You Bring Me Joy (Still)

Near two and a half years of daily posts now total near 900. Once in a while I skip back months or more to see what was was at the top of my thoughts then. Today I was curious about what was on my mind a year ago. This is what I found:

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 us 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 Anita Baker’s song “You Bring Me Joy” by David Lasley

In a Thousand Ways and More

there_is_some_light_on_my_path_by_jchanders-d4df7ol

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
“Promise Yourself” by Christian D. Larson

Such are the birthday wishes to myself; my hopes told to the world to commit myself further to them. My sixth decade concluded yesterday and today I strike out on the first day of the seventh. In a thousand ways and more I am a blessed man. As the days of my life tick away, I become a little more grateful with each one’s passing.

With mirth and laughter
let old wrinkles come.
William Shakespeare

A Letter To My Son on Father’s Day

ORIGINALLY Posted on June 19, 2011

Dear Nick,

Vivid in memory are the emotions I experienced just after you were born. The day after you arrived I wrote in a journal about the joy I felt, the gratefulness within for you being ‘normal” with the proper number of fingers and toes, the awe that filled me for life and the hopes I had for you. I described your birth as “the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed” and also wrote “No child could be more wanted or more loved.” Those thoughts have aged sweeter as time has clicked by.

Frequent have been musings of how I could have been a better Father. Had I not chased with such vigor the emptiness of dysfunctional illusion, success and money I could have been there for you more. There were too many of your games I missed,weekend outings that never were and small events at school that were big happenings for you when my presence was missing. I never did build the treehouse I promised you.

Your Mother and I went our separate ways when you were sixteen which took you hundreds of miles away. One of my deepest regrets is your high school years when seeing you only every couple of months I became a sideline spectator of your life. Yet, as I mature and learn I have come to know regrets past making sure you’re aware of them, have no good purpose.

There are so many wonderful memories I have of your growing up. No child has ever been more curious about the world than you. You never crawled and began to recklessly walk at 7 months old. Such determination you have always had!

In school you did well and had the respect of most of your teachers. You made good friends and some of those relationships are healthy and thriving today. The only time you ever really got in trouble at school was through protecting a friend from a bully. How the game of hockey worked when you started to play at seven was unknown to me, but no father was ever prouder than I was to watch you. The lessons that came at you in college were hard ones, but you learned from your mistakes. I can not begin to express my admiration for your determination and stick-to-it-ness to get the education you wanted.

On this father’s day I hope these borrowed words express clearly to you the feelings of my heart and the wishes of my soul.

Until you have a son of your own… You will never know the joy beyond joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass on something good and useful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to see.

We live in a time when it is hard to speak from the heart. Our lives are smothered by a thousand trivialities, and the poetry of our spirits is silenced by the thoughts and cares of daily affairs.

And so, I want to speak to you honestly. I do not have answers. But I do understand the questions. I see you struggling and discovering and striving upward, and I see myself reflected in your eyes and in your days. In some deep and fundamental way, I have been there and I want to share.

I, too, have learned to walk, to run, to fall. I have had a first love. I have known fear and anger and sadness. My heart has been broken and I have known moments when the hand of God seemed to be on my shoulder. I have wept tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

There have been times of darkness when I thought I would never see light again, and there have been times when I wanted to dance and sing and hug every person I met.

I have felt myself emptied into the mystery of the universe, and I have had moments when the smallest slight threw me into rage.

I have carried others when I barely had the strength to walk myself, and I have left others standing by the road with their hands out stretched for help.

Sometimes I feel I have done more than anyone can ask; other times I feel I am a charlatan and a failure. I carry within me the spark of greatness and the darkness of heartless crimes.

In short, I am a man, as are you.

Although you will walk your own earth and move through your own time, the same sun will rise on you that rose on me, and the same reasons will course across your life as moved across mine. We will always be different, but we will always be the same.

This is my attempt to give you the lesson of my life, so that you can use them in yours. They are not meant to make you into me. It is my greatest joy to watch you turn into yourself.

To be your father is the greatest honor I have ever received. It allowed me to touch mystery and to see my love made flesh. If I could but have one wish, it would be for you to pass that love along.

I love you,

Pops

You are my son-shine.
Author Unknown

Becoming the Person You Want To Be

become-less-busy

The first thing to get clear on, is that becoming the person you want to be is not an outside search. You will not find your self-love in the affection you get from your partner, you will not find your confidence in the title you hold at work, and you will not find your true abundance in the amount of money in your bank account.

The secret to becoming all you want to be, lies in remembering that you are already everything you want to be. What you are looking for is not out there in the world that you see. If your level of self-love, confidence or abundance is dependent on circumstances that are external to you, then you will live in constant fear of them being taken away. True inner power comes from believing that the source of all that you desire to become, is within you.

Let go of everything that is not who you want to be

You already have all the answers. You are already the sexy, confident, successful, abundant, happy person that you long to be. All that prevents that part of you being expressed are the blocks you have created inside of you. All you have to do is release whatever it is that is blocking you from connecting with that part of you now.

+ Be willing to go deeper: Many of us are afraid of going deep inside ourselves. Doing this means facing those parts of you that perhaps you do not feel proud of. However, it is through loving and accepting these parts, that they can then be healed.

+ Remember you are already complete: There is an illusion that exists in our minds, that we are incomplete in some way. It is important to remember that there is nothing wrong with you, and this belief that you are somehow flawed is a block that you need to release.

+ Listen for the answers within you: Too many of us ignore the soft inner calling of our intuition which loves and adores us. It reminds us to just relax and trust. Practice making the distinction between the harsh, critical voice that pushes you, and the soft, nurturing voice which loves and supports you.

+ Let go of thoughts that contradict your truth: Any time you tell yourself you cannot do something or have something, you are lying to yourself. Your truth is that you have the ability to become anything you wish to become. All you have to do is believe it, and you can achieve it.

+ Do the work: If you are aware that you have some inner blocks going on, then it is about time you did something about it. You can no longer bury your head in the sand, suppress your emotions with food or drugs and distract yourself with television and partying. Get very honest and real with yourself.

+ Trust and relax: You do not need to continue to try and figure it all out. You simply need to identify what it is that is blocking you from being who you want to be right now. Once you can heal your blocks, and re-connect with those inner qualities, your actions naturally shift, the results you get naturally change. Taken from a post by Connie Chapman http://alifeofperfectdays.blogspot.com/2012/03/secret-to-becoming-person-you-want-to.html

Forty-Seven days until my semi-retirement officially begins. Nothing is more top of mind than allowing myself to relax more fully into the person I am. Graduation from the college of life is about to happen and what is coming I have been preparing for all along, professionally, personally and otherwise. I am grateful to be so richly blessed.

The ego is your self-image;
it is your social mask;
it is the role you are playing.
Your social mask thrives on approval.
It wants control,
and it is sustained by power,
because it lives in fear.
Deepak Chopra

The Beauty of Love

baby_handFlying home at the end of a business trip yesterday, I was seated across the aisle one seat back from a twenty-something mother with a tiny infant in her arms and kindergarten aged boy seated next to her. Watching them touched my heart.

The young man by his mom was well-behaved. He was seated quietly looking at books most of the flight and would often reach over and put his arm on his Mom’s. Seeing him lean over and kiss the baby on the head a couple of times was touching. It was easy to surmise where he learned to express love the way he did.

During the two-hour flight, at least a dozen times the young mother softly kissed her tiny baby. At other moments she would softly touch the baby’s face or caress a hand or a foot. Even the way she held the little one showed she loved her child. While most infants seem to get noisy at some point during a flight, this one barely let out a sound. Mom knew the correct moment to take out a bottle just before the tiny bundle cried from hunger. It was obvious the younger mother knew her baby intimately.

It truly was a special gift to be allowed to observe this young mother and her children. She was calm the entire flight and never for a moment appeared stressed or hassled, nor did either child. At arrival when it came time to get off the plane, the young woman calmed gathered up her purse, a diaper bag and another canvas bag. Then with the infant in a baby sling carrier she helped the little boy into the aisle in front of her and the three of them made their way calmly down the aisle.

What I witnessed was the openly expressed true love of a mother for her children and of them for her. The young mom likely learned what she was expressing to her kids from her parents when she was growing up. Love begets more love. How we express love and even our ability to know and feel it is mostly learned in childhood.

Somewhere in the town I live in there is today a young mother and two children who are no longer complete strangers.  I am glad for the insight into what is in their hearts and am grateful yesterday they came across the path of my life. I am certain all is not perfect for the three all the time but know without doubt the bonds they share will last a life time. I am honored to have been a bystander to the beauty of the love they share.

If I had two wishes, I know what they would be
I’d wish for roots to cling to, and wings to set me free;
Roots for inner values, like rings within a tree,
And wings of independence to seek my destiny.

Roots to hold forever, to keep me safe and strong
To let me know you love me, when I’ve done something wrong;
To show me by example, and help me learn to choose
To take those actions every day to win instead of lose.

Just be there when I need you, to tell me it’s all right
To face my fear of falling when I test my wings in flight;
Don’t make my life too easy, it’s better if I try
And fail and get back up myself, so I can learn to fly.

If I had two wishes, and two were all I had
And they could just be granted by my mom and dad;
I wouldn’t wish for money or any store-bought things
The greatest gifts I’d ask for are simply roots and wings.

“A Child’s Bedtime Song” by Denis Waitley

Two Years Today

country sunrise copyThank-You-Card GMG EDIT

True happiness is to enjoy the present,
without anxious dependence upon the future,
not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears
but to rest satisfied with what we have,
which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.
The greatest blessings of mankind
are within us and within our reach.
A wise man is content with his lot,
whatever it may be,without wishing for what he has not.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I would be grateful if you’d forward an installment of G.M.G.
you find meaningful
to a few friends and help set a record
for readership for GoodMorningGratitude.com’s second anniversary
TODAY, April 25, 2013.

Thank you.

My Imperfect Seeking

shellResponse to the post here yesterday, “Stuck In the Labyrinth“, was much stronger than usual. Thank you for reading and for your re-posts! I suppose it is a commonality we all have: too much time spent thinking about the past and future when being well footed in the present would be a far better use of our energy. Just about all of us know that, but at least for me, practicing it is, at best, a highly inconsistent endeavor.  But earnest trying improves my life experience a lot.

Mostly as a reminder to myself to keep the “now” in as clear of a focus as I can, below are some leftovers from yesterday’s research.

We are living in a culture
entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time,
in which the so-called present moment
is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline
between an all-powerfully causative past
and an absorbingly important future.
We have no present.
Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied
with memory and expectation.
We do not realize that there never was,
is, nor will be any other experience than present experience.
We are therefore out of touch with reality.
We confuse the world as talked about,
described, and measured
with the world which actually is.
We are sick with a fascination
for the useful tools of names and numbers,
of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.
Alan Watts

When you understand… that what you’re telling is just a story… It isn’t happening anymore. When you realize the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble up and throw your past in the trashcan… then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be. From “Invisible Monsters” Chuck Palahniuk

And, so I go into my day reminded again of the important of being firmly rooted in the “now”. To a level of 100% that is an impossible aspiration, yet it is my imperfect seeking that gives me more and more of the present to live in and be grateful for.

Gratitude looks to the Past
and love to the Present;
fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
C.S. Lewis

 

Great Wealth of Life

daffodil-bill-wakeleyGrab  your imagination hat and put on your best fantasy shoes.
Dress up in daydreams and set your mind on make-believe.
Then come along with me in a delicate journey of words arranged to inspire.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
“I, Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud”
by William Wordsworth

memories dock EDITOld favorite memories are treasures carried invisibly inside. There is no one who has the same ones stored away as I do. My memories are mine and mine alone to keep as long as my mind works enough to recall them. The dearest ones don’t fade. Those memories grow more vivid over time, embellished perhaps, but more beautiful just the same.

Just as Wordsworth later remembered seeing “ten thousand daffodils” by a lake when he laid on his couch and daydreamed, I have my own cherished reminiscences. Memories are the great wealth of life. To realize that while I am not too old to remember them is something to be grateful for!

If you have true gratitude,
it will express itself automatically.
It will be visible in your eyes,
around your being, in your aura.
It is like the fragrance of a flower.
In most cases if there is a beautiful flower,
the fragrance will be there naturally.
The flower and its fragrance cannot be separated.
Sri Chinmoy

Enlivened My Dream All the More

couple in fogLast night a dream passed through my night where I was with another under an umbrella in the pouring rain trying to stay dry. The drops were coming down fast and hard so we tried running and seemed to just get more wet. In keeping that little clip of make believe alive in my head this morning I began to ask does one stay drier running in the rain or walking?

It came as a surprise, but this question has received some serious attention from the scientific community here and there. Even the syndicated Straight Dope columnist Cecil Adams and the producers of the television series Mythbusters have conducted their own studies on the debate. The general finding as to whether you’d get wetter if you run or walk in the rain appears to favor walking makes you the wettest. The hypothesis is if you don’t want to get soaked any more than is strictly necessary during a rainstorm, run as fast as you can. So the correct choice was made in my dream to run to end up a little less wet.

Apparently the decision whether to run or walk in the rain has more to do with time than volume of rainfall hitting you. Simply a runner will be out of the rain in less time than the walker, which means a person running should be exposed to less overall moisture. The walker might benefit slightly from not running into the raindrops ahead, but the added time in the rain would make him wetter overall.

Many people believe that rainy days are for staying indoors and waiting for the sun to shine again. Then there are those like me who love the rain, who adore walking in it and even cherish the damp feeling one gets by walking when showers are coming down.

There is something about rainfall that is therapeutic. I’ve shared happiness with drizzle and mingled my sadness with it too. Charlie Chaplin’s famous line “I love walking in the rain because nobody can see me crying” has found me outside getting welcomedly soaked during down times more often than I care to count. If you have not tried walking when it is raining to soothe a painful day, I highly recommend it. Once you step outside there can be a feeling that nature understands your sadness. Being in the rain has a way of cleansing the body and heart, washing away tears and providing hope.

A quote from Vivian Green goes “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I can personally attest it’s absolutely true.

The rain is not just for when I feel sad. Being soaked brings out my happy child within because I am doing something “sensible adults” rarely do; getting wet simply for the fun of it. I also find rain and fog terribly romantic and inspirational. Few others are out if I go walking in rainy weather and I have the wet beautiful world more to myself. It’s an almost mystical feeling that is ancient and solid down to the spirit of my being.

If you avoid the rain and always try to stay dry you’re missing out! I am grateful to have enjoyed it so dearly my entire life. Hearing rainfall is truly one of the most loved things I know in nature. And yes, I even dream about being in the rain like last night. It was just a little touch that enlivened my dream all the more.

And when it rains on your parade,
look up rather than down.
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Originally Posted here one year ago on December 19, 2011

Virginia was the daughter of Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  In answer to her question “is there really a Santa Claus” her father suggested she write to a New York City newspaper called The Sun.

Virginia’s letter found its way to one of the paper’s editors named Francis P. Church who wrote the now famous response.   His answer to Virgina remains today as the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any English language newspaper.

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon

September 21, 1897
Virginia,
Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds,Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah,Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now,Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Many have questioned if Virigina’s original letter actually ever existed thinking it was only fiction created by Francis Church as a basis for his editorial. However, the original letter written by Virginia O’Hanlon was authenticated in 1998 by an appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow and valued at $20,000–$30,000.

I’m grateful for the swell in my chest the little boy inside finds in reading Church’s reply to Virginia over a hundred years ago.  The spirit of Santa Claus will always be with me.

There’s more to the truth than just the facts.  ~Author Unknown