Peace

70. LEADERSHIP

Sexton and Compass Wallp TLG

The amount of success in life depends on how much those around you (including yourself) are willing to take responsibility minus those around you (including yourself) who would rather blame.

Leaders take charge while the rest sit around and point fingers. I’m here to tell you there is nothing wrong with the world “out there;” at least in the United States. Proof of this lies in the rock solid fact that there are still thousands of success stories being born daily. They are the ones who ignore the critics, they are the ones whom everyone wants to be like, and they are the ones that seem to be blessed. All anyone needs to fulfill their dreams is willingness, determination, and humility. Willingness means giving up some things so that others may find room; no more chocolate anyone? Determination means idleness must be transformed into action; off goes the TV, on goes the lawnmower. Humility means asking others for help; off goes your way, on goes their way.

The first time I moved into a role of authority where my job was concerned, I was both excited and scared. I was excited to see if my ideas would work, scared to be the source of failure if they didn’t. My initial duties included scheduling, ordering supplies, organizing priorities, physical labor, and interviewing and hiring people as well as firing them. All went fairly well until I had to fire someone.  I did so with as much dignity and honesty as I could. When they left, angry and rejected, I went into the bathroom and puked my guts out. Freedom [to be a leader] does not guarantee the future holds joyous feelings or endless abundance, but it does guarantee the chance to become less of a slave to the ideas and influence of others; all one has to do is keep a moral focus on the goal while moving into a position of further reliability.

Some think the power to take control of our lives is being influenced by outsiders bent on destroying our ability to express and shape our dreams. Our freedoms are NOT being taken away. Freedom to do what we want is being eroded by those who want things done for them. Don’t believe me? Just listen in on almost any conversation and you’ll hear nothing but complaining about how someone else should be making our lives safer, better, and more comfortable. Most conversations are about what someone else can or should do for us. Personally I am just happy and fine with making mistakes on my own, taking action on my own, taking credit on my own, accepting punishment on my own, and receiving reward on my own. The less people are willing to take charge of their own lives, the more others will.

Now………complaining, for what it’s worth, has a very important place. Without it, nothing would get better. Leaders (those who take action) will complain, listen to complaints, and then generate solutions. Followers (those who are in reaction mode) will complain, listen to complaints, and then make excuses. Any of this sounding familiar? Here’s a prime example of a nationwide “complaint” that gets tossed around without solution. “Religion needs to stay out of government affairs. Any form of worship or reference to God must be absent from all public places that might offend others. Separation of church and state is in the constitution!”

Really?…..I don’t think so.

Here is the first amendment to the constitution. I dare you to read it……in fact I dare you to read all of them. The wording is clear and simple. No “lawyer” talk at all. Wherefore’s and hereto’s are thankfully absent in the interest of a clearer understanding of our basic rights.

Article [I] (Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Real short, real simple. Here is the solution to the problem. As far as religion goes this is what it means; government shall not interfere with religion. That’s it. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT RELIGION MAY NOT INFLUENCE GOVERNMENT, OR BE PART OF IT, OR BE EXPRESSED BY IT! The so-called “other way around” is perfectly allowed. Wow! Do people not even know their rights? Now to be honest, I don’t want religion influencing my government too much, I think that’s a bad idea……but that’s my opinion, and my opinion is not part of the constitution, so I’m out of luck in that department.

See? Quick solution to an ongoing complaint, and if you want to share being a leader instead of a follower then express this observation with others so they may take action. I’ve said this before and I mean it more than ever now. It’s like we are living inside a giant Jerry Springer show. Let’s put down, humiliate, belittle, degrade, and judge as many people as possible so WE don’t have to do anything to look good. It’s like standing on a pile of crap and proclaiming we’re king of the turds. Forget what others are doing, it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway. When we are a willing audience to unacceptable behavior, we give it reason to expand. Do something, anything to make the world a better place, even if it’s just for yourself. Be a leader, be a prime example of what can happen. I do, and that’s not a self-centered statement. It’s an expression of how much I love myself, and like I’ve said before, I can’t give away what I don’t own. I LOVE you. Paying forward this gift increases the value of what you keep. And THAT really is true leadership.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

54. ANOTHER OBSERVATION

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“If you are not living in support of tomorrow, then you are dying in support of yesterday. This moment is where the decision is made.”

 

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51. GHOST STORY

ghost

This is a tale of supernatural coincidence. It is the story of a miracle, and I swear every word is 100% true.

