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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Labels, Can they define me?

Recently, there has been some good discussions about labels. Not the labels on posts, nor the label of products, but labels on human beings. I have many labels, all of given to me. Some not so nice and some I love. Some of these labels we earn, like the label of "Father." Some of the label I have been given that I like are, My last name, "Marine", "Husband", "rock jock", "Leader", "energetic", just to name a few. But any label only carries the weight(sanction) we allow it to. We often give a label more sanction when it is handed out by some one we feel is higher in the food chain than us. A parent, teacher, or anyone with authority over us can have a tremendous affect on how we few ourselves just by assigning us a label. We will do everything we can to live up to that label.

Here lays the problem. If we give sanction to a label there is this human tendency to live up to that label. Up or down, good or bad, positive or negative, we will pursue the fulfillment of that label. We need to understand this process of human development. We need to be aware of the impact labels have on us and those around us. You have the ability to change the course of someone's life by what we call them. You want better, label better. This applies to ourselves, we tend to give ourselves the worse labels of all. STOP IT! Call your self something better. When you make a mistake, say to your self, "that's not like me, I am better than that because I am a winner." Sounds stupid, goofy, weak? Just try it. Bosses, parents, leaders, and good friends all should be using this everyday. The only difference between failure and success, winning and losing, happiness and sadness, is what we label it to be.

We all to often use labels as a way to bring another person down to us, instead of doing what we should and re-label ourselves to bring ourselves up to them. I have posted on numerous occasions: I believe in you - Power of Discovery - Power of pants - Power of Feedback - Being the Difference - The Fear Tree Just to name a few posts that are related in one way or another to this labeling that we do to ourselves and others. You want better, label better. We are not going to get way from labeling, so lets use it smartly to get where we want, when we want, in a positive manner.


Another shout out for PeaJay

Here is another GREAT post by PJ from the UK. This blogger has a way with coming up with some outstanding stories that make a huge statement. You can not log off without checking this one out.

Home Schooling and Blogger

Well as a home school parent, I try to create opportunities for my kids to explore their potential. I have found that my blogging adventures have been very useful in this endeavour. When my oldest, "bear cub 1", was around 12, she advised me that she wanted to get into graphic arts design. So, we started to find ways to help her and promote her. We sent her to Photo Shop school, Bought her a digital camera and she is learning about photography,
When she was 14 we produced a fundraising concert and had her do all the graphics work (http://www.campitorproductions.com/gallery/CDposter.jpg) we started a small business, (http://www.campitorproductions.com/), which she is still building. She helped design this blog, we learned about giving back through micro financing with Kiva and helping the financially challenged around the world by making loans. Now at 16, we are exploring the world of retail and product creation. On the left side of the blog you will find a "button" for "The SBH Store". We have only just started this endeavour but there are a few items now in the store. We will no doubt change the LOOK of the store front once we get our feet under us. Here is a look at 5 of the simple items she has put together for now.

Our little cub did all the graphics on these from pictures we have taken while out exploring the woods. Please enjoy the journey with us, there is more to come. My challenge to the SBH readers is to give some honest feedback, and tell us what you might like to see in the way of motivational type stuff. It will be a fun challenge for us to try and meet that "consumer request." I am challenging her in put a precentage of any earnings she may makes back into Kiva or the EDGE Foundation to help kids. We shall see how that goes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

William Shakespeare

"I see, sir, you are liberal in offers. You taught me first to beg, and now methinks You teach me how a beggar should be answered."

Are you being scamed by Bums, Beggers, and Baggers.

Today I passed an old man begging on the side of the road. The scene triggered an internal conflict that I have wrestled with on several occasions. To help or not to help? and what action is really going to help, hence, how bad off is this person, really.

As I sat in my car feeling that twinge of guilty trying to sneak in, I thought back on my European adventure. I had backpacked across 10 countries on a shoe string budget. I had many people assist me without having to beg, or even ask. But I did have one encounter with a beggar.

I was in Hamburg rushing to get to the train station. As I was walking down the sidewalk a bum came up to me and asked for help. I was now faced with the moment I had discussed at great length in Ireland with some Aussies, who had been to India and dealt with many beggars there. Their rule, don't give bums a dime. Their reasoning, in India, mothers mutilate their children so they can make more money begging. So by helping beggars you are enabling this behavior. So, back to my beggar in Hamburg. I was going to take him over to a fast food joint, but I did not have time due to my train. So, because I was having a hard time to say no, I started to give him a $5.00 bill. As I extend my hand holding my hard earned money toward him, my little voice was just nagging at me. As he grabbed the other end of the bill, I squeezed it harder so he could not take it. He look up at me and it was like time stood still, both of us holding opposite ends of this five dollar bill. I said to him, "Uh, I need you to know this is not my money." Mind you, I was just kind of going on about this money off the cuff, so to speak. He looks at me with this confused look. I say " It is God's money, and you will be responsible for it." Oddly enough, he did not want the money anymore.

Once I was back in America I have, for some reason, paid close attention to beggars and bums. I have watched some of them scam folks, and I have seen some that honestly need help. One of my Cop friends told me of an account where an old bag lady had died due to exposure on winter night. As he was taking an inventory of her shopping chart, he found $40,000.00 dollars "squirreled" away. Why did she choose to freeze to death when she could have gotten any hotel room for the night?

Why do we give them money when they need so much more? Is it so we do not feel guilty?, here is some money now go away so I do not have to deal with this ugliness? We do not help by kicking money their way. Do we honestly think they are going to apply the funds to some wholesome endeavour? Are we that naive? Why does it bug us so when some one walks up and asks for money? For me, it is because I feel that I work hard for mine and giving it away to fuel some form of abusive behavior angers me. But then a part of me actually cares for those who need the help, but the help they need I can't give. Just some thoughts on my way home today.

I think the guy in the picture picked a bad begging campaign motto. All the HTML coders I know make way more money than I do. Does he look like he could code? Anyway, I digress.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

The future is predetermined by the character of those who shape it. (part 2)

A Pacific Institute instructor once said to me"If you want to change the world, change yourself." As the course went on, we explored the foundations of our belief systems. The class was asked "why do you believe what you believe?" I was never asked that question before that day. Wow, as I started to do the old mental"Rolodex" of my beliefs I soon realized that I had many beliefs that I had assumed over the years. I had been carrying around beliefs in my mind that I had not made a conscious choice to form. As it turns out, according to the cognitive behavior gurus, these beliefs that I hold so dear in no small part from my self concept, my attitudes, my success and failures, and ultimately my character. So wanting to do well in life, like we all do, I started to take a very serious inventory of my beliefs and how I formed them. Once I realized that I have the power to rewrite, relearn, and reassess my beliefs, I began to discard many ignorant ones and replace them with educated beliefs. I now realize that this is going to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.

The first step was to understand the filters that caused me to form such ignorant beliefs. There are many out there. Some we can control and some that we were just born into, (see diagram above). These filters, will bias our perceptions of reality, if we let them. It is here, in this moment of choice, that we begin to choose our character and predetermine our future. The tricky part is that this process of defining ourselves and our future is going to happen either consciously or subconsciously. For me, if my beliefs are going to have such a drastic effect on my future, I would rather make the choice consciously, wouldn't you? But many people do not want to examine their beliefs. They choose to remain fooled by the many filters in front of them. Sometimes this is because of tremendous emotional hurt that is stored in some beliefs. But for those who venture into their own darkness, explore the reasons they believe in what they believe, the future is theirs to shape if they dare. So, why do you believe in what you believe?


The Day after Thanksgiving Blogging, OMG

I do not know if it is just me and my desk top, but, Blogging today reminded me of trying to shop on the day after Thanksgiving. EVERY link, web site, and blog seemed to load at a rate from the ice age. I am wondering if everyone and their brother sat down in front of a computer today to surf the net. Some of my blog friends reported the same issues.

I had to laugh at myself this afternoon. I was getting frustrated and mad at the whole circus. Then I thought to myself, wow, I have gotten spoiled. I have become so used to broadband speeds that I forgot about the time I thought that 14400Kb dial up was smoking fast. It is funny how we get used to things. Like when I was in my 20s paying $1.80 for a gallon of gas was outrageous. Today I had to pay $3.75 and did not bat an eye over it. Anyway, I hope all the Thanksgiving surfers enjoy the net as much as I enjoyed my turkey dinner. :)

Alan Redpath

"The condition of an enlightened mind is a surrendered heart."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Food for thought

A recent SBH reader posted a great post (here). Although I am not into the Zen thing, I think the concept embraces a wholeness we all can learn from in our efforts to enrich our own lives. A big thank you to Story Teller.

Do we dare dance in the devil's den?

Along my journey’s path I found the winds of hate buffeting me. I have heard the roar of rejection. I have seen despair’s path of sorrow. I have tasted the bitterness of ignorant hate. And I have felt the chilling cold of loneliness. I have wondered why humans seemed to be so prone to fading away from the goodness of our childhood and mature into creatures of mistrust, dislike, and disbelief? It seems to me that there is a constant battle between good and evil that transcends the barrier between intangible and the tangible. The Bible speaks of such conflict but, We often do not realize that this canvas of conflict is actually a real and touchable saga. I have always said " all an adult is, is a grown up injured child." I feel that it is these injuries that drive us away from our driving nature. These injuries, unresolved, unhealed, and ignored fester like a poisonous sting until we began to hate, fear and reject as adults.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed, there is no winter and no night; all tragedies, all ennuis, vanish, all duties even." I believe he was on to something here. The understanding of the strength our affections have over our emotional childhood injuries. Our innate affections, given to us by God, are our most viable prescription to the hate and fear that swarms around us. If we can just move toward these affections, release them within ourselves, pursue them, we just might be able to break free of those oppressive emotional childhood injuries.

However, we must always understand that evil has been given authority over this earth. We are dwelling in the devil's den, and joyful dancing is not well accepted. This fact is what spans statements like "no good turn goes unpunished." Imagine, a place where only a 100 individuals unleashed such internal affections. Would you not want to seek this group out. Would you not want to be apart of such a group. A group where acceptance, joy, peace, honor flourished would create a huge epic center in today's harsh realities.

The next time you encounter the absence of affection, just think about what kind of childhood injury your offender has. Think for a moment about how to counteract that ugly spirit and create positive change. Make no mistake, it is not easy. Ignoring the salt in your own wounds will not be pleasant, but indulging your own affections will take courage and fortitude. You will be repeatedly tempted to repay hate for hate, fear for fear, anger for anger. But what will that change? How will that win the day? What injuries will that heal? It is time for us, if we dare, to dance the dance of our affections while we are in the devil's den.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can. "

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. "

Dancing along the precarious precipices of fate, blindfolded!

Why do we make excuses for our stupidity? Why do we feel so compelled to place blame else where when we should have known better? Sayings like, "What you don't know won't hurt you", and "Ignorance is bliss" seemed to validate ignorance or excuse one's responsibility. Maybe it is to much to ask that adults actually learn the rules of a free society. As children we would never let another kid play a game with us if they did not know how to play. Where did we learn to placate ignorance? Where did we learn that it is inappropriate to speak out against unfairness and unjust acts? Why do some choose to live life ignorantly hanging by the thread of fate?

I wonder if our fears of having to deal with what we would see or learn keeps us quiet? Maybe the Ostrich is on to something. Just bury our head and the danger will pass. Maybe ignorance is bliss. That way we do not feel compelled to fix anything. We can just keep our own little world going and not be bothered. But it doesn't work that way does it? Sooner or later that which we hide from will come around to haunt us in some fashion. I guess it all comes down to what we fear the most. When crime gets so bad that I fear for the safety of my family, then I will act and cry out for more community safety efforts. When my children fall victim to some sickness then I will cry out for more research of the sickness. Maybe I enjoy my complacent position of mediocrity. The problem is that by the time these things are bad enough to create such a fear, I am to late to act upon them. When we will take the position that what affects my fellow man, affects me? When we will remove our blindfold and step away from fate's edge? I am just wondering. Any ideas?


Happy Thanksgiving America

From All the writers here at SBH, we wish you a happy holiday and the remembrance of all the things in our lives we are thankful for:

Our freedom, those who serve to keep us free, our freedom of religion, our freedom to own land, sharing our lives with our loved ones, the freedom and opportunity to learn, The place we call the home of the brave, freedom of choice.

May God bless you and your family this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Henri Bergson

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."

Monday, November 19, 2007

I become that which I think I know

When I was a small boy I had learned how to count to 10 and say my A-B-C's. I thought I was pretty smart, as we all did at that stage. I had no clue that I would eventually have to put those A-B-C's into words and sentences that communicated clearly. If you had asked me about a sum that was greater than 10 I would be lost and declare that there was no such thing. Over time and through a debated maturation process, I learned that there was a lot more to life then just 1 through 10 and the ability to recite A through Z.

I increased my knowledge base and increased my horizons. Creating cognitive behavior change is no different than the willingness to see that there is more to life than just the A-B-C's and 1 through 10. What we think we know just might be a fraction of what is actually out there. When we increase our knowledge base we increase our choices, options, and possibilities. This life learning is extremely important to our destiny. The willingness to learn the other persons perception, the courage to step out of our comfort zone, and the openness to a bigger picture all play into our behaviors. When we come to a point where we are willing to step beyond our limiting beliefs and prematurely formed boundaries, we expose ourselves to a world unknown to most. A world of unlimited potential.

But when I choose to stay within that which I think I know, that place of presumed security, I will only chose from that limited list of possibilities. Imagine that which you know right now as being the same as those A-B-C's and count from 1 to 10 you were so proud of as a child. Life beckons us to learn how to put our potential into sentences and dance towards a 100 horizons.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Parenting with character to create character, Part 1, "Conception"

Parenting with character is no easy feat, and for those who have kids, this is no revelation. So how do we go about the using and modeling character to our children in an effort to develop such a noble trait in them? Well, the first step is to remember that raising kids should be fun. But that is way to easy of an answer to this complex and elusive task, isn't it? The development of our children's character begins with us taking a hard look at ourselves. This is where most people quit. Not because they do not care, but because many of us do not like what we see when we look deep inside ourselves.

Terms like "baggage", "Skeletons in the closet" and "issues" come to mind. The unfortunate reality is that many kids are brought into this dance unexpected, unwanted, and uninvited by individuals who were seeking something else. Our emotional choice to engage in a sexual relationship without understanding, or the readiness of taking on the role of a parent is the first foundation stone to predetermining our relationship with our children. We seek such relationships with a vast array of reasons in an attempt to meet one or more needs. But such pursuits of these needs often fall short of the realization of long term consequences and responsibilities. You may be asking what the hell does all this have to do with teaching kids character? The adults who are responsible for the creation of a young life bring a set of beliefs and perceptions with them about the event. It is these beliefs and perceptions that start a chain reaction. The child will emulate these beliefs and perceptions like a sponge absorbing water.

I had a friend who was sexually active in high school. He was always anxious about his girls cycle. If a child had been conceived, what perceptions would the young life have formed about its premature arrival? Do you not think that the child would pick up on the anxious, stressed out attitudes of its parents? Do not get me wrong, there are many very young couples that come together and do great in the face of an unexpected arrival. Now take a child born to a couple who looked forward to its arrival. The excitement and joy would be transferred to the child. It is here, in this stage, that a child begins to develop its self concept. And this self concept will have a say in the child's character, if we want it to or not.

From the moment a child is placed on the mother's bare stomach in the hospital, the lessons of character begin. Some would argue that this learning process starts even earlier while the child is still in the womb. I deal with a lot of parents who decide to start parenting when their child begins to develop delinquent behaviors like: authority avoidance, anti-social attitudes, and academic failure. These parents never realised their role started years before. They had no idea that their past dysfunctions would be propagated in the life of their offspring.

Stay tuned theres more to come! Next we will explore the early years of parenting.


William James

"No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may posses, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Parenting 101 quotes

"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it." Harry S Truman.

"You know children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers." John Plomp.

"For only as we ourselves, as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, can we be appropriate models and guides for our children. What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become. " Joseph Chilton Pearce.

The future is predetermined by the character of those who shape it.

What does the future hold? This is one of those questions that has echoed from one generation to another. Stock markets rally and fall according to what we think the future may be. Politicians attempt to foresee the future in an effort to win favor among the people. So what does the future hold? And why do we agonize over it's unknown paths? I propose that parents dictate the future. That's right, parents hold in their grasp the key to the future.

As a parent you yoke yourself to the responsibilities of defining another persons character, personality, and attitude. As that life grows and its experiences solidified what ever perceptions, beliefs, and convictions the parent taught will in no small fashion shape the future. As a parent models life, so shall the future be predetermined. Parenting is no small task. Nor, should we ever underestimate the importance this special relationship between parent and child holds. But parents do underestimate and belittle this role every day. Why? We, as parents, sale out our children's futures because we are over fatigued, overworked and overwhelmed with our own day to day lives. How do we bring these two worlds together? We have financial responsibilities that we must fulfil. And, if you accept the argument of the importance your parenting has on society, you should also agree that this role is as big, if not bigger than the financial commitments. How do we accomplish both when we are exhausted?

Parents forget their most valued tool; communication. In the youth program I work in we ask parents "when was the last time you told your child you loved them?" At first I was shocked by the number of parents that could not remember when the last time they told their child how much they cared about them. This simple yet elusive comment has been just one of the many overlooked and under stated verses between parent and child. There is no excuse, and it comes to no surprise when children begin to act like monsters. Many think that this is not an issue to worry about. I beg to differ, GREATLY. It is staggering to me to see the growing damage parents are having on the future of our global society. Of course we would like to blame everyone else, but the reality is that the madness started at home. Maybe I should not use the term home, more like the house they lived in.

If your a parent reading this, when was the last time you told your child how much you cared about them? When was the last time you just sat down and let them talk about whatever they wanted to. Yea, sometimes it is hard to relate, but that is your job. Remember, some one is going to listen to them, and it maybe the person of your nightmares.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Matthew Arnold

"Nature's great law, and law of all men's minds?-- To its own impulse every creature stirs; Live by thy light, and earth will live by hers!"

A brief conversation with brother Elk

Well, this story takes place in the great state of Colorado. We were deer and Elk hunting up in the northwest corner of the state. I had a deer and cow tag but had not seen either on this day. Being late November, the air was a crisp 1 degree and climbing as the day drew on. I was very tired from helping my partners dress out their filled tags and decide to wander off on my own and find a place to take a nap. Although it is one of the BIG no nos of hunting, I love to hunt by myself. The solitude and oneness I feel with nature is almost addicting.

I found a wonderful rock outcrop on top of a big mesa over looking a panoramic valley floor. the sun was bright and warm and I laid down, pulled my hat over my eyes and began to dose off. A short time later I hear what sounds like some one running up to me. With a lazy affair I rolled over onto my side and sat up. Standing before me was a young spike bull elk. He was about 25 feet from me, huffing and puffing. Now Bull Elk are like a wild stallion with horns. Getting close to them is a bad idea. As I sat there looking at this wonderful creature, his neck, chest and hind quarters showing his approaching masculinity. His eyes gleaned with a serious intent as his lungs were searching for enough air to keep him going. I knew immediately that he was no joke and if he wanted to, he could have hurt me in a bad way. I swear we had some kind of Mr. Spock mindmelt conversation without any words actually being spoken. It went something like this.

The elk (E)"Hey dude whats up."

Me (M)"Nothing, I am just taking a nap"

(E)"You know there are some stupid ass hunters that don't realize they are not supposed to shoot at me over there?" We both look over toward the east, in the direction he had approached by.

(M) " Yea, they keep shooting over my head too."

(M) "Hey you see any deer around?"

(E) "No, unlike my dumb ass they took off early this morning"

(E) "You know you kinda of smell like a cow, and with your tan clothes...."

(M)"Easy now"

(E) I am just saying..."

(M) " Where you heading?"

(E) "I am not sure, I am trying to find my herd"

(M) I think I saw them go down the draw earlier"

(E) "Really?, I thought they were over that way" We both look to the west,

(M)" Well, Good luck"

(E) "You too, see ya" .

I laid back down as he walked away. A short time later he comes back by. This time he slows but does not stop. I think I heard him say " You're right, they are not over there either, bye."

As I returned to my hunting group and told them the story they all shook their heads and laughed. "Only you", they said " would have such an encounter." Like I said, I love to get out by myself and absorb nature at her best.


Talking Bear

" There is nothing that echos louder through time than the silence of a child"s tear drop. The question is, are we big enough to stop and hear this echo of pain and sadness? Are we small enough to find the bent knee and allow our shoulders to soak up the sorrow?"

Emily Dickinson

"If I can stop one heart from breaking,I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin up to his nest again, I shall not live in vain."

The burden of shared pain

I have been asked to share this story in a book project I am working on. I have been reluctant to do so because it is more revealing than I have been comfortable with. I think I am choosing to "test drive" it here and see what the feedback is before I commit it to the book. I really try to focus on positive stuff. I guess this is because of stories like the one that I am about to share.

The transference of pain is a daily occurrence that when noticed, make us emotionally and socially uncomfortable. The effects of these events are not enjoyable and have destroyed many good lives. It is a deep dark secret of the occupation I find myself in. How can anyone survive a career where exposure to constant pain and anguish is a daily event? This story touches on a situation I had to deal with only once, but I have endured many other events where the pain caused many of the same symptoms. This one, however, left me dealing with many other emotional events in my life. So here we go.....

The cold night air cut through my heavy all-weather parka. Driving around the sleepy city streets with the windows down and the heater on high, we struggled with the night's exhaustion. The wintry night's unusually busy routine was winding down and we had time to grab one more steamy cup of coffee to help keep our weighted eyelids open. A text message came across the small automated box smartly installed between my partner and I. "Contact the Watch Commander asap." Short confusing glances are shared, and served as an introduction to comical quips like "what did you screw up now". Little did I know that I would be dealing with next hour's emotional wasteland for the rest of my life. A bookmark in time to remember just how horrendous life can be. The Watch Commander had to choose someone for a very tough assignment, and we got it. Not because we were good, but because I was new. He said it would be good for me to get the experience. Yea, he was selling bovine scat at a high rate.

The call was in direct relation to a fatal traffic accident that had occurred in a nearby city earlier in the shift. The Coroner was unable to make the notification to the next of kin. We were to contact the wife and advise her of the nights events. We drove around the block a few times trying to develop a sympathetic plan, but no plan came. We knew this was going to be rough and direct. What we did not know is that the wife had a preexisting panic disorder. Nor did we know there were three small children in the home. To this day I can hear her screaming. The agony of her shattered heart still echos in my moments of silence. As she came apart, she begged me to tell her children. Her tear filled eyes pleaded with me not to make her be the one to tell these small children that their daddy will never come home again. As my own eyes welled up, I knew I was screwed.

I never really figured out why this call effected me the way it did. Maybe it was my fear that life was foreshadowing my own mortality and I could only helplessly watch as someone told my family of my demise. Maybe it was the wife's reaction and complete rejection of everything about me in that moment. I can not blame her, and I realize that it was the message not the messenger, but it still was way more than I was equipped for. However, I do know that for the next several nights, at home, the only way I could get to sleep was to drink myself to sleep. Consuming large quantities of alcohol trying to silence her pain and make those so small and saddened faces disappear. The more I drank the more I would remember past pains, and the more I wanted to chase it all away with another drink. I had to make a choice. I had to find another way to deal with my reoccurring emotional nightmare. I experienced the emotional disequilibrium caused when we cant find any reconciliation of life's mean spirit. Trying to mask my inability to care, no, I was trying to mask my fear of caring, with anger and hate. I found myself making unbelievably calloused statements towards everyone, even my own family. I was allowing the pain of others to destroy my life simply because I had allowed my self to care without accountability of the costs. Where was the off switch? Where was the pressure valve to vent my demons? Life was drowning me and I had no rescuer.

Today, I have a mantra, not my pain, not my pain. I care, but my caring has a limit. My journey into the emotional abyss has taught me a lot about me, pain, survivable boundaries and the need for balance. Most of us do not realize that the men and women who defend our freedom and keep us safe in the face of danger bear a burden that does not just go away. Our pain in these moments does effect them. Their calloused approach to life is nothing more than a survival mechanism. It is the cost of having someone ready and willing to rush into harms way with a predisposed mindset that their life may be sacrificed for our freedom and safety. I have yet to witness any one of these individuals walk away from standing on that line because the cost is to high in the heat of the moment. Instead, they run towards the danger, they accomplish the impossible, and then they retreat to their private places and deal with the pain we shared with them.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Doug Lawson.

"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."

An outstanding post from the UK

Check out this great post from fellow blogger and SBH regular.

Weak strengths and strong weaknesses

Recently I had a long conversation with a special lady. She is an African American, but she is White. She was born in Africa and eventually became a naturalized American citizen. She works alongside me helping at risk youth. She always makes me laugh when she states in her thick English accent, I am the only true African American in this classroom so do not give me any headache about what you think you know on this subject.

Anyway, she had made a statement about how you cannot really teach life through chess because the game is void emotional issues. I smiled and then took to debating the issue. Our conversation weaved in and out of some fantastic topics about life and chess. Our conversation brought me back to some chess lessons I had as a young man. I had a great man teach me some great life lessons through the game of chess.

My teacher asked me about which piece I favored most. I said "the Queen of course." He asked "why?" and I replied "She is the most powerful piece on the board and does the most moves." He promptly took her off of the board and said "now let's play a round of chess." In fact we played several games without my Queen until I could play well without her. Then he took my rooks, then my bishops, then my knights. When he said, "lets play a another game", I looked confused and said " but there is only Pawns and a King left." He said "exactly." As I was forced to compete with weakness, I soon learned the strength of my "weakest" pieces. I learned of Pawn islands, forks, splits and pins. To this day, I realize, as I did in that lesson, that all pieces are as weak as the other and all pieces are as strong as the other, it only depends on how I perceive them.

Today when I play, I play with the weakest strengths and let the other player play with their strongest weakness. The difference in our perceptions of our true strengths usually rewards my efforts. As I reflected on this lesson many years ago, I realize that he taught me about much more than winning a chess game. He taught me about the dangers of relying on a facade of strengths and ignoring my " false weaknesses." What are the weak strengths you rely on? What are your strong weaknesses you ignore? I would wager you will find your answers somewhere in a close relationship. The place where many of us live with unspoken expectations and unheard requests for compassion. My strongest moments are when I am strong enough to be weak and tell my love, " I need you."


Monday, November 05, 2007

Defining a life time with character.

Imagine every tree that you have ever seen looking exactly the same; every branch, every trunk, every leaf having the same shape,dimensions, and color. Wouldn't that be boring? Nature has shown us that character differences complement each other well when set side by side in a sea of diversity.

Imagine judging the character of a tree when it is still a sapling. This action would be premature and not a good measure of the trees' future potential. Trees reveal their true character over a period of many years, enduring many hardships, and challenging the patience of time.

Now, imagine judging the character of a child before it's life is given the time to define it's character. How can we foresee the many hardships set before a life? How can we predetermine how that life will be defined by those hardships? Maybe this is why we do not see defined character in younger generations; they are still growing into giant oaks, or slender pines. There does come a point in a life when all can see what has been defined by it's sagas. We can see which branches buffet the winds of change and bear the fruit of maturity.

This is the stage of life that causes much concern. More and more trees are starting to look a like. Character differences are starting to be shaped by conformity and blandness. The growing branches have been tied down and stunted by ignorance and fear. How dare you allow your branches to reach to the heavens proclaiming your independence. Why can't you just be like the rest of the Forest? Why do you have to be special? What makes you think you were made to be a redwood, growing amongst common pines? You are just an ugly sapling that will never define itself with any regal character traits so you might as well just accept that while you can. Does any of this sound familiar? Are you tired of others stunting your ability to define who and why you are?

I believe we are all given a wonderful seed of character. The question is how are you defining that sapling with your life?

Talking Bear

" Many of us want to make a difference with our lives. Everyone has different perspectives, and may come up with a solution to a problem that no one else would have thought of. I value your opinion. Together we can become more than we could be by ourselves."

My wife over heard a phone conversation I had with a new intervention worker. I was commenting on the importance of open communication and how everyone has a voice. And that voice needs to be heard because it may just have the answer to some big questions. My wife stated that the comment spoke to her heart and thought I should post it. I did not realize she was paying so much attention to my phone conversations.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The problem with power

Throughout history literature, aphorisms, and intellectualism have tolled the bell of warning. The bell's echoing tones have reverberated through time, but yet man has not heard it. Time and time again we pray and hope that our leaders have ascended to the high ground with the character to withstand the seduction of power. Time and time again we find ourselves wringing our hands with anger and clenching our teeth with anguish. What kind of person can withstand the onslaught of power? Why do men and women forsake so much in pursuit of such a destructive seed?

Power is truly the most addictive, most destructive, and most deceiving creation of mankind. This addiction effects so many, but yet changes so little. Why have we allowed our ears to become deaf to the tolling bells of history's deceptions? We are like a battered woman returning to the abuse that we know, but yet hate. We constantly re-create our nightmare by choosing leaders addicted to power.

What is it about power that changes a person? What is it about power, that causes so much change, that a once good person forsakes those who they were to lead, protect, and provide for?
What companionship does power have with greed, lust, deception, pain, and arrogance? Why would any honest person pursue such a destructive seed? Are we under a spell? Are we driven by stupidity? Do we have some deep down sick masochistic desire to be bulled and beaten by those we empower? What will it take, when we will learn to look at the person's character rather then listen to the honey dripping off of their silver tongues before we empower them? Or has the character of humanity depreciated some much that no one wants to look? Or does humanity only care once we have allowed another leader to usher us into calamity once again? History's bell tolls yet again, warning us of the problem with power.



"If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor."

Researching quote

A friend of mine asked me if I could find out the author of what I think is a great quote. I have looked to my wits end, and now I am going to see if any of you know who said this;

"All wars are civil wars, because we are all brothers."

Kool Music & Extreme Adventure Risk Video Search


What moves my soul lately

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