Friday, September 28, 2007

Don't Look Back

Funny how a memory from 1993 can have an impact on me in 2007 Q95 baby!!!

Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

I can see
It took so long to realize
I'm much too strong
Not to comprimise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'
Far away and left behind

It's a new horizon and I'm awakin' now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin'
the clouds are breakin'
'Canse I can't lose now, there's no game to play

I can tell
There's no more time left to criticize
I've seen what I could not recognize
Everthing in my life was leading me on
but I can be strong

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'
Far away and left behind


Stolen from John Craig

Current Reading: In the Sprit of happiness by the Monks of New Skete
Current Music: Fresh Air podcast
Mood: Fresh Step, Improved Path :)
Sounds: Fresh Air
Sights: Tree outside my window
Temperature: Currently 87°F
Thoughts: Getting ready for afternoon meetings and errands

Pray On This

Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes.
He stays far from wealth and honor.
Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow.
Success is not for him to be pround of, failure is no shame.
Had he all the world's power he would not hold it as his own.
If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself.
His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One and life and death are equal.

Chuang Tzu -- Trans. T.Merton

Just Pray.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

9 Killed in Brumese conflict

Very Sad Indeed


Another from The Monks of New Skete

We storm the walls of our own imprisonment when we struggle to overcome self-centeredness, when we stretch to build avenues of communion with reality beyond our own self, whatever it happens to be. One moment it might be helping a friend, the next it might be attending to our job, running an errand, overcoming a persistent manifestation of selfishness, expressing gratitude by writing a thank-you note, breaking out of our own little world enough to notice a beautiful sunset....anything. With each step of life comes the background question "What is reality asking of us now?" challenging us to respond wholeheartedly, willingly. We escape and leave behind the self that is holed up with its own concerns, and breathe the fresh air of otherness.

We must die to ourselves if we are to ever really live. I am not professing give up all your joys such as golf, playing the guitar or water skiing. What I am talking about is a death of self and birth to communion. It is easy to give into selfish nature i.e. always looking out for number one. But the wise man will take the hard path, the path in which the self must die constantly, be born into communion with all, and learn from this constant death and birth. You may get hit a time or two with a thorny branch but remember you took this path to learn and be in communion with others not to avoid pain.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

City of Orlando says "Don't Feed the Hungry"

See the link here

I understand they want to clean up the area they just built million dollar condo high risers on. But what do they plan to do, starve the homeless and hungry to death so a rich old lady feels safe to walk "fifi"?? Don't take offense if you are a rich old lady and have a dog named "fifi" (the names can be interchanged easily). They built these condos knowing full well that Lake Eola is in the heart of downtown and is the heart of the homeless population. Now they want to starve them out, why didn't they set some money aside to build a soup kitchen or shelter. Seems it would have solved their problem, helped the condos image, and also helped the homeless get food and maybe some of these millionaires could have mentored or helped get the homeless back on their feet. But that would be way too easy, silly me.

Holding On

Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed. As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"
"Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."

I love this old parable. It is a daily reminder to myself to let go of the things of the past. I can't control them nor go back and change them so why do I still let them affect my future? Is it my drive to "perfect" myself? Or wish for a different time?

Well neither of those are going to happen. Nobody will ever be perfect nor go back to a peaceful time in their life. They can only concentrate and have a positive impact on the now. Stop letting your past ruin your now. You have no clue what the future holds so don't let your past dictate it. Give it up to God, free yourself from your "self-imposed" bonds and go forward with a fresh step, a new smile, and know your past is back on the bank while you are walking in the sun.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Old School

I keep passing by one particular photo album all the time. So I decided to scan and upload some pictures from this album. There are many more pictures, but I only have time to upload a few. These were taken with an old point and click film camera. France was a great place and I would live there in a heart beat.

Wind in your Ear

You ever get the feeling and hear the wind rush by you and it makes a big whoooooshhhh noise in your ear. For city people this doesn't happen much, but standing on an open farm field it happens a lot. Life hitting you full force in the face and body, entering your ears and blocking out everything else. It is an instant refresher, a breath of life so to speak. No matter what is going on you are enveloped in the wind, life itself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Monks of New Skete

Taken from the book "In The Spirit of Happiness" by the monks of New Skete

After Abba John the Dwarf had prayed to the Lord and the Lord had taken away all his passions, he went to one of the experienced men and said, "You see before you a man who is completely at rest and has no more temptations." The elder replied, "Go and pray to the Lord to stir up your passions once again, for the soul is made strong only in battle. And when this happens, do not pray that the struggle be taken away from you, but only say, 'Lord, give me strength to get through the fight'.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Good Saturday Morning

I have a challenge for today:

1. Take a picture. Go to your backyard, favorite park or where ever you would like. But take a picture worthy of going in an exhibit. Art is in the eye of the beholder so have fun.

2. Write something. Write anything. Maybe it is the first page to the novel you always wanted to write, maybe it is a poem or a day in the life. Whatever it is write one page today (if you want to double space that is fine).

3. Be still for 30 minutes. No TV, No Radio, No distractions just be still and sit. Block out the voices in your head.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Only a matter of time....

Read Article here

I have no problem with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, or any other religion, race,or creed. I am called to show grace, love and compassion to all. So for me to attack or slander someone different than me doesn't exactly reinforce my qualities and mission.

So here we are, the attack on Christianity. No more "Under God", no more Ten Commandments, no more prayer in public and no more "forcing your beliefs on me". I get it, I understand it and I can sympathize with it. The only problem I have is we are now going into a tit for tat society. So you want the Ten Commandments gone well we don't want low sinks so you can wash your feet. It is a slippery slope in which we are on. We could very well be the demise of our society.

Disagreements and different opinions are nothing new. But I think what we lack is the tolerance and compassion for fellow human beings. Would the person who knows it all and is never wrong please stand up? Don't worry I am not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If I could cook like Gordon Ramsey I would never eat out again. I used to hate cooking, now I kind of like it except all I can do is grill, sauté and fry. My buddy Joe is an excellent cook and it always fun to go over to his house and see what he has thought of cooking.

Music is Funny

I was flipping through my CD collection on the way home and came across a Nirvana CD. I put it in the player and cranked it up. It is funny how music brings back memories. Just a few memories from some artists

Nirvana: Going to South Bend to play Soccer
The Doors: Driving to Florida with my Dad
Unwritten Law: Driving around Indianapolis
Tim McGraw: Riding horses in Brown County
Ottmar Liebert: House of Blues 98
Mozarts Eine Kleine Nactmusik: Music class in Middle School
Phish: Driving to Pensacola
Wide Spread Panic: Singing "Coconuts" with Andrea
Rush: Setting my boom box up and listening to it in my room
John Mellencamp: Got the album the day before my neighbor died of cancer (human wheels)
Grateful Dead: Listening to The Dead in my dads car the day Jerry died
Many many many more.....

Interesting, more vivid than a picture.

Had a little time before lunch

Took some pictures.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This is what happens in Orlando during the rain

Eco-Friendly homes in Winter Park

I thought they were going to level everything from Park Ave. to 17-92 to build Condos and upscale Town Homes. I am glad they recognize the families that have been living there for decades. Glad to see eminent domain didn't place these families on the street.

See the article here

Rain Rain go away.....

Looks like rain all day down here in Central Florida. Not that we don't need the rain, but rain always makes the unbearable roads even more unbearable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Candy For Your Ears

Put your headphones on and enjoy the experience....

see more here

Monday, September 17, 2007

Books for the week

Just Finished Parker Palmer's "The Active Life" which was an awesome book. I highly recommend everyone to read it.

Picked up two books for the week they are sure to go deep:

Reawakenings by Keating

The Seven Storey Mountain by Merton

Friday, September 14, 2007

Centering Prayer

See this here

Be still with God

Good Morning

Woke up extra early this morning so I was able to catch a pic of the sunrise. I love waking up before the sun rises and it is still dark. There is something about "seeing" the dawn of the day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A new twist on the Mother Teresa Saga

See this article

Could it be that Mother Teresa is among the “many” that did “many wonderful works” in the name of Jesus, but were trusting in their works to vindicate them in the end rather than the One they were working for? Do Mother Teresa’s letters suggest that she could be among those who will hear Jesus say, “I never knew you”? You are aghast at the thought because such a sentiment is so contrary to the conventional wisdom that says Mother Teresa, of all people, is in heaven because she served the poorest of the poor and gave up her own life in doing so.

But that’s precisely the point. If anyone is in heaven, it won’t be because of the many wonderful works they did in Jesus’ name. It will be because they received faith as a gift from God, a faith that sustains in the midst of doubt, a faith that gives evidence of the reality of our relationship to Christ even when our innate human reason suggests—as it evidently did in Mother Teresa’s case—that the prudent course is to abandon all hope.

Interesting....also see this post by John Craig here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Response to The Woodcarver

Taken from Parker Palmer's "The Active Life"

We need ego-strength to live and live fruitfully. But it is a paradoxical truth that in order to gain the strength that comes from knowing our gifts we may have to fight the ego's drive to dominate our lives. The woodcarver fought through fasting, forgetting, and dying to the false demands of his ego. In that process he penetrated the ego's self -delusions and arrived at a truth about himself, his gifts, and his relation to the reality around him, a truth that allowed him to transcend the traps inherent in the skillfulness necessary for action.

It is important to realize that the woodcarver's native gift may not have been the obvious one -- his capacity to employ woodworking tools with consummate skill. Even if he had been born with the manual dexterity that woodworking requires, his skill with those particular tools surely took him years of practice to perfect. A careful reading of the story shows that the woodcarver possesses several other gifts, all of which are essential to the mastery he demonstrates: the capacity to wait patiently for insight to emerge, the capacity to trust in the outcomes of an uncertain process, the capacity to take risks even under pressure, the capacity to speak his truth even when it is not what people want to hear. Any of these may be his birthright gift, without which his technical ability to carve would make him no more than an average artisan.

His excellence isn't in his skill but his gifts. I wonder what would happen if we all embraced our gifts more. I know some of my gifts are relationship to people, empathy, humility, compassion and energy. I know I do not have the gift of organization, patients, or details. If I am to succeed I need to embrace the gifts I have and transfer that into a relevant skill. Hence I may never be a paper pusher or professional fisherman.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Global Walmart

IU article on Walmart in Mexico link here

"They failed in Germany and South Korea, for example, and they're having difficulty in Japan and the United Kingdom," Biles said. "They've also had difficulty competing with China's state-owned supermarkets, and they have yet to gain entry to India. The Wal-Mart model is not universally appreciated. Mexico is still their only international success."

I wonder why? Could it be that "mom and pop" stores are more valuable to their culture and history than low prices and big box convenience.

Also see this link on music and walmartization.

Selfless Love

One of the paradoxes of the mystical life is this: that a man cannot enter into the deepest center of himself and pass through that center into God, unless he is able to pass entirely out of himself and empty himself and give himself to other people in the purity of a selfless love.
Thomas Merton

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Woodcarver

Khing, the master carver, made a bell stand
Of precious wood. When it was finished,
All who saw it were astounded. They said it must be
The work of spirits.
The Prince of Lu said to the master carver:
"What is your secret?"

Khing replied: "I am only a workman:
I have no secret. There is only this:
When I began to think about the work you commanded
I guarded my spirit, did not expend it
On trifles, that were not to the point.
I fasted in order to set
My heart at rest.
After three days fasting,
I had forgotten gain and success.
After five days
I had forgotten praise or criticism.
After seven days
I had forgotten my body
With all its limbs.

"By this time all thought of your Highness
And of the court had faded away.
All that might distract me from the work
Had vanished.
I was collected in the single thought
Of the bell stand.

"Then I went to the forest
To see the trees in their own natural state.
When the right tree appeared before my eyes,
The bell stand also appeared in it, clearly, beyond doubt.
All I had to do was to put forth my hand
and begin.

"If I had not met this particular tree
There would have been
No bell stand at all.

"What happened?
My own collected thought
Encountered the hidden potential in the wood;
From this live encounter came the work
Which you ascribe to the spirits."

- Chuang Tzu
from The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

The Archer

Chuang Tzu

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
- he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No Bread in Zimbabwe

Very sad indeed. Read the article here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Joseph Campbell

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance with our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Extreme Religion

I have heard it everywhere the past couple weeks; extreme religion, extreme beliefs or lack of beliefs. From God's Warriors to Christopher Hitchens stepping on the back of Mother Teresa.

From the makers of Extreme Makeover (Not Really) we are brought Extreme Belief. In which we kill, beat, jab, poke, belittle, and basically strip a person naked in the name of belief/religion. These activities more resemble an animal attacking prey than it does a true concerned believer. Do you walk into a job interview with the intent to belittle, do you go to dinner with your mom and poke fun of her, do you go out with friends and kill them if they don't believe? So why do some act like animals when it comes to faith, belief/lack of belief, religion and God? Let me break it down a bit:

1. Belief/Faith is a huge step to take not only in the mind, but more importantly in the heart.
2. God aside (although my beliefs believe God is the point of this) we all have an inherent need to feel comfort, to feel safe, to feel needed/worth while.
3. Animals hunt out of a need and impulse in their mind. There is no heart or soul requirement for an Animal. It is just an impulse driven creature.

So we are left with Heart/Soul vs. Mind/Impulses. If I rely solely on my mind I believe that I will not only be a shallow person but also miss the mark on what it means to be a full person/human being. I can't rationalize love, compassion, friendship, caring, forgiveness. These are things of the heart and soul not the things of the mind. I know what my dog looks like yet I find more enjoyment out of petting him and caring for him. My mind can rationalize love but if my soul never feels it was it really worth it or there? I know what compassion is but if I never extend with a true heart is it worth it or true?

When we let our minds control our soul I believe we do irrational things. Going back to my dog example (although this might be a bit extreme), if I look at my dog from a pure rational/mind point of view he is worthless to me. He doesn't bring me food or protection, he is lazy and stupid (compared to my mind) and he certainly doesn't further my life or quest for knowledge so I should probably just do away with him. Does this sound familiar? Extreme belief anyone?? But if I look in my soul I find a creature that I am amazed with everyday. My dog makes me laugh, smile and generally feel good and I know I love him and his value is immeasurable. If I can feel this way about my dog, why can't Extreme Belief stop using solely their heads but also their soul? Would we have the belittling, the killing, the beatings?

P.S. Take from this rambling what you can. I read this refreshing article this morning and read this excerpt from the Cherry Log Sermons last night:

But God took this creature made out of clay, held it up as a mother holds a baby, and breathed, and it became a living soul like God. And God said, "This one is like me. I am proud of the squirrel, I love the elephant, the horse is good, the mule is nice, and I do like these llamas, but the one that is exactly like me is this one. I have breathed into this one my own life." This is why human beings are not content, if they are real human beings, with just eating and drinking and working and showing off and bragging and dying. Real human beings long for God, search the heavens, write poetry, play music, spread art all over the world, and think the things of God. We human beings perhaps even spend time pondering if, after we die, we will live again, since we have the breath of God. This is extraordinary, so extraordinary, in fact that the most horrible thing that you can imagine is for the breath of God, the Spirit of God, to be taken away from you.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ahhh What A Saturday

Woke up watched some t.v., took wrigley to the doggie park (see his baby picture above), now watching some Big Ten football on the Big Ten Network. What a day.