Restless

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, restless, sea, stormy, strength, harbor            Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, and yesterday, I thrashed about in the waves of restlessness that would not release me. Sure, I had things to be done; plans, goals, objectives. I knew how to measure my progress toward fulfilling those goals. I had personal goals, professional goals. So how did I wind up thrashing about so frantically, trying to stay afloat?

Restless in body, soul, and spirit, I tried to press on to the next phase in my plans. But I felt lost, adrift. I had the skills to accomplish my objectives; yet, I wasn’t sure that accomplishing them would make any difference. Anywhere.

Restless.

What do you do while turning your dreams into realities and find yourself simply cold to the things you are doing? What do you do when you find your passion has flat-lined?

Well, you NEVER, never ever give up! Do you fight to stay the course amidst the storms of disorder and desperation? Do you step back and reevaluate whether this is what you should be doing? Have your resources to get it done changed? Has there been a paradigm shift in the world that affects your goals and/or final product?

Adapt. Adjust. Reposition. Rebrand.

Do not clutch your goals or dreams so tightly that you are unable to let things go, modify the process, product, or personnel. Keep up with the times and seasons of your culture, with the strengths of your own resources, with the seasonal phases of your own life. Maybe you need to back-off for a time to gain perspective.

Out of a restless spirit can come a depletion of purpose and energy, or, any drive to change-up some things. Is it time to ask those age-old evaluative queries—  Is what I am doing essential in making a difference in this world? Am I cut out for this? What would I rather be doing? The worst feeling in the world is that I am not making a difference; that I am merely taking up space.

Is it time to step up the helm and redirect the ship? Whether that ship be your company, your family, or yourself. The very deep resources of your soul are there for you to draw upon. Are you?

Or is it that you’d rather remain restless & unsettled, immobilized in your direction and stagnant in your spirit. Come on, now! Grab the helm; redirect your ship in the midst of the storms.

“A ship is safe within the harbor; but, of course, that’s not what ships are made for.” J.A. Shedd

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Advertisements

troubled

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Troubled, Crisis, Troubles, despairWhat troubles you? Money? Family? Relatives? Competition at Work? Feelings of failure? Emptiness? Mistrust? The list goes on. There are so many things that can get under our skin and irritate us without let-up. Some of us live our entire lives in frustration, crisis mode, turmoil. Nothing is ever settled. Nothing ever seems to work out. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) put it best—

Double, double toil and trouble;

 Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

~Macbeth

            In life, troubles will come; that’s a given. The issue is how we face them when they do come. Some people ignore their troubles, believing if they don’t address them they will go away. They won’t. Others put their troubles out of their mind, pretending they don’t exist. They do. Still others face their problems but have little hope of overcoming them alone. Yet they push on, commiserating with no one.

Most of us are troubled about something-or-another most of the time. Something is always troubling us. So please forgive me if I offer this sound, if risky, advice.

1.      Start with a thoroughly gut reaction! Cry, yell, sulk, hit something (not someone). If your emotions are raw, let them be raw. When something is eating away at your core you need to address it first at a primal level of gut reaction. Then, walk away. Get over it! After some time has passed, even within the same day, regain your composure and start to think clearly, peacefully. Address the issue head on. A true friend may be needed to give you honest advice..

2.      If you are an external processor, talk with a trusted friend who has some wisdom. If you are an internal processor, get alone for an extended time period; ruminate. Drink tea & remain calm.

3.      DO SOMETHING. What should be done first to solve this problem? What RESOURCES can be drawn upon to help you?

4.      Evaluate if your actions made a difference. To what degree did they help toward a solution to these troubles?

5.      What’s next?

6.      Pray for God’s wisdom and insight. You are not in this alone. If you do not believe in God or prayer, do it anyway. There might be a big surprise in the light at the end of the tunnel. (NO, not a train.)

7.      Learn to ask the questions that need to be asked; even if it turns out that YOU are the problem.

There are very few troubles that come our way that do not have a solution. Whether it comes from private pondering or picking the brains of our friends, or turning to God, these are always ways to face our fears and our foes, and to overcome them. DO NOT give up!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

 

Death with Dignity

Brittany, Maynard, Death, Dignity, Compassion, suicide, Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christian, HemmingwayDeath with Dignity— Brittany Maynard, 19 November 1984 – 3 November 2014

(CNN)—  Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old who said she had terminal brain cancer, took medication to end her life under Oregon’s ‘Death with Dignity Act,’ advocacy group Compassion & Choices said Sunday.

“Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illness,” a post on her website said. “She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland.”

In a statement, Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy group that has been working closely with Maynard, said she “died as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.”

