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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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Love – Until it Moves You to Tears


DeterminationMost assuredly, there are times in your life when you and your values have been and will be challenged, questioned and perhaps even attacked.  It is precisely those moments, those fleeting instants in eternity, when clarity of purpose and commitment to life bubble up to the crown of your existence, becoming distilled, purified and emblazoned.

Energy levels go through the roof, distractions vaporize into the ether and the thirst for truth is unquenchable.  We need to pay attention to these transient moments of awareness, however few they are in our lives, as they represent our essence as human beings, spiritual children and eternal souls.

There are indeed, places and times for light-heartedness, carefree expression and basking in the atmosphere of joy.  Indeed, these purposeful times cleanse our hearts, minds and souls, rejuvenating us in repose; and are necessary and healing experiences in our lives.

Eagle_Wings_SoaringThey only serve, however, to sustain our life, not to defend, honor, proclaim; or fulfill it.  Each of us must know we are expressly here for a higher purpose, more than to frolic like sheep in a meadow or soar on the wings of eagles.  At its infinitesimal level, life beckons a more solemn tone, albeit woven in the throws of love, faith, goodwill and salvation.

We have a job to do here, and it behooves us as the tools and messengers of this job, to craft our methods, refine our approaches and perform as though our lives depend on it; because they do.

And no time does this become clearer, as a Christian, for me, than at Christmas.  My heart becomes filled with compassion, my mind with goodwill of helping whomever I can touch with my melody, my words and my love for humanity.

“I am, literally, driven to tears for I know, deep within my soul, of the stark reality of why we are here, together as a chorus of song, sharing our lives, helping each other to become more like the One we worship.”

As this magnificent celebration approaches, as we subconsciously count down the days, hours and minutes to that cherished event, let us remember, Why it exists, What it means and How it transforms us as Spiritual children.

Waterfall_SunshineIf you truly seek Peace, then live your life as testimony to that end.  If you sincerely Love others, then consciously and deliberately Do and Behave in the manner reflective of love.  If you desire Goodness in your heart, then undeniably reach out to others in good Faith.  And above all, do these things with compassion for people; without regard to how others perceive your efforts; by overcoming all obstacles and resistance and by simply letting your energy and love flow from your heart as pristine water pours down a waterfall in the forest.

It makes no difference whether anyone witnesses your actions, because it only matters that you know and that should be reason enough to pursue goodness in your life.  Remember the lesson that whatever intention is sent out by you, eventually returns back to you.  Make it be a noble intention, for your sake.  Never stop pursuing to become who you are capable of becoming.  Be well.

 

Letting the Light In – Achieving Personal Harmony


beautiful_forest_scenery-wallpaper-1366x768If you’re like most people, there have been times in your life when you noticed or had the feeling that something was just not right.  Has this happened to you?  In truth, all of us at times, struggle with attempting to figure out the source of that uneasiness and become frustrated when we simply can’t place our finger on it.

Scenarios like this occur as a result of a misalignment between our inner core values as human beings and our resulting or reactive behaviors, words and thoughts.  Indeed, it may be the classic struggle between good and evil playing out in our lives.  Or, it may empirically represent when we fail to live our unique values within our souls.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with going through these experiences.  To the contrary, they serve as indicators to alert us that our love-lifethoughts and actions have wandered off the path of our soul and only serve to move us away from who we truly are and who we will become.  Worthy of note, the most essential aspect of these moments in life is that we recognize when they occur and acknowledge what they are based upon.

And you know it comes back to faith; it’s presence, influence, acknowledgement and its truth.  Society has conditioned and encouraged us to equate having faith to being damaged, to being weak…  and that is simply wrong.   I ask, how can denying our inner values and feelings be wrong?  It is not.  In Truth, inner strength is all about leveraging the alignment of values and actions.

The most exhilarating and liberating feeling in the world comes as a result of consciously (and by choice) thinking and acting in alignment and harmony with our soul; the essence of who we are.

“And this balance is not limited to our minds, but extends to include our bodies as well as our physical, emotional and psychological health; it can best be described as a musical instrument being perfectly tuned and playing an epic symphony.”

Ying_Yang_2Faith and prayer reflect our ability to understand, communicate and ultimately like who we see in the mirror each morning as we begin each day anew.   Listen to the voices in your mind, accept the goodness of who you are, choose to think and act in support of your spirit, seek Love.  Then, and only then, will alignment and harmony exist in your life and consequently produce/create peace, love and joy.

Feel the warmth, relish the peace and experience the harmony of life.  Be yourself; Let the Light In; Experience the ultimate symphony.

