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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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Beatitude of Gratitude – Every Moment of Being is a Gift


Paradox_of_TimeAs life is lived, we have been truly privileged to experience the gamut of beauty, emotion, happiness, contentment, fulfillment, peace, love; and equally sadness, darkness, anxiety, anguish, violence, turbulence, perhaps even abandonment and punishment.  Yet, at both ends of the spectrum, we are vastly better human beings as a result.

Life, if nothing else, is preparation for our continuing journey.  It is a learning experience, an opportunity to share ourselves with others and to receive love from others.  IT HAS PURPOSE.

Everything in life has a purpose.  It is profoundly our responsibility and obligation to search for the truth and purpose of our individual being.  It is our nature to pursue spiritual understanding and comprehension.  It is boldly, our destiny.

Why is it then, that we spend perhaps 95% or more of our daily breaths on things that, in the larger canvas of consciousness, are meaningless?  Have we become mere creatures of habit, unintelligent amoeba in the biology of our environment?  Are we simply Deathbedgoing through the motions?

We hear time after time after time again, from people on their deathbed, how they wished they had done all these other things (in life); not wishing what they would not have done…  they receive or experience that clarity of purpose, albeit and ironically, a bit too late.

“For men to cry, to admit defeat, to nurture and demonstrate their innermost emotions and feelings to and with others; that my friends, is to live.  To acknowledge our weaknesses, joy in our strengths, and commit with our entire being to seek improvement and understanding.  Society has all but taken control of our sense of what is and is not acceptable in behavior, and worse, in thought!”

Depp_QuoteIn a spiritual context, are you worth saving?   Well, are you?  More simply, are your sacrifices in this life worthy of eternal redemption?  Think hard and long before reaching a conclusion.

Judgment_Day_GateAnd what if the End of the World is today?  Have you and I earned salvation?  Have we atoned for our transgressions against God and our fellow human beings?  Is our life review a documentary or a horror story?  Will the judgment we receive be a just one?

Indeed, let us seriously and deliberately decide to live life with purpose, get serious about our faith and seek to understand, serve others and through the process, learn more about ourselves in an eternal perspective or context.  We seriously need to become better planners.

Look not to your habits, but to your Heart as a SILO (Sacrifice, Intent, Love, Obedience).  Refuse to become a “test case” for a lobotomy experiment.  Create a robust, meaningful and experiential existence… and then, share it with everyone you know.  Because, you and I are worth it.  Be well.

Open your mind, heed the words, lest not judge what we know not.  Only that it will BE.

 

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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.

 

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…

Related articles

Life – Express Yourself


Picasso_self_portrait_1907If you’ve ever taken the time to reflect upon your life and recount the memories of your lifetime, you might notice that the vast majority of those memories were created as expressions.  Expressions of emotion; love, warmth, caring, happiness, joy, gratitude, sharing.  And to be sure, expressions of anger, guilt, regret, sadness, loss, abandonment, fear.

If we are to learn anything about life, observe and remember the elementary lesson of the magnet in science class; opposites attract. 

Together, these paradoxes of emotion ironically create the balance in each of our lives; balance that is necessary to maintain our sanity, to appreciate the good because of the bad, to create more happiness because of past sadness, to foster love because of the knowledge of the voided feelings in the absence of it.

Everything we do, manifests itself via expression.  We speak, we cry, we laugh and we sing.  We share a handshake with an old acquaintance, we smile when recounting the times we experienced with people in our past.

Indeed, to express ourselves is to experience the very essence of life.

If someone would ask you, what it felt like when you became a parent, chances are good you would have immediate recall of the elation, joy, newborn-baby-with-momhope and benevolence of that moment.  And sitting at the other end of the spectrum of life, each of us can surely and vividly recount the angst and despair of losing your parents, along with the eternal nothingness of emotion as if someone had just reached inside your chest and ripped out your heart.

Moving along the timeline of your life, remember the joy of riding your bike the first time without the training wheels?  Innocent happiness created as an expression of joy.  And then there is the feelings of tremendous and overwhelming gratitude when you realize how much your parents sacrificed in their lives, so that you could go to college, have a safe, pleasant and hopeful life as you grew up into adulthood.

Continuing on, recall the immense sense of accomplishment you experienced when you stepped across the threshold of the doorway of the first home you purchased or built.  The excitement and adrenaline rush of passion resulting from that “first kiss” with your wife or first girlfriend.  The peaceful and serene moments as you Fishing_Sunsetwatched in awe of a golden sunset, sitting on the rear deck of your boat, basking in the abundance of human nature, becoming one with earth’s elements; bonding with life itself.

Truly, life is but a collection of expressions.  Paramount, however, is the knowledge that we possess the power to create every single one of those expressions as a result of choice and free will.  I would be remiss as a Spiritual being to overlook the opportunity to remind everyone how crucially important it is to acknowledge this life as a gift to be cherished, fully and deliberately lived; and most importantly, expressed.

Be well.

Amid all that is considered acceptable and that which is not, pure expressions of emotion lie at the center of all we do.  Live life, don’t just watch it go by.

 

Do Not Disturb – I’m having an NLE (Near Life Experience)


living-life-to-the-fullestI want you to pause and seriously think about this question…  How do you know you are alive?  Well?

The first thing you must do to attempt to answer the question is define and understand what it means to be “alive”.

Does it mean to simply breathe?  or perhaps, to be able to use any of your five (5) basic senses, i.e., see, smell, taste, touch, hear.  In my opinion, these things more accurately describe “existing”.

To be alive, or to live, involves purposely and deliberately using your senses to fulfill or work toward an “end” or objective.  So, it begs the question, “What is your purpose in life?”

[Meaningful Sidebar: If you are curious about how technology has and does impact our lives, go to Google and perform an image search using the word “living”.  You will be astounded by what you find; at least I was.  The vast majority of images returned were absent something very, very important.  You’ll know what that “something” is when you see the results.  If not, you had better pinch yourself to see if you are indeed, alive.]

So many of us are NOT authentically living, but merely existing, from day to day as we have become entombed in a routine we earthwormmistakenly identify as “life” or “living”, when in reality, it is merely existing, as an earthworm in the dirt or a African Violetflower in a garden.  To be sure, there is nothing wrong with earthworms or flowers, however, their level of consciousness and awareness are incomparable to the human being; or at least that was the “design” or “plan”.

“True living involves and requires passion for our behavior(s), compassion for other people and a true “plan” for our lives.”   

Why are we all here, anyway?  How far along the way are we to achieving or realizing our “plan”?  Conversely, how much time do we have “remaining” to accomplish that plan?  Have we already met and surpassed our Life Plan?  How are we supposed to “know” when we have “arrived”?

To be sure, these are all rhetorical questions, yet meaningful as they are, they cause us to think, wonder and perhaps even worry, about the significance of each of our lives.  Profoundly, that is a good thing for it causes us to Live!

I contend that if you believe your life has value, is meaningful, purposeful and significant, then it is incumbent upon you, upon each of us, to invest the necessary time and effort into searching our soul to truly identify and/or define, who we “are“, what we are “about” and why we are “here“.  And once our “values” are visibly discernible, it is subsequently our obligation to harmonize or align our thoughts, actions and behaviors with those values.  That, my friends, is Living.  I challenge you to work toward making every second of your existence a “Life Worth Living”.  Be well.

If you truly have a thirst for living, you will be blessed to witness what Randy Pausch has to say below about life and living:

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

One and Only – The Multi-Dimensional Me


Michael Cerkas High School Yearbook

When I was young, like many others, I was a dreamer.  A dreamer, not in the sense of fantasy, wild imagination or wishful thinking; a dreamer in the sense of bold empowering dreams, hallmarked with heroes, real people and jubilance.  I dreamed in terms of humanity, brotherhood, good will and magnificent outcomes… for the world and how I would be an integral part of it.  And these dreams began for me at six years old!

Now, many decades later, I still dream those dreams, concretely believing they will come to pass (in my lifetime), with the singular unknown being simply a matter of when those dreams will transform into reality and bring solace to a world so desperately in need and want of it.

Jesus Christ (Artists Rendition)

These dreams I speak of, originate deep within my mind and soul; striving to be, anxiously awaiting to morph into a living, breathing reality.  They are taking form, and truthfully, at times, scare the daylights out of me, inasmuch a biblical revelation must have equally jolted those whom lived during the Life of Jesus Christ, witnessing the miracle and salvational nature of his Life, first-hand in real time.

These dreams move me to describe myself in terms of multidimensional-being” in the hope of being better able to understand myself and likewise, better relate to other individuals.  And as much as I believe each of us are singularly unique children of God, on that same canvas being created with similar brushstrokes, we are similarly linked and defined by those dimensions.

Each of us exist in many dimensions of life and reality.  We are sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends, Christians, soldiers, leaders and students.  The development and self-recognition of these dimensions appear to accelerate as we grow and mature, and some serve to define our existence, perhaps even destiny, where others labor to mold us into our future selves, forging personality, durability, interest and temperament.

I am a son, a father, a husband and a brother, a student (of life), Christian, writer, manager, leader, analyst, neighbor and (hopefully) friend to many.  Each of these “Michaels” intertwine like a complex DNA strand to form the person that others recognize and know.  Each of the persons that have helped me to develop as a human being see or view me through the likewise unique filters that have formed as a result of each relationship and collective “museum” of interactions.  It’s almost as if the relationship itself is its own entity of life.

And then, further forging the spirit that is joyfully “me”, are the lifetime of experiences, actions, behaviors and acquired knowledge that serve as the trim on a car; indeed, quite a visual, yes?  Foremost, I seek to find the good in everyone I encounter, in the hope of encouragement, inspiration and personal development.  I am very mechanically inclined, logically oriented, mathematically gifted, enjoy sports and even more, appreciative of fine art, music, innovation and creative endeavors.  Oh yes, and my oh my, do I enjoy to write!

Perhaps the most crucial take-away from this conversation is the realization and acknowledgement that each of us as human beings are equally diverse, complex, gifted and unique.  Every single person on this planet that confines our physical being, possesses greatness across the fabric of our spirit, being and purpose.

That greatness is to be witnessed in awe, celebrated by all and pursued individually to grow, nurture and ultimately, leverage in this world to achieve outcomes characterized by ethical, moral and spiritual energy, commonly focused on the advancement and betterment of life for everyone, and paradoxically personal development and growth in wisdom.

So, the next time you encounter the opportunity to meet and/or converse with other people, regardless if they are friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or complete strangers; do so with the mindset of foremost appreciation, understanding, support, love and above all, compassion for each as the special Child of God and important, influencing human catalyst that they truly are.

As sophisticated as this world has become, there is certainly ample opportunity for distraction, obstacle and diversion to enter each of our lives.  The challenge and opportunity is to remain focused, disciplined and civil in the course of an increasingly complicated and at times, challenging world.

Be well and God bless.

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