last chance saloon

old codgerAha!  Got your attention, didn’t I?  You thought we were going to talk about honky-tonks, bar rooms, whiskey swigging and loose living, didn’t you?  Well, sorry to disappoint.

Today, we will talk about last chances.  Life has no guarantees.  That new hobby you have been wanting to pursue?  That lunch with a dear friend whom you have not seen in months?  Or taking the grandkids to Disney World, but delaying it until tomorrow because of “pressing responsibilities” at home or at work?  My friends, do it now.  You may not have a tomorrow.

DO IT NOW!  Grab that paint brush and create your masterpiece on the blank canvas waiting on the easel.  Make a phone call and a lunch date.  Do something that will become a great memory with family or friends.  All we have is now, this moment.  Make the most of it and decide what in this life is truly important.  A quiet time in your rose garden or washing the windows?  A walk in the woods or attending that dreaded county commissioners’ meeting?  Writing a beautiful poem or writing your legislators?

As much as you and I would like to believe the world needs us for its survival, it does not.  The world around us will continue.  It will continue in its madness and it will be unconcerned as to whether we missed the last chance to create beauty and joy in our lives and the lives of others.

Last chances untaken become missed opportunities.  The past is littered with regret over the things we should have done but “didn’t have the time” or “waited until tomorrow”  to do.  Smell a rose, paint a picture, write that poem.  The world may not care but you and I  will be richly blessed.

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why am I here?

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I came into this world not chiefly to make a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.  

HENRY DAVID THOREAU from Walden

We must have bad in order to have good.  We must have darkness to have light, ugliness to have beauty, injustice to have justice, sadness to have joy, despair to have hope, hatred to have love, injury to have forgiveness.  Choose to live life in acceptance of all of it – good and bad.  Making this world a better place to live happens when we serenely accept life on life’s terms.

Grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change, courage to change that which I should change and the wisdom to know the difference.

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DC shenanigans

ratLiving on planet earth makes it difficult to avoid the continual stream of bull crap coming out of that humming nest of discontent called Washington, D.C.  It stinks up our air waves, phone screens, civic meetings, and neighborhood chit-chats.  It presents itself as material of utmost importance even though most of it is nothing more than glorified, recycled, regurgitated, repurposed manure fit only for its final repose on the compost pile.  Unfortunately, even the worms and maggots (read between the lines and use whichever news services you find offensive) find difficulty digesting what is being presented as newsworthy and consequential.  And yet, we gorge on it like pigs at a feeding trough.  Yeah, me too.  Guilty as charged.

We, you and I, need to grow a pair.  You heard me right.  We (women included) need to show our cojones and refuse to allow this chapter of historical malcontent so much space in our brains.  It is, after all, just a brief blip on the radar screen in the history of mankind, just a grain of sand on the beach of humanity, just a fleeting moment in the nefarious schemes of world governments.  Is it worth the sleepless nights, the headaches, the heartburn, the ulcers, the broken relationships and the emotional anguish?  Is it?

I don’t know about you, but my time is more valuable.  I know what my political philosophy is, I know my priorities in relation to fellow man, I know whom I will vote for in our upcoming primary election and I definitely know whom I will not vote for in the 2020 general election in November.  It’s a settled, done deal.  Can’t get any easier than that.  There is no need to spend endless hours analyzing the talking heads on TV or wasting precious moments arguing with neighbors and friends who think my brand of politics is lunacy.

For me it’s all about time and how I choose to use it.  It’s about mental space and whether I choose to abuse it.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed and I will be seriously pissed off if I have spent my last day on earth fussing and fuming about a bunch of nincompoops sitting in the halls of government with their heads up their nether regions.  I am worthy of a more substantial, fulfilling day than that.  How about you?

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winning – what’s the cost?

I can no longer walk a 5 mile circuit in the woods as I did just 2 years ago; however, I do my best to get out every day for a few laps at a county park which hosts little league soccer on its beautifully manicured fields.  The fields are a gorgeous green in mid-January (it is Florida, you know), the tall pines frame a bright blue sky and today is was a pleasant 70 degrees with a balmy breeze.

A sign posted on one of the fields reads as follows:

A MESSAGE FROM THE KIDS

we are kids
it’s just a game
our coaches are volunteers
the referees are human
no one playing today will win a college scholarship
no smoking
no dogs on the field

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Who posted this sign and what was the need?  The kids are gathering for fresh air, exercise and a friendly game of soccer with other same-aged kids.  Has someone standing on the sidelines forgotten that they have come to watch kids kick a ball around a soccer field?  Parents, maybe?  Are over-zealous moms and dads projecting onto their children the same set of priorities with which they structure their lives?

This is America, the land where the boys with the biggest, most expensive toys win.  This is the home of NYC’s Madison Avenue which dictates via personal communicators (they used to be called phones) what successful men and women will wear, drive, and buy for their homes.  This is America, the home of tremendous wealth in gated communities and unimaginable poverty in city ghettoes.  We are the land of the free and brave forever struggling to keep up with the Joneses who always seem to have a better income, a bigger car, a more luxurious house, and kids who outperform our kids at school and at play.  This is where “you ain’t nobody unless you’re the winner.”

Moms and dads standing on the sidelines – grow up.  The kids don’t buy into your bullcrap perspectives.  And kids, kudos to those of you who crafted the sign at the corner of soccer field 5.  Put on those sneakers, get out there and win big remembering that life is like a soccer game.  It’s not how many points you score or which team has the official victory on the scoreboard; rather, it’s all about the integrity with which you have played the game and what you have done to earn your trophies and medals.

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it’s been 39 years

sober emojiIf you are sober today, give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.

Talk the walk, then walk the talk

After 39 years of continued sobriety celebrated today, I reflect on the secrets of sober-livng.  There are no secrets.  It is hard work, commitment to a better way of living and the support of sober friends.  However, talking the walk at the tables of Alcoholics Anonymous and then walking that talk in everyday life will guarantee a fighting chance to overcome those addictions that have become personal demons.

The fellowship of AA is ancient wisdom set to contemporary times.  Even before the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as set forth in “The Way”, Lao Tzu and the Buddha realized a life dedicated to victorious living through abandonment of self.  The writings of Bill W. and Dr. Bob describe this dedication to selfishness and self-centeredness as “self-will run riot.”  AA BIG BOOK  The I, I, I and me, me, me  controlled all aspects of our lives, did it not?

Within my sobriety today, I cannot judge nor control other people’s talk or walk.  They obviously live with perceptions of life that differ from mine.  Therefore, when elected leaders of our government speak justice and fairness yet legislate in opposition to those pronouncements, and when preachers from the pulpit preach righteousness and morality yet conduct their personal lives in opposition to what is right and moral, I can only wonder what experiences have formed their perceptions.  Must one of us be wrong in order for the other to be right, or do we simply operate from different realms?  Returning the focus to my talk and my walk enthusiastically,  I become ever more grateful for the teachers who save us from the hells of addiction.

Abba Isidore of Pelusia
“To live without speaking is better than to speak without living.  For the former who lives rightly does good by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of philosophy.” CAC.ORG

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MLK, JR – an impossible dream?

Martin Luther King, Jr. – an impossible and unrealistic dream or a legacy squandered by hatred and division?  Or might you be one who believes great strides have been made in equal justice and opportunity for not only our black and brown brothers and sisters, but also for those of different creeds, lifestyle and nationality – the Puerto Rican, the Muslim, the gay and lesbian?

Yes, laws have been passed and legislation protects, but has the heart of white, privileged America miraculously filled with compassion since the era of MLK, Jr.?  What leads you to believe so?  Equal job opportunities?  Fair housing practices?  Safe city neighborhoods?  Justice in the court systems?  Protected voting rights?  Or maybe state and federal governments represented proportionately by members of all minority groups?  Really?  You truly believe this is so?  Can you unequivocally state that a gay man, a black man, a Muslim woman, a white woman walks as securely through life as a white man?

