She sits blank faced before the therapist
A deep scar runs above her eye
Her father was a bigamist
Her step father beat her ’till she said “goodbye!”

Her confidence is shattered
Her self-esteem long gone
Another client who was battered
By a wretch who loved the wrong

She has a partner now
Who loves her good and true
But she needs him to step up and make the vow
Before she turns away driven by fear undue

Wake up in the morning…wonder where I am
Why was sleep so fleeting, such a blooming sham
Would I could go back to sleep
And count those blooming sheep

Wake up in the afternoon…wonder where I am
Why did I have to wake at all, such a blooming scam
Would I could go back to never-never land
And make my dreams expand

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
On the bus like one of us
Trying to find his way home
Joan Osborne

Trying to board an airport bus
On a busy Hong Kong street
With bags to big and heavy
A quiet voice behind me says:
Don’t worry, I’m not in a hurry

Waiting for a water taxi outside Toulon
On a long and skinny jetty
With all the family in tow
A warm and friendly fisherman says:
Don’t worry, you and I will meet again

Riding on a bus at night
From the centre of Zürich
With wild graffiti on the walls
The only other commuter says:
Don’t worry, you are safe on this old bus

What if God was one of us
Trying to make us feel at home

O god of death why are you so reviled
Why do we see you as the one defiled
When you should be our one true friend
Your silent presence to all extends

You should be our unseen guide
Drawing us gently, from time to time, aside
Whispering words of wisdom in our ears
So that we may better enjoy the years

Well not quite…but here is a memory fom a road trip to Toulon

Standing on the beach of the bay
Looking at the palm branches sway
Watching the waves roll in from the sea
And surrounded by the French saying wee, wee

Feeling so strange being so far from home
Yet relishing the sun and the salt as I roam
Sipping a drink while others frolic in the waves
A solitary man taking in the ocean laves

From the two-story villa, I looked out at the naval fleet
Longing for home and the friendly birds that go tweet, tweet
Driven thro’ the streets of Monaco in a very red machine
Far more exciting than cruising in an anonymous limousine

 

A long, long time ago when doing Counselling 101, a valuable point was made regarding loving always. There are different ways of loving; all of us almost instinctively know that the love for parent, grand parent, lover, spouse, child, grand child, uncle/aunt, close friend, friend are different.

More than that certain kinds of love can be unhealthy if not down right dangerous! Healthy love, the noblest kind of love, is unconditional. We love someone “warts and all”, regardless of any imperfections. We love someone despite their failures, faults and prejudices. We even love him/her even if our love is not returned.

Conditional love comes almost naturally, we quickly learn to love someone because there is some kind of reward or satisfaction involved. There is a laudatory response from the person; he/she makes us feel good. We can even develop a certain quid pro quo with that person. “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.”

Sometimes at a relatively early age we learn that conditional love is not noble and growth promoting. We become aware of a better way of living, the way of unconditional positive regard. We learn to love without expecting anything at all in return. We discover that it is even possible to learn to love those who do not love or like us.

There is a love that is even more negative than conditional love, it has been called smother love (as opposed to mother love). This love contains the elements of possessiveness, control, selfishness and over protectiveness. At times it will seek to withhold the truth about things on the pretext that the truth will harm the person.

Smother love will always try to “sugar coat” bad experiences. It will make exaggerated offers of help or protection. It will profess a willingness to die for the other person or even to kill for the other person. It manifests in martyr like behavior, in other words a giving up of personal needs in order to fulfill every desire of the other person.

On the surface, smother love can appear quite harmless to both parties but objective observation will reveal troubling outcomes like over dependency, a feeling of inferiority, an enjoyment of power and an unwillingness to do anything (especially anything new)without the presence of the “lover”.

Independence, responsibility, accountability, self-esteem, self-confidence are learned through been freed to experiment…to run free! The opposite to smother love is the reality based practice of non-possessive warmth. Learning to love someone without clinging to him/her, without trying to protect him/her from danger, without trying to possess him/her.

I love you enough to allow you to be without be, to be totally separate from me. I love you enough to want you to respect boundaries and to learn that in order to deal with life on your own, you will have to learn about structure, self-discipline, self-sacrifice, delayed gratification. I want you to discover your unique inner strengths and harness your special potential. Please do not learn to depend on me!

 

When I look into your eyes
and you look into my eyes
What do we see
another sentient being
or a spark of eternal being

Is there something
or is there nothing
What do we see
a fast fading reality
or a life beyond ability

I have an on-going internal war
between nihilism and something more
What do we see
a fragile life of limited span
or an eternal soul that can…

A thick seemingly endless cloud of brown smoke hangs over our Town. It is the season of the deadly cocktail of summer drought, tinder dry bush, gale force winds and…fire! The flames are tearing down a hill partially covered in old trees bending in the wind, flakes of black soot are falling on everything, people are nervously watching the social media.

They quickly learn that the saving work is in progress, a bright yellow crop spraying/fire fighting fixed wing aircraft deftly attacks the blaze and a helicopter scoops up water from a dam and dumps it on the angry flames. This is truly saving work, don’t tell me about “saving souls”, just praise of the aviators and the blackened workers on the ground.

They have been training and preparing for this eventuality for months. They are risking their lives for people who they do not know. Many are volunteers. Fighting fires, especially from the air, is not a job for the faint hearted. The pilots are experienced and highly skilled professionals. They do their saving work in order that others may live!

Let us remember those who have lost their lives in the fire fighting services.

 

Listening to the preacher this morning, New Year’s Day, I was struck by the simple fact that I am free to choose what I want to believe. He presented a good, practical message about moving from the past to the future but I was able to absorb what was useful to me and just skim over the rest.

I am fortunate that I have that freedom. Many of us do but many more appear to be trapped in a straight jacket of religious dogma. Some may even be put to death if they dare to question any of the tenets of their faith.

Life is a journey of discovery, and I am excited and grateful that my journey has allowed me to question and re-examine my beliefs. I am enjoying one such period at present and look forward to what I may discover in the New Year. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

The earth is hard and unyielding. Those of us who live in mountainous regions will not need to be reminded of this. The peaks towering over us and the canyons winding away from us make us feel very small. This natural art work never appears to change and we know that it has existed for millions of years.

The title of a very old movie, “What’s it all about Alfie?”, springs to mind. The rocks have no feelings whatever, natural events unfold quite arbitrarily  and with no particular intention. The wind blows where it wills, the rain falls when it wills and the ocean currents flow in the same direction every year.

I’m obviously not writing as a scientist but as a humble, somewhat puzzled human being who is trying to make some sense out of the whole thing. Essentially, to me at any rate, the earth continues on its unfeeling way and the only meaning is that which we decide to confer. It may be very hot in the sun but in the end it is a very cold place out there…