March, 2010


29
Mar 10

Truth or Truths

I don’t know about you but I get pretty frustrated with the media and politics (Don’t worry I’m not getting all political on you.  We have enough political talk without me jumping into the mix).  What frustrates me is that you don’t know what to believe.

Truth is sacrificed on the alter of facts. 

The sad reality is that this is the nature of the world we live in.  From the beginning of time people have taken facts to paint a distorted picture.  We have all done it to some degree.

It is sort of like a kaleidoscope… fragments of facts jumbled together to distort reality. 

You may be wondering what got Jerry all riled up.  You’re probably thinking that I must have just finished listening to the evening news.  Nope.  I’m not writing about this because I’m frustrated but stirred. 

I was stirred by a comment left by Kathy about something I wrote a couple of blogs back.  For full context you might want to review my blog “Searching or Discovery”.

 Excerpt from Kathy’s Comment:

I get grabbed by something that is true and then I belong to it. Change inside of me happens almost automatically. Why do you think it happens that way? Do you think that is the way it is with all truth–scientific truth–or discovering in historical facts? or is it just with spiritual truth?

Over the next couple of blogs I will try to share my thoughts.  Let me be the first to say that I by no means believe that I have the answers to Kathy’s questions… but it doesn’t stop me from having an opinion. 

I believe there is Truth and there are truths.  Truths are facts about things that exist.   

But Truth, that is a different matter.  Ah, Truth… beautiful Truth.  In a world of distortion and complexity there is splendid simple Truth. 

Important Point:    Simple does not mean easy. 

Truth does not rest on the surface of life where you can easily grasp or understand it in full context.  We sense it and see evidence of it.  Truth is something deeper, broader, and higher… all around and permeating everything.

That’s why people like and gravitate to truths; they can take hold of them and control their use by carelessly tossing them around to make a point.  Settling for only truths are the cowards’ way. 

Truth… you cannot distort or control.  It is just hidden in the clutter of truths, but it’s fully intact waiting for us.

There are two characteristics of Truth (I am sure there’s a lot more but these are a good starting point) that I will poke on.  Truth informs and transforms.  I really liked what Kathy said when she wrote, “Change inside of me happens almost automatically.”

That is what our journey is all about.  Discovery. 

See you on Thursday.


23
Mar 10

A Helpful Hint

Howdy, good to see you again.

Our last couple of blog entries have been pretty heady so I needed a break from thinking too much.

Side Note: About six weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled “Walkie Talkie” where we talked about how walking through nature has the mysterious ability to break down our barriers allowing us to be more open.

That blog entry focused on the gift of deep meaningful conversations.  But the other gift that comes from being with someone with whom you feel safe and comfortable is that it frees us to share our joys and fun.

So I thought it would be a good time to share a story or two on our journey.  Maybe I could trade helpful hints on miscellaneous stuff.

With that said, to my pleasure and probably to your chagrin, I have decided to share something odd that happened last summer.  This is also a helpful hint for home owners… well… helpful is a relative term.  We’ll see how helpful you think it is after you read my saga.

LAST SUMMER

It was a sunny warm July day.  Like most days of summer, this was one that had a particularly strong way of summoning you outdoors to tackle distasteful chores.

The Distasteful Chore: Removal of dead limbs in trees

We have several very large trees around our house.  The removal of some of the limbs was pretty easy but others proved to be a challenge.  These were the limbs that were large and high.  I’m talking about limbs of significance.  Any of which, if allowed to remain, could severely hurt someone if they fell.

So here I am, a man who is past his daredevil 20’s and reluctant to climb and hang 40+ feet into the air (actually it was probably 20 feet but it looked 40).  What does one do?

I did what any red blooded man would do… get some other sucker to help.

The Sucker: My brother visiting from Texas

As the task unfolded it became quite amusing.  But I must say we were very creative in the way we brought to the ground the demon limbs.

Tools Required:

  • One tennis shoe
  • One ball of twine
  • One lengthy piece of rope
  • Two willing and slightly naive men in the mood for adventure

Optional:

  • Two lawn chairs
  • Two giggly wives who amuse themselves by setting up a make-shift audience to observe the splendor of two men bringing down limbs

The first task is to attach the twine to the tennis shoe.  Then one must throw the shoe over the identified limb.

This is tricky… and it is more difficult than it may appear.  The aerodynamics of a sneaker is not conducive to throwing.  But they are durable and soft enough not to bring harm if by chance it should fall on someone or thing.

Once the shoe has been precisely launched the twine is then tied to the rope.  This allows you to pull the rope over the limb so the real work can begin.

After the loop of the rope is positioned properly around the limb, the two men can begin their task.  With hands firmly grasped to the rope, the two men pull in unison.  Of course the challenge is UNISON.

After a couple of introductory tugs and then a unified grunt and pull the limb comes crashing down.  All of this to the pride of the pullers and the delight of the audience.

Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’m sure my brother appreciates me blasting the story across the web.

Maybe the next blog we’ll return to more serious matters but thanks for letting me relive a fond memory with my brother.

Arrivederci, see you later.


18
Mar 10

Searching or Discovery

Good to see you again.  Or if it’s your first visit… welcome.

I thought it would be good to stop a moment and make sure I am going in the right direction on this journey of mine.  And most importantly make sure I continue to be clear on WHY I am on this journey.

I am on a journey of discovery and not destination (see blog # 4 “The Voice).  I am not searching to try to find something, but I am out to see what I can discover.

Side Note: Just so you know, I can read your thoughts.  After reading the sentence above you just tiled your head and said, “Huh?  There he goes getting all weird on us again.”

Stick with me; it will make more sense in a bit.  At least I hope it does because I would like to know what I’m talking about also.

“Searching” to me denotes looking for something.  There is intent, expectation, desire, or need driving the activity.  And honestly, we all have times in our lives where we are on a journey searching for something.

Side Note Again: This metaphorical walk that some of you have decided to join me on may be a journey of searching for you.  And that is absolutely fine.

That’s the beauty of all this.  Two people walking side by side can be on two different journeys.  Cool huh.

I personally am on a journey of “Discovery”.  I am compelled to explore.  I have no expectations but I do have expectancy.  It is a journey into the unknown.

“You cannot have discovery unless you have the unknown. “

- Penelope Stokes

Let me explain it another way.  As I have already shared, I am a devoted Christ follower (Don’t worry my dear non-Christ following friends, I’m not getting preachy).  I see my Spiritual journey as one of discovery… amazing discovery.

I hear this call from beyond to continually pursue Truth.  These Spiritual truths seem just beyond my grasp.  I sort of see them and can almost touch them.  They begin to emerge through the fog of intellect but quickly retreat into the shadows (kinda like a Divine hologram).

Spiritual truths have an interesting paradox.  I have discovered that you…

  • Can never possess them – they posses you.
  • Cannot master them – they master you.

The discovery process means that I have to diligently pursue these truths.

In essence, I chase them until they catch me.

That’s the joy and beauty of discovery.  Sometimes what you discover may have been there all the time.

What an exciting adventure.  I can’t wait to see what we find.

Au revoir.


16
Mar 10

The Cliff

Can you believe it… blog entry #19.  I keep plugging along trying to figure out what to write.  Hopefully it has been helpful to my friends keeping me company, or at least somewhat entertaining.

Our meandering up this mountain hasn’t been too difficult so far and fairly uneventful (except for the cussing spell I had about eight blogs back).

But today is a bit different.  I have started this blog at least five times.  It is a challenge because I am allowing myself to think too much about what you think.

Side Note: For those of you who are new, in blog #3 (Titled:  “The Wall”) I talked about the walls that have kept me trapped.  The main wall I shared is worrying what people think.

So I have to publicly put it in its place again… this blog is for me.  I know you know this but I am saying this for me.  Worrying what people think makes me second guess everything I write.

The truth is, you too need to periodically put things in their place.  The things that have kept you moored to the shore of self preventing you from exploring the vast sea of the unknown.

We all have to do this to assure ourselves a journey that has meaning and reward.

Everyone has these walls that resurface after you have made a decision to move forward.  Don’t be discouraged.

Important Truth:

“You can’t have a breakthrough until you have a breakwith”

- Stephen Covey

So we breakwith again.  And that’s ok.  A few years ago I would have been pretty hard on myself because I had a set back.  Nope, not now.  I don’t care if I have to breakwith every week.  The mountain is mine to climb.  And that’s a good feeling.

For me, a time like this is the part of journey up the mountain where we encounter the sheer face… straight up.   The casual stroll we all enjoy is not in sight.

A few years ago I learned something that has served me well in times like this.  I had an opportunity to go on a 10 day wilderness experience.  One day we spent rock climbing.  Like most life changing learnings it came in the most unexpected way.

I was really nervous climbing the cliff.  Yes, I was harnessed and the ropes safe in the hands of my belayer.  But while climbing the cliff every fiber of my being was screaming at me to HUG THE ROCKS.” My natural instinct was to pull close to the rocks.

But for climbing that is the worst thing to do.  What you must do is counter-intuitive.  Once you have a hand hold and your foot positioned you push your body away from the sheer wall.

The physics are apparent… when the core of your body is away from the face of the wall the weight is forced into the wall through your legs for a better grip.  Conversely, the closer you are to the wall the weight is focused straight down.

The physics may be apparent to some but it was idiocy to my mind.

But this principle is true with most things.  There are times you cannot trust your thinking.  What you must do is counter-intuitive.

For some, joining me on this journey is a big risk.  Push away from the wall… it will make it much easier.

See you later.


13
Mar 10

Freedom Through Bondage

I have music in me… lots of music.  There are times when I have sat at a piano, placed my fingers on the keys, closed my eyes and believed the music inside would explode into melody.

But the wellspring of music within remained trapped… frustrated by its inability to find release and purpose.  There was no avenue for escape because I had not provided a path of freedom.

Now I’m really going to confuse us all.  FREEDOM requires giving up freedom

When younger I could have taken piano lessons.  I could have given up the freedom to do the things I wanted to do and channelled that time into a forced discipline of training my mind and fingers.  But my freedom in the moment was more important for me than ultimate freedom later.

Side Note:  This principle is true with virtually everything I can think of.

  •                    Finances
  •                    Children
  •                    Education
  •                    Household chores
  •                    You name it  

It is said that you can tell who the professionals are because they make it look so easy.  That’s very true. 

I marvel at the ability of some dancers or athletes.  The freedom they have to release their body in different ways is literally amazing.  This level of freedom only comes through forced discipline.  It is the relinquishing of the freedom of the moment for the freedom of the ultimate.

Take a look at this quick video.  It illustrates the amazing beauty, ease, and elegance of a body that is free.

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Freedom… that’s what this journey’s all about.  I think I’m pretty much like everyone else in that there are parts of my life that are really terrific.  I experience joy and freedom in those parts of my life in which I have invested.

But the Voice calls us to more.  And there is so, so, so much more.  But for whatever reason we become lulled in our relative freedom not really realizing that there is so much more.  I sat too long looking from afar at what could be. 

So, as you know, I started this journey of writing.  The discipline of forcing time to write and struggling to find a way for the words and thoughts inside to find release and meaning is very difficult.  Very difficult!  But… I keep stepping forward. 

I ran across a great quote that encourages me.  William Stafford, (1914-1993) was a prolific and highly respected American poet.  When asked by a reporter how he began his career as a poet he said,

“I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is, why did other people stop?”

So I keep going. 

What treasures are trapped in you?

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  We’ll get up this mountain eventually.

Later.


9
Mar 10

The Voice Again

Whether you hear it or not there is a voice calling… a zephyr voice so slight that it easily gets lost in the noise of life.  It is a quiet voice that catches our attention in odd, obscure ways.

Maybe it is something we heard, read or saw that quietly touched something.  A place inside we weren’t even aware of until it got our attention.  We were stilled by an odd curiosity or being intrigued by something obscure or out of character.

What or who is this voice?  Is it destiny… premonition… God… heartburn…?

Literature has mentioned this voice for centuries in terms of… the call of the sea… the call of the mountains… the call of the wild, or any other sort of descriptor that compels us to step beyond where we are into the unknown.

An Interesting Event:

I was just interrupted by a knock at the front door.  I was a bit frustrated because the knock caused me to break stride in my flow of thought on this all important blog of mine.

I opened the door, there standing before me was a very nervous, awkward young Boy Scout (about 11 would be my guess).  He was appropriately attired in his scouting shirt patches and all.  He was going door to door selling mulch for his troop.

I was stilled.  I knew immediately that this was not to be a casual, “No thank you.”

When I first saw him his eyes quickly shifted from my face to my chest and then made their way to my feet.  This is where they stayed most of the time except with an occasional glance upward as comfort allowed or the sales pitch demanded when presenting the brochure.

His father was standing a couple of feet to the side with that… you’re on your own but I’m here to help you posture.  His non-verbals spoke clearly of support… but also protection.  Not physical protection but the kind of protection you give to a child that seems to have been on the “outside” and who knows the ramifications of being so.

Side Note: Some of you reading know what it means to be on the “outside”.  This is not foreign territory.  It is not a pleasant place to be.

The blog… my interrupted flow of thought… my frustration, quickly were put in their place because there was something beyond my here and now.

The VOICE!

The voice calls us out and calls us to.  This time it was “to”.

You see, this journey is not one of selfish insight.  It is a journey of wholeness.  And wholeness is never selfish.  The voice always takes us out of self, never toward self.

The “Be Prepared” scout did not need me to be patient or attentive as he explained the benefits of purchasing mulch in bulk.  But I believe it made his stop at the next house easier.  And that’s important… especially if you are one who has been use to struggling.

I never want to allow the noise of life (or this blog) to hide the gentle call.

There is a voice… constantly calling… voice beyond view that beckons us to something.

How is your hearing?  If you aren’t open you will miss amazingly great and precious opportunities to grow or touch.

Ciao.


4
Mar 10

A Sack of Rocks

Nice to see you again.  Hopefully my last few blog entries have encouraged you to take the step you have been reluctant to do take.  If you didn’t, maybe today will be that day… no pressure.

But if you for some reason decided not to step out into the risky unknown (or you took a small step and didn’t continue) I offer you a caution from personal experience.

Usually when we seriously contemplate a step in a new direction it is because something has stirred us and we feel compelled to move.  But then something happens, we decide not to step out or we quickly stop.

We then tend to feel pretty crappy and caulk it up as another missed opportunity.  Now this is where it gets dicey, if not careful we end up tossing another rock in the sack we carry on our backs as a souvenir of our perceived failure.

Sack of Rocks: This is a bag that we all carry.  It is loaded with rocks that we have accumulated from life experiences, failures, tragedy or anything else that tends to weigh us down.

Everyone has a sack but the load carried depends on whether or not the person decides to put the rock in their bag.  It’s tough trying to march up a mountain with a load of rocks on our backs.

You probably notice that I use the term perceived failure.  I will drill down on this in a moment but first we need to be honest with ourselves.  Sometimes we do fail.  It’s not a perceived failure, it is a legitimate failure.  I mean… we have all really done some stupid stuff.

We make big mistakes in our lives and the consequences are pretty clear.  We cannot (must not) make excuses for some decisions or actions we have made.  The reality is, some things are just wrong and we need to stop and change our behavior.

“You can’t talk yourself out of something you acted yourself into.”

– Stephen Covey

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Back to the “perceived failure” topic.

As mentioned there are things we do that are wrong and they are pretty clear.  But there are a lot of things that occur where we feel we have failed and… yep you guessed it… we throw another rock in the sack because we feel like we deserve it.  And on our journey we have accumulated a sack of rocks so heavy that it makes it difficult to try anything new or anything again.

I have come to believe that what we perceive as failure many times is in reality a part of the process of our growth.

Allow me a metaphor about a butterfly.

I know what you’re thinking… oh brother… that’s all I need, a cheesy little story about a sweet little butterfly.  Stick with me it’s actually a pretty good illustration.

The transformation of becoming a butterfly is in the hidden confines of the cocoon.  There is a divine transformation occurring and no one sees it.  After the butterfly has developed to such a point internally, the transformation work then transitions into the open.

The butterfly struggles and pushes to be released from the confines.  The butterfly could beat up on itself for having such a difficult time… for trying and stopping for a bit.

But here’s the miracle.  The struggle is part of the process.  The pressing and pushing is the very thing that is forcing life into the wings.

For too long I beat myself up for my perceived failures.  I carried a lot of unnecessary rocks.  Life’s tough enough the way it is without carrying extra weight.  I don’t know about you but I am unloading rocks.  I’ve got a more to unload but I can tell already that the climb this mountain is much easier.

Don’t believe the lie that you need to carry the rocks.  Go ahead… take one out and toss it.  Just don’t throw it in my direction.

You can keep throwing rocks in your sack or you can STOP IT!

I love this video.  It’s fun but more importantly there is a lot of truth to it.  It is a simple truth that we need to take to heart.

gg

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By the way, you’ll need to lighten your load because we’re getting ready to climb a pretty steep portion of the mountain.