Peace

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.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

33. “In the house…

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

floor

I welcome you to visit my blog. Please follow me and feel free to comment as much as you would like, I will acknowledge all.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

32. “The right …

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

I invite new followers and will respond to all comments.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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 there was something “out there.”  My faith, as feeble as it was, was little more than an understanding 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 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……..

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

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

20. APPROACHING LIFE POLITELY

tr

When I was in second grade our teacher, Mrs. Larson, spent an entire day on manners. It made a great impression on me. I learned to open doors not just for girls, but anyone. I learned to say “Mr.” and “Miss or Mrs.” to those I approached (especially strangers) as a way of acknowledging someone with dignity. I learned to show a graceful respect for everyone no matter their appearance or age.  I’ve often wondered how far and to whom her influence has carried itself. Forty years later the ripples in my pond are still there.

I learned very quickly how important politeness is. Some think of it as an attempt at being self-centered or above reproach using such words as snotty, conceited, pretentious, or arrogant to describe this attitude.  I do indeed see how it  might be played as leverage to try and rise above others.  This is not the proper definition nor execution of what I’ve come to understand. Courtesy is the act of putting even the smallest needs for others first; always. This is easily understood when its opposite is realized. Those we know who are the most rude and cocky constantly put themselves first in every situation. They are unkind and impolite. Their self-perceived priorities take precedence. They are extremely unreliable in every situation because when the need for help arises, it’s given only when it benefits them as well.

Putting the needs of others first isn’t just the entire picture. I suppose one could do this outwardly while hiding feelings resentment and jealousy. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done this, especially in traffic, but I’m also happy to announce that these incidents are becoming exceedingly rare. Being polite isn’t about how I want others to see me, it’s about how I want to see myself. If someone else benefits from something I’ve done, it’s a side-effect, not the goal. I used to become frustrated when my attempts at being civilized weren’t being returned. Someone would yell at me until I finally sunk to their level and yelled back. Not anymore. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times where I will step up and be a MAN, raising my voice appropriately when the situation calls for it, but I will never be a jerk or insulting.

Do not think that politeness is equal with weakness. It’s not an invitation  to those seeking to take advantage of a peaceful situation. Upon the contrary, keeping a calm and patient exterior (as well as interior) lets nothing unwanted influence you.  Remember, frustration always commits suicide. It cannot survive without a captive audience so it self-destructs. As soon as its given attention it has a reason to re-assert itself which is why the followers of a great many historical blowhards are just as annoying as their leaders.

At the very least ask yourself these questions. Why not be kind? Why not be patient? Why not be empathetic? Why not be generous? Besides, who really does want to become rude, impatient, indifferent, and selfish anyway?

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

19. WHAT I REFUSE TO BELIEVE

IMAG1529

Some time ago I posted an entry designed to better introduce myself called “WHAT I BELIEVE”.  It was only half of where I stand; this completes the circle. There are common convictions many endorse that I refuse to. They hinder advancement and are useless. I choose to embrace only those philosophies which lead me away from chaos and destruction.  My goal is to live a life of peaceful constructiveness. This is NOT a path of religious sentiment nor is it the result of following a singular teaching; it’s a journey of being faithful to my spirit. I trust in guidance from an inner place. I’m not referring to that loud obnoxious voice, the one wanting nothing but pleasures of the body, known as the ego. No, I speak of an almost silent whisper coming from the deep chambers of my soul. There is where I listen, getting what I need without asking for direction. This connection has served me well and I look forward to seeing where it will eventually take me.

I refuse to blame

I refuse to believe there is never a choice.

I refuse to believe in luck.

I refuse to believe the world is getting worse.

I refuse to believe I am a victim.

I refuse to believe in seduction.

I refuse to believe the past equals the future.

I refuse to believe that there’s somewhere where God is not.

I refuse to believe that there are those beyond hope.

I refuse to believe in ugliness.

I refuse to believe I am separate from God.

I refuse to believe in impossibilities.

I refuse to believe good guys finish last.

I refuse to believe in death.

I refuse to believe first impressions.

I refuse to believe that I can’t make a difference.

I refuse to believe  negativity.

I refuse to believe I’m given more than I can handle.

I refuse to believe I cannot change.

I refuse to believe in fear.

I refuse to believe in imperfection.

I refuse to believe violence is an answer.

I refuse to fight against anything. (I will fight for something though)

I refuse to be offended.

I refuse to be late.

I refuse to stop being just a bit juvenile sometimes.

I refuse to let a day go by without trying to make someone laugh.

I refuse to be an example of what not to do.

I refuse to sell myself short.

I refuse to complain.

I refuse to do something I know I’ll regret.

I refuse to leave this world wondering what I could have done better.

I refuse to not check for toilet paper before I sit down.

I refuse to try to impress people.

I refuse to let other people’s opinions change my opinion about me.

I refuse to ever stop growing.

I refuse to ignore my feelings.

I refuse to think I’m always right.

I refuse to hate.

I refuse to ignore a cry for help.

I refuse to be unkind.

I refuse to be lazy.

I know what I don’t want because at some point I used to practice these, and they almost destroyed me. As time goes on I’m sure I’ll purge more beliefs and habits. Humble pie tastes terrible but it sure does a good job of cleaning me out.

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

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

14. THE STRENGTH OF COMPASSION

heart water

Once, a long time ago, I was witness to a hit and run. Never really saw the car, but I was the man who stopped to help the victim. She remained conscious and I remained calm, all the while telling her that things were going to be just fine. I knew they weren’t. She was bleeding from her eyes and ears and was concerned about her husband getting upset she was going to miss work that day. I took off my coat and gently placed it over her, worried that the cold, snowy ground was going to compound problems of shock. The collision was so hard that her shoes bounced off my windshield some forty feet away, so my gut feeling was that there was much more injury than could be diagnosed by casual observation. I continued a simple reassuring conversation with her, never letting on what I really thought. My only goals were to keep her conscious and to try and stop her from panicking. Within minutes the paramedics showed up. Her condition in this short span had already showed signs of deterioration. The blood flow from her injuries was increasing and she had lost her eyesight. I never asked her what her name was. I guess I didn’t need to. They whisked her off, and I continued to work, wondering if she was even going to live. Seventeen years later, I still wonder.

What behavior marks the pinnacle of our aspirations? That morning I spent ten minutes lying to a total stranger, and yet at the time I knew I’d done the right thing. That morning I treated someone differently than I might have wanted them to treat me, and looking back, I wouldn’t hesitate doing the same thing again. That morning, though tragic for someone else, forced me to abandon what I normally thought of as proper conduct and embrace a much more powerful idea, kindness.

The “Golden Rule” that all of us are familiar with is something I cannot fully endorse anymore. It is a good idea and a great place to start, but it can be abusive and heartless if practiced with too much passion. I am forty-eight years old. I carry no shame with my age and I never will. For one, I’ve never associated how old I am with who I am. Now I ask you, just because I carry this belief close to my heart, does this give me free rein to ask all who cross my path what their age is? There is no doubt that this is indeed treating others the way I want to be treated, but the very idea of doing this is selfish and inconsiderate. The “Golden Rule” applies in this situation only when I change the angle of approach by generalizing the moment; would I want a total stranger asking me a question I was unprepared or unwilling to answer? Of course not.

The second situation that seemed to violate my ethics all those years ago was lying. My heart knew this was a circumstance where the outcome could easily end with the death of the person I was talking to. Yes, it did cross my mind; what I would want to hear if the roles were reversed? If I felt the end might be near, would I like the chance to say goodbye to those I loved? Would I want to express a final thought? Would I want to ask forgiveness for things I could no longer correct? These are harsh questions and not to be lightly asked when a life hangs in the balance. I suppose if death were eminent, that there was no chance living, then yes, by all means I would want the truth. Even then I suppose I’d want it tempered with reassurance and faith that what awaited was not to be feared. I had no idea what lay in store for this woman an hour from then, but I had a grasp of what the immediate future held. Instead of handing her the facts, I opted to give her nothing but hope. It wasn’t just for her, but to a small degree, me as well. I had to share a belief that things were okay, if nothing else so that she could hang on long enough for those who could bring real aid to have a better chance.

One of my mentors says, “When facing the choice to be right or to be kind comes up, choose kindness.” This means never saying to someone “I told you so.” There are of course times that require a blunt approach, but they always seem to come before any given incident, not after. I feel potentially negative honesty is best used as a warning. It also comes in handy to point out unrecognized acts of self-destruction, but even this is still nothing more than a warning to not repeat oneself. Basically, I believe that “Honesty precedes, while compassion follows.”

To live compassionately is my goal. To be empathetic (not sympathetic) towards all I meet is  the life I demand of myself. To align with another individual’s priorities, even for just a moment, erases my ego. I cannot be “self-centered” when I become “they-centered.” This is a blessing of the highest sort. All the pain, anguish, bitterness, hostility, angst, regret, and fear that had so effectively eroded  my life was the direct result of the storms of my selfishness. The peace that compassion continues to feed me, strengthens me. May it strengthen all of us.

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

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

8. MY FAVORITE BUMPER STICKER

Sunset_2007-1

I had this bumper sticker printed up years ago and handed them out for free to anyone willing to take one. While it still makes me laugh, I also consider it a very important question.  It’s a little like hearing someone complain about whiners. Not only are they joining in with the same crowd they are trying to distance themselves from, now they’re center stage. I think this is why we should “Love thine enemy as thyself.”

If tolerance is what we want to project, are we not obligated to turn this attitude towards those who receive it the least? When mankind experiences pain somewhere in its “body” shouldn’t this demand care and healing? We seem to point towards what isn’t working in our society and do our best to fight it rather than help it. We praise that which is already doing well and insult what isn’t functioning properly. In my opinion this attitude is destructive and immoral.

No one wants to be around a hypocrite. People that do this are fooling themselves into believing that by putting everyone else down, they don’t have to work at doing anything to look good. We witness this unethical “sleight-of-hand” all the time in various incarnations. The “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” syndrome is, unfortunately, very common.  “No one does what I tell them to do” equals “I’m perfect, they’re flawed.” “No one comes up with better solutions than me” equals “I’m brilliant and they’re stupid.” “Others don’t do nearly as much work as me” equals “I’m productive, they’re useless.” “Everyday I fight bad drivers on the way to work” equals “I’m courteous, they’re rude.” All of these are hypocritical attitudes. No one is perfect. This is not a generalized judgment; I simply mean that there is always room for improvement.  The trap of thinking you’re beyond reproach is to invite a lifestyle that will convince itself there’s no need for progress.   Those who try to position themselves into a brighter spotlight by negative promotion lose all credibility. They don’t realize their audience is  instinctively aware that they’re unwilling to become better.

I would love to think I am past this kind of behavior but I’m not. On occasion I catch myself playing the victim. My moments of “poor me” are a lot less pronounced than they used to be, but at least I have the ability to recognize them. This “role” leaves a bitter taste, I assure you.  I’ve learned  there are countermeasures for this habit.

  1. I stop trying to be better than the rest of the crowd, I simply commit to being better than I used to be.
  2. My personal standards are far beyond what others expect of me.
  3. I acknowledge where talent lies. When I’m seen as someone who gives credit where credit is due, I notice people are more eager to work as a team. Everyone wants some sort of recognition for their contributions. Sometimes nothing more than a “Thank You” makes all the difference, especially when it’s done in public. I know it does for me.

I think it’s amazing just how many don’t do this. It’s too bad that the ones who do this stand out so prominently. They are a rare breed; I wish they weren’t.

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

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

5. 12 STEP MEETINGS – BEHIND THE DOORS

people helping

If you are reading this, it’s possible you’ve considered approaching one of these meetings as a way to eliminate whatever it is you seek to remove from your life. There are of course many groups for a variety dependencies. All follow the same basic pattern, and all are excellent choices for beginning a new way of living. Some are held in homes, some in semi-public places, and others in clubs. An on-line search will reveal locations and phone numbers. Here is a link to a nationwide network of groups-   http://www.sobernation.com/list-of-12-step-programs/   Dues are never required, but donations are gently encouraged from those who can afford them. Some groups are “closed”, meaning they are intended only for those directly involved in seeking recovery. Most are “open”, which encourages friends and family members to be welcome in order to support guests. Other subgroups include:  women only, men, Spanish speaking, GLBT, and so on. They exist so attendees can open up in a  more comfortable, less-vulnerable environment. Each meeting usually starts with standard readings from the appropriate literature. Before the period where members speak, you will be asked (along with everyone else in the room) to identify yourself  by first name only and to state your suspected affliction. This is the only time you should be prompted  to say anything publicly, and even then, no one should chastise if you choose to remain silent. When the period for sharing starts, it usually goes to the person who talks first. I have been to meetings where people call randomly upon others to share after they are done. No pressure here; if you don’t want to say anything, simply turn it down. Most meetings will last only one hour. They will be concluded  when the  designated chairperson makes a few announcements and asks some final questions. In the end, all will stand,  join hands, and repeat aloud “The Lord’s Prayer.” This is a condensed version of what will probably happen. There are actually still some meetings where you’re allowed to smoke, and these will identify themselves as such through an official schedule. Coffee, tea, and water is usually available.

If you’re anything like me, there’s some apprehension ahead of passing through those doors. I wondered what kind of people would be waiting. Who would look at me and suspect what I wanted no one else to know?   It felt like I was walking into court. My fears vanished when I realized that any given room may have a doctor, student, housewife, prostitute, cop, teacher, business owner, criminal, grandmother, soldier–I’m sure you get the picture. Basically, there is no stereotype for identifying who might be sitting across from you. What they all will have in common with each other (and you) is that they found themselves in the same place. Although each person’s past will be different, there will be plenty of mutual understanding and support for present circumstances.

In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons the “anonymous” label  exists, is to level the playing field. Here, where privacy is revered, there is no authority–nor are there other titles designed to establish any kind of pecking order. Each individual stands upon their own accomplishments within the program and believe me, that is enough. What is said in confidentiality is promised to be kept at that level. Without this ethic in place, it’s doubtful many would open up far enough to allow any kind of healing to take place.

The 12 steps themselves are a set of declarations, principles, oaths, and actions structured to rebuild a life of health, abundance, and love. They CANNOT be self-interpreted. They must be approached through a trusted and disciplined source. IF you decide to attend and make a commitment to following the curriculum, you will need to seek out a willing sponsor. Success  will not come to fruition without one. As far as I’m concerned, friends are not allowed to be considered. Those you choose must decide to accept you and must be impartial to your goals and feelings. They will tell you the truth, despite how they think you may react. Please read my post “HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK”  at this link for further clarification on this subject https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/04/how-to-know-if-you-are-on-the-right-track/

Approaching this environment is not as overwhelming as you might think. The people here are highly motivated if not overjoyed to help you. If you thought you were alone in your pain, that’s the first idea that’s going out the window. Every meeting has in its traditions a statement that reads something like this, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop.”  That’s it; nothing else will be asked of you.

May you find the peace and happiness that evades so many. I wish you the best that life can offer.

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

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood