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Echoes of Life – A Melody In The Making


Self_ImageAdmittedly, the vast majority of our life is unavoidably spent focusing inwardly, as we plan, perform, procrastinate and hopefully, pray.  Reflection, however, can be an amazingly powerful and insightful activity to spur personal growth, if revisited on a frequent and regular basis; and if conducted in an authentic and candid fashion.  It provides that “out of body” experience which enables us to see ourselves in the 3rd person, from the outside looking in.

“Just as you utilize and reference a map during a long trip; first, to plan your way and then, to monitor your travels toward your destination of choice, the “art” of reflection can serve as a life echo, if you will, a sounding board, which will, when attended, reveal much about who you are at this instant, as well as who you were yesterday, last year, as a child… and most importantly, who you are becoming and will be tomorrow, next year and ultimately, when your horizon meets the sky.”

To be sure, reflection has the potential to be painful, yet equally, it can be breathtaking, refreshing, satisfying and revealing; if we have the Destiny_1courage to send out that call and then, wait for the echoes of our life to speak to us and reveal who we truly are; at the spiritual level.

Reflection is a pervasive thing in our world.  We keep track of the score in sports, our bank account, the gas in our vehicles, the clothes in our closets, the color of our hair.  We are obsessed with constantly working to improve our (physical/mortal) self, while primarily paying lip service to our spiritual life and soul.  Even more ironic, is the realization that our soul is eternal, whereas our human lives are temporary.  One would think our priorities should be reversed, yes?

And this is precisely where reflection can aid us in correctly setting those priorities.  Just keep in mind, it won’t always be pleasant because we are imperfect beings.  However, we are immortal souls and reality founded in faith is the medicine we need to survive post-death.  Yes, forever is a long, long, long time.   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin stated it best, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”.

compass_mapTake the time to plan for reflection in your life.  It may seem unnecessary, perhaps even a bit dry, however, if it is, then so is your life.  The benefits far outweigh the time spent.  Your spiritual self will thank you; anxiety, worry and stress will flee your mind like leaves blowing in a strong fall wind.  You will love yourself more, respect others more, know yourself better.  Great medicine, if we will only be brave enough to take it.

Remember, Without Winter, there can be no Spring.  Be well.

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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If My Soul Could Speak


Gary Alan Nelson

Gary Alan Nelson

In the whispers of majestic White Pine trees as brisk gusts of wind caress their soft needles, one can hear the breath of a baby, the admonition of an elder, and even the sails of a schooner on the open sea.  Indeed, we utilize our imagination in many ways, yet when presented situations like this, rarely do we explain what we hear as imaginary.

Our senses translate and perceive what we hear as Real, moreover, as Meaningful.  When one believes there are no coincidences in life, such as this writer, many occurrences and experiences in life hold special, specific or significant meaning and can be associated with events of our past, symbols of our future and warnings of potential danger ahead.

Imagine, then, what one might hear if my soul could speak!  It may tell of faded memories of family who’ve passed on, or fears of my childhood, or the dreams of a righteous father for his children.  Without question, however, my soul would speak of Truth, of Gratitude, of Humility and Perseverance of Faith.  And it would definitely speak of the Glory of God and the unimaginable beauty, peace and love of something known only as heaven.

My soul, you see, is my conscience that guides my thoughts and actions, that inner voice that

Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

reminds me of the “right” things to do.  It is my “true north” as I travel through life, it is the supportive embrace that comforts me in times of need.  Most importantly, it is my Voice to the world by my actions, interactions, intentions, hopes and dreams.  It defines me to others and protects me as I journey toward eternity.

“My soul is the essence of Who I am, how I think, what I believe and the “rules” I follow as I grow throughout my earthly life and existence.  It is my reference point for every thought I create, my cookbook for this recipe called humanity.  As you’ve undoubtedly read and heard many times, my soul is my Alpha and Omega, my personal universe.  And ultimately, my soul is what remains when my physical vessel can pulse no more.”

I believe the soul is inextricably connected to our physical bodies until that moment of separation that occurs throughout the death process.  The soul is pure energy that is encapsulated within our bodies and then peels away and vaporizes into yet another form of energy as our spirit lives on at death.

Death_Ascension_Spirit

Spirit and Soul

You see, I’ve witnessed first hand and experienced so many occurrences and situations that I simply could not logically explain, other than being the direct result of some divine intervention, whether a guardian angel’s influence or perhaps the actual embrace of God upon my life.  Experiences that resonate of goodness and godliness, that indelibly mark my soul as witness and testimony to the “Truth”.

So, in the whispers of majestic White Pine trees as brisk gusts of wind caress their soft needles, listen attentively and you will hear the drama, joy and deliverance of your life, and perhaps others lives.  And make no mistake, it is anything but your imagination at work, but rather, the voices of angels and divine feedback from numerous dimensions of magnitude above what we know as human life.

In those moments of truth, make sure you search for the essence of your being, the path you are travelling and the destination at which your physical life will ultimately arrive.  I ask that age-old and classic, yet oh so relevant of questions…..  WHO ARE YOU?

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.

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

 

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.

 

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.

Learning to See with your Heart and Feel with your Soul


Costanza

Jason Alexander

George Costanza of Seinfeld (Jason Alexander) had an epiphany in one episode where he brilliantly realized that everything in his life would be made right if he simply did the “opposite” of what his initial thoughts were.

Subsequently instead of answering “no” to someone’s question, he would answer in the affirmative; instead of deciding not to go somewhere, he would choose the opposite, and go.  And although that was merely a story line and fiction, it is conceptually thought-provoking and intriguing.

sandy-hook-cemetery_465

Sandy Hook Cemetery

In a few, critical aspects of our lives, George can be that role model for us.  In the most profound way, it applies to how we perceive our world.  Specifically, when we observe events, people and situations, when bad things occur, many times, our initial reaction and thoughts gravitate toward “why is the world so full of apathy, hatred and violence?”.

Case in point, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy, where an autistic young man with a personality disorder, used his mother’s unsecured firearms to take the lives of 20 children and 6 adults prior to ultimately ending his own.

In Truth, these conditions indeed exist, however, on the surface, not as the result of the Catholicpresence of emotions and actions, but rather, as the direct result of the absence of God and His spirit.  And so it is with many situations in life, i.e., domestic violence, divorce, abusive relationships, juvenile crime, civil unrest, bullying, etc.  Taking that unconventional “out of the box” approach, many of the scourges of life, society and culture can be considered the outcome of an absence rather than a presence of factors.

The invitation and presence of God in our lives manifests itself in the form of human beings with self-esteem and respect, humility, faith, love, positive attitude and sound family and friend support systems.

In reference to a previous post on this site, Seeing is really not believing, but rather, Believing causes us to See in an unique manner.  In many respects, we have it backwards from a cause and effect perspective.  We have effectively pushed God out of our schools, government and public places and then in the same thought sequence or breath, fail to comprehend why violence, hatred, crime and immorality are increasing at alarming rates in our society.  It is as if we have become blinded by the negative to such a degree we have voided any room in our minds to hold the positive, the religious, the just and the spiritual.

We have likewise traded worshiping God for the false gods of entertainment, flesh, technology, science and mind-altering substances.  Collectively, these addictions consume our being, slowly forcing out the one true and real God.  And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

I’ve always considered myself to be a sincere, positive and genuine person, so it is easy for me to make that cognitive and theological leap toward believing in God and that we truly see with our hearts and feel with our souls.  Our heart and soul is our GPS guidance and navigation system to life and living, and people that have reached and accepted that conclusion are the happiest and most peaceful and content people I have ever met or interacted with during my lifetime.

In closing this thought, our challenge is to humbly acknowledge that our lives are meaningless without God in them, to guide, console, spiritually nurture, learn, grow as human beings and most importantly, Love.  Love is the ultimate energy force in the universe.  Nothing less will be acceptable if we are to be successful in slowing down and eventually reversing the alarming, dangerous and devastating trends in our existence.

“We live by faith, not by sight.” -2 Corinthians 5:7

God bless us all.  Be well.

In the Spirit of Christmas


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

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

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

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

So in that Spirit, I wish you ….Merry_Christmas

 

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