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

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Thou Shalt not Screw up

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Are you a screw-up? Most of us, at one time or another, have made such a mess of things that there is virtually no recovery. We wreck our futures by doing dumb things in our teens. We forfeit our chances of a promotion by cutting corners, back-stabbing someone else, doing end-runs around our boss. We destroy our family relationships because we just had to be right…, about everything. We even cheat on our wives thinking they will never know. Who exactly are you kidding!?!

Some of us have even developed screwing-up to an art form. We seem to screw up no matter what we do. Is this intentional? Of course not! Unless we are complete idiots and don’t believe that our actions have consequences. They do, actually. All of them.

Advice: How to Stop Being a Screw-up.

1.      Be the first to say you’re sorry— to your boss, fellow employees, to your wife and kids. Life dictates that none of us get it right all the time. Admit your mistakes.

2.      Learn from the experience— No, really. Do I need to point this out? Well, yes I do. Far too often we stop thinking after our ass is out of the fire and go right back to the same stupidity. Learn some proper ways of going beyond your apology and correcting the mess. Learn the procedures, buy some flowers, be proactive in making a contribution to the situation and set things right again!

3.      Change your attitude— Not everyone will take your side even if you say you’re sorry. Work at both personal and professional action steps that will transform you into a new person. In other words, stop being a jerk and make a difference in this world. That’s a good place to start.

4.      Recover— Do not wallow in your failure: fight for another future. Whether it’s on the job or in the home, you will need to overcome that woe-is-me fixation. Teach yourself to move on. Fight yourself to beat that lingering depression that drags us all into an abysmal abyss.

5.      Watch internet vids that make you laugh— No really. I mean this. Get your mind off your failures and lighten up. Try cat videos. It won’t solve your problems but you will breathe a little better once you release some of those depression-blocking endorphins within your soul…, and maybe even in your alimentary canal.

6.      Have a beer! A good one. If you pay $15 or more for a good beer you won’t be able to wallow in your vomit from having too many.

That’s my advice. Now get your ass in gear and become a new you.

Life is not a bitch; you can change,

  Gary

la la la la la la la la la la la la la

dr, gary, davis, tmi, smart phone, newsTMI. You get it. We all are under a deluge of information overload. Swamped! Outta time. Outta energy. I’ve actually taken to muting commercials on TV. Just too much too much TMI.

Most people actually recharge their smartphones within arms-reach of their bed, just in case they get a txt, an email, a call at 3:00 in the morning. Wow! How do these people ever get enough REM sleep?!? More information in the wee hours of the morning. Like I really need to know there has been a coup in Moscow at 2:45 a.m. Just as well to learn about it at 6:30 when I reboot my cell phone & grab a cup of coffee.

There is a good side to TMI– constantly absorbing all this news will protect you from giving any time to wonder, to considering the deeper issues of life, to plan for the future, to take time to get away from it all and…, REST. Succumbing to the deluge of information will simply supplant your ability to think. You will slip into a comatose state of continual collection of data with no time to evaluate or integrate it.

Furthermore, having to collect all-the-news-that’s-fit-to-, er, “print,” will interfere with your being able to DO anything about it. But maybe that’s not you; maybe you want to leave it to others to take action. For myself, I cannot do that. I need to make a difference, I need to change things; not fill my head with more and more stuff. Guard what you let pass into your head.

Maybe it’s time we put on our noise-cancelling head phones and…– SHUT EVERYTHING OUT. We ALL need more silence in our lives. Why? So we can hear our inner voice; so we can feel our own breath sustaining our lives; so we can hear the hearts of those around us. So we can simply disconnect. OR, if you don’t have a set of $300 noise-canceling head phones, You could simply cover your ears with your hands, and repeat— La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la… .

                  You do not need to know everything. That’s why we have Wikipedia, and Google and the CIA…

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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

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

Thanks-giving

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Turkey, Thanks, Thanksgiving, Thankful Once a year in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving; a time to remember to be thankful for all that we have. Friends and family gather together to give thanks over a bountiful meal, with turkey & mashed potatoes & gravy, yams, green beans with slivered almonds, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, fresh rolls from the oven…, and pie! Apple pie (a la mode), pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, even rhubarb pie. Kinda gets your mouth watering.

And football. LOTS of football! This year, depending on the number of channels you pay for, there are 3 NFL games from which to choose; but that’s just the NFL. Did I mention there’s more food! Hot crab dip, onion dip, spicy habanero salsa, and even Tzatziki. Blown your diet yet?

Then think of the next 3 weeks + of turkey & cranberry sauce sandwiches. Maybe not.

Oddly, one of the things missing in all this celebration and comradery is— remembering to give thanks.  In most American families not even a prayer of thanks is offered before the meal anymore. Who are we supposed to thank? What’s the history of Thanksgiving? Google it.

Here are some suggestions on how to instill an aspect of thanks-giving into your Thanksgiving.

1.      Whether you are the chef, invited guest, or family, gather your wits about you to celebrate with an attitude of how can I serve rather than serve me.

2.      If you are a guest, bring something. Anything. It’s historical.

3.      DO NOT make football the god-of-the-day.

4.      If you believe in God, DO start with a prayer of thanks-giving.

5.      If you do not believe in God, at the beginning of the meal, thank the chef! Profusely.

6.      Toward the end of the meal, go ‘round the table asking each one there to offer at least one thing for which they are thankful. Kids included.

7.      Offer to help with the dishes! If others don’t offer, conscript them. Note- the chef is not allowed to participate in kitchen clean-up.

8.      If you are a guest, do not linger about forever. Unless invited to stay, leave after you do the dishes.

9.      If you are the host, be gracious, but sit down. Stop!

10.  NOW you can sit and watch more football. [After you go for a hike to shed the excess bulk.]

From our family to yours, we wish you the best season of thanks-giving ever. Gobble gobble.

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

  Gary