Life isn’t black and white.
Although we may wish it were.
But it’s not that simple.
Life is grey and blue and purple and red and every color of the rainbow.
Life is not what you grew up thinking it was.
Life is now.
And often contradictory and paradoxical.
Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it expands beyond your comprehension.
Yet, it’s so often wondrous and loving along the way.
Yes, we have sorrow and grief, but often these provide the contrast for us to appreciate how exquisite and sacred every moment is, every breath is.
You and I have been given a gift.
And it’s this very instant. It’s this very breath.
And the next one.
Wisdom traditions dating back to the dawn of consciousness have been trying to tell us this.
When you center yourself…
When you clear your mind…
When you get in touch with the magic of your holy breath… you can approach an understanding of the magic that surrounds you.
It is profound.
It is yours.
It is what you came here to discover.
#BeHereNow #ThisIsTheSacredMoment #Meditation #Breath #HolyBreath #Zen #Spirit #ACIM #DownloadingYourSoul #ChrisDuel
I post this every year on Veteran’s Day, because I think it matters.
It’s the best piece of writing I’ve ever read.
Of course, I’m a little prejudiced.
It was written by my sister about our brother and our father.
My personal connection to our veterans has always been through my father, Frank, and my brother, Greg. They are buried a few steps from each other at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
A year after Greg was killed in a fighter jet crash near Ellington Field outside Houston, my sister Kathy wrote the following Veterans Day meditation. It was published in the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and several other newspapers nationwide.
On Veterans Day over the years, I have read it on the radio and shared it online.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“Who Will Remember The Heroes of Peace?”
by Kathleen Simpson
Veterans Day 1981
The vast Texas sky was cloudless, silent. An Indian summer sun baked the rows of small white crosses. The honor guard dressed in Air Force blue raised the flag above the casket of the young pilot. Five times the jolt of rifles cracked the air. The bugler raised the trumpet to his lips. On the breeze the strains of “Taps” lingered, faltered, breathlessly faded away. From the widow and the mother, from the sisters and the brother, from the small sea of blue-dressed men and women, there was not a whimper to hear, not a sigh.
Suddenly the silence shattered. Thundering toward the grave of the young pilot, four Phantom fighter jets screamed across the sky. Once they circled low over the rows of small white crosses, over the small blue human sea. Racing again toward the grave site, one plane broke the formation, thrust its steely nose straight up into the sun and vanished.
It is a farewell reserved for heroes. For combat aces and high ranking officers of distinguished career, the acrobats of the air fly by. But the young pilot, who was my brother, had never flown into battle. His prayer was that he would never fly to kill. Educated in the classroom of war, he abhorred the lesson that the innocent are the ultimate victims of the bomb and the sword. When he flew an F-101 jet fighter of the Texas Air National Guard on October 22, 1980, he believed in his mission to protect the innocent with his quicksilver wings of peace.
But the winged horse my brother rode that day was destined to be a Pegasus of power and peril. Seconds after he lifted the huge machine into the air from Ellington Air Force Base, an explosion ripped part of the tail from the plane. On the ground below him a crowded subdivision lay in the path of the flaming, flailing craft. A horrified witness reported: “The jet banked steeply to the left, went into a steep climb and then fell into the open field. It looked to me like the pilot intentionally turned away to avoid hitting those houses.”
In the last 60 seconds of his life, my brother’s only thought must have been of the innocent people living in the innocent safety of their homes below him. The airplane burned into the dust of a pasture just 500 yards away from those homes. The investigators retrieved his helmet from the crash. They bequeathed it to his widow, who keeps it for their small son. Sleep well, brother Greg; your prayer is answered. Never will you fly to kill.
Sifting still through the wreckage of my grief, I wonder. On the day of the Armistice of the first global war – the war that Woodrow Wilson called the war to end all wars – I wonder about the price that the governments of this century have elected to pay in the purchase of peace.
I wonder about all the brave young warriors of this peace, men and women proud of their mission, honored by their duty to safeguard our shores. Do their spouses sleep soundly while they fly through the night? Do the children play fearlessly in the schoolyard as their fathers or mothers crawl into the missile hole at day? Who will remember the heroes of this peace?
A few feet from where my brother now rests, another pilot sleeps. This man, our father, also abhorred violence and war. But as a young man my father saw havoc in the skies above Europe. Dreams of the innocent, the faceless victims of the bombs that fell from his plane, haunted his sleep every night he lived.
Dreamless now, father and son together sleep. The old veteran of war shares the soil of liberty with the young veteran of peace.
Today, the 11th day of November, at the 11th hour in the morning, flags fall to half-staff across the country in honor of the nation’s veterans. The statesmen lay huge floral wreaths at the monuments of the nameless soldiers. The widows crown the crosses of their loved ones with garlands from their gardens. Silence falls for a moment over the burial grounds of the warriors.
Then cannon volley and bugles blare. It is festival time in the graveyard. The 5-year-old son of my dead brother cheers as the mighty Phantom jets scream their power across the sky. He delights in the pageant of the parade marching by. His mother takes his small hand in hers when she cries. What will she tell him when he asks her why?
We repeat what we don’t repair.
