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I’ve Got Everything I Need – And Nothing That I Don’t


Compassion_2Indeed, it would be a cruel joke if God created us in His image, and then somehow, failed to provide us with the things we truly need to live a prosperous life as a Christian.   And the truth of the matter is that each of us has what we need (note: not want) to experience an exceedingly rich and joyful life, if we choose to follow Christ‘s teaching; to avoid sin and love others without reservation.

“Perhaps by design to illustrate and test the construct of faith, God included many resources for us to enjoy.  Yet, as our free will would have it, we at times, enjoy too much, obsess too much and exclude what matters too much; to the point we lose focus on what is good, what has been provided and what enriches our soul.”

There are numerous tasks each of us must not only perform, but rather, master, if we are to realize our potential as Christ-the-Redeemer-overlooking-Rio-De-Janeirobeautiful and uniquely special children of God.  Among the critical few are to identify and develop self-awareness, core values, faith, discipline, compassion, respect and humility.

Collectively, these tasks prepare us to love one another, which is the ultimate end-game of our existence.  And make no mistake, we have everything we need in this life to reach that goal, to fulfill our destiny.

It is our use of choice that solely determines the path we pursue, and the extent we realize our future.  And a wise choice is to use prayer to seek God’s wisdom, grace and guidance to reveal answers that will lead us into eternity. Holy_Grail_Chalice

The enlightened choice is the one we make when it aligns with God’s will, plan and future.  And we possess all the worldly resources necessary to meet His expectations. If only we choose to use what we need and avoid what we don’t. Choose wisely.

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Beware Of Darkness!


Van_Gogh_Starry_Night

Van Gogh – The Starry Night

There is no doubt that many of us have witnessed evil in our lifetimes.  Evil is so hideous, in fact, it leaves long-lasting memories, perhaps better called nightmares, with anyone that has experienced its realm.

Like being “broke”, however, in the financial sense, evil really does not exist as an entity.  It is what remains when Truth and Light are removed.  More aptly, evil is a vacuum, it is the unwanted, unattractive filth that remains in the absence of God.

When a person is in financial straits, we say he/she is broke.  In reality, however, being broke is the vacuum that is created when one loses their financial wealth.

“And so it is with darkness.  Darkness is not anything tangible that you can touch, measure or quantify.  What we experience as darkness is merely and simply, the absence of light.  Darkness can assume many different forms in life; it can be violence, it can be hopelessness, it can be fear and despair.  At its foundation, the common denominator that defines darkness and enables it to be experienced, is the absence of God”.

Similarly, light can manifest itself in people in many ways.  Light can be reflected by the words a person speaks, the facial gestures thatTree_Shadow indicate compassion (smile, caring, joy, empathy; yes, even tears), the behaviors that demonstrate and witness the goodness, humility, peace and forgiveness of God.  Notably, the presence of God is evidenced by Love.  Where there is love, there is God.

Light is fueled by noble, positive and caring thoughts, actions and attitude/demeanor.  Each of us creates Positive Energy by choice.  It’s all about “intent”.  It’s how we choose to think, act and importantly, react.  Each of us is responsible for our actions.  Each of us is likewise accountable for those actions.

Without ever really knowing it, we have become conditioned since birth to associate evil with darkness.  Fears of going down into the dark basement; anxiety of walking alone down a dimly or eerily lit block at dusk; frantically searching for a flashlight or candle when the power goes out at home.  Whether these examples truly reflect evil is not the point, the point is that darkness creates fear as darkness equates with evil.

Waterfall_SunshineNow then, how does one go about confronting something that really does not exist?  Easy!  Evil (darkness) is confronted and vanished by Light (positive thoughts and actions, optimism, morally-based behavior, decisions and intent).  Core values steeped in moral and ethical behavior, worked over time into the creation of habits; the anticipation of positive events in life that directly impact each of us; gratitude, humility and faith for the good things when they do occur.  This is the foundation of Light and Truth.  It it the Invitation for God to enter our soul and enrich us as human beings, it is our fate; if we so choose it.

As complex as reality and the human condition have become, when we wade through the murky water of life and relationships, it all boils down to the fundamental concept of Darkness and Light.  How wise is God to have chosen this simple yet effective metaphor to illustrate who He is and what He desires for each of us?

One thing that is paramount in life is that details matter, down to the most minute and up to the most obvious.  To walk in the Light, we must be ever so vigilant to take notice and deliberately choose all our thoughts, words, actions, relationships, behaviors, etc., so that they align, support and yield the results we intend, for ourselves and for those we influence.

Christ-the-Redeemer-overlooking-Rio-De-Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer – Rio De Janeiro

There is indeed a real sense of responsibility, accountability and impact each of us must accept as Christians.  Being a Christian is not analogous to a light switch, where we consciously turn it on and off.  Like life itself, breathing and our heart beat; it must be continuous for it to work as intended.

In the future, make sure to remember that every little thought, decision, action, intention and influence we create is like that small ripple in the water that is created when a stone is tossed into a lake; from the point of entry, a small wave begins and travels outward forever, impacting everything in its path.  Let’s make each of those interactions we create with others, positive and well-intended.

With absolute certainty, those actions, like the boomerang, inevitably return to us in due time.  Remember, All Things Must Pass.  Be well.

 

The Spark that Ignites Humanity


Rays_of_LightAs a human race, collectively humanity, we have diligently worked to dissect the world around us; to discover the secrets of the human body, to explain the universe; to attempt to understand all that “is”.  Yet, we continuously overlook the most empirical and critical aspect of our very existence.  We avoid researching and discovering our spirit and soul.

Atheists relentlessly strive to disprove something they say does not exist.  I say, that approach perfectly illustrates the definition of “Insanity”, much like Cognitive Dissonance.  Isn’t it so much more logical and sane to expend energy working to prove something does exist?  Positive communication is always the surest confirmation of the transference of thought and ideas, yes?  And by the very nature and definition of the scientific method, it is impossible to prove the non-existence of anything; for to accomplish that feat requires tangible facts.

“As involuntary reactions like breathing, pupil dilation, sneezing, and yes, even our heartbeat, occur without thought or conscious stimulus, compassion is likewise more a verb than a noun.”

Compassion involves caring, knowing, feeling and empathy.  It is a direct result of the way each of us are “wired” as unique and The-Eye-of-God-Nebulaindividual human beings.  Profoundly, however, it is a symptom and not the cause.  Anyone who is skilled in RCA (Root Cause Analysis) troubleshooting and thought process has been taught how to appropriately, get to the root of a cause/effect relationship.

Such is the case with compassion.  But just what exactly is at the root of compassion; what makes it a symptom?

As a campfire requires an ignition source, so must compassion be preceded by some spark to ignite it.  We see, hear and feel compassion all around us on a regular basis, so much so perhaps, that we have become somewhat desensitized to the reality of its existence.

A mother comforting a crying newborn infant; a little boy helping his friend up after having fallen off his bike; a father consoling his daughter after having her heart broken by her first boyfriend; a homeowner shoveling the snow from his elderly neighbor’s driveway after a snowstorm.  Yes, compassion is all around us, if only we take the time to recognize and appreciate it, along with the people that live compassionate lives.

Fireman_CompassionWhat spark then, undeniably dwelling inside each of us, ignites these acts of compassion?  Some call it heart, some conscience, others simply refer to it as caring, and still many more recognize it as the direct result of spirit, soul and faith.  Most definitely, compassion is in and of itself, invisible and intangible; yet the impact and outcomes of its presence are astonishingly and incredibly observable.  They are in fact, Real.

As a people, or perhaps better phrased, as a people lacking faith, we become agitated, frightened, anxious and insecure when we cannot explain things that occur in our world.  As testimony, some of the most calm, self-assured, peaceful, optimistic and happy people I know are people of deep, deep faith, regardless of their financial or occupational “well-being”.  Conversely, people of violence, anger and hatred clearly emanate a decided absence of faith in their lives.

For this author, this is clearly a cause/effect scenario and relationship.  Make no mistake, God dwells inside each of us, Sunset background25however, is equally dormant and superficially unrecognizable, unless deliberately and consciously , invited to participate, influence and direct our lives.

If you seek to be happy, to possess a sense of purpose about your life, to pursue a peaceful, content and significant existence, then without question, you must welcome, nurture and practice living in faith.  What comes along for the ride is humility, inner peace, moral conviction, and oh yes, Love.  Be well today and experience the compassion of a person that walks in faith; and you will never walk alone for the remainder of your (eternal) life.

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Making Your Mark with Invisible Ink


Fingerprint_AppleTo a person, whether we intend to or not, each of us leaves an indelible, yet invisible mark upon the world.  We leave that mark upon others and it doesn’t really matter whether we know them or not, have met them or not or like them or not.   Our inner-most thoughts are transformed into actions and words as pure energy, and subsequently, are received by others and (hopefully) understood as we meant them to be.

In reality, every mark we leave upon the world via others is as unique as the person that receives it, because they are unique.  Each person exposed to our spirit is changed by the invisible ink of our being and influence.  An uplifting word or gesture, a friendly smile, a helping hand or a random act of kindness, serves to imprint a portion of our essence upon others as invisible ink; ink that can only be read by the heart.  Conversely, unpleasant experiences are likewise transmitted in a similar fashion.

Our presence in this world is as a can of spray paint when used to color an object.  In the course of spray painting and depending Rose_Gold_Paintedupon our skill, most of the paint is received by the object, yet unavoidably, some paint is oversprayed onto whatever is in the background.  It is absorbed by a drop-cloth, some small particles are carried in the air, while others are perhaps left to settle on another object.  Living life to the fullest is indeed, a skill; as is communication.

“And so it is with our being.  Our lives belong to the world as we are inextricably linked to everything and everyone around us.”

A part of me is being received by you as you read these words.  Each picture I include in my posts creates some mental imagery in your mind.  Each video I select to complement the subject of the story can be interpreted differently be each person as they internalize it using their unique and special experience repertoire.

Adopting a metaphysical view, our lives can be considered eternal as a result of others’ memories of us during each of our lives.  These memories remain in our conscious minds even after the person who created them is no longer physically alive.  Spiritually, however, they (you and I) remain very much alive in every sense of the word, forever.

Compassion_2Without a doubt, most of us have at one point or another in our lives, contemplated how we would like to be remembered by others after we physically leave this life and world.  And whether we accept it or not, we likewise have tremendous influence over the memories we have, are and will create in others.  It’s that little thing called “free will”; we are free to choose our thoughts, actions, reactions, words and disposition for every second we are alive.  How beautiful is that?

Keeping that frame of reference in mind will also greatly influence you as you make the choices that create and affect your life.  Profoundly, it follows, that each of us creates our own future.  Our future is the product or outcome of taking responsibility and holding ourselves accountable for our actions.  We are not unwilling victims in life; to the contrary, we are active participants!

My journey to lead a positively-focused and centered life was (and is) a work in progress that requires energy, attitude, compassion and humility (also a work in progress).  In short, it is my choice to make and I hope I have positively influenced you today.  I see and expect a beautiful future, because I know I am responsible for it.  I continuously strive to tune in my senses to the world around me.  Similarly, I wish a beautiful future for you.  Be well.

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The Reality of Good and Evil – What Dwells In Your Heart?


Ying_Yang_2We are at a precarious time in recorded history of this world.  A time which is characterized by the elevation of the stresses of life, confusion of false gods, persecution of Christians and Christianity, abdication of personal responsibility, rampant addictions to technology, substances and sex, and an overwhelming and forlorn state of hopelessness; perhaps better distinguished as apathy.

To be sure, there remain many, many dedicated and God-fearing souls walking the earth, however, the BIG difference being the ratio of good to misguided people in the world.  Sadly, the ratio is shrinking at an alarming rate.

This trend toward termination complements the absence of coping skills with the excesses of technology, entertainment and food. shield-of-faith We subsequently consume an amazingly large amount of time and spend a large amount of money on products including SmartPhones and Game Consoles.  We eat our way toward obesity.  We obsess with Social Media like Facebook and Twitter, while we slowly drift away from God, His Rules and most importantly, a deep and profound Love and Compassion for each other.

“To claim there is no evil in the world is to claim there is no God that will destroy it.  So, as real and present as evil is, so is God equally real and present.  It is but for each of us a choice to make, whether we invite God, or evil, for that matter, into our heart, mind and soul.”

Under the guise of freedom of religion, we’ve effectively pushed/forced God out of our schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, public events, media and in many cases, homes.  Yet the real absurdity is that all the while we are doing this, we scratch our heads and ponder why it appears that God has abandoned us?  I thought we were supposed to be known as the “intelligent” species.

Did you know?  As darkness is the absence of Light, so is evil the absence of Good.

Prayer_KeyI’ve always subscribed to the belief that self-awareness is no oxymoron.  To the contrary, it is the key to discovering your essence as a free spirit and child of God.  The takeaway from this homily is simply, yet profoundly, that it is due time for each of us to get serious about our lives, our behavior and our faith.  It is not enough to simply hold noble beliefs while passively watching the world around us plunge into darkness.

Each of us are called to bear witness to and testimony in support of the Goodness, Presence and Salvation by, the One True God.  As much as I respect everyone’s right to hold their own religious views in their hearts, regardless of your beliefs, the times dictate the need to turn our focus outward and directed at others in the hope we can successfully empower their minds to see, hearts to feel and spirits to embrace, the redeeming force of God and good in their lives and that of the world.

To that end, celebrate all that is Good and hold it closely and firmly to your heart.  There is no Greater Truth of which to speak.

Did you know?  Turbulent waters are on the horizon, my friend.  It is time to batten down the hatches.  Be well.

Compassion: The True North of Your Moral Compass


compass_mapThere are few words that evoke crystal clear clarity in visual terms like the image that is created in my head by the word “Compassion”.  I see with my mind and feel with my heart; the emotion of caring when I contemplate the meaning of compassion.  For me, compassion captures the essence of what we (including myself) are about.  Specifically, what we value, what we cherish and what we strive to achieve in the course of living our lives.

Throughout my life, I have been gifted with the ability to join and leverage my senses toCompassion_2 create imagery that has enabled me to generate incredible focus in all areas of my existence toward the Greater Good.  And subsequently, to be able to transform and apply that focus into actionable, observable and achievable outcomes and results.  I know its kind of like a logical and nerdy affliction, however, it is who I am.  To the point, I KNOW who I am.  By fully embracing that essence of my being, self awareness is very tangible, evident and easy to assimilate into reality.

So what exactly is compassion, you ask?  Indeed, it is a burning desire to create outcomes that help people, redeem their noble and innocently directed energy and create synergies to advance good in the world; while overcoming evil, hate, sinister behavior and malcontents.  It is the warmth of the support offered by friends and family; the protective shield against harm; the eternal guard against negativity and destruction.  It is optimism, humility, kindness and yielding.  It is constant, powerful and selfless duty.

“It is no coincidence that at the heart of the word compassion, lies compass.  And what is a compass?; if not a guiding light and beacon that directs us to, and identifies “the way” of goodness, kindness, civility and moral abundance.”

Compassion_4Each of us truly knows, deep down inside our hearts, what is Right, conversely, what is Wrong,  and what things prevent us from creating the reality of our compassion.  We must seek the quiet shores of our mortal oceans, listen to the voices manifested as the whispers of the wind in our minds and commit to adjusting our sails and rudders to point in the direction that our Moral Compass leads us to follow.  But it takes true courage, conviction and intent.  It requires purposeful thought accompanied by deliberate action.

Likewise, Personal Harmony occurs when our thoughts, intents and actions correlate and support our essence as human beings and gifted spirits.  When achieved, personal harmony in our lives reverberate outward as a surreal symphony of accord and fellowship.  This frequency-based harmony in turn, causes others to take notice and encourages them to similarly seek their inner peace and reason for being.

And the most effective approach to discovering your compassion is to focus on others, precisely their needs and their footprints in the world.   What is life, if not a living classroom, led by our Teacher, an environment where He teaches and we learn the important aspects and nuances of our being.  Let others’ challenges, victories and failures be that magnet that drives the “True North” of our moral compass.  And let it point the way for us in our journey; in your journey in this life.

