Funny coincidence that we just returned from New York. My wife and I love to travel and we even have many opportunities to travel with our work. This was a business trip that caused me to miss two days of posting :/ and, at the same time, gave me inspiration to live out my blog. I love the way things can become synchronized for us when we sincerely seek out the good in this wonderful life we get to live. Have you ever noticed the messages that are being sent to you through unusual avenues?
I have been reading lately about the 11:11 "phenomenon." I use the term a little loosely because it isn't really any kind of special or supernatural event to see the clock reading a particular time. Think about it. When you bought your last car, did you suddenly notice all of the identical models that began mysteriously appearing on the roads? How about the new outfit or the new hairstyle? I want to get you to understand that we are always going to see what we are looking for.
I have days when the clock talks to me to be sure. I am really into synchronicity. I also have come to understand that this is just a very small example of being in tune with what is going on around me. Awareness is the key. I think that when we begin to experience anything that causes us to pause and take note, what is actually happening is the fine tuning required of us in order to advance our ability to see.
Stop. Look. Listen. The Creator is always communicating with creation. I may not have the honor of seeing my son everyday but I see him in my spirit and I know that it is because we are tuned in to each other. I am communicating my love for him having never spoken a word. I am in synch with Brandon because he is my "creation" -- if you get my meaning.
Today, I am being constantly reminded of God's love for me by the things that are coming into my line of sight. I am looking for that communication because of the positive impact it has on me... especially during those times when I really need it. I know that I am not alone. I am never alone. I know it. Do you?
May you have eyes to see what you are looking for, and may what you are looking for provide you with everything you need to help others see more clearly. They are our responsibility as well. May you come to know and believe that the communicating that takes place in your private world is, by design, God talking directly to you. May you come to understand that if a clock is talking to you, you are in synch! And that means all is well. So...
Get up, get out, and get on with your life and your synchronization. Know that you are not alone and know that God is really pulling for you. So am I. Peace -- jb
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If I truly desire peace for myself, and all others as well, I am forced to confront my relationship with my self first. I can't lie to myself and simultaneously be honest with you. It just doesn't work that way. Furthermore, if I want peace for others, I must choose to be peace. In choosing to be peace, I am now confronted with my relationship with my brothers and sisters.
When I take time to heal by forgiving myself first and making peace with myself, I open up my true self to reconciliation with everything that is. I am in a better position to offer peace when I know what it looks like, and self forgiveness leads me to that awareness.
There exists quite an exquisite mystery for me in that, I want to be a teacher of peace yet I am discovering that, in the process, I am actually learning to be peace. As I learn more about peace, I gain a higher understanding of how it applies to the healing process. I can say I want peace, but my choices will indicate my level of commitment to it. When I make forgiveness of others a priority, I avoid the unnecessary delay in reaching peace between us.
Think of those who, for you, represent an opportunity for healing. Decide to offer forgiveness if it is needed and watch the healing begin. Don't have expectations of what the one you forgive will do in response. That is of less importance than for you to reach out in love. I am convinced that we will find true peace by making peace with ourselves, and by forgiving instead of resenting, we make it easier for others to realize their own peace. In this exercise we allow healing for us all.
Namaste' -- jb
One of the commentators spoke of it at the close of the broadcast and he said it so well, it led to this post. The sheer magnitude of what the Olympics can offer the world in terms of an idea of what world peace can look like is compelling. Just think about the diversity represented during the past two weeks and the ways our various nations and cultures integrated into a collective model of humanity. Where have we ever been presented with such an exemplary case study in successful human relations?
I don't know about you, but I am convinced that the world is a better place than we see represented on television news shows. I know the world is not a happy place for some of us and my optimism is not some misguided attempt at making an argument with anyone about the state of the world. I just feel good about our prospects in spite of what some may say.
Call me crazy and I might just agree with you. Most, if not all, of the people down through history who ever spoke of world peace as a real possibility were called crazy... or they were killed. We, as humans, sometimes do act crazy, but I feel that the craziness is in believing that peace is impossible. Nothing is impossible and I expect that we will all be one step closer to real peace once we see the possibility of it.
What I witnessed during this recent Olympic event was only possible because people believed that it could be done. So many people, so many venues, so much logistical preparation, so much effort by so many... it was something that I will always remember. So many individuals committed to the vision of the larger purpose. Wow.
If we were to decide to commit to the larger purpose, in cooperation with what God is already doing, that purpose being the creation of a planet filled with love, the world as we know it today would change "in the blink of an eye." It doesn't take a high-profile hero like Michael Phelps to create the change, it takes regular everyday heroes like you and me.
The world needs more heroes. Decide to be one today.
Peace -- jb
We like to think we're pretty prepared for things. We got out a flashlight, turned on the weather radio, located some candles, and provided our own light. It was adequate for seeing where we were going, but the amount of light necessary for normal function was not available to us. It seemed that no matter how many candles we lit, we were still short on the amount of light we desired. Hmmm, I smell a ramble.
As I sit here now in reflection, which is my favorite thing about Sunday mornings, I am conscious of an analogy regarding light and dark and how the two play into our daily lives. I should add that for me there is no such thing as actual darkness. It is simply the absence of light. How's that for eternal optimism? I am also fairly certain that scientists concur with that statement. :) And when I refer to light, I don't necessarily mean physical light, although we certainly depend on it to see. What I'm really talking about is the kind of light required to see what is really happening.
