Golden Years

smiley-face-2Just another traveler on life’s highway, hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet, it’s peaceful; beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.

 

Living in the “golden years”  is not what the 30 year-old version of me envisioned in 1977.  I blame no one other than me for the money I blew on shiny new cars, the time I wasted sitting on a bar stool, and the relationships I trashed in pursuit of good times.  Forty years ago I had the rest of my life to create a retirement stash, to find that perfect profession, and to settle down with a compatible mate.  So much for dreaming the dream because that’s all it was.  Just a pipe dream with no foundation.

Through the grace of sustained sobriety I have reconciled all of that and no longer beat myself up over missed opportunities.  Hopefully, I have gained a wealth of wisdom and acceptance in building a foundation.  But, the fact remains that these “golden years” are a day-to-day struggle and a challenge to survive on minimal financial resources.

Thank God the spiritual resources have kicked in to give me unbounding faith in God’s goodness and provision.  In retrospect I know for a fact that every one of my needs has always been fulfilled and most of my wants have also.  But, this old man standing by the sea of life watching the trappings of affluence and properity pass by is a daily reminder that somehow I have missed the worldly boat.  That gives me a choice: 1) I can stand on the dock patiently waiting for my ship to come in or, 2) I can grab the oars and start rowing my own boat.  Very simple solution, don’t you think?

And I don’t have to do this by myself.  Spiritual blessings are built on a recovery fellowship, on the concept of giving and receiving, and on the readings of ancient scriptures.  In the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching:

“The Tao is like a well:  used but never used up……empty yet infinitely capable.  The more you use it, the more it produces.”

In Christian scripture Jesus said in Matthew 6:

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them……take no thought saying, What shall we eat?  or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed?…For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things….

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  

The earthly paths of Jesus and the Buddha exemplify the kingdom and teach me the righteousness to seek.  That righteousness is not a moral discipline; rather, it is a way of living which honors and upholds the rights of all  creation.  Both the “Path” of the Buddha and the “Way” of Jesus trust in the mercy and goodness of humanity to meet the physical needs of their temples.  They depended on the promises of a Sovereign Being to feed them spiritually and lead them to a resurrected life in the realm of the Spirit.  They taught me that when the demands of self-awareness are subjugated to the promises of a higher power, the needs of this world become faint in comparison to the provisions afforded by faith and trust in the surrounding and indwelling Light.  I am, after all, a spirit housed in a temporal body.  This flesh which I carry is but a fleeting moment in the universal consciousness of eternal spirit.  I no longer chase after the lies of the “golden years” but, instead seek the golden nuggets of ancient wisdom and truth.

Survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting …. “🎭 Stoneman Douglas High School’s Drama Club …. ‘SHINE’ 🎭 …. “!!

Go to Dr. Horty’s site to view the video.  It is awesome.

 

It Is What It Is

Eagle3

Shooting Survivors Write and Perform Song
Survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High school shooting perform “Shine,” a song the school’s drama club wrote in the wake of the shooting.

GoldSwirl

The more I find out about these kids, the more impressed I am.

Multiply that by such a number and imagine how many amazing kids are out there in harm’s way.

Never thought of it this way.

The adults have dropped the ball.

It will be up to their generation to get this done correctly.

My support is with them all the way!

HortyRex©

GoldSwirl

🎶 You may have brought the dark 🎶
🎶 but together we will shine the light  🎶

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students give a moving performance of the song “Shine,” written by survivors Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña, at the end of CNN’s town hall.

EagleV

February 21, 2018

(11:30 PM0
Stoneman Douglas Drama Club…

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me, a thistle?

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”smiley 3

I am a thistle.  Most of you have seen me growing undisturbed in an abandoned farm field or along a country lane.  The neighboring farmer thinks I’m just another noxious weed needing to be destroyed, but, I know better.  Like the crops which he grows, I have a purpose in this life because I am part of God’s creation.  If you have ever observed me while in full bloom, you will see the multitude of bees, butterflies and birds that come to partake of my sweet nectar.  Additionally, the beauty of my purple blossom is beyond comparison in the places which I grace.  I am useful and I am beautiful.

My velvety leaves protect me from those who would try to uproot me and place me in another location.  My spiny leaf tips give notice to those who would prefer to see me elsewhere that I am just fine where I am growing.  I know my purpose in God’s grand plan and I am destined to fulfill that purpose exactly where I am placed.  As with my neighbor, the dandelion, many would rather see us eradicated than appreciate the beauty and sustenance inherent in us.  But, both of us are hardy and undeterred by man’s plan to eliminate us.  We will grow in places which orchids and tomatoes dare not consider.

Of course, I have been at times envious of the beauties growing in the farmer’s manicured vegetable garden and yard.  Who wouldn’t want to be the star attraction, the luscious orange carrot or red beet in the garden, the multi-colored petunia or geranium gracing the front yard?  We all, at one point, aspire to greater appreciation.  But, that chase is futile for a thistle can never be a tomato.  A thistle can only hope to be the best thistle ever to grow in God’s creation.  I’m OK with that.  Are you?

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Oprah

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”

namaste rainbowWhat thoughts come to your mind upon hearing “Oprah Winfrey”?

Class, grace, soul, empathy, justice, survivor, wealth, power, elegance, intelligence, creativity, renaissance?

Recently when visiting with Ellen, her response regarding a character-diminishing tweet from a political figure resulted in a mere shoulder shrug.  The world understood what she was saying and with that simple body language, Oprah positioned herself above the callous, uncivil, and immature tweet passing itself as political/social discourse.  She trumped her detractor with grace, elegance and non-engagement.

