreams that we hold or believe inside.

Recently, we have seen events that have rippled through the internet in a matter of seconds.  With these events, we have been openly questioned as to what we believe and who do we protect as a society.  This was not the first time, nor will it be the last, that “man” has been presented with the opportunity to defend and speak out for the well-being of another. In the 1930’s, Germany had a community of evil chose one segment of society at a time.  They chose them not to exalt but to exterminate.  In the 1800’s, America had a community of evil that held societal and political power late into the 60’s and 70’s (some would even say to this day) that declared that race was a determining factor of not just how to live but whether or not you lived. In the other countries, such as India, Afghanistan, and Iran, a person’s sexual identity controls their destiny of safety and progression in life even to this day. 

It is not a matter of whether we openly accept a person for how they naturally live out their lives.  Honestly, it comes down to whether or not we respect and value the freedom to choose to live an authentic life.  Sadly, in the 50’s some people would have defended the denial of a Negro eating at the counter in a Woolworth’s store.  Thankfully, there were some that stood up and said that this denial was not just a denial of one group of people but the denial of all.

Today some have said it is within the legal right of a company or a business owner to not serve a gay or lesbian person.  I have a question.  Which side would you have stood with in Germany during the 30’s?  Would you have said that society should not protect the rights of a gypsy or a minority, or a mentally handicapped person or a gay or a Jew?

Discrimination is discrimination no matter the time or the place or the person. We all have to ask ourselves these questions: what are we afraid of? Are we afraid of the color of a person’s skin?  Are we afraid of the clothes that a person may wear? Are we afraid of not the sexual choice of another person but the fact that they are attracted to the same sexual person? Are we afraid of someone that thinks differently than we do? Are we afraid of someone that worships differently than we do? Are we afraid or just uncomfortable?

Many of those that have spoken out in favor of a recent legal decision, which will lead to discrimination, have used their faith beliefs as an argument against the rights of another person. Some are using their beliefs as a mallet beating down the rights of another person.  In that person’s defense, they say that they have rights too and yes they do; however, do those rights supersede the rights of another person?  To be honest, those that oppose just want conformity. They want a society that adheres to their standards of “choice”… oddly enough it sounds like another modern religious group that we find appalling in actions as well.

Now, before someone says that this in defense of one demographic group, these thoughts presented here are the same for the Arab, the Jew, the mentally handicapped, the rich, the poor, the Protestant, the Catholic, the Muslim, the gay, and the straight.  This belief of defending the rights of others is for the young and the old, male or female, the Hispanic and the Asian, or for anyone who does not feel like they are a part of any societal community.

So, I ask myself this as much as I am asking you… Do my actions promote discrimination? Am I promoting dividedness in my silence? Do my actions defend the rights of others? Am I living life based on my interpretation or is it based on the loving actions of Christ? Just as He welcomed others, am I doing the same?    


Sunday, October 26, 2014

new beginnings....october 26th, 2014

Ideas. I am sure that we all have come across an awareness that seemingly changes our perspective and how we move through life.  I had such an idea come to me a couple of weeks ago while preparing to do a group facilitation in nearby Boulder, Colorado.  Prior to the meeting, I was thinking about how I could best help these individuals as they searched for what they wanted to accomplish in the next year.   Now each facilitations is different from each other; so while I was thinking about this activity, I was drawn to its purpose.  But the more I thought about the purpose I became more absorbed with the planning on how the event was going to transpire; which led me to feel like I really had nothing to offer them.  On my drive to the location, I had a concept come to me; so, I presented it to them and it would eventually set the tone for the event. I asked them not to think, “What are we going to do to accomplish our mission?” but to think of the more basic question of “Why is our mission important?” 

The concept of “why” over “what” is a simple one if we take the time to consider the difference.  Oh sure, “what” is an action word that means that we are busy doing “something”.  We may have started doing something based on a desire to accomplish a goal.  But how many times do we continually do the same thing over and over again without reflecting on why we are doing it.  As I think about the meeting with the group from Boulder, I remember not sensing that I left them with the best of feelings and now I know why.  I could feel that there was a sense of frustration over their final collective decision and that was because the action plan that they had chosen was the same one that they had chosen the year before.  My mistake was that I did not reflect on the comment that I started the meeting off with. Instead of allowing them to “sit” in their frustration, I should have asked them why this act was so important to them.  I should have asked that they consider not “what” or “how” but to ask themselves “why”.  The “why” will reflect their passion.  The “why” will develop their truest identity.  

There it is.  The concept of “why”.


