SEE SOULS part I

  If you’re having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online. Share This: Hello Friend,   Let’s all look closer and deeper at everyone we meet. Enjoy!   SEE SOULS Part I   Wendy and I are on the road heading toward Bend, Oregon for the birth of our granddaughter. No time to write, but we did take a wrong turn in Salt Lake City. I humorously told Wendy, “There must be a reason for us getting lost.” One minute later, we saw a young man sitting by the side of the road holding a sign: JUST HAD A BABY GIRL. NEED MONEY. We slowed down and gave him five dollars. I wish we’d given him more…   This encore message was first sent out on September 19, 2011.   ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••   Look in the mirror. What do you see?  You see you, looking right back at you, right? There you are: nose, ears, eyes, eyebrows, lips and hair. Look closer. Is that really you in the mirror? And, really, who actually are you? Are you your nose, ears, eyes, eyebrows, lips, hair…? That is you, but is it actually who you are?   And why do we even look in the mirror, anyway? I usually do it for one reason, to see if I look OK. Is my hair neat? Is my beard trimmed? Is there a piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth? Are my buttons buttoned? Am I dressed well enough for my next appointment?   A mirror gives us some information, but it doesn’t really tell us much about us. We get bits of surface data that we use for an on-the-fly adjustment or a temporary vote-of-confidence that lasts only until the next visual assessment.   So far, there’s not a single soul in sight.   In general, we are more adept at seeing outer garments than we are at seeing our soul and the souls of others.   For the purpose of today’s message, soul simply means our non-material essence: our hearts, our reasons for being, our deepest beliefs and values. Each of us, underneath our physical and emotional garments, is one-of-a-kind. There never was, and never will be another you.      It takes much more of our...

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SOMETIMES WE CRY

        If you’re having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online. Share This: Hello Friend,   Welome aboard! This is an old one. •••••••• It’s true, sometimes we cry. Enjoy! SOMETIMES WE CRY   Joy is wedged in one side of the heart, and weeping in the other…                          ~The Zohar   Few human functions are more complex, misunderstood and underrated than our tears. We cry when we are deeply saddened. We cry when our pain is too much to bear. We cry when we are touched deeply by love. We cry when we are overcome with joy. We cry when we are terrified. We cry when we are relieved of a huge burden. When we laugh so hard our bellies hurt, we cry.   Some of us are afraid of tears, others’ or our own. We say things like, “There is nothing to cry about,” or even worse, “I’ll give you something to really cry about.”   Some feel they have to apologize for their tears. Some cry when angry. Some use tears to manipulate–sometimes that works. Some understand a good cry is just what is needed, and that works, too.   Sometimes we weep softly, and sometimes we howl to the heavens. Sometimes we do everything we can to hold back our tears, and sometimes we cannot.   We can be mocked, admonished and misunderstood for our tears. We can also be loved and held closely for our tears.   Sometimes we cry when it would serve us better to be tough. Other times we need to cry and forget about being so tough. Sometimes women are told they cry too much. Sometimes men are told they hold too much inside–a good cry might help.   Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.                                                                    ~Kahlil Gibran   These days, I cry in nearly every one of my counseling sessions. Are my overflowing tears a function of aging tear ducts, or am I feeling life’s joys and pains more deeply? Either way, it’s fine.   I usually cry when I see my children. I always cry when we say goodbye....

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THE POWER OF SOLITUDE

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them… Thomas Merton Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone. Paul Johannes Tillich I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where I renew my springs that never dry up. Pearl Buck Twenty-five years ago, I attended a professional training program in Taos, New Mexico. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but later, I realized I was a bit burned out when I arrived. Tired. Not interested in anything that was going on or even anyone who was there. I was flat. I had no spark. It was not like me. I was not like me. I mentioned how I was feeling to our trainer, Bob Martin, a brilliant therapist from Los Angeles. He asked me, “Have you spent any time alone lately?” I pondered Bob’s question. “No,” I finally answered.” My new private practice took most of my time. Home life was full, with my wife and three young children. And in my spare time I always hung around with my buddies–cutting firewood, going on long runs, hiking, skiing, eating…always something. But no, I didn’t spend ANY time alone. It never even crossed my mind to spend time alone. Bob looked at me and smiled–like he knew something I didn’t. “You should try it,” he said. He knew I was sharing a room with a few other guys for the week. “Why don’t you take that single room down the hall? It might be good for you.” It was an undersized room. A single bed. A tiny desk and chair. White walls. One overhead light. It was like monk’s quarters. And it changed my life. I spent a lot time in that little room. It was odd, being alone. Disorienting at first. No one to talk to. Just me and the walls. Quiet. I wanted to leave. Go talk to the other folks. I wanted...