She has been quoted to say, “I try not to give power to negativity.”

In these tumultuous times, I need to heed Oprah’s wisdom.  I am the first one to jump feet first into a political foray.  That usually results in heated conversation which resolves nothing more than declaring them the “idiots” and me the “thinker”.  My mind wins the argument every time.  But, that victory comes with a price tag.  With each successive news story capturing my attention, the need to respond becomes an involuntary commitment to always be in “combat” mode.  It’s not a healthy mental nor physical condition to carry through out the day’s activity.  It colors every potential peaceful moment with anger and disgust.  I am giving power to all the world’s negativity even though I know this is not my God’s intention for my life.

The Buddhist tradition reminds us to find the quiet spaces within, to freely allow thoughts, positive and negative, to flow effortlessly into and out of our minds.  Do not resist any but, also,  do not dwell on any.  That is the power within which shapes our seconds, minutes, hours, days in this path called life.  It is my choice to surrender that power to negativity or goodness.

Certainly this does not dismiss us from the responsibilities of social justice for all mankind.  I have not been called to retreat to hillside caves on a Greek island, baking bread for the brothers and chanting verses throughout the day, although this is often an extremely beckoning option.  I know who I am today, I know what political action I will support, I know what my vote will be in upcoming elections, but learning to embrace Oprah’s advice will allow me to be “who I am” in a peaceful, self-empowering, soul-nurturing walk through life.

 

‘Thoughts and Prayers’ …. “😡 Every Time it Happens …. Over and Over and Over …. Blood Money 😡 …. “!!

via ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ …. “😡 Every Time it Happens …. Over and Over and Over …. Blood Money 😡 …. “!!

Shrove Tuesday

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”CANDLE

When I was a young boy, the house filled with the aroma of homemade donuts sizzling in a pan of hot fat on the day before Ash Wednesday.  We called them Fastnachts.  Nothing which Dunkin Donuts creates could ever compare to those pastry delights.  Our family was preparing for the six-week period ahead leading into Easter Sunday, the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection.  This time period, Lent, embraced a sincere endeavor to right the wrongs on our hearts and walk with Jesus to his death on Calvary.  Some families observed a weekly day of fasting during Lent.  Some eliminated a favorite pastime or a certain food as a means of sacrifice.

Shrove Tuesday is also observed as Fat Tuesday, Carnival, or Mardi Gras.  Over the past 500 years the call to be absolved of one’s sins on this day has evolved into a time of partying, drinking, and merry-making.  “Shrove” is the past tense of “shrive” meaning to confess one’s sins, repent and be absolved.  To me and my family it provided a path to clear our slates of wrongdoing and resentments within a corporate faith fellowship.  Personally it provided a time to carry a daily routine of prayer and forgiveness to an especially focused effort to take an inventory and cleanse the heart of wrongdoing.  We ultimately carry our crosses with Jesus through the season of the Lenten journey to a time of crucifixion of self, death of selfish motivation, and then spiritual renewal.

Contemporary Christianity seems often to be joyless and even dead because it has relinquished the joys of celebratory church observances to preach instead a Gospel which dwells on prosperous worldly achievement or social justice activism.  The “holidays” of the Church are meant to enrich the daily routine of our faith walk.  Jesus loved a party, a wedding, a time with friends.  I’m sure he would have appreciated a plate full of Fastnachts.  I know that today he shares our humanity, smiles and laughs when we do, celebrates when we celebrate.  That’s who he is.

 

Pope Paul VI

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”orange tree

 

“If you want peace, work for justice.”

 Pope Paul VI

 

As a precursor to thinking about world peace, it is necessary to recognize that governments and government agents cannot enforce peaceful co-existence.  Governments desire power above peace,  governments covet profits from its nation’s war machine and munitions industries above peace, and governments employ military might as an insurer of peace within its own borders at the expense of violent oppression elsewhere in the world.  The great Roman Empire was created on this principle.  The American experience also became an empire in this manner.  Peace on an international level is unattainable without the intervention of a supernatural mediator.

Perhaps that is what Pope Paul VI is inferring in this quote.  Wise men know that mankind is violent and warlike and that the governances created by man are equally so.  The peace envisioned is not going to happen in the halls of government but rather within the temples of man.  Man is a spiritual being housed in a physical body, his temple.  When that spirit is tuned in to a greater universal force, the process of peacemaking can begin.  It is a miracle of interior transformation which prepares each individual to journey to the destiny of enlightenment offered by his/her Creator.

The transforming process begins with a recognition of inherent ego and its continual demand to be self-satisfied.  Slowly ego is replaced by sacrifice and awareness of surrounding suffering.  The injustice of world systems becomes increasingly apparent as the individual reaches out to live in solidarity with all brothers and sisters, to seek justice for all people.  Justice mothers the driving desire to share resources equally, to treat others compassionately, and to extend peaceful co-existence to the entire creation.  Striving for universal justice becomes the life work which will usher peace into the worlds existing within the temples.  No government can deter or destroy that which dwells within.

 

don’t rain on my parade

GABBY'S PLACE

I love parades.  Macy’s, Veteran’s Day, Halloween, Rose Bowl…….hmmmmmm, I’m PENCEgoing to send an invitation to Mike Pence to be Grand Marshall .

Sir:

We would be honored to have you participate in the America we love;  a country which embraces all creeds, all races, all nationalities, and all lifestyles.

Sincerely yours,

Picture1.pngFAMILY9

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