path of least resistance

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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Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

 

“It is our resistance to things as they are that causes most of our unhappiness…..” CAC.ORG – Richard Rohr

Do we believe that the Colorado River forged the magnificent beauty of the Grand Canyon by sheer force and might?  No, of course not.  Over millions, perhaps billions of years, a trickle of water eroded the rocks it ran through consistently and persistently until we have today one of the great wonders of this earth.  That flow of water followed the path of least resistance.

We could learn great lessons from nature if only we would stop the chatter of minds and busyness of this world long enough to fathom what was intended for us through the observations of an ecosystem created to teach us about life, death, and everything in between.  It is not a coincidence that just beyond the tips of our noses an earth filled with intelligence awaits our discovery.

The revered Chinese mentor, Lao Tzu, encouraged in the writings of the Tao-Te-Ching that finding comfort and contentment in this world occurs when we accept what is and follow the path of least resistance.

For a society committed to social justice and moral righteousness, that exhortation can be difficult to follow.  But perhaps, that is our lesson to learn from AA’s Serenity Prayer…“grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”  Nearly everything in this world is beyond my ability to change it, especially other people and their attitudes and beliefs.  The only thing I can change is me and my future.  Think about it.  We too can be rivers as mighty as the Colorado when applying persistence to ourselves.

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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simplicity, gratitude, generosity

“Aware of the poverty and greed in the world and of the intrinsic abundance of the earth, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate the simplicity, gratitude and generosity that have no limits.”

Rosemary Lynch and Mary Litell, Peace Grows! Pace e Bene

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There is no shortage of anything in this world except, perhaps, love.  The misconception of a world without enough is the result of too many people wanting too much unimportant stuff.  Predicted shortages of food can be easily resolved if government subsidized mega-food industries are held accountable for the resources they consume and the ecology they destroy to produce highly profitable protein for our tables.

But ultimately, we are responsible.  I am responsible for shedding exaggerated beliefs of what I need to not only survive, but thrive in today’s world whether it be foodstuffs or consumer goods.  Living simply does not equate to going without; rather, it is a commitment to joyously appreciate each new day with words of thanksgiving for the earth’s abundance and generosity and then sharing that abundance cheerfully.

In words attributed to Gandhi – “live simply so that others may simply live.”

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it is what it is

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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“I came into this world not to make it a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.”  Henry David Thoreau

Let’s take morality and righteousness out of the equation.  Let’s stop believing the world will change because of us.  Give up the concept that a god of mercy and justice will eventually prevail thus creating a new world system with peace and harmony filling the hearts of mankind.  Just consider for a moment that this simply will not happen.  What is left?

It is what it is.

One of my best friends from years back would console me with those words as we discussed faith and the world’s problems.  It is what it is and the choice is mine what to make of this life.  When I give up the idea that I will leave this earth a better place or that I somehow will miraculously change mankind, then is when I find peace of mind and inner harmony.  Then is when I can be the man whom I believe God intended me to be – just another soul living with gratitude for all of life be it good or bad.

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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BEACONS

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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The wisdom seekers from ancient times offered to us these words as recorded in writings which were incorporated into the Old Testament of today’s Bible:

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

ISAIAH 58:7-10

“Then your light shall break forth….”

Is my beacon of hope and compassion breaking forth today?  Is yours?  How about the beacon of America?  I know that I can do better, but I believe that America has lost its way.  Granted there are many who continue to offer food, shelter, solace to the homeless and oppressed, but they are not the ones in power today, are they?  Our government and, sadly, a handful of religious leaders seem to have forgotten that it has been immigrants who historically have made this nation a melting pot of ingenuity, intelligence and hard work.  Perhaps we can live today as if that beacon of hope is shining brightly.

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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paid in full

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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Have you ever considered what a small speck each of us is in the evolvement of mankind?  I prefer the word evolvement over evolution because religion, particularly some brands of Christianity, have given evolution a black eye over the past few centuries.  Evolution or creation – why would I choose to take an untenable position over my origins, whether from apes or space travelers or divine creation, when my current situation is that today in this moment I have breath and heartbeat?  What more do I need?  That in itself is more miracle than I can fathom and process.  Billions, no trillions, of souls have existed before me and to think that in this lifetime I will be able to figure it all out is ludicrous and time-wasting.

An appreciation of this personal existence begins with a place of reverence for all of life.  Not just human form, but everything – animal, plant, fish, rock, soil, sandy beaches, high mountains, the depths of the sea and the atmosphere above us are all part of this earth’s ecology.  Not one part is more important than the other – that is reverence for life.

No man/woman on this earth’s face deserves more than any other.  No privilege, wealth, social status, political importance or religious demeanor will make an iota of difference in the final disposition of this life.  You and I, Raj and Muhammad, fish and fowl, male and female, black and white, Christian and Muslim will return to the dust from which we came.  Professions of faith, works of goodness, hours of solitude, bended knees in prayer, protests of social action, dedication to political justice will not matter one bit a million years from the year 2020 on this earth.

So what’s all the hoopla about today?  Why the fuss?  Remember the miracle of breath and heartbeat that I mentioned earlier?  That’s it!  I have dues to pay to breathe, share the air, walk this planet.  Those dues include making a difference for another person, a difference for the tiger in the jungle, a difference for the water in the oceans, a difference for the trees in the rainforest.  Living from a place of reverence for life demands that when my last breath escapes my lungs and my blood stops flowing I have done my utmost to leave this earth unscathed by my presence.

Words attributed to a man of great wisdom centuries ago said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  MATTHEW 25  I trust that those words were meant to apply to every aspect of loving and revering this planet.

As for the planet on which I have lived, I hope my demise will prompt an earthlycropped-pride7.png farewell, “Thank you.  Dues paid in full.”

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

What is it that most people desire, few people give, and the world lacks?  Answer respectcropped-c6fe7102aaf9242136b451907b02957d1.jpg and you win the prize.  Respect as a noun means admiration, regard, appreciation, courtesy.  Used as a verb it can mean avoid interfering with or causing harm, treat with consideration, admire, value, look up to, revere, heed, obey, attend to, defer to.

Unfortunately, a dictionary full of words is meaningless if the heart of mankind does not hold reverence for the divine nature of each creature on earth and the divine nature of the earth itself, i.e., respect.

How about self-respect?  Do you and I wrap ourselves with arms of abundant self-esteem and self-love?  Why not?  Are you not lovable?  Are you not a creature of earth designed with a loving divine nature?  Oh, I see.  You don’t consider yourself worthy.  You are saying that the Creator did not know what he/she/it was doing when your body and soul were on the printing press.  Wow, how arrogant is that?

1967 Aretha Franklin written by Otis Redding

follow the leader?

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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Follow the leader.  Just a child’s game?  How about Simon says?  For us they were playtime activity intended to teach interaction with other children.  But, have you ever considered the ramifications of a 5 or 6 year-old being taught to follow a designated leader wherever that person leads or to do explicitly what Simon instructs?  Of course not, they were just games for children.

What about adults?  Life is not a game.  Do you and I have enough self-confidence, enough courage to walk away from the herd trailing after a proclaimed leader when we know that person is dishonest and corrupt? Whether that person is speaking from the pulpit of a church or from a governmental office, do we have the cojones to say, “No, I will not follow you nor do as you say?”

Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr, Gandhi, Desmond Tutu were such men.  They viewed their country’s status quo as unacceptable.  Violence was not the answer; however, passive disobedience created movements which fueled social action that could not be ignored by national leaders with their trailing herds and toadying sycophants nor preachers with their ‘amen & hallelujah’ congregations.

It was called civil disobedience.  In the months leading up to November 3rd, we should, each of us, consider what it is we are willing to do to press forward on a path which honors the validity of all citizens whether white, black, brown, religious or non-religious,Picture6 gay or straight, wealthy or poor, Muslim or Christian.  When our elected leaders ignore us, when our spiritual mentors speak untruths, our options as a nation dwindle.  However, a greater power within each of us commands us to disobey government and religious leaders when that obedience would be illegal, unlawful and unjust.

The days of child’s play are past.  A new era in American history is upon us and its future will be determined by whom we choose to follow and whom we choose to obey.

These words from CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE by Henry David Thoreau are well-advised in today’s political turmoil:

The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize”. WIKIPEDIA

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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RELIGION – relic of tribalism ?

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.

Okay, I get it.  Religion has inspired great acts of compassion, it has led man to creatediversity spectacular works of art and architecture, it has provided us with beautiful literature.  So, before you light the fires around my stake, consider this.  Perverted interpretation of religious belief has also caused immense human suffering, it has destroyed cultures, it has promoted the degradation of our earth and natural resources in the name of an unproven, man-created god.

Tribalism was essential to ancient cultures to preserving their beliefs and insuring their survival.  The caveman with the biggest clubs usually won the battle.  Armies with the most manpower prevailed over weaker enemies.  Scorching the neighborhood was an acceptable price for winning.  My God-belief is better than yours.  He (yes, most violence in the name of God worships a male entity) needs my defense.

WE ARE NO LONGER CAVEMEN.  With the historical destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 the USA entered mankind into a new paradigm of warfare – a pattern embracing the ability of one culture to bring annihilation to the entire planet.  Unfortunately, we continued to maintain the caveman attitude of tribalism.  We continued to thump our scriptures and proclaim limited access to an omnipotent deity  through a religious philosophy of exclusion – only this God is real, only this belief is true, only this scripture is valid.  It is rampant tribalism with a continuing caveman mentality.

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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bottom feeders

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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When was the last time you exclaimed, “Eureka, I have lost everything, all that has given me a sense of security and happiness is now gone?”

I remember a few of those profound moments of self-realization – when I finally divested of a toxic relationship which included the entirety of my possessions and my house, when I walked away from my own life-time dream to chase after and share the dream of  another person, when I closed the door on a promising corporate position to reorganize my life and follow the path of sober-living.  And honestly, I don’t remember screaming, “Eureka.”

I repeatedly found myself on the bottom rung of the ladder which had promised to lead upward to wealth, happiness and security.  The bottom was so near and the top seemed so far away once more.  This was not where I intended to be at ages thirty-five, forty-four and sixty-two.  However, following the most recent self reckoning ten years ago, I did not look again to the top hoping to some day be the man whom I felt others wanted me to be.  Miraculously, money, prestige, social standing, worldly success did not matter.  I became blissfully content to feed at the bottom.  There, where most of the world’s population dwells, egos are reduced to  a manageable condition, wants finally become distinguished from needs, and smelling the roses becomes more desirable than beating the crowd to the top.  Poor materially, but enjoying immeasurable inner wealth.

Dorothy Day (1897–1980) said much the same: “The only way to live in any true security is to live so close to the bottom that when you fall you do not have far to drop, you do not have much to lose.” [1]

Richard Rohr at CAC. ORG continues with this comment:

“From that place, where few would expect or choose to be, we can be used as instruments of transformation and liberation for the rest of the world.”

When we stop climbing those ladders set in place for us by others who have been part of life’s journey, we finally see the truth and reality of our life and the tremendous need for us to feed with the rest of humanity, not from lofty perches atop mountains, but at the bottom where we meet the poor and destitute, the homeless and persecuted, the sick and defenseless.  Centuries ago a man of great wisdom called them “the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) and promised them the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Imagine that.  Heaven is not a few steps above the top of the ladder high in the clouds; rather, it is upon the ground of humanity where our ladders have been standing all this time waiting for us to step off…or fall off.

Reference:
[1] Dorothy Day, Loaves and Fishes: The Inspiring Story of the Catholic Worker Movement (Orbis Books: 1997), 86.

CAC.ORG

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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it’s OK for me to love me

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.

BREAKING THE SHACKLES –

You never do anything right, you are a failure.

No, this is a fallacy straight from hell used most often by parents, sometimes spouses and (surprisingly) adult children to mold us into the type of people who fit their ideal of successful.  If you or I are living life to fit the expectations of other people, we will never be complete and fulfilled.  We will always be people-pleasers.

God did not make a mistake in creating the uniqueness that is you or me.  Everything about us is exactly as designed, perfect in every way.  Abilities, creative energies,  passions were not handed out randomly or haphazardly.  Life’s great challenge is to recognize those gifts and use them unselfishly.

Instead of lamenting our alleged deficiencies, instead of listening to a nagging spouse or complaining child, every morning let’s gaze at the reflection in the mirror and whisper words of admiration and love to the image we see, “You are wonderful, I love you.”cropped-c6fe7102aaf9242136b451907b02957d1.jpg

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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