 

Brittany Maynard was an incredible young woman. She lived her life as she saw fit. And she ended her life as she saw fit; not enduring the agony of a terminal brain cancer, but rather choosing to die with dignity, foregoing further deterioration and suffering.

Some years ago my friend Tom faced the same choice. At age 24 he started feeling like something was very wrong. It was. His body was spotted with all kinds of cancerous cells. Like Brittany, he too made it almost to his 29th birthday, dying just 3 days before. Unlike Brittany, Tom chose to endure the pain and suffering, the loss of mobility and, eventually, mind. His death, too, was surrounded by family and friends.

Why did Tom make his decision to suffer to the end, rather than to end his life with dignity? Tom trusted in God for his life and did not believe he had a right to tamper with the decision to end it.

So, what is it to die with dignity? In Brittany’s heart and mind she believed she made the honorable, dignified decision. Tom made a different decision. Was his death any less dignified than Brittany’s? This comparison raises a serious philosophical question. Death is a complex issue. Who is the final arbiter of our passing? Soldiers sacrifice their lives for the lives of their comrades-in-arms; family members willingly put their lives on the line to save a brother, a sister, a child, a wife. But giving your life for another is not the same as taking your own life. The first is sacrificial; the second is self-centered.

The question is— Do we have the right to make the decision to end our life? In many ways I can understand Brittany’s decision. In so many other ways, I cannot. It benefited her tremendously, I suppose. But it also deprived those she loved the experience of processing her death with her; through pain, suffering, disorientation, and the end. But can we truly call it death with dignity when her death was actually assisted suicide? She believed she was dead already. I believed she deprived those who loved her from their responsibility and joy of caring for her to the bitter end.

Determining the morality of Brittany’s decision is something we need to discuss in this culture. Her choice should give us pause about our own ethic, or lack thereof, when facing our own mortality. We really do not want to think about such things until our own life is at stake.

If the truth be known, we chose not to think much about anything smacking of ultimate realities. It is simply much easier to let life carry us on from one event to the next. This is not very smart. Sooner or later we will all have to face the tougher questions in life— some sooner than later. But if we do not face them, life will seem very cruel when it takes us by surprise.

If we accept Brittany’s choice to take her own life (suicide) then we have progressed (?) to the point of convenient functionality in our society. If your father is failing, help him end his life. If your child is dying, do the same. Or maybe we need to establish a maximum age, say 70, beyond which the elderly are deemed non-productive and useless in contributing further to our society.

Really!?!

We have finally fulfilled Earnest Hemmingway’s social prophesy—

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

~For Who the Bell Tolls (1940)

Questionable Contracts

 Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, Contracts, Questionable, Compromised,             It was a lovely dinner at their favorite restaurant with appetizers, wine, a beautifully presented main course and a special dessert, prearranged with the chef by John. Following a lengthy explanation the nature of commitment proclaiming his deep love for her, and a declaration of intent-to-marry, Sam dropped to one knee, gazed into Susannah’s eyes, and said those four heart throbbing words— Will you marry me?

She, of course, said yes! They were engaged. Over the next few weeks they excitedly told family and friends about their intended path toward matrimony, choose invitations, booked a place for the wedding/reception, and groveled at their parents’ feet for the $50,000 to pay for it all. They had much to discuss. Do I hear $12,000?

One night after watching a movie together, John slipped in the idea of having a prenuptial agreement, to assure their commitment would always last. Susannah was less than enthusiastic.

To be sure, contracts are meant to protect both parties in case something goes wrong with their commitment to each other. In business, that’s wise. In marriage? It seems more like a guarantee of temporary bliss followed by eventual failure.

The sad thing is that too many contracts are designed with loop-holes that can be used to default on the commitment. We think— If things don’t go perfectly (read- the way I want them to), then I’ll just sneak out of this one. Be it in a marriage or a merger, if we don’t get everything we want— we end it.

There are many reasons these escape clauses are slipped into contracts. One of the main reasons is that, over centuries, people have come to learn that they cannot trust one another, in business or in marriage. “I have to protect my own self first.” If people were inherently good this would not be a problem of course; but history shows otherwise.

Thus do we compromise on our commitments. We find those loop-holes that we can slip through and so slip our way out of the spirit of the agreement, though not the letter of the contract. We renege on our commitments in relationships, in business, and in life in general; all to protect ourselves and then the other parties.

What would happen if we put the other person or company first? What if the contract or marriage vow assured blessing and safety for the other first? Could we possibly be hurt or betrayed? Of course. But we would also be on our way to changing this world.

Remaining honorable in commitments rules out subsequent confrontation later.  Win/Win is always the best option.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

Finding the Entrance to Hell

Dr, Gary, Davis, Hell, Clueless, Christians, Dante, Divine, Comedy, Newark, Contrary to popular belief the entrance to hell is NOT Newark Airport; nor is it in a hidden parking lot at LAX; nor does the entrance to hell exit in Hinesville, GA Though these are all probable possibilities, their designations as such is not even close, even if closely feeling like it.

For a culture that increasingly does not believe in God or an afterlife there sure seems to be a lot of belief in angels and demons, and in a literal Devil. God was deleted from our interest list when He infringed on our personal preferences and pleasure. Bad God, bad God! That being said, it must be noted that Jesus is making a comeback in the movie industry. Good Jesus, good Jesus. At least someone is making money

We do not like to think about the possibility of hell existing as our soul’s final resting place. We are not even sure how to describe hell, if it actually exists. For help, I point you to Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) Divina Commedia, the medieval worldview’s allegory of the afterlife. (Read it in English.) Some of us are deeply concerned about not going there. WE construct rules and practices to obey so that we DO NOT go there: most of us merely toss the idea aside as antiquated imagination. Thus do we play with it in the media. Hummm.

However, allow me to suggest that, though few of us are actively looking for the entrance to hell, unless you are already at Newark Airport, we certainly try to live like hell. Don’t believe me? Here’s my list on whether or not you are seeking, or heading to, hell.

1.      You put yourself and your interests first—all the time.

2.      You ignore the advice and/or criticism of people who really know you.

3.      You live by your own standards; circumstances, or the needs of others, be damned.

4.      You don’t give a rip about our world’s poor or needy.

5.      You don’t listen: your opinion or agenda are all that matter.

6.      You are stingy, tight-fisted and penny-pinching.

7.      You are kind to others only if there is something in it for you.

8.      You talk a good game, but do little to back up your words with action (ATNA).

9.      You never, never ever sacrifice.

10.  You rarely feel anything. It’s safer that way.

If any of these descriptions define you, you are well on your way to finding the entrance to hell.

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Pondering Magic and Mystery

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, universe, magic, mystery, deep magic, LewisWhen I was quite young, 12-13, I dabbled in magic. Nothing serious at first, but then it started to draw me in. there are, of course, simple tricks that can be done with slight-of-hand or through hidden mechanical devices. These were simple and fun presentations that astonished my fellow 13 year olds. But the more I got into the sport of magic the deeper I wanted to go.

Toying with the deeper aspects of magic was exciting. Then it grew subtly darker, alluring me and luring me in, to a point where it became increasingly uncomfortable. There came over me a sense of exhilaration at the prospect of manipulating this darker power; until one performance where things got terribly out of control. I had gone too far; I was in too deep and I knew it.

That was probably the first time I had ever prayed in my life. Not one of those Now I lay me down to sleep…, prayers: more like— O my God! What am I doing? Help me! The next day I burned all my tricks equipment and books on magic in our backyard.

Thanks to C.S. Lewis I have later learned of the deep magic, the cosmic dance of the wonder of this Universe and how it holds together. This truly deep magicis the underlying force that draws all matter, energy, and beings under the constant sustaining care of a God-Creator.

            We ignore these mysteries in this present age to our peril. We disregard them as fancy, fables, myths, or archaic religious fairy-tales. But the question remains— Why have they persisted from antiquity into this supposedly postChristian, empirical, “scientific” age? Could it be that there are different kinds of Truths that persist even though they are undiscoverable through our scientific method? Maybe the mystery and magic of old persist because they are real, yet exist in a realm that does not fit our investigations.

            Yet today we insist that science and religion are enemies. Science is about discovering truth: religion is about myth, fanciful postulations for the yet undiscovered. Really!?!

            Do we actually believe that ALL that can be known will be discovered by scientific methodology? Is human ingenuity that stunted? Is human arrogance that portentous? Then we must determine that either our minds are too feeble to make room for the grandeur that is our realm; or, that the wonder of our universe is not that spectacular at all.

            With the myriad of discoveries unveiled seemingly every day I dare say we are in over our heads on either account. Our universe is still full of magic, and certainly full of mystery.

            So help us God!

A fellow journeyman,

Gary

forgedaboutit

Dr, Gary, Davis, CS Lewis, Clueless, Christians, Christianity, Thought, the case for Christianity“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

—C.S. Lewis

The Case for Christianity, p. 32.

            So…, if you think about it…, well, actually, you can’t. Or at least you cannot trust your thoughts about it. But you can still try to think about it. Sorta…, I guess. Ah, forgedaboutit!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

My Coming Out

Dr, Gary, Davis, NakedPastor, coming out, honesty, Jesus, Clueless, Christian

@nakedpastor

My Coming-Out

            No, no, not that kind of “coming-out.” Something much more basic. But WHY now? Well…—

Over the course of EMPulse releases I’ve received numerous questions asking, “Who are you?” My kids would tersely answer, “Dad’s weird.” Nonetheless, I believe it is time for a tad more revelation about— me.

