Obitchuary

Gary, Davis, Christian, Dryden, Obituary, epitaph, legacy
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is casually perusing the graveyards of old, small towns. The stones say so much. One such stone is often referenced in marriage ceremonies (see left). Another I came across was on a backroad near Hebron, NH. “Here lies Francois DuBois. Hung as a horse thief. 1638.” Epitaphs can tell us much about a person’s life, as can Obituaries.

Obituaries can be a good source of information about those who have already gone before? Not their material goods, but their legacy in the lives of their contemporaries— their friends, their families, and children.

Yet there are also obituaries that have little to do with the deceased. In many I’ve read I had known the person in life. While they lived they were miserable, grouchy, cranky, angry individuals. Yet, at their funeral, their eulogies made them out to be saints among men. Who were these people? Certainly not the wretched person I had known who had hated their life and many of those around them. Most of the conversations I remember with them could be summed up in three words— Bitch! Bitch! Bitch! They were chronic complainers, never happy with anything.

For most of us we can choose the kinds of people we become. We do not have to choose to be chronic complainers, self-absorbed little infestations of isolation and criticism. We can choose to be imparters of hope, peace, joy, and graciousness. We can choose to GIVE instead of being hoarders of life’s material goods. We can even sacrifice our lives for the good of others.

So what would you want people to remember about you once you’ve crossed-over to the other side? What would a truthful obituary about YOU look like? What words would you have chiseled on your tombstone? What life-legacy would you leave behind? Whatever it is, START LEAVING IT NOW. The craziness, the laughter, the good times and bad you share with people NOW is what you pass on to succeeding generations. We all need to become a little more aware of the way we live.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

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Hidden

051048048057054055054050124053048048124052048048Why are we hiding? Or— What is it we try to hide? Too many of us exert a lot of energy trying to hide, or trying to hide something about ourselves that, if revealed, would expose us.

The artistry of Bev Doolitle (1947-   ) depicts objects hidden to the casual observer. We are so much like the horses in her paintings. If people were to look intently at our life, what is it we would try to hide? I’ve worked with some people whose biggest fear in getting married was being known. I tried to assure them that being known, and still loved, was the best part of being married; I’m not sure they bought it.

What drives us to hide things? Insecurity, fear, shame, dishonesty? Or worse, why do we hide ourselves? Of course, if you’ve been betrayed or used, there is some warrant for it. You don’t want to be hurt that deeply again.

The issue, basically, is one of safety. We ALL want to feel safe. So we hide the parts of us that would expose us. This is wise…, to a point. But our need for safety can also choke the spirit within us. It can bind us in a box with just slits through which we take in the outside world.

Would you like to escape your box and take in more of the outside world? Here are some ideas—

  • Spend time with people. Reflecting off of them will give you insights into yourself. You’ll surprise them; they’ll surprise you.
  • Try something that engages your soul. Doesn’t matter what. Just not too much over the line. Deeper discussion, life challenging experiences. Hold back on sky-diving.
  • Build one-safe-friendship. Create a confident.
  • Create a private novel about the kind of life you’d like to live. Then, slowly, start to live it.

Hiding takes a lot of energy. Think what you might be accomplishing if you didn’t have to work so hard at hiding your true self. Think of the energy you could invest in developing new dreams, new skills or new relationships. Be intentional. Remaining hidden, if pursued over a long period of time, results in further isolation; and that creates further fear of being known.

You do not need to stay hidden. Make the decision to be known.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

New Year’s Restorations

462px-happy_2016_fizzWhat happens when you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you remember what they were by the end of January? Do you even remember them by the end of the day January 1st? Right; me either.

So to increase our chances of success in the New Year let’s change the rules. Instead of making Resolutions we will more than likely forget, let’s establish a set of New Year’s Restorationsthings and relationships in our lives that need to be rebuilt if we are to move through live more smoothly.

  1. What family members need your silent forgiveness, followed with appropriate expressions of love?
  2. The same goes for business relationships; that is, if you want your business to thrive next year.
  3. What parts of your own soul are in need of some repair and restoration?
  4. Same Four Questions I always raise—
  5. What one thing needs to change?
  6. What new thing [or things] needs to be added?
  7. What present thing(s) needs to go, to be eliminated from your life?
  8. What needs to be kept, but seriously modified to fit the next you?
  9. How did you make a difference last year? Keep doing that. You created something
  10. What were your greatest blunders? Just don’t repeat them again or you will need even more restoration.
  11. What kind of people do you need more of in your life?
  12. What kind of people have been a bad influence on you and need to go?
  13. Do you have a spiritual dimension to your life? If not, why not? God is no human projection.
  14. Ask, “The One Think I must accomplish in 2016, no matter what, is…?”

