Monday, December 30, 2013

Defiance

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." ~Howard Zinn

Mount up.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Love Song

God is singing His heart out this morning. Can you hear Him?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymDvV8pmyIg

Have a truly wonder-filled weekend.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Word Play 2nd Edition

"To be or not to be, that is the question." Today I ask that you be happy. Regardless of what happens, no matter the circumstances, be happy. The question; "how do I do this" or, "how can I make this happen," may be your response. My answer? I didn't ask you to DO anything. I didn't ask you to MAKE anything. I just asked that you BE happy. You are a human be-ing. You go around be-ing all the time. I'm simply asking that you make a conscious choice to be happy.

Have you noticed that when you ask people what they want in life, the majority say; "I just want to be happy." They don't respond by saying I want to do happy or make happy, they want to be happy. So I say, "Wish Granted!" The power is yours. The choice is yours. Once you take on the responsibility (accountability) for your own happiness, it really doesn't matter what the provocation. You govern your world unilaterally, why abdicate your emotional well being to a usurper?

Since tomorrow is Christmas, why not give yourself a present? Pass an edict; issue a proclamation that declares happiness is the order of the day. And that the law will be strictly enforced. Violators can and will be subject to your very best smile.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Word Play

At the web site Home, I talked of certain qualities (ideals) that your personality might be drawn toward. One of them was "fearlessness." What do you think of when you hear the word fearlessness? Is it the literary or cinematic definition? Here the word usually means that there is no fear what so ever. The hero (heroine) bravely plunges ahead without a single thought of personal safety. But is that the right interpretation? Look at the word this way; fear-less. ("ness" is simply a "state, quality, or instance of being; greatness, sadness") So by definition, fearlessness is a state, quality, or instance where you are experiencing less fear. You fear less.

So how do we move in the direction of being fearless? One way might be to look at the word present. (as in past, present, and future) Most spiritual disciplines talk of the benefits of staying in the "here and now." Well, the here and now is the "present," is it not? And doesn't present also have the definition of "a gift?" If it were possible to integrate both definitions of present (here and now/gift) would outcomes be viewed differently? As in: OUT of the present COMES a gift.

At Christmas time when gifts are exchanged, isn't there an undercurrent of excitement waiting to open those presents? A delicious curiosity of what did he/she get me? Think about bringing that same attitude towards the unfolding of your life. That the present is a gift where the outcome will be exactly what you most need. (not want) That anticipation of the present, rather than anxiety towards it, is the way we become fearless.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

Today at 17:11 (Universal Coordinated Time) the astronomical phenomenon of "winter solstice" will occur. This is the origin--the source--of all winter holidays/festivals, including Christmas. We in the northern hemisphere will experience the "shortest day, longest night" of the entire year. (naturally, in the southern hemisphere, the opposite is taking place) Because our ancestors realized their reliance and dependency on the sun, they chose to honor and pay homage to it; as we do today in the guise of Christmas. (Christ Mass) This is undisputed. Simply research the origins of Christmas and you will find that all symbols associated with Christmas are "pagan." (as is the case with Easter) Do I care that gift-giving, the Christmas tree, mistletoe, the yule log, Santa Claus etc. etc. all began with heathens? Not in the least. What I mind is the Christian attitude that there is a "war" on Christmas and that atheist's wish to "secularize" their beloved holiday.

Talk to a devout Christian about "wiccans" and see how they feel about "pagans." Yet, they will celebrate pagan festivals and claim them as their own. Worse, they become self-righteous and indignant if you don't adopt their views. It isn't the sun we worship, it is the Son. Shakespeare wrote; "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I agree. Enjoy the season's celebrations. All I ask is that you don't paint a lemon red and try to convince me it's an apple.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Santa Came Early

November 16th I posted Sacred Masculine and described a series of events that led me getting back in touch with the first girl I ever dated. Well, a lot has happened since then. So much so, awhile back I asked permission to use her first name in the blog. She wondered why. I said I wanted my readers (we small band of brothers) to know her as something other than "the first girl I ever dated." She acquiesced.

To say this woman has brought a vitality, an exuberance back in my life would be an understatement. I have been "over the moon." Acting the complete and utter fool. But like Parsifal, the Innocent Fool, there must be an intrinsic charm to "foolishness" in its natural state. I simply can't fathom any other reason why she didn't dismiss me as a lunatic.

There is another side to being a fool, though. This side perceives new events with old eyes, and tries to construct the present within a framework of the past. This fool isn't innocent by any standard; only tired, trite, and altogether predictable. His tapes (unconscious, unresolved issues) play endlessly in his head. He is difficult to get along with because he is so certain. He "knows." He's been down this road before.

Last night the woman I am talking about took on my not-so-appealing aspects of the fool. The narcissistic, low self-esteem, oh so assured fool who engages in self-sabotage. And she walked him back from the ledge. She was enormously generous, understanding, and empathetic. She was wise, adroit, and patient. There was a nobility and grace with which she handled MY issues that left me stunned and humbled. And feeling very, very foolish.

Her name is Pamela. And she really is quite remarkable.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back On Your Feet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EriieBV-nk

This is the day. Now is the moment. Break them. Go, fly! (your tears are dry)

Do you hear it? The laughter, the voices? Do you feel it? The light of heaven? (I know you do!)

Yes, you are strong. Yes, you are proud. Yes, you are standing tall.

Go live the life you've always dreamed of. Be the man (woman) you always envisioned yourself to be. Settle for nothing less.

(any and all emotions created by this post brought to you courtesy of Evil, Inc.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Evil

Now comes temptation, darkness and waiting
While evil abounds, lurks and tries baiting
Cruel in appearance, morbid in taste
Day becomes night and all is in waste

Long are his arms, cold is his touch
Maims strong men then offers a crutch
If token is taken he haughtily jeers
Turns hearts to stone and contemptibly sneers

Promising much he miserly doles
Deepens his shadow and engulfs the soul
Swift are his lies though music to hear
Doom is at hand whenever he's near

~WPG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6d8eKvegLI

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oversight

December 9th I posted Just For Fun and listed my top 10 books. I forgot one. And it is altogether too charming to exclude. So let me introduce 10b; "The Book of the Dun Cow" by Walter Wangerin. This tale has little to do with the dun cow and much to do with Chauntecleer, a rooster of good repute. Chauntecleer's profession was crowing and he was responsible for crowing the "Canonicals." These were set times of day and would lend "direction and meaning" for the animals in his care. They enabled the animals to know "the day is our day, because Chauntecleer has made it ours," through familiarity and that "the day should hold no strangeness nor fear for them."

Remembering the canonicals, I had the thought to incorporate them into my daily life. Please realize I haven't any idea what the proper or correct way is to pray the "office." (one term used to describe the canonicals) Only that they entail much more praying than I'm going to do. No, I just want to use them in such a way I stay orientated--adjusting to the challenges and opportunities of the day. I want you to give thought to including them in your day.

Awakening:    LAUDS               Rejoice and be glad
6:00 AM         PRIME                Greet this day with love
9:00 AM         TERCE               Work is love made visible
12:00 PM       SEXT                  The best is yet to come
3:00 PM         NONE                 Bless my efforts
6:00 PM         VESPERS          Oh! Holy night
Bedtime:        COMPLINE         Thank you

Understand you are free to make any changes you wish. This is just a structure for you to use. Many of you don't rise till 9 or 10 AM. No matter. And your prayers may differ significantly than mine. All to the good! Personalize them--make them your own.

SPECIAL NOTE: Two people have informed me they made comments lately that haven't appeared after posting. This is due to an additional step that is necessary. There is a box beneath the posting area that says: COMMENT AS: SELECT PROFILE. You must click the box within "select profile" which then opens up a list that you may post under. Go to the bottom, click on ANONYMOUS and you can then PUBLISH.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Take A Peek

People keep clamoring for aspects of God to be revealed. So I say, okay. Take a look...

http://www.youtube.com/embed/nGeXdv-uPaw

"Because we as a flock are now separated from the source of all love, so too is the rest of creation. The strife and discord that we've experienced is but a small manifestation of realities on all levels. You cannot separate Creator from Creation without certain chaos. You render the former impotent and the latter helpless. Both are essential, one to the other." ~WPG  White Bird

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Short and Sweet

It is better to demonstrate than articulate.

