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rudyardh

Yesterday I caught myself out praying for help with a plumbing crisis at our home. I reflected on this mental lapse and came to the conclusion that my “prayer” was in fact “an expression of hope” that the plumbers would find the cause of the obstruction. I think that is a good definition of prayer, “an expression of hope”. Spiritual maturity does not allow for “asking prayers”, God does not reach down and pull roots out of a sewage pipe! We have trained people who do that work. Praying for things or situations that we are perfectly capable of addressing, is pointless.

This morning I awoke to the news of the horrific terror attack in Nice. How do spiritually mature people deal with these unspeakable acts of violence? We do not pray and ask God to intervene! We pray to “prepare our minds for action”. We ask ourselves “what can…

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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

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!

 

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.

 

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…

It is not good to be short of cash…even worse to be short of breath. Some of us do not like being short in stature! But life is short, isn’t it? In 2016 we lost so many well know, accomplished people, famous people! People who made a difference, who made the world a better place.

How long will they be remembered? Generally speaking, probably a few months? Some may find their way into the history books, so their names and achievements will live on. Doesn’t it strike you that it is all so short? Like the grass of the field…here today, gone tomorrow!

I’m trying really hard not to be pessimistic or cynical. It’s just that I’m reading the true story of a journey of exploration in the 19th Century. The leader is not famous, as far as I know, but he endured much hardship in his attempt to map an area of hostile territory. The author has brought this outstanding person back to life for me but if I had not chosen this book I would never have been aware of his pioneering work.

Obviously his endeavours stand, whether you or I have heard of him or not. But what about us? Most of us live out our short little lives and move on without leaving so much as a footprint! I suppose the next question is, does it matter? Perhaps the important thing is to do our best with what we have.

Perfectionists, OCD personality types and those who pay attention to detail are often given a bad press. For example, what is a perfectionist…a constant pain in the neck! However, the old saying is very true…it takes all types to make a world.

I received some encouragement recently when reading about a group of men who are preparing for a very grueling ocean crossing. During an interview the leader mentioned that attention to detail is absolutely crucial if an extreme expedition is to succeed. He said that every record attempt needs at least one OCD personality type.

So, maybe we are not so irritating after all! A Happy New Year to all perfectionists and may you be kind to yourselves, because attention to detail can be very tiring.