Individually we ask ourselves, why do we want to get a better education… or to be successful in business… or to be faithful in our relationships… or to stand up for social justice? Is it just because we know it is the right thing to do?  Well, we know that telling the truth is the right thing to do.  We know that obeying the laws is the right thing to do. We know a lot of “right thing” to do’s but yet we still don’t always do them.

Now this is where the story becomes a little more personal. I have asked myself the very same thing. Why do I write… why is it so important for me to study how to be a counselor… why do I eat healthy… why do I choose to work out the way that I do… why do I have the faith system that I have?  

So let me offer this as a suggestions, when we are about to start a new phase of life or set a new goal, lets first ask ourselves why we want to do it.  I believe that once we personally know the answer to “why” it will become a lot easier to discover “what” we want to do and “how” we should do it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

streams of thought....september 30th, 2014

It is the last day of September… how do I choose to walk in it? A day… a moment… a casual meeting… a commute from one place to another… each tick of the clock is a gift.  Before I walk into the world of academia I want to put onto paper some thoughts from the creative

Do you remember having an encounter that seems to capture you but yet releases you? It is difficult to describe actually.  When I tried explaining it to myself I thought of the replacement of the wolves in Yellowstone Park.  A beautiful creature is moved from a place of danger from its environment as well as a danger to its environment.  They are captured and then take to a safer place… captured yet release into a place that provides and protects.

What are some of the words that capture you today?  Are they words that release you or are they words that restrict you?

Here are some that have been in my thoughts this morning… happiness, sadness, hope, fear, trust, peace, stillness, contentment, and perception.

Each have separate meaning yet many of them seem to be intertwined with each other. Sometimes they seem so desperate for meaning, as if they are too limiting.  However, here is where I presently reside with each of them. 

Happiness and sadness – emotions that are attached to the present. They are based on how we feel at the moment based on our interpretation of the current environment we find ourselves in…

Hope and fear – emotions that connect with the future. They are dependent upon our perspective view of life and potential events. Our perspective view is going to determine which one of these is going to be the dominant emotion. It is the farthest away from our present situation yet it seems to be one that dictates how we live with the present emotion.

Trust - an emotion that sees the living around us and either causes us to hold on tightly to what we have held on to for so long or causes us to let go to explore the possibility.

Peace – it is the undercurrent that holds up our present emotion.  When our peace becomes thin the more turbulent the “waters of our soul” becomes and allows us to drift to the more unsettling perceptions.

Stillness and contentment – the bonds that create trust.  When we encounter someone that personifies these two traits alone there is something within us that says that we can dwell in trust. These are the two arms that hold us as we let go of our present emotion of self-doubt.

Perception – the hand that holds the key to our freedom of being or locks us in a cage of negativity. This is the emotion that determines which one of the present time and future time emotions that we will choose from.

John O’Donohue writes in his book Eternal Echoes, the following:

“One of our sacred duties is to be open and faithful to the subtle voices of the universe which come alive in our longing.”

No matter our faith or non-faith… our age, race, or gender… our economic status of having or wanting… the words that we choose to reside with this morning will determine the perception that we have throughout the rest of the day.  And what word we choose to reside with is determined by the perception that we have at this moment.

Namaste…… shalom…. Peace and Light…

Sunday, September 14, 2014

streams of thought....september 14th, 2014

So, where do we go from here?  I feel as if I am on a pier looking at the different schooners coming and going into the harbor.  Each carrying a person that is destined to go this way or that.  Some to never been seen again and others to causally meet all over again when Destiny should allow.

I have my rain gear in my knapsack. No Map other than the one that speaks to my heart. My mind is full of visions and dreams. Along with Robert Kennedy, I look into the new horizon and see what is and ask “why” and see what isn’t and ask “why not”

Why not me?  I wonder to myself.  I have met people who have encouraged me to step off the pier and onto a schooner to go explore and reinvent.

Why, do I not believe what others have seen and told me?  It is as if they have gone to foreign land within me and have come back to tell me all that they have seen and a lot of it has been good.

I look to my means and say that there is no way. 

I wonder how many of us give up the richness of who we are because we see the poverty of where we reside.  I wonder how many see a box of crayons and only take out a few because we are fearful to empty out the box. We are… afraid

“Afraid of what?” my Companion of Possibilities asks…

Are you afraid to fail?  Yet, you fail at the mere rejection of practicing who you are.

Are you afraid to be seen?  Yet you are seen and have been seen every day. 

Are you afraid of succeeding? Yet you succeed at not taking the next step every time you say “no”.   

