Posts Tagged: voice


15
Aug 11

Mulch Anyone?


Hi, it’s great to have you hang out with me for a while.

I went to Starbucks this morning to find my muse for the blog.  All I ended up with was a non-fat latte, blueberry scone, and a lighter wallet… but no muse.

Muse, like most good things, I have come to learn cannot be contrived.  Special life gifts such as this are NEVER contrived… only recognized and then acted upon.

I believe that there are hidden life treasures all around if we are looking for them.  We have to be open and alert.  It is sort of like a cosmic Geocache hidden for us to discover.

Side Note: If you don’t know what geocaching is then you will need to google it.  If you don’t know what google is then you are in a heap-o-trouble.  Ask a second grader.

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These life gifts, blessings, or whatever you want to call them, can happen anytime and show up in surprising ways.

I wrote about one of these surprise encounters in a blog in March of 2010.

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… and 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.

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 was.  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.  See you Thursday.


4
Jul 11

Freedom Fanatic

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Hi there.  Happy Independence Day.

Side Note:  Before we tackle the topic for today I thought I would let those of you who are interested know that the Memorial Service went very, very well.  (See last blog entry to know what I am talking about).

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As you will see, because of last week, I am totally out of sync in my blog writing.  I figure you will be as confused as I am before this blog is over. 

Those of you who have been hanging out with me for the past few weeks know that I have been talking about the coarse but thought provoking quote tattooed to a girl’s upper under arm.

This is the out of sync part… I won’t be writing about the quote until Thursday.  Last week totally disrupted my rhythm.  So, Thursday is the day to get back to the quote.

But this being the 4th of July I have to poke around at one of my most favorite topics, FREEDOM.

On March 13, 2010 I wrote about freedom.  I wrote…

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 channeled 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.

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

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

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What struck me when I reread the blog was the quote, Freedom requires giving up freedom.

In essence we must give up our freedom of the moment for greater freedom later. 

Unfortunately there are messages bombarding us today that rob us of our future.  These are things like do your own thing or don’t let anyone or anything restrict you.

Those who are unable to succumb to the confines of the moment will never… NEVER experience full freedom. 

I am thankful that I am in good company when it comes to understanding this reality.

To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.

- Virgina Woolf

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

- Thomas Paine

The 4th of July is a wonderful celebration of freedom. 

But during this time when freedom in the fore of our thinking, I encourage you to be open and receptive to what freedom may be saying to you.

If we are attuned to ourselves we will sense the deep intuitive notion that there are better deeper things for us to experience and enjoy.  We live so far below what’s available… there is so much more for us. 

What freedoms do you need to give up now for ultimate freedom later? 

See you Thursday.


2
Dec 10

The Gift

Hi, good to see you again.

Yep, the Christmas season is in full swing with all the lights flashing, music blaring, traffic frenzied, and bells ringing.  For me it’s fun… except the traffic… uugh!

I mentioned in the last blog entry that I had a Christmas gift idea for the man in your life.  Before I divulge this top secret idea I need to ask you a question that lays the ground work for my gift suggestion.

How is your attitude toward Christmas now compared to when you were a child?

Take a minute to think about it.  The answer to this question is important.

I, for example, still have very similar feelings about Christmas as I did when younger.  Yes, the grown up version has a greater sense of responsibility and the time between each Christmas seems a lot shorter, but I still get excited.

It takes work to keep your childlike attitude and not to let yourself be molded into thinking like an adult during this time of the year.

Let’s face it, this time of the year can be very pressure packed and demanding.  What I mean is, it is very easy to let things get to you such as the constant hustle and bustle, the clutter around the house during the decoration phase, or the basic realities of juggling finances and time.

This is all the adult stuff of Christmas.  But having to do adult stuff doesn’t demand that you jettison your childlike spirit.

There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

- Erma Bombeck


Now that I have laid some groundwork it is time to share the gift idea for the man in your life.

Side Note: What I am about to share may sound sexist.  My gift idea may work for girls but there are a couple of reasons I preface this for men.

First, I’m a guy and I can’t think like a girl.  Sorry, but my mind can’t make that leap.  I’m afraid that if I even attempted such a feat my brain would get caught in a parallel universe like some weird Sci Fi movie.

Secondly, every time I have shared this idea it seems to resonate much more with men than with women.


The Gift Idea

Give the man in your life… a toy.  Yes, a toy.  I am very serious.  Let me explain.

A few years ago my brother called me after Christmas and told me that one of the gifts his wife got him for Christmas was a BB gun.  He was telling me how much fun he was having shooting cans and such and he stated that everyone should get a toy for Christmas.

