Good Morning Universe, How are ya!

Around 5pm this afternoon, I will have circled the sun 56 times. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been fond of suppertime ! And evening is my favorite time of the day. It all adds up in my mind for sure.

This is an interesting season for sure. Naturally whatever stage we are in we have never been in it before. As with most things we can only truly understand things from experience. This season has brought heaviness. It has brought mortality into very sharp focus. What once was a blurry concept now sits at the door waiting its turn in our lives. I have 2 dogs circling for home. A parent going through tough challenges. Friends parents passing, friends themselves. You hear the stories all the time. We take youth and the assumptions that tomorrow is going to be there for us with way too much liberty. The worst part is that it effects how we treat today. The present.

With all of that circling around my head, it makes me much more aware of the moment. Of the breath. Of the heart. Of thankfulness of which there is so much of.

Circles begin and close everyday. The tides pull and the moon is affected. We are all connected to everything. So, here on this cold day in Tennessee, I will pray thankfulness for the cold, the rain and the perfect imperfection of the universe. I am happy to be here, to learn, to forgive, to be forgiven, to build more bridges and tear down walls in my world.

So Creator, when you see the smoke of my Cedar and Sage rise this morning, know it is me. Know my humble heart beneath my ego. Know my love for this earth I stand on. And know that I do try to be, what I say I want to be.

I write this thinking of my Father. Of a friend that lost her Mother unexpectedly last year. I write it with Glen Frey on my heart. Of Merle Haggard and how much music is attached to our souls. We all must pass, and it is my only way of understanding is that there is something after. And while pearly gates and streets of gold don’t connect with me, I know the soul never dies, and there is a home on the other side of our reality here. But today I say” Good Morning Universe, How are Ya !” I’m glad to be here !

Be good to yourselves and to those around you.

Aho and Amen !

55

Well I’m sitting here on the eve of my 55th birthday. A drop in the bucket some say. But I’ve been around long enough to know some folks’ buckets are smaller, and a single drop can take up more of that bucket. Nothing promised. But I’m not pensive, I’m thankful.

As with anyone’s life much has happened. The journey has been and continues to be rich and blessed. Many moons since I breathed my first breaths just off of Palafox St in the heart of my hometown. In the town that still holds my heart and my connection to everything that helps me make sense of this world.

I was thinking about peace and contentment earlier and while I still greet each day with thankfulness. I know many of my brothers and sisters in this world do not feel that way. Some have been dealt hard cards, some have chosen poor companions and some just seem to have inherited a DNA that they let dictate their outlook. I feel for them and to a big degree, I am the kind that may never be totally happy until the whole world is happy !

But as I sit here this April 7th evening in Nashville Tennessee, I am thankful for love. The one’s that have loved me despite it being a difficult task at times. The ones that chose to love me as well as the ones that had no choice. I am also extremely thankful for my children, one who’s 22nd birthday is today. Happy Birthday Dylan ! I love you !

So I think I’d just end by saying that we really , really need to love one another. Think maybe on the elements that we have in common as opposed to our differences. One Creator one Love. The  ability to draw breath really is a good thing, so to help someone else believe that in their soul id a big gift. We all need that gift to give and to be given to.

As usual, I’ve not edited this at all. As I’ve jotted this down, I’ve been listening to Tom Waits “Ol 55″ and The Staple Singers ” Touch A Hand”.

Go be someone’s light !

The Art of Thankfulness

josey1How do I begin to speak of thankfulness? I know the language. I am pretty good at talking about how thankful I am. I even think I am thankful. But that is usually when things are going well. When they aren’t going well, I have the inclination to think of that first.

Many years ago a member of our family, Josey was hit by a car. He lost a leg. This was not only traumatic for him but really traumatic for me because I attached much more to that loss than Josey did. I thought about him looking different. not being able to run as fast as he once could. The accident made him different visually and in our culture different isn’t as openly accepted.

For Native cultures, animals have always been teachers. They studied the animal ways to learn everything from hunting to how to be in the world. Sadly these days we don’t think we have much to learn from animals these days as we see ourselves on the top of the ladder and not viewing life as a circle. In a circle everything is dependent on each other, and everything is equal.

Josey showed the rest of our family how to be thankful for what we have. Not what we think we should have. Not what we assume we deserve. His stitches, his limp, his “imperfectness” didn’t effect him at all as far as his worth of himself or his worth in the eyes of others. He is thankful and lives that thankfulness everyday. He accepts everything as a part of how life is. That everything happens for a reason. That everything belongs. We have now talked for years and viewed Josey as a great teacher in our house and life.

Josey has a story much like all of ours. He’s been wounded. Life has full of surprises and paths not chosen but accepted. In his teaching it’s like “so this has happened, now what?”. For all of us wounded brothers and sisters, how thankful are we for what remains? Do we view it as enough to create happiness from ? I hope my journey continues here for many more years. Apparently I’ll need them to close out my circle as full as I hope it to be.

Three Legged Dog: A Story of Thankfulness

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Some of you may know this story. For those of you that don’t, I will share the impetus behind the Three Legged Dog. I have a Blue Healer / Catahoula mix named Josey. When he was about 5 years old he got hit on the street in front of our house. Having never been through something like that I was beyond freaked out. Once the doctors assured me that he had no internal injuries, they said I’d be amazed at how fast he’d recover and would live a full life on just three legs.

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Josey’s recovery was quick. Mine however took a little longer. With all of the usual guilt and sadness for him, secretly wondering if his life quality would suffer, I soon realized it was me who needed healing and teaching. Josey is our store dog and travels to and from work with me each day. His main goal is to be pet by as many customers as possible. I thought he’d be ashamed of his” new look”. I learned quickly he wasn’t ashamed at all and the one secretly harbouring the insecurities was me. In the course of time, Josey taught me and our family about thankfulness. About being thankful for what you have, not what you wish you had, or worse yet, what you think you deserve. He didn’t suffer from any vanity or ego issues, but I did. For years now he has shared in his own way how greatful I should be everyday for life.

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Our little company is called Three Legged Dog and every piece is made with that spirit of thankfulness. Our trademark Three Legged Dog image is on each piece. It’s a good reminder for me and I hope anyone else that wears a Three Legged Dog piece. We all have much to be thankful for, wouldn’t you agree?

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Pictured above is “spirit face”. The one above that is “journey” and the line markings symbolize two people walkng thru life together, through the four stages, represented by the four dots. Josey of course is pictured and the top picture is “back to the land”. The ones shown have sand from my personal touchstone, Pensacola Beach. The one on the left has sand from Haiti where our daughter recently returned from a mission trip. You can send sand from your own touchstone and we will incorporate it into a necklace for you. We can be found on Facebook at Three Legged Dogg.

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Better Than the Sum

The other day was a stressful one at work. The kind of day that really makes you question what you are doing, especially when you are rolling down the backside of life. You know those kinds of days, right?, where you start entertaining the thought of the stress-less days of a Wal Mart greeter !!!

That day I’d driven my wife’s car that has been passed down from her father. It’s a 66 Mustang, mostly restored and runs really good. So I leave work, hop in the Mustang, with my three legged dog, Josey in the back. It’s a rare low humidity August day in Nashville, so I slide the windows down, turn on my ipod, and put ear buds in. The first song that came on was a live version of Jackson Browne’s “My Stunning Mystery Companion”. All of a sudden the stress of the day all slipped away. Cool evening breeze, and 289 engine that sounds more like a well oiled Harley, Josey smiling in the back, not much traffic and Jackson’s sad but reassuring voice telling me that it’s all gonna be just fine.

“what with all my expectations long abandoned, and a future I no longer saw my hand in / how I found you is beyond my understanding, my stunning mystery companion.

Ahh that voice, that sweet melody that is a true Jackson Browne signature….he continues

“what with all my expectations long abandoned, and my solitary nature not withstanding / You’re the one who pulled me out of that crash landing, my stunning mystery companion.

It was all these elements together, thinking of my wife who is my own stunning mystery companion. Thinking of my children, my life. With the breeze on my face and a smile of gratitude on my lips, I was born again and again in those moments. And while a car ride alone or even Jackson’s music as much as it holds a dear place in my life, or Josey in the back, can totally transform me, these single parts were shadowed by the sum feeling of what a wonderful world it can be. Thanks to my wife and family, my dogs, to Jackson, and to that sunny Nashville evening drive home…..

Here is a studio version of “My Stunning Mystery Companion”…..

 

 

The Scope of Prayer

Prayer

For something that most of us raised in a Christian tradition have done since we were small children, prayer sure can get interesting the older we get. At least it has for me. As a child, I prayed for my family, both on the earth as well as the ones that had crossed over. Prayed for safety and happiness.

I never thought that God hadn’t heard my prayers when something like a death happened. Never thought my prayers hadn’t worked. I didn’t really connect my prayers to the events that played out in my life. Then again for many years, my faith really hadn’t been a deeply connected component in the way I saw my world.

I believe now, I was working through the “religion” that had been passed to me. I was doing that with my spirituality as well as everything else that my forefathers had passed down. It was all passed down with love. It was all passed down in good conscious. There has been much I have held onto but there also has been much that I have shaped in different ways, as I see the world through a different lens than they did. They used their own lens as they viewed their lives differently from the generation before them. Once I granted myself that freedom to pursue my life and seek my own views of my Creator, I believe my life opened up significantly to the endless faces of God.

So, back to prayer. I moved through my stages of life to a form of prayer  which now consists mostly of thankfulness. Thankfulness for another day on the earth, to see creation with all of its colors; all of its smells and tastes. To live in the moment. To be present with each breath. I admit that when it really hits the fan though, I pray out for certain things to happen. For certain outcomes.

But it doesn’t entwine with my beliefs of not seeing God as a puppeteer. I don’t think he chooses the Giants over the Cowboys. I don’t believe he chooses one person over another in a car wreck. I don’t think he does any kind of “1,2. 3, you’re it” kind of thing. I think all of that stuff is the product of free will and we are to look for God in everything. Even in sadness. Easy to say, not so easy to do, and as I face bigger life challenges, I know I will point a finger or two.

That’s just the way I see it, here at 50 years old. Ask me tomorrow and I’m sure it will shape out differently. I hope so, as I hope my relationship with my Creator continues to shape and grow.

How do you see prayer? There is no right or wrong, only your journey and how it speaks to you. I hope you feel free enough to seek the Creator in your own way. If God is in everything, if he is the alpha and the omega, then he is in the eyes of the old. The touch of a child, and the hawk that floats on the currents high above. God is in the Palestinian, Buddhist monk, Catholic priest, Lakota elder. In the sunsets and on the wind. God is right there in every embrace and the wag of my dogs tail.

Where are you on your journey? We are all in this together. I’d love to hear about your experiences, and how you’ve felt that presence of pure love.

Wanted to add this. I’d posted this and then the first thing I saw on Facebook was a friend in Florida that is dealing with some type of tragedy with her child. To see all of the people sending her prayers was extremely powerful. And we are all praying for a certain outcome, for something good to happen. So like she said, go hug your children. Hug your family, heck, go hug the world as we are all in need of love and prayers. Pray Pray Pray in your own and honest way………………….