30 April 2012

#5: Roundtable of Life

We are all Multifaceted Beings with much to bring to the "Roundtable of Life".

First of all, what is the "Roundtable of Life"?  For me it is the "dance" of learning from everyone all the time, and either intentionally (or unintentionally) teaching something in return.

The idea mentioned above began to germinate a few days ago, but I knew not where it was headed and I knew not why it wouldn't go away, that is until today (03-may-12).  So, now a few days later I'm completing-clarifying this nebulous idea that's been floating around in my mind.

So many people have influenced my life and for all of their influences, I Am Grateful.  The monumental task of narrowing it down to just three of the most extraordinarily influential people of my life (as defined in the book "The Magic" (exercise 12) has made me realize today just how blessed my life has truly been.


For my Spiritual/Moral/Ethical compass I must thank my mom, first and foremost, primarily because she was by example my first and best teacher for how to be human and live a Spirit centered life.  For the most part I do live a moral, ethical, spirit guided life, and yet I Am quite human so there are moments of weakness when my thoughts slip into "darker realms" or when a small frightened part of my consciousness convinces the rest of me that I may temporarily bend my compass needle or ignore spiritual guidance and direction altogether for personal reasons (usually survival) but in the end (more recently) I strive to do the right thing by often pausing-thinking to myself, "How will I feel about myself if I give into these lower, base emotions or desires?"  Typically this is all that's required for me to stay on the straight and narrow, most of the time; however, "I Am a spiritual being having a human experience." (source: uncertain) - So, to "slip-up" is human and to forgive myself, Divine.

Anyway, there have been times when special people have come into my life and provided me with insights towards previously unrecognizable opportunities.  And to those many people I say:
"Thank You! Thank You!  Thank You!"

On the other hand there have been moments of challenge and choice in my life (especially as a young man) wherein I didn't take the high road, or more often than not I froze in fear of hurt and failure, or worst of all I ran away in a moment of terror due to threats of death and dismemberment, but tragically freezing so often and in one terrible instance running in terror, each proved a far worse fate than facing those fears and acting with courage I wish I could have shown.  I'll chalk those up to some harsh life lessons I apparently needed to learn.  I thank these people who played parts in my life during those times, for me to learn these often painful lessons.

To all of those whom I failed: I deeply and sincerely apologize.  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You! for allowing me to fail and consequently learning what I needed to learn to become who I Am today.

To my college friend Sheryl the "older sister" I needed but didn't realize I needed so desperately at that time: Thank You for your extraordinary trust in me, all of your guidance - most of which I failed to heed, the wisdom of your living example, and your many unsolicited compliments.  You tried your very best to help me realize I had so much more to be thankful and grateful for, and that I was far more capable and deserving of a better life than I ever realized.  What stands out is in one very brief, overwhelmingly compassionate moment you sincerely and sympathetically compared me in such a positive light to your best friend and soulmate and husband.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!


For my emotional  intelligence I must again primarily thank my mom for her deep, empathic, unconditionally loving nature, without whom I wouldn't be nearly the emotional intuitive human being that I Am today.  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

I also thank my sister for showing me that no matter how bad things become, always strive find something to be happy about.  Smile into the face of adversity.  It took me a long time to see that sis but eventually I learned...  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

And to my university classmate, Kevin, though we were never close friends- I thank you for the words of wisdom you reminded me of on one particularly difficult day was having, "Just Be Kind."  At the time I understood clearly what you were saying, but I was so heavily laden-overburdened with my own emotional/mental loads that didn't embody or heed your advice very well, but since then those words have come in quite handy.
Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

 And of course to my wife, Edna, we have much to be grateful and thankful for in my mom and sister - in so many ways I Am who I Am because of them and all they have taught me (through life lessons and by example) over the years.  So, to you my wife, I Am grateful and thankful for all of your loving kindness and patience with me as I've struggled through a difficult life passage these past four years.  You mean so much more to me than you realize.
Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

For my intelligent, curious mind; I must first thank my father for his great depth and breadth of knowledge which came from his innate and insatiable inquisitiveness.  Always asking questions and seeking answers - thanks dad, RIP.
Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

Also, crucial to my intellectual development are all of the classroom teachers, instructors, fellow students, and professors whom I've had the benefit of their many discourses and lessons.  And of course I must remember to thank the many brilliant writers (authors, journalists, playwrights, composers, artists etc.) who came before me, especially Richard Bach for opening my mind and spirit with "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" at the age of 10- yes, such a young age, and Maxfield Parrish for all of your imaginative visions I've so enjoyed all my life.
Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

To my dear friend Nolan, thank you for the gift of your friendship, for all the many insights you've provided me over the years, and for the time and space to reinvent my life here and now in eastern Pennsylvania.
Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!


And finally, I am thankful and grateful simply to be alive and be myself, and to have inherited some of my father's inquisitive nature and intelligence combined with my mother's compassion, empathy, and intuition.  For me, like my father before me, intelligence through truly learning is a self-motivated, lifelong endeavor; and also like my mother, being empathic, humane, and intuitive leads to genuine compassion, and through life experience the ability to give healthy, unconditional love.

So in summary, I Am always a student being, learning, loving, and growing until my final breath.

So in conclusion, I know for myself that everyone I meet is both a teacher and a student wherein IQ and EQ are only two parts of the many facets of Being, sharing, and teaching.


15 April 2012

#4: Yes, it's that season again... Taxes!! 8^/

Here in the U.S. it's that time again, Taxes need to be filed... once I've completed this task I will be blogging (my thoughts, feelings, and ideas for improvement) about this touchy subject.

"Mission Accomplished" quoting arguably the worst US President ever.  I finished my taxes on time and made it to the post office before they closed, at their regular time.  Whoo Hooo!  Definitely a "beer-o'clock" moment if there ever was one!  LOL

Years ago, when I had a substantial-comfortable income from my corporate job at American Express/IBM-GS, I always had my taxes filed early - usually by the end of February, and I had a very helpful tax accountant who made the process relatively painless and stress-free (thank you sis for introducing me!)

And now, for the past eight years, I find myself begrudgingly "getting It done" at the last possible minute.  I will often start the process weeks, sometimes a whole month or more early (like this year) but the fact is that "the deal isn't sealed until the paperwork filed".  And yet again I mailed everything on the last possible day, within the last few possible hours and without having to file an extension.  Yeah!

So how do we improve such a complex mess.  Tax everyone ten percent, an across the board tax for all gross income for all people, and no deductions whatsoever.  This might seem harsh to some of the most financially strapped among us, but it would be fair for nearly everyone, from the poorest to the richest.  And as for corporations (sorry Romney they're not really people - they are composed of people, but they're really not people).  Charge corporations fifteen percent.  Period.  Sounds pretty fair to me, except for the only downside being that a lot of accountants and economists might have to find some other kind of work.

Anyway, the original point of this post is that this painful sense of grief, and all too noticeable STRESS I felt throughout my body earlier this week.  As I struggled to complete my taxes before the deadline due to this annual, spring-time ritual; the bodily sensations very clearly reminded me of the time I initially returned from my solo European backpacking adventure of 1985-86.

So, despite some initially bad tax advise I received last week, and the last minute reworking of my taxes, on tax-day, in order to correct the serious mistake on my returns that the bad advise had me make; all is well that ends well and I'm due for some modest refunds.  It may not seem like it on the outside, but on the inside I'm doing the Snoopy dance!  I don't owe anymore $$, and I'm getting a little bit back.  And especially when one is between gainful (well paying) gigs, every little bit counts!

So, once again getting back to my return flight from Europe in early February of 1986 - when I first stepped off the TWA plane onto the jet bridge in St. Louis and took my first few deep breaths of "American air" - I instantly felt throughout my body a major jump in my blood pressure.  Then, I immediately noticed my heart had skipped a few beats, and then I felt a speedy intensity of pounding in my chest, returning in full force.  All in all, it was an experience of internal stress I hadn't felt in months while traveling across Europe.

Instantly I recognized that it was the "busy, busy, rush, rush, rush, gotta get it done, now, Now, NOW!" feeling that hit me the very moment I was back on the ground in the United States of America.  Don't get wrong, sure I love my country, and yet I feel we Americans have forgotten some of the most basic and vitally important elements of being human.  To be human has nothing to do with Doing and everything about just Being.

And yet despite the struggles and challenges I faced, mostly alone, in and around Great Britain and across "the Continent", the deep sense of center - a somewhat calm - relatively peaceful knowing that "everything is going to work out for the very best feeling" I had initially discovered in London, and then cultivated throughout my travels quite instantly dissipated.

So finally, on that fateful day in early February 1986 I clearly realized that I was back in the rat race, and when you're merely a field mouse living in a country of most rats racing madly about the labyrinth of life, usually taking instead of sharing, It Is A Very Scary Thing indeed.  And yet I've endured long enough to witness the coming "Shift" of 2012.  And for that too, in addition to the successful completion of my federal and state taxes this week, I Am grateful to have been so well guided to this time and place.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!