It is always good to check-in with yourself on a regular basis. I do it monthly, quarterly, & yearly. When was the last time you put your life through a tune-up?

Restoration is good for every aspect of your life. Get to it.

May this New Year restore your soul…, and so much more,

Gary

 

Winning

Gary, Davis, Gandhi, Winning,

First they ignore you,

then they laugh at you,

then they fight you,

then you win.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

1869 – 1948

I’ve never won much in life. Well, that is, if you consider, kewpie-dolls at the county fair, the first prize in a match-box car race, or a Monopoly game, or certain sports events worth winning; I just don’t seem to be cut out for winning: not, at least, at this level. I’d rather put my time and energy into winning the battle for the souls of men & women, for justice, for clearer communication between peoples who don’t even want to talk with each other, let alone consider loving each other. I’d like to bring peace where there is very little of it: that’s worth winning.

Winning is different for everybody. For some of us, every human exchange is a competitive event:  someone has to win, someone has to lose. These people play their game with every ounce of their strength and will power (in sports, business, simple conversations, or relationships) to win. For three years during college I was on our Debate Team; I never lost even one debate. As I grew in life, after college, a couple graduate programs, & a doctorate, I had to learn how NOT to win. Why? Because I lost too many relationships always trying to win, to be right, to wind up Number ONE. It wasn’t worth it to me.

When our children were in their formative years I used to tell them— If you put yourself on Top, there’s only one direction you can go. If you put yourself on the Bottom, there’s only one direction you can go. ‘Nough said.

So, my question to you is this— What’s worth winning? Is it scoring that winning point in a game? Being summa cum laude at graduation? Becoming Senior Vice-President by age thirty? Or simply driving the coolest car? To be sure there are some things in life worth winning; and, there are some things in life not really worth fighting for. We all need to pick our battles carefully. C a r e f u l l y.

For me, I just want to make a difference in this world before I check out. How about you?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

infomercial

gary, davis, infomercial, crapInfomercials— the bane of a society with too much discretionary cash. They seem to be designed for people who have little to commit to in life. Thus do they stay up late watching these things for hours on end. OR, they turn on the Home Shopping Network when they get up, hoping to spend their $$$ on something they do not need, probably don’t want, just because it is there and ordering it gives them something to do in life.

Miracle Dicer or Rolls Royce, it’s all the same—$29.95 plus Shipping & Handling. It used to be $19.95 but costs have gone up.

In the name of all that is Right & Good in this world, WHY?!? WHY!?! Why would anybody pay any attention to these mass-sales appeals to take our last vestiges of income and personal dignity?!? Have we no shame? Evidently not.

If you DO have an extra $100 – $500 laying around why not give it to something you believe in? Your church, synagogue, cancer research, a political party (wait, did I just slip that last one in there?). Or buy surprise gifts for those you love; even better, buy a nice gift for someone who loathes you. That’ll shock the hell outta them!

But really…? Another gadget to clutter up your already crammed closets, jewelry chests or kitchen drawers?

Something is really WRONG here people!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Sustainability

Sustainable, Sustainability, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Growth,             The possibility of sustainable energy is within the realm of fulfillment. Solar energy for homes, wind energies for cities and agriculture, and long life battery storage for vehicles are all now attainable. Imagine your home powered by the sun & wind, storing up enough electrical energy to power not only your house & its appliances, but also your car! You would never have to pay for fuel, or power, again. Then again, repair costs could be astronomical; but, hey, there you go… .

Let’s shift a bit. Let’s switch over to your life, your body. It is fairly obvious what it takes to maintain a sustainable body— food, exercise, rest, community, dance & music (some would add sports):  but what about a sustainable life? What does it take to keep on keeping on? Here’s my list. Please feel free to amend it, change it, or challenge it. I know there must be a more expansive list.

1.      A Sense of Well-Being— That intrinsic sense that all-is-well-with-the-world. Well, at least your world. It’s that sense of achievement that you’ve done a good job; you’ve finished that project, that you have completed a major undertaking and are now at another level in your life.

2.      A Great Expectation— No, not the book; but your own expectation. Something you’ve looked forward to all your life. Your wedding, that first child, a promotion, a new job, travel to Scotland, a championship. It brightens your morning, your day, week, and life!

3.      Passion— Something, or someone, who grabs the very depths of your spirit and draws you to join in. Name it your mission, your calling, a drive; call it what you will, it gets you out of bed in the morning and doesn’t let you go. It is that thing that motivates you to come alive and Go-for-It! I know my passion:  it sustains and excites me every day. What’s your passion? Have one? NO?!? Hummm.

