SOUL FORCE

“One of the key words Gandhi used in expressing the meaning of nonviolence was ahimsa, literally ‘non-harm,’ the refusal to hurt others. It’s the rock bottom of nonviolence. A second key word was satyagraha (a combination of the words for ‘truth’ and ‘holding firmly’) sometimes called ‘truth force,’ holding on to what is true and good, striving to bring about more humane conditions for people and society. King called it ‘soul force.’”

—Dr. Gerard Vanderhaar  

Pace e Bene Nonviolence

Are we on the brink of a nation-wide recognition, an awakening (call it revival if you like) of what America is becoming as a society and commit our energies to reversing the  downward spiral of violence and hatred?  Or are we destined to fall, like many before us, to anarchy and despotism at the hands of a minority too blind to see the equality of all the nation’s people?  This is not just a Pride issue or a black issue, or a poor people’s issue that we must address.  It is an issue of ‘SOUL FORCE’.

What will be revealed in the coming months about the soul of America?

PRIDE

There is POWER in solidarity –

“An important element of this new power is that it is not power for the sake of personal gain, but power for the sake of all the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society. The powerless are recouping power . . . the power of the gospel, which works for the betterment and liberation of all, especially those in greatest need.” cac.org

June is PRIDE 🌈 month.  Part of the celebration is recognizing that equality is not freely given without bloodshed, heartache and tears even in a democratic society.  Each of the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society has paid the dues to rise above inherent societal intolerance, ignorance, and hatred.  We agree to love ourselves as created and then expect the same love from others.  Black or white, any shade in between, short or gangly, genius or challenged, flighty or pragmatic, artistic or color-blind, wealthy or poor all belong in the grand scheme as devised by the all-knowing Creator.

The LGBTQ+ community understands this, has realized enormous gains in recent years.  However, that progress is not guaranteed and not free.  Transparency in who we are as people, as lovers, as neighbors, as workers, and as activists ensures that our rights will not go away at the whim of a repressive political system or religion.

This is why PRIDE month is important.  The parades and celebrations, fun and colorful, are merely the tip of the iceberg.  The legacy we leave for future generations is dependent on the actions we take today to inform the world,

“Here I am, love me or hate me; it’s OK because I am a child of this Universe, the same Oneness that has created all of us in the image of goodness and mercy.”

pride

 

BLACKOUT

There is POWER in solidarity –

“An important element of this new power is that it is not power for the sake of personal gain, but power for the sake of all the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society. The powerless are recouping power . . . the power of the gospel, which works for the betterment and liberation of all, especially those in greatest need.” cac.org

Chinese ingenuity ?

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.

A right-wing sanctioned, Limbaugh-inspired, home-spun supported, neighborhood-disseminated theory of the origins of covid-19 is that the Chinese government somehow is using this virus to gain control of financial markets and put the rest of the consuminglaughing emoji3 world under their control.  Thus, we suffering Americans are experiencing toilet paper shortages at our local stores.

Hurrah for the Chinese.  They are thumping us where it hurts.  Best way to win the trade wars is to force the world to use corn cobs in the loo.  I can just imagine those tiny hands and smiling faces in Peking factories singing, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh what a relief it is.”

What’s that you say?  “Larry, you’ve gone bonkers with all this social isolation, that’s the Alka Seltzer song.”  Hmmmm, think about it for a moment – plop, plop, splash, splash, oh what a relief….

Sorry, folks.  Rational thinking, truth and intelligence cannot counter the bull crap cropped-laughing-emoji2.pngfloating around my neighborhood (sorry, there I go again with this insane train of thought).  Seriously, there is no relief to the stupidity to which some Americans will stoop to promote their conspiracy du-jour.

 

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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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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what’s the cost ?

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.

My neighbor and I are finally back on speaking terms after the 2016 elections.  Both of us were probably too adamant in our political stance, too certain that our candidate was the right one.  Harsh words led to over-the-fence glares and avoidance at the mail box.  The god bless americacost of being right was a wounded friendship.  Today, with November elections approaching, what price am I willing to pay to be outspoken and will I again stir up neighborhood animosity with placards in my front yard?  Is it worth it?  Will I risk physical harm by sporting signs on my pickup truck?

Hell yes, I’ll do it again.  If friendships and relationships can’t survive differences of opinion, then perhaps there wasn’t much to work with anyway.  If I can’t drive to the market or the library or the post office safely, then perhaps we have already lost the battle.  I marvel (and would love to be a mouse in the corner at dinner time) at the marriage of Kellyanne Conway and George.  Good Lord, what conversations they must have over lobster and steak.

We cannot afford not to exercise our rights to political opinion.  If neighbors, family, friends, and others who have a differing viewpoint can’t deal with my opinion, that’s their problem and they need a refresher course in democracy and civics.  GO BLUE!

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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.

share, shelter and clothe

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. 

– it is my humble opinion –broken hearted

Apparently many in the secular world of politics who profess Christianity and a number of those preaching from America’s pulpits have not read the text of Isaiah 58, verses 7-10.  Or perhaps they have read it and believe it to be irrelevant in today’s world scene where children are caged on our southern border, where desperate refugees are turned away from a safe haven, where poverty and destitution among American citizens are reaching epidemic proportions, where suicides among young people and veterans are increasing, where the homeless are turned out into the city’s streets and rural wooded areas, where it is still legal in 30 states to discriminate against gays and lesbians regarding jobs, housing and social services, where oppression of minorities is advocated by those in power, where the funding for basic necessities of food and housing is being slashed, where it has become OK to persecute dissenting voices, where the ostentatious wealth of the wealthy is nothing less than socially immoral.

This appears to be the legacy our current Washington, DC powers are building.  It would be far better for those Christian leaders to honestly admit their intentions and agendas and lay their cards on the table for all to see.  Instead they attempt to deceive under the guise of God-inspired leadership.

But, what do I know?  I am just a simple and unfiltered man.  However, from a different culture and a different time come these words of wisdom:

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

FRANCISCAN ACTION NETWORK

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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this too shall pass

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.

I was brought up in a broad-minded community of church people.  The Lutheranism of my church family was a faith of tolerance and compassion for fellow mankind.  We had a39 few quirks, but most of them could be dismissed with a smile and a touch of humor.  We learned not to take ourselves too seriously.

Subsequent addictions severely tested that innocent faith leaving a young man rudderless and questioning.  The questioning was probably a good thing; however, being rudderless was not.  Not until completely shattered and disillusioned did I reach out from my alcoholic depths to the foundations of my youthful convictions where goodness and mercy still dwelled.  There is where a physical, emotional, and spiritual road to recovery began.

That recovery was a long, arduous journey filled with heartbreak and joy.  Today, having been reconciled with who I was and what I did in the grasp of addictions, I hold on to elements of the faith walk that nourished and encouraged me as a young teen-aged boy.  The 23rd Psalm was a favorite passage which has comforted and stayed with me.

“…yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”

When my world rocked with fear, when my mind went haywire with depression, when staying sober another day seemed impossible, I repeated Psalm 23 because it ends with these words:

“…surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

In that valley which I sometimes walk even today, the path can be tortuous and difficult walled by mountain peaks of disillusion, pain and suffering.  But, there is always a gap in the high walls just ahead.  There is always a beautiful sunrise over the far mountain peak.  Today I know I will not be in this valley forever.  This too shall pass.  My challenge is to learn the intended lessons from the current sadness or despair and hold true to the person the Creator intended me to be.  My heart can then rejoice and sing….“surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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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.

cropped-pride7.png

 

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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