Happy Mid Year!

Happy Mid Year

 

We celebrate the New Year by ringing it in, making toasts and singing Auld Lang Syne. Our resolutions vow that this year will be different. We will be different. We aspire to be better versions of ourselves.

It feels good. And for awhile we believe we can live up to our ambitious New Year’s resolutions.

But old habits die hard. Within days or even hours, our resolutions fall away, along with our hopes of becoming the best versions of ourselves.

Which brings us to now – July 1st – the year’s midpoint.

It is no longer a new year, but a middle-aged year. At 182 days done and 183 days left, we are perched upon the year’s midpoint.

And this year, through a gift of the cosmos, we have a celestial, metaphorical representation of this year’s midpoint in the form of the Full Moon, which shines in tonight’s sky.

Full Moon

(In my hometown of San Antonio, the Moon becomes full at precisely 9:20pm on July 1st.)

The phases of the Moon parallel the progression of this year as we reach midpoint from New Moon to New Moon just as we reach the halfway mark of the year.

This year was born new, slowly waxing to fullness, as has this July Moon.

The year and the Moon are full at precisely the same time.

After tonight, the Moon and the year will wane, retreating from fullness into inevitable shadow, death and rebirth.

So it is with our lives and the lives of all whom we love and will ever know.

The circular cycle of birth, growth, fullness and disintegration mirrors every aspect of our lives, our years and the heavenly bodies in the sky.

The New Year’s resolutions we made seem so long ago. We assume we cannot get them back.

Or can we?

Why isn’t the midpoint of the year – like the fullness of the Moon – just as appropriate of a time to reflect, take personal inventory and begin again?

I believe it is.

While you can certainly choose a New Year or a midpoint or a Full Moon as the auspicious moment to make changes in your life, you can also choose any day, any moment, any moon to grow, to evolve, to do the right things.

Sometimes the New Year or the mid year or the Full Moon whispers to you that your time is now. And like the year and the Moon, your days are full, but waning.

Perhaps now is the time to choose to become more of the person you came here to be.

Ring it in.

Raise a toast.

Sing Auld Lang Syne.

Even in July.

Happy Mid Year!

 

May You Live In Interesting Times

May You Live In Interesting Times

Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changin’.”

That was in the early Sixties. Those of us old enough to remember that era recall tumultuous change, clash of cultures and a rift between the generations.

Recent events in America are rivaling the changes witnessed in the 1960s.

On Friday June 26th, the Supreme Court made Marriage Equality legal in all 50 states.

The next morning, female civil rights activist Bree Newsome evaded security guards, climbed the 30-foot steel flag pole at the South Carolina Statehouse and removed the Confederate flag, which has become a more profound symbol of controversy in the aftermath of the Charleston church murders.

I woke up this morning and looked at the image of the LGBT rainbow flag being waved on the steps of the Supreme Court along with the photo of Bree Newsome removing the Confederate flag in South Carolina and a memorable phrase occurred to me…

“May you live in interesting times.”

Curious of the phrase’s author, I googled it. According to Wikipedia, it has been regarded by many as an ancient Chinese curse, although no actual historical Chinese origin has ever been found.

In 1966, Senator Robert F. Kennedy used the line in address to the people of Cape Town, South Africa on the “Day of Affirmation.” It has since been used in novels, films and television series.

I am surprised that some regard these six words as a curse. It seems more like a blessing to live in interesting times than in mundane or stagnant times.

If indeed the phrase dates back to ancient China, perhaps it is both a blessing and a curse.

In the Chinese language, many linguists point out that the word “crisis” is created by the use of two characters – one representing danger, the other representing opportunity.

Interesting times.

Curse.

Blessing.

Crisis.

Opportunity.

Take your pick.

And enjoy the ride.

We truly live in interesting times.

 

 

 

Love More, Fear Less

Love More, Fear Less

 

Love More.

Fear Less.

Laugh Often.

Breathe Consciously.

Forgive Everyone. 

 

(that is all)

 

Fifty Father’s Days Without My Father

My Father, Frank

 

My father died in February of 1965. He was 42 years old and I was four. I was his youngest of five children.

I never knew him when I was an adult and I barely knew him past the age of three, as he served in Vietnam during the last year of his life.

Vietnam was my father’s second war, having flown B-17 bombers over Europe in World War II.  He would later tell my mother and older siblings how the war haunted him and how he grieved for the prodigious loss of life that he witnessed and participated in.

Because I was so young when he died, I only have a handful of actual memories of my father.

I have the one item he wrote directly to me. It is 22 words inscribed in pencil on the back of a photograph he had kept in his wallet.  It is one of five photos of his children that my father carried with him on his journey to and through Vietnam.

The photo is of his youngest son as he knew me in the last year of his life.

 

My Father's Message to Me

 

On the back he wrote,

“Kip,” You and your sisters and brother have been on the other side of the world – I love you son. Dad.”

More than 50 years later, I am touched that our father would carry photos of his children with him in a far away war.

How could he have known his son would treasure the message half a century later?

His words, “on the other side of the world,” have both the literal meaning he intended and a cosmic meaning now that he is indeed somewhere on the other side of this existence.

My brother and a sister have since joined him there.

As will I one day.

Until then, I carry the photo and those words with me, as he once did.

Prayers For Charleston, Prayers for America

Prayers For Charleston

Prayers For Charleston

I cannot begin to fathom the sickness and hatred that drives a human being to kill other innocent human beings, much less for the absurd “difference” of skin color or ethnicity.

We live in a world of so many beautiful blessings. How and why can this happen?  I don’t have the answers.

What I do know is that there are two powerful forces in the world: Love and Fear.

Love is the truth.

Fear is the illusion.

And once again we have a choice.

To choose Love and spread Love.

Or to choose Fear and spread Fear.

I vividly remember the night Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  I was seven years old.  I sat in front of the television late into the night of April 4, 1968 and watched the replays of his speech from the night before, where he said he’d been to the mountaintop and seen the beauty of all God’s children living in peace, while adding that he might not make it there with us.

I’m stunned that in the 21st Century such unevolved fear, hatred and ignorance still exists.

All I know to do is to continue to choose Love over Fear.

And to continue to shine a light on the darkness of hatred, racism and ignorance.

God Bless those who were killed in Charleston last night.  And may comfort and peace ease the horror and pain of their families and friends.

Become Who You Came Here To Be

1Struggles

We lament our adversity.

We feel victimized by our circumstance.

But what if our adversity is an opportunity?

What if our struggle is a gift?

What if we’re not only equal to the task, but born for it?

If we only have the courage.

If we only have the vision to see

That this very obstacle will not only free us,

But will also light the way for others

In their moments of despair.

You know the way forward.

The answers were born inside of you.

The Universe is waiting

For you to accept your cosmic inheritance

And become the person

You came here to be.

Beyond The Rain

Beyond The Rain

Beyond The Rain

I wrote this short poem today on a gloomy, rainy afternoon in San Antonio, after I listened to the song “Rain” by The Beatles, and was struck by the lyrics

“When it rains and shines

it’s just a state of mind,”

and

“Rain, I don’t mind. 

Shine. 

The weather’s fine”

The lyrics reminded me that the rain is an illusion, the clouds are an illusion, the gloom is an illusion, and we alone determine whether we choose to see the magic of this very moment, and all of its miracles and possibilities.

To every darkness, there is an corresponding equal or greater light.

It is my experience that light is more powerful than darkness.

The choice is yours to turn your attention to the light.

 

Going Deeper Into Following Your Bliss

 

Follow Your Bliss

Follow Your Bliss

These three words may sound trite at first, but knowing the depth of their meaning and how Joseph Campbell came to understand them is truly empowering.

Campbell spent his life studying the world’s mythologies and religions.  He found common themes and connected the dots on “The Hero’s Journey,” which is not only the basis of humankind’s greatest stories, but is also encoded in your very own psyche and DNA.

Your bliss is your passion.  It is your soul work.  It is what you came into this world to experience and to share with others.

An extended quote from Campbell on how it works:

“Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

The Price of Heaven

The Price of Heaven

The Price of Heaven

 

Are you willing to pay the price?

Paradise is here and now, but will you choose to go?

Why would you not ? )

God brokers insist they can get you there

Should you trust them?

Or yourself?

You know the answer

You know the price 

Forget your cash and credit cards

They’re no good here

The admission price is your heart

The admission price is your soul

The admission price is your choice

Of love over fear

Breathe

Deeply

Consciously

Go within before you venture out

See beyond the veil

Heaven is here, now

When you allow the illusion to fall away

Heaven is you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Father Died 50 Years Ago Today

My Father in World War II

My Father in World War II

 

My father died 50 years ago today.

The thought of this blows my mind.

Can he possibly have been gone half a century?

Do I actually have 50-year-old memories swirling in my brain?

I still remember being the four-year-old boy whose father went away forever.

It seems like yesterday.  It seems like another life.  Like another universe.

His passing was my first introduction to death.

More would follow.  Too many and too soon.

I wish I knew my father.

I wish he knew the adult me.

I often wonder if he would even like me.

He was a war hero.

A B-17 pilot in World War II.

A devoted husband and father.

My older brother followed in his footsteps and became an Air Force pilot.

For years my brother would visit our father’s gravesite at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Now they are buried 50 yards apart.  Heroic men sharing hallowed soil.

And I, the least heroic of our family, live to visit their graves, as I will today.

I am the youngest of my family and the last surviving son.

Today when I visit their gravesites, 50 years after my father’s flight to the next world, I undoubtedly will look to the sky.

I will gaze to the clouds where they both flew.

Searching for any sign of them, as I have for most of my life.

I never see them in the sky.

But sometimes I feel them nearby.

Especially at the cemetery, where the silence of a sea of souls beckons my attention.

And I am taken back, to when my father served in Vietnam. And he carried photos of all his children in his wallet.

He left us these photos just before he died.

Photo of me from my father's wallet

Inscribed on the back of my photo…

“Kip (that’s what he called me), You & your sisters and your brother have been on the other side of the world – I love you son, Dad”

I love you too, Dad.

Wherever on the other side of the world you might be.

I miss you.

For 50 years now.