Experience Love with Your Entire Being


Love_ChurchThere are few words in the English Dictionary that evoke emotions like the word “Love”.  It is an all-encompassing, ever-present, penetrating emotion that fills our minds, hearts and souls with loyalty, caring, compassion, and commitment.  It overcomes unspeakable odds at survival in any given situation or relationship.

And as much as love is an intangible entity, the effects of it can be perceived and witnessed with every one of our human senses.  You can see the Love in a mother’s eyes when she holds her newborn baby in her arms for the first time.  You can hear the Love of a parent as they weep for their child that was tragically lost to a drug overdose.  You can taste the LoveLove_Husband_Military_Funeral of that Thanksgiving Dinner that grandma puts her heart and soul into making each year to celebrate the gratitude for family.  You can touch the Love of a person’s hand when you help them as they recover from an illness.   Lastly, you can smell the Love of summer flowers and sweet evergreens when you and your sweetheart share a walk in the field, by the river or through the forest.

Love_Mother_NewbornCollectively, our senses become saturated with Love and help us to “Feel the Love” in our hearts by experiencing it in our physical world.  In a sense, it is a simple transformation of energy from our minds, to our bodies and between each other.

“From Love, comes strength, perseverance, commitment, focus, benevolence and yes, faith.  In many ways, Love is the core element to spiritual  life as is Oxygen to physical life.  Oxygen nourishes and sustains our bodies while Love nourishes and sustains our spirit/soul.”

The profound beauty of Love is that each of us has the power to create it.  For me, “finding” love is somewhat of an oxymoron, as I believe love finds us in response to the Love we create, share and believe in as we live our lives with intent and purpose.

Never allow yourself to assume a “victim mentality”, although there are times in all our lives when it would be very easy to do this.  Love emanates from human beings that are in control of their thoughts, actions and intentions.  Love assumes no response in kind.  Although Love is best when shared, it is fundamentally a unilateral construct in that the sentiment must first be created, then shared.

As the sun powers our subset of the universe, so does Love power our spirit; nourishing, teaching, remembering and forgiving.  And although our physical bodies are finite and temporary, Love is pure energy and transcends time into eternity.  It is the Light, the Way and the Truth.  Be well and create some Love in your life.

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.

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.

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.

Reflections on the Water – Like Shadows in My Mind


Silent_WisdomIs it any wonder that references and allusions to “Light” are eternally made when the subject of God arises?  (pun intended).  For one thing, Light is a construct that is near and dear to our hearts as residents of Planet Earth as it is a physical and constant presence.  Indeed, it is an unavoidable attribute of our surrounding environment.  Consequently, we are very familiar with it.

What better Way then, to effectively impart understanding and comprehension about God, Who is empirically, an incomprehensible construct for us human beings to understand?

Let’s begin with a contemplation of Love.  It is a word that we humans created, yes?  It describes the unseen emotions of the heart toward other humans.  And because it was created by us humans, it is therefore, real, yes?

There is one essential element of the construct of Love, however, that goes largely unnoticed at first glance.  And that is, Love, by definition, is a reciprocal state or condition.  Love cannot exist unless it is shared with others.Love_3

Love is intended to be a Duality, a Relationship, a Conversation, an Exchange and a Dialogue.

As Darkness is the Absence of Light;

Cold, the Absence of Heat;

Death, the Absence of Life;

Hate, the Absence of Love.

As you can see, Darkness, Cold, Death and Hate ONLY exist when we do not choose to Shine, Live, Share Warmth and Love.  It originates with our thoughts, which by the way, emanate from our values.

“Bottom Line, we are responsible for all the Darkness, Cold, Death and Hate in the World, by our Actions, by our Emotions, by our Thoughts and by our Values.”

I have many times referenced the near-genius lyrics of John Denver songs and especially like one in particular to illustrate the simple choices in life, the relationship, patterns and interdependence of nature and human life.

amazing-sunrise.jpgFound on his Rocky Mountain High album, John Denver sings about the Season Suite.  In particular, the Fall component of the medley is uniquely enchanting and revealing, not only about Mother Nature, but curiously, about the vibrance of Life itself and how that vibrance is reflected on the water, making it equally vibrant and beautiful.  And so it is with Love.  It energizes and reflects with whatever it comes into contact.  It is pure and fluid, cleansing and comforting like water.  How appropriate, yes?   How Important!

Simply stated, where there is Love, there is God, because God Is Love.  Enjoy the genius of John Denver:

 

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.

 

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