Contemplation

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Every single circumstance you encounter is an opportunity to see a jumbled rockpile or the image of a majestic cathedral in the midst of being built. What determines your perspective more than anything is the nature of your contemplation.

I’ve often repeated, “what has your heart has you.” And what has you colors your view of the world.

If you have tended to focus on absences, on what you wish you had, or what you feel is missing in yourself or others, what is lacking will loom large in your view. If, on the other hand, you contemplate what is available here and now and give wholehearted thanks for it, the evidence of the presence of greatness and beauty will fill your heart and mind as light fills a darkened room.

If you’ve had the privilege of standing at the foot of holy sites around the world, whether man-made or gifted by nature, I dare say that more important than what you felt in their presence was what you carried in your heart at that moment. The same is true for your interactions with people. Stop basing how you feel and act on your judgments of the people and circumstances around you.

You have the power to render the ordinary extraordinary, to transform the mundane into the marvelous, and to uplift the secular into the sacred. That power – love – lies within you; it is your birthright.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.” My friends, if you’re not happily inspired in any given moment, you might well ask yourself: “How thoughtfully am I contemplating the world around me? Moreover, “For what can I give thanks, here and now?”

The construction of your cathedral depends upon it.

Hello world!

Well, friends, I am back! It’s been a great few years…I’ve learned, loved, lived, lost, won, grown and I hope you have too! I’ve learned from failures big and small, planted new seeds in business and in life, and it is time to engage with you on a whole new level.

If you followed my blog previously, you know that I posted daily blogs for a little over five and a half years. It was a true labor of love and in a way it was deeply therapeutic. What I learned in the course of writing these 2,030 consecutive daily blogs is that I have a lot to offer and a passion for helping others to their fulfillment. I accomplished this while running five businesses in the wellness space, raising two wonderful boys and pursuing thrilling hobbies like aviation, equitation and falconry.

What I also learned during that time is that everyone, I mean EVERYONE has a lot more to offer than they generally reveal. My writing was an exploration of human potential and my aim was to provide tools that, properly used, would allow anyone to live life on purpose.

I’ve realized that mental health, physical health and financial health all work on the same principles. These principles are not magic, they are basic laws that are knowable and immutable. And our spirituality – that which we hold sacred or dear – is the thread which ties us together as individuals and binds us to the body of humanity.

I am energized and I am here to help! I look forward to engaging with you, providing you with immense value, and helping you to accomplish the miraculous wonders that you came here to bring.

The odds were against you arriving on this planet. I’ve heard them described as 400,000,000,000:1. Well, by hook or by crook, you arrived. You made it through the narrow way that leads to a few precious years of life on earth. And no matter how old you are, how many times you’ve fallen or failed, you still have the ability to reveal your inner greatness. If you have nothing else to be thankful for, you can be thankful for reality of your potential.

Your time is now. Let’s do this!

Auld Lang Syne

I found myself humming the tune of the traditional folk song used to put the lovely Scots poem “Auld Lang Syne” to music yesterday and it got me thinking about the nature of life and living. “Auld Lang Syne” translates roughly to “long, long ago” and the poem is generally recognized as a call to remembrance of old friendships. The song is traditionally sung in many countries to mark the start of the New Year or at funerals, graduations and other farewells.

My parents recently returned from a cross-country trek in their RV and when I asked them what they were most impressed with during their months on the road they both agreed that it was the warm and generous welcome that each of the old friends they visited bestowed upon them. They expected to be received kindly, but apparently each new set of old friends they visited went out of their way to make their brief time together especially comfortable, interesting and memorable.

It was nice to hear that my parents received so much of what they so regularly and selflessly give to other during their time on the road. It was also refreshing to hear that the spirit of hospitality is alive and well in the world at large, or at least within the sphere of influence projected over the course of my parents’ lives.

The thought that came to me while humming “Auld Lang Syne” was that old friendships are worth commemorating to the degree that they provided a fertile womb for the spirit of blessing in the earth. Those which did not are probably best forgotten and left behind.

Thousandth Man

The Thousandth Man by Rudyard Kipling

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for ‘ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em go
By your looks or your acts or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don’t matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ‘em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight—
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot—and after!

I absolutely love this poem and hope the be the thousandth man to as many people as possible over the course of my life. To do this ﹣to lay one’s life down for one’s friends and family ﹣is really one of the greatest modes of living to which one can aspire.

Why be anything less?

There are, of course, those who will seek to take advantage of your generosity of spirit, but they eventually reveal themselves and have their reward. How incredible would it be were you to live every day of the rest of your life in a manner that even your bitterest critics would have to admit that their lives had been blessed by your presence (for people will turn on you no matter how kind you’ve been to them).

The Cold Within

As our nation limps through the polar vortex which has descended upon it, my heart goes out to those who are struggling to keep themselves and those dear to them warm and safe. At the same time, I am mindful of a far deeper need, one the goes well beyond our simple physical requirements. We must rise above our petty differences and work together if we are to unlock our full potential.

Rather than carry on about it myself, I thought you might enjoy this poem, written by an earnest man a half century ago:

The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.

Heaven’s Smile

To Winter by William Blake

O winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed
In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;
For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch! that deal’st
With storms, till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.

How many have suffered as the poor little wretched mariners in Blake’s beautiful poem! Desperate to know a different experience and frantically searching for ways to make heaven smile to rid themselves of the cheerless monster which “freezes up” the their “frail lives” at every turn, such men look to the words and lives of prophets and pray to gods of their imaginations for guidance, deliverance and salvation.

Who or what shall set them free? Unless a man sees that the answer – the smile – is within him, he shall seek and never find.

True Purpose in Us

Patience Taught by Nature – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“O dreary life,” we cry, “O dreary life!”
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven’s true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle! Ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife
Meek leaves drop yeary from the forest-trees,
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory: O thou God of old!
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these!—
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.

While I don’t believe we need to ask or demand anything of God, I love Browning’s poem on the matter of purpose and patience. All needs and wants cease the moment you begin to live on purpose. In fact, when you live on purpose you no longer seek fulfillment, for the revelation of heaven’s true purpose through you is the only true source of fulfillment. When you live on purpose you will find everything you were looking for and more!