The End Game!

The Real Deal

None of us are likely to get out of this alive! The value of our lives certainly includes more than what we take…and finds us eternally attached to what we leave behind. In a time where personal expression is at an all-time premium, contributions to the greater good seem lost in translation.

The digital revolution has failed to connect us to the larger world and instead has made us more tribal. When we have to meet the criteria of sameness, to fit in, inclusion seems problematic. Deference is the thread that reveals our humanity.

Pain and suffering along with pleasure and euphoria shape the lens we look through…and sets the boundaries for the way we interpret life events. We want more or less of what we have already had.

If we haven’t changed a major position in our thinking in the last few years it might speak to the stagnation of our own growth. Speaking louder with increased emotion does not of itself indicate we have gained more clarity. I ask a simple question:

IS THE WORLD BETTER BECAUSE WE WERE IN IT?

Analytics

Self-evaluation offers the opportunity to legitimize authenticity. We are able to determine not only what we want but, why we want it. My desire to be “right” is not for dominance but rather for sharing. To actually cause more peace and harmony among my fellow sojourners.

As the push to make everyone identical increases in intensity I consider the loss of built-in beauty intentionally designed in our makeup. Life can be described as a floating mass of thoughts, unimportant until claimed. Once ownership of thoughts is harnessed an agenda gets established. Followers are secured when the cause is commercialized.

How we define ourselves is our path of destiny. Violence, force, and coercion are hopeless to bring us together. Blame lacks urgency and prevents us from being taken seriously. Heck, even we can’t take ourselves seriously when we know we aren’t being responsible for the attitudes we promote.

The Finished Product

Corruption is the thing we are all complicit in. Selfishness, greed, the compulsion to dominate still has no probability of making crooked systems straight. If we stay the course we are now on…what will change?

The deep-dive into the conflicts within offers the only hope for change we can believe in. The constructs of human frailty have sabotaged our highest potential. The need for less rhetoric and more substantive processes are in high demand. The killing of each other has never killed bad ideas.

As I get closer to the end of my life I’m more uncertain of the world my grandchildren will inherit than I was a decade ago. The atmosphere is charged with an uneasy, undetermined inevitability. As those who like to play god and those who like to hate god continue to duke-it-out in the streets I sense the denial of our best selves.

Only when we treat ourselves like we are someone we really care about will we be able to properly care for one another!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Honor Your Ashes!

Scorching your life offers nutrients not found in any other experience!

Sourced from: 3.bp.blogspot.com

I often hear great achievers talk about how they got to where they are. They relate methods for seizing your passion, empowering yourself with positive thinking, writing down your goals, and visualizing your dreams. Rarely are the back-stories presented in full disclosure. We routinely received the Readers’ Digest version.

While all success includes overcoming challenges and heralds dedication, determination, and a will to win we can benefit greatly from knowing more about the inner struggles. When we are offered the chance to follow an outline for triumph that doesn’t connect with the reality that we are living in its difficult to see desirable outcomes.

Occasionally, we get the deeper and more valuable storyline. The details of how beliefs of integral lack, feelings of not being good enough, and dealing with roots of unworthiness can address our most haunting questions. What we get from an open acknowledgment of personal failure is an invitation to move in closer. We rise inside, scoot to the edge of our seats, and brace for impact. We sense we are on the verge of a leap forward.

Fake Finality!

Every human being fails but, we do not all fail the same way. Failures get labeled because difference scares us. When we shut the door to learning by thinking we are always right and, only our way is the right way we bring a measure of finality that is unwarranted. We act out on an illusion; a type of fantasy that deceives us.

Only death concludes our participation in the ongoing saga of our lives. Until we take our final breath we retain the ability to write another chapter. To make our lives a celebration. To champion our intentions no matter how adversely they were hindered. All life experiences are a matter of interpretation.

The past has an overrated reputation and wields a mysterious kind of power. Through fear and manipulation, we succumb to directives of an imaginary nature. It’s easy to draw conclusions that either render us immobile or even drive us to retreat. I remind myself often that the past is less versatile than the present.

Perception is not reality but, what we perceive forms the reality we face. A closer look shows the past to have only two distinct potentials; the excuse for losing or the excuse for winning. It’s never too late to be what you were meant to be, to finish what you started, to start again, or to start for the first time.

“Don’t let the past be the imposter in your present.”

Grow From Within!

Failure Quote: Never confuse a single failure with a...

I scorched my life! I walk with a limp. And, I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t. Oh, I’m thankful, very thankful that not everyone makes the same mistakes as I have made. I failed morally, intellectually, spiritually, and just about any other way you can think of. But I refuse to let any of it have the final word.

The landscape of my personal relationships, business relationships, and even family have undergone significant changes. You have to surround yourself with people who want the best for you, who believe in your inherent value, who can visualize your rise from the ashes. Remember, some people are for a reason and some are for a season!

Failure isn’t a grade its a lesson. Using what has gone wrong to correct your life’s course is wisdom personified. Hiding from our pain, embarrassment, or fear leads to the loss of precious time, the only thing we can’t get back. I’m not proud of my mistakes. I’m proud of not letting them define me. The sweetest revenge is success!

Honor Your Ashes!

 

 

Misordered Priority of Function!

Finding Meaning

When it comes to defining meaning, there are more paths to explore than can ever be recorded on a map. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of ideas, opinions, and admonitions. The extremes might best be expressed by tribes or isolation. The vast majority seem to quietly search for a connection to something larger than themselves.

In a broad sense, I’ve come to realize how religious people really are. It doesn’t take God, in fact, God can be fundamentally left out, and religion can be highly active. All we really need is some beliefs, an attitude, and a determination to express our crafted ideology as the one to be elevated above all others.

One definition of religion is a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. 

We all engage in an endless process of interpretation. Everything that happens in life gets a label, a definition, and gets wrapped in some measure of emotion. Pain and dissatisfaction most often provide the framework for our expressions and explanations to what we’ve experienced in our lives. Anger can drive our operational theology and can be a powerful motivator. We’re generally deeply troubled by the ever-so-present hypocrisy of imperfect human beings. The problem this creates is that we can fail to acknowledge our own hypocrisy.

The short answer to why there are so many religions is that religion is man-made.

Everyone thinks they are right. I’m reminded of the song For What Its Worth by Buffalo Springfield. Here are some of the lyrics:

There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side

I recommend listening to the complete lyrics as I think they represent a clear picture of what we are participating in today.

External Fantasies

What we take in is what we give out. Looking down the road to what lies ahead is an art undeveloped. Troubled minds are not relieved by instant gratification. When individuality is sustained by selfishness and self-centered appetites, it’s difficult to believe in a shared utopia.

Even our politics are upstream of culture. As hard as it is to swallow all externals are a reflection of what’s inside of each of us. It’s a fallacy to believe inner peace is possible by forcing our will on other people. Any honest critique of society at large can only draw the conclusion that the equality being promoted today is a shuffling of the deck at best.

Taking away injustice from one group to give it to another group can hardly be considered progress. The real work lies inside of each of us. Hatred does not possess the ability to perfect anything. As powerful as anger can be it has a shelf-life and will expire before virtue is obtained.

The Fine Print

The best thing that ever happened to me was a colossal failure. One that broke my own heart and turned my attention away from the wrongs I suffered and helped me see the wrongs I had done to myself and others. It opened me up to a spirituality that went beyond my limited understanding of what is possible. I went from seeing barriers that I perceived as hindrances to awakening to the law of unlimited potential.

My doctrines of rigid adherence evolved to guiding principles of empathy, patience, and a willingness to work with strong differences. I learned to accept my humanity, my imperfections, and my hypocrisy. The gifts I have to offer don’t extend from intellectual supremacy, religious dogma, or any claim to unique enlightenment.

While God is my foundation, I have transformed my faith. I have come to embrace love as the final frontier, the predetermined priority of my life. If my strategies and methods of life fall short of love, my legacy will represent a destiny drowned in almost.

I have no illusions that my mission involves ridding the earth of debauchery, immorality, or anything I think is undesirable. It doesn’t mean I don’t participate in the processes of common sense. What it does mean is that I don’t pretend to do what only God can do. And, I’m not confused about our significantly different roles.

The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness!

My understanding affords me the privilege of knowing that crimes against humanity, sexual deviance, or any controversial topic you may choose do not represent the farthest distance one can travel away from God. The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness! If you don’t find forgiveness for others, you will not find it for yourself.

The priority of function calls each of us by name!

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Fools!

Historically, Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day has happened, on the same day, a number of times.

Perpetual

It’s a bit challenging to establish the origin of April Fools’ Day. Some think the holiday was first mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “Fish of April”), a possible reference to the holiday? There are too many possibilities to lists. We can agree it began somewhere and continues around the world in various forms. (Wikipedia)

Easter Sunday is much easier to nail down. It’s universally believed to be the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after His crucifixion. To some, this is the cornerstone of their faith. Other people find the notion disgusting and dismiss the very idea as a day for fools. Whatever position you hold, Easter began and continues around the world in various forms.

Egg On The Face

Pranks are coming! It’s just too irresistible…too invitational not to pull some shenanigans on the unsuspecting.  In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. Maybe, “Fake News” is simply an omission to say, April Fools.

The faith-based have their own challenges. The Easter story carries the dynamic of  God, defying natural law and clearly defines the Creator as supreme over the created. According to Jesus, all power in heaven and earth is His. And, He gives this power to His followers. Any Halleluja around impotence offers the skeptic all the fuel they need to scoff.

Funtimes

A few years ago I decided to prank my wife’s aunt. She is a rock…a matriarch in the family. This was at the time when the paternity of Anna Nicole’s baby was dominating the news cycle. When she answered the phone I said, aunt Freda, I’ve done something I need to confess to the family so, I decided to tell you first.

She said, OMG, what have you done? Just a minute, she replied. I’m on the other line and I will tell them I will call them back. I knew I had her. She was so concerned and willing to hear my confession. She clicked away and then came back on the line. Ok, she lamented, what have you done?

I said, aunt Freda, I’m the father of Anna Nicole’s baby. After a moment of silence, we both started laughing so hard neither of us could speak. I had to hand the phone to my wife who was standing next to me not knowing what I was up to. Even though she was laughing too she managed to say to her aunt, he’s a nut!

I’m a writer. I’m always aware of the need to show… not tell. As a person of faith, I’m also aware of the need to show…not tell. For years my life experiences didn’t match my beliefs. I fundamentally misunderstood the correlation between my mess and my message. I kept wisdom at bay by complicating the simplicity of truth.

Somewhat slowly, understanding emerged. My desire to experience good things, to benefit other people, to witness the power of virtue in action was frustrated by my theology, doctrines, and dogmas of judgment and condemnation. I was undeniably opposing my self. When I learned to accept what I needed most I also understood what others need most from me…

I’ve been able to convince myself…love never fails! It’s the antidote to the self-righteous and the haters. We can be very divided on how we define love but, when we meet it face to face it does its job. Love is the only way I know to not be an Easter Fool!

What do you think?

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Book

 

 

The Power of Sufficiency!

Compassion

I came running from the backyard when I heard the magical tune of the ice cream truck. I darted into the house to ask grandma for the money to buy an ice cream. I panicked when she said she didn’t have the nickel it cost. I paused, standing in place as my hopes melted.

ice cream truck

Image courtesy of flickr.com

I was five or six years old on that warm summer day. I slowly walked outside as the truck drove past my house. We lived on a dead end street so I knew it had to come back past me. I stood at the edge where our sidewalk met the pavement. Pitiful as I could be, tears streaming down my face. The young man driving the truck evidently couldn’t take my distraught demeanor so he stopped and gave me an ice cream for free.

The next day I was playing away when I heard that same sound. I jumped off the tire swing leaped up on the porch and yanked on the screen door slamming it into the wall as it swung open. I ran into the house to find grandma. I didn’t have a good handle on economics. I didn’t understand that our finances hadn’t changed since yesterday. I gasped as the air completely departed my lungs.

Wait! I cried my way into an ice cream yesterday. Maybe I can do it again. I put on my sad sack formal wear and assumed my post. I watched in anticipation as the truck turned around at the end of our road. Here he comes…I got my beg on. He acted like he didn’t see me. I think he even stepped on the gas as he went by. I’ve never forgotten the feelings I experienced on both of those days.

We were poor and I hated everything it represented. I have so many memories of being left out because we couldn’t afford this or that. I think in my own naive way I vowed to overcome monetary depravity. I didn’t want to ever feel those feelings again.

A Backward Glance

I ventured out into the world unprepared to succeed. My father and three stepfathers did little to move my ball down the court. Leaving home at fifteen to escape the violence and hatred did little to increase my stature. Even though I left prematurely I didn’t get out before some significant damage was done.

I looked back only to remind myself to keep going. I wished things were different but, it didn’t take long to learn that wishful thinking wasn’t the mother of invention. I appreciated the free ice cream I got that day but I wanted to be able to pay for ice cream whenever I got the urge.

Steady As She Goes

When I got married and had a couple of kids my financial forecast was bleak at best. I wanted a family…the family I never had. I also wanted to give my kids a better life…a better childhood than I’d had. I didn’t have a very good plan or strategy to make a better life but, what I did have was the intention to do so.

perfect storm comons.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Shame is a terrible weight to carry and I was loaded with it. Before I knew what my issues were I added on layers of responsibilities. Life is full of good intentions that never get followed through on. I had the makings of a perfect storm.

I tried one thing after another. Seeking. Searching. Trying to make it all happen. Oftentimes my only fuel was the necessity of those depending on me. I simply had to keep going. There was so much I immediately improved. And, there were fierce repetitions from adolescence at work that I didn’t even know were there.

The refusal to give up eventually brought about opportunities. The kind of monumental moments that change your trajectory. Things began to work out that wasn’t connected to any well-planned scheme. They happened solely because I kept looking, pushing, believing I could make life worth living.

Never Give Up

Back in the 90’s I built a  multi-million dollar insurance agency. The residual income should have lasted me for the rest of my life. For a while, it looked like I had set us up for good. Through some mergers and shifty corporate shenanigans, it evaporated overnight. Gone with a thirty-day notice.

I don’t like to be violated, who does? I don’t know how to warm up to rejection. What I do know is that disappointment is never unemployed. It’s almost like some people feel it’s required of them to do you wrong and do so blaming you for their unacceptable behavior. I’ve had the bitter experience of disappointing myself more deeply than anyone else has. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

Callenge yourself Air Mobility Command

Image courtesy of Air Mobility Command

When you peer past the obvious there remains a subtle truth: If you made it once you can make it again! If you’ve yet to experience that one big break the only reason…the only reason you’re thinking about it is that it’s within you…within your reach.

In a world filled with corruption, polarization, and the hollowness of the world wide web we have a standing invitation to make things better for ourselves and those we come in contact with. The age of entitlement is half right. We are each entitled to our dreams and to what we can achieve. But, if we define success by what is given to us we can never be free. We cannot know what we are capable of and we will never know who we are.

I learned something about compassion the day that young man stopped and gave me an ice cream. I learned something even more important the very next day when he didn’t stop… when he didn’t even look my way, I learned the power of sufficiency!

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

The Vision Trip!

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!” ~ Pablo Picasso

DESIRE

Eyes, please open. I really want to see. So many times I just haven’t been able to see clearly. With invisible blinders clarity resists. The craving for understanding growls like an unsatisfied tapeworm pushing me to keep believing in what is not yet revealed. How do we even know intuition will produce something tangible?

wild horse by Torbakhopper on flickr

Image courtesy of Torbakhopper via flickr.com

Believing has the companionship of reality or delusion. When hope begins to materialize it’s akin to a freshly prescribed pair of glasses. Antiquated thought restrictions loosen their grip. Liberty announces it’s presence. It’s the opposite of receiving a new package in the mail. It turns out that what we want is inside of us. And, has been all along.

QUESTIONS

I’ve heard it said many times; “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.” I have sat through Q & A sessions where that theory could easily be challenged. Leading questions. Open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions. Popular questions. Unlikely questions. Reflective and hypothetical questions, Questions you wished you hadn’t asked and, questions you wished you had.

Inquiring minds are aroused, negatively and positively at the introduction of both familiar and unfamiliar ideas. The perceived answers we cling to are only as good as the questions we ask. Experience, human interactions, and various forms of language often offer opportunities to form more questions.

mindful ForbesOste on flickr

Image courtesy of ForbesOste via flickr.com

 

Thoughts structure the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual house we live in. To add on to our dwelling science/psychology explains, in order to change we must create new memories inside old ones. I discovered a principle that changed the trajectory of my life. It’s this, new answers require new questions. Ask the same question and you are likely to get the same answer.

RESISTANCE 

The technical term for the fear of change is Metathesiophobia. It’s a real thing. And, it is common enough to be recognized as a conditioning of vast segments of populations, cultures, and societies. Fear immobilizes us from taking any steps forward. Convincing us that it’s protecting us and providing security wherever we happen to be.

The admission that we are looking for something beyond what we are currently functioning in, ought to serve as an invitation, to be more open to greater understanding. Avoiding facing the tougher, more thought out, and demanding questions locks the door to growth. We feel trapped.

The temptation to double down where we are is difficult to resist. Changing our belief system, methods of operating, and familiar habits simply to say, we have changed, without the benefit of standing on higher ground, can be futile. Fear can reinvent itself without changing its core.

FREEDOM

Trending philosophies can harness a collective momentum that seems liberating until the net closes. Leaving us ensnared in an intricate woven tapestry that uses us for decorations, memorializing what could have been. Too many things appear virtuous until their deficits are unmasked.

Progress is a funny thing. Forward for some… backward for others. Is right and wrong really that controversial? While I am fascinated with how people come to opposite conclusions when considering the same information I am unwilling to switch my position until I can determine the end result of doing so.

Trip by J Sounder on flickr

Image courtesy of J Sonder via flickr.com

In an ever-changing world where mixed messages remain constant, I think it’s important to find resolve. Somethings are very knowable. For instance, what determines the value of anger is whether it’s attached to hurt or healing. We can ascertain the message of pain by whether or not we turn it into passivity or purpose. Our intention is decided by our altruistic or egoistic contributions.

Everybody is on a vision trip!

What do you see on your trip?

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Book

TV Show: “Rick on Life” http://www.TLBTV.com

Email: rickonlife@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

MATTERS OF FACT!

Love, as a necessary construct is missing. When I observe society and consider our present state of affairs I find that many of our social ills are the direct result of a lack of love. Our politics and policies would look very different if we insisted on compassion and empathy as the framework for governance.

Liberals and conservatives occupy the landscape like they are the only choices we have available. These two predominant points of view, in their present makeup, fail to accurately present the growing concerns of the vast majority of our population. As awareness, of the deep departure from the principles of our founding, matures, more and more people are wanting to return to our roots.

As diversity is touted as the pinnacle of enlightenment we discover that “political correctness” has only camouflaged the corruption of special interests. Back-room deals, constitutional ignorance, and an out of control elite class has run our country off course. There’s a rising mandate to recover from years of dysfunction and abuse of power.

We’re living in an echo chamber where we have been trading deficits with imaginary progress. We have sliced and diced our way into divisions and clicks that can only be described as mass detachment from reality. We have erected totems that represent attitudes of self-centeredness and selfish thinking that epitomizes the worst of humanity. For all of our accumulated knowledge, we lack the basic restraints needed for recognizing the unalienable rights of every living person.

It’s time to … 

I’m not inviting or encouraging nullifying any genuine progress that is universally beneficial, without violation, and non-threatening. I am advocating for authentic and transparent leadership, accountability to our oaths, and a willingness to respect our principles as we heal ourselves from the wounds of manipulation. I’m promoting personal responsibility as the means to charter chaotic waters. I’m saying we have not yet found our best selves.

The acknowledgment that what we’re doing isn’t working as a society is the beginning of our rebirth. What lies ahead is alterable. Personalities that provide lip service and false promises are losing their grip on our people. More and more rhetoric is being dissected and schemes to strip us of our power is being uncovered. A return to love affords us the opportunities we need to correct our path.

I’m excited and filled with hope for the future before us. I believe in our ability to regain our destiny. As we face our challenges we do so with the determination that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is still a possibility for all of us. We have a lot of work to do but, the work has already begun. Let us not grow weary in the worthy endeavor of triumphing over times of prevailing corruption.

http://www.TLBTV.com

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Blog

Book

Email: rickonlife@gmail.com