being real

You hear about reality all the time.  Most of the time it is not REALLY talking about reality in any way.  There are reality TV shows that have absolutely nothing to do with reality.  The people that are portrayed by the media in politics are seldom if ever truly real but then you know that.  People are not who they say they are, they put on a show, they fake others out, they cheat, they lie as much as possible, or maybe the show itself is all a fake with “real” “actors” involved (isn’t that an oxymoron?).  At any rate, what people are looking for is NOT truly reality.  They are looking for entertainment.  And that is what they are given.  The plots, the tricks, the alliances, the drama is mostly if not totally NOT real.  Of course… this is MY opinion.  I’m certain that someone would take issue with this.

On the other hand, in the soul of each person there is the need for seeing reality in others.  We look for people that are honest, forthright, caring, happy but not fake-ish, and just basically real.  The best musicians are those that are real with their public.  Those that have experienced life are those that can place the feeling down deep into the music.  That is what makes it speak to you down deep in your soul.  The best preachers, the best teachers, the best people as a whole are those that can relate to you.  Those that you can relate to.  Those that can communicate that they too have had to deal with life in a way that shows they understand what I or you are dealing with.  Empathy if you will.

When you hear that love song.  The one that makes you wonder how that person singing knows how you really feel even when you thought you were the only one that had ever felt quite like this.  It certainly is astonishing.  Amazing to the extent that we live is such a self created, small, minuscule, minute realm to believe that what we feel has so seldom been felt by anyone else and then we hear this song or read a poem or see a sign that says just exactly what we feel.  How did they know.

Yes… its true that you can be fooled.  We all can.  But the search exists and goes on.  The desire to have a relationship with someone that is being truthful with you, being honest, being real is at the heart of the desire for connection.  While it may seem satisfying when someone lies to you even if for a while, the truth is that the reality will eventually show its ugly face and you are forced to deal with the unpleasantness of coming face to face with REALITY.  The REAL person.  Even if that liar is yourself.

Finding real people is much more difficult than it may seem.  It is my opinion that this is not always due to that person in question trying to fool anyone.  I think that, more often than not, it is caused by that person’s lack of knowing themselves.  They have attempted to be someone they are not for so long that they don’t even realize that they are faking themselves into believing that they are something they really are not.  It could be because they want to be something they are not but it is more likely that they are trying to meet some perceived expectation of someone else.

Trying to please someone else by the way you live your life does not work for anyone.  It can appear to do so but in true reality, since that is what we are talking about here, it never will satisfy.  Not the individual living to satisfy someone else nor the person they are trying to satisfy.  Why…  because it isn’t real.  Fake is always fake.  Even if it takes a really close look to tell.  It is still fake.  You can tell a fake smile.  At least most of the time.  You can feel when that person asking you how you are really means it.  And you can tell when they don’t too.

As for myself, I want to deal with people that I can know are being real with me.  It doesn’t matter if they don’t like me so long as they are honest about it.  I can deal with that.  I like it much better if they do like me but knowing the truth does indeed set you free.  It allows you to be cognizant of the reality of the situation whether bad or good.   Hopefully good.

What this really boils down to is trust.  You can’t trust fake.  You can’t trust a lie or liars and they come in so many forms, colors, shapes, sizes, etc…  Whether the lie/fake is a purse, a watch, a pair of jeans, or a person… fake is fake.  When the object or person in question is real it is so much better.  Even if the reality is that it is old or broken or hurtful.  Even if it does not measure up to what you wanted it is so much easier to accept when it is real.  Adjustments can be made in expectations.  Acceptance can be fairly measured.  Truth survives.

Fake, fakes, lies, liars, will all be revealed eventually.  Truth reigns supreme.  Truth lives on.  Truth is real.  Real is truth.  Simple I know.  But simple is not always easy is it.

Be who you are.  Really.  Be real.

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Taking Stock

We’ve become encapsulated. Shut off from all else but our own small world.  People barely know their own neighbors these days.  Even families have little if anything to do with each other except for major events.  It amazes me that we still function as a society with so much separation.

How did this occur?

I can only speak for my small area of the world.  Really I’m not even sure if it is as wide spread as I think it is.  Certainly here in the US it seems to be.  But then, how do I know?  I only know a few people in comparison to the vast millions (apx 320 million) of others spread across around 3.8 million square miles.  Using my limited math skills, even if I interviewed a million people (and that would take way to long to do), that would only be .31% of the population.  Considering that, of that number, a significant number might not understand the purpose of the interview or the brevity of answers or could even possibly not answer in an honest and/or forthright manner, any determination that could be derived in a numerical format couldn’t possibly represent the other 319 million that didn’t have the chance to contribute.   So how much would a survey/poll mean anyway.  Pretty much how I feel about polls anyway.  I question if they really represent my or other’s true feelings.

For me, in my honest opinion (as if I would give you anything else), technology is hugely responsible for at least some of this separation.  But then again, is it really technology or the people that use it.  Yes…  it is actually us that are responsible.  You can’t blame email, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media (sorry if I didn’t name yours) for your lack of connection to others.  We as a nation have chosen to communicate through text instead of calling.  We are responsible for sharing our lives through Facebook instead of calling our family or sending an actual letter, or pictures to someone.  We choose not to communicate.  We choose not to share on a personal level but rather keep ourselves segmented and privatized.  But why?

How often do you take stock of the things around you?  The people around you?  All that is around you?  Even of yourself?  I’m not talking about how much you make, what you do, who you know or what you have though all of that could be a part of the evaluation.  How often do you take a close look at yourself?  How often do you search your soul?

We live day to day wrapped up in our selves and our own small issues.  We worry about stupid stuff in the grand scheme of things.  Whats for dinner, who’s coming over, who is winning the football game, what are the (insert the name of some famous person/family) doing today or this week, who’s birthday is it this week, whats next on my schedule… all of these are so superfluous to the truth of whats really important.

All I have to go by is my small world.  I can only speak from my experience which honestly is limited as is everyone else’s even though there are those that a wider range to gather from.  I’ve not traveled nor lived in other cultures.  None of us can change any of our past.  Only our future.  Only where we go from here.  Only the choices we make now and from now on.

How long has it been since you took stock?

Maybe its time.

Sharing

Today has been one of those special sort of days.

I sit here in my very comfortable easy chair reflecting on my day today all the while enjoying the peaceful sweetness of a beautiful evening.  A cool breeze is ever so gently flowing through the room from an half open window across the room.  My life is blessed.  I can tell.

So why such a special day?  Confirmation of the beauty of sharing has come full circle for me as I sit watching a netflix/PBS documentary of John Denver (one of my teenage favorite musicians).  I say confirmation and relate it to this documentary due to the pleasure I had today of sharing my views of God, truth, the depth and meaning with a person I can now call a friend much more than I could have yesterday.

The reason this has such an impression on me right this moment is because of his sharing with me something that has touched him from time to time.  The precious moments in time when a person loses themselves in their creativity to the point of an almost out of body experience.  His was related to his music.  I have felt that experience myself on a number of occasions with and in my own music.  And I felt it personally again this evening listening to how John Denver saw life, created his music, shared it with others and gave so much to others without feeling a need to get something in return.

John-Denver

Annie’s song had much meaning to me even as a teen.  I felt deeply then and I still do.  Shallow people go through life with such self centeredness and never have the fortune to experience such purity of soul, such depth of thought and love, such an immense feeling of fulfillment, joy, pleasure, and peace.   I was again able to momentarily feel the beauty of it all just listening to the music and song.

Popular music today has such a lack of purity.  While it may have its own reality and yes, it does speak to the reality of life today, it lacks the beauty, depth, sincerity, purity, and inspiration of such singers.  That is not to say that they don’t exist.  Just not so much as then.

Hearing the music, experiencing the miracle, drifting off into that land of love and emotion, it all confirmed what just two guys talking were able to share today.  It filled me again as I pondered the love I have in my wife for me and I for her.  Our sharing of our being with each other.  How much that means to me.  I appreciate her more than she knows and that may be something I should do more often.  It reminded me of the wonderful times I’ve had sharing with another of my close friends and our talks that went so deep into our souls that we sometimes had difficulty just closing the conversations.  It proved difficult to end them and go back to “life” in general much because life is typically So general.

“Conversations” and “sharing” seem like such shallow words for the meaning it holds.  No touch is needed to share deeply.  Its not physical and yet it is so bonding, so unifying, so one.

One of the aspects of my reflection tonight had much to do with the beauty of nature/creation (however you choose to look at it).  I can relate with John Denver in seeing the beauty of the nature around me.  Often it happens even when I am seemingly not so far into nature.  It can happen on a highway at dusk when the sky turns a golden orange stretching across the horizon.  It can happen seeing a bird in my back yard (seen frequently).  It can happen just listening to the laughter of a child or the playfulness of puppies or kittens.  Things like the mother of anything (ie. child, kitten, bird, puppy, rabbit, chipmunk, etc…) in a “Kodak” moment.  I think you know what I mean.  It impresses on me the beauty of nature.  The beauty of all we have around us that can easily go un-noticed if you don’t simply make yourself aware of these moments in time.  I know I’m not the only one.  I see the ways people try to fill the void of missing these things in the screen savers on their computers and many other ways.  In their own way they are reminding themselves of these peaceful moments.  In a way they share the beauty around them.

Share with someone.  Make sure that person is open to the idea but it is worth your while to take time out of your life to share with others.  Meaningfully.  Deeply.  You will find peace there.  You will find love there. You will find fulfillment there like you can not believe.

Share.

how much is left?

We go through cycles in life. Sometimes they pass us by and we fail to recognize that we were ever even in the midst of it at all. Other times events happen that change our lives completely or shake us to the core to the extent that we can barely see even a glimmer of what we once were.  The struggle then begins as we exert extreme energy to recover, to return to a “happy place” in our dismal existence.  I find myself in this dimly lit room right now (metaphorically speaking).  Dimly lit I say because of my own discontent with life as a whole.  This is not to say that I have had a terrible life or that I’m not content with who I am, where I am, who I am with (& love & who loves me), etc…  I can be content with these things.  I have just come to a point where I am questioning the “why.”  Once again driving that question is what is the meaning of it all?  Questioning the “why” is  my method of struggle in order to grow further.

Someone once said that “Rules were meant to be broken.”  How failed an attempt to cover a blatant disregard for others.  How lacking in understanding.  How self centered.  How idiotic.  Rules, none of them, are made to be broken.  Records… (not the vinyl type) are made to be broken.  Not rules.  Rules, for the most part, are made to be kept.  The majority of rules are, in some form or another, designed and written to make life better or more protected.  The government does not put speed signs on the road so that people will break the laws and drive faster (though they nearly always do).  The rules you have at work are not there to cause you harm.  They are there to keep the business in business and functioning at the most efficient pace possible and yet put safeguards at every possible venue of opportunity to protect themselves and their employees.  Rules of the game are there so that players will understand how the game is played and how points are scored and so no-one gripes (though they will) when a foul is called.  Yet the majority of people I know constantly use the phrase “rules were made to be broken” so as to assert that they had every right to ignore the rule and do it their own way.

I know you’ve seen it.  You may even have been part of it.  Of course you felt the right to do what you wanted regardless of the rules.  Rules don’t apply to you right?  The sign says “no cell phones while in line” and yet there is that person on their blue-tooth headset that just has to take that very important call from their hair son, daughter, mom, dad, business affiliate, hair dresser, etc…   The sign says “45 mph” so we must ALL go 55 even if the flashing yellow sign says “35 mph – during school hours.”  The lines in the road really weren’t put there to keep anyone from passing on the right, go down the middle of the road through stripped yellow lines in the median, or cut in front of someone from a turn lane into a regular lane just so they can avoid the 15 cars that are waiting patiently as is expected.  It really IS ok to cut in front of other people at the restaurant since you once knew that person that is 25 people ahead or because you put someone out of a car and in line 10 minutes before everyone else from your family even arrived in the parking lot… right?  It is OK to park in  a handicap parking place because you are driving your aunt’s car who is handicap.  It doesn’t matter that she is still at home and you are 24 and work out at the gym regularly and can do wind sprints.  Rules… what rules?

