Petrified Fungus

Dr, Gary, Davis, Fungus, Petrified, Relationships, People

 by Nicolas Rück 

Def.— Fungus:  any one of a group of related plants (such as molds, mushrooms, or yeasts) that have no flowers and that live on dead or decaying things.

 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fungus

            The above definition of fungus is also analogous to any number of governmental agencies, business corporations, churches, marriages, & interpersonal relationships. Think pork-barrel spending, executive bonuses, Medieval Christian expressions still prevalent, friendships that have long since lost their significance, or loveless adversarial marriages.

We have too many relationships in our lives that have lost their core, their reason to exist. They become like fungus, once attached to a living, thriving entity, now dead. Even worse, those connections have become solidified — devoid of even symbiotic attachment. We become simply a carcass of petrified fungus.

It is an observable fact that many organizations and individuals grow stagnant in the way they function. The zest that once typified them has slipped into the doldrums of despondency. Relationships take effort. If there seems to be no umph! in your marriage or church or company maybe it is because you have lost your vision, or your sense of expecting God to work. Maybe your relationship, be it spousal or friendship, has plummeted the depths of boredom because you just haven’t put anything into it lately…, or, for a long time. Your life & friendships are dying from a lack of oxygen.

Being the first one to make the effort to bring fresh air back into a mission, or marriage, is always a daunting effort. If God has designed you to be the one who must initiate the first steps toward reconciliation, or restoration, or forgiveness, then get used to it. It’s what you were made for. Think of it as your curse, or your privilege; doesn’t matter. JUST GET ON AND DO IT.

Sure, you get tired of being the one who must initiate every innovation or repair of a relationship. You wish to God that someone else would beat you to it. Again, it doesn’t matter. SIMPLY DO IT. Do not let unresolved issues run-on unresolved. The deepest pain I live with are people who do not want resolution in relationships. But there have been points where all my efforts became futile. It is only after years of trying that I give up, realizing that true resolution must be a two way street.

If you do not come to a resolution you will find yourself in a petrified relationship— within your place of work, your friendships, or your marriage. And it will eventually kill you. YOU will become a petrified fungus, no longer capable of doing little more than lying there, dormant, ineffective, and, in essence, a dead weight to anyone around you.

Is this what you want to settle for in life? I sure as hell don’t.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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Wondering

Dr, Gary, Davis, wonder, life, love, invention                  Few of us take the time to wonder about our lives, why we’re here, or where everything around us came from. We’re too busy, moving as fast as we can for… what? We don’t take the time to sit still, gaze at the clouds, the ocean’s roiling waves, or the vastness of the night sky.

Most of us plow through one day after another, in a routine we don’t even notice over time; it’s just what we do. DO.

Maybe that’s the problem; we have become a society of worker-bees, following scheduled habits with little sensivity to WHY we do what we do. We just DO.

This has taken over our creativity, our ingenuity, our play, and replaced it with productivity. We measure a man by what and how much he can produce. Worker bees. Whether it’s on an assembly line or in a bank or in a staff meeting, we DO. So when do we get to think?

When do we get to address the why’s of our life? Satirist Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in anyone’s life are the day they were born…, and the day they find out why.” You need to ask that question—  the WHY one. Have you done it?

INVENTION usually arrises out of a combination of playing around coupled with that Ah Ha! moment when it all comes together. But if you have no time to wonder at the clouds, to let your mind float along with them, how will you ever chance upon those moments of surprising, stunning revelation? Ah-Ha!

WONDER is the mixing-pot from which our imagination cooks up genius. It provides us with the time needed to separate ourselves from our daily repetitions and lifts our minds & spirits to leave the confinements of our bodies and soar into the realms of dreams, fantasies, and creation. If we never take time to WONDER, we will forever remain earthbound, going about our lives with little thought to what-could-have-been.

So, go sailing, take a hike, lie in a warm field of grass and get lost in the clouds or the stars at night. Give your heart to dreaming and your mind to wonder. Surprises await.

This is my challenge to you. O, wait, you don’t have time for this, do you?  Put down your cell phone.

What if…,

  Gary

Recovering from Betrayal

Gary, Davis, betrayal, recovering, recover, revenge       One of the deepest hurts that happens to any of us is that first time someone betrays us.  Not so much the actual betrayal, rather it is when we discover that we have been lied to, betrayed, deceived. It is a deep, soul-slashing hurt. It is not the kind of pain we want to experience ever again.

Then, of course, the stings of deception and lying continue throughout the entirety of our lives. It seems to be an aspect of human nature that we lie to protect ourselves, to look better, to hide the truth, and even, sometimes, to intentionally wound another person. This is the most painful bite of all— the friendly fire rained down upon us.

Recovering from such wounds is no simple matter. Some of us never recover; its pain either seethes within, becoming a poisonous infection or it lingers, waiting for the day of retribution. Still, our revenge is only temporarily satisfying. What we truly need is a full recovery from the corruption that eats away at us. Some recovery suggestions—

1.      Though forgiveness may not be the first thing on our minds, in our rage and anger, eventually we must come to a place where we forgive the other person, or group. If we do not forgive, our broiling antagonism will slowly destroy us.

2.      Processing the wound with a close friend is also advised; not a friend who will support you in your anger, rather one who will guide you to a clearer perspective. You don’t want to fan the flames; rather, you want to find a friend who will help you tame the flames to warm and calm you. Retribution burns everything in its midst: never rekindle its embers. Let it die.