Well golly gee, I would love to share some of that whacky weed you are smoking followed by a swig of the Kool-Aid you’re drinking.  America, wake up!  We are at a crossroads in our country’s destiny.  We have been rent asunder by today’s world and national political powers who want to see us even further divided because it will be then that their vile plans can be instituted – race against race, black against white, straight against gay, Christian against Muslim, Democrat against Republican.  Dr. King spoke often of the brotherhood of mankind as the only way to keep this ship (the earth) from sinking and the necessity of non-violence in solving our problems.  So, is his dream dead or merely shifting gears?  It’s up to us, isn’t it?

one nation, indivisible, with liberty & justice for all

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“the time is always ripe to do right”

“morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated”

https://www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/mlk-gp-speech.pdf

boys, men, toys

Those who know they have enough are truly wealthy – LAO TZU

The old cliché, “the only difference between men and boys is the size (and cost) of their toys,” rings soundly as I sit on my front porch watching traffic heading to the marina to launch into the Homosassa River and the Gulf the boats being pulled.  A few are modest older model pickup trucks pulling equally modest boats, but most are sleek, brand new powerful Fords and Chevys towing a mini-yacht that could house a small family in comfort.  Certainly they are a far cry from the sandbox trucks and bathtub boats we little boys enjoyed years ago while growing up.

And I sincerely do not begrudge their showy big-boy toys.  But, I also do not understand how some of us grew up to be content with the small toys in life while others were driven to bigger, better, shinier and more powerful.  Driving 18-wheeler coast to coast and north to south during the 1990s into 2009, we encountered frequently a fellow trucker keying up on his CB radio with a harsh crackle and a booming “Breaker, breaker 19.  Anybody got a copy on this here radio-o-o-o-o.  C’mon back-k-k-k”

Undoubtedly, folks two states away had a copy on this driver’s echoing master-blaster CB radio.  It was annoying and totally worthless for anything other than a showy display of strength and power.  My driving partner, a man not known to mince words, would reply, “yeah hand, we have a copy on your radio and we’re so glad you’ve finally found a big toy to compensate for your other small equipment.”

Worked every time.  Spitting and fuming just momentarily that radio then went silent.  That usually happened; however there were times when a profanity laced, violence threatening discussion ensued about equipment size as boys and men will often do.

It’s all about ego, isn’t it?  If the poor man with a shabby little rowboat feels less worthy than the man towing his $250,000 yacht with an $80,000 pickup truck, then that poor man has an ego problem.  If the rich man with the big toys feels better than the man with a little rowboat, then he also has an ego problem, doesn’t he?

A healthy ego along with balanced self-esteem teach us that blessings are not dependent upon wealth or possessions.  Your toys, no matter how large or expensive, are no better than my little dinghy with oars.  What is important is the level of self-worth your toys give to you or detract from me.  Simplicity is all about mind-set and priorities.  Even more, it is about living joyously day-to-day this mystery called life and disallowing the external forces of consumerism and consumption to call the shots. 🙏

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Alice’s Restaurant

Thoughts written last year, but worth repeating today. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, war makes all of us losers.

SIMPLE & UNFILTERED

social media

Why do we call it social media?  It’s not at all socially responsible and it is certainly not socially civil.  Its users will blast you with profanity if they disagree with your viewpoint and castigate your intelligence when you don’t march in step with their thinking.  So, instead of ‘social media’ let’s name Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. ad nauseum THE SCOURGE.

The Scourge is our punishment for relinquishing the ability to think and behave responsibly.  Undoubtedly, 95% of those folks, the ones who prolifically pound their keyboards cussing you and me with various impossible acts which we should perform upon ourselves, they would not have an ounce of courage in an up-front, face-to-face encounter.  So there, I’ve said it.  You just take your FB, Twitter, Instagram and assorted other forms of self expression and stick them where the “sun don’t shine.”  Hah! How’s that make you feel? Got a problem…

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one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Different generation, different side of the continent, more sophisticated weapons…but folks, it’s the same old bullshit.  Sending young men and women off to fight the war that lines the pockets of corporate greed and political corruption.  We have learned nothing, not a damned thing.