Lying, cheating, stealing, it has all become all too commonplace.  The ability to cognitively discern what should or shouldn’t be seems largely to depend on who has the most money.  A jury is no longer there to determine right from wrong.  They are there to determine who has the best layer.  Judges judge based on how it might impact their next election.  Politicians….  well…  need I go there?  Even pastors, preachers, religious figureheads etc… attempt to influence their congregations so as to gain a healthier bottom line in the offering plate.  It might even be political influence or to line their own pockets.  I can’t say that this is a change.  This is and has been since the beginning.  On all fronts.  Not just about the religious aspect.  On all fronts!  Now I just wonder “why.”

At the growingly ripe age of 59 (my mom and wife think I’m still young) I question my part in all of this.  What have I done to change any of it?  Could it be changed?  What, if any, mark am I leaving?  How am I helping the next generation of people to do a better job at living, at giving, at being better themselves?  How much do I have left?  I’ve gone through prostate cancer and still deal with the resulting side effects.  Others in my life have had their own physical battles and also battle now.  Not so much physically as from lack of confidence in themselves from time to time.  A great job comes along and next thing you know you have to spend your savings on house repairs.  You are running along just fine and then the car breaks.  A family member has a major financial need.  One of your children needs more.  Your dog gets sick.

No-one knows how much time they have on this big blue ball hurling through space.  None of us are guaranteed anything or any “time” at all.  There is no “fair” when it comes to life.  One man/woman has plenty.  A few have much.  Hundreds have little.  Thousands and thousands have nearly nothing at all and life goes on.

The frustration has been building.  Its been 59 years and I see little change in direction.  The struggle has continued and continues on further.  I could write an entire book on the frustrations.

I have grandchildren now (one VERY recent and another coming shortly).  A brighter spot in my life for a while.  I just wonder…  how much is left?

cynical

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It was a number of years ago. My father was in his office at the church. I came in to see him though I have no recollection of why. I do know that it was during a time when I was home from college and I’m sure I had some reason for being there as I seldom went into his study (office) when he was preparing for his next sermon.

While it is difficult to put a finger on the “why I was there,” I shall never forget at least this portion of how our conversations turned. His words, though from a loving heart, were intended to drive home a point. His attempt failed. The intention, I’m certain, was to give me instruction, to help or change an attitude he saw as detrimental.

The words “Son, you are so cynical” came out of his mouth with such a low and disapproving tone that it immediately sent that internal wall of protection up. You know the one. The wall that we all use when we feel we are being attacked verbally.  It is very much like hearing “on guard” and both gentlemen draw their swords.  I was immediately ready for a fight.

henri-rousseau

Now, I remember that I was young. At that time I’m certain that I knew everything there was to know about anything. Anyone (everyone) at that age, in their first year out of high school and now in college, knows EVERYTHING. They (young college kids) know all there is to know about life. No-one can tell them anything. And I was no different. I had answers. I had knowledge. Nothing my father could say would sway me. I had the tenacity and the drive and the strength to argue and/or fight. And dems was fightin words!!! (poor grammar intended)

I’d have to say that I respect (and respected) my father immensely.  His words have stuck with me for many years and do still today on so much of my life.  I do not regret that.  In fact, I revel in that.  He was a wise man and I will always be indebted to him for all that he taught me throughout his life.  I was fortunate to have had such a loving father even if we were never able to spend that father/son time that others have enjoyed.  Still, his words were wise, his teachings deep, his lessons learned and filed and stored for future life trials and tribulations.

That is not to say that I live by everything he taught.  I am my own man and live my life as I see it should be.  This is not a derogatory thing.  In fact, I can give tribute to my father for that teaching as well.  It was never about living his life.  It was not about living “his way” so much as it was for me to learn to live my way with thoughtfulness and intent, love, and honor.  I, you, anyone can do that and we don’t have to live the same way as someone else.  That is what it means to be different.

Dad was a positive thinker.  He was a positive liver (not the organ).  We disagreed on many things.  That was OK.  It was kind of like a “live and let live” philosophy.  He believed, as I do, that everyone must make life choices for themselves as to what they believe.  Those beliefs should be founded on solid principles and should be thought out completely.  This does not mean that they can not or will not change.  With searching, comes learning, comes knowledge, comes understanding, and then often change of thought and beliefs.  But you need to know what you really believe in order to have a place to really make a stand.

So…  “Cynical”…  I still am.  Why?  Not because I am a negativist.  Quite the opposite and I’m sure that sounds strange.  I am a positive minded person.  I live positively.  I like the positive minded thinker and living because it is just so much better than being negative.  Things will be better.  They always do get better.  I’m better off than I was last year, the year before, the year before that, etc…  At least that is how I see it.  Why?  Because I have learned more.  I have changed my thoughts.  I have changed my beliefs.  I have changed where I stand.  I have grown.

So how am I cynical?  While I don’t think everyone is out to get me…  I do believe that everyone wants what I have (monetarily).  I don’t mean that everyone wants to have “exactly” what I have.  I mean that everywhere I turn, no matter what is going on, no matter what someone is asking, my cynical side tells me that there is an ulterior motive with very few exceptions.  Those that know and love me, I don’t feel that way about (at least not most of the time).  Those that I don’t know, yes, they ALWAYS have a personal (to them) agenda.  Whether that agenda is to get something done their way, to their benefit, to gain income from me, to move up a ladder of some sort, etc… there “nearly always” is some other agenda other than for “my” benefit.  To have someone do something selflessly for the benefit of another without some personal agenda???  Rare… VERY RARE!!!

So… yes…  I’m still cynical.  It works for me.  It keeps me safe.  I see the underlying agenda most of the time.  That protects me.  Keeps me from making stupid decisions based on some sales pitch.

I’m not totally cynical.  Just cynical enough.  And I hope you are too.  If you are not then you are naive.  Of course, that is my opinion.  What’s yours?

The power of touch

The Power of Touch

You’ve always known it.  You may not have recognized it but you have known and know it even now.  What?  The POWER of touch.

We live in a world now where touch is considered taboo by many.  “I need my space” or the like is often expressed by those that are in one way or another offended or put off by others getting “too close.”  It is understandable in many ways seeing so many have been harmed by those that use their touch in a way that is invading or offensive in one way or another.  Forcing your “touch” on someone is in no way acceptable.  So, because you or someone you know has been harmed by touch, the reactive approach is often self protective to the point of paranoia.  Understandably so but still it is self destructive as well.

It is self destructive because we tend to overcompensate in that arena.  The arena of self protection.  It is very difficult for us to allow ourselves to become vulnerable to the point that we can allow others to “possibly” harm us.  Mainly because the harm is so intense and so personal.  Yet it takes that vulnerability for us to allow others into our realm.

So what is with the Power of Touch?

Lets go just a step or two further on where the problem is created.

So… you can see that making yourself vulnerable is double edged.  It can provide the openness to allow someone to give you immense meaning.  It can also leave you shredded.  Another problem is that it also keeps you so confined that you do not ever allow yourself to learn the how and why and even the more beneficial nuances of what touch is and/or can do.  You seclude yourself away and build a wall that prevents you from ever trusting another or giving trust.  The trust is what it takes to learn the power of the touch.

Just as with anything you do, the more you do it, the better you get.

Before your mind goes deep into some gutter… let me express right here and now that I am NOT specifically talking with regard to some sexual form of touch though that too is obviously inherent in this.  I am more specifically talking about the Power of Touch as it relates to the benefits of closeness, bonding of spirits (non-alcoholic), peace, contentment, relaxation, security, and even love.  For those that are so self centered that the sexual aspect is all you are interested in…  you lose!  Emphatically!  That is NOT what touch is about.  It is simply a side benefit for those that have learned the real purpose and meaning.

I recently had the wonderful experience of hearing my wife express in public how she gains peace from my touch.  How secure it makes her feel.  How loved, how content, how precious she becomes as a result of my gentle touch.  She has told me in private.  Now she is even more open about it.  It was something she had to learn.  How to relax and enjoy and revel in what I now understand is my love language from me to her.  And now she speaks my language too. (ref. “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman)

A firm touch can provide security and be relaxing at the same time though I find that the most peaceful touch is a soft caress.  As a man with strong forearms, I have to be very aware of how hard I squeeze her hand or shoulders.  Whether showing her my affection by squeezing her hand to let her know my thoughts are of her and how passionate I am regarding those thoughts or when giving a massage to her back or shoulders to release the tensions that have settled in the muscles and tissue… either way, it is important to use just the right amount of pressure.  Too much and it will hurt and give the wrong impression to her brain of my intent.  Too soft and it can still give the wrong impression.

On the other hand, gently, and even ever so softly brushing my fingers across her face, neck, shoulders, arms or the like, can send chills through her body or make her breath a sigh of rest and relaxation that she had not felt before being in a trust relationship as deep as ours.

I say “Trust Relationship” because that is imperative to getting the most benefit out of this language of touch.  Here it also means vulnerable.  Vulnerability is not a bad word.  It is not a bad state of mind or body either when you are being vulnerable with someone you trust.

It has been my observation that she gets the most relaxed when I softly caress her forehead, eyes, face, chin, side of her face (ears), neck-line and shoulders, and her arms.  Massaging her hands with a very firm pressure also seems to relax her greatly.  It is likely that your spouse is different in many ways but it is well worth the effort and time spent to find out what it is that allows you both to experience the bond that is created through touch.  It is securing, it is peaceful, it is respectful, sweet, loving, and very very powerful.

Let your power begin!  TOUCH!!!

 

PS.  There is MUCH more I could say on this topic.  Lets see how much you want to know or hear.  Actually, this topic would expand into other topics.  Interested?

Conscious and unconscious “do”ing

Sometimes we “try” to do, think or be a certain way.

Its been said that you can do anything you think you can do.  I will take issue with that in a minute but let it be said that I do believe that you can do anything you set your mind to do if it doesn’t violate physics.  Now I’m not implying that you can not fly or that you can’t slow down light or move a mountain if you choose and have the materials and money and etc…. to do it.  On top of that, what we “know” as being physics may not be all there is to it.  No-one has all the answers.  Not you.  Not me.  Not even Steven Hawking (Quantum Physics Expert) though he may come close.  Actually, when he has found all the answers a new question will arise to throw it all out of sorts, right?

So what exactly do I mean?

This really has to do with how we think.  Not just from an intellectual frame of mind but rather at the very base level of our being.  What we think about when we are conscious is not really all that is going on is it?  If it were, why would we “react” the way we do?  Things that have happened long ago in our own experiences effect how we think and what we do.  It is a subconscious issue.  Childhood experiences, relationships, and outside influences have all placed their mark on our lives to the extent that we react rather than respond.  Even attempting to combat this by intentionally thinking consciously about our actions and reactions to each individual event in our lives often fails miserably.  Not because we are not capable of making the proper choices but rather because we have been programed as it were over the course of our life.

This is the difference between conscious and unconscious doing.  Conscious doing requires conscious thought.  The resultant action may or may not be completely conscious.  You may be able to control what you do but it is a far different thing concerning how you feel about what you are doing.  You can choose to smile through a situation that inside is causing you great anguish.  The unconscious doing is that your stomach is churning, your blood pressure is rising, hateful thoughts come into play, you may start to perspire or get sick to your stomach, your head may ache, there is that common fight or flight feeling that has to be dealt with at that moment, and a variety of other uncomfortable and very uncontrollable issues could come into play.  You have chosen to act against what you truly feel and believe deep within yourself.

Changing how you think takes a great deal of work.  It can be done but it is NEVER easy and it is a “one step at a time” tedious task to say the least.  Life changing experiences can help make changes.  Maturity often causes changes where a response becomes dictatorial over a reaction.

Experience is a good teacher so long as the student is willing to learn.  Ah yes…  That willing to learn portion.  Difficult isn’t it?

Def:  Insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. (I know this is only one definition)

So many times I have seen this in others.  It is much more difficult to see your own faults.  Yes… I’ve done this too.  At least till I got tired of it.  You too I’m sure.  Still, as we grow older we start to figure out at least some of the things we have been doing wrong all along.  Learning from mistakes is what it takes to gain wisdom.  Show me a wise man and I will show you a man that has made many mistakes.  (and learned from them)

Life exists to a large extent through unconscious doing.  Conscious doing is what generates advancement via learning.

Be a human-being.  Not a human-doing.

Be, be, be the ball.  🙂

But I digress.

Have a great day.