Day 1

A few years ago, around 2005, I decided to find out how my AA sponsor was doing. It had been some time since hearing from him and didn’t quite know where he was since I hadn’t written down his address. His phone had been disconnected as well.  This didn’t surprise me because the last time we spoke he’d mentioned cutting back on non-essential bills now that he was in retirement with  a limited income.  I’d visited his apartment since he moved, but couldn’t recall exactly where it was. The general vicinity was known, however I wasn’t about to go around randomly looking, hoping to recognize it. I found a web site designed for locating people and paid for some information, which to my surprise, proved quite useful. The following Saturday morning I set out to see my friend. My spirits were dampened upon arriving, it was a security building; hadn’t remembered that. After trying Joe’s number for several minutes without an answer I randomly tapped on several other buzzers hoping the occupants wouldn’t get too mad; there was no response. I then spent the good part of an hour trying to figure out how to get word to him some other way and was finally rewarded with a chance to approach a tenant who was leaving. Gathering my groveling skills I pleaded shortly with the gentleman to let me in so I might at least leave a note on his door. The first synchronicity was about to happen. The man was living in the apartment Joe had occupied. He suggested talking to the property manager and maybe she could give me some information on his whereabouts. It was a couple of buildings over, and I found the office with little effort. I called the number on the door and left a message that went something like this, “You don’t know me but I’m a friend of Joe Patton. He used to live here and I can’t find him. I know you don’t have to, but could you please call me and let me know if you remember him and if he is ok?” I left her my number not expecting a reply since I’d asked for information of a personal nature.

Day 2

On Sunday morning around 8:00 a.m. I received a call from the manager of the apartment complex. She was very kind, more than helpful, and a little sad. I had a slight suspicion what was wrong. She told me Joe had committed suicide about a year and a half prior.  My response to the news was surprising. A peace settled over me and I was happy for him. The funny thing was, I didn’t think I would react that way. By no means did I agree with his actions, but I felt I understood them. He had said some time back he may be going into hospice. I thought he was exaggerating his situation, not out of rudeness or insensitivity, but because he always acted and moved with such a healthy swagger. Obviously this had not been the case. After looking at his situation from the point of view of an addict, I could understand why it made sense to him. He had left a lifetime of dependencies in his wake and when suddenly faced with the possibility of leaving this world full of drugs that would violate his ethics, then the option of self-termination became a justifiable alternative. I’d read years ago that suicide is actually a crime, so I surmised calling the police might yield more information. My goal was to pay respects to wherever his remains were. They told me that obvious suicides are not crimes and are simply handled by the coroner’s office. I sent off an e-mail with all the information I had asking if they could let me know anything else about Joe. Synchronicity number two was about to happen. That night I went to my basement and got online to relax. Literati is a generic version of Scrabble I used play almost every day on Yahoo! While playing I would usually turn on my “personal” radio station through a now defunct web site called Launchcast. It was a music service that allowed the listener evaluate songs, albums, and artists. Given enough time, 90% of what streamed would become whatever the user had  graded. At this point I had around 5000 ratings, more than enough to cater very personally to me. For the most part every tenth song or so was either a new release or something that the system had guessed matched my preferences.  About half a dozen times or so (at this point, for the last year and a half) a soundtrack had popped up  that never matched my tastes or had anything on it I’d approved. This was the music to Joe’s favorite movie. It’s called “Last of the Dogmen.” It was released in the mid nineties and it’s about a lost tribe of American Indians found in modern times. Well…….as I was playing online that night, here it came. The name of the track was, “Somebody’s out There.” The hair on the back of my neck went up, not out of fear but recognition of what was going on. I was alone and looked around slowly to see if anything was moving or if I could actually glimpse an apparition of some sort. I didn’t notice anything and didn’t have to. I slept very well that night.

Day 3

It’s Monday morning now, and another phone call came, this time around nine. There was a kind and sympathetic person on the other end. Within a few minutes the Coroner had given me all the details he could about Joe. He told me how he died and that one of his friends had taken care of the funeral arrangements. I knew he couldn’t give me any private information about Joe’s friend for obvious reasons, but instead asked if he could call the man in question and give him my number. He said he would be very happy to try and I said goodbye thinking it wouldn’t work. (I would have been upset if I hadn’t tried.) Within three minutes there was yet another call from a man named Chris.  We talked for a while and came to the end of the road metaphorically speaking. He told me his ashes were spread in a park near Boulder. Chris was most compassionate and he seemed happy that someone still cared for Joe. And that was it….I thought. Synchronicity number three was about to bear down like a locomotive. As usual that night I was in the basement playing my game to unwind while listening to music when Joe’s soundtrack popped up again. Two days in a row for something that had never been listened to or rated? Now it was weird enough it played the night before, but this was way too specific to be considered some sort of random event. The title of this particular track was “Leaving Forever” Hmm. Now……….the next song was one that actually had been rated years before but not heard yet. Queen released an album in 1980 called “The Game” it was extremely popular at the time and being a fan of the group I had marked all the tracks as high as possible. The song that started playing next was called “Don’t try Suicide.” What a way to say farewell. I leaned back in my chair without needing to look around for any physical evidence of his presence and said out loud, “Good-bye, Joe.”  

Is he gone now? No. I still ask him for his opinions; I still ask him for guidance; I still ask him for his presence; and while my prayers may not be answered in ways I can verify or explain, they are indeed always answered. I miss my friend even though I know he’s never really left. This story is for you Joe, rest in peace.  

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

42. I LOVE YOU!

SONY DSCAnd I intend to prove it……….

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36. LIVING IN THE MOMENT

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Life is about appreciation of the moment before it becomes a memory.

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35. PLEASE STOP BY…..

open

Welcome!

I write a blog dedicated to the subject of ground-floor self-help topics. My introduction says a lot about where I come from and who I am. Further subjects address different areas of interest. I’m looking for new subscribers and will respond to all who care to leave a message.

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33. “In the house…

“In the house that is LOVE, chiseled into the floor of the basement, is the word forgiveness.”

floor

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32. “The right …

“The right lived life does its greatest work in the final hour.”

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welcome

30. COME ON IN AND REST A WHILE……

Please make yourself at home and know that here there is understanding, acceptance, and kindness. I have nothing to sell but a lot to give and share. Check my topics and see if anything resonates. I welcome you to please follow my blog. Feel free to comment, feel free to share, I will acknowledge all.

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26. WHAT DOES GOD LOOK LIKE?

I was lucky. When it came time to put my belief in a higher power to the test I had no problem accepting that there was something “out there.”  My faith, as feeble as it was, was little more than an understanding that the cosmos existed under some sort of unified purpose. There are those who might call this approach strictly scientific. I for one figured that science itself was still part of everything and therefore part of God. In any event I had an upper hand on those who were reluctant to accept the idea of a supreme being. As time went on I began to wonder, “How could I present a logical picture of God to those who simply could not grasp the idea?” Mind you, I’m NOT looking to convert, change minds, or persuade others to follow my way of thinking. What I am trying to do is offer my view on the subject. If it helps clarify what God is then perhaps there are those who can move past this stumbling block and continue along a path of continued prosperity.

This is my illustration of  God – (click on the picture to expand)

IMAG1532 (2)

The idea for this representation evolved from asking myself “How does God move?”  My first inclination was to conclude everything is a part of God; all of it is connected. This makes sense to me because as soon as it’s suggested something exists that isn’t a part of God, then I must accept there is more that one point of origin. Two or more “laws” of creation cannot co-exist within the same universe. Any conflict will cause the weaker force to vanish after being instantly overpowered by the stronger one. My second conclusion was that a “living” existence must do at least two things, draw energy and perpetuate survival by either expansion or reproduction. The ability to overcome and adapt is the motive for perseverance.

For the sake of presentation let’s call the substance that God draws upon for continuation “chaos.” This is (1.) on the picture. Others may call this darkness or dis-order but I prefer to interpret it as an unorganized source of energy; one that isn’t negative or positive, simply neutral.  I’m well aware that God is both; but then again, so are we. We too have within us raw material which we draw from, intending to change whatever it is and improve how we live.

Most us live in the world of perceived opposites. This is (2.) on the drawing. Here we think in terms like, up – down, left – right, good – bad, black – white. We have a tendency to process a three-dimensional life with two-dimensional judgment. We also cannot see those on the other side of the equation but we feel their movements. This is an unstable environment leading to petty conflicts and an illusion that there is separation between ourselves. This is also where the material plane calls itself home. Stuff and personal accomplishments prevail in abundance.

As we continue towards the center, there is a realization that we must nurture our connection to everyone and everything. This is (3.) Our vision for the future includes those we once thought of as our opposition or enemies. Our lives begin to calm down and conflicts begin to disappear in place of a more cooperative existence. A desire to work in harmony is unavoidable at this point. There is an urge to let go of our two-dimensional habit of judging and embrace a more encompassing way of unity.

At  the center of movement, as indicated by (4.)  we drop all previous conceptions. Complete balance and clarity emerges. Life and living is about connecting harmoniously with everything. The mantra here is “oneness towards expansion.” We leave the material world behind and begin a journey towards a collective existence of pure spirit. From a fractured and turbulent source to an ordered and symbiotic destination this is the journey we all will eventually complete. Awareness of connection speeds up the process while denial of connection slows it down.

Once completely past the world of judgment we enter an “expansive whole” (5.) where growth continues. All of this is symbolic of course and just MY understanding of how we are moving through the universe. I feel for those grasping for a concept, this should do nicely. Getting past the idea we are NOT separate is difficult for many. The fact is we are all symbiotic. I rely on people to grow food, sew my clothing, provide fuel, and so on. Even those who claim solitude exist because two people got together and had sex. No one is here independent of the environment, and our environment is actually infinite.

I believe that the need to connect is part of everyone. We make friends, we have lovers, we socialize and communicate, and we pray. We want our as our purpose to be part of the chain that leads to the center. The way is easy, ask for guidance on one hand and offer assistance with the other.

By the way, turn the picture upside-down for a surprise……..

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood