Welcome to SBH
Thanks for stopping by the bear cave and checking it out. Being serious all the time is un-bear-able, so we have added a great comic strip at the bottom of page for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave your thoughts,or shoot us an e-mail with the link to the right. We'd love to hear from all the creatures in the forest.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

M. Scott Peck

"Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Looking back on time

When we look at a clock face we see something that is not tangible. We see time. How long till we need to be somewhere. A unit of measurement that marks some responsibility yet to come. When we look at a clock from behind we see a tangible thing; a mechanism that measures intangible time.

When we look into the future of our lives we see intangible possibilities and dreams. When we look backwards we see compromises, missed opportunities and often times regret. We can also see tangible things acquired, and accomplishments and dreams realized. The Egyptians created a mechanism to measure continuous time way back. It was powered by water drips. Life on this planet has never been the same. The clock has been tick-toking away creating the pressures of life ever since. I have a favorite saying that goes " if it was not for the last minute, nothing would get done." The last minute is so powerful. The magnitude of things that get done within moments of that last tick of the clock. That is probably why the Egyptians made the clock, they had some big projects to get done. Life, however, is a different story isn't it? Our last minute will not afford us the opportunity to finish anything. It just comes, and what is done is done. It is this last minute that creates fear and a lot of emotional stress for some. They treat time like money. They squander it all away until it is to late to really purchase anything of value. Minutes are like pennies. One does not get you much. We need a stack of them to really put together something grand.

Or what a minute, maybe minutes are not that fleeting after all. How long does it take to smile at someone? How long does it take to ask the right question? Or wink? Or bend down and pick something up for someone? There is 60 seconds in a minute. A good bull ride last only 8 seconds. There are 1440 minutes in a day. I can not tell you how I will use mine tomorrow, but I can tell you what I did with mine looking back. And, I am pretty sure you can do the same.

Unlike money I can not earn more time. I have been given a certain allotment and I have no idea how much that is. I can only try and spend my time the best I can figure out how too. So, what am I buying with my time? material things that will be forgotten as soon as I am? Or am I buying intangible things that will last in the hearts of those I leave behind? When we look back on time, we soon realize that history records those who contributed to society some how, good or bad. They spent their time impacting the lives around them, one way or another. Greatness is not measured by personal accomplishments, but by accomplishments that measured a person. Time is more interested in us then we are interested in it. It is watching us. Counting our every moment, measuring us as if it will hold us accountable in the end. Are we spending time, or is time spending us? either way, I want to be spent on valuable moments or spend valuable moments. The trick is what is of value for me to spend my time on.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, U.S. Poet, essayist and transcendentalist (1803-1882)

"Who so would be a man must be a nonconformist."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I think I have lost my mind!

I am confused. When I was a young man I was going to college to become a youth pastor. We (the "warrior" crowd) dreamed of doing great works for God. We were going to go out and save the lost. We were going to take a stand for what we believed in. We were sold out for this mission.

Pay attention, this is where it gets crazy. The mission was to go out into a battle field where the lost was and save them. This was radical thinking to many back then. To go out into the big bad world. I mean, that is where the fight is, no? I do not go to the hardware store to buy baked beans. Call me crazy to think that I would need to go out into the world to help folks. I guess the mind set was to make your church so cool that the world would want to come to you. But what about the downcast sheep thing. What about the ones who want help but just cant get up. I guess we should just leave them, no? Anyway, any good warrior that is worth their weight will go to the fight! So Out into the world I went. Now there was no one in my life teaching me how to keep the world out of me. So, inevitably I developed some "rough edges." Rough edges that have helped me tremendously in my mission of helping the world. But, the folks at base camp (church) just can't get past my rough edges, even though I am one of them. So let me get this straight. It is better for me to stay at base camp, never get dirty, never touch the untouchable and I will be accepted here at base camp. But we were not meant to stay in camp, we were made to go out into the field where the harvest is, no?

So, now I feel locked out of base camp, or, maybe they are locked in, I am not sure. This is what confuses me. Why do people act as if they are saints already? Why do people react with such disdain? If your scared to go out into the world they you should be thankful that there are people out there doing your job and not afraid to get dirty doing it. I would eat dinner with a hundred sinners and enjoy it more than one dinner with a self perceived saint. You ask what would Jesus do? He DID the same thing! He modeled the strategy that I am talking about. He went out and met the downcast sheep. And guess what, the established church hated him for it. In fact they killed him over it. Something to think about!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

J.C.F. von Schiller, 1759-1805

" Every man stamps his value on himself. . . man is made great or small by his own will. "

I deserve a Leer jet!

Why wife and I spend time debating about big ticket items! She is very quick to point out that I want things, big things, because of my childhood. A childhood where gifts were of the used kind. I disagree with her. I told her it is because I deserve them. Once again she was quick to point out that my "I deserve them" comment was arrogant. But is it really? I think it is a matter of realizing that we are special and worthy of any big ticket item that we can responsibly afford. This is where my wife and I split paths, evidently! I am worthy! After all I was fearfully and wonderfully made, wasn't I? So a Leer jet is not to far fetched, at least I don't think so. For those of you who don't know me, which is about 99.9% of you, I have an odd life story.

I am kinda like that guy in the Scot trade commercials. As a child I would ask for something special for a birthday or a Christmas gift like all kids do. However my dad was, I think, unique. For example, I would ask for a bike. My dad found a copious amount of thrown away bike parts and piled then in the garage. On my birthday he gave me the pile. Now my wife thinks my dad was awful for this gift. But as I look back, he gave me much more than a bike. He gave me the gift of seeing the possibilities that imagination can bring to fruition. I made the bike of my dreams. And in the process I learned how to fix any problem that could arise from "bikehood."

Fast forward to just married. We received the usual hand me downs from the family and started our little nest. As we were building our material world in America an opportunity arose; world travel. Now I love risky adventures, but to do this adventure we would have to sell just about everything we owned to afford such an adventure. Remember my dad's lesson about dream building. So we sold it all, and off we went. Ten countries in all. When we came back to America we were beyond poor. I do not think there is a scale of poverty that reflected where we stood. So we lived in a tee-pee until we could get back on our feet. From homeless to here. We do well in this off the chart economy of Los Angeles. In fact we are excelling here. So why do I tell you this story?

If I had believed that I was not worthy nor deserving of something better we would still be in that tee-pee with no running water and no electricity. I realize that hot water and a flushing toilet may seem very different than a Leer jet, but is it really? How many of you deserve hot water? All of you of course. In fact I would argue that all of you deserve a Leer jet. But, we place such a low value on our self's that we become convinced that we are only worthy of the dregs of life. Now I am not buying into the millionaire faith thing. What I am saying is that you have much more value than you allow your self to experience! God wants us to be good stewards of what he blesses us with. I am pretty sure He is not dealing out blessings to losers. In fact I don't think God sees any of us as losers. Yep, I am pretty sure I deserve a Leer jet!

Now, am I going to go out and buy one, maybe not yet. Because I can't afford the up-keep yet. It would be irresponsible of me to do such a thing. And no, I do not think that if I have that money/faith thing jumping off God is going to cover the jet fuel bill. It is like a moment I shared with my daughter. She wanted some toy. I forget the type of toy, but I knew she was not ready for such a thing. And like all kids she became disappointed. When I told her "sweety you deserve it and I want you to have it, but I feel that your not ready for such a thing", My own comment came right back at me. Just because I feel that I may deserve something does not mean I am ready for it.

What I am saying is that our self-beliefs, our self-image is constantly destroying our potential. If I place little value on my self than I will achieve little value for anyone. Something perceived cheap is treated cheap. I am not cheap and neither are you, we were bought and paid for by blood, His blood! So why then do we act cheap? I think there are many reason or answers to this question. But I do know that we all deserve a Leer jet, what do you think?

Jason Jordan

"True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."

Love, the greatest weapon known to mankind

While I was in the Marine Corps, I was assigned to the weapons platoon. I loved it. I was trained in the effective use of many types of weapons. I loved to see things blown up. Today I love to watch the Military Channel and see all the new and wazoo weapons that warriors get to play with. Every weapon I have touched, fired, or watched being used are great at one thing; destroying life. We spend billions of dollars on developing ways to destroy life.

I now realize that the best weapon that mankind could ever posses is one that can restore life. A weapon that can heal the agonizing pains of abuses and rejections. A weapon that can re-establish trust, honesty, and passion for life. What is amazing is that mankind has had this kind of weapon since the beginning of time; it is called love. Many of us see this word as a form of weakness. I am a lover not a fighter! Love makes us weak in the knees and so on. Weakness I tell you, love is weak, don't you think so?

I believe love is the greatest weapon a fighter can ever use. I am not talking about your hallmark card version of love. I am talking about the kind of love that eludes most of us for most of our lives. The unconditional, caring, self sacrificing love that only someone who is of strong personal character can give. A greedy, self serving, ambitious, scared, weak, fearful person would walk by this gem and not even realize its true power or worth. Many people are so inflicted with the disease of self they have an extremely difficult time accepting such healing power when it is pointed right at them. This thing called love is truly foreign to most of us. We use the word as I did in the beginning of this post. I love this, I love that, I love my wife, I love hamburgers and so on. When it comes to love we are as a child is playing with a 105 howitzer cannon.

The Bible sheds some light on love to us. Many know the love chapter, it is used at many weddings. I want to use another passage here. I have read this story before. What brought it to light for me was when I heard Tony Campolo tell a story about one of his encounters with a student of his. Tony started off by telling the class that today they were going to study about the time Christ meet a prostitute. One of Tony's students replied that Christ never meet a prostitute. In Tony's telling he said that his first reaction was to cite the verses and blast this young kid's comment, but Tony thought for just a moment, and bam. It hit Tony that in Christ's eyes she was not a prostitute, she was a hurting young woman that needed the kind of love that I am talking about here. It was mankind that put the label on this woman, not Christ.

One day at work my duties brought me to a situation that crossed paths with a known prostitute. At this moment I was an authority figure and her actions were in question. As I spoke with this lady, and I looked at her, my heart broke. Now, do not get me wrong, I am all about accountability for ones actions. But what I saw, was a women who was spending a lot of effort looking for acceptance or love. She was so hurting that the temporary and false acceptance of a paying customer was more acceptance then she was experiencing any where else. This woman's life was void of love and it showed. She wore the hurt and pain as if it was an evening gown. To me, it was if her soul was screaming for relief through her hardened yet fragile eyes. I made one statement to her. " Why are you doing this, your so much better then this?" She began to weep and told me her horrendous story. She was once a churched women, from my own church no less, and how she became caught up in the world's madness. She was no doubt a downcast sheep who could not get back up even though she said she had tried on many occasions. A prostitute by choice?, maybe, an extremely hurt little girl that lost knowledge of the true power of love, absolutely.

This event made me think about a lot of things and a lot of people. Mankind is great at labeling each other. Labels that cause many of us to spin our wheels trying to discard. We worry about these labels. We agonize over them. We create rank structures over them. We reject each other over them. THEY MEAN NOTHING! They hold value only to those who chose not to use their weapon of love. I know many churched people who are so consumed by labels they forget they are called to love, blinded by the labels of mankind. Accept who God made them, accept who God made others to be. I have a friend that when he refers to himself lately he has been using the term "broken". Not broken as in humbled, broken as in when I drop something on the floor. This kills me to hear him say that. He is buying into a label of mankind. A label that reflects the absence of the true power of love. A label that convinces us that we have to do ,or be, something other than what we were created for. A label that cause one to fear they will not achieve their perceived rightful place in the mankind hierarchy. How do I know this, because I too have bought into this madness!

Isn't it time for us to grow up? Shouldn't we stop playing this destructive game with ourselves and with others? Can't we love each other and accept each other with out labels? I do not want to be better or worse than anyone else anymore. I want to be loved and I want to love others as Christ did! I am choosing not to be ruled by the hierarchy of mankind! Does this mean kinder-gentler? I honestly don't think so. I think it is honest and truthful. I think it will take all the strength I have to hold onto the recoil of this kind of weapon. I know this is not going to be easy but it will be the thrilling e-ticket experience I have dreamed of. The range is HOT, ready on the left, ready on the right, the firing line is ready, fire at will!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Henry David Thoreau

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Weighed, measured, and found worthless!

Today's society has placed,adjusted and readjusted our system of values so many times it has become very confusing on what to value. Websters definition of values is:

something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable relative worth, utility, or importance

What do we value today? Or, more importantly, where do we get our measure of value today? If we go by statistical data on the time spent averages, I would have to say the media. Hummm....Ice berg dead ahead! When we base of value structures on a medium that is selling something or making money off of something, I think they just may have a biased motive. So what is being sold? A good time, substances that temporally add in that good time, and a needed look while your having a good time are all huge targets for this biased effort to get us to value. But when I weigh and measure my good time in the morning I am left with a zero balance, nada, worthless. I would compare this to trading my self worth and self image values for a temporary acceptance value. To me, that would be like trading my Jaguar, that I own, for a beat up old Datsun, for a nights use, because someone convinced me that the Datsun was worth more value. Today's media is great at convincing us that what we have is not worth as much as what they want us to buy. However, the media is not selling the gold nuggets of life are they? They are not selling unconditional love, self acceptance, loyalty, commitment, honor, integrity, and so on. In fact, we would be hard pressed to even find these values on any list of worth today! Why is this?

I think it is because we are so bored with life that we will sell out for anything that will help us, even temporally, beat back the boredom. We are fickle! We have bought into the mirage that material value will bring us intrinsic value. We are quick to trade principles and character qualities for objects of perceived success. Then we will follow "leaders" who hide the fact that they are hollow, empty or value void. I am amazed at how many gangsta rap artist there are that were never really in a gang. And these guys look like angels next to many of our "value based" politicians. I wont even go into church leadership. I think the bottom line is that we want and need to be or feel valued as a person. This need drives us to this madness. If you value that object, and I want you to value me, than I will obtain that object so you value me. But, as the fickleness marches on, guess what? That object I sold out for has no value anymore, ah oh! So, the dance of madness continues. Can someone please stop this music and lets dance to something else!

So what list of values should I set out to obtain or emulate into my life? My parents gave me a few. Don't lie, steal, cheat, work hard, are all on their list of valued principles. Wait a minute, I have seen these in a book somewhere. In fact, these are in a few books. Books that religions teach us. Maybe, if we were to actually be committed to our religions as much as we are to our televisions, this whole value void issue would clear up? Maybe, if our religions did not act like they were selling us something we would not change the channel. Maybe if our religions made us feel valued we wouldn't have to buy one of everything to feel valued by the proverbial Jone's. Or maybe, we should not look to man and building for our value. We should look only to our God and find that we are valued just the way he made us! I think then, and only then, will we find that when we weigh and measure ourselves in the morning, we will have true value!

Bodie Thoene

"What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who among us, has a warrior inside?"

As I explore the many different and sometimes dark avenues of humanities behaviors, I have stumbled onto one that has ancient roots. Did God embed a warrior mindset into us? From the beginning of time, humanity has valued and honored its strong. Even today we create settings to display one's prowess and ability to over come. Is God romancing the warrior inside?

Romantic stories of ancient warriors, gladiators, vikings, barbarians, and pirates all evoke an emotional response inside of us. Men and women alike all want to be strong in the face of adversity. We all have to some degree, a desire to be a hero, to over come some heinous insurmountable situation and stand proud! To be tested, measured and weighed victorious! Society values warriors and we all want to be valued. This desire runs very deep in humanitie's DNA gene pool. It beckons to us in our dreams, thoughts, and fantasies. Some of us have bought into the kinder gentler side of life and I believe this has created disequilibrium within our very souls; internal and constant conflict between the warrior-desire and the low self image that many fall asleep to every night. How do we awaken our warrior inside and grab hold of our predestined quest to stand tall and proud? The quest to conquer our evil villains, save the damsel in distress, and vanquish our internal fear of failure.

Organized religious movements have all but extinguished the internal warriors. I believe this taming effort was a strategic move by the evil that moves to and forth among us; pacify the warriors and conquer humanities desire to resist. But yet, the internal warriors stand restless and ready to form up and turn to the fight. The Bible is full of such warriors and their stories. God is searching for the warriors, calling to them too awaken, but they are held under a spell of passive mediocrity. A spell that tells the warrior you're not good enough, you're to ugly, you're to fat, you're to dumb to stand and fight for anything! Our internal warriors are like the damsel asleep, unaware of her hero's efforts to romance her back into life and love.

When you look at society today you can see this very battle unfolding right before your eyes. Street gangs flourish, reality television holds us in its grip, sports networks expand, and the world watches as explorers launch into the unknown. We value the strong, and we want to be the strong. If we can't be a participant then we settle for spectator ownership. We lay claim to teams and idealize heroes. We are as we were, back in time when gladiators crushed and pulverized flesh and bone in the great Colosseum of Rome. The internal warriors are secretly alive and bored. They are uncommitted, ill prepared, and left to die inside of us. God is romancing your warrior inside. The General believes in us. He is calling to us even in the darkest hours of humanity, the hours that lull our warrior to sleep!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Self Efficacy

What is "Self Efficacy" and why should we pursue it? I believe self efficacy is the cognitive choice to be responsible for the level of effectiveness of one's own life! "Effective in what", you may ask. Effective in all you do, in all that you are, and in all that your are a part of. When I was a young man I had a good friend who used to always say " no matter what you do in life, get sold out for it." Choose to be effective. My old youth pastor always asked us "are you a spectator or a participant?" I want to be a participant that has an effective skill level, a productive game strategy, and I want to win! Do you? Do you think God needs more spectators on the side lines cheering him on? Would He not be better served by saying " put me in coach, I am ready to play?" Would you not want to play your heart out for Him? If you answered yes, than pursuing self efficacy is for you!

Why should I settle for the mediocre lifestyle of just getting by, when there is so much more to life? Why should I be a spectator and wait for God to do something for me when I can step up and do something for God? Is it God's responsibility to motivate me? I don't think so! If I gave you the winning lotto ticket, would you just stand there or would you do something with that ticket? I do not believe someone would have to tell you what to do with a winning ticket, nor would you sit around waiting to be shown what to do. But yet we allow many to set idle, waiting for something to prompt them to do what they know they should be doing. We allow 80% to do 20%.

Self efficacy is a choice. A choice to do what we know we are supposed to, to do what we can do and do it to the best of our ability. Imagine a rock climber that never climbs a climb, or a surfer that just floats around on his board but never catches a wave, or explorer that never ventures out into the unknown. We would mock these spectating wanna-bes. But yet the pews are full of them. Milk instead of meat, mediocrity instead of magnificence, incompetency instead of efficiency is the standards by which many choose to preform by today. Underachievement is the choice for those who feel being personal responsible for their level of effectiveness is too risky. Just maybe, when the Bible speaks about the weeping and gnashing of teeth at judgement day, It is referring to God showing us his plan for our lives and us seeing what we settled for! Risk free spectator-ship instead of sold out participation!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Leo Buscaglia

"Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

See with your ears, hear with your eyes

How do we really make a difference in someones life? What kind of difference do we want to make? Why do we want to make the difference? These are questions that should be answered when we start down the trail of life changing efforts. I have found that it is not that important to have the right answer. It is very important to have the right question! When someone answers our questions we need to see their life's perspectives in their words and hear the non-verbal comments with our eyes! This is an art!

I think we call this art, caring. I also think that many of us have become calloused or blind to whats is truly being answered. When we look at Christ's teaching style we will find a lot of questions or stories that create questions. I also see that Christ saw the hurt and pain in people as they answered him. In the picture above one of the Edge Foundation's Team Leaders spends time hearing a students answers to the constant question of " where am I going." Questions we ask students are "where do you want to go?", "where are you at?", "Why are you where your at?", "What is it you looking for?" There are times when only one staff member really knows where the group is going. This allows for more connectedness and true problem solving to take place between team leaders and the team. I find that the answers to questions are not so patented or freely given and discovery is given a chance.

Every once in awhile I find myself discovering something new and life changing for me from the students. I think leaders enter into situations with a preconceived idea that they are required to have all the answers, and we know this is simply not possible. Answers are only accurate to certain perspectives. What is right for me may not be right for you. All paths do not travel the same topography, but the ideal paths all should lead us to the same basic positive, productive and spiritual destination. Some paths are thrilling at first but soon become addictive and destructive. Those who travel such paths at some point find themselves lost in a forest of fear and deceit. I have found that those on such paths are screaming for someone to recognize their burdens and lend a hand. As a leader we need to account for this variance in travel paths, but often we expect everyone to take the trail we travel and base all of our answers off of our limited knowledge and experience our own trail has taught us. A CEO with a Harvard degree may not understand the perils of growing up in a drug and gang infested neighborhood were excelling in life simple means staying alive.

I call the willingness to hear and see someone else's answers "bridging the gap." Let me try and see life through your heart and learn from your experiences. Your answer may be more true than mine. Weak leaders who act strong tend to build barriers that prevent bridging because they are not ready to admit they may not have an answer. However, we need to remember that the right answer is not important. The right questions are the key to discovery. I believe that no matter what trail we are on, we all have the same basic questions. Am I safe, am I loved, am I needed, am I valued, am I accepted, can I help are important questions to us all. I have discovered that Christ answered these often in a very unique way. The answer to my question about helping was simply value everyone in love, accept those who need, look out for the safety of those who are scared and weak, treat everyone as if they were as wounded and tired from the journey as I.

The greatest treasures of life are concealed in the struggle of discovery. Leadership is not about knowing, it is about living. Living to our fullest. Living for something bigger then us. Living for a life full of adventure and discovery in every place we dare travel. Lead me to discover that I am a good and valued person in a world full of hateful, fearful and valueless trails!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Eddie Rickenbacker-US WWI aviator & businessman (1890 - 1973)

"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared."

8 Seconds of Eternity

As a child, my family would take summer trips back east to Indiana. As a young boy I was allowed to run free on several very large farms. There was always one very distinguishable common rule, leave the bulls alone! I can remember one real mean bull from my childhood, Mr. Wilson's. Mr Wilson owned a huge farm that included a huge white barn. This barn was a thing of wonder, three stories high, a place to park two full size combines, a dairy for milking 25 cows, and a big black bull. The bull was always in his own pen. I can remember sneaking down the dark and smelly breezeway and peeking between the boards. The bull would snort and lunge towards me. Terror would sweep through my body and I would run suppressing my desire to scream lest I would be caught.

As a young teenager, I started to help a friend of a friend (Guy) who was a bull rider. This was awesome! I got to climb up on the corral and help Guy as he situated himself on the snorting and twitching beasts. It did not take long before the overwhelming desire to get on one of these mean masses of angry muscles took hold of me. One afternoon we were at the rodeo having a good ole time. We helped Guy get on his bull, tighten the rope to his liking and ensure his cowboy hat was just right. He gave the nod and the gate opened wide. The opening of the gate was like the green light at a drag race. This bull went from 0 to 70 right "Now". A twisty tornado from hell this bull was. Most of us think 8 seconds is nothing. However, a lot of living and dying happens in 8 seconds or less. I have found that when life is at it's best, time moves the slowest. If you are one of those people who think that time moves fast when life is at it's best, then you may not realize you have a whole other gear you can shift into. These moments seem to make me a spectator even when I know I am in the middle of possible impending pain and hurt. Surreal Technicolor slow motion passes before my eyes while my mind struggles to comprehend why my body is not reacting fast enough for my liking. As scary as these moments are, I love them; especially when they are over I might add.

I watched Guy's body react to the heinous treatment of the bulls fury. He came crashing down as gravity took over from the bulls launching. Fate was not on Guy's side today, he landed right under the fast moving feet of pure meanness. The bull began to pummel Guy with everything it could muster. We were only feet away, motionless, scared and mesmerized at the same time. Unrestrained fury grabbing hold of it's own reckoning. I watched the bull's rear left hoof kick Guy in the forehead as his body became as limp as a rag doll. At that moment, life went from moderate concern to sheer terror! I wanted to jump off of that corral and run to Guy. I watched the rodeo clowns try desperately to get the bull away from Guy. I knew that I had no business in the arena at that moment. Immense desire and brideled restraint at the same time.

Guy's ride lasted 4.3 seconds. As I watch the PBR these days I often think of those days with Guy. I think of how eternity can seem to pass in the fraction of time we call 8 seconds. When I think about the 86,400 seconds in each day I wonder how much living do we really take part in?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Street Poets Prayer- Dreamyard LA

God, give us the strength
To be people whose actions match our words
To be soldiers of truth
Shedding light on the darkest corners
Of our own souls and the streets around us

Give us the courage to look fearlessly
Into the eyes of others
To meet anger & hatred with love
Ignorance with understanding
And fear with friendship

Give us the wisdom to see deeply
Into our own hearts
To be truthful in all that we do
Faithful in all that we are
And grateful for all that we receive

We come together before you today
To sharpen our skills
To deepen our voices
To strengthen our bonds to each other
And to the community we serve


More Poets and Poems @ http://www.dreamyardla.org/spu.html

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ingrid Bengis

"The real questions are the ones that obtrude upon your consciousness whether you like it or not, the ones that make your mind start vibrating like a jackhammer, the ones that you "come to terms with" only to discover that they are still there. The real questions refuse to be placated. They barge into your life at the times when it seems most important for them to stay away. They are the questions asked most frequently and answered most inadequately, the ones that reveal their true natures slowly, reluctantly, most often against your will"

The unspoken ingredient; Tension

There are four ways to move your ship. One, rowing, exciting for oh about 30 seconds. Two, by engine power, cool but often boring after a spell. Three, drifting, that just takes forever. Four, sailing, a dynamic event that includes the intangible wind, knowledge, experience, a mast, sail, rope, and a lot of tension. Why do we always forget about the need for tension? That unbearable pressure placed upon our sails and rigging to get us moving forward. In our polite societies we try and forgo such unpleasantness. But without tension we are stuck with exhausting and mundane rowing, the boring hum drum of motoring along with no real self fulfillment, or the slow and agonizing drifting. I do not know about you, but I think I would rather have that dynamic tension in my rigging. I have heard of stories of sailors drifting for days out on the open sea. None of these stories sound appealing. The whole concept of sailing is about harnessing that tension creating flow of air. Too much tension however will break us, snapping us in half and leave us adrift.

Relation-ships grow when under tension as well. When I was a young man I met a old fella that had been married for many years. I wanted to know the secret to long and happy marriage, so I asked him about it. He did as so many of his generation, he answered in a riddle. He said " To much sunshine makes a desert." I thought to myself "what the hell does that mean." After a few years of thinking about his answer I finally got it. Relationships thrive by enduring the storms. The tension that life brings helps move relationships forward. Many relationships just drift along and often times end up drifting apart. I think we mistakenly try to avoid tension and this is where we get into difficult situations and things just do not work right. Imagine the rigging (ropes) of a sailing ship, all or some, being slack when the wind grabs the sails. Things break and undue stress is placed on other parts of the ship that were not meant to take that kind of tension. No, it is best to keep the tension in the rigging and transfer the energy of the wind into forward movement. We all have choices, row,drift, motor or sail. There is a time and place for each I am sure. But in open water, with the wind at our backs, it is best to sail under tension.

Sailing under tension brings to mind the whole eleventh hour efforts. I have a saying that I love, "if it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done." The eleventh hour contains a whole lot of tension. People rise above the normalcy of drifting and preform amazing things. This is the power of tension at work. Climbers call for tension in stressful situations. The feel of that climbing rope tightening up is a wonderful thing when we find ourselves in the midst of a storm. Yep, tension is a forgotten and unspoken ingredient that brings forward movement into our often times drifting lives.

Marc Ian Barasch

"Our dreams disturb us because they refuse to pander to our fondest notions of ourselves. The closer one looks, the more they seem to insist upon a challenging proposition: You must live truthfully. Right now. And always. Few forces in life present, with an equal sense of inevitability, the bare- knuckle facts of who we are, and the demands of what we might become."

The lonely seas of life

OK, I have really balked at writing this one. May be because it is so close to home! I have been labeled an extrovert by just about everyone who knows me. I love chatting with folks and sometimes I have been called "the life of the party." I have been married for almost 20 years and I have three great kids, I love them all greatly. But I am very lonely. I can be in a huge crowd and feel so cold and empty.

I started to wonder how many of us feel this way. I mean, is it me or what. Why do I feel that no one whats to really get to know each other? I yearn for deep friendships. Friends that know when I am down or pissed just by looking at me, OK well may be that is to easy. Anyway, I am so tired of the superficial that I just want to puke. People ask how are you? and before you can answer, they are already onto the next question. Does anyone really care anymore? I was involved in a church for several years, One day I just quit going, and no one called to see if I had died or what, we were never missed! Lonely, what is that exactly anyway? Is it an emotion, feeling, belief, or a behavior, what is it?

On the other hand, I can be out doing some great adventure with one other person and I feel like I am in a crowd. I am alive, there is a connection. That is it a connection. I need to feel connected to something and someone. I know what you are most likely saying, "hey dude what about you wife and kids?" Good question, how many of us really feel connected to our spouses? hummmm...there is a hot topic. I think it has to do with assumed roles. In my home I am seen as this rock, solid not stupid, a source of strength and security. This role does not set well with the kind of connectedness I am looking for. No, I am looking for that sense of urgent vulnerable camaraderie that comes from shared adversity. Like two ships sailing together through a hurricane. I'm not looking for some one to start blamming me for the hurrican's impending wrath, more like hey how can we navigate this thing. It's not a case of hey you help me because I am scared and weak and your strong, it's a case of hey let's help each other because we are both scared and weak. Let me tell you, If I show any weakness, even for a minute, my wife goes wacky. This wont do for what I am talking about.

When I was in Marine Corps boot camp there was this connectedness I speak of. This was because the drill instructors were the storm and we all needed each other to get through some of the crap they pulled. But where are the folks who desire this kind of relationship now? Who among us will sail into a hurricane with a friend? Climbing buddies have all been connected, not just by a rope either. Us against the rock or mountain. I have undertaken some high stress projects, and now I think it was in search of that connectedness I am looking for. Yep, for now I sail a lonely sea in search of another ship. A ship that is willing to risk living every minute of everyday as if there is some great evil villain out to get us both and we need to pull together to win. I don't know, may be I am just a nut and no one else has ever experienced this lonely sea thing. But that is how I feel, so there! Happy sailing, I am headed for the nearest hurricane!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Threading the needle of risk.

(Artwork by Steve Nootenboom)

We all come and go in the great tally of life. Our lives seem to pass by in a flash and many are left with a safe life and nothing to tally. We all dream of leaving our very own stitch in the fabric of time. But we compromise our time away and are left with a needle safely put away. We all are given an opportunity to dare or not to dare. A choice that many conclude is better left till tomorrow, until their tomorrows are gone. We all struggle in the battle between safety and risk. The battle, which wages quietly in our day to day lives, beckons us to break the mundane cycles of boredom and embrace the stimulation of danger or stay safely at home risking only the failure of nothing invested. Housewives, business men and adventures all seek the great and grand adventure of self fulfillment. There is a time and place for the commitment to safety. Humans, like many other animals desire a safe nest, a secure nest that we can raise our children in and rest our weary heads. However, the nest was not meant to stay in forever nor were we meant to maintain a risk free life. So why then have our leaders, political and religious, made such an effort to remove so much risk from our lives? Is not faith a risk based proposition? A risk that involves a commitment to a belief that wagers our eternal souls. The very words “have faith” echoes with risk and daring. Can there ever be a completely risk free civilization? A safe civilization; where cures don’t kill, and solutions do not create greater restraints to the freedom of responsible choice. Can the endeavor of risk avoidance become more dangerous to our very being than embracing risk and cherishing that moment of feeling “completely alive”? Can our leaders foresee the changing tides of tomorrow? What was safe yesterday is dangerous today. In the 60s sex was safe and climbing was dangerous. Today climbing is safe and sex is dangerous. The experts have switched what is safe and what is risky so many times in my life time I can not keep it all straight. I think I am supposed to drink red wine and coffee and consume chocolate like it was going out of style.I do know that when I am high up on a mountain with the cool mountain air blowing on my sun drenched face, my body trembling from fatigue, my finger tips sweating and my heart pounding I feel alive and the chaos of urban life seems to slip into some sort of cosmic order that I can understand. I am free! Free to choose my own level of safety or danger. I am accountable only to those who risk with me and the fairest judge of natural harmony, Mother Nature herself.

I think that most of us will not really find fulfillment in the “safety” of a city. Fulfillment is a treasure to be discovered on the wings of risk. Risk, which takes us to a place deep inside ourselves and reveals the most ancient of riddles; who am I and to what purpose am I called? In the end we will have to answer to ourselves, did I risk enough to make my life worthy of a stitch in the fabric of time?

Risk: The human adventure. by Richard D. North

Here is an excerpt from Mr. North's E-Book. I found it to be very interesting. I have also placed a link to this e-book under the blogs info and data list. Enjoy

Chapter Three

Risk and morality: Martyrs, military men, mountaineers and feeding the millions.

To take a risk is to chance damaging oneself. That is why the idea of taking risks is so challenging. It is also why it is so easy to suppose, wrongly, that the main attitude to risk will always be to reduce it.
But this can't be anything like true. Obviously, there are some risks, even to oneself, which it is worth taking. Even the biggest risks often seem to be. We find people drawn to heroism (which can be self-interested, but must risk the grandly self-destructive) and martyrdom (which is often self-interested in the sense that it is about a passionately held, but above all a personal, conviction, but similarly depends on self-destructiveness).
It is obvious that many people love at least some sorts of risk. Large numbers of sensible people queue up to behave with what looks like an irrational disregard for their apparent self-interest. The papers are full of the deaths and injuries incurred by the dangerous sports, and perhaps especially those in which man pits himself against nature, or courts risk with more than usual nonchalance. [Standard, 1999a; Telegraph, 1998b; Telegraph, 1998c Telegraph, 1999]
John Adams, an important writer on risk, discusses the idea of a “risk thermostat” which catches the fact that people seem to live their lives so that each of us experiences the amount of anxiety attractive to us. Regulation of safety risks, says Adams wisely, the displacement of risk-taking. [Adams, 1999; Adams 1997; Adams 1998]
What is over and again stressed by this sort of risk-taker is that one is never more alive than when at extreme risk of death. This may be no more than a matter of a neurological fact about the human brain and nervous system: that the adrenaline and beta-endorphin kick-in a kind of ecstasy where there is terror, followed by an ecstasy of relief. People court risk because they enjoy raiding nature's own drug cabinet.
And there is a cerebral version of this pleasure. The human mind relishes existential experiences: we are so aware of our impending deaths that in some subliminal or even fairly self-alert way, we enjoy flirting with the possibility of our own extinction. Isn’t that what we mean when we say that a risk-taker "cheats” death? Perhaps people are drawn to the rehearsal of death.
Certainly, we all know that people are richly diverse and peculiar about risks. Here is an apparently timid and shy woman who will only undertake affairs with unsuitable - that is, risky - men. Here is the mild-mannered classical scholar and philosopher (I mean, Roger Scruton) who is a passionate and courageous follower of hounds. [Scruton, 1998] Here is the 7th earl (I am thinking of Michael, Lord Onslow) who writes that his father had a "good war" which left him unsatisfied with the rest of a long peacetime life: the war was his high point. Here is the happy and successful student with an entertaining present and the promise of a challenging and rewarding future who explores drug-taking to the point where simple curiosity seems to have been replaced with real recklessness.
All these have an element of the heroic, simply because there is something like a divine discontent driving such risk-taking.
There is an odd ambivalence in our attitude to risk. Those of us who are condemned by our natures to a cautious way of life often feel that it is above all because of timidity that we achieved too little. This feeling leads us to admire anyone who behaves courageously........


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Franklin D. Roosevelt - March 4, 1933

" So, first of all, let me assert my belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance".

The Great American Disaster!

I do not really mean to sound like an alarmist, but, I guess that is exactly what I am! There are red flags and huge bells screaming at me that we all need to to grab some part of this huge problem and begin to work it. What is this problem I am calling the "Great American Disaster"? To be honest, I think I am still working in the branches of a huge problem tree, but I think we are finally getting closer to understanding our social failures on the home front. Many have spoken about the moral break down, the value void generations now growing up in to adults, the crime rates, the abuses of drugs, drink, and our children, thrown away kids, and social reform, but no one has a solid response. Most of America sets and watches this disaster unfold. I think in many ways it is like when we watched the horrendous events that caused the towers to crumble, there was nothing we could do but watch. However with this issue, the "Great American Disaster", things are much different, we can do something. Our Country's very foundation is built on certain moral values. These values were defined by history it self. Thousands of years of social and civil experience brought about our foundation moral values. One of the primary corner stones of this historic conclusion was the value of family units and the guidance they are supposed to provide the next generation. I think , just may be, in our American arrogance we have discarded the values of wholesome families. Our churches have been so busy condemning us that they forgot to lovingly nurture the American family. Where does this leave us in this crazy time period of global unrest? I do not know the exact answer to that, but I am sure it is not good at all!

I have quoted two Presidents here on my blog:

"The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other
force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of
the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually
damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is
crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions
under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools,
playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will
never be enough."
President Lyndon Johnson

“Every child has in him an aching void for excitement and if we don’t fill it with something which is exciting, interesting and good for him, he will fill it with something which exciting and interesting and which isn’t good for him.” President Theodore Roosevelt
Humm....these guys were saying this years ago! Hello! We have focused billions of your ,our, dollars on "bad" kids. We should have spent it on the family unit, that's what is tearing up all of these kids. Lets face it, the American family is a joke! I am amazed at all the rules and licenses we need to get or test we need to take, but anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can have a kid. In some states the welfare system rewarded dysfunctional , and I use the term family here VERY loosely, families for having more babies. More kids more money on the monthly welfare check. Were these "families" taking care of these kids, hell no. Many of these kids were not even wanted. Today our country tracks a category related to juveniles called "THROWN AWAYS". Thrown away kids, not run away, you have got to be kidding! How far are we going to plummet into this dark hole of absurdity before we , America, will step up and take a stand?

There is research out there that shows that a dysfunctional or anti-social path is created in a child during the early years. In the above slide I tried to put several puzzle pieces together. The primary structure of the slide comes from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. I love the State of Indiana's concept of, if your kid is failing school your welfare is diminished. Humm, now there is a great concept. Make the parent keep their child accountable for learning some basic education. The family is the key to many of our social plights today. We either need to shut up and enjoy our dysfunctional communities, or do something about the American family!

We need to get back to some basics here. How? I am not sure just yet, but I am going to keep working my end of this that is for sure.

The ignored tear in the American fabric; the destroyed family structure.

"The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough."

President Lyndon Johnson

I decided not to recreate the wheel here. After researching the topic I wanted to write on, I realized that there is some very good text out there. So here is just some tid bits from the Heritage foundation. To read more see the link of marriage and family in the blog info links section.

The underlying dynamic of child abuse--the breakdown of marriage and the commitment to love--is spreading like a cancer from poor communities to working-class communities. As social scientists, community leaders, and legislators consider ways to stop the spread of this cancer, they must focus their attention on the most upsetting byproduct of the disintegration of family and community: the abuse, maiming, and even death of America's infants and young children, about 2,000 of whom--6 per day--die each year.2

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, A Nation's Shame: Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States, Fifth Report, United States Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1995

Early childhood victimization has demonstrable long-term consequences for delinquency, adult criminality, and violent behavior.... The experience of child abuse and neglect has a substantial impact even on individuals with otherwise little likelihood of engaging in officially recorded criminal behavior.12

12Cathy Spatz Widom, "The Cycle of Violence," Science, Vol. 244 (1989), pp. 160-166.
The study conducted by the Family Education Trust in Great Britain meticulously explored the relationship between particular types of family structure and abuse, accumulating clear data on family configuration in actual cases of abuse from 1982 to 1988. The results of this study shed light on a pattern that is highly correlated with child abuse today in both England and the United States: the absence of marriage and the presence of cohabitation.

The evidence from Great Britain is especially significant because, to date, this is the only study to explore the relationship between family structure and abuse. Specifically:

The safest environment for a child--that is, the family environment with the lowest risk ratio for physical abuse--is one in which the biological parents are married and the family has always been intact.
The rate of abuse is six times higher in the second-safest environment: the blended family in which the divorced mother has remarried.
The rate of abuse is 14 times higher if the child is living with a biological mother who lives alone.
The rate of abuse is 20 times higher if the child is living with a biological father who lives alone.
The rate of abuse is 20 times higher if the child is living with biological parents who are not married but are cohabiting.
The rate of abuse is 33 times higher if the child is living with a mother who is cohabiting with another man.


Fundamental changes are needed to correct the social drift toward family and community disintegration in the United States. Unfortunately, the well-intentioned efforts of the past three decades have not stemmed the tide. But they have done one thing: They have shown that the changes that must be made are beyond the capacity of government.
Many of these fundamental changes must take place within the most basic of institutions: the family unit. They must be supported by changes in local communities and reinforced by community institutions like the churches and their ancillary organizations that help the needy, as well as by programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. These institutions and organizations can have the greatest effect in reestablishing the centrality of marriage and promoting the married family unit as the best environment for the raising of America's children.


Today, nearly one-third of all American children are born outside marriage. That translates to one out-of-wedlock birth every 35 seconds. Of those born within marriage, a great many will experience their parents’ divorce before they reach age 18. More than half of the nation’s children will spend all or part of their child-hood in never-formed or broken families.

In 2000, federal and state governments spent more than $150 billion each year subsidizing single-parent families. The number has risen steadily since then.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Goethe, Tasso

"Only in man does man know himself; life alone teaches each one what he is."

"Each to each a looking-glass, Reflects the other that doth pass."

Lets take a look at who we are and why. Don't runaway now, this should be painless. Self image is a one of those phrases that causes many of us to yawn and fall asleep. But, there is a very important lesson in understanding who we are and why. If we were to be honest with each other we would admit that there are "issues" about our selves that we do not like nor really understand. This may shed some light on the matter. In 1902 a guy by the name Charles Cooley developed an idea how self image is formed. Even today, his work has held it's own under scrutiny. In his own words, here is the basic concept;

"As we see our face, figure, and dress in the glass, and are interested in
them because they are ours, and pleased or otherwise with them according as
they do or do not answer to what we should like them to be; so in
imagination we perceive in another's mind some thought of our appearance, manners, aims, deeds, character, friends, and so on, and are variously affected by it."

OK, I had to read this a few times myself. The part I want to focus on is the section in red. Simply put, we use our imagination to create an image of our selves in some one eles's view. We guess what some else is thinking about us and create a self image based on that guess. Now, Mr. Cooley states that the foundations of our self image is created in our early years ( 0-5 yrs old). Now I know I was one smart cookie back then, but smart enough to create an informed, wise, and accurate idea of who I am based on my interaction with parents? Were my parents even aware they were broadcasting self image concepts to their little hellin, I don't think so. They were just trying to get through their own issues. So, according to Mr. Cooley, I just may have a flawed foundational image of self. And to think I brought this flawed image of self into my adulthood! I may be the only one who thinks this, but I really don't think so.

When I get pissed at myself about things like: feeling insecure, afraid of rejection, an overwhelming since of needing validation from authority, feelings of incompetency and so I am beginning to realize where all that comes from. I guessed wrong, it was not me that was creating the drama in my childhood home. It was not me that was being rejected. However, it was me who has wasted way to much time and effort trying to gain validation from others when I just needed to validate myself! I just needed to rewrite some of my foundational beliefs. The ones that were based off of misjudged input to start with. I wonder how many of us are living with a flawed self image. Just maybe, we are all a lot better of a person than we think we are!

Feel free to read some more of Mr. Cooley's work on the "looking Glass Self" at:
I do caution you, it is not a easy read, at least it wasn't for me, but informative!

Oh, and the title is Mr. Cooleys words!

Madeleine L'Engle

"Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Downcast with Wolves

Wolves and sheep, sinners and saints, the ugly and the good; what odd dance partners! Who among us can really, and I mean really, tell the difference; I can't! I think that is why God spoke of the heart of men.

The term downcast comes from the old profession of sheep herding. Contrary to popular belief, meadows have very uneven ground. Sometimes when sheep lay down they would roll into a depression and become stuck. No matter how hard the animal would want to get up it could not. The only way for the sheep to get out of this serious predicament was for the Shepard to lend a hand. If there was no Shepard around the sheep was destined to become wolf bait. This picture of downcast sheep has been used over and over again by different Protestant Churches. The messages usually follows the lines of how church goers need to help the downcast sheep. I honestly think that the Church forgets that the downcast sheep did not plan on becoming downcast and just because it is downcast does not mean that it is choosing to remain downcast. So why do these good people walk up to these downcast sheep and scold them, reject them, accuse them, ridicule them and so on? I have seen sheep chewing on other sheep. I have seen this kind of behavior over and over again.

I have several "ugly" friends, they're honest about life. In fact, when I need help with various projects, the "ugly" people come and help. The "good" people say they will, but then never show up. This confuses the hell out of me. I grew up with the "good" people, but I live with the "ugly" people. In fact, if I were a sheep, it would be safer for me to be downcast with the wolves.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we're moving."

The Ultimate Dream Killer

There are "things" out there in the big bad world that can destroy ones dreams! I call these things "Dream Killers." They are things like drugs, gangs, dropping out of school, alcohol abuse and so on. Most of us already know this, after all it has been pounded into our heads. But the biggest dream killer of all goes unnoticed and ignored.

Stanford University did a study to find out two things. One, how much of our true potential to we tap into in our lives. Two, what are the barriers to achieving our true full potential. What they found out was kinda of shocking, at least to me. We, people in general, only tap into or utilize 10% of our true potential. Wow, think about that for a minute. That means that we have 90% of our potential unused. As a child, I think we dream with our true potential. We have not had our beliefs overloaded by all the crap yet. We dreamed about all those cool and great things that heroes do. So what kills those dreams? What is the biggest dream killer of all? Believe it or not, the biggest dream killer of all is.........ourselves! The barriers that Stanford University discovered are, our very own beliefs. Beliefs that we have chosen or compromised on along the way. We give sanction to the negative comments of those around us. We began to believe that we were not able to become a heroes. We silently tell ourselves in our secret moments that we are losers, dumb, fat, weak, stupid and so on. We kill our own dreams! What would it take for us to go back to that childhood dream, a dream based on the "nothing is impossible."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Norman Douglas

"Has any man ever obtained inner harmony by simply reading about the experiences of others? Not since the world began has it ever happened. Each man must go through the fire himself."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Growing Updoc in the Winter.

I just returned from a leadership training course and thought I would pass on a great remedy for those of you suffering from whatever. This actually comes from a righteous prisoner of war. The stuff is called updoc. From what I got from the story, updoc really helped the POWs out in bad times. I have always been baffled by how POWs can come up with creative ideas to make life better for themselves and their fellow prisoners. It can be grown quickly and even in the Winter. This stuff has a long shelve life. We have evidently seen or heard of updoc in American cartoons. I was amazed at this stuff. I could not believe I have never heard about updoc until now. My wife and I are always looking for home remedies, and this stuff will fix a lot of ailments. Have any of you ever heard of this stuff? Do you know what updoc is?

Geoff Tabin

"To have a great adventure, and survive, requires good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience, of course, is a result of poor judgement."

Monday, September 04, 2006

While I live in the tree of fear, There is no way I am going to rescue you!

The following article is based on a lesson I learned from a great man. I will call him the Wise Bear (WB). He just happens to relate to the Bear spirit also. He is a humble man with a doctorate in Psychology. We were chatting one day and he says to me, "If we boiled down all emotion, what two primary emotions would we be left with." Have you ever given any thought to this? I know I had never even explored such a thought. So, WB continues to challenge me in this course of thought. I name Love as one of them, but I can not figure out the second one. What is the true opposite of Love. If your like me, you would say Hate, but that is incorrect. But wait, what is Hate rooted in? Now we are cooking with gas; Fear. Love and Fear, the two primary emotions that give birth to all of the rest of these feelings that many of us run from. WB has me draw two trees on a napkin. I love napkin lessons. Some of my greatest revelations have come from napkins. Next, he has me label each tree trunk, one with Love and the other with Fear. He says to me "now in the branch or leaf area, write every emotion that would be fruits of that tree." Amazingly, my mind became alive, on fire, and I started to scribble down numerous emotions.

I have taken this exercises into the classroom and used it with at-risk kids, parents, wilderness instructor students, and in a juvenile intervention instructors course. The response has been amazing. One of the issues that has come out of this exercises is that 100% of the time everyone can identify more negative (Fear based) emotions than positive (Love based) emotions. When we react to our environment from the fear tree, we will only reap other fear tree responses. If we react with emotions from the Love tree we create an opportunity for positive responses. I should comment that some people respond negatively to Love. I think one reason for this, for many, Love is so foreign that it is seen as a threat. I am still hashing this area out myself. However, as long as I live in the fear tree, I will constantly get harsh, unproductive, and negative results. This exercises has opened many eyes to the fact that most of their life they have lived in the fear tree. Using negative emotion to try and facilitate positive change. It's not going to happen folks! I challenge you to grab a piece of paper and draw two trees, label them, and start identifying the emotions that go to each. Then you need to start making a conscious choice about which tree you want to live in. You may just start developing a level of compassion for the reasons others act they way they do. But remember, as long as you are in the fear tree, do not expect to rescue anyone, perhaps not even yourself.

Carl G Jung (1875-1961)

"The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises."

Steve Irwin (1962-2006) "A dash full of life"

"I get called an adrenaline junkie every other minute, and I'm just fine with that."

"Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing. "

"I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message. "

"I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."

"Crikey, mate. You're far safer dealing with crocodiles and western diamondback rattlesnakes than the executives and the producers and all those sharks in the big MGM building."

"So fear helps me from making mistakes, but I make lot of mistakes."

"That might have a lot to do with it, but you know, I probably don't show fear, but I suffer from fear like everyone else."

"But I put my life on the line to save animals."

See more Irwin Quotes @ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/steve_irwin.html

The Otherside of Adventure Risk; Death

Wow! This morning, the world is a different place for me once again. Steve Irwin (the "Crocodile Hunter") has been killed by a Stingray in what experts are calling a freak accident. This guy was great in what he did, no question there. My kids are sad this morning, this is the closest their young lives have experienced to losing a friend. Steve was a great role model for our children and for those of us who love to take risk. His knowledge of the risks taken were constantly stated. He loved the animals and the risky adventure of getting close to them. He leaves a wife and two children. Our prayers are with those left behind and we will miss Steve tremendously!


As I have stated before, extreme adventure, especially when we dance with mother nature, always contains a standing table bet for your life. If you ever think about going "all in" you better count the cost. Plain and simple, it may be your family left behind! One of my big issues with those of us who take these types of risks is that we usually have not been responsible enough to insure our families are taken care in the event of our passing. If you take these kinds of risks insure your family is covered in your loss. I realize that most of us never bank on the fact that we may not come back,........ hello! When our time is up, it's up! I have interacted with two of my buddies' widows. Let me tell you it is devastating to lose a partner. A partner in life, love, and in friendship. Count the cost, take care of your responsibilities, and live at the edge if you choose, but never under estimate the impact of the loss!

Henry Van Dyke 1852 - 1933

"Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dancing with Bears

In 1988 I was working as a wilderness instructor for Sea and Summit expeditions. We were on a 12 day trans-sierra trip that would take us to the summit of three 14,000 ft peaks, which included Mt. Whitney. We had nine clients ranging from a 12 year old California Youth Authority prodigy to a 23 year old Berkley graduate. I have always loved bears. I have been drawn to them with some crazy internal force of fascination. On our first day we decide to camp at a place called "Bear paw Meadow." It is called this for a reason. Several weeks before this trip I was on a solo in this same area. As I was hiking along looking down at the trail ,with my mind a thousand miles away, I get this little feeling. More like my guardian angel was screaming. I stopped and looked up. Holy S&#@! There is this hefty Cinnamon bear doing the same thing I was, but it is coming down the trail straight at me. I think....hummmm....it's not stopping, may be I should let it know I am here? So I yell, well I tried to yell, it was more like a polite excuse me. The bear looks up and we stare at each other for a bit. The moment contained an awkwardness like when you are caught looking at a beautiful woman and you want to turn away but you cant. Well, this bear does this lazy turn around kind of move. And if body language applies to bears, it was saying " well...alright I will move." So the bear steps just off the trail and sets down. I look around to see if anyone else is watching this. Then I realize, this bear expects me to walk right past it, you've gotta be kidding me! So, I do this head tip gesture and slowly start walking past the bear. And yes, My butt was air tight! I pass this odd bear and stop and turn to look, I could not help myself. It looks at me and steps back on the trail, does this gesture like " see ya dude" turns and continues on its way. I shake my head in disbelief and do the same.

So, back to the story with the clients. Anyone who has taken tender feet into the woods knows that the first day is all about setting rules and teach no impact stuff. Convincing clients about the possible bear issue is always a struggle. We go over all the rules. Two clients are sent to the near by stream to get water and everyone else begins to set up camp. After a bit, I start wondering what is taking these kids so long at the stream. I track them to the stream and see them start to head back to camp. Me, being the funny guy I am, decide to scare them with the old growling bear trick. It works pretty good and the three of us are now running through the forest straight to camp. We get into camp and everyone thinks it was funny, until. You guessed it. A real bear has come to camp as well and it is hungry. It grabs or more like bites, one of the clients packs and starts to drag it into the under brush. I am thinking, hummm...we need all of that food and equipment. So I formulate a plan very quickly. I run right at this bear screaming at it. I ran so fast that my brain does not catch up to me until I get to the other side of the pack that this bear is dragging. The bear drops the pack and looks straight into my soul. I swear the bear spoke to me saying "bring it on buddy." I , now realizing the flaw of my quick reaction plan, decide to spare this bear and I run backwards as if I was possessed. The bear grabs the pack and continues it's march into the woods. I grab the biggest baddest branch I can find on the ground. OK, it may have been kinda of small but it made me feel better. I charge this bear with fire in my eyes. It drops the pack and steps away, I think I heard it cuss or something. Anyway, the bear acts like I am stealing its pack away. It bluff charges me...twice. Why twice, because I was standing there basking in my victory before reality smacked me upside my head. Time to run. The bear was joined by two more that night. The three bears circled camp all night long, documented by the bear watch log.

The picture in this article is my old house. Yep, that was home for a spell. One evening I had returned to my plush digs and found bear tracks. As I tracked the bears path I became amazed. The bear had come down out of the mountains, walked around the tepee in a complete circle and left the way it had approached. Now, living in the tepee created this quest for identifying my spirit animal. you have any clues what mine is?

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Cities force growth, and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial."

Extreme Adventure for Father - Son team

I had to post this. This is an awesome story, thank you Mr. Reilly for writing it. What internal fortitude, love and drive!!!!

Strongest Dad in the World
[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to Pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck. Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in the same day (doing the Ironman Triathlon). Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?And what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save his life. This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old, "Put him in an institution." But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "there's nothing going on in his brain." "Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!"And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that." Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "then it was me who was handicapped,"Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks." that day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!" And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon."No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year. Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?" How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzz kill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 -- only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time. "No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century." And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago." So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life. Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day. That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. "The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."

Check out their Web page, link below.

And the Harvest rots!

I just read this article posted on AOL. There is no humor there, only sadness. This is why we need to build something, some how, and NOW! I have no words to describe how I feel right now after reading this. I see this stuff often in my day to day work. It is, as Big-Mac said

TB, this resonates with me, heavily. I feel burdened, no... stricken with
seeking the lost. The "harvest rotting in the field"... wow. The helplessness I
feel when I think about this is incredible. It seems overwhelming."


Castles, Kings and Empires....Hollywood stlye!

"Hello, no dude....if you had checked my crackberry you know that I scheduled an adventure for this week........what......no, just sell the stocks I told you to......I have to go, work is boring and my latte is getting cold. I still need to sort my rack and pack my pack....What... just handle it, I am in the woods, you're the one in the boring office,....bye!"

Never being a CEO, I can not tell you about the stress and responsibility they carry on their shoulders. However, having lead CEOs on trips, I can tell you about the stresses I put them through. I myself have experienced huge paradigm shifts about CEOs. I have always perceived them as.....well, like a king in a castle ruling an empire. Strong, organized power thinkers that could handle anything. So I, being a service orientated wilderness instructor, thought that I should create a very challenging, high risk, adventure to insure that my clients felt they got their money's worth. Ooops! The course evaluation at the end contain comments like: irresponsible, inconsiderate, and impossible objectives. Ouch! How could things go so awry for a king, a knight, and jester out on a quest?

Well, I think the answer is somewhere in the perception of self. The difference between substance and facades. CEOs are no doubt survivors in a big way. They have learned how to blend, bend, and beat the perceptions of most, but mother nature is a hard one to fool. How I saw CEOs is not how the CEOs saw themselves, here was the puzzle piece is was missing. I have "cranked" on these guys without mercy. Pushed all day and into the night. Exposure, exposure and more exposure was the motto for these trips. I had NO clue to what was about to be exposed. Sensitive, insecure, and vulnerable men who needed unconditional acceptance far beyond that of most clients I had worked with. Wow! How could I miss that one?

When I was in the Marines my unit often trained for urban combat at a Hollywood movie studio. We had a blast (no pun intended) fighting in the streets where movies like "Back to the future" where filmed. Hollywood actually held the answer to my CEO dilemma. As you sneak (I mean walk) down the streets of a movie set everything "LOOKS" real, even to the point of great detail. Once you step inside one of the buildings you go through this huge let down. There is only raw timber holding up this magnificent facade. Imagine you are watching a movie and the facade falls, exposing the raw truth of the illusion. Hey that is not Egypt, it's Burbank! As long as we stayed outside and in front of the facades we "felt" like we were really somewhere, or someone if you get my drift. I wonder how many magnificent facades, lonely kings, and hollow empires are in the corporate world. Wilderness adventure can, and does, bring substance to these empires.

I love working with CEOs. They are so much like at-risk kids in many ways. Both have a talent for survival. Both are seeking for truth, substance and someone to accept the raw truth of their exposed illusion. It is OK to be vulnerable. It is OK to need and want someone to help you get past a crux, or to top out. It is OK to be scared, we all are. Lets build our castles out of friendships instead of facades of strength. Lets take turns being the king, knight, and jester. Lets build substance together and then set out on a quest to conquer other fake empires!

Bernard Phillips

"Thus again, the way will teach you the way, and the way is learning not to withhold yourself."

Albert Schweizer

"Of this I am certain. The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."

Red stripes and yellow footprints

First, I must pay tribute to this picture. It was circulated over the Internet. From what I understand the passengers were asked to stay seated. Unknowing that a fallen Marine was being dis-embarked from the aircraft, they sat waiting to exit their domestic flight. When I first saw this picture it touched me very deeply. The cost of freedom and the seemingly ignorant and sometimes ungrateful masses. I salute all those who serve, regardless of the branch of service! Semper fidelis!

For all of you civilian types, the yellow foot prints are very symbolic to every Marine. The journey to both Marine Corps Recruit Depots (MCRD- San Diego and Perris Island) end at the yellow foot prints and one's life changing adventure begins. I can clearly remember the Marine in the smokey boarding the bus and hell came with him. The next several hours was marked by mass disequilibrium and extraordinary anxiety to say the least. Upon exiting the bus we were directed to a formation of yellow foot prints painted on the ground. At that moment we were oblivious to the importance created by yellow paint on a hard surface. We were standing in the foot prints of past warriors. Men who had fought, bled and died for our freedoms. When I look at the above picture, I can not help but wonder if that fallen Marine had stood in the same foot prints as me. The yellow foot prints, for me, are symbolic of a threshold into manhood. A threshold of self discipline and personal fortitude. A threshold towards life's coveted pillars: honor, courage, commitment, truth, and integrity. The yellow foot prints, although idle, were the beginning of a redirected life.

Our Drill Instructor had marched my platoon over to the administration area of MCRD San Diego and brought us to a halt. Standing as straight and motionless as humanly possible I brought my eyes up to met a unique sign hanging over an archway several feet ahead of the platoon. It read;
"A Marine must believe in his GOD, his COUNTRY, his CORPS, and HIMSELF"
I stood there thinking, man that is a lot of believing to do. The months at MCRD seemed to have lasted a life time. I thought I would never get through the constant bombardment of direction, orders, and discipline. Looking back over twenty years it seemed to go by in a flash. I am proud to have earned the title of a Untied States Marine and I look forward to standing my watch at the pearly gates. Our freedom to share our God has been earned! In the picture above, the red strip on the Marines trousers, the red strips on the flag , and the red strip on the American Airlines aircraft represent......well I think you know, that's why the picture was taken in the first place.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Charles Houston

" When men climb on a great mountain together, the rope between them is more than a mere physical aid to accent; it is a symbol of the spirit of the enterprise. It is a symbol of men banded together in a common effort of will and strength against their only true enemies: inertia, cowardice, greed, ignorance, and all weaknesses of the spirit"

Adventures on canvas;.....paintless palettes, and powerless people!

When I was eight years old my mother decided it was best for me to do something else, somewhere else. So, she enrolled me into a painting class at the local park during the after school hours. Being me, I had great aspirations of creating master pieces that would over shadow the works of the world's greatest master painters. It took about....hummm, an hour, before I realized that this painting thing sucked. Or, maybe it was just me, I am still not sure. Fastfoward twenty years. I heard this sermon on our Christian lives and a comparison of an empty canvas. I thought back to my childhood and rewound the painful experience of my painting class and thought to my self, I'm screwed. As of today I have never picked up a paint brush and attempted to paint a picture again. I am actually cool with that. However I have become friends with several really good painters. Like writers, they get a mental block sometimes and will just stare at an empty canvas until that magic creation button is clicked. I love the symbolic empty canvas. An empty canvas, open sea, and uncharted wildernesses are all opportunities to step away from a life of a paintless palette and powerless people. How does one end up with no paint on their palette, self perceptions of powerlessness and not one completed canvas in their life time? I want to know the answer to this question, because I do not want that to happen to me! I can remember a conversation with my dad. He looked at me and stated " son, I regret my entire life, I am just waiting to die now." That hit me like a ton of bricks! Wow, how the hell does one get there? My dad never took risks. Not one!

Growing up a wily, unbridled, smart mouthed runt created numerous learning opportunities for me. I am talking about those fast learning curves, decision making on a split second kinda of learning. Like staying away from Raul because he stuffs guys like me into trash cans kinda of learning. Each one of these experiences squirted some color on my palette. I can use them now to paint. I do not need a huge splotch of courage or adventure on my palette to create. I just need to start painting. Imagine participating in an experiment. An experiment where you never get to see the whole canvas you are working on. You just get to paint on a small 4"x4" square section each day of your life. You have no idea how big the complete work is, nor, do you have any idea how the squares blend together. This is real life! I would rather have something on my squares, knowing that some days will no doubt be better than others. Have you taken the time to really look at different paintings? Have you ever noticed that almost ever master piece has boring, bland single color sections?

Powerless people are simply people waiting for a particular color splotch to present itself on their palette, or at least that is my opinion. But guess what, God might be waiting for you to use the unique colors you already have before you get more. If we keep waiting for another color, one day you may have one big empty canvas, ouch! Looking back, I believe there are no paintless palettes nor powerless people! Only people that want to paint with something other than what God gave them and they have bought into the lie that what God gave them is not good enough. As you can see the canvas is the life that God has called you to and the palette is your self image. It's time for us to show up and paint with power and leave no canvas uncovered!

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