I am not sure what I think about the saying “That life is like an oyster”. That metaphor is so confining.  Oh, I get it.  Yes, a bit of Life’s grain of sand somehow gets into this nasty looking shell; which by the way is how we have allowed our perspective and heart to appear in life some times.  Over time we allow the environment to toss us and constantly wash over us in such a way that we develop a harden exterior; yet all the while inside we strive to be pliable, strong, and resilient. Yet in the midst of all this external violence that develops a crusty old shell there drops a grain of sand. The shell holds that grain of sand and somehow miraculously it turns into a pearl.

What if….

What if that clam did not open itself up to its elements? Well, simply stated, it would no longer live because it would not be able to take in what sustains it’s life… also, it would not be open to creating a pearl, a beautiful development of being.  

We, like the clam, allow the externalities of life to beat against us.  We feel the tides of time wash over us and yet we are afraid to open ourselves up to that same movement. If we are no longer are open to nourishment, we will die inside ourselves. Yes to be open to life and possibilities makes us vulnerable. However, in our vulnerability we become open to making something beautiful and to offer that beauty as a gift to others.

So, where do we go from here? 

We know in our mind’s eye what is behind us so there is no need to turn around to see it.  The past is yet a reference book to help us to understand and possibly write what is before us. 

The voices of the past either encouraged or discouraged us.

The new voices of encouragement are from those that have seen our potential and are here to remind that we have a greater story that is yet to be written.  Also, there will be voices that may discourage us so let them be considered as reminders of lessons that need to be learned.

We also know that there will be moments of silence. Silence has its own voice. Be open to the solitude of it. The sound of time’s movement will be all that we hear just like in the silence of the ocean’s bed.  We all need the sounds of silence so that our bodies can take a moment to rest. A segment of time that allows our body, mind, and spirit to catch up with each other.

As I step on to the schooner of choice this morning, there is the rocking of the vessel… maybe a creaking of soul’s bones… the flexibility of water allows the boat to move as I step into it.  This movement reminds me that life will have its ups and downs; however, it will carry me farther than if I stood on the pier wondering…

“what if”

Sunday, August 31, 2014

steams of thought...august 31st, 2014

This year we have had a relatively pleasant summer.  It has been a nice blend of intense heat along with what was seemingly a much wetter season than we are accustomed to having in this high plains desert city.  Well, that’s been my perception.

Perception... the act of perceiving.  Ah, there is that word... "act".  Everyone knows that I love looking at words (and it drives a lot people crazy when I do). Yet, when I think of “act”, I am instantly thinking of a person in movement that displays on some level their sense of identity.

And if I am correct then I have some questions for each of us…

Have our perceptions changed over time?  Have we lived a life that challenges those previous perceptions that we may have held... no carried... and guided us from the distant past?

I dare to say that if our perceptions that we had twenty years.... perhaps maybe even twenty months... yes, even twenty days ago have not changed or fluidly adapted then we have not truly lived life.  Think about this for a moment. If we have not grown emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually then we have become nothing more than a “garden gnome” in life. We will have sat or stood in "life's yard" watching cars... people... pets... rabbits and squirrels go by without a mere reflection or awareness of what is all around us.

Do you know who you are?  Do you know what you have become or have the ability to become? Do you have a dream so vivid that you can feel the emotions within you rise up when you see the life that you desire?

What are you passionate about?

Some of us are thinking about the “end of life” issues; while others are thinking about living a life.

While being aware of the former, I prefer the latter. Also, I deeply believe that we live, feel, and think in tune with the seasons of time.

This is the season of summer, a time of action, and it doesn’t feel conducive to deep reflection. No, this is the time of year that we go to the parks or take a vacation or have family reunions.  It is the season for bombastic celebrations. When like the "Fourth of July" fireworks, we seemingly just want to announce to the world.... HEY, I AM HERE!!!!!!!

This is a season when we externally search for something new; even if we go to the same beach house or camp site, we celebrate the moments when we discover a "jewel".

The season of summer... a time when we celebrate life and a time when death seems to have been suspended. Sure, we will grief over the losses that we had this summer when the leaves start to fall and we begin to move back inside ourselves to look a bit longer into the mirror.

Seasons. Movement of time. Life is all about cycles.

So again I ask…

What is that you dream about?  Is it playing on the beaches of the world?  Is it to hold your grandchild until they fall asleep in your arms? Have you ever dreamt about living at peace in your community? Have you dreamt of waking up next to someone that you are passionately connected with so much that you think more about how their soul feels than you do about having sex with them? Have you ever dreamt of climbing a mountain peak? Have you dreamt about writing a book or a song? Have you dreamt about the deeper reward of finishing a marathon, triathlon, or maybe even running around the block?

Here is my next question… when will you do them? Does your mental apparitions reflect your values? If they bring you peaceful contentment and celebration for your “inner greater angel”, then just simply make them reality.

Dreams are for those that sleep.  Let your "inner sense of being" awake and let your mind, spirit, and body transition as one fluid movement.

We are greater than the soulful slumber that has visions.  Yes, I will say this because I know that we all are thinking it… we are limited.  I get it.

I remember when Carlos, my CNA, came into my room and told me that I was going to take my first walk and it was to a chair in the room. I remember the day that I could not even walk around the block without having to stop at every corner to rest and catch my breath. I remember the day that the doctors finally said that I could go for a jog not a walk. I remember telling myself on my first day of jogging that I would "jog a block / walk a block". I remember.... yet, I am here.

We allow our perceived limitations to become bigger than the vision that we see for ourselves. Guess what.  Those limitations are nothing more than exercises for our soul. When we overcome one then we feel empowered to take on the next. We will not accomplish "greatness" with one step but we become better with each step that we take to accomplish the greatest challenge of all.  That challenge is to live a life in the most meaningful way that reflects the truest spirit of who we can become.

Our life is present whether we are or not.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

streams of thought...july, 27th, 2014

The summertime.  A hot muggy season that seems to entice so many of us with offerings that only this time of the year can afford.

A movement from indoors to the outdoors.

We do know that It is just a season right?

We will not have any control over this movement of time but we do have control over how we spend it. 

I have a few friends that love the summer season. They love sitting out at the beach or at the park or on their patios soaking in all the vitamin D that their body eagerly consumes.  Others can found at the local park playing volleyball or taking their children to the playground.   During this season, there will be swimsuit clad males and females at the waterpark or at the pools splashing around while swimming or simply having a great time. There will also be some that will spend the day in front of an air conditioner trying to keep cool and avoiding the heat all together.

We all make choices and have preferences. We all make decisions on what will make our present day the best that it can be… or maybe we won’t.

For me one of the best parts of the summer is seeing the dark clouds rolling in over the Rocky Mountains.

Today, while driving over the crest of a hill looking down into the Boulder Valley, I saw the Flatirons being engulfed with clouds and to me that is one of the most awe inspiring views that I can imagine.  

What inspires our imagination or willingness to act is many times forgotten until… well, until we encounter it again. It seems that we move through life so focused on the event right in front of us that we miss a small whisper of a notion that resides within almost every encounter. The simple fact that we have the ability to take another breath should be a moment of inspiration. Many times we look for a grand event, sign, or thought to light an emotional kindling that will launch us into an act that will give us an internal fire that generates enough energy to move us beyond our imaginations.  However, it is not always the grandiose signs but often times it is the simplest and the most silent of all that moves us to travel on a path that we would have never gone down before. It could be…

the laughter of a child…

the sound of silence moving through the aspen leaves…

a photo or a painting…

a word spoken in a conversation…

If we are open to the possibilities and recognize our own capabilities, we can be inspired by almost anything.

Can I share a secret with you?  I am blended introvert. Some of you who know me well are just smiling at something that you already have known for quite awhile.  

Rarely, will I ever get inspired by some huge rally where some dynamic speaker will get up before thousands of people to espouse their insight in how to live… to sell… to promote yourself better than anyone else.  In fact, I will definitely react the opposite way that they will want me to act.  My sense of identity is totally contrary to the bombastic experience that this type of episode offers to me.

In other words, I find my inspiration in the smallest of things… a line in a book… a drop of a beat in a song… a quiet walk at Chataugua… or perhaps that presence of another person who seeks to do more than just live. They really don’t have to say anything.  No, it is something about their presence that tells me to act on all the gifts that I have been given.

Jung once used the phrase “the birthing of death”.  He was referring to his perception that we will hit an apex of life when we will be birthing on how we will be known after we die.  Simply stated, we begin creating our own legacy. I agree with him to a point but I disagree with his conclusion that all people will die.  Oh, I know that none of will escape the inevitable but yet how we interact with others will determine how will be remembered.  Yes, we will all eventually leave this earthly vessel called our body but we will never leave the memory of another person. It is our life reconstituted in the spiritual.  It is a non-physical yet always constant presence of how we are remembered. So, how we choose to live this life… to inspire others… to interact and act upon the behalf of others are decisions that we encounter with each breath of physical life.

We know our weaknesses all too well.  We live in the winter of our souls when we seclude ourselves from others. A spiritual and emotional hibernation… even in the heat of the summer we can isolate ourselves.  Our spirit needs the warmth of inspiration.  It requires the water of walking fluidly.  We allow the fear of drowning emotionally to take away the joy of living. So, find someone that will support you as you venture out into the “swimming pool” of life.  Let them be your “floaties”. 

