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Living – In Every Sense of the Word


Helen_Keller_SunriseWe say that Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, and it truly is, because each of us views life through a lens that is as unique as our fingerprint, and as reflective as our most inner thoughts.

Equally, when we speak of life and living, the same logic is present as each of our lives means something uniquely special, to a person.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

Too often, we hastily conclude life and living is defined by a heartbeat.  I offer to you that your heartbeat is but an inconsequential symptom of living and often distracts us from being able to truly comprehend the essence of living and all that it entails and consumes.

BelieveCollectively, my life and your life reflect a mosaic of sensory experiences, yet the intrinsic nature of life and living is only realized at the high end of the spectrum of our senses and is succinctly and accurately defined as a plurality.

Imagine, for this moment, if the totality of your life was channeled through only one sense.  If you could only see the world without the benefit or complement of your other senses; would you still be living?

Or, how about only being able to hear the world around you, would you contend you are still living?

Consider only being able to smell or taste the scent of your environment; is that living?

Does being able to singularly touch and feel your world equate to living?

Compassion_2Incredibly, the answer to all these questions is “no”.  To my point, living is a symphony, comprised of each of our sensory input channels.  And not surprisingly, when one or more of those channels are “turned off” or unavailable for reception, input and translation, the remaining or available channels are bombarded with their own “traffic”, resulting in an ultra sensitivity to that channel.

As an athlete balances and consumes input from all available senses or channels, the result is greater than the sum of the parts and is a true synergy.  Our imagination is similarly synergistic in nature as we leverage every fragment of thought and memory to create new thoughts and memories.

“In our spiritual universe, it is also most logical, then, to conclude that our faith or our soul is the catalyst that creates or enables genuine living to occur.  Faith is that invisible, yet undeniably present sense which processes all of our physical sensory information like a computer, effectively and involuntarily creating your life, whether you realize it or not.”

“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”  – Helen Keller

Brilliant_SunriseLet us all hope to create a life that is abundantly rich in our senses, yet wholly founded and driven by our heart, soul and faith.  And in legendary fashion, live that life All Night Long.  In truth, our sunset magically transforms into our sunrise, making us eternal beings.  Be well.

 

 

 

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Your Life – Vibrant Testimony or Empty Ritual?


golden_waves.jpgWithout question, our time here on Earth is extremely precious, not to mention equally finite.  And if you’ve ever pondered about the hereafter, whether it will be pleasant or “as advertised”; indeed, whether you will even hopefully “be” there, then most assuredly, your present life, physical being and presence is absolutely significant, impactful and relevant.

Admittedly, none of us spend an adequate amount of time reflecting on our earthly lives, much less, our eternal one.  Even more ironic is the fact, that in the larger picture of consciousness, faith and salvation, our eternal lives are infinitely more critical (pun intended) than our physical or mortal lives.moonlight_night-wallpaper-1366x768

Why is it then, that we dedicate so little time to nurturing, evaluating and working toward the improvement of our inevitable future?  Daily reflection is a habit I have seriously, deliberately and successfully, expended energy to create in an effort to better prepare for the transformation of my spirit and soul at my moment of death.  Yes, I think about death on a very regular basis, yet, not in the morbid or morose sense that most people picture it as a subject.

Death, is as an important an event in our lives as is our birth.  Accordingly, it is an equally important event in everyone’s life; yet we have come to jubilantly celebrate birth while we mourn, block out and avoid thinking about death.

The Irish have gotten death correct more than most.  If you’ve ever been to an Irish funeral or wake, it is anything but sullen, reserved, sad or quiet.  In reality, it is treated in its proper context; death is the passageway to eternity and is truly cause for a Celebration!

As mysterious, unknown and feared as death has become for most of us, it should be preceded by an equally important and meaningful life.  How would you respond if someone approached you and posed this question to you; “Is your life a vibrant testimony of your faith and values, or is it an empty ritual of routine daily tasks that only serve your physical and present life?”

“Have you grown and progressed in the refinement of spiritual being or have you simply become a very good Hunter and Gatherer?  Indeed, if your soul could speak, would it whisper of eternal life and redemption, or would it boast of xBox, the NFL, Friday Night out with the boys, and weekends at the beach?”

compass_mapIf we are to make it to the next level of existence and spirituality, our present lives must be dominated by the Primal Force of Conscience, a continuous reminder of what is right and what is wrong, conscious and deliberate behaviors and actions that support and align with our core values, and regular evaluation of those behaviors that deviate and/or distract us from our ultimate goal; to live in harmony and more importantly, to live forever.

At the moment of your death, will you be unanimously convicted of being a Christian, living a noble and obedient life, or will your life have been a continuous rerun of “going through the motions” and have become a hung jury?  Furthermore, if values, behaviors and memories represent spiritual “currency”, what’s in your wallet?

Look not to your habits, but rather, deep within your heart to live a life full of testimony as you ponder your future in the Empty Sky.  Be well.

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If I Were To Die Today – Living Life in Reverse


sunset_last_day_on_earthLife has a funny way of creating habits, routines and the resulting preoccupation with keeping busy.  We have routines for getting up, getting dressed, getting breakfast, getting to work, getting tasks completed, getting things done.   All this getting, getting, getting, however, is quite in contrast to that of Being.

The primary outcome of the “getting” is simply a preoccupation of our time here in this life; an Oh So Precious (and finite) time.  It is this mindset that inevitably results in the demeanor we subsequently create when there is loss; loss of a job, loss of a possession, but most critically, loss of human life.  We lament at funerals how we need to spend more time “living” and less time spending it on trivial matters.

So, in that light, this author offers an acute illustration of Being; “If I Were To Die Today”.

If I were to die today, I would let every person I meet, know that this life is simply too precious, complex and purposeful to be a cosmic Death_Ascension_Spiritcoincidence or accident.  Rather, it is a preparatory phase toward eternal life, one born of spirit and soul.  Our physical bodies were obviously not intended (by design) to last forever.  Our souls, however, are another story.  Pure energy is maintained eternally, so the key point are the transformations that occur along the way of our eternal existence.  Some call it consciousness.

  • Accordingly, spend more time with those you love, acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ in your life and never, EVER, be ashamed or afraid to profess your faith;  For it is your spiritual legacy, birthright and destiny.  I refer to it as spiritual maturity.
  • Express your heart’s feelings to those on the receiving end, whether they be friends, neighbors, co-workers, family or role models and mentors.  They need to understand not only who you are, but equally important, who they are because of your presence in the world.  Humanity is but a web of inter-connectedness, an interactive and impactful experience that helps us to define and develop ourselves as eternal beings.  Communication is the vehicle that moves us forward toward realizing our potential as human beings.
  • Behave with intent, purpose and a deliberateness that unequivocally demonstrates your essence for others to witness and be likewise changed.  Help other people whenever you can as it cleanses the soul and elevates your spirit.  Have you ever felt badly after having helped another person?   And in contrast, have you ever felt good as a result of hurting another person?  That is precisely the eternal struggle of Good and Evil.  And, it is as Real as the water in the oceans.
  • Do the things that fuel your passions in life, don’t wait for the bucket to empty itself or be emptied by someone else.  Regularly attend to your “bucket list“.

Headstone_in_MemoryPerhaps most significant, is to leave the world a better place than you found it; by your definition and not by that of anyone else.  Life is to be lived on your terms as opposed to that of any other person(s) or the expectations of society.

If I were to die today, I would be satisfied with my life, sorrowful for any hurt I had caused others, blessed by the presence and guidance of God and most notably, prepared for death’s transformation and passageway into the eternity of tomorrow.  I would gracefully ascend having known I spent every breath of life focused on actualizing my soul.

What would you do if you were to die today?  Be well.

 

I Will Carry… You With Me


OK_Tornado_1The Human Race can be quite finicky, conflict-avoiding and simultaneously book-smart, reality-dumb.  We are constantly exposed to God’s handiwork of miracles, rare “coincidences”, surprises and inexplicable events, yet we find ways to likewise convince ourselves we are a cosmic “accident”, with no ability to exist without our bodies.