Book of Padrac: Section 1 Discourse 1

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just For Fun

1) Shogun                                                 Clavell              Must be #1...have read it over a dozen times
2) The Lord of the Rings                           Tolkien             You shall not pass!
3) Lonesome Dove                                   McMurtry          Augustus McCrae is who I want to grow up and be
4) The Bible                                              Various             Epic (in parts)
5) The Prophet                                         Gibran               And you receivers...
6) Ender's Game                                      Card                  DON'T see the movie
7) Tom Sawyer                                         Twain                Childhood (sigh)
8) The Power of One                                Courtenay         Peekay rocks it!
9) The Greatest Salesman in the World   Mandino            I will greet this day...
10) The Great Lion of God                       Caldwell            The road to Damascus
  

But Pat, there aren't any "classics." (save TS) Too true. Have read a few that made the top 100 lists--The Call of the Wild--The Lord of the Flies--Watership Down--Stranger in a Strange Land--Huckleberry Finn; and have enjoyed them. Others that made the lists that were just horrid (The Old Man and the Sea; [a lesson in tedium] and Atlas Shrugged; [suck out loud bad]). No according for taste, as they say. Besides, if cornered, I can always exclaim; "OH! Forgot all about that book...yes, yes, certainly belongs in my top 10. God, thanks for reminding me!"

As a bonus, I will share the greatest dance of All-Time: (and it's not even close!) The Twist by Chubby Checkers. Everyone could do it. If you didn't know how, it took about a second to learn. It stripped men forever of the excuse; "I can't dance," and got them off their butts and onto the dance floor. What more can you ask? As to the dance I would most like to learn...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm3Iy7CJrW4

SPECIAL NOTE: I must confess it was nearly impossible keeping The Last Enchanted Forest off the list but I managed by t-h-i-s much. Figured you'd just call me biased, partial, a homer and altogether unscrupulous. Of course you'd have to actually have READ the book to make those claims, now wouldn't you?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brimming With Significance*

Religion has nothing to do with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6ZgmpQuPz8

Santiago 222 k

(Muxia)

*This post brought to you by the movie: The Way

Friday, December 6, 2013

Comedic Genius

Yesterday I met Tatsuya Ishida quite serendipitously. I was reading Rob Brezsny's "Pronoia" (How The Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings) where he quotes Tatsuya. I was so amused by it, I shared the entire quote. (I was exposed to Rob through Fred Burks. Fred offers free on-line courses (PEERS) and I highly recommend his Wisdom Course) Relishing Tatsuya's point of view, I Googled him. He turned out to be a cartoonist. And my oh my what a cartoonist! I got into his archives and literally haven't stop laughing since. The link that follows is a tiny fragment of his brilliance.

http://sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=124

Thank you Tatsuya. You are a gift that I am so very grateful for.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Permission Granted

"All I ever wanted in life was to make a difference, be worshipped like a god, conquer the universe, travel the world, meet interesting people, find the missing link, fight the good fight, live for the moment, seize the day, make a fortune, know what really matters, end world hunger, vanquish the dragon, be super popular but too cool to care, be master of my own fate, embrace my destiny, feel as much as I can feel, give too much, and love everything."

~Tatsuya Ishida

As Patrick Stewart was wont to say as Captain Jean-Luc Picard; "make it so."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nike

I was born to succeed, not to fail. I was born to triumph, not to bow my head in defeat. I was born to toast victories, not to whimper and whine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7vmuHlgaRU

What happened to me? When did my dreams all fade into grey mediocrity where average people applaud each other as excellent?

~Og Mandino The Greatest Salesman in the World (Part II)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reflection

Possibly the greatest crime we commit against each other is this daily show of "normality." I have countless little conversations with a variety of people, and the impression I get is that most men don't have problems. Even the complainer presents himself as a victim. He doesn't suggest that he is experiencing confusion. He is all right: it is the circumstances which are bad.

The comment "Don't mind him, he's got a problem" illustrates this universal attitude toward personal difficulty. The implication is that having a problem is a strange and avoidable weakness. When I come in repeated contact with this daily facade of normality I begin to assume that I too deserve such a life, and I get annoyed with the present and look upon my difficulties as unjust tragedies. And because I assume there is something unnatural about my having a problem, I attempt to present a problem free appearance too.

~ Hugh Prather Notes to Myself

http://wpgrogan.blogspot.com/2012/11/im-hurtin.html

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dark Side of the Moon

I came across a Ted Talks this morning. (linked below) It spoke to something that has always been part of my life. First, in my own family growing up. Later, after joining the Gold Country Writers, through meeting Louise (and Milton) Schnur. Louise had written a book entitled "From Darkness to Light," which spoke of her struggle with domestic violence. Perhaps now is the time for context...

 http://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_morgan_steiner_why_domestic_violence_victims_don_t_leave.html

Louise was born 9-25-1930. She was married at 17. Her first marriage, as well as numbers two and three, were a cycle of violent domestic abuse. Reading her story is torture. It is more than dark, it is pitch black. It takes an extreme emotional toll. I can't even imagine living it. That said, several times in the course of reading her story, I literally wanted to "shake some sense" into Louise myself. How could she continue to make the same mistakes, the same choices, over and over? How could anyone be so stupid? Of course, this had all taken place decades before and Louise had fought (literally and figuratively) her way out. My emotional investment was misplaced. Louise had survived and thrived--she met and married husband #4, Milton Schnur, June 17th, 1972. (for perspective, the first modern women's shelter, Haven House, wasn't established until 1964)

Louise became a spokesperson for WEAVE in 1997. (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) In December of 1999 she became one of the poster girls for the organization. (Full page ad; Sacramento Bee 12-27-99) Louise had indeed, made it into the Light. The issue is, those who haven't. And what could be the rationale for men to physically abuse women.

Here in part, is a place to start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFoBaTkPgco

Take time today to examine what your definition of a "man" is. It seems self-evident that many (far too many) have got it all wrong. And it is past time (far past time) we got it right.      

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pop Quiz

No worries--its an easy one. Just name as many of the 10 commandments as you can. It might help if you get in a; "Thou shalt not" mind set. Go ahead, I know that you know a few of them...

1) And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

(Everything written is from the 34th chapter of Exodus. I am going to start at verse 14, but please read the preceding verses [2-13] so you know I am not misleading you)

14) For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15) Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16) And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. 17) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. 18) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month A`-bib: for in the month A`-bib thou camest out of Egypt. 19) All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among they cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male 20) But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 21) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. 22) And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the years end. 23) Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24) For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year. 25) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26) The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. 27) And the Lord said to Moses, Write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28) And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. AND HE WROTE UPON THE TABLES THE WORDS OF THE COVENANT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

I know that you have been taught the commandments of Deuteronomy, chapter 5. (thou shalt not steal, murder, covet, etc.) Why those commandments have taken precedence over the commandments in Exodus, I can only speculate. What I do know is this: Life demonstrates a code of conduct. And that code is beautifully captured in scripture--"do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Let it suffice.

As to your grade...God is often depicted as "Father." (Our Father who art in heaven) We often call our father's, pop. (mom and pop store) So if you have actually reached this part of the post, you have aced the exam. This "pop" quiz always serves its purpose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntn8piiuvzo

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Welcome Mat

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.~Deuteronomy 10:19

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeOmFMOZSg

For I was hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.~Matthew 25:35

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Food for Thought

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.~Mark Twain

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead.~Bill McGlashen

We've all heard that a million monkey's banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. ~Robert Wilensky

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the Fire Department usually uses water.~Anonymous

The trouble with being punctual is that nobodies around to appreciate it.~Franklin P. Jones

I intend to live forever. So far, so good.~Steven Wright

The only reason some people get lost in thought is because its unfamiliar territory.~Paul Fix

To err is human. To blame it on somebody else shows management potential.~Anonymous

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.~Oscar Wilde

There is nothing so annoying as to have two people go right on talking when you're interrupting them.~Mark Twain

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.~Douglas Adams

The Universe adores you.~Rob Brezsny

Always use love, all ways.~MSIA

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meld

Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins square off in this article from the Wall Street Journal. To appreciate the poem that follows, I ask that you read the link.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203440104574405030643556324

                    Pisces

In the beginning was the Word
And He fashioned Himself into a bird
With mighty wing He took to flight
To change forever perpetual night

As He powered through the endless abyss
He knew that some thing was amiss
So on the down stroke, with all His might
The Eternal Bird created light

Distinction was made, day from night
Yet as He continued with purposeful flight
A sense prevailed that, by and by
A Bird is useless without a sky

Thus the beginning of a wondrous plan
He put it to work and created land
Then He inspected as He flew around
But wasn't satisfied with what He found

So it was and continues to be
He unleashed a torrent, the frothing sea
Then it was, with celestial mirth
He labeled His project, "planet earth"

It was at this point He took a rest                                                                                            Decided that He'd save the best
For some thing different, a mystery
And so it was created me!

Hard to believe He'd make a wish
Simply to create a fish
Yet it was done, don't ask me why
I have trouble deciphering Pi

Still who among you knows what they'd find
If ever they sounded the Creators mind
But there you have it and quite a notion
Life for land to begin in the ocean

From there the story gets very involved
It wasn't till Darwin that it was solved
Yet let this not hinder your spiritual quest
The ultimate answers remain in His nest

The Eternal Bird, mysterious indeed
Using pisces as the human seed
Quite a strategy you've got to admit
And hindsight tells you that it all fits

The grand design of a Master mind
Who's love runs deep for all mankind
So much so, that when it was done
The Eternal Bird, He sent His son

Of this man I'm sure you know
That everywhere His disciples go
They use a sign at their Master's wish
Paying homage to the humble fish

~WPG

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Heads Up

We, in the Northern Hemisphere, might be in for some thing rare.

http://www.nightskyhunter.com/Comets%20Visible%20Tonight!.html

Be observant. Stay expectant.

Update: 2:40 PM   Nice picture coming in from the European Southern Observatory

http://www.eso.org/public/archives/images/screen/potw1346a.jpg

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sacred Masculine

I mentioned in the 11-6 post (People Don't Learn) that a "gratitude course" was starting up and provided a link to enroll. Yesterday was day 9 of the course and the question was; "what is the greatest compliment you have ever received." My answer came immediately to mind. That produced an avalanche of events resulting in today's post. In a small way, you are going to meet the first girl I ever dated. She wrote me two poems. (how cool is that?) The one containing the compliment isn't going to be shared. I view it as "too personal--too intimate." After reading the poem I AM going to share, (with her permission) you may develop a sense of appreciation for my reluctance.

        Mountain Dream

Alone this mountain morning
I went for a walk, a climb
Beside a silent stream of melted
First snowfall
(first love, you are a splashing brook inside)
Not even dawn, fading stars
Were strewn across the sky
A mist of cold blue air swirling
Disguising the tall evergreens
(your face, I see it, focus, out of focus,
gone, leaving only your eyes, stars)
Slowly the forest awoke
Twitching brown chipmunks
Scampered up trees, startled
By my intrusion into their
Morning breakfast world
Stopping to watch, I leaned
Against a green feathered pine
And suddenly the sun broke
Through the mist, setting fire
To the treetops with its touch
(Now the limbs encircle and take hold,
surrounding, your arms, your arms so close
as we entwine until the sun touches me too)

For those interested, the February 1st post was written to her.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A For Effort

While growing up I often heard the adage; "well, you get an A for effort." The crux of the message was the situation hadn't turned out as you had hoped, but it was obvious you had done your very best. I wonder where that saying went? I ask because of an article my second cousin (and devoted mother) posted on Facebook this morning.

http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/?imw=Y

It is an interesting, insightful article that is well researched. It is also l-o-n-g! And I was struck by the fact that what takes 15 minutes to read is encapsulated by The Last Enchanted Forest in a stanza that takes all of 10 seconds. (Dwarves will convey persistence--Strength and inner pride--Acceptance of just what they are--Not something that they hide)

The context in which this is shared is Willie's (a leprechaun) reaction to the assistance the "big one's" are obviously in need of. After visiting our world, he returns home and explains to his forest family that they have to go and help out. Part of his rational is how different groups (elves, pixies, dwarves) can share traits beneficial to the big folk.

To be clear, Willie isn't a psychologist or child behaviorist. He didn't conduct any experiments. He just KNEW. Like I know your child (grandchild, nephew or niece) will benefit from you sharing The Last Enchanted Forest with them. It is a delightful fantasy that can be taken at face value. As a bonus, it provides teachable moments--if you are so inclined. Either way, the value of the book will pay dividends for a lifetime.

You can view the first two pages by clicking on the tab (Book) at the top of the page and then on the book cover itself. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wherefore Art Thou

While we can never prove the Presence exists to others, we do know it when we've experienced it. And once experienced, there's no turning back. Once we recognize the Presence is within and all around us, there's no reason to revere rituals and ceremonies...

"Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals: not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables. When you really look for me, you will see me instantly." ~Kabir Indian poet (translated by Robert Bly)

Once we get away from our beliefs of what is sacred and religious, we finally grasp the meaning of this wondrous journey: to experience the Presence and awaken to our real identity. We experience this Presence by surrendering, by relentless honesty, by not knowing.

~J. K. Bailey Already on Holy Ground

Monday, November 11, 2013

Enthusiasm

Did you know the etymology (origin; root) of enthusiasm is: "possessed by a god, inspire." [en-, in + theos, god] (New World Dictionary) That fascinates me. The literal definition of enthusiasm is to be   possessed by (a) God. Looking at it a different way, consider the antonyms (opposites) of the word; apathy, indifference, half-hearted, listlessness. Is it just me, or doesn't that provide a clue as to how we could conduct ourselves?

Okay, I can hear you now--"Dude! give it a rest, already. You talk about God too much." Fair enough. Even though I've said I don't care if you believe in God or not, (and I don't) lets look at it from a different point of view. Watch this 2 minute and 57 second link;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx5IX3Nwu_M

No word about God was there? Just a practical approach to improving your life. The emphasis of what she is promoting is a gratitude list to be thankful for. From a LIFE COACH no less! And what Sarah suggests will increase your enthusiasm (possessed by a god) is to be grateful. (see life as gift) Where we differ is that I contend that an ASPECT of God is revealed in the process. If we take the literal definition of enthusiasm, we are privy to an aspect(s) of God (energetic, vigorous, passionate, warmth).

Application: For one week, try the following. When you get up in the morning repeat: 1) I will greet this day with love in my heart. [~Og Mandino The Greatest Salesman in the World] 2) Sing (or what passes as singing for you) Oh what a beautiful morning-Oh what a beautiful day-I've got a beautiful feeling-Everything's going my way. [~Oklahoma! Rodgers and Hammerstein] 3) Do your best to believe it. 4) See what happens.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sacred Feminine

                  Francis Dee

Little boy looking in a candy store
Shoe's scuffle rhythm on a hardwood floor
But what can you tell him, what can you do
Little boy's dream can't ever come true

Pennies in his pocket he ain't got
"Just look, don't touch!" is his poor lot
But what can you tell him, what can you do
Little boy's dream can't ever come true

Eye's grow wide and heart beats fast
He knows how long that sucker would last
But he'll never taste it, he'll never know
Candies out of reach and his heart aches so

Oh! for a bite from that caramel bar
Or just a few of those chocolate stars
But he'll never taste them, he'll never know
Candies out of reach and his heart aches so

This story is over save one sad fact
Just a single change in this whole act
The little boy's me and I feel the same
As the kid in the store when I hear your name

~WPG

Friday, November 8, 2013

Eeny Meeny Miny Mo

There are a number of idea's floating around in my head for today's post. They will have to wait, though, as I explain yesterday's double post. (as if you noticed, right?) Some background information might be helpful. Monday I took Gwenn to lunch. (you can meet Gwenn at this link)

http://wpgrogan.blogspot.com/2013/07/gwenn-jones.html

It was a small way of thanking her for the work she put in formatting "The Last Enchanted Forest" in a way acceptable to Smashwords. Believe me when I say it has been a "battle royal." We actually started with Amazon and had it available there. But I wasn't happy with the results and immediately had Gwenn pull it. Nearly 6 weeks later, and with a different distributor, we can be located on a public vehicle. The upside about Smashwords is they can offer the book in any format under the sun. (i.e. Kindle, E-pub, etc.)

During lunch we discussed a number of different ways to market the book. One thing I mentioned was I would like to do a post about the book (Ask And You Shall Receive) but I didn't want to link it, I wanted to have the image (book cover) appear on the page as part of the post. Boom! Yesterday Gwenn e-mails me to look at the blog. Viola, there it was. I responded I had wanted to create a post around the image. She told me to go in and edit it.

And I guess, from a distance, that seems fair enough. To me it was a case of; the cats out of the bag. Fait accompli. I hadn't got to do things the way I wanted and it irked me! I had a scenario in mind and it had been waylaid. Why hadn't Gwenn run this through me? She had given me a ton of grieve for doing the exact same thing to her regarding the printer. (I had 10 copies printed for marketing purposes) What had she been thinking? Why did she feel authorized to post without my expressed approval? I was moving towards a temperamental, artistic snit-fit.

Well, you probably guessed what happened. The blog I posted earlier in the day was, Lighten Up. And it had a cartoon that harpooned the very essence of what I was grappling with. If Gwenn ever left, I would be over. She made the web site possible. She made the e-book possible. I had been hoisted on my own petard. I simply had to let it go...

So what does it all mean? That I struggle like you. That I am a human being with flaws. That the phrase, "physician heal thyself," constantly plays in my mind when I blog. Still, with humility, I contend that the blog is of value. I believe that it is possible that an entry (like yesterdays was for me) can be a reflection of our own foibles and steer us toward more positive outcomes. At least I hope so. Willie (the protagonist in The Last Enchanted Forest) expects no less.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"The Last Enchanted Forest"


A picturesque children's eBook now available on Smashwords.com and http://www.GiftGratitudeGod.com. Enjoy!

Lighten Up

This is exactly how I feel about my modest readership...

http://i.imgur.com/qnADUD2.jpg

Find something to laugh about today. It will do you good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

People Don't Learn

I suppose that is why I have come across another "elder" that I hadn't heard of before. First Louie Zamperini and now Alice Herz Sommer. Both defined to a large extent by their World War II experiences. I wonder if her "everything is a present," (Gift) adds gravitas to the theme of this website? Or do we hear the words, think "how nice," and promptly forget them?

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5VTkQKgxkY

I am going to include another link below. It is a 21 Day Gratitude Challenge. It starts tomorrow. Might be time to stop reading and start doing. Of course, that implies you actually want to learn something. And we all know how Alice feels about that.

http://www.kindspring.org/21day/

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ENLIGHTENMENT

A story told in pictures...

http://500px.com/photo/45553024

(may take a heartbeat or two for full image to load)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Epilogue

I feel like sharing some supplemental information with you. Here is an overview of Louie Zamperini and the book "Unbroken."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xax7l-bDJKg

To the larger point of today's post, I am going to provide context by sharing excerpts from page 166 of the book. This, so you have a better understanding of the paragraph from page 374.
_________________________________________________________________________________

One morning, (between day 35 and 40--the book is not specific) they woke to a strange stillness. The rise and fall of the raft had ceased, and it sat virtually motionless. There was no wind. The ocean stretched out in all directions in glossy smoothness, regarding the sky and reflecting its image in crystalline perfection. Like the ancient mariner, Louie and Phil had found the doldrums, the eerie pause of wind and water that lingers around the equator.

It was an experience of transcendence.

For a while they spoke, sharing their wonder. Then they fell into reverent silence. Their suffering was suspended. They weren't hungry or thirsty. They were unaware of the approach of death.
_________________________________________________________________________________

He remembered the day when he and Phil, slowly dying on the raft, had slid into the doldrums. Above the sky had been a swirl of light; below, the stilled ocean had mirrored the sky, its clarity broken only by a leaping fish. Awed to silence, forgetting his thirst and hunger, forgetting he was dying, Louie had known only GRATITUDE. That day, he had believed that what lay around them was the work of infinitely broad, benevolent hands, a GIFT of compassion. In the years since, that thought had been lost.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Culmination

Since October 24th with the post "Handle With Care," an unmistakable influence has been at work on this blog. It culminated today when I happened across this link...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/olivet-middle-school-football-play_n_4182924.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

I know--the commercial is a pain. And, except for the age involved, (middle school kids) it isn't all that novel. I've seen similar celebrations of the spirit at the college and high school level. No, what makes this particular incident so remarkable is Justice Miller. Hang on to the end of the video and watch Justice.

The authenticity of his emotion is what is relevant. I said in Handle With Care that the "truly astounding occurrence is that you, like the wasteland, are redefined in the process." I don't want this lost on you. I am not suggesting Keith Orr was a "wasteland." Only that he could be PERCEIVED as such. (see; Alonzo and Shane) No, the metaphor is how quickly people dismiss certain segments of our society. Retard. Fatty. Loser. Fag. Slut. And by doing so, the Gift is missed. Justice Miller saw the gift and was transformed. His me became a we and an aspect of God was revealed. The kid that was never "cool" or "popular" taught Justice that. What has Justice taught you?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Unbroken

The following is an excerpt from the book, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.

The crash of the Green Hornet (B-24 Liberator) had left Louie (Zamperini) and Phil (Russell A. Phillips) in the most desperate physical extremity, without food, water, or shelter. (they had endured 47 days on a raft after their plane crashed in the Pacific) But on Kwajalein, (nicknamed Execution Island) the guards sought to deprive them of something that had sustained them even as all else had been lost: DIGNITY. This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be dehumanized, to be cleaved from, and cast below, mankind. Men subject to dehumanizing treatment experience profound wretchedness and loneliness and find that hope is almost impossible to retain. Without dignity, identity is erased.

...On Kwajalein, Louie and Phil learned a dark truth known to the doomed in Hitler's death camps, the slaves of the American South, and a hundred other generations of betrayed people. Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it. The loss of it can carry a man off as surely as thirst, hunger, exposure, and asphyxiation, and with greater cruelty.

I ask that you examine your behavior when it comes to the homeless, a man like Alonzo, or a teen like Shane. I believe this weeks message is abundantly clear; we do not honor our fellow man when we look past or through them. Ignoring them, or worse labeling them, leads to dehumanizing them. If labels like "loser" or "worthless" pop into your mind when seeing certain elements of society, know you have "missed the mark." You look with eyes that do not see.

I ask that you give them what we all have to give. A smile. A wink. A nod of acknowledgement. I ask you give them what they may have misplaced...their dignity.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Laus Deo

Latin for "praise God." Poses a dilemma for me. How do I praise what I am so uncertain about? Not that "It" doesn't exist in some form or other, just that "It" goes so far beyond my understanding. What do I make of this suggestion? How do I go about praising God?

Admitting to pure speculation, what other way than expressing my appreciation for the life I live and the world around me?  I always fall back on experience to guide me. As such, what is it that I want, need or feel, when someone "praises" me? What I feel is: 1) support 2) validation 3) appreciation 4) concern 5) warmth 6) a "connection."

And it is # 6 that seems operative in this particular case. When I "laus Deo," I am establishing a connection with Life itself. And as I've expressed elsewhere, Life and God are synonymous for me. Where else and how else am I to experience God if not through living? Be-ing? If that is the case (which it most certainly is for me) then how I would "praise God" would be through my thought, word and deeds. Do they reflect what I aspire to? What I want "me" to be?

Example: Do you wish to be a friend, partner or spouse that is honest? Trusted? Reliable? I think all would say as much. If we step away from those qualities and act in a fashion that contradicts them, what do we feel? How do we act? If our self-image is at odds with our actions, discord follows. We wrestle with reality. (Life) We exert tremendous effort supporting a perception that is at odds with what we think, say and do. And down deep we know it.

So, in the end, my ability to praise God seems to be how well I am able to authentically express myself. A validation of sorts comes from the Greek definition for the word sin (hamartia) used in the New Testament: "to miss the mark." (target) In Hebrew sin (chatta'ah) is to "miss the way." (although there are other variations with different meanings; pesha, avon, etc.) When we are less than we can be, less than we had hoped for, we have missed the mark. Conversely, when we manifest who we truly are and what we long to be, we have "hit the bulls-eye." For some reason, that's all the praise I think the Creator needs.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

And Baby Makes Three

I never married and have no offspring. So the clip that follows is somewhat of a mystery to me. Is it as eye-opening as it seems? Or do babies astound their parents in a multitude of ways? (wait! that is a rhetorical question) Of course they do, especially the first. I have seen the pictures, home movies and endured HOURS of conversation. Let me be more specific: I know babies often smash the "adorable meter" all to hell. I know babies laugh, giggle, and gush until you think you're melting in pure bliss. But have you ever seen anything like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFujGieAirI

I wonder. The emotional depth this baby seems to demonstrate lends itself to the motif that has developed on this blog over the last week. Through Alonzo, Shane and now Mary-Lynn Leroux, (the baby) Life seems to be insisting we take the lesson to heart. Words matter. Pitch, tone, modulation, emphasis and rhythm all play a part. As I said in 'Handle With Care' (10-24) "...words can be a medium to create an object of beauty."

Let the artist within come forth.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Last Thursday I wrote: "As children we were told; sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. As adults we know little else can hurt us more."

In elementary and high school I was the popular kid. Played sports, dated the best looking girls. I say that for one reason only--I was STILL as insecure a person as you would ever want to meet. Every slight a scar. Every opinion from Mount Sinai. Every event a crisis. I was told early and often; don't be so hard on yourself. But I knew if I let up even for a minute I would become more exposed, more vulnerable, more susceptible.

I want you to meet Shane Koyczan. He is going to share what it was like from the other end of the spectrum. Shane is far braver than I will ever be. He has overcome far more than I ever will. But we were never as different as appearances seemed...

http://www.ted.com/talks/shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful.html

If you wish to teach your children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren some genuine values through  storytelling, please consider purchasing my book, "The Last Enchanted Forest." It is available in e-book form and can be found by hitting the BOOK tab at the top of the page.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Crossroad at the Crossword

I love doing crossword puzzles. Been doing them longer than I care to admit. And there is something inexplicable that often happens when I do them. I'll get stymied--stuck--flummoxed. I'll have no further answers. I have been bested. So I set it down and go about my business.

The "inexplicable" happens when I pick that crossword puzzle up again. Much more often than not, I go on to complete the puzzle. How can this be? I am certainly no smarter than before. Its not that I even RECOGNIZE a particular answer that may fit the puzzle. (often they are Latin or archaic terms) But by horizontal and vertical referencing, I know for a certainty that my answer is correct. Where did this "information" come from? Is it my own subconscious mind? The Universal Mind? Thin air?

I share this simply to encourage you to examine your problem solving process. Setting down a problem for a period of time doesn't mean you've quit on it. It just means you cease the frustration and possible anger that can arise when you become thwarted. The intention is; I am blocked. I will return to this issue later for resolution.

Religious people sometimes term this "letting go and letting God;" in-so-far as personal problems are concerned. I have no trouble with this perspective because I believe all of Life is a manifestation of God. I would add, though, I don't believe God gives two hoots or a holler whether I finish a crossword puzzle or not. So, for me, the answer isn't so much that God took an active interest in my specific problem as He set up a "dynamic" that is available to one and all. We just need to recognize and utilize the inherent, universal technique. Kind of like tuning in a radio---we need to find the proper frequency.

It has been suggested elsewhere on this blog to "enjoy the questions while you wait on the answers." I am sincere with that thought. If someone had figured all of life out, we would certainly have heard about it. (religions not withstanding) The blueprint would be overt and easily recognizable. Everyone would be utilizing the same playbook. But that is not the case--therefore we can infer an individual (personal) road is encouraged within generalized (impersonal) parameters. Of course that is only my opinion. What you think (believe and manifest) is the road that you are on. Here's hoping we cross paths.

Tip: If you have a notion to try a crossword puzzle, know they get progressively harder as the week goes by. (assuming you find one in your local newspaper) Monday's crossword is far easier than Thursday's, for example. The exception is a Sunday crossword. While challenging (and large!) it does not compare with the difficulty of a Saturday crossword.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Handle With Care

When you observe something of beauty, a fine instrument or piece of art, do you ever wonder about the amount of time, talent and skill that goes into the creation of it? I ask for one simple reason; think how easy it is to destroy things. A Stradivarius violin can be stepped on and crushed in a second. A van Gogh ruined by a 2 dollar pocket knife. Time, talent or skill level necessary--none.

As Life unfolds and sweeps you along, please consider the value of all that surrounds you. Much of it may bore or even repel you. It may be so common place it doesn't even draw a conscious response. And that's okay--it happens. If you stumbled across this post though, know some Presence has tapped you on the shoulder. It asks you to remember. It requests that you recalibrate. It invites you take time to recall you are a co-Creator.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxxdQox7n0

As powerful and wonderful as that link is, I want you to expand your efforts further. I ask you move beyond your initial discomfort with the next link. See the warmth, wisdom and beauty flowing from those fingers. The manifestation of an interior vision so contrary to the outward, physical "reality."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oEwt40SAeU

As children we were told; "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." As adults we know little else can hurt us more. Today, tomorrow, and for as long as the momentum carries you, choose your words carefully. Look beyond terms like garbage, trash, or waste, and see with the eye of an artist. Like an empty canvas or a lump of clay, words can be a medium to create an object of beauty. And with all things of value, it takes time, talent and patience. Destroying it only takes a moment of mindlessness, carelessness, recklessness.

Words are like raindrops--one, several, or many may not be enough to bring a parched land back to life. But if you are consistent, if you are persistent, you can transform a wasteland. The truly astounding occurrence is that you, like the wasteland, are redefined in the process. Desiderata suggests; "beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself." I beg you go even further. Be gentle with all who interact with you--they are far more fragile than they would ever let on.

Update: Caught my error concerning the 2nd link 9:40 PM PST. Sorry about that!  Great site though, huh? Proper link now in place.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reflection

God sleeps in the rock
Dreams in the plant
Stirs in the animal
And awakens in man

~ ibn al-Arabi
12th century Sufi mystic

Monday, October 21, 2013

Entanglement

One pearl of ancient wisdom is; "as above, so below." As we conduct experiments with quantum entanglement we can better theorize of possibilities once thought impossible.

http://www.livescience.com/28550-how-quantum-entanglement-works-infographic.html#

As eye opening as the possibilities may be, I am (always and ever) more inclined to personalize the data. What does it mean in my life? What, if any, are its applications? How can I use the information to reach beyond my current state--beyond my potential? Could entanglement possibly be a physical manifestation of karma? That all interaction, both macro and micro, carry potential of lasting effect?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg7VTKQ3Tgw

Enjoy the questions while you wait on the answers.

Update 10-29 The initial (and better) link to "Tangled up in Blue" (Bob Dylan) was pulled so I have replaced it. How long this replacement link is up is any one's guess. Thought I should let you know.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Batten Down The Hatches

When you experience radical emotional upheaval, the phrase "batten down the hatches" is a useful metaphor. It implies that everything that can be tied down, secured, or protected, has been. A storm is descending and there is nothing that can be done other than "riding it out." The one positive within the metaphor is that sufficient time has been provided that one can take precautionary measures. Whether those measures are equal to the circumstances is a moot question; we have done all that we can do.

Emotional tsunami's are going to take place. Berating the injustice or devastation they cause doesn't address the work that needs to be done. In the aftermath, the best one can do is to start "picking up the pieces." Overwhelming as it may be, our focus needs to be on what's important NOW. The larger illustration lends itself to food, shelter, and medical aid to those in need. The personalized metaphor to emotional, psychological, and spiritual comfort.

No doubt Life has brought you both sides of this coin. Being devastated, and being an observer of devastation. As in all things, experience guides us. Knowing the emotional wreckage that losing a parent, sibling, husband, wife, child, boyfriend, girlfriend, job or house can cause, we know what needs to be offered. The question then becomes, do we? Or, having survived our own crisis, we shrug off the distress of others because we are too busy, detached, or ill-equipped to see our personal involvement? Whatever decision you reach isn't my concern. But as asked by another man; "if not you, then who? If not now, then when?"

Hurricane Phailin is bearing down on India. (what is known as a tropical cyclone in that part of the world) Landfall will be in the areas of Visakhapatnam-Brahmapur-Puri. As I have monitored the situation, one small blessing has been the reduction of the "eyewall replacement cycle." This simply means the intensity of the hurricane has been reduced from category 5 (the highest) to 4. I will spend a part of my weekend striving to be grateful for neighbor helping neighbor--village helping village--country helping country. The time is coming when we will understand and embrace the reality that we are all in this together.  

Update: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/phailin-on-course-to-devastate-1/18611884   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rally Round

Two are better than one; for if one of them should fall, the other can raise his partner up.
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Imagine extending your support unconditionally for the next 24 hours. To anyone and everyone who happens to come your way. The stranger you do not know; the long lost friend. The beggar on the street, the work associate. The unknown neighbor in the grocery checkout line, the family member that you cherish. Your best friend and worst enemy...all receive your wholehearted encouragement.

Life comes at us relentlessly. It tears us up as it wears us down. None are immune. And I ask that you give what you so desperately need. Offer a hand up. The knowing nod. A wink of assurance. The smile of inclusion. Be what you long for...a friend.

"Over the years I've settled on this definition of my immediate family: Its whoever, when help is needed, shows up immediately." ~Robert Brault

Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest...its about who came and never left. ~Unknown

http://vimeo.com/2539741

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Reflection

I am an old, superstitious Arab, and I believe in our proverbs. There's one that says, "everything that happens once can never happen again. But anything that happens twice will surely happen a third time."

~Paulo Coelho  The Alchemist

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oktoberfest

This Sunday will mark the end of the traditional period for Oktoberfest. I would encourage you to try and find a beer garden or ratskeller somewhere in your area this weekend. The Germans (Bavarians in particular) certainly enhanced the world with their celebration and wonderful beers. I was fortunate enough in my youth to stumble upon the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California, and am the better for it. Not only did I learn the "Chicken Dance," but was first introduced to yodeling. It has been a secret pleasure ever since. I simply can't refrain from smiling when a good yodeler goes off. The singing starts at the 1:39 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1z0cbSWfXU

The costumes, brats, beer, and polka's make for sheer fun. Go have some.

http://www.thephoenixclub.com/oktoberfest/

Monday, September 30, 2013

Other Side Of The Mirror

Imagine if you will, a world population of (approximately) 435 million. Of this 435 million a handful of people (at best) believed that the earth orbited the sun. Everyone else (EVERYONE!) knew the truth was the sun and planets orbited the earth. This was beyond question. Not only were biblical teachings supportive of this "truth," but the 5 senses a human being is endowed with made it incontrovertible. The evidence was overwhelming.

That was the state of affairs in the 16th century. Less than 500 years ago. I want you to fully appreciate this. And I want you to contemplate how the rate of information (knowledge) has changed in recent decades. Check out this link...

http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/3950

Its not what you know now that will be altered in 500 years, or even 50, but 5. And it is going to assault your core belief system. It is going to fundamentally challenge you. How you embrace change will go a long ways determining your well-being. As you dwell on words like flexible, adaptable, versatile, supple and resilient, keep in mind the words from Desiderata; "no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." Stay open. Be receptive. Trust.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lin-a2lTelg

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reincarnation

When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do the people say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.   Matthew 16: 13-14 KJV

A near exact account can be found at Mark 8:27-28; and the larger context of what is being related is that Peter declares Jesus the Christ (Messiah). Why I stopped where I did is that I have always been fascinated that Jesus and the disciples have this conversation. The matter of fact way in which Jesus is looked upon as someone who had previously lived. The confusion about John the Baptist I can understand...a simple case of misidentification. But Elias, Jeremiah or some other prophet? Why were the "people" so quick to answer Jesus was somebody who had lived before? Was the idea of reincarnation so prevalent in those times?

I was a boy of happy disposition, I had received a good soul as my lot, or rather, being good, I had entered an undefiled body. ~Wisdom of Solomon 8:19-20 Jerusalem Bible

They (the Pharisees) say that all souls are imperishable, but that the souls of good men only pass into other bodies, but the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment. ~Josephus, Jewish War II:163 (8.14); cf. JCW p.478, III pp.385-387

The soul, which is immaterial and invisible in its nature, exists in no material place without having a body suited to the nature of that place. Accordingly, it at one time puts off one body which was necessary before, but which is no longer adequate in its changed state, and exchanges it for a second.
 ~Origen, Against Celsus VII:XXXII, WOII p.454

Again, from Origen: The soul has neither beginning or end...Every soul...comes into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its previous life. Its place in the world, as a vessel appointed to honor or dishonor, is determined by its previous merits or demerits. Its work (actions) in this world determines its place in the world which is to follow. ~Origen, On First Principles, REWA p.36

The hypothesis of Basilades says that the soul, having sinned before in another life, endures punishment in this. ~Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies IV:XII, WCAII, p.176

Say, Lord to me...say, did my infancy succeed another age of mine that died before it? Was it that I spent within my mother's womb?...And what before that life again, O God my joy, was I anywhere or in any body? For this I have none to tell me, neither father nor mother, nor experience of others, nor mine own memory. ~Augustine, Confessions I:VII.9, CSA p.7

I believe reincarnation has been pigeon-holed in the United States. Too many believe it to be "New Age" or "unchristian." Nothing could be further from the truth. At the very least, it was a lively topic of debate 2000 years ago. I am not here telling you that "it is so." What I am saying is reincarnation certainly explains a lot to me. Divine mercy and justice make so much more sense in the framework of reincarnation than eternal punishment or reward based on a single lifetime. Unlike Augustine, though, perhaps we have the "experience of others" that we can draw on to better come to an understanding;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EWwzFwUOxA

Monday, September 23, 2013

Through The Looking Glass

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Do not look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

~Rainer Marie Rilke

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Perhaps They Never Will

So much talk of vulnerability. What is it. When is it warranted. Why is it important.

Questions so compelling I noticed Brene Brown was on Oprah's Super Sunday show today. Of course if you are a regular visitor to this site, you met Brene 2 1/2 months ago. (Any Questions 7-7-13) I brought her to you through Ted Talks. We have been over this subject thoroughly. However, if there are still lingering doubts as to what vulnerability is, let me share...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHnRfhDmrk

If you can listen to this song and still--"mount up"--you know as much of vulnerability as anyone in the world. If you are unsure what "mount up" means, go back into the archives. You have much to learn.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Trust

You trust someone and they let you down
Tear you up and toss you around
What do you do to show the right path
To someone who's spiteful with unwarranted wrath

Easy to say, difficult to do
Meeting hate with an I love you
But it has to be done, it's simply a must
Or how in the world will they learn to trust

~WPG

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Red Headed Step Child

I honestly don't know if this expression is understood around the planet, so let me clarify: a red headed step child are people who are last considered, if they are considered at all. So unimportant they are rarely thought of in the scheme of things. And sadly, this blog has become a red headed step child in the last 9 days. I don't think I have ever allowed so much time to elapse between posts. That said, ironically, the reason for it is ANOTHER red headed step child...my e-book! 

Boy, did I entertain high expectations from friends and family about immediately purchasing "The Last Enchanted Forest." (see Book tab at top of page) The apathy and indifference was eye-opening. It also hurt. Down deep. On a very personal level. And I wanted to give myself time to feel it, really experience that pain. I figured that was the only way I would be able to "let it go." So I took the time. Yet, while I was experiencing disappointment about the lack of e-book sales, I found myself unable and unwilling to "blog." In a very poor metaphor (since I in no way consider myself "superman") it was like Superman around kryptonite. I felt powerless. I felt the lack of response was a reflection of me, when in truth, it said what needed to be said of "family and friends." I needed to recalibrate those who fit the definition, simple as that. (see; Matthew 12:48)

The truth is, if every friend and family member bought my book it wouldn't come CLOSE to the sales I believe the book warrants. The book is awesome...a wonderful tale that is worthy of global recognition. And if Life decides it is constructive, beneficial, and illuminating, nothing on earth could possibly stop the momentum that will, eventually, build around the book and take it to unimaginable sales. That is how Life works. At least that is what I have been claiming for 14 months on this web site. I've also said in many places---"lets put it to the test." So now you'll get to see for yourself. I have said I need to sale 100 books in 3 months to Louis Borelli. (book store owner) He said I didn't have the marketing in place to get close to that number. I said it was a VERY conservative number. I will let you know at the end of December where we are at. (and so you know, the following 6 months I would like the book to sale 1000 copies)

Final note: As a precursor of things to come, and something only one other person of the 7 billion people on earth could possibly understand...."Hi Morgan!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Night Sky


              Lunar Eclipse

A cry in the night, bewailing its fate
A lonely willow tree stands
Alone and frightened, friendless
Engulfed and estranged in the violence of silence
When will it end, oh when will it end

Touched, moved to emotion, the commotion of feeling
The moon released its glow--slow and easy
And with its heart started to tell its tale
Neither alone nor abused willow are thee
You're free, you're soaring, uplifted and gifted
For the night will encompass, will cuddle forever
More bliss than the kiss that the winds will deliver
The Giver of Life--the Giver of Love
Surrounds you completely, below and above

The earth that refuses to relinquish its hold
Told too of its love, honest and bold
Even the stars in the unending sky
Came forth eagerly to testify
But willow refused and defused the power
This hour of friendship and love...
So spurned and rejected, detected of caring
The moon withdrew its glow
Neither did winds blow or any stars show

And a lonely willow tree stands
Alone and frightened, friendless
Engulfed and estranged in the violence of silence

~WPG

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Terrible Truth

You are going to be lied to. Someone will betray you. You will get f**ked over at some point...you can count on it. The question isn't whether these things are going to happen, the question is how you react when they do.

I have observed enough of life to know that no matter how sage the advice, people do as they damn well please. It doesn't matter what I, or anyone else, suggests. In the heat of the moment, the last thing in the world you are going to recall are any "words of wisdom" you've heard. You will lash out, strike back, retaliate, or undermine the offending party. That is what people do. It is the world we live in. And that, my friend, is the problem.

Goodness is great...if you're good to yourself. That is my only concern. You. How best to care for yourself under duress. Seldom is your initial reaction to negative events self-promoting. You simply want to "get even." Inflict as much pain as possible and damn the consequences. And there-in lies the "rub." You make matters worse. You don't think, you react. Even if that means you end up sabotaging yourself.

Perhaps this leaves you with a sense of satisfaction. You showed that old so and so! And perhaps you did. If you are satisfied with the consequences of your actions, all is well. What I have learned is, that is seldom the case. People will talk endlessly about how they got the better of someone. How they showed up their boss, spouse, partner, friend, or random human being. Yet, the very fact they are justifying, explaining, or rationalizing their behavior tends to undermine what they are saying. They aren't so sure of their actions that they don't seek validation. Why do you think that is?

At some point you may have the thought that Life is more a game of chess than checkers. And the more thought you put into your "moves," the better those moves might prove to be. I am not suggesting you lose your spontaneity as much as I am proposing you take your time when trouble calls. Breathe. Calm yourself. Try and look at the big picture. Normally (usually) there is ample time to make a thoughtful decision. Utilize that time.

Here is one common scenario: You have been unfairly maligned at work. Verbally abused. You want to storm out. Walk off the job. Who benefits? Your pride and nothing else. Instead, consider updating your resume. Start networking. Spend time researching what is available in your area. Ironically, it is far easier to get a job when you already have one. Once another position has been secured, leave your current job. If you don't feel they warrant a 1 or 2 week notice, walk out! I assure you, the sense of satisfaction you feel won't be one jot less than if you had done so immediately. And the truth is, you have handled yourself admirably. Nothing terrible about that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Station Break

For those of you that are observant, you may have noticed a new header at the top of the blog page. 'Book' is now an active tab and "The Last Enchanted Forest" is available for purchase. By clicking on the book cover you can view the first two pages and get a "feel" for the story offered. It is a children's book with an adult message. Beyond a heartwarming story in poetic form, there are vivid illustrations to fire the imagination of any child, along with "teachable moments" within the context of the tale. If you have children, grand kids, nephews or nieces, this e-book provides an opportunity to connect with them in the realm of fantasy, superimposed with real life lessons. If you have a teenager that has started "babysitting," this e-book may prove an invaluable tool bonding with those in his or her care. If you are an adult who relishes a good yarn, rich and interwoven with meaning, this book is for you. In other words, its for anyone and everyone. It is my sincere hope that you will purchase the book and join Willie on a journey of a lifetime.

http://site.baybridgecentral.com/giftgratitudegod/book.html

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sacred Masculine

I recently watched a documentary entitled; "Buck." It occurred to me then that I had several posts concerning the Sacred Feminine, but none regarding what it means to honor the masculine. Although I am anything but a cowboy, I was still able to relate to the documentary. The metaphor of life being a horse and the way one interacts with it was unmistakable to me. In addition, Buck's (Brannaman) early childhood was extreme. That he was able to integrate the violence inflicted on him to an understanding of "horsemanship" that refined the dynamic is a wonderful life lesson. If you have Netflix you can access the documentary. I highly recommend it. It displays the "unconscious competence" that lies at the heart of the truly masculine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOM5saEFBgM

(I have included a short video from youtube to give you a sense of the man)

Update: 11:50 PM 11-19-13   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCJPll_5lPc

(For someone special)

Update: 5:37 PM 4-17-14 (they never realized how special they were)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Self-Inflicted Wounds

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

The operative word in the quote above is "most." I am aware and understand that Life can bring events where we are blameless. But in general, the statement stands up to scrutiny, does it not? If so, what's to be gained by spending time on anyone else's blame, fault, involvement with or contribution to, what is ultimately our responsibility?

Take the energy you usually spend deflecting, shielding, or outright denying the extent of your involvement, and apply it to self-examination. How did I arrive here? What was it I was hoping to accomplish? Was I simply showing off ? Attracting attention to myself? Trying to impress someone? Did I feel the need of validation so strongly that I stepped outside of "me" to become something I thought more acceptable to "you?" When I am around certain people do I feel less than? Subservient to? What happens to my self-esteem when I find myself in the company of such people?

Another possibility is you simply didn't take anyone else into consideration. It was all about you. The collateral damage though, is something less desirable and too revealing for you to embrace. The unflattering picture must be minimized and what better way than blaming someone, or something, else? So you pour your energy into creating an alternate version of reality that places you in a more favorable light. You lie to yourself.

The problem with that is, it further exploits why you felt the need to: show off, try to impress, gain validation, or prop up your self-esteem in the first place! You perpetuate that which you wish to end. Like a hamster in a cage with a wheel, you run and run and run to exhaustion, only to maintain the very position you find unbecoming. You can't seem to break the cycle of behavior. You continue to shoot yourself in the foot--or bang your head against the wall--all the while in denial that your gun is smoking and that your forehead is bruised.

Well, here's the good news; you wouldn't be on this blog if you weren't ready for change. There is a linked article, video, song or photograph that is specific to you. A sentence or paragraph that fired your imagination and was written just for you. Trust what it says. Act on its influence. Go where it beckons. There is an amazing Gift waiting for you. Be brave enough to accept it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Clarity

Sometimes I hit upon a subject that is so important Life comes along and says; "Hey, that's great! Not sure you needed to use all the big words though. Let me help." And I am introduced to a person, place, or thing that assists me in providing clarity. That is how I met Sara Bareilles this morning. It is a wonder how things work...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGmixpdf7Kw

So, yesterday's message is now obvious and explicit, yes? Go out and rock'em with your authentic self.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Role Playing

It is what it is...but it ain't what it's gonna be.

Here is where you come in. This is your role. The transitional figure to take us from where we are to "how it's gonna be." It's going to be peaceful, inclusive, and loving, if you are. It's going to be supple and flexible and intuitive, if you are. It's going to be patient, tolerant, and kind, if you are.

Is there a more superb learning experience than observing what is possible? Evidence that alternative expressions to negative stimulus are not only possible, but incontrovertible, because you yourself have born witness to it. The more provocative the circumstances, the more potential to infuse the moment with an "exceptional response." The extraordinary. The way others long to be but are unfamiliar with. Show them. Be a living, breathing "teachable moment." Be that which you aspire to be.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paradox

John D. Caputo (Power of the Powerless) states; "Whatever it is you say God is, God is more. The very constitution of the idea is deconstructive of any such construction...the very formula that describes God is that there is no formula with which to describe God."

I absolutely agree with Mr. Caputo. Still, what is G-G-G if not a formula, or at the least, a process? And my contention is, ultimately, within the dynamic (process) an ASPECT of God is experienced. How can I embrace both views? By simply allowing the "Gift" to be whatever it is that is experienced. That no limitations, boundaries, or expectations be imposed on the experience. We allow it (Life) to come through unfiltered--accept it in Gratitude--then decide what, if anything, we choose to do. If a situation is rife with discord, do we wish to add to the cacophony? Or do we desire a peaceful resolution? Choice is always part of the Eternal Now. Even if that choice is that you refuse to choose.

Here is an example. Many people I talk to want "peace" in their life. A reduction, if not a cessation, of so much "drama." I ask them how they would rate their "patience." The usual answer is; it needs work. Well, I say, how many opportunities does Life provide (on a daily basis!) for you to improve or enhance your level of patience? Rather than an attitude of, I can't take any more of this crap; you develop a response that perceives the event as an occasion (Gift) to explore the parameters of what makes you angry or reactive. To question; what button of mine was just pushed? Why did I react so forcefully to something that, in truth, really isn't that important to me? Do I actually see patience as capitulation? Am I really all that interested in becoming a patient person, or is it simply a characteristic I think I am suppose to have?

So, the formula becomes what I experience and how I respond IS the very formula for which there is no formula. Because I am not describing God, I am experiencing God. I am not saying what God is, I am saying how I understood Him in the moment. That I realize the creativity of the Creator, though beyond my comprehension, does not preclude a manifestation of that creativity in my life. That paradox is, in the end, nothing more nor less than another aspect of God.

Or is it?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Child of the Universe

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Desiderata, you are in for a treat. If you have, and its been awhile, it will be like a pleasant reunion with a good friend. Either way, enjoy.

                                                                  Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

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. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield against sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

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

~ Max Ehrmann  (written 1927)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Brass Tacks

Well the results are in and the consensus is I'm sometimes difficult to understand. The most recent example is Fridays post where I linked the song "Stones" to the post because of the line; "a landslide starts with a single PEBBLE." The individual in question didn't make the association. Further, the line; "...now is the time, this is the place, you are the person;" with the link to Orly's video was specific for you to do something similar this weekend. The direction, "mount up" was a reference to the 2-23-13 post of the same name that instructs you to ACT! That I am not the least bit interested in your excuses. (in case I was unclear the entire post)

While spirituality is self-generated, you can "grease the wheels." It won't happen though, if you come to this site with an every day attitude. If all you bring is your five senses, nothing much is going to happen. If however, you tote your imagination and your intuition in here, with an understanding of metaphor and allegory, momentum will start to build towards a manifestation of "promises made"  (that if you see things as a Gift, with authentic Gratitude, God will make His presence known).

A simple test for you is to go to the "headers" atop Home-Gift-Gratitude-God; they tell a story. Can you see it? The About Me and Blog headers are very much a part of that story, though nuanced to a specific part of the "plot" rather than the story in general. Can you discern the distinctions? I can tell you hours (and HOURS!) were spent selecting the "perfect" pictures. The restrictions on what was available were enormous. (they had to be free and site specific) Gwenn and I went at it several times (hammer and tong) as to the appropriateness of what we were using and why. That Gwenn adopted this attitude is why I love her. She became a collaborator. She took part ownership of MY web site!

I told you that to tell you this; I anticipate the same involvement from you. Mentally, metaphorically, "take off your sandals" (the worlds mass hypnosis) as you enter this site. (see the first sentence of the July 3rd post; Holy Ground) This is the way to maximize the benefits. If you should snort derisively and think--this fool believes his site is holy ground, up his--trust me, I get it. The problem is, you won't. Another opportunity will go by the wayside. And you will wonder why your head hurts as you continue to bang it against the proverbial wall.

Know that you are most welcome to bang your head against the wall. This too is a gift. How else for you to insure all roads have been explored? As Neil Diamond said, "being lost is worth the coming home." And whether you know it or not, you are headed home--the game is rigged, the outcome assured. G-G-G is just a way to hasten the process. Now I ask you, is that really so hard to understand?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Let's Get It On

I will tell you once again--now is the time, this is the place, you are the person.

http://talentsearch.ted.com/video/Orly-Wahba-Kindness-and-consequ

A landslide starts with a single pebble. You are the one we have been waiting for. Mount up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCkS08HwTZU

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Perspective

If you find yourself caught up in the daily grind, the mundane aspect of life, lets provide some perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcBV-cXVWFw

That should shake the cobwebs out...

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Blame Game

It seems an inherent human trait to want to blame someone or something for a "misfortune." Be it as simple as running late, waiting in line, spilling coffee on our pants---something other than oneself is usually the "culprit." I want to share with you that I have discovered the source...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCWczTg4WE

That's right! Blame it on the Bossa Nova. Starting now, whenever you encounter someone or something that allows you to move towards anger or exasperation, simply blame it on the Bossa Nova. This technique (however silly) will provide an opportunity for you to recalibrate your emotional state. A chance to review how pointless it is to "point a finger." That you expend a great deal of energy explaining away that which is, ultimately, unimportant. You might even want to consider how appealing self-effacing humor can be.

If you can't bring yourself to laugh at the world, you have misplaced your sense of humor. Self-importance has crept in and skewered your sense of proportion. We are what we are and we do what we do; embracing our actions and holding ourselves accountable produces a sense of self that is truly liberating. Until you are ready for that type of freedom however, you can always blame it on the Bossa Nova.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Choices

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re1vH9k2z0I

I can hear you now---its a film Pat. Pure Hollywood. And I say yeah, your right...but what do we make of this? Isn't this even more far fetched?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh78iSg_ZvU

Be the man or woman you always dreamed you could be. Do this in the hundred different ways you are called on to be heroic daily.

http://wpgrogan.blogspot.com/2013/02/mount-up.html

What is it you have always wished to say? To be? To do? Your answers are your road map. The choices you make reveal who you are. Simple really. Complicated only when we allow outside influences to alter the course in our hearts we know to be true. Or we despair and indulge in self-inflicted wounds. Trust yourself and your dream.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Addendum

Yesterday I spoke of "alchemy" and employing it so don't we become nihilistic. Here is an example of what I meant.

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north
wind lays waste your garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

~Kahlil Gibran The Prophet

To insist on a predetermined outcome lies outside our province. So we develop abilities to meet, react and integrate our experiences. We learn to say yes knowing all the while it may mean heartbreak. We say yes to our inherent right to say no---I don't wish to participate, despite appearing uncharitable or anti-social. We say yes to our heart, our instinct, our intuition, our dream. We say yes to Life on its terms. We say yes to loving ourselves so that our love for others becomes authentic. We say yes to honoring ourselves so that we understand what it means to respect others. We say yes to honesty because we've experienced the pain and confusion of being lied to. We say yes to being gentle because we have learned clarity through patience with our errant self. We say yes so that we are transformed from what we are to what we wish to be.