Enjoy life.  Enjoy the heat of the season that we move through it.  Explore your own desire. Challenge yourself and in turn you will empower others to be challenged.   

Monday, June 2, 2014

streams of thought....june 2nd, 2014

 “Watch, Lord, with those who wake or weep tonight. Give the angels and saints charge over those who sleep. O Lord Jesus Christ, tend your sick ones, rest Your weary ones, bless Your dying ones, soothe the suffering ones, pity all the afflicted ones, shield the joyful ones, and all for Your love’s sake.  Amen” – Saint Augustine

I started a book the other day titled, Exuberance: the passion for life. It has been a joy to read. The author is Kay Redfield Jamison, who is a psychologist and well known writer.  She begins the book with a line from the Augustine prayer…

“…shield the joyful ones…”

I stopped as soon as I read that simple set of words. It is not really an easy concept to wrap my mind around actually.  I mean that I agree with the author’s presentation of the fact that we often think thoughts of protection for those that are suffering. We furrow our brows like a farmer tilling the soil when we hear of a tragedy or saddening situation.  We lament over the losses of those in and around our lives. We pour the emotional “alcohol” to numb us to the painful present.


How many times do we seek to protect the joyful moments and those within them? Oh, we share in the gratefulness of the greater moments while trying to shelter those in the lesser. We speak the goodness of Creator of joy… all the while never thinking that both… joy and grief are many times brought together in the union of the universe. We will walk along the shorelines of sadness while wondering if the waters will ever calm down. We look to the rocky soil that our feet trod upon while in contemplation over the heaviness of life.  We ruminate over the misfortune… yet discard the joyful moments almost as if we already know in the soil of our soul that the seeds of negativity still lie dormant deep within.

The “joyful ones” is not just a place or only a seasonal moment.

            He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.” – Kahlil Gibran

Could it perhaps be that we look at the weight of sorrow and look lightly at the spirit of joy? We talk about “sorrow" being for a moment yet we look at joy as an experience.  They are both experiences that we will all have through this circle of life.  We will see the beauty and joy of birth while feeling the pain of loss in death. We see the hope of joy in the movement of a love; while blinded in a transition of grief.  Neither joy nor grief truly occur without the other. Someone once said that for we know “joy” because we have experience “sadness”. Gibran encourages us to not just glance on sorrow like we do an open wound but to look into it; so, that we will understand the future of healing.

Yes, Saint Augustine was wise to ask that there be a shield around those that know joy.  For it is in joy that the darkness of sorrow is given space and healing. It is the strength of joy that lifts the weakest of those in pain.  Thich Nhat Hanh, speaks of the garden of our soil when he shares with us that when a lesser seed of negativity is germinated we need to be mindful of love so that we not become chocked by the weed of hatred.  It is in the act of metta that we give ourselves and those around us the air of freedom to not be down-casted but to be uplifted

We are meant to dance as well as mourn. We have a spirit that lives within us that longs to be laughing at the simplest of things.  We all have this inner child that dares to dance to music within and it is so wanting to just get out of the chair that we have many times confined it to.  We have an inner adolescent that wants to know that it is ok to be embraced with sadness while still having the freedom to joyfully explore its own identity.  In many ways, it could be that the lack of freedom is where we get the shackles of self-restraint; so, that the desired joy of self-acceptance is denied.  

Would we not be angry if we discovered that a missing child had been entrapped and placed into slavery?

Would we not be infuriated over the knowledge of run-away teenager being abused?

Would we not grieve over the loss that a person has to accept when they are confronted with a death or illness?

That child… that teenager… they all represent something to us. They represent the innocence of joy.  The promise of hope.  They are the dream-makers in our lives. They represent the daring ability to try something that adults rationalize as being inconvenient… reckless… radical… promising.

The confrontation of death and illness symbolizes something fundamental to all of us.  They tell us that life is dangerous… fleeting… mortal… loss of freedom… it steals our dreams.

Yes, shield the joyful ones.  Protect those that have hearts that send us light into a darken present. Provide a music within them to sing to us so that we have the opportunity to dance.

We need those that have a joy to be free to reach their hands out to those that are lying down in the gutter of despair; so that in the union of connection the strength of the joyful draws those that are weak to be stronger.

If you are joyful, dance with life.

If you are joyful, speak with words of encouragement.

If you are joyful, reach out to those that are weaken.

If you are joyful, do not consider this a fleeting a moment for self-pleasure but a time to share in the journey of those that need you the most.

breaking script…. Namaste