“Compassion for People, Passion for Writing, Living my Conscience.”  Be well.

Only YOU can truly Change the World…

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Understanding the Two Most Important Relationships in Your Life


Jesus_ChristWhen each of us was born, our “story” began a new chapter in our book of eternal being.  This worldly experience, overladen with physical senses that dominate our existence, draws us toward each other like a black hole swallows matter.  The concept of relationships dominates our lives and one would surmise we should be, well, pretty darn good at them.

Enter reality.  In truth, relationships are anything but easy.  They are most times multi-dimensional and complex, full of emotion, vary in intensity, duration and value, and are almost always unpredictable.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from friends, to co-workers, neighbors, family, lovers, spouses, professional associates, to hobbyists, group members, political, and yes, religious-based beliefs.

At the core of any relationship is the mindset, followed closely by the interaction; over time, Mirror_Image_2producing a relationship history or memory bank of sorts, which by the way, also influences the relationship as it develops.  And the mindset, almost a living, breathing entity of its own, is born of personal values, beliefs and internal and external environments via previous experiences.

Of all the various relationships that exist for each of us through our lives, there are two, that largely determine how “successful”, or perhaps more accurately described as meaningful, all the others will be.

The first and most influential relationship is with Jesus Christ.  The level of acknowledgement, acceptance and trust, conversation, comfort and respect determine the quality, strength and depth of the relationship.  The more refined and developed it becomes in our lives, the more sensitive and in tune we are with the second most important relationship; that which we have with ourselves.

“Without exception, individuals with a high degree of self-awareness, interests, skills, peace, self-respect and knowledge of limitations or boundaries (both strengths and weaknesses), experience more enduring and better quality relationships with others.”

This self-awareness is manifested in our lives as authenticity, genuineness, sense of harmony and clear life priorities.  Not only do we experience little self-doubt or alignment of actions with thought as a result, in addition, the spirit that others likewise see us as, is more accurately aligned with who we truly are as unique and individual human beings.

Grief_LossPossessing, recognizing and maintaining healthy relationships with God and ourself is akin to looking out a perfectly clear/clean window as compared to one which is dirty, clouded or in worst cases, visibly blocked.

The essential point to remember is to cherish and take care of these two relationships in your life over any and all others, as they will illuminate your path as a bright pair of headlights makes your future travel/path readily seen.  Choices become more obvious and easier to make.  In a similar fashion, each of us readily recognizes and embraces accountability for our actions.

As the foundation of a house supports the weight of the building and maintains the infrastructure, our relationships with Jesus Christ and ourselves support all our interactions in life.  And like our own being, relationships are eternal if we want them to be.  It’s all about understanding, communication, compassion and Love.  Say it Loud….  Say it Clear.  Be well.

Nursing – A Spark of Love that Ignites Humanity


NursingThe immense and breathtaking power and expression of Love is manifested in many ways in this world.  None, however, touch the heart, literally and figuratively, and as powerfully, as the everyday acts of caring exhibited by Nurses everywhere.

At their core, Nurses share a common trait, extraordinary compassion for others.  Whether it involves physically aiding an individual to walk from a hospital bed to the restroom or assisting in an open-heart operation in surgery, Nurses transform that acute sense of compassion into observable, notable and meaningful behaviors that are not only seen with human eyes, but are felt within our hearts.

Surgical RN Kathy Cerkas cradles one of the bright moments of the week in Haiti; a newborn brought into the world by our team

Surgical RN Kathy Cerkas cradles one of the bright moments of the week in Haiti; a newborn brought into the world by our team

I would be remiss not to offer that I believe my words speak authentically to the heart of the matter as I have been married to a Nurse for over 35 years (yes, the same Nurse).  Firsthand experience has ranged from personal witness in the Operating Room to observing an undeniable passion for helping others, whether they be complete strangers, friends, neighbors or family.

Heart_in_Hand_ValuesIt is no wonder, then, that Nurses have been formally endowed and recognized with their own week of adoration and respect.  In reality, they should be recognized in an ongoing fashion; their work is that amazing.  I’m sure every one of us has at least one first-hand memory of witnessing a caring Nurse demonstrate genuine compassion for another human being.

To all Nurses in the world, I humbly and sincerely thank you for your dedication, compassion, application of knowledge and commitment to the health and well-being of your fellow human beings.  Be well.

Love – The Most Powerful Moment in the Universe


Love_3

(Dedicated to Aaron, Love you like a son)

Of the totality of emotions and behaviors that exist, only one survives, supports and surpasses all others; Love.  The true beauty and majesty of Love can only be witnessed as the result of how it manifests itself in and transforms anything its presence permeates.

Like the air we breathe and the water we drink, Love provides and sustains life to all living things.  Without question, Love is the Higgs Boson of the Universe and is oft times referred to as “The God Particle.”

Love only exists, however, when it is shared with one or more, is only felt when offered with deliberate and genuine intent and only fails when it is absent.  For Love is not so much a thing as it is a moment:

A moment of prayer for a family that lost a loved one;

A moment of commitment to transform Love into eternity in marriage;

A moment of a touch in helping your elderly neighbor;

Footprints in the SandA moment of support for a friend that lost their job;

A moment of compassion in a world of chaos and uncertainty;

A moment of joy that reflects in the eyes of a newborn infant;

A moment of forgiveness for an unpleasant word from someone you Love.

Newborn_in_HandThe synergy of these “Love” moments collectively heals, encourages, motivates and inspires.  What then, are the possibilities for goodwill, caring and positive energy as the result of unbridled Love in a world currently adrift in a famine of caring and compassion?

Each of us has a responsibility; no, rather an obligation, to create and perpetuate these moments toward the goal of achieving happiness, both within us and also external to the world in which we live.

As dark is the absence of light, so is hate, sin, jealousy, lust, apathy and anger the absence of Love.  Some say Love is a complex thing, however, I say Love is the simplest and most pure and powerful moment in the universe.  As such, we have no excuse for failing to create or offer and share Love with others every year, every month, every day, every hour, every minute, every second and most notably, every moment of our being.

Love is the missing ingredient in the world today preventing peace, harmony and coexistence among all people and nations.  And as daunting a task as it may appear to be to work toward those goals, it is really just as simple as making a commitment and focusing on creating one moment of Love at a time.  Each of us has the power to create Love “at will”.

Will you find a moment to Love… please?

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the Spirit of Christmas


Spirit_of_ChristmasIn the Spirit of Christmas, sometimes we need to ‘get back to basics’ and think about Christmas from how it impacts people.  Regardless of your faith, Christmas is a Special Time of Year when we are extra nice to others, think about life from a higher plane of existence, relish the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, and simply appreciate each other as human beings.  In that ‘light’, I’m hoping this year you will reflect on your memories of Christmas’s past as a child growing up.  I hope you think about and remember:

  1. The anticipation and excitement of Christmas you felt the week before
  2. The wonder and thrill of receiving that ‘special’ gift from Santa
  3. Spending time with your brothers, sisters, cousins and aunts and uncles
  4. The innocence and carefree state of mind having off a week or so from school and playing outside in the snow
  5. Feeling good about getting all dressed up for Christmas mass or for Christmas dinner
  6. Smelling and Tasting all those good dishes, desserts, meals and candy that Mom made
  7. That feeling of gratitude when you opened that unexpectedly ‘cool’ present
  8. Sitting in the Living Room with your family watching one of the Classic Christmas stories like “A Christmas Carol”, “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s A Wonderful Life”
  9. Lying on the couch or the floor with your family pet just soaking up each others company
  10. Getting to stay up way…  past your normal bedtime
  11. Watching the heart-warming news stories on TV about people helping other people in need
  12. Wishing that the Christmas Season could last for a few months, not just a few days

It is these types of memories each of us have and cherish that make Christmas the special time of year that it is.  And, most importantly, it is our responsibility as parents, uncles, aunts, neighbors and friends to create these types of memories for the young children in our lives so they exist for them as they grow up; so they can pass them on to the next generation, and so forth and so on.

For me, Christmas is all of these things, but above all, it is that extraordinarily personal feeling deep inside my heart of Peace, Joy, Goodwill and Love for others.

So in that Spirit, I wish you ….Merry_Christmas

 

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