gratitude changes everything

For breath and clean air to breathe,
for heartbeat and healthy flowing blood…
i am thankful.
For arms and legs that move,
for toes that wiggle…
i am thankful.

gratitude changes everythingcropped-pride7.png

A young friend recently migrated from Key West to north central Florida as a result of the changes covid-19 has inflicted upon him .  His entourage included a motor home, a motorcycle, a 28 foot boat, a pickup truck, a kayak, and a car – all of them accumulated possessions of a single, middle-aged man.

I do not begrudge anyone the toys they have amassed, but I do feel positively grateful that my life is completely full and content with a 24 year old pickup truck, a partner who loves me and a cat that still purrs his butt off sitting by my side.  I am blessed beyond anything deserved with a bed in which to sleep, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly.

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW

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the lesson to learn

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

cropped-sanity2.pngIs covid-19 just a warm-up, a practice session for the inhabitants of earth when the gathering global warming and climate change wreak havoc on our weather patterns, our agriculture system, our social connections, our employment, our financial security, our black-and-white-black-and-white-boy-1299417ability to survive in a hostile environment?

If so, if this is a test, how are we doing?  I personally am dealing with social distancing rather handily since I am by nature an introvert and a non-engager.  I enjoy solitude and the absence of people.  I enjoy hours ‘piddling’ in my garden, reading a book, watching cooking videos on YouTube, walking in the woods, hanging out with Max, the cat.  I am not bothered by the lack of social interaction mandated by covid-19.

But, how are you doing?  Cinemas have closed their doors, restaurants are no longer serving sit-down meals inside, churches have cancelled Sunday services, schools are shut down, grocery stores are experiencing shortages (who’d have thought toilet paper), bars are closed, and we are all supposed to maintain 6 feet between us and the people nearby.  How are you handling this?

Should we take our lesson from our government leaders playing the blame game while promising free money to its citizens, looking for the most advantageous political maneuver in an election year?  Should we listen to the conspiracy pundits telling us this is a foreign government’s plot to overtake the financial markets and impose world-wide hardships on the free world?  Should we believe that covid-19 was unleashed on an unsuspecting world by a mad scientist?

Really, how are you dealing with this?  Where do you go for comfort? If this virus called covid-19 is just the tip of a catastrophic iceberg, will we survive as a worldwide brotherhood sustaining and comforting one another, or will we (as the dooms day prognosticators tell us) slide into world-wide anarchy, violence, and destruction?

I don’t write about my faith very much anymore because most people don’t want to hear it.  But this is my blog, I pay for it and should anyone object to the mention of God or faith or belief, or all three in one sentence….well, there are probably a million other blog sites online suitable to their journey in life.

The following verses taken from the writings given to us in Psalms from ancient Judaic wisdom and faith say this:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake in their surging…..

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire…..

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  PSALM 46

For further thought and meditation refer to the writing of Richard Rohr at CAC.ORG https://cac.org/love-alone-overcomes-fear-2020-03-19/

Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation. 

We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love.” FR. RICHARD ROHR

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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doing life clean & serene

 

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s love emojipeaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.

 

sober emoji

 

 

SOBER TODAY?
Fantastic – it doesn’t get any
better than this.

March 7, 2021

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

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Yes, I purposely dated this for a year from now, March 7, 2021.  Should the good Lord give me another year to live on this earth, what and who could I be 365 days into the future?  Will I wake up in the same house, will Max (the cat) still be sleeping by my side, will my 1996 Chevy pickup truck still be roadworthy, will my arthritis pain continue to hobble me through the day, will I be anticipating another garden down by the water?  I don’t know the future, but I certainly don’t want to be the same man that I am today.  That would mean that I have not grown, that life has stagnated.

Granted, those of us in recovery from addictions spend far too much time regretting our pasts and worrying about our futures.  Although our step programs teach us how to navigate the treacherous waters of regret and worry, if we do not spend present moments growing into the man/woman we want to be, if we don’t chase after the healthier and happier image that is available, we do not grow.  We will remain stagnant in the muck of a tedious and mediocre life.

Do something today that forges the person you want to be.  Get the day started with appreciation for blessings undeserved, for a life free of addictions, and for opportunities to love and be loved.  Let’s look outside our windows, beyond our comfort zones, past our noses to the me and you that our Higher Power intended for us.  That Creator did not make a mistake.  We were intended from conception to make a difference in the world.  So, let’s get out there and make the next 365 days spectacular one moment, one day at a time.

SOBER TODAY?  GIVE YOURSELF A HANDsober emoji

 

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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Higher Power

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

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity – STEP 2 sober emoji
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. – STEP 3

This is the miracle of restoration.  It is not dependent on anything you or I could do to alleviate the addictions which controlled our lives.  Yes, we had to talk the walk and then walk the talk, but ultimately the grace of a power greater than us brought us back to sanity, restored us to meaningful lives within families and communities – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

God as we understood God is, for many of us, the premise which carries us over the hurdles of previous negative god experiences.  No longer do we feel obligated to profess this faith or that in our daily faith walk.  Surely, each religious philosophy of the world whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. has nuggets of truth and wisdom; however,  life changes when the God we follow is personal, loving and compassionate not corralled by any particular philosophy.  As is human nature, we attempt to describe and define, but usually discover that our minds cannot comprehend the greatness or fathom the depths of that which we call Higher Power.

Whether your God or mine is a who, a what, a where, a when, male, female, genderless, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or simply the fellowship which supports our sobriety, give this Higher Power a round of applause today for keeping us clean and serene.

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why are you here?

A few days ago I pondered “why am I here?”  Today, it’s your turn.  Why are you here?cropped-c6fe7102aaf9242136b451907b02957d1.jpg  Are you living your life, your dreams, your hopes?  If not, why?  Jobs, finances, family responsibilities, social commitments, civic duties?  Self-doubt maybe?

“Heck, Larry, I couldn’t do what I want or dream about.  That would be too selfish.”

I understand what you are saying.  The kids need me to guide them through the teenaged years.  The boss cannot get along without me today.  The government will go to hell in a hand basket if I don’t keep on top of things.  My community will lose its appeal and attraction unless I attend and contribute to its civic meetings.  And Lord knows my spouse cannot get along without me.  I am so necessary in every thing – except my own life.

Here’s some advice from an old codger who’s been around the block a few times.  Live your life as if you are important, follow your dreams, develop your creative skills, love yourself like no other could love you.  And guess what?  Your world will swoon in your presence, people will gravitate to you because “you have it all together”, your face will radiate with the joy happening within.  You will finally be the you which the Lord of your life intended.  Simple to understand, but difficult to practice.  This is not narcissism; rather it is pursuing the enlightened existence for which we were created.


“This above all: to thine own self be true.  And it must follow, as the night the day,  Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  SHAKESPEAREyoung, mature, old

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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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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a Better Way

Today we celebrate what many Christians including Franciscans believe to be the most significant day of the Christian year – the birth of a new nonviolent world.  Jesus was all about nonviolence.  His ways and life, encapsulated in the Gospels, breathe a better way for Christians to engage with brothers/sisters of Hinduism, of Islam, of Judaism, of Buddhism, of all the great religious persuasions pursuing peace on earth.  Over a hundred years ago, Gandhi observed that every religion is rooted in nonviolence.  May we also, in our Christian faith walk, begin the Christmastide celebration ushering in 2020 with the peace of Gandhi, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus on our hearts.  Namaste. 🙏

FROM MATTHEW 5:1-7, 27

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

three kings day