Right In Front of My Nose

hearth stones

My wishes for us all in this New Year were found right in front of my nose  on my fireplace hearth:

“Peace Stone” – A gift from a friend who had many times heard my answer to the question, “What do you wish for most?”.

“Hope Stone” – Given to me when I was going through a very difficult time by a loved one. The present helped a lot.

“God Is Love” – From a recovery friend who inscribed the stone and gifted it to me on one of my anniversaries in Codependents Anonymous. He remembered me sharing how this phrase got me through an extraordinarily tough time.

Heart votive candle holder – Found at an estate sale and a reminder to keep my heart stronger that my thoughts.

Dark round rock – Memento from an inspiring and life altering sabbatical.

White rock – From the mountains of Alabama where I grew up. A reminder of my humble roots and to not “get too big for my britches” as was often said to me growing up.

I wish you peace and hope with the memory that God is love. May you hold memories strong in your heart of the joy and happiness you have felt and the pain and grief that taught you. And may you never forget where you came from.

It’s being here now that’s important.
There’s no past and there’s no future.
Time is a very misleading thing.
All there is ever, is the now.
We can gain experience from the past,
but we can’t relive it;
and we can hope for the future,
but we don’t know if there is one.
George Harrison

You Bring Me Joy

Originally posted September 3, 2012

The years have not caused me to forget. Still there are remnants of feelings strong beyond explanation. You cracked me wide-open and I was never the same again.Was it because you loved me so unwaveringly deep and passionately?

Was it because you were so exotic and intelligent that you were able to enter my heart so easily?

Was it because I filled your need to be loved?

Or you filled mine?

It was all these things and a hundred more. There was a time we found ‘home’ in each other’s arms.

Once in a great while a feeling of loneliness for you, and you only, still touches down to the quick of my heart. Always I smile with hope that you are well and happy. You married in your 30’s and our contact appropriately stopped not too longer after.

Maybe my memory has elevated what we shared to a fantasy beyond fact. Although our love covered a lot of years it was not long when measured in the actual length of time we spent together. But in weight of what was shared we took a trip around the world.

Times change.
People move on.
Some grow together.
Some grow apart.

Some like we knew each other at the wrong time. I was still a boy in a man’s body pretending he knew what he wanted and needed. I pushed you away because I was afraid to be cared about as much as you loved me.

Hidden away safely, even for the time being from myself, is the only physical memory I have of you: the gift you gave me of a small music box shaped like a heart with a beautiful photo of  you inside. It will go to my safe deposit box once I find it again.

I will always be grateful that once I knew you and for the space you occupy in my memories. The pain has long evaporated and today only a sweet memory remains. There has been no greater love in my life. I’m grateful that whenever I hear Anita Baker singing you always come to mind…

If I can’t see your face,
I will remember that smile
’Cause you’re the finest thing
I’ve seen in all my life.
You bring me joy.
From an Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy” by David Lasley

Eighteen Rules for Living

dalai-lamaAt the turn of this century, the Dalai Lama issued the following eighteen rules for living.

Rule 1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Rule 2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson

Rule 3. Follow the three Rs: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions.

Rule 4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Rule 5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

Rule 6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

Rule 7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Rule 8. Spend some time alone every day.

Rule 9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

Rule 10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Rule 11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

Rule 12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

Rule 13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

Rule 14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

Rule 15. Be gentle with the earth.

Rule 16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

Rule 17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Rule 18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Learn as if you were going to live forever.
Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
Gandhi