So true. In this cosmic classroom called life, there are recurring themes, recurring challenges and recurring relationships.
This is all a part of your evolution and an opportunity for you to choose once again and approach the moment with a higher purpose.
When you do, when you come from a place of love instead of fear, the moment and the world opens up. The universe showers you with blessings because you are doing what you came here to do: to grow, to understand and to become a better version of yourself.
You become a vehicle of love and light. It flows through you and you share it. And moment by moment, person by person, your world becomes a better place. Therefore this world becomes a better place. Enjoy the ride. May you graduate with honors and joy from life school.
– – – – –
(I came across this quote online today. Then I googled to learn it is widely attributed to a counslor named Christine Langley-Obaugh)
For some reason we are hard wired for self loathing. It is an odd aspect of the human condition.
The critic inside your head is quick to beat you up.
You must let this go.
You must override this.
Take conscious control of your thoughts.
You are the master of your mind when you choose to be. And you must make this choice.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces in the Universe. It is important not only to forgive others, but to forgive yourself. Frequently, when thinking of forgiveness we neglect to forgive ourselves.
Forgiveness is a spiritual technology. Forgiveness is a super power. Forgiveness is highly transformative.
Forgiveness pulls you out of ego and toward love and humility.
Remember this key concept from A Course In Miracles: “You can either have a grievance or a miracle. You cannot have both.” Forgiveness is a big part of this equation. This applies to you personally when you choose to forgive yourself.
Release the grievances you have against yourself and open up a space for positive transformation. This is how your personal miracles occur.
– – –
#Forgiveness #Forgive #ForgiveYourself #ACIM #DownloadingYourSoul#ThisIsTheSacredMoment #Spiritual #Spirit #SpiritualTechnology #ACIM #BeHereNow #LetLoveRule #Superpower #Superpowers #Miracle#Miracles #ChrisDuel
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now. – #ChineseProverb
There is vast wisdom here. We often think of the current moment as ordinary or even mundane.
This moment is oozing with possibilities for wondrous things that you can personally create in this world if you choose to. The seeds are in your heart, your mind and your soul. You were born with unique gifts and creative DNA that no one else has.
The tree of your creation will begin to grow just as soon as you plant your magical seeds.
We’re all waiting for your special contributions to this amazing life.
The clock strikes midnight
Are you ready?
Do you realize
You are given a gift
A new day
A new year
A new chance
To begin again
To wipe the slate clean
To see the world with new eyes
To trust your heart
Instead of the tired voices
In your head
To take the leap of faith
That has always beckoned you
My new year’s wish for you
(and for me)
Is that we realize
That the most precious
And sacred moment
Is not in the distant past
Nor somewhere in the future
That moment is here
May we embrace it
May we surrender to it
May this new year
With outrageous blessings
May you discover
In each of your days
May your fondest dreams
Such that you pause…
And ask yourself,
“Is this Heaven?”
A still, small voice
“Yes, it is.”
There is a lunatic living inside your head. This lunatic is feeding your mind with fear based thoughts that are distorting your clearest, highest and most accurate perception of the world.
In Zen they call this Monkey Mind. In A Course in Miracles and psychology they call this Ego. The author Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance.
Ego is not your friend.
But you need not be victimized by the fearful, negative, angry thoughts of this lunatic. You can get clear. You can center yourself. You can ease your mind and transcend the lunatic.
The calm you seek is inside of you and as close as your next breath. Meditation can take you there, Music can take you there, Nature can take you there, your Beloved can take you there.
Go there. And go back there as often as you possibly can.
The choice of Love over Fear is yours and it’s the most important choice you will make every day of your life.
This is the last moment I saw my older brother Greg alive.
He’s goofing around and making all of us laugh, as he often did.
He was 31.
I was 19 as I took this photo.
I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy, aspiring to be a fighter pilot, like he was.
He had become an Air Force pilot like our father, who died when I was four.
We never know when we’re seeing someone we love for the last time.
We’re lulled into believing that there will be many more moments with them.
But this precious existence is fleeting.
On October 22nd 1980, Greg’s fighter jet’s engines flared out shortly after takeoff in East Texas.
Had he and his navigator ejected, the jet would have slammed into a neighborhood.
The two pilots chose to steer the flaming craft into an adjacent field instead.
That’s my brother, Greg.
Funny, Loving, Heroic.
It was 37 years ago today.
Seems like yesterday.
Seems like a million years ago.
Changed everything for countless people.
Damn, I miss him.
And I’m thankful to have had such a wonderful brother.
(Above: Greg, his wife Mary Lou and children Taylor and Grant on the last day I saw him / Greg on Kelly AFB tarmac with F-100)
I came across a quote today…
“Leave them better than you found them.”
How wonderful is that?
Leave them better than you found them.
What if all of us left people better than when we initially met with them?
In every encounter, doing something to uplift others, inspire others, make others feel better. Without regard for ourselves, but with absolute regard for the other people in our lives.
How much better would all of our lives be?
I strongly believe that the benefits to the provider of such kindness would equal or exceed those of the receiver.
Why not try it?
Direct experience is so much better than theory.
Find out for yourself.
Leave them better than you found them.
And get back to me with your results.