I did probably what you’re doing now and just blew off the statement with amusement and casual disregard.  But then something stuck me on a deeper level.

Thankfully I have learned to pay attention when I am stilled like this.  I do not wish to be melodramatic but there are wonderful insights and joys to be embraced if you are willing to listen.   All through this year in my blog entries I talk about being attuned to hear the voice.

Important Note: No I am not talking about the voices in your head that the right medication cures.  I am talking about the voice of the heart that touches you if you are open.

My blog entry called The Voice Again which I posted on March 9 will give you a pretty good sense of what I am talking about.

If you are interested in reading it all you need to do is look on the left side of the page and you will see the blog archives entitled Previous Meanderings.  Click on March and scroll down to the 9th.

Back to my “ah ha” moment.  What struck me was something I had not thought of in years.  And each time I mention this, every one of the people remember.  The person may not remember the date or year but they remember the moment.

Do you remember the Christmas you didn’t get a toy?

Do you remember the feeling?  For most people, and for me, in retrospect it was like something was lost or over… childhood I guess.

When I thought of this question the toy comment from my brother made sense.  Getting a toy isn’t because you are childish but it keeps you childlike.  And we must never loose our childlike nature.  We lose that, the luster of life is lost.

The Toy

If you decide to give a toy, it must be a TOY.  We are NOT talking about a man toy such as an iPod, GPS thingy, or some electronic game or gadget.  I am talking about at TOY… something you play with.

For me I like stuff like Stomp Rockets or one of those inexpensive remote helicopters you fly in the house.

Follow your intuition as you go down the toy aisle because when you see it you’ll know.  For your guy it might be a model (not the female type – that’s a man toy).  I mean a car or plane model.

Give it a try.  It is well worth the risk to get a chance to see the innocent little boy come out.

See you Monday.


17
Jun 10

Too Far To Turn Back

Howdy.  It’s me again… I survived full disclosure from the last blog. 

The only thing that I am concerned about is if any friends of mine who read the blog wondered if I thought they were boring.  Not at all.  It’s my friends who don’t read my blog who are boring.

But opening up about something that makes me look bad isn’t something I typically do.  But I’m on a journey beyond where I am.  I know that it seems odd to some who read this blog… especially people who know me.  Actually, I have a great life, I am very fulfilled and by the standards of many people pretty successful.

How well you are doing isn’t the proper measuring rod.  It is how much are you capable of?  And how much more there is that you are letting slip through your fingers? 

I am determined not to take the easy way.  I have had several people say that they admired the fact that I am writing a blog (especially writing two entries a week).  I am very appreciative and thankful for their kind words.  But if there is something a person is called to do (and I truly believe I am to write this blog) then there can be no other option but do it. 

The compelling quiet whisper that invaded my heart and head is relentless in its firm gentle way.  It is the quiet whisper that is calling me to venture beyond my comfortable world into the risky business of the unknown.

So I continue to press on… and let me say… it has made life much more of an adventure.   The final verses of Robert Frost’s Road Less Traveled are right on.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.
…Robert Frost

 

Traveling the path into the unknown and unfamiliar is risky, time consuming and demands investment.  It takes a lot of effort to start and effort to maintain momentum, but the ongoing investment is eventually transformed into passion.

“At some point, turning back is not an option.”

 

When is the last time you tried something for the first time?  Is there something stirring from within that demands attention? 

Hopefully this little blog is challenging you to lean in closely to the voice trying to get your attention.  Life is too short to ignore the “what if”. 

I am sorry if I am sounding a little preachy… I don’t mean to be.  I do want to encourage.  

What is the one small thing that you think you are to do that you’re not doing?  Is there a call you need to make, letter to write, a person you need to forgive, to let go of the failure you hang on too, read that book, go to that church, write that song, or release the rock that you have carried for too long.

For me it was to take that first step beyond the safe wall of self and write this blog.  Thank God I have.

See you Monday


10
Jun 10

Simply Profound

Hi, good to see you.

I’m especially glad to see you because the trail seems a bit lonelier and quieter today.   A person that has pioneered ahead on this path is no longer with us.

I didn’t know the man but I know him… if that makes any sense.

He was a simple farm boy from Indiana who became a great coach.  But his exceptionally successful coaching career was the least of accomplishments.

John Wooden was a giant… a man profound in his simplicity.  It is interesting how the quiet simple things have the most powerful impact.

I was planning to share several of his quotes but I ran across this video that illustrates his simple humble greatness.  It is a little lengthy but well worth the time.

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I heard a quote one time that really applies to this particular situation.

“The test of one’s nature is the atmosphere it produces.”

This begs the question, What atmosphere do I create?  John Wooden inspires me to be a better man.  That statement alone tells me a lot.

Yes, the trail is lonelier today.  But John Wooden has left us lots of markers to follow as we advance.

See you Monday.


20
May 10

Back to the Mountain

Howdy.

Did you notice that my writing accent took on a distinct down home twang since we’re back on the trail?

Side Note: No need to say it… weird, I know… you just have to bear with me.

I have been at this blog thing for five months.  It has been a very interesting journey so far, but not easy.  I have heard that anything substantive and worth doing isn’t easy.  I tend to agree.

That’s one of the reasons I feel pretty good about writing this blog.  It’s sure not because I feel I have set the standard for literary excellence.  But it’s because historically I have tended to be pretty lazy and take the easier way.  It’s sad to say and embarrassing to admit it, but it’s true.

That’s one of the things that I finally had to face up to.  Lies and excuses will keep you trapped in the purgatory of mediocrity.  I was going to hell of mediocrity but pain produces action.  Purgatory is a state of nothingness.  You’re not good enough to experience the excitement of risk and joy of success, but you’re good enough to avoid the pain of failure.  Like I said… nothingness.

I really can’t say what has stirred over the past few years but thank God something has.  Now you can get a glimpse of why this blog was a big step.

I pray (don’t worry, I’m not going to get all churchy on you) that something I share may pierce the shell that either protects you from outside things, or traps you from getting out.

Once again listen to the voice beyond the wall (Blog # 1 & 2) calling you to something more.

“Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons.  Some are actuated by love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden path by the lure of little voices, the mysterious fascination of the unknown.”

-          Ernest Shackleton, Explorer (1874-1922)

Side Note: If you have never heard of Ernest Shackleton I encourage you to read the book Endurance.  It is an absolutely amazing true story and of courage, perseverance and heroism.

You cannot have discovery unless you have the unknown.  Yes the unknown can scare the hell out of you.  Mediocrity is the home of the known.  No risk, no fear, no discomfort, no life.

That’s the beauty of listening for the siren call.  Hearing the call captures the imagination and the fear of looking bad or fear of failure is overwhelmed by the fear of losing out on something great.

Listen… Do you hear it?  I do, what a joy.

See you Monday


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.


15
Feb 10

That’s Not Fair

Howdy… welcome back.

If you have been reading the last couple of blogs you know by now that I view life as a mountain.  There is a variety of terrain and steepness but there is always a slope.

We are thrown on this mountain by birth.  We had no choice in the matter.  We also had no choice where we landed.  Some entered this journey on a plush meadow that is fairly level… a relatively easy start.  Others immediately found themselves clutching to the side of a cliff barely able to hang on in the hostile environment.  This is not a judgment, just a “what is”.

I don’t know why we don’t all begin life from the same starting line… but we don’t.  It seems unfair. 

Personal Life Learning:  Fair does not mean equal

There are three things that puzzle me at times about life and fairness.

First you have the personal attributes that we are born with.  Some are born smarter or more attractive; some are gifted athletes; others are talented musically or artistically; and then there’s the rest of us.  

Then there is another layer of complexity that knocks the fairness scale totally out of kilter… the environment in which we find ourselves thrown into.   Some people grow up in an envrionment of…

  • Abundance or poverty
  • Loving or emotionally void
  • Supportive or abusive
  • Affirming or critical
  • Goal oriented and go getting or let life happen and just hang on
  • Stoic or emotional
  • Serious or fun
  • Peaceful or conflict
  • (add your own scale to the list)

 

    “We are like every other American family… dysfunctional”  - Latoya Jackson

     

    “If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair.  Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.’”                                                                      - Jeff Foxworthy

Finally, (and probably the most confusing of all) life experiences.  No one can sufficiently explain why seemingly random tragedies target certain people.  It makes no sense why a person dies young, abuse, disfiguring accident, cancer at 28, abandonment, on and on ad infinitum.

We as individuals are unique blend of variety and degree of these ingredients.  Then to top it off we are boxed up with other people we live with whom have their own weird life concoction.

Needless to say this can make life very complicated and challenging.  But that is the nature of mountains.  The challenge is great but oh there is so much good that comes from the variety.  Amazing good.

That is why I am committed to routinely tossing a bottle in the ocean (blog # 1) with an encouraging message.  A message that yes, life is unpredictable and unfair but there is so so so very much to enjoy and experience.  The variety that seems like a curse is also an amazing blessing.

But we have to be willing to look beyond our present and know there is more.  If something is stirring deep within you that believes there is more… you are hearing the faint voice calling you to move higher on the mountain.

What a grand adventure.  Later.