4.      A Will to Live— For some of us it is simply a determination to get through another day. Life has been hard, even cruel, for us. Facing each new day is a challenge, [Note- If you are between 13-18, you have no idea what I am talking about, so, stay in bed.] Facing your week seems like an insurmountable obligation. You hate your job, you’ve had it with your living situation, your kids never give you a break. You’re more tired than most people realize. I’ve been there often. It’s not easy; but you can press through the pain, the exhaustion, the depression. Learn to fortify your soul. AND…, create breaks in each day.

5.      Set Impossibly Attainable Goals— Yes, you read that right. Impossibly attainable. If you set goals that are attainable, you will accomplish them. Try setting goals that are a tad above your reach that will stretch you and keep you on your toes. Note- Your feet don’t necessarily need to be on the floor.

6.      Enjoy Friendships— Good friends are hard to come by— and to sustain. Celebrate with them often. Sometimes I celebrate Tuesday with friends, or Thursdays. Why? Why not!?! It’s the reason God invented the weekend and parties and football; and definitely single-malt Scotch.

7.      Refuel— Go out on the town; eat quality food in a nice restaurant. Dress up! Enjoy the comradery & the conversation of friends. That is, if you’re an external processor. If you are an internal processor, curl up with a good book next to a fire, take a silent walk through the woods, escape the hubbub of the city, flee the tumult of your life. You need time to be alone and have your spirit recreated. Personally, I find refreshment in art museums & galleries; and walks through the woods.

One more thing— Having been a raving extrovert most of my life, I find it odd that I now seek solitude and renovation in prayer and meditation. Maybe others of my kind also need this kind of refreshment for their busy lives. For those more serene in life, well, you’ve got it made. (

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Vermicompost

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Worms, Compost, Vermicompost                 Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, commonly known as worm poop, is the end product (pun intended) of the breakdown of organic material by an earthworm. -Wikipedia

We had a cute little depressing nursery rhyme when I grew up— “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; I’m gonna go eat worms.” ‘Turns out that might not be a bad idea. Worms seem to have a way of turning organic materials into a super-rich fertilizer. Eventually, they will even turn you and me into fertilizer. Doesn’t that just make your day!?! So the next time you feel like $#*%, enjoy it! You’re finally on your way to making a difference in this world. Worm poop at last!

You can find a ray of hope in everything. In pain, in prison; in terrible poverty or in facing death, there is always a hope that beams within us just below the surface of what everyone else sees. Why is that? Where does it come from? I believe it is a remnant of the glory of creation, where the entire Universe came into Being. Birds have it, I know dogs do, and children…, they have it. WE have it too; it’s just that we’ve allowed it to be buried deep within the dark void of our souls, unable to break through to the surface.

I’ve had my share of pain and horror in life, betrayal and judgment: somehow I’ve always been able to feel that glowing ember of hope, burning deep within, underneath the anguish of the moment, or month, or year. I truly believe that it was placed there by our Creator; it’s there to remind us that we are not alone. That leftover spark from the first millisecond of time is what still connects us to the Universe and to the God who made us. If I did not believe that, I would be no more than a speck of dust— a compilation of atoms that even the worms wouldn’t want. That connection is the real “god-particle.”

So the next time you feel like worm-poop, try to feel that tiny glowing spark of Creation still glowing with you. It’s there. Go digging. [Note- You might have to dig through a lot of worm poop to get to it.]

For what it’s worth, poopy-head,

  Gary

Getting Lost

Lost, Thoreau, Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, risk, reflectionMost of us, at some time or another, will get lost. It may be as simple as getting lost on back roads or forgetting where your glasses are; or, more seriously, getting lost in life; that is, losing your sense of direction, purpose, and/or identity. In short, you no longer know where you are, who you are, or where you are heading.

A dead stop.

In the midst of that empty confusion certain questions start to arise—

How did I get here? What could I have done differently? How do I start to dig out of this mess? More importantly— How do I find myself again? Who am I now? What do I do next?

Anxiety starts to immobilize your spirit; you cannot take any action for fear of further failure. But you have to do something. Anything! Here are some of the things I’ve done when I’ve gotten lost.

1. I start taking small steps. What are the little things you can definitely accomplish that will bring some semblance of stability or order to your life? Do that. Then do another one.

2. Keep in mind that when you are lost everything is a risk. Things you used to do as a simple matter have now morphed into insurmountable monsters. Nonetheless, you must face those monsters to overcome them. I had to. And I corralled a cadre of friends to stand by me as I faced them.

3. Don’t ask God to do for you what you must do yourself. He is definitely in charge. But we are not mindless robots. He expects us to act responsibly with the time He has given us.

4. God can’t direct a parked car. Start moving. If it’s in the wrong direction, He’ll redirect you.

5. Establish NEW points of reference for your journey. The former points of reference are gone; you’ve already passed them. If you want to find your way again, you’ll need to discover a whole new set of reference points to guide you. I find I need to cut back on my activities to give my mind, and heart, time to process the mental & emotional shift. What will most likely be the next sign along your path that you are getting back on track?

With all the variables we have to juggle these days it’s easy to get lost along the way. You have to work hard to get back on track. So get to it. Drive! You will not stay lost for long. [Proverbs 16:3.]

Honor God, honor people…, make a path,

Gary

Groundhog Insurrection

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, Groundhog, holiday, snow, winter, Phil                  After this past week of weather catastrophes it seemed a propitious time for a little fun. So let’s start with this odd question— What kind of culture could ever choose a Ground-hog’s emergence from his burrow and turn it into a national event?!? I mean, really!?!

Well…, that would be the United States. No other nation would use free-speech so frivolously. Nonetheless, in the northern hemisphere, it is the dead of winter. It’s dreary. It’s Sno-maggedon. Depressing. SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, blankets every city, county, and state. It’s a wonder we get through it at all. But we do have our skiing, snow-boarding, winter camping…, and warm fires, and hot chocolate, not to mention hot-tubs in the snow; 12+” more today. AND, Punxsutawney Phil, or Pete, or whoever it is now. Patricia? NAH! Real men would never stand for it.

First celebrated in Morgantown, PA (1841) on Candlemas Day, Groundhog Day was the forecaster of a second bout of winter or the heralding of an early Spring, depending on whether the little rodent saw his shadow. But earlier forms of GhD have been noted in both Germany & Scotland, two countries which definitely need an early Spring.

In my winters, getting out of bed in the dark just seems wrong. The cold, I can take. The snow, I love! But early mornings…, in the dark of winter! Not so much. What does get my warm feet on the cold floor is the thought that, today, I may just make a difference in someone else’s life. Right before the blizzard hit last week I handed a $20 bill to a homeless person. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you. I’m going to go get something to eat, now.

Maybe we can’t change the weather with our actions, but we can most definitely change other things. Might I suggest we start with ourselves— then move on to help others grow. Small acts are sometimes quite significant in the lives of others.

                  What can you do today to improve another person’s life?  Not to feel good about yourself, or for some kind of recognition; simply do something for someone else because it’s the right thing to do.

So venture forth, Punxsutawney Phil, it’s a new day! You work on Spring: We’ll work on today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Stay calm; and dig out…, again.

 

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,

  Gary

Superbowl Insanity

Dr, Gary, Davis, Superbowl, Patriots, Passion, Seahawks, New England, Seattle                  Is it really that time of year?!? Amidst the swirl of inevitable controversies, we again face an evening of raucous TV, snacks which are hazardous to your health, and the consumption of way too much alcohol. And that’s before the game starts.

It’s the SUPERBOWL! XLIX, which is ancient Latin meaning xlix, pronounced ex-licks, which refers to your condition after you’re put too much Tabasco sauce on your hot dog.

The thing is, most (many, some, few) Americans find this football game the only thing to look forward to in the midst of a freezing-cold winter. But at a ticket cost between $7,000 and $18,120.00, it just might put a chill on some of your friendships. [These are pre-scalping, official prices.] So, you get to squander your money alone.

So what’s it all about? Sports, yes. Fans, yes. Big money, most definitely. But what else? It’s the best-of-the-best competing on a national scale to claim the title CHAMPION. Somewhat like the ancient Olympic Games; more like the Roman Coliseum, gladiators & all; except with a half-time show.

I admit to being one of those raucous fans who is a dedicated follower of the New England Patriots (Selah). I save the prohibitive entrance fee by sitting in our “Fire-Room” watching the game in front of a toasty warm (HOT!) wood-stove. Usually in shorts. It’s -5° outside: 89° in the fire room. Nonetheless, all the hoopla and hype leading up to the game, not to mention those incredible commercials, draw me in like I was sitting behind the wheel of a Bugatti Veyron at 200 mph.

But what has all this to do with real life; with the everyday rhythm we fall into as a necessity to survive and flourish? It raises a major question for us all— What draws us to our feet in excitement and passion? What, who, is worth rooting for in life? Who are the real heroes, the champions of our lives? And the all-time BIG question—

For what (or who) are we giving our lives?

None of us is an island; although self-sufficiency remains one of the primary American values. We want to believe we are the Masters of our ship, the captains of our fate. The reality is we all live in a global community that needs each person to contribute their unique talents, skills, and personality. And your role is…?

So, enjoy the Super Bowl. But remember to come back into the fray and make a difference when it’s all over. Go Pats!!!

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary