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Death – A Melancholy And Bittersweet Celebration of Life


Ying_Yang_2Even though a hexagenarian, I find myself facing a new experience; the death of a sibling.  As the youngest of five, I experienced that inevitable, awkward and painful telephone call from my nephew yesterday, to inform me that my brother (his dad) had passed away.  On the surface, one might surmize this is not an earth-shattering event, it eventually happens to all of us, and it happens every day, in every city, of every country on the planet.

Let me assure you, however, death is anything but routine, ordinary or insignificant.  As a Christian, death is the debt we pay as the entry fee to cross the portal from human reality to spiritual eternity.  It is a process, a portal and many times, painful.  Make no mistake, though, death is also a celebration, albeit a melancholy and bittersweet one.

Death is as the Yang to the Ying, as it permeates Life.  It can be construed as an ending, however, the Christian’s reality is that death is another beginning; a rebirth of our spirit/soul.  Death can certainly be viewed as routine, ordinary and perhaps even normal, that is, until it directly impacts YOUR life.

When you witness death in the first person of someone you intimately know, love and share history, it is exponentially more significant, impactful and forever changes your essence as a human being.

“In a peculiar sense, death morphs your sense of reality, self-image, mortality and perspective of the world around you.  Ironically, viewed as a polar region, death coexists and even defines the boundaries of life as do the poles on a planet.  Profoundly, death has its own life.”

As you experience death at a very personal and familiar level, every emotion in the library of your mind is touched, jolted, carressed and exposed.  In that context, death can be defined, understood, acknowledged and bounded by each of our realities of life.  Death is the wild stallion being broken, it is the uncontrollable child morphing from adolescence via puberty into an adult; psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

Judgment_Day_GateWithout question, witnessing death up close and personal is an experience you simply Never forget.  The bittersweet nature of life is that positively, it ends all aspects of human suffering, be it physical, emotional, or psychological.  Death, as a metaphysical event, takes away the undesirable aspects of life, and to that end, can be looked upon as something good.  The rest of that story, however, is that death also creates an ending or sense of finality (absent faith), for those remaining alive.  It is the proberbial locked door, separating the past, the present and the future.

In a comforting light, however, faith and Christianity offer us the key to unlock that seemingly impenetrable barrier.  All we must do is use the key, without fear of the unknown, to master our own mortality, prepare for our own passage and comfort those standing on the mortal side of eternity.

Importantly, death is not to be feared, but to be understood, prepared for and anticipated… and the way we accomplish those goals is through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   Death serves as that little voice in the back of our minds coaxing, whispering and urging us to take stock of the life we have, leaving no stones unturned, to demonstrate gratitude for it, to reconcile our differences with others, remind those close to us just how much we love them and how much they mean to us.  In a terse and succinct context, now, go do it!  Be well.

Dedicated to the eternal spirit of David L Cerkas (1947-2016)

 

 

 

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Parallel Paths – The Intersection of Life and Death


Ying_Yang_2From childhood and on throughout our lives, we develop and maintain the mindset that life and death are mutually exclusive states.  I’m here to tell you that they not only coexist, yet further, simultaneously exist in each of us.

“The moment we are born, we begin dying and the only thing we control is to what extent we live while we are breathing.  Death has this context of inevitable finality about it, yet it is exclusively a result of not knowing anything about it; or worse, being unwilling to learn its nature and invite it into our lives, so we can better prepare for it.”

Each of us have friends, family, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and yes, pets, that have ceased to live, yet are Destiny_1vibrantly alive in our memories.  We create this righteous attitude of sorrow for their death, yet in reality, the sorrow we create is selfishly directed at OUR loss, not theirs.

Likewise, we are very good at identifying the right things to say to our loved ones, but only AFTER they cease to live, as we know it.  The challenge, you see, is to identify these right things to say, and then say them, to these special lives, while they are still breathing!

And life goes on, with new life being created and existing life exiting this place we call our world.   Beings coming and going, sometimes intersecting with others, at other times, traveling alone; much like molecules bumping into each other in a chemistry beaker.

And as random and insignificant as life sometimes appears to us, it is truly, so very special, so magnificent and such a gift that it behooves us to celebrate it with every breath we take in, lest it be our last.

LightningThe world today contains so many distractions, from life, from our spirit and soul, from each other and from God.  Yes, at times we need that bolt of lightning to remind us of our priorities.  Consider this article that little nudge to refocus your priority list, rekindle that spark and zest for living, remember to smile and greet everyone you encounter with goodwill, and lastly, to revive your gratitude for the gift of life you are enjoying as you read this.

Yes, much like the tracks that we know with certainty are parallel, we Railroad_Tracks_Convergeequally know as life embraces death, the tracks converge and eventually intersect, transporting our spirit into eternity, anxiously reconnecting with all those vibrant memories which then become our new reality.

You see, we’ve got it all wrong.  Death is but a door, a transformation of energy and a portal to our future.  It is not to be feared, but importantly, prepared for and anticipated.  Until then, live with passion and practice compassion for others; live your conscience and Look for the Good.  I’ll be watching.

 

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Faith – A Strategy You Can Believe In


Helen_Keller_Quote_3Parallels in life abound.  There are common threads among relationships, motivation, discipline, healing, teaching; just to name a few.  Parallels, not in the sense of a common denominator of the concepts themselves, but in how these concepts are applied in various scenarios of life.  And becoming “good” at life is the ultimate goal, yes?

 

 

 

“As a manager, I learned over time that raising children, in all its glory, excitement and occasional pain, contained specific lessons or approaches to be learned that very effectively carried over to managing people in a business environment.  Aspects like motivation, discipline, analysis, problem-solving, personal development and team-building; shared threads of process, insight and self-awareness that could be woven or stitched together to form a cohesive and compassionate strategy to not only accomplish work, but more importantly, develop character, integrity and a sense of purpose in others when viewed and appreciated as precious human beings.”

BelieveEqually, there is learning in the interaction, conversation and sense of accomplishment one experiences when it is shared among individuals.  A key ingredient, however, in the pursuit of introspective and effective leadership can be distilled into one word and one goal; compassion and building trust.

As with many individuals, some things you learn throughout the course of living, present themselves as simply profound and  just stick with you throughout the remainder of your life.  For me, one of those “things” was a quote from a management guru, Gordon Shea, as contained in a 1984 Management Briefing for the AMA (American Management Association ).

“Trust is the ultimate intangible. It has no shape or substance, yet it empowers our actions. And its presence or absence can govern our behavior as if it were a tangible force. . . . Trust is the ‘miracle ingredient’ in organizational life–a lubricant that reduces friction, a bonding agent that glues together disparate parts, a catalyst that facilitates action. No substitute–neither threat nor promise–will do the job as well.”

Footprints_2And speaking of parallels, let’s make the quantum leap from business back to life; from trust to its foundation; faith.  If not steeped in trust, what is faith?  Faith is that trust or belief in something or someone that cannot be seen, touched or perceived by our physical senses, but only felt and experienced with our heart.

When one looks at life from a macro perspective, the essence of life is faith.  Faith that the core essentials of our physical being will be provided (food, clothing and shelter).  Faith that a means to provide for those essentials will be obtained (job).  Faith that our emotional, psychological and meta-physical health will be attained….  You see, Faith is indeed, a strategy for life.

Faith, not in the sense of simply the word, but critically, in the sense of the belief in God, eternal life, salvation and a sense of purpose.  Faith is life, as is the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink and the sun we embrace as warmth.  Faith is perhaps, the Spiritual DNA of our existence as human beings; as children of God.

Faith is nurtured, cultivated and undeniably grows within each of us as our self-awareness develops and we acknowledge and accept the reality and presence of the supernatural force we call “God”.

Be well, or should I say, “Keep the Faith”.

 

Capturing the Essence of Prayer


PrayerThere are many dimensions to consider when defining a characterization of what is involved in being a Christian.  Constructs including God, redemption, salvation, sin, miracles, angels, demons, heaven, hell, faith, rebirth, penance, sacraments, resurrection; and prayer. As an understatement, your personal relationship with God is as unique as you are!  Accordingly, it follows that how you communicate with God is also unique as well as what you call and how you define Prayer.  Likewise, it will be endlessly amazing and special.

“As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is with prayer.  Surely, one can open a Webster’s Dictionary to obtain the standard or commonly accepted description of it, however, like our minds, personality and spirit, prayer means something different, amazing and boundless to each of us.”

The Lord's PrayerIntended to provoke thought and introspection, below is a short list of how one could describe or capture the essence of what prayer represents.  This list is by no means all-inclusive, but rather, fertilizer of sorts to help you internalize its meaning:

  • Ultimate Conversation with God
  • Unwritten Contract with God
  • Open-Ended Invitation to God to consume our Heart and Mind
  • Unsolicited Plea for Help, Healing, Outcome, Redemption, Forgiveness
  • Direct Dialogue with God
  • Unfocused Expression of Gratitude
  • Offering of Repentance
  • Manifestation of Spiritual Resonance
  • Checklist of Mortal/Physical Needs or Desires
  • Intercession of Divine Nature on your or another person’s behalf
  • Alignment of Present with Future
  • Fusion of Thought, Intent, Desire, Need and Projection
  • Introspective Reflection of our Personal Reality and Timeline
  • Affirmation of Belief, Faith and Expectation
  • Revelation of Self, Sin, Intent and Benevolence
  • Transforming Progression in the Process of Spiritual Maturity
  • Offering of Contrition
  • Targeted Projection of Self and Energy

The Incredible Power of PrayerWithout stating the obvious, prayer simply can not be confined to an entry in the dictionary.  It is equally and simultaneously, broad and specific in context as it applies or is used by each human being.

“The most essential aspect, however, is that prayer is an awe-inspiring and Powerful construct.  To a degree, it defines our individual spirits as our fingerprint defines our bodies, yet it cannot be seen by the eye, but only touched by the heart.”

As Christians, we must acknowledge the power of prayer and leverage it to advocate benevolence in the world, use it to empower healing, to eradicate pain and promote alignment of spirit and our mortal lives.  The outcome will be inner peace, harmony and the courage to live your life to its potential.  Similarly, prayer shatters the fear of death and prepares one for eternal salvation. I pray for the redemption of every soul on earth, knowing there is no limit to the grace, mercy and healing of God’s presence in everyone’s life.  Be well.

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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.

 

Are You the Shadow or the Light?


Sunrise_Above_CloudsAs darkness is truly and simply the absence of light, it follows that the evidence of light is revealed in the shadow(s) it creates upon its presence, when set with a background.  In much the same way of thinking, the evidence of God is revealed in the behaviors of others upon His presence, with the world as a backdrop.  As with light and God, it is difficult to view both directly as they are piercingly brilliant and vanquish all darkness around them.

Many individuals find comfort in being the shadow, believing in their hearts that their Shadow_Loveefforts are noble, and hence, their salvation secure.  As with any and most conventions, however, the genuine truth lies somewhere beneath the surface and beyond the image.  Artificial light is precisely that; not real and only reflective of true light.

“What, then, is true light?  It begins with pure intent and robust knowledge, and is complemented with action.”

It is a fervent desire to learn as much as possible about God, the Trinity, and perhaps most practical, how to apply that knowledge to everyday life.  Amazingly, it is the resulting change in us as human beings, once affected by God’s love.  Bottom line, it is the ability to positively impact those around us by sharing our thoughts, words, lives and actions (key word; action).

Easter_CrucifixI’d like to profoundly modify the historic quote by Lao Tzu from “To Know and Not Do is to Not Know”, to “To Know God and Not Do is to Not Know God”.  As spiritual beings, we are compelled by our heritage to “Do” the work of God and not simply know about it.  To Do God’s work inherently enlightens us as Christians and positively impacts those around us with whom we have contact and interaction.

Importantly, there is a distinct and meaningful difference between being the shadow and being the light.  If we were made to live and walk in God’s image, then it is incumbent upon us to strive to become the light and not be content to be merely the shadow.

The Light is warmth, peace, illumination, clarity, awareness, calm, joy, beauty and confirmation.  Most of all, it is Love.  It is the presence of all that is good and righteous.  Be the Light, become eternal and dare I say, become Inspired!

The Greatest Gift


Life is truly like winning the lottery.  So, why then, aren’t more people Happy?

The answer lies in a complex word called “Perspective”.  Each of us enjoys life to the degree we perceive it to be.

“It’s about the Attitude we carry, the Optimism in our Heart and the Outlook in our vision.”

We are indeed, as Happy as we empower ourselves to be.  Collectively, Life reflects our Soul.

Think well, Act well, Visualize well, Live well, Be well.

Embrace_the_Light

 

Human Life – The White Noise of Consciousness


spiritmerkabahI’ve always appreciated the importance of perspective and context as they relate to analysis, problem solving and yes, even brainstorming.  Likewise, I believe that human life is perfectly captioned via the well-known label of “Intelligent Design”.

There is a healthy and welcomed balance of sorts when the two words are paired together to represent the ultimate “body of knowledge” about life, thought, universe, origin, purpose and journey.

But, what exactly is human life, in a grand sense of being?  As an understatement, it is an experience.  It is a lesson to be learned in preparation of eternal life.  A “hands-on”, fully immersed “test drive” of the beauty, magnificence and peaceful existence in our dreams; or more aptly of our Destiny.

As a microscope divulges the intricacies of the physical aspect of human life, a seemingly static and solid piece Omega_Watch_Gearsof carbon (our body) becomes a teeming, complex and multi-dimensional mystery (key aspect – multi-dimensional).  And so in a parallel thought sequence, when placing the construct of consciousness “under the microscope”, we find among human life, eternal salvation, esoteric relationships, universal truth and purpose of being; most assuredly and magnificently, our creator.

“Human life is but a microscopic taste of consciousness as a single cell represents our physical body.”  

To be able to understand true consciousness via our present knowledge of human life and physiology is akin to being able to visualize the Mosaic_Mona_LisaMona Lisa from seeing one pixel of a 900,000,000,000,000 (trillion) piece mosaic.  Infinitesimal at best; purely impossible considering our current sense of reality.

As you routinely listen to the radio or a music CD in your car and acknowledge, but “tune out” the exterior road, weather and man-made sounds as you drive/travel, so in the larger sphere of our existence, human Life is the “White Noise” of Consciousness.

The key point is to not need to understand, but simply to acknowledge the relationship as Real, and to subsequently solidify your faith with it, draw the conclusion that God is equally ever so Real, and finally, to make the commitment to live your human life focused on preparing yourself for that eternity called consciousness.

If you’ve ever experienced and/or witnessed the birth of a baby or even simply admired a newborn infant in your arms, try convincing yourself that this creation was a “random organization of cells” or an evolutionary “skill”.  Without question, it is the most convincing and perfect evidence of Intelligent Design and Grace with which you will ever be Blessed and have the privilege to behold; period.

Be true to yourself and most importantly, be well.

Capturing Emotion Through the Camouflage of Life


The simply amazing dichotomy of existence within the human race is reflected in the superlative similarity of each of us as “organisms”, contrasted with the magnificent uniqueness and singularity of spirit within each of us.  Simply put, as common as we are visually, we are uncommonly special within our mind and soul.

The trillions of life experiences, interactions, information, emotions, Brain_Logicrelationships, preferences, opinions, behaviors and habits have molded each of us as a vessel created by a potter.  Importantly, our essence ultimately becomes what we think, dream and hope; and fear.

Of all the emotions along the spectrum of life, Love and Hate rise above all others in amplitude, intensity, impact and consequence.  Recognizing and observing emotions, however, can be anything but straightforward or sequential.

Tears_of_JoyA smile, in reality, can be intense dislike; tears can be the touchstones of happiness; calm can be the quiet before the storm or specifically, a twister roaring across the valley.  You see, even though we are relatively simple and physically organic beings, we are likewise, complex, intelligent, multi-dimensional nerve-bound sensory spirits.

At our best, or perhaps at our worst, we can possess and exhibit multiple emotions simultaneously, potentially resulting in others receiving mixed or confusing “signals” and us likewise experiencing a primordial concoction of emotions.

The lessons to be learned in the midst of emotional “warfare” that we affectionately refer to as Life are postermany.  Compassion for others reigns supreme, followed closely by listening without filters (judgment), humility in thought/reaction, and finding and expressing empathy for each other.

The world will become a kinder and gentler place when we can focus on and master these four fundamental disciplines of life.  Indeed, we will become more human than we ever thought possible or could have dreamed.

Collectively, the human race will be elevated to a higher plane of existence.  Most notably, we will find ourselves closer to God.  Be well.

 

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Mind what Matters – The Metaphysical Me


library_photoIn the larger scheme of existence, the human race has collectively, nearly perfected the art of labeling, pigeon-holing, categorizing, describing, containing and visualizing “things”.  Expending considerable energy and resources, we create “Top Ten” lists, dictionaries, image databases, Guinness World Record books, “How-To” best sellers, encyclopedias and Secrets Revealed “Tell All’s”; yet we have largely escaped, perhaps intentionally avoided, defining ourselves in terms of individuality, spirit, essence, journey and Purpose, in fear of learning who we truly are and why we exist.

We dance completely around the most important aspects of life and spend the bulk of it as slaves to a master, perfecting the distractions, because we are ever so good at allowing ourselves to be fooled into worshiping False Gods, to be more concerned with what everyone else thinks of us, all the while paying little attention to the voice and moral compass buried deep within our souls, that is the whisper of God and is revealed to us as our conscience.

Above_the_CloudsPersonally, the past seven years of my life has been an odyssey of paramount awakening, laced with purpose.  I have been presented with opportunities, challenges, revelations, choices and lessons in life to be learned and applied as is a brush to be used to paint a story or picture.  Digesting, interpreting and implementing the totality of this assimilated information has been at times confusing, frustrating and emotionally draining, yet I persevere…  BECAUSE I SENSE THE ENORMITY AND CONSEQUENCE OF THE JOURNEY.

To distill this epic tale into something of focus and comprehension, it is this: Let No-One or No Thing define your spirit, self or life.  Refuse to be limited by the boundaries of others perceptions, yet strive to become aware of your own focus and limits.  Express your innermost Personality, Character and Essence to others and recognize everyone influences and are influenced by each other.  We are indeed a web of humanity.  Use your faith and moral conviction as a magnetic compass to lead you down the path of your life.  Speak to God as you converse with a friend and recognize that He is all you need to survive, learn and flourish as a a human being.

Christ-the-Redeemer-overlooking-Rio-De-JaneiroWe are absolutely on this planet to acknowledge, accept and execute a Divine Purpose and fulfill a likewise Divine Plan.  This plan is revealed during our existence like the stone prior to being chiseled into the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Each of our souls (lives) are perfect works of creation that are transformed by us for others to discover the beauty that radiates within.  Be well.

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