Month: June 2013


old potter

This post contains a poem I wrote as a gift to a friend years ago. He’s gone now, but his influence lives on. His physical presence is nothing more than a memory. I don’t even have a photo of him, yet his image is as vivid to me as the first time I ever met the man. It’s almost as if I can see him in my reflection now, not as a copy or imitation, but as a continuation of the best he had to offer.

How does one repay someone for saving their life? Is there any price that can be offered to balance the scales and compensate for this act of selflessness? Yes, there is. The gifts we receive that allow us a better life must be shared; they must be, or they will not fulfill the intention of the universe, and that is perpetuation with abundance.

You may be wondering how this blog entry applies to the subject of self-help. There was a time where I wasn’t sure my existence had any significance at all. This has changed. I now know  we all have a place, a destiny, that fits in perfectly and harmoniously with the world around us. Unfortunately,  the opposite is also just as true. All of us also have a path we can choose that is destructive and painful to those we care for as well as ourselves. The more we nurture our environment, the more we draw sustenance from it. The more we abuse our surroundings, the more it will, in turn, injure us. There is a way to manifest that place that gives life meaning, and it’s not difficult to find.  For the moment, the observation that it functions in others is priority. The more we observe something at work that does not exist in our lives, the more we create faith that it is indeed possible in our own.

Look to those you know or have known in your life that live with purpose. They move effortlessly and gracefully through their days, doing what they do well, sharing their talents without demanding and accepting everything with an abundance of gratitude. Is there not admiration for these people? Is there not a healthy dose of envy that beckons us to reproduce these conditions for ourselves?

This poem is not directly about the man in question I mentioned at the beginning. The imagery is more representative of how I felt he had found his place and in turn mine as well.


When a lazy sun

Draws its colors

From the evening clouds,

And shadows lengthen

To embrace the night

In silent murky shrouds,

And as the world                                   

Goes to sleep                                             

Under starlit skies,                                   

There comes to life                                 

An old man                                                 

With kindness in his eyes.                     

He slowly rises                                         

And lights a lamp                                     

To start his work again.

A crust of bread,                                       

A bit of drink,                                           

And then he does begin. 

         Just as he who picks

         And presses grapes 

         Off the family vines.

         From the juice that flows

         Will then be made

         Into family wines.                         

         Just as he who cuts                          

         From the weavers cloth               

         Patterns which he sews.               

         And skilled hands

         Will turn his craft

         Into wearers’ clothes.

         Just as he who shapes

         Red-hot iron

         With a mighty hammer.

         As the strokes do fall

         Upon the anvil

         There’s peace among the clamor.

         Just as he who sits

         At the wheel

         Molding clay and water.

         As the stone does whirl

         Another vessel rises

         From the old town potter.

With a tranquil look

And gentle touch

He moves in loving grace.

Shaping his gifts to share with others,

He has found his place.

No longer burdened

By the woes of man,

He works without a sound.

For in himself there lies a calm,

A treasure that’s been found.

And when he is done

Sitting slowly back

To see what’s been turned,

He will always find

That for his efforts

There’s more than what’s been earned.

When the morning sun

Marks another day

And birds begin to sing

The old town potter

Will close his eyes

And dream of what the night will bring.

Thank you for letting me share this with you, and may you too find the bliss that is more valuable than all our “material” world has to offer.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood



If you want to fast track a higher quality of life there’s a shortcut most will totally ignore.


The habit of being late is the same thing as saying “My time is more valuable than yours.” As far as I’m concerned there’s no argument for this. If you go to the same place to work for years, and are late again for the four hundred and thirty-seventh time because traffic the sucks, I’ve got news for you pal, it’s NOT the traffic.

As far as the subject of self-help goes, it doesn’t get any more basic than this. Punctuality is in reality, rare. This is true because all of us instantly know those who are always prompt, and they do indeed stand out. The generalized identify of this trait is nothing more than showing up ahead of schedule. Few realize it also indicates a willingness to stay longer. There’s no doubt all of us want more time, but what good are a few extra minutes if they are not productive and peaceful? Why subject yourself to a lifestyle of constant rushing to get out the door when all one has to do is start earlier?

Early in my recovery I was clonked over the head repeatedly with this topic, and for good reason. The habit of tardiness is basically one of self-centeredness, and boy did I have buckets of ego. Along with the action, I also had a filing cabinet full of excuses to accompany my behavior. There were some pretty creative ones too. My personal favorite (at the time) was claiming I’d been pulled over by the cops for some minor infringement. I’d tell my inconvenienced audience that they were nice and let me go with just a warning. Not only was I lying about why I was late, I was attempting to generate sympathy for myself as well. Using lies like this to perpetuate my laziness turned my mind into a garbage dump. My collection of lies and pointless excuses eventually took up so much mental room, there was little left over for even the most basic of needs. It finally became clear the only thing I could be counted on to do was to be unreliable. I eventually turned this lifestyle around by realizing all that was required to change it was to walk away from it. No clean up was necessary, just abandonment.

When I came to the conclusion I had no need to drag the past into the present, it allowed me the freedom to move forward without attachment to previous behavior. Over the years I’ve practiced a lot of habits I’ve vowed never to repeat. These slips of character are not who I am; they exist only as memories to help me define what I am not. I did not want to be the last person to show up anymore, and I had plenty of examples to use as leverage to help me to change that. I left a broken lifestyle behind and went forth with a willingness to do what would be asked of me from those I had wronged through my sloth.

It’s just my opinion, but I think a lot of the world’s problems would disappear if everyone would just make a commitment to show up on time. Traffic would ease, health issues due to stress would lower, production would rise, and trust would increase; all because of one thing changing. It may be a fool’s wish, but I’m sure it’s one that can be clearly envisioned by most of us.

There are some habits I’ve developed that help to nurture a more reliable (and relaxing) lifestyle.

  1. When I wake up, I choose to get up. If the thought enters my mind that I would like to sleep some more, I replace it with, “Wake up.” When my mind hears a request from the conscious part, my sub-conscious part (which is still driving the bus)  responds and starts the chemistry that makes me want to get out of bed rather than stay there. Let’s face it, five more minutes, or even a little more, makes almost no difference on a complete night’s rest anyway.
  2. I do my best not to leave anything undone at the end of my duties that I don’t want to do upon returning. In other words, at the very least, I’ll give myself something to look forward to “not doing.”
  3. IF a delay really does come up, I will inform those waiting on me as soon as possible. If I tell someone ahead of time that my behavior is going to be disruptive, there will be no need to excuse it later, and that earns respect.
  4. Rest is a priority to the expenditure of energy. I try not to short-change myself in this area. It does seem that the older I get, the earlier I go to bed, and the earlier I rise– which automatically gives me what I need.

I do not follow these ideas as strictly as I would like. The only one I don’t break is the third one. Yes, I am still late on occasion. I am not without fault here, but I am much more aware of others who are waiting for me, and that has allowed a less-selfish approach to the day. It sounds simplistic, but the bottom line to curing a tardy life is nothing more than choosing to give yourself enough time.

It has been my experience that reliability equals abundance, and this was the first step I took that opened those floodgates. If nothing else, the more we are late, the more we miss out on life, and I for one don’t want to miss a thing.

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood