We live in the information age.
This can be a blessing and a curse all at the same time.
While we have access to humankind’s cumulative knowledge at our fingertips, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of data that constantly streams across our computer screens, televisions, radios and smart phones.
We inherit the information of a billion souls, yet lose touch with the connection to our own.
Too often we are overstimulated by the nonstop cacophony of information that our miraculous technology delivers.
Eons of generations before us naturally had access to extended periods of silence. Especially as night fell and there was no electricity to power the devices that not only inform us, but distract us from the wellspring of guidance and wisdom that dwells within.
More than any previous generation, we have lost touch with silence.
It becomes more difficult to hear that still, small voice that guides, informs and inspires.
All the more reason to consciously, regularly choose to allow silence in our lives.
Go off grid.
Rediscover the silence and the darkness.
There are life changing secrets being whispered to you.
“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.” – John Lennon
Christmas is wondrous – for those filled with joy.
Christmas is delightful – for those living in the moment.
Christmas is inconvenient – for those feeling overwhelmed.
Christmas is sad – for those missing loved ones.
Christmas is depressing – for those feeling hopeless.
Christmas is so many things to so many people.
The celebration of holy birth of the Savior
The opportunity to gather with family and friends
The exchange of gifts
Christmas egg nog
Christmas tamales (hey, I live in San Antonio)
But shouldn’t Christmas be more personal?
What if Christmas had an even deeper personal meaning in your life, your story, your journey?
Since the late-Eighties, I have studied the works of the late mythologist Joseph Campbell, who spent his life studying the world’s religions and folklore.
One of his key teachings was that during a holiday such as Christmas, we should internalize the story into our own lives.
Not just celebrate the holiday.
But live it.
Thus, since the Christmas miracle involves the birth of the divine into the flesh and the physical world, why not allow the birth of the divine into our bodies, our hearts, our souls?
On this Christmas
and every day…
May you feel, allow and increase the holiness that already exists inside of you and all around you.
And may you know
That every day
Is a miracle.
Joe Cocker has passed away just before Christmas.
He wasn’t Elvis or Michael Jackson or John Lennon.
He wasn’t a superstar. But he was a star, nonetheless.
In my life, he was a transcendent musical force.
His voice and his music have been a part of my personal soundtrack since I begged my older sister Beth to take me to see his “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” documentary in 1971.
I was 10 and my sister was 16. She was going on a date to see the movie. Of course, she didn’t want to take her little brother on the date. Who would?
But I lobbied, begged, and cajoled Beth to take me on her date with Charlie Johnson ( 44 years later, I still remember his name ).
And because she’s never refused anything of her little brother, she took me along to see the movie at the Central Park Fox Theatre in San Antonio. I’m sure her date was thrilled to have me tagging along.
Sitting in the dark theatre, I was mesmerized by the film. Joe Cocker’s passionate, borderline spastic performance blew my 10-year-old mind.
I was hooked.
I got my hands on the “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” LP and listened to it again and again.
Joe Cocker’s heart, his soul, his beautifully unorthodox voice told me…
That if you sing from your heart, your message will resonate with those who should hear it.
We all have a song to sing.
Whether you’re actually singing or metaphorically singing.
If your voice is authentic, people will connect with it.
That’s my takeaway from Joe Cocker…
Sing your song, sing from your heart and the right people will get you.
Rest in Peace, Joe Cocker.
You made magic on Earth, Space Captain.
Do you feel it?
The moment darkness reaches its apex
And the bitter cold evokes your grief
While warmth, light and summer sun
The longer you live
And the seasons change
This frigid darkness
Is merely a fleeting precursor
To the return of the light
Through orbiting spheres
And the dance of all creation
Again and again and again
After countless cold, dark winters
On this Winter Solstice
You choose to embrace the darkness
Knowing that this moment
To the light you need
We live in a spiritual universe, or we don’t.
Either something wondrous, transcendent and mystical lies beyond the veil of apparent reality, or there is nothing other than this fleeting, ephemeral existence.
You get to choose.
Yet we hedge our bets.
We hope that there is a higher realm, but we’ve got to work our jobs, pay our bills and meet our responsibilities.
And more often than not, we become lost in the Māyā.
Māyā is the ancient Sanskrit term for illusion.
Illusion has been with us since the dawn of time. It beckons us to distraction.
What is real?
What really matters?
What was the greatest moment of your life?
Right now, recall the greatest peak experience of your life.
It certainly wasn’t a thought.
It was steeped in feeling. Not in thought.
Thought is necessary.
But feeling is magic.
The best experiences are feelings.
Listen closely to your feelings.
Listen to that still, small voice inside you.
You will discover the fountain of your personal wisdom.
It whispers hints of where your treasure lies.
* ( This is a two-part blog: first, a post I made on Facebook, and then the idea of a wise friend who has chosen to bring people together )
First, my post…
Are we, as a people, asleep at the wheel?
Are we sleepwalking through our lives?
Our nation is so divisive these days.
We believe the dogma we identify with and demonize the other side.
For the most part, I’ve followed the lead of evolved human beings like my dear friend Gabe Quintanilla, who have decided not to talk about politics on Facebook, because it becomes so ugly so fast.
Yet I’m torn.
If people of conscience keep their mouths shut, then no evolution takes place.
Yet, when we speak, we are often drawn into the toxic, negative vibration.
I have dear friends on the left and on the right.
But the extreme (and well funded) political forces on the left and the right benefit from our demonizing each other.
We are better than this.
Let’s be human beings.
Let’s be conscious.
Let’s be open.
Ultimately, we want the same things… the best situation, the best culture, the best country, the best world we can co-create.
We can have different philosophies.
But that doesn’t make me an enemy of you, nor you an enemy of me.
We’re brothers and sisters.
We’re children of God and Goddess.
See the divinity in everyone.
Let’s start there.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, Part Two…
My friend Gabe Quintanilla read the above post on Facebook and responded with this:
“This is one of the best posts that I have ever read on Facebook–written by my buddy, Chris Duel–it inspired me to throw out an idea…would anyone here or on Chris’ wall be interested in forming a lunch group that would meet once a month? Everyone invited–both the political left and right–just as a way of breaking bread–getting to know each other better–on a human level as opposed to just a viral FB friendship? If anyone is interested–let me know…”
Gabe got reaction…
Laura Marie So well said Chris! thanks for re-posting this Gabe. It’s true, we shouldn’t be silent about things that matter and we should be reminded to raise the level of our discussion rather than the volume of our voices. i keep hoping that our leaders will lead the way but, it’s us! We have to do it.
Dee Villarrubia I’m in, Gabe.– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –So, Gabe Quintanilla has invited you, me and anyone who wants to break bread and have authentic, meaningful, friendly conversations to get together.I hope one day you’ll join us.If you’re interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Carrier Pigeon or however you choose.Let’s elevate our dialogue.
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