3.      Time is on your side. You will grow past this. You will emerge from the dark tunnel of seething anger. But you will, you must, grow your way out.

4.      In worst-case scenarios, seeking the counsel of a psychiatrist might be needed. To this day, I know people who cannot let go of their desire to seek revenge on those who have wronged them.

5.      Not surprisingly, vigorous exercise (sports, running, chasing after small children) releases toxins while it brings body-mind balance back in line. Something to think about.

There are many more solutions to help you recover from betrayal and the inner scars it leaves behind. May these simple suggestions start you down the right road to recovery.

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

Mostly Pure

Clueless, Pure, Garrison, Keilor, Mostly, Pure, Christian, Dr, Gary, Davis, NeedincIf you’ve ever driven ‘cross country on Saturday night you might have tuned-in to PBS’s PRAIRE HOME COMPANION, a weekly broadcast of Garrison Keilor, onetime resident of the ill-fitted Lake Wobegone, and modern satirical comedian.

The show is “sponsored” by the fictitious product “Powdermilk Biscuits,” whose slogan is “Made from whole wheat raised in the rich bottomlands of the Lake Wobegon river valley by Norwegian bachelor farmers; so you know they’re not only good for you, but pure … mostly,” which “give shy people the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Heavens they’re tasty and expeditious.” Powdermilk Biscuits has its own theme song, sung by Keillor every week. And NO, I’m not going to sing it for you.

It has always been fascinating to me how something can be “mostly pure.” I question this every time I read the ingredients listed on our food products. “Mostly pure?!?”  I think. What does that mean? I also think of it at funerals when people speak of the deceased as “a good man.” It’s the reflection in their voice that gives me pause— like they’re trying to convince themselves of it.

Defining anything as mostly pure causes me to wonder if we even know what pure actually is anymore. A girl who is a virgin is defined as pure as she approaches marital status. “Pure 100% Virgin Olive Oil” makes me curious about what the other olive oils are. Are they like Dove Soap— “99.99% pure. It’s almost as if being described as pure is derogatory, especially if you are a young lass. I mean, who wants to marry someone who is still a virgin!?! Really.

Our culture doesn’t seem concerned with being pure in any way whatsoever, whether it be sexually, morally, politically, or in family and business priorities and commitments. Why is that?

Here are just four causes for our loss of concern for purity

1.      We’ve become jaded. Thanks to modern media we can learn everything about anybody. It’s on the Internet, in the Tabloids, and on Headline News. We’ve grown accustomed to our public figures, be they politicians, athletes, or celebrities, being “dirty” in some way. And we simply accept it.

2.      It’s all about winning. UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders has said “Winning isn’t everything: it’s the ONLY thing!” (1950) Win at all costs, by skill, cheating, trickery…, whatever. Just win!

3.      Our base concern is the Bottom-Line. Making money is the only thing that matters. Screw anybody, just to make a buck. Remember the Wall Street broker’s answer to the question?  “How much money is enough?”  “More! That’s why lawyers are brought in to arbitrate an agreement. It is assumed that both parties will write the contract in their favor exclusively. Purity and fairness never come into the equation.

4.      A total abnegation of personal and corporate (not to mention governmental) Integrity. We no longer have a problem with disguising a lie as a truth, or with omitting certain data to make ourselves look better. Pragmatism has supplanted personal integrity in unfathomable ways.

To change this cultural-life pattern is no simple task. But we must start (yes, again) to correct our ways before God and our fellow men & women. Might I suggest we start with our own lives and relationships, and then press on to demand some degree of personal integrity and purity from our cultural leaders? 99.99% is sounding pretty good. Mostly pure!

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

New Year’s Warnings

New Years 2015. Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Warnings, Consider this LIST…

            Now that our world’s financial situation is more secure, given the amount of consumer spending that took place at Christmas/Chanukah, we must rush to plan our New Year’s Eve celebrations in less than a week. And, frankly, I love the way we have come to say good-bye to the last year and WELCOME! to the new year.

The celebrations set forth the expectations of hope and accomplishment in the weeks & months to come; with the exception, of course, of weight-loss. Let’s not get the New Year off on a bad foot.

In keeping with this theme, allow me to offer some of the life-long-learning precepts I’ve stumbled upon along the way.

1.      Plan for your summer family vacation within the first two weeks of January.

2.      Take a New Year’s Day hike somewhere…, anywhere; except over fields of landmines.

3.      Look at next year’s financial picture while you watch football. IT mixes the serious with the sublime. You can decide which is which.

4.      If you are married, ask your wife/husband how you can love them MORE next year.

5.      Set personal goals for your work-performance. It is not about getting that promotion: it is about making a difference in your workplace and in the lives of your fellow employees.

6.      Plan to give $$$ away this coming year—lots of it. You will have more $$$ if you do. Don’t ask me how this works; it simply does. Trust me on this.

7.      Eat out at a nice place once a month. It will remind you of your aspirations; and oh, tip big.

8.      Avoid death, but take some scary risks in the New Year. You need to remind yourself how precious yet fragile life really is.

9.      Face some of the BIG questions. “Where did all this stuff come from?” “Do I have a place in the grand scheme of things?” “What is it?” “How do I show love?” “How do I receive love?” “Am I ready to face my Maker?” “Who will win the Superbowl?” “Describe “God.”

10.  Remember to breathe. You know what I mean.

There…, that should give you some things to think about during commercials. Forget making New Year’s Resolutions…, just DO this list.

Happy New Year!

  Gary