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (and you, too)

It takes a long time to grow young. Pablo Picasso June 8, 2009 I was born 63 year ago today. Almost exactly nine months after the official surrender of Japan, August 15, 1945, on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, officially ending World War II. Germany had surrendered a few months earlier. I had never thought about it too much until few days ago, but I was conceived in the very first days of peace, after six years of the most devastating war in human history. What a start. Each one of us has our own story. Each story has its own trajectory. And we are often too close to our story and/or too busy in our lives to see its fullness. So I am writing about this anniversary of my birth as a reminder to me and all of us to remember and celebrate this life we have been given. l want to start the celebration by thanking all the Allied soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who fought to make the peace–the ones who didn’t come home and the ones who came home, their lives forever changed. Their sacrifices allowed me to be able take peace for granted, for most of my life. I said, most of my life, because in my 63 years we, sadly, haven’t learned how to put an end to war. These words by Pete Seeger sing out to me nearly every day: When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? We haven’t learned yet. And that’s one of the hardest parts for me on this birth-day celebration. But there is a ton of sweetness that buffers that pain. A ton of sweetness that allows me to wake up every day, thankful for being born on this June day, 63 years ago, nine months after World War II ended. I was born with the belief, deeply encoded in my DNA, that despite the darkest darkness, love and peace could and would prevail. Today, on my  63rd birth-day, I celebrate the opportunity and the responsibility to exercise that belief. That is what keeps us young after all the years. For me and everyone I know, there have been days, weeks, months and sometimes even years when darkness seemed to take...

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YOU BE THE JUDGE (OR NOT)

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone Jesus Christ Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices Benjamin Franklin The more one judges, the less one loves Honoré de Balzac I am a recovering judgment-aholic. Not yet fully recovered. Not by a long shot. But I am better than I used to be. And I am working on being better than I am now. I am not talking about discernment today. We need the power of discernment so we can distinguish and select what is true or appropriate. Discernment is an essential, critical tool. Judgment is not. Judgment always carries an attitude of superiority. One of the best ways to Awaken Our Inner Heroes is to be honest about our own shortcomings. Acknowledging our less glamorous traits is not easy work. It is difficult, humbling work. But it is essential. Being judgmental has always come easily for me. Too easily, in hindsight. If someone was not as athletic as me, I could judge them. If they had different religious beliefs, I might judge them. If they had a fancier car than me, I might judge them. If a person had a different hair style than me, I could judge them, too. If they were more judgmental than me, I could even judge them. And if they voted for a different presidential candidate than me, I certainly could judge them. The list of why I might judge someone goes on, and on, and on…and I am still capable of all of these judgments today. For most of my life I didn’t even know I was being judgmental. It was an old habit. We often are not aware of our own habits, even though we can notice someone else’s quite easily. But there are many serious downsides to this all-too-common habit of judging. And this list goes on, and on, and on, too… Most importantly, our judgmental habit separates us from whoever we are judging. A fence is built. I am on one side. You are on the other side. Our world is better when we can be different–and still be on the same side of the fence. Understanding and compassion stop the moment judging begins. We stop learning. We stop discovering....

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YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED

It’s true. Read the title again…read it slowly…let it soak it… see if you can let it soak in…see what gets in the way of letting it soak in…replace the “YOU ARE” with “I AM”…and then read it a few more times, slowly, before continuing with today’s message. Let’s start with a definition. Powerful simply means having the ability to produce an effect on our world. And all of us have that ability. It is our job to harness that ability. In his best seller, Hidden Messages in Water, Masaru Emoto made a remarkable discovery. He found that water, when exposed to loving words, shows brilliant, complex and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, water that is exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. This sounds pretty far-out, but hang with me. Every one of our thoughts creates a vibration. We know that. We know good vibes from bad vibes. We know when you go to work feeling great, your co-workers and your customers pick up on it. And when you are down, they pick up on that too. We all impact each other, whether we are doing it consciously or not. THAT IS POWER! Look back up at the title. Read it again. Take a few breaths. It is true, isn’t it? Keep breathing. Read on. Adults are composed of 70% water in adulthood. Babies are 90% water. Every thought we create impacts us and everyone else we come in contact with. And everyone we contact contacts how many other people? YOU ARE POWERFUL! Here are some practical ideas to increase positive thoughts and decrease negative ones.  For starters, take yourself seriously. Accept the fact that you impact everyone in your life. Then begin taking an inventory of your thoughts. Just watch. No judgments. We are ultimately responsible for our own thoughts. No one else. Some common negative thought patterns are worry, doubt, fear and resentment. Some common positive thought patterns are gratitude, compassion, courage and creativity.  Just by noticing what we think, we can begin to create a shift. As you notice your thoughts, you might say to yourself, “Oh, that’s my worry pattern,” or “I am doubting again,” or “I am still angry about that.” And remember, every...

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