I am on the other side of a very difficult event which culminated late this week with what I felt would be a wave of relief. Instead, I have sensed a subtle difference between the feeling of relief I expected and what I am actually feeling, which seems to simply be a strong connection with appreciation. It really took until last night for all of that to sink in. Up to that point, I still struggled with some of the remnant emotions related to that event and the impact all of the uncertainty has had on me. I have been looking for things in my life for which appreciation has not been the operative word, and I am finding the process very healing. On a personal note, I am especially appreciative of our dear friends the Johnsons. They know me and they have always been here for me. They allowed me to further my processing this weekend without judgement, and it has played an important role in my getting my head out of my rear end. Thanks guys! You are both good and true; two very needed elements in today's world. These two qualities alone, when uncovered in an individual, constitute a strong foundation for the act of light bearing.
For me, it has become inescapably true that being in the light is good for me. I am honored to be a light bearer when it is my duty to do so, but I am at the same time a willing and hungry soul longing for that kind of light to be poured into and all over me. I never want to be in the dark although it would seem that it is sometimes unavoidable. I like being able to see. I want to really see what is really happening, and I have discovered that seeing is only possible when there is sufficient light. :O
There are many among us living in a sort of darkness that restricts our ability to see. It is disturbing to watch. Sometimes we are not successful in sharing love and light in these situations. This shadow is so overwhelming for some of us that it has the the potential of reaching a point of becoming almost debilitating. We are all responsible for our neighbors, and when we encounter these specific souls, it is imperative that we do all we can to share our selves with them. Lift up your head and look around. It is a beautiful world filled with beautiful people... our extended family, and we are all connected to each other whether we choose to believe it or not. We are truly living in the light when we recognize and see our brothers and sisters as we look into the eyes of those whom we meet in our everydayness. Give yourself away today. I mean it! No hidden price tag connected with just giving yourself away as completely as you can to the one you see who needs it. There is no greater gift than to give your life away in service to another. Your love, your money, your time -- your life.
Peace for the heart of your Sunday, love for the fuel of your mind, no thoughts of self, only for "them" and begin to see your Spirit soar ;-) jb Join my blog network on Facebook
I'm not suggesting that this nothing last forever, or even a day or a week. I am just saying that when you get to a point and there is no clear directive, it is ok to just sit and be. Of course, you can stand, jump, lie down, or whatever, but there is no requirement to have the next thing already figured out.
I have said over and over that we are not alone. We never go through anything alone, even when there is no other physical "person" with us. And I have come to understand the quiet that comes after some major happening in my life to mean that I can feel free to do nothing. It is like a reward of sorts. I find that I am not alone when I am really still. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been still?
Reminisce with me. Close your eyes and go back to a time in your life when it felt really good to do nothing. Sometimes our imagination is a little tired so if you're not into mind exercises, may I suggest the following: You're just a kid, it's late autumn, the leaves in the trees are screaming for you to take notice, the smell of crisp, perfect air is all around, the bluest skies ever painted are suspended perfectly between heaven and earth just for you, laughter's in the background and your team just won, or the wedding is over, or the funeral complete. It's Saturday afternoon and you're tired. You really could use a break from everything... no one quite understands how you feel about the scene that just went down and for the strangest reason, for the first time in your life you're at a loss for words; you can't even explain it. On and on and on and on and on... your mind just wrestles with the issues and you suddenly just give up. There's nothing to do but do nothing. I know of no one that cannot relate in some way to the feeling. It is universal. It is the signal we need to hear. It is the still small voice that is always trustworthy whispering to us to "Just be still."
I guess what I am meaning here is that our emotional guidance system is operating under extreme pressure to keep us balanced out during stressful or exciting times and refueling is only natural. I used to be a workaholic and I could never justify "downtime." That was for people who had less than enough drive or whose goals were not set high enough. I see now that I was not clear on the whole "sabbath" idea.
Watch out now, I'm not going "churchy" (is that even a word?) on you, but God knew what was needed when the weekend was created. This post is ultimately about personal balance, and I feel very strongly that many of us are not being kind to ourselves and allowing time for nothing to have real meaning in our lives. We are always going about doing something. It seems that we have difficulty being comfortable with stillness. The term "just be still" seems impossible.
Just. Be. Still. Only three words, but quite possibly three of the hardest words to honestly use when describing how we deal with stress. Why do we feel stressed anyway? In general we are just too busy and we fail to make downtime a priority. Guilt can keep us from ever exploring the quiet that always exists in the music that lies underneath the everyday sounds that have constantly distracted us, so effortlessly, for so long. We can experience a peace beyond description just by stopping the routine and intentionally choosing to be still. Quiet. Alone.
Three deep breaths and an image of peace in your mind everyday for only a few minutes can yield for you a real purpose for quiet, as it disrupts the everydayness that can become your existence. Reflect. Contemplate. Pray. Imagine your best days that are just ahead of you. Do something that feels especially good but... be still. Be quiet in your own private heaven for as long as you are willing and you will thank me later. ;-)
Peace is the way, and the sooner we agree, the sooner we can all heal. I'm ready. -- jb
where no one lies,
no one tries
to cover my eyes
and keep me from the truth
i see a life
where there's no strife
only barney fife's
nip it in the bud reply
before you hide the truth
dont sell me that
its tit for tat
you're not where its at
and i forgot your name
you are not the one
i thought i knew
the truth of you
but now we're through
gone so soon?
so i forgot your name
you are not the one
i see a world where
people live and die with grace
karmic ocean dried up
leaves no trace
but for now
you are not the one
yet we are all one
we are all one
no matter what you've done
we are all one______________________________
Sounds easy doesn't it? In fact, if you have the ability to project a future of uncertainty, one that makes you anxious or fearful, then you possess the same power to project a future that is desirable. Do that instead!
Whenever you find yourself worrying about something, it's ok to remain in the awareness of the issue, just recreate it in your mind as having the outcome you prefer. You can do this if you practice and you will find that your outer expression will reflect your inner peace. Now, I am not suggesting that we stick our heads in the sand whenever life throws us a curve ball and pretend to be ok. Never pretend. I am telling you that you can become the master of your thoughts and you can have real joy even in the midst of the storm... just by choosing it.
It can seem like a futile effort, especially when the storm is so big, but you can do it if you believe that you can. Sort of move thoughtfully into another dimension of the reality that you are experiencing and even go as far as to thank God for the positive results, even if your situation appears hopeless. We are not alone in our struggles. We are never alone.
We have the entire Universe at our disposal and I firmly believe... no, I am convinced that when I sincerely want something to happen, and I believe that it is possible, AND I am willing to act as though it were already a reality, God is as willing as I am to see it come to fruition. I also can tell you from my own experience that God will move heaven and earth on our behalf when we are real about our stuff and remain hopeful and faithful in spite of the appearance of hopelessness.
God is good. Life is good. You are good. And you are worthy of the best life has to offer. Choose to believe it right now and go forward into this day with your head held high and a smile on your face. People who think you should be otherwise will take note and will ask you about your demeanor. That will be your opportunity to share your strength with them and your reward will be your own strengthening as you declare your positive attitude.
Peace is yours, love is yours, and your thoughts are your own so take charge of them and infect the planet with positive energy today. You just might save the world in the process! -- jb
Now, thinking and thanking do go well together. I'm thankful for many things and I think about it a lot, but the church is another story. At the same time, lately I have been forced to confront my deepest feelings about the whole idea of church or a community of faith, so that issue has been on my mind as well. I guess the reason they were blending today is a result of the time spent with my closest friends last night at one of our regular Sunday night events. Some of us even hang out every Thursday night too. Thursdays have become a ritual and I look forward to every opportunity to spend my moments with my friends. I like being with these friends whom I happened to have met at church, but I don't feel as warm and fuzzy about being at the church we share in common... why is that? Thanks for your patience. Through my rambling, I am trying to get to the point of this post --
God is love so Love made us. Was it Love's intent for her creation to be divided against itself? I will do my best to talk in general terms on this subject but it is difficult. I have many thoughts but I don't have time for that kind of rambling tonight. I have to get up really early tomorrow. I just decided to throw out an idea or two to get us thinking and to see what happens.
We've got basically four major religions and a bunch of sub categories that extend ad nauseum in direct proportion to the number of splits within a given group. Speaking of divided churches, I will talk about Western Christianity since it is the religion with which I am most intimately familiar. If you live in America, have you ever noticed how many churches we have? There are so many different ways to just name a church that it seems there should be some competition for that naming and the names just seem to speak to a deeper issue; one of judgement and pride with no room for cooperation or dialogue. Someone responds to that comment by saying, "Free will says that I can have any kind of church I want"... Ok. Great argument. But wait! Was this God's idea? Are we justifying our intent to further the illusion of separation by playing the free will card? We may have been given free will but that freedom wasn't intended to be directed at another person or group of persons. Free will is based on the assumption that the one exercising that will has some ability to coexist with others. If not, we throw you in jail. Some of the things I have heard people (including myself) say about people they disagree with is quite troubling. My friends, we are not created to free will ourselves into isolation from the rest of our brothers and sisters.
If love made us then why do we hate what we don't understand? Was it love's intent for us to just assume that because a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or a Hindu doesn't follow the Christian way to God that they will burn in some big ass flaming lake of molten lava that just burns but never burns the heretic up? The imagery gives me the shivers. No, not the hell thing... There is no hell. Just the idea that someone thought all this up so that we could scare the rest of the world into submission. What kind of arrogance creates an illusion of fear so hateful and then directs it outward to every other living human on the planet that doesn't agree? It just makes me think that somewhere we lost our way to God and decided to blame everybody else instead of ourselves.
I once read a great illustration and I will do my best to repeat it here in the hope that by doing so, this post will not offend or confuse anyone. I am a peaceful person and I have no intention of offending or confusing, only challenging. So here's a picture story: If everyone on earth stood side by side, in a circle, hand in hand, and God was in the middle, we would all be able to see God. We would all be able to reach God. We would all have the ability to understand God. We would all have a clear perspective of God from where we stand. Just because you might be standing in a different place and God might look a little different to you from your perspective, does not make your perspective inferior to mine... just different. Different. Not wrong. Different. Not pagan. Just different.
Just because I see God differently from my sister does not make our Gods different. There is truly only one God and that God is Love. I think Love delights in the variety of methods we use in describing our perspectives and I also believe Love is always hoping that we will choose to see each other the same way that we see God and the same way we are seen through the eyes of God.
May we all have eyes to see each other as we are seen by God. May we choose to see each other as worthy of the love that created us. And may we choose to exercise that love in new and creative ways today. Peace -- jb
From my home page:
If you are reading these words, you are searching for answers. If you are searching for answers, you are not alone.
You are not alone.
If you're like me, questions come naturally. Answers... well, that may be a different story. I search. I really and truly do. It's not that I am skeptical. I'm sure you're not either. :) -- it's more like we have a certain sensitivity. There are definite paths to gaining understanding, and I believe life offers us many lessons. I have found that I can only truly teach when I am open to learning. For me, experience has proven to be my greatest teacher. I have come to recognize the events in my life as products of the thoughts I have been thinking. Maybe I think too much. With this in mind, it is my desire to share my story.
We all have one you know -- a story.
It is our story that helps define us. It is our story that helps others understand how we came to be who we are.... the way we are. It's not that we are our bodies or our experiences. We are definitely not those things or any other thing. But each of us has specific memories burned into our psyches. We all see through the lens of our past experiences. There is no need to regret any of it. We can use all of the building blocks of the past to make today better. We are not our past. The past is gone, the future has yet to arrive. All we have is now... and it is to be recognized as a most-cherished gift. That is why NOW is called the Present.
Keep this thought in mind: "I Am who I Am and I have a story to tell." Believe it! And when you begin to think about it and put together your story in order to tell it, you actually learn more about your true self. That is the purpose of Jeff Baker Talks.com, and I hope you will benefit from the insights explored here. In sharing our ideas and our stories, we can grow together.
It is my desire to discuss topics that affect us all. I believe there are alternative approaches to finding answers to the questions that burn in us. All that is required is an open mind, an appetite for more, and a genuine desire to attain that which you seek.
I am what I think I am...
the rich get richer
the poor get poorer
i'm not lucky
they think they're special
cancer runs in my family
i don't fit in
i am what i think i am
looks like rain today
no one understands me
i never get what i want
she doesn't know i exist
i am what i think i am
i'm not good at that
he won't really call me... will he?
what did i do wrong?
i am what i think i am
i can't do it
i am what i think i am
i am what i think i am
i can't do it
i am what i think i am
i think i can...
i am what i think i am
i think i can
i think i can
i am what i think i am
i think i can
i really think i can
i am what i think i am
i think i can, i think i can!
And, so it is....
Now, I am not Jeff Baker Psychic. I am Jeff Baker Talks, so I am only speaking/talking from my observations. If you have never excluded, left out, ignored, or snubbed anyone, then I am humbled that you are reading this blog and I insist that you immediately inform me of the source of your secret power -- just kidding -- sort of. I'm certain I don't personally know of anyone that has never done it... but I am nearly equally as certain that most of us have been on the receiving end of it and we know it sucks!
Were it possible (it is not only possible, it is inevitable) -- but even if it was only a remote possibility that we could all remember a truth each time we encounter another person, I believe the world would change in that instant. Now, this may sound like a ramble, and if it does, it's because this is on my mind continually. I am sick of myself and the way I have conditioned my mind to filter people. Some call this profiling. It's not important what we call it. What is important is that we become aware of it and stop it.
Here's a truth: Each person alive today is who they are because of the things they have experienced even up to the very point that their path converges with yours. You are who you are for the very same reason. Of course, you already know this about yourself, right? You do know that you have evolved into the one that others observe by encountering the things you've encountered along your life's journey. You also know that by applying what you've "learned," you now view Every Thing through that specific lens. Agreed?
So, you're walking along and someone with a gas can walks up and tells you they need some money for gas. Their car is stranded up the road. This person has a funny odor and bad teeth. They're dressed shabbily, and they definitely missed out when God was handing out the best skin color. You suspect they are lying anyway so why did God let this horrible situation occur in the first place? Whoa child of God. Remember, you just met another child of God, and they are only the way they are because. So if I'm you, my only appropriate response is to allow that person to be who they are in that moment. Of course, I give them some money. There is never a question of the other's worth, so in a time of need I am honored to help out. Who knows? I might need help one day. I am not judging. I am allowing. For clarity purposes, I am not referring to tolerance. I can tolerate someone and still look down my big nose at them.
However, if I hold in my mind that all any of us really wants is to be loved and accepted just like we are, and like I do, then I can truly allow "them" to be them and I can be me. If we look through the lens of love at each other, we can only see God. Now who would not want to help God out with a little gas money?
Think. About. It.
Peace to them, love for them, including thoughts about them. They are us. And God bless us each and every One. -- jb
Ok. I have alluded to a future post, one in which I would be offering my thoughts on the internal theatre that takes place within each of us. You know how we have these inner observations and there is someone talking and someone listening, or someone doing something and someone watching. (If you don't do this, that could either be really great or really scary.) But assuming you do --
That someone is you, right?
Right? I don't know, but it seems that I have always had these private observations. I have always had a movie of sorts playing on the screen of my mind, and I am able to see it, modify it at will, and/or discuss what it is happening on that screen with myself. It feels just like being the director of a film. I love it! I have a vivid imagination anyway and I recently posted the transcript of a dialogue in which I was supposedly talking with God. Was I? Am I crazy? My wife loves me the way I am, so I am sworn to secrecy on that subject. :)
Before we dive in, I'd like to start with a definition of the "observer effect." This is central to the perspective I am presenting as it relates to what goes on inside of every living human being:
Observer effect --
In experimental research, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observing will make on the phenomenon being observed. It has application in many fields of scientific inquiry, and may refer specifically to:
Observer effect (information technology), the impact of observing a process while it is running
Observer effect (physics), the impact of observing a physical system
Observer effect (psychology), how people change their behavior when aware of being watched
Are you still with me?
Ok. Let's consider an illustration and see if we can relate: If I am having a thought and there is a visualization of what that thought is about, who is the subject of that visualization and who is the one observing? Can it be that I am both? I mean, if I'm watching me do something in my mind, and in my mind, I'm the one I am watching, how can it be that I am both? Think about it.
Here's something else to consider: You've, no doubt, heard the famous phrase by Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." Well, I have come to believe that I am, therefore I think. We all think. I think, you think, we all think of world peace... or some children's song like that.
You're thinking, but you are only observing your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. When you are doing something and consciously thinking about what you are doing, you are only observing... you are not your body which is doing the thing.
Does that make sense?
Yet another way to frame it might be to consider that some of us picture God observing our every action in judgement. We sometimes feel watched as we do something. And we are thinking about the fact that we are being watched, and so because we are being watched, we act differently than we might otherwise? If you are following me, then you may recall times when you were thinking about that fact that YOU were watching what you were doing so you acted differently. Are you your Conscience? Are you God? Are you the hall monitor for your ever-wandering thoughts?
What happened? Did he change subjects? Yes... you caught me, I've change directions. But this is very important: God is not the only observer. God is all things, and by nature, in all things and he/she does not wait in judgement to pounce on us when we mess up. Many of us are coming to understand this. It is God and God in us that compels us to right thought and action as we evolve in Love. Love is our teacher and guide. God is love, and if we desire it, we are continually expanding in that love. We are becoming like God in the way we observe, when we observe in love... assuming we want to. We are becoming like God when we are consciously -- actively involved with our thoughts, words, and deeds.
For you conservatives that are hearing the other voice in your head, don't listen. I am not speaking in contradiction to Scripture. Christ was in God and God was fully in him, and he prayed the same for us. I'm pretty sure when he prayed about something, it got done. So, open your mind and accept the fact that you are responsible for every thought, word, and deed that you create. That makes you responsible for the world you create for yourself and those close to you. God had the same responsibility when creating us. We are created to operate in like manner, so the sooner we learn to deal with it the better. Think about it. God is ok with us thinking about those kinds of things. It's the way we are wired, so God has to relate.
My friends, we are now living in the embryonic awareness that we are really supposed to think like God. Not that we haven't, down through history, thought like God. It's just that we are now observing it as it happens. The paradigms of time and space seem to operate in subtly different ways as we move closer to our collective awakening. Things move faster and take place at a quicker pace than at any other point in recorded history. Technology is screaming at us to see how connected we all are to God AND to each other. We text, IM, e-mail, voice mail, surf, search, "Google" even -- all the while missing the fact that we are being RE-connected by the same technology that many of us hide behind.
Beloved, lift up your head! Get out in front. Get your eyes off the monitor and your ears out of the ipod and OBSERVE!
The one I am looking for is the one doing the looking. Think about it.
God, I love you!
Peace -- jb
Sometimes on our journey, we pause. We take a moment and we look out to see what we can see. Well, I couldn't see anything. All I had were questions: Where am I? Where am I going? What do I want? Is this all there is? What do I want to do? Where do I want to be? What have I been doing? It seemed to come down to one question in the end. And that question is eternal and universal: Who am I?
When I reflect on those days, there is the advantage of having already passed through and gotten some answers to some of the questions. But back then, for me, it was the most unsettling time of my life. I can see now where I was naive' or out of step with myself, but when I was in it, there was all of this contradiction, irony, and contrast.
This post stems from my continuing self discovery and the ideas that are birthed in the process of my eternal questioning. I want to talk a little about contrast. When I was young, there was a knob I could turn on my television and the image contrast was adjusted. The same was true for other elements of the picture I was observing. I could darken it or lighten it, just by turning a knob. When color came along, I could play with those settings as well and change the colors if I wasn't pleased with what I saw.
It is all automatic today and that is fine. It is nice that some things are taken care of, and I don't have to fuss over a particular setting. At the same time, there are some things in life that are still manually adjustable. I can control the adjustment of some things, but it would appear that there are a whole host of things over which I have absolutely no control. Contrast is one of the terms I use in dealing with and describing the truth of that fact.
There are times when I am so consumed by my fears and my current crisis that I am frozen. Melancholy rules my mood and influences my thoughts. Then there are those times of absolute clarity. All is well. I am clear minded about my purpose. I am loved. I am loving and I am living the life I love. All my thoughts are positive, and there is passion in every word and deed.
Clearly, we would all prefer the life of clarity and passion. We do know the difference. All of us want to go through life with little or no resistance. We want cooperation from everyone. We want abundance... no lack and no insufficiency. We want happiness and balance.
Enter contrast. I am beginning to think contrast, in and of itself, is just another form of balance. Why is there ever a time when I am seemingly out of sync? Why is it sometimes famine instead of feast? Who decides when it shifts? Why does it happen? Without contrast am I able to really see? If everything is perfect, do I appreciate? Do I grow lazy if no challenge ever presents itself?
Do you think about that?
I am sitting here in front of this screen, pecking slowly away, and I am not completely free or abundant physically - at least not at this precise moment. In fact, I have a stray thought of melancholy lurking here and there. I even found myself frozen once today... but only for a second. And I wasn't driving, thank God.
At the same time -- and this is why I blog -- I have this knowing. This inexplicable certainty that it's all good. I am loved, loving and living the life I've chosen. If something isn't perfect about my present situation, it is ok. I am right where I am. I am right where I am supposed to be. I don't need to "see" the work being done or the stage being set to know that. I just know. You know? I want you to know.
I remind myself that I am the one observing myself and the situations I find myself in. I am free to interpret what I see in any way I choose. In fact, It is this choosing that makes all of it ok. I am the one who makes the choices. There is no one to blame if I don't like what I see.
Here's the deal: As soon as I place myself in the place of contentment, I have saved myself from myself. No more thoughts of despair because I can't control or predict an outcome. And I don't have to give up on my dreams while I am being content. I never set aside my goals. I never quit dreaming. I just accept what I have now. It is ok, right now. I have found that the sooner I allow what is happening to happen; as soon as I give up trying to control what is happening; and as soon as I give myself a break from trying to predict the outcome of what is happening, the sooner I allow myself to see that right now is really good.
Joseph Campbell said it better than anyone when he said, "Follow your bliss." Don't forget that the abundant life is a promise, not a pipe dream. Seek, find, ask, believe, receive, knock. And if need be, knock some more. Doors are opening all around us. Doors leading to the life of our dreams. This is a truly blissful life if I choose it. I can choose to see a myriad of reasons to be hopeful, to be happy. I can choose right now to be ok with myself, my situation, and my dreams for the future. I choose. I choose to see what I choose to see and I like what I see.
Each day is filled with opportunities to make choices. We begin choosing at the precise moment we awaken each day. How will I approach today? What are my issues or concerns? How will I deal with them? How will the decisions I make now affect the rest of my day? And how will they affect others?
Do you ask yourself questions like that? Have you given thought to how the way you start your day dictates your attitude towards everything else that happens from that point forward? For instance, the phone rings an hour before you are ready to wake up, and by the time you find the phone, the other party is gone. So, you lie back down and try to recapture your dream of winning the lottery or whatever. Just as you begin to drift back out onto the astral plane, the alarm sounds. I'm sure you get the point.
Whatever you had planned just got placed under a dark cloud if you're like a lot of people. For some of us who enjoy sleeping, it can really be a bummer to lose that precious time, and we pout all day looking for sympathy. (at least I do) But wait. What if you took another minute, only a small moment before you actually got out of bed? What if, in that moment, you reclaimed your power to decide for yourself how your day is going to go? Instead of falling for the illusion of a bad day, decide to be thankful for another day and get up with a smile on your face.
Well, I know it's easy to talk about and maybe not so easy to do. But I have found that by doing so, I have become a gentler person in noticeable ways. When I refuse to yield to the impression of a bad day and decide that I am satisfied with myself and my world, I am at an advantage in my effort to have a good day. My days are not perfect in some ways. Some might even say that I am faking it. They know I should feel bad because they also happen to know my circumstances.
I have learned a very important thing in my quest for personal peace: There is a difference between gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude is something I feel after having come through something or after receiving something. Appreciation is a choice I make no matter what is going on with me. I can appreciate my excellent health, my family and friends, my successful business, etc. I might be facing issues that are less than ideal, but when I am in a state of appreciation, it is ok. All is well. I will allow the gratitude to flow after I pass through this valley of uncertainty.
For now, I will choose appreciation as my main focus. It is helping me to be at peace. It is helping me to be peace. If I want peace for myself, I must be willing to offer peace to others. In offering peace, I avail myself of the Divine Peace that cannot be explained; it can only be experienced.
May your path be clear of debris. May you always have perfect peace without having to search for it. And may you experience appreciation for all you have... always.
Peace to you, appreciative thoughts about you, and love for you! -- jb
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I like to try and figure out what's going on with the author of whatever song I'm into, and today I got a little more that I bargained for. I really like the band O.A.R. They define honest, thoughtful rock music without being exactly labeled. So earlier today, my wife and I were talking. We were engaged in a conversation when out of the blue, "Shattered" jumped into my brain. It's the newest song from O.A.R.'s latest record.
Don't ask me why. And please give me a few days to understand the reason this post flowed from this tune. If you're like me and thoughts flow in a random way at times, may I suggest you check out the song and then return to see where I am headed. If not, this post will make absolutely NO SENSE.
So, we were talking away when suddenly I wanted to hear the song. I pulled it up on my computer and watched the video. As I was watching and listening, I blurted out, "It's not a love song!" To which my NeNe replied, "How do you know?" I didn't know, and I still don't, and I may be wrong. It happens... However, as I began to really listen, I heard a discussion with ego. Yeah, I said "ego."
I should point out that I have been in a really unusual and uncomfortable space for a while now. It seems that most of my closest friends are in some way experiencing an unsettling, a sort of uprooting or just plain darkness. It is from this space, this place of uncertainty, that I heard the lyrics... perception is vital to seeing truth. I am aware of ego, and I have fallen victim to that part of me that would keep me from finding my true self many times. But, alas, that is yet another discussion better saved for later.