Such is the drama and twisted fate of many human beings on this planet.  I offer to you that it is highly unlikely and logically implausible for “us” to be a one-and-done species.  Our minds have the ability to perform complex mathematics, remember intricate details about an item, process if/then logic flawlessly and multi-task like no other living organism.  We believe we are the only living thing that possesses awareness of our own mortality.  And all this ability doesn’t even broach the concept of emotions, extra-sensory perception (ESP), Near Death Experience (NDE), personal sacrifice, faith and Love.  So much for being “special” I guess.

OK_Tornado_3On a near-regular basis, you hear about the mother or father that gave up their life protecting that of their child, about performing super-human feats when faced with a Life or Death situation, or about “seeing” a Loved one that has passed away.  Emotions so strong they produce extraordinary behavior(s) or seemingly impossible actions, yet we are to believe we evolved from a monkey; even while the monkey still exists in their static form?

Example after example exists where people provide testimony to the existence of God, whether it be sports, deathbed acknowledgements,  promises made in grave situations or first-person conversations with God when tragedy occurs.  All these things, concurrent with those that believe we are merely a carbon-based physical organism because they have not the capacity, pride or desire to admit there exists a deity with more power than a human being.

For someone or some Supernatural Being that doesn’t exist (God), mankind sure has spent a boatload of time, energy and resources creating things like churches, bibles, avocation (priesthood) and communication (prayer/meditation) to explain and describe a non-entity.  We likewise teach our children to develop and use their imagination; that nothing is impossible and no dream is too big.  Who are we kidding by claiming there is no God or eternal life?  As it turns out, no-one but ourselves.

 “When you strip away all the distractions of life, what remains is pure energy and consciousness”.

And, according to the “laws” of physics, energy is never lost or gained, it simply changes form and is retained forever.  So, when faced with the concept of eternal life, answer this question; “Where does the energy go that generated your heartbeat your entire life”?  And, if it requires energy to produce thoughts and maintain memory(ies), where does all the related/associated energy from your mind go, when you physically die?  Just because something cannot be recognized by human senses, does not logically mean it does not exist.

As human beings, we need to stop resorting to classifying everything we cannot footprints in the sand poem 4understand or explain as non-existent or simply impossible.  Eternal life and our spirits/souls are anything but that and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Life as we know it is so very much more than a finite presence classified as a highly functional organism.  As long as you carry every loved one with you during your lifetime, they are indeed eternal, as are you.  Be well.

God bless the victims and families of the Moore, Oklahoma EF5 Tornado on May 20, 2013.

My Amazing Life is… Not in Vein


You knew it was coming and the only question is when it will be available…

Not_In_Vein_Cover

I am (still) writing my first book, a memoir, spiritual journey and personal manifesto of sorts.  It strips away all of the brain matter, the personality, the education, the knowledge and life experiences, to reveal why it is important for all of us to know who we are at our most intimate core.

Not in Vein – Miracle within my Soul

It is literally the “bright light at the end of the tunnel” and it presents all those questions, ideas and challenges that are worth and deserve exploring as human beings, or perhaps those that should be considered “required reading”.

I hope you enjoy it and benefit from it.  Just maybe, it will spark the fire within you to journey for the answer to the most critical question of your Life; “What does it mean to be Me?” or perchance, “What does it empirically mean to Be?”

Profound questions don’t always require complex answers…  Perhaps it can be as simple as acknowledgement, acceptance and gratitude.

As my book develops, I’ll be offering portions of it for you to visually and philosophically consume.  And, by all means, do not hesitate to ask me questions, extend your comments, ideas and suggestions and most importantly, your support!

I hope you “Like” it…  Be well.

Michael

ps. If my soul were a song, it would be perfectly captured by this masterpiece as performed by the late John Denver on his blockbuster album “Rocky Mountain High” in 1972.  The song is entitled “Late Winter – Early Spring“.  It was the fourth “spoke” in a five-part wheel of the Cycle of Life as depicted by the seasons; Summer, Fall, Winter, Late Winter – Early Spring, and Spring.   Peace.

Casting Off the Layers


As I contemplate my life today, a visual presented itself to me as an allegory illustrating our tendencies as human beings, along with the defense mechanisms we have created to retain our sanity, focus and understanding of this precious thing we call Life.

Grand Canyon National ParkI see the epic perceived age of our planet, with strata of sediment that have accumulated as the seasons, years, storms and epochs have weathered the Earth into a resilient mass of life.  All the while, doing so quietly, steadfastly, powerfully and yet helplessly and in a seemingly suspended manner when viewed through a divine or universal lens.

I discover the age of a grand Red Pine by counting the rings that emanate from the core of its trunk.

I feel the warmth of life retained in my body as a result of the layers of garments I have chosen to wear to protect my health.

I taste the gratifying and succulent flavor of an onion in the meal I’ve prepared to nourish and maintain my existence as I peel back and Onion_Layersoff the intelligently designed covers that signify growth, evolution and protection.

I hear the endless scale of sounds ranging from a single shrill call of a hawk, to the melody of the wind as it caresses and envelops the pine trees that adorn the landscape of my yard, to the vibrant and piercing claps of thunder as spring waltzes into season like a ballet dancer, to the unmistakable whir of the chopper blades as they support and carry a critically injured child of God to the trauma center at the local hospital.

Grief_LossI experience the humor of friends, family and acquaintances as they attempt to diffuse the stress of everyday life or mask a hurting or healing heart and restore it to its caring and loving nature.

I empathize with the anger of the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters as they attempt to rationalize, comprehend and accept the untimely or tragic death of a loved one.

I touch the lives of those around me by my attitude, demeanor, emotions, behavior, words and most importantly, intent.

And in contemplating these facets of existence characteristic of human life, I have come to realize that regardless of the situation or context of the many types of layers each of us encounters and more importantly, creates in our unique and special journeys toward Eternal Life, the common denominator present with every condition is the essence of what lies at the center of it all; our spirit and soul.

Our being and consciousness incomparably defines us to each other and incomprehensibly, to ourselves.  This fact alone guarantees Finger_Lifeand unequivocally demonstrates that life is not an accident, random occurrence or mutation that has evolved from some primordial organism.

Rather, life is not an entity, but a robust and magnificent continuum of energy with no beginning nor end and witnessed simply as it transforms from one state to another, forever in eternity.

Be well today.

 

Miracle Within My Soul – The Eighth Sense


chrysthanthemumsWhen I was a child, there was nothing that interested, pleased and occupied me more than appreciating the world that immersed me via my core senses.  My path was one of appreciating the visual beauty of a vase of daisies, chrysthanthemums (mums), azaleas and african violets.

I reveled in listening to the soothing sound of a warm summer breeze, yet equally enjoyed a boisterous thunderstorm, or that unmistakable ring of the oven timer, letting me know my mom’s tuna noodle casserole was ready to be devoured.

The pleasant aroma of a fresh rain against the sidewalk and the intense and sweet bouquet of our backyard lilac shrub tickled and motivated my senses like a piercing ray of spring sunshine.  Contrarily, the musty and damp fragrance of my camping tent during a weekend with my fellow Boy Scouts after an overnight deluge, seemed to stick in my nostrils far longer than invited.

During my middle and high school days, I took refuge in metal works, woodworking and learning to repair cars, leveraging the fine motor skills, sensitive dexterity and muscle control I had developed during my youth to effectively create, fix and add/refine beauty as I knew it to the world around me.

Most likely as a result of my mom’s cooking and baking talents, I savored her oh so special Bread Pudding, Cream of Potato Soup, Pancakes and especially our family’s traditional Baked Ham after midnight mass on Christmas Eve as we Walleyed_Pike_Dinnershared opening the gifts under the  Christmas Tree.  Likewise, having been born into a family of fishermen, the unique and full of texture pan-fried walleyed pike and lake perch still excite me to this day as delicacies to be thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated.

As an understatement, my life has been blessed with positive and pleasant experiences of the use, development and appreciation for all of the physical senses I have come to know and depend upon.  Yet, the true treasure and fulfilling experiences I have come to know, cherish and protectively guard in my extensive adult life, cause my physical senses to pale in contrast to them.

body soul spiritSpecifically, I refer to these additional senses as my “Trinity of Truth”.  They include my Mind (I like to call it my mantuition), my Body (health, strength, equilibrium and balance) and most notable and essential, my Soul (faith, conscience, duty to God).

Together and collectively as an orchestra playing a symphony, these eight senses empower my spirit to learn, flourish, help others and allow me to passionately and deliberately live and use my Life as an offering of sorts to give glory to my creator in anticipation (and full expectation) of the eternal life that awaits me when I approach, greet and ultimately pass through “death’s door”.

Let me make one thing crystal clear: I AM READY.  Are you?  Be well.

 

Discovering Magnetic Resonance of Being


Morning_Fog_LakeAs boiling water is transformed into vapor and seamlessly blends with the surrounding atmosphere, so is death the distillation of life as we know it.  The energy of our thoughts, the electricity of our heartbeat and the knowledge and memories of our mind are distilled by death into the ether of eternal life; but most importantly, surviving as our consciousness.

Floating-Globe-Silver-Med-783070If we are to learn anything about life, observe and remember the elementary lesson of the magnet in science class; opposites attract.  Our human lives on this planet are as images in a mirror, i.e., they are in fact diametrically opposed realities.  What looks like your left hand in the mirror is in (our) reality, your right hand.

And so the dichotomy extends into many facets of our existence as children of God.

  • Life begets Death or Death begets Life (Ending is really a Beginning)
  • Pain & Suffering Yields Peace and Eternal Life
  • Good attracts evil and evil, good
  • Humility & Vulnerability are the birth parents of conviction, strength and resilience
  • Seeking Inner Peace & Harmony leads to the discovery of Magnificence and Glory
  • Focusing on others (and not yourself) illuminates your soul & spirit, creating self-awareness
  • Praying only when needing help is like saving only when needing money

J_Denver_Farewell_AndromedaThe epitome of this paradox is eloquently brought to life by the late John Denver in his song,  “We Don’t Live Here No More”, released on one of his earlier albums entitled “Farewell Andromeda” in 1973.  In the song, Denver metaphorically describes the many seemingly mutually exclusive scenarios of life and encapsulates the mindset within the larger sphere of existence.  He was indeed, a master at transforming thought and emotion into meaningful lyrics and enchanting music.

Here are the lyrics:

Make believe you’re on a boat without water around.    Picture yourself at a circus, without any clowns.

Pretend that you’re on a highway, without any end.  Then empty the ashtray, sweep up the floor, put a lock on your door.

If somebody calls in the morning Just say we don’t live here no more.  Draw me a picture of an island without any sea.

Show me a map of the whole world without boundaries.  Build me a home without windows or doors to go in.

Then empty the ashtray, sweep up the floor, Put a lock on your door.

If somebody calls in the morning Just say we don’t live here no more.  Dream of the time when the tides ebbing now, rise again.

Then you will know, that to die is not really to end.

Living and dying are both your most intimate friends.  So empty the ashtray, sweep up the floor Put a lock on your door.

If somebody calls in the morning Just say we don’t live here no more.
If somebody calls in the morning Just say we don’t live here no more.

Let us all relish in the complexities of life and be comforted and protected by divine guidance when we need it to find our way.  Be well.

After Further Review the Ruling Stands as Called – We are Spiritual Beings


nflThere is nothing like the post-season in the NFL (National Football League) to get the adrenalin pumping in your veins in anticipation of the Super Bowl; well, almost nothing.  In truth, as critical as many football FAN-atics believe the game is (and I emphasize GAME), it pales in comparison to the noble pursuit of answering the question of our lifetime, “Why are we here?”

I address this specific question in my book, “Not in Vein – Miracle within my Soul”:

“Many of us live a majority of our lives without regularly taking or making time to authentically contemplate our being and self.  Consequently, we have a somewhat limited and less than ideal knowledge and perception of who we are as human beings, not to mention why we are.

