Take Flight — a Memorial Day Reflection

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Dedicated to those who are here who can hear for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their fellows, their country, and principles for which this nation must still stand.

In the darkest nights of the soul the fuel for your Phoenix bubbles and boils around your spirit. From the ashes of some future ignition, burn, and flight, win or lose, you will rise again and be better than ever before; more capable in some way, known or unknown, to break through and see done what must be done as the reason for your being here. The darkest nights are never so dark as the dawn is light.

As the Marines say “pain is weakness leaving the body,” so the dark nights of the soul are selfishness of the past leaving the spirit, to be ignited in future service to those in need. These flammable drops may provide fires with which to liberate captives, empathize with and put sinners back on their feet, melt barbed wire, and elevate our human race just a little more before you die. No earthly reward could be better than simply completing our purposes for being. Each of us is given such a purpose, known or unknown, yet accessible more purely through standing again and believing.

The big picture is in our hearts, the sky within, from a vista point that can consider all people, all events, and all that must come with the indomitable commitment of a dedicated, singular spirit behind humble eyes, trafficking in the divine energy of love for all.

This Day, This Moment, The Right Thing Will be Done

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

Cycles surround us. Yet sometimes chaos forces us into fast waters, whipping us about like a leaf in a flash flood…

As when a close family member is hit by a car in a parking lot while walking into the grocery store. In a moment of chaos, of disordered mental and physical operations, a driver strikes down the man who raised you. And that man makes it, but his many decades mean he faces a big recovery challenge from that broken hip. And as his adult son or daughter, all of your plans change. Your duties call, honor calls, love grounds you. You turn to the task of caregiving, arranging, and spending some mind-body numbing hours on hard surfaces attending, watching, listening, and learning what is needed to prepare, transfer, and make in-home care a reality so this VIP of yours can get some sleep, recover faster, and be among loved ones. Here the stress adaptivity of your training is tested.

So it is with all of us. Our training lives morph into something completely different during this time. They move from a training life to a doing-life, as the physical things we do in caregiving become the top priority. This is not likely what we trained for in previous days, however, with a well-rounded training approach in more orderly times, the fringe benefits feed these unexpected efforts we face.

We work in sustaining intervals of what-exercise-we-can-get to sustain our ongoing effort: as when a simple swiss ball can help us redistribute life-giving blood, energy, electric signals, and physical force through out muscles, connections, and body in a small fitness room on the road to retrain ourselves from the sitting, leaning, and waiting of institutional buildings and unnatural light.

These can be the times that training comes to the front and stands by us when the chips are down. There is going to be a price for taking on duty. There usually is. That is the way the world works. Yet by decisively embracing it we may seize the purpose of our training lives on a different level of motivation and performance, where one real event and experience is not a training drill, but itself an opportunity to set new precedents and become open to new dimensions in our future goals.

Observing Cloud for Training Wisdom

1. Clouds change shape but keep moving, albeit sometimes very slowly. We can too. It is one of the qualities of adaptive training among crazy-busy pressures that would stress us into inactivity.

2. Clouds transport water, a resource to the lives of others. Training our bodies and minds builds physical courage that can support other acts of generous, giving courage.

3. An otherwise bright white cloud can have very dark, very water-dense little clouds nearby (see the banner). Suppose you are in one of those small, dark, water dense clouds. You’re likely to see all grey, all gloom, and feel all wet. Yes, until a beautiful, white sunlit cloud expands and engulfs you and you find that many of your problems were perceived right there within your own tiny individual cloud. You also realized how much water you have to give among others.

4. Clouds get out in the other elements, indeed, bring them together within themselves, contribute to them. So do we when we train, exercise, work, compete, and apply our physical training to something worthwhile.

5. Clouds make their own view by starting out light, rising, gathering, then supplying. A thunderstorm or snow storm is quite an exciting gathering, maybe even a competition, with lightening clashes, the refreshing ozone, and every gathered cloud a part in that great event. Gatherings of clouds bring out the best in each.

6. Clouds have training partners that truly inspire them with their energy, warmth, and mastery at conducting the weather as if it were a symphony orchestra: Mr. Sun and his band the Stars.

7. What shape will your training take today?

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Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

Snowflakes prove there is no perfect snowflake...

Is there a perfect snowflake?

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Or flower?

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IMG_1004Or is there a perfect child, or grandparent, or wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend?

There are so many good, for the good makes room for a small, small world of countless differences.

Perfection, philosophers assure us, is the enemy of the good. Yet it is good to excel. What do we excel toward? Perfection. Then how is perfection the enemy of the good again?

Because while we excel toward perfection, perfection is not the goal. Perfection is a divine gift, an ideal that British radar pioneer Robert Watson-Watt said, “never comes.” I believe he should have said, “..in this life,” but that’s quibbling with his context. Also, there is an exception to every rule, and perhaps an exception to that rule too.

Perfection evades our grasp as entropy dogs us, the unexpected delays us, or survival challenges tax us. Yes, attachment to this world seems to anchor us down, unable to fly up to havens of perfection.

All the dreams of perfection we want, such as immortality, eternal love, and inalienable acceptance are retirement benefits that vest only after our own personal work as the farmers of our souls and as helpers of our fellow farmers, is done. And the work is only done when we die, true? At the end of this life, everything takes extra work. Just ask those living into the golden years. Earthly retirement is not real retirement, for the work goes on!

Living and dying while struggling to excel in goodness-for-goodness-sake is the work of our lives that we can and must¬†excel at. Genuineness in this quest can’t be faked, and comes with letting go of desiring and grasping, yet receiving all blessings thankfully with hands that multiply and distribute them to others. Some call this renunciation of self, yet it is more. It is giving of self, enlarging one’s heart by letting go, and expanding in spiritual freedom and vitality by giving.

Death is retirement from this noble work in this life. Afterward, retirement benefits kick in, that is, the Divine Gift (some believe by other agencies) of immortality goes to those who farmed within their hearts the seeds of goodness. There is more wisdom in our entropic bodies than meets the eye, as they fertilize with humility the spiritual seeds for resurrection and eternal life awaiting the Sunrise. Eventually, the Harvester of growing crops comes and transplants them where all are nourished without eating, and there is no entropy or waste. People of love rise again and the Spirit says, “It’s all good.”

So let go of grasping for receiving, and grasp your partner to dance, or grab a hand and pull someone up who is down, or grab a rock and pull yourself up for a better view by which to navigate for a greater purpose and destination than temporary self satisfaction. We handle the good to give, not to keep, but to share and distribute once it has taught us what we are to learn on the day. We excel each time we do this. We plant new seeds and make our fields more fertile with humility each time we do this.

And how will we know when we are prepared enough? When we’re done. When our spirits have left our broken bodies. How does that all work? I believe we’ll find out. Until then, let’s help and inspire each other. Let’s imbue each other with value, making value, multiplying value, and giving the value of love and all of its goods to one another, and do so for our entire lives.