The writer sings about always turning the car around. That is the hook, and for some, perhaps the majority, that is all that remains with them after hearing it. But listen again. He speaks of being tired of the same old scene, thinking of leaving? "...but, it's always back to you." Most of us now hear it as a love song, but listen... he goes out into the dark with his thoughts but they always go "back to you." Have you ever attempted to meditate or really pray intently about something? For me, the first thing that happens is the babbling starts and I have to work through all of that noise to get to the deeper place. That chaos that ensues when you make the effort to get close to God and your deepest self is the great deceiver, the shadow, or the ego.
It almost seems that he has a glimpse of once having gotten to a peaceful place because suddenly inspired, he says, "But I'm good without you..." Then crying out about being broken and not being able to find what he's after (ever been there?), he asks for a break so he can find his own pattern, knowing it takes time, but he's shattered. And whenever that happens, he always goes back to the old way, never pushing, beaten down, unwilling or unable to lean into it and discover the new thing.
Watch as he comments on how long the darkness lasts. Dark Nights are real, and for some of us it can seem like they might last a lifetime. (They don't.)
Back to the song -- could the rain be symbolic of our fears that keep pushing us back? Back to the old way? Maybe. But then he repeats with passion that he's "...good without you."
Glynn was born and raised here in Montgomery County in a little town called Pintlala. Pintlala is a Creek Indian name of some significance, but I have know idea what it is. My friend built his first home when he and Opal first married for about $16,000.00 (he paid cash for it). He lived in, what is now, an historic area of Montgomery and worked for Alabama Power Company for 46 years. He retired a while back and shortly thereafter, his wife, Opal was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
This is where we began our incredible journey together.
I was once a part of a ministry whose focus it was to visit elderly people. I met Opal and many others like her at this one particular nursing home in 2001 or 2. She was, by this time, in the full throws of her unique exit from this realm and I knew it. My mother's mother died from this same painful stripping of her own physical identity.
Like my grandmother, Opal would have moments of complete bewilderment. At other times, she would act with what appeared to be total recognition. She would stop what she was doing and with a straight face she would look at me and say this funny thing she always said to me -- "You're cute. Where did you come from? I like you!" Opal stole my heart.
Opal stole my heart and she hung in there for a few more years, but she got weaker until ultimately succumbing to her tireless stalker. As sad as this left all of us, that is not really the reason I reflect on their story. No. The reason I am telling you this is because I am convinced that Glynn was sent into my life to assist in my becoming who I really am. I will do my best to explain:
At this period in my life, I was heavily involved in the Christian church. My decision to volunteer to sit with senior citizens was a direct result of losing all my grandparents before I ever got to really know them. My closest grandparent was my father's mother, MeMa. She thought I was the best thing that was ever created and she meant it. She told everybody. Everybody. MeMa stole my heart.
From then on, I have always had a compassion towards sweet little elderly ladies, and I met Glynn only because of my affection for Opal. He was not involved in and had never been a part of any church even though Opal was a formerly active member now residing in a nursing home. Since I didn't know anything about him, my first impression of Glynn was that he was just madly, madly, madly in love with his wife.
I am in tears as I write.
Picture this: It was the most beautiful sight I have ever personally observed between two of their generation -- he bent down and he gently placed the peppermint in her mouth. Then he kissed her and said,"I'm right here baby." I was glued to the experience. And if this had only been a one time event, it would have still stayed with me forever. But this was to become for me, the highlight of every single visit, every single Friday morning.
See, Glynn would leave from home each morning around 6:30, and on his way to the nursing home, he would stop and pick up two sausage biscuits for their breakfast. He was always on time and always knew exactly what his wife's treatment plan was for the day. He was known there, and you can be certain that every nurse in the place knew him and knew that they had to be on their toes when he came around.
He respectfully ensured that those things he could no longer do for his beloved were performed as well as they could be for her by someone else. He was diligent. He was specific. He made sure everything was just right. This I observed.
This I observed in awe and wonder; silently treasuring each tender act in my ever swelling heart. This man did not believe as I believed. This man did not perform the expected ceremonial acts of religious service that I was taught were required -- you know what I mean -- all those things we were required to do that proved we were not one of "them." This man, was stealing my heart by just being Glynn. He was acting in love at every moment. He is real, and he has never once pretended in my presence.
Since Opal's death, Glynn and I have continued to get together every Friday morning. He quickly decided to stop driving because the only reason he really had for it was to get back and forth from the nursing home. So I would pick him up, and we would drive the route he knew so well only to stop at the Hardee's restaurant famous for providing all those tasty biscuits they ate all those special years. For a few months, we would continue on towards the nursing home. This was because the cemetery was also in the vicinity. It was always tough on him. It tore me to pieces. So... after a little while more, we just returned to his home when we were done with breakfast.
Now, Hardee's restaurants in Alabama are famous for early morning philosophy, refined over years of repetition. What a bonus this turned out to be for me! In the process of visiting this same place for so long, there began a gathering that we became a regular part of. Glynn already knew a couple of these sages, but one in particular was special. Raymond worked for Glynn for nearly 40 years at the power company. After a rocky start to their relationship, they became life-long friends. It was something to watch as they repeated all those stories about "the days." This just made Friday mornings sweeter for them, and it was beginning to affect me.
There were about 8 of us in all. I say "us" because I was 40 then and I was the "kid," but they let me in anyway. They even eventually began to look forward (or so it seemed to me) to hearing what I had to say. These wise ones wanted to listen to my stories?
They listened to my stories, I listened to theirs, and they stole my heart.
This became our ritual and our tribute to Opal. This continued every Friday possible until Glynn decided to move into an assisted living home across town two years ago. He has to use a walker now. He is a diabetic and suffers from a symptom that robs him of feeling in his legs. He only feels tingling, and it makes him nervous that he might fall.
These days it takes a miracle to get him out of that place he calls home, and today I got a miracle. After he watched me "tweaking" his computer (our new ritual) for about an hour while we discussed the latest news stories, he said, "I was hoping we could get out for a bit today." I said, "Where to, Man?" We then proceeded to load up, and we went for a little ride up the road, had lunch and laughed. We laughed. We spoke of Opal. His eyes misted just like they always do when he mentions her precious name... but we laughed. Boy, did we laugh today.
I know that I have said that all days are gifts to me. It's true. At the same time, I will have to confess to you that Friday is the one day that I look forward to over every other day. I look forward to it for all the same reasons we all love Fridays. I am famous in these parts for the exuberant TGIFs I throw everywhere, at everyone... it's just that now, since Glynn popped in, I know that my Fridays are serving a higher purpose.
I am beginning to realize who I really am, and the absolute beauty of that statement hit me today as I watched Glynn laugh... thanks, Glynn. I want to call you grandpa so bad...
Peace to you, true love for you, divine thoughts about you. -- jb
bout love you know
the best you'll find
bout ringing the bell
of freedom in your mind
let it go- watch it grow
let it soar- soon you'll find
you've got a story to tell...
i've got a story to tell
life is good you see
the best you'll find
all is well
let it go-saw it grow
let it fly-don't you see
you've got a story to tell...
don't sit around
waste this chance
lift up your head
join in the dance
the best you'll find
let love in-make you whole
heal your heart-fill your soul
you've got a story to tell...
my friend don't cry
rest here by my side
let it out-let it go
breathe me in
let it go-nothing to do
just let love come into you
breathe me in
let it go-let it go
let it go-you've got a story to tell
let it go-you've got a story to tell
So, here's the deal:
We went out on this boat. It was warm but a little breezy and we had our two dogs, NeNe(the dog) -- not my wife -- and General (the other dog). It was calm and the water was like glass. We like to ride in the wind and sometimes we don't even speak. We're very comfortable in our skins and with each other so we don't have a need to fill the air.
This air was sweet. The clouds were hovering and the rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance. You could smell rain in the area. The sun setting behind a variety of cloud structures made quite a show of her colors for us.
While caught up in this imagery, I was simultaneously caught up in thoughts of my own, small, private world. I was lost in my brain, thinking of my stuff, enjoying the water fowl and the crickets, when suddenly the two worlds I was traversing converged.
For me, it was symbolic; a sign from above; reminiscent of past stirrings of promise. It wasn't prominent, you sort of had to look for it but there it was... a rainbow.
For some, it is the old testament-God's promise of preserving human life always. For some it's what happens when sunlight passes through moisture in the air. For me, the rainbow has historically appeared during times in my life when promises were scarce. Times of uncertainty; times when promises that could be trusted were hard to find; times when I needed a sign.
At the same time, some promises are unique to me; promises that reside deep inside of me; promises that only apply to me and my reason for being. You know how sometimes, even when things look pretty shaky, there can be a peace because you say to yourself something like: Huh-huh, not me... I know everything is going to be ok. All is well, and I am fine.
All is well, and I am fine.
I found myself saying that tonight. I know it's true. You know how you know that you know that you know? I know. So I know I'll be fine. But this blog isn't just about me. Really it's not. It's about us/we... you.
How about you? How do you feel? Are you hopeless? Do you need a promise? Do you need a sign or a symbol?
I don't know if you pray or if you believe that you're on your own here and that's it, that's all, or what... I don't know anything about you, but I do know this: If you sincerely ask for, desire, want something, believing that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain; if you can conceive of it as being true in your mind, picturing whatever it is as being the way you desire it to be, it can be. You can get that promise from books ranging as far as from the bible to "Think and Grow Rich."
We don't require a sign or a symbol. We like them, but we sometimes are forced to go deep and just trust. In times like these we get the chance to see what we are made of.
What are you made of?
I was reminded this evening that I am made out of the same Divine stuff that God is. I can choose to believe in me and my inherent goodness (just like God does), or I can fall for the lies that the world throws at me and choose to believe that I don't have what it takes; that if I don't prescribe to someone else's version of the truth, denying the truth that resides in me, I am doomed to fail.
I can choose to believe that everything is good and so am I. I choose that by the way. I chose it again earlier tonight. You can too.
Choose to believe in you. I believe in you.
May you sleep in blissful peace this night, knowing that you are good.
You are good. -- jb
i've seen you here before
with that look in your eyes
so tired of not knowing
still hurt by the lies
i've heard you before
questioning the words
of the rulers that be
where are you going?
do you even care?
round and round
and round you go
who knows where
i've got great news
stop all your looking
take off your shoes
sit awhile with me
and i will share with you
the love i've found
a love that is true
the kind of love
that lets me be me
all my hurt
all my shame
set me free...
i've seen your face
shadow covering it all
heart downcast, oh my soul
listen to his call --
where are you going?
can you hear the words --
where are you going?
come to me
you who are bruised
come to me
all that feel used
come to me
give you rest
give you truth --
come to me, come to me, come to me...