Then, consider the scenario of whether or not we have come to a conclusion and acceptance of where we are going after we leave this life.  Collectively, many if not most people have starved their spiritual being, resulting in a reduced awareness and sense of self, spirit, soul, potential, purpose and future.

This starvation has become an epidemic in our world and society to the point that our mortal lives here on earth have grossly overshadowed our spiritual lives and the gift of consciousness we all possess; a gift that has gone grossly unnoticed, under-appreciated and overlooked as the true miracle that it is.”

Somewhere, along the plane of existence in our collective timeline, we have lost sight and comprehension of the larger (and more important) purpose of our physical life, moreover, where it stands in relation to the subject of each of our eternal lives.

The best articulated description of the Human “condition” I’ve ever seen or heard is from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit Priest, who chronicled his thoughts in this manner:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

optical_illusionIt effectively turns your frame of reference on its head, much like those optical illusion pictures that challenge you to decide if you see a young attractive or old woman.

The concept underlying these optical illusion pictures is that our minds formulate the picture we see based on our past experiences, what we have been taught and our core belief system we have individually and uniquely adopted.  We have been, in effect, programmed to perceive our world in specific ways.

Likewise, we have limited our awareness and comprehension of constructs and issues that dwell outside the norm of our physical lives.

With regard to faith, God and religion, our thoughts, ergo, our lives and existence, are largely bound by our physical limitations of the earthly knowledge each of us possesses.

To this point, I contend that the REAL Life each of us has, in terms of eternity, first begins or will resume, AFTER we physically die.  Kind of throws a BIG wrench into the fan, yes?  This physical life we experience undoubtedly has purpose and meaning, however, it is but a miniscule part of the whole as opposed to a random and mutually exclusive event in the universe.

We are too special a creation to not have and deserve a prominent place in eternity; and that place is with God and those we love.

Taken in that Light, it is infinitely more comprehensible to accept the reality of higher consciousness and its eternal nature.  It works for me, today and forever.  Be well.

A Sensory Encounter with my Book


“Not in Vein”

•••

Miracle within my Soul

 

The Context of eternity

Why?

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’  But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”
George Bernard Shaw

At face value, obsessing about death can be depressing and difficult to contemplate.  Due to our collective ignorance about the definition of life beyond what we know as human beings, we have been conditioned to view death exclusively as an event with no curtain call and a very, very final conclusion.

We have been taught that death is something associated with negativity and painful emotions, primarily as a direct result of focusing on our own sense of self and our needs as human beings.  True enlightenment and one of the secrets to an unwavering faith as well as a belief in salvation is a core mindset that focuses on others, their needs and how each of us can play a part in those lives, not only giving of ourselves, but profoundly, in learning about ourselves.

Unsurprisingly, humans are overwhelmed with their physical senses that condition the mind to be self-centered, and this is fairly understandable, given the minimal and limited knowledge we as human beings have about the ‘bigger picture.’

Taking a different perspective, however and peering deeper into the entire thought process and scenario can provide much needed clarity and motivation.

Once a person is past the point of acknowledging their own mortality and physical boundaries; that is precisely the point where the conversation you have with that person in the mirror, begins to get serious and real about your faith, your spirit and soul, about your fundamental purpose in life;  more importantly, about your eternal life.

Surely, it is the thought of the certainty of that mortality, an inability to change it, and the anxious realization about its inescapable arrival as well as the frustration about not knowing when it will occur, that leads most individuals toward an emphasis on the what and how of everyday life and away from any ongoing or serious contemplation of the realm of eternity.

Prodigiously, my thoughts are then followed by a sensation consumed with fear of the unknown.  And typically at that point of my synapse playing ‘connect the dots’, my deep dive into metaphysics is typically extinguished.

—————————————————————————–

boat_at_sea-wallpaper-1280x1024

Please don’t hesitate to Comment below or send me an email with feedback.  I sincerely seek it and need it to improve.  Thank you.

Be well….

Michael

 

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