I am Gary West Davis, son of Earl Carlton Davis & Florence Adelaide Davis, brother to Carol (Norton) Davis, (a fact she regularly denies). I was born in inner-city Baltimore in the days when my dad worked for the railroad, my mom, for the new Social Security Administration. I, like all the other kids, joined a teenage gang. No big thing; we were all in one.

When dad received an appointment from President Eisenhower to head up a Congregational Sub-Committee on the Future of the Maritime Seaways we moved to the Baltimore suburbs so he could commute to D.C. more easily. For the first time in my life I experienced a suburban high-school. THAT was a real eye-opener. I could even go the bathroom in school without fear of being beaten up by a rival gang. Nice.

It was during these days in HS that I began to be concerned about our society, the world situation, and my place in it all. So I joined The Young Socialist Society (read Communist Party). I did things in those days of which I am not proud. But I wanted to make a difference. I wanted social change.

At the same time I was investigating the Christian faith, mostly because of the cute girls I found at church. But I turned my back on God when an overly-pious friend told me that real Christians don’t go to movies. He was clueless! I left the church for the next 3 years.

It was during my studies in Philosophy at college when I again confronted Christianity on an intellectual level. After 2 years of trying everything under the sun, I had no more arguments against the Christian life-philosophy. I gave up with the words,“I give up! I can’t fight You.” Thus began my life-long discovery of what this Christian thing, and the rest of life, is all about.

During my 3 years in seminary a local pastor took me on and challenged me on every aspect of my life. Fortunately, he was ruthless and didn’t put up with any of my crap. Thank God.

Today, after five graduate degrees, I find myself a writer, a trans-cultural communications consultant, and a counselor helping people get from A to B. Through it all I have pursued life with a passion that few have the privilege to do so. And it’s far from over!

I have THREE CORE VALUES. First, my relationship with myself; my personal integrity. I maintain it with great gusto. Second, my relationship with my family; my incredible wife, Starr, and my two kids, Joshua and Bethany, and now their families. And Third, my relationship with the God who made me— Jesus Christ. My devotion to Him is not up for discussion. [Yes, philosophically, some doubts remain; but only concerning certainty vs. certitude. Experientially, it’s a whole other story.]

So as you read any future, or past, EMPulse releases, remember that I am a man of passion, of relationships, especially when it comes to those in need, and of a deep devotion to my Lord. I still love single-malt Scotch, Volvos, and giving monthly gifts to my wife. So ends my coming-out; for now. More dirt later.

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Get your passion on

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin, PassionPassion. That driving force within that will not allow you to give up. It’s that tenacious voice that screams within, “No matter what, I will, I MUST, do this one thing!” It can be a call to arms, a commitment to excellence, an unshakable compulsion to complete a task:  it might also be a deep heart yearning for a man, a woman, a love between friends that is a life-time commitment.

To be sure, passion, of any kind, can be twisted. It can be twisted into revenge, seething inner rage, or a deep evil desire to cause harm to another; like ethnic cleansing, terrorism, erotic murders, etc. These are perversions of passion. Still passion, but of the darkest kind. Don’t go there. It will inevitably consume your strength, turn your mind into a shadow, and hollow out your soul.

A proper passion is not like that. As billionaire/philanthropist Sir Richard Branson once said, “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you… .” [Founder of The Virgin Group- Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Records, & 400 other companies.  He has always been one of my heroes.]

My passions, like my commitments, run deep and long. Many people see passion as a sign of weakness because it is an emotion. I’ve never understood that. Are people afraid of their passions (vs. feelings)? I don’t know many who have experienced a cerebral kiss. Sounds yucky. Personally, I would rather find someone who is truly passionate about what they believe than someone who is generally compliant, in the middle, indecisive, passive.

Every decade of my life has produced a mantra that guides me. My present one is—

Honor God, honor people—and make a difference.

            So if you are passionate about something, anything, you are well on your way to making a difference. [Or to becoming a great kisser.]

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, Edge, Edges, Balance, innovate,Are you on the cutting edge? How do the edges of your life box you in? You need a sharp edge. Don’t go over the edge. Pushing the edge of the envelope. Edgy. The edge of tomorrow. The edge of extinction.

Pick a phrase— edges are at every corner of our lives. Some are boundaries, protecting us from going over the edge. Others leave paper cuts (ouch!). Other edges cut our steaks, or kill our adversaries. Or, metaphorically, draw us to move forward, daring us to test our limitations. Other edges cut dividing lines between families, peoples, countries, and ideologies. In one way or another, we are all on the edge of something.

My personal preference is to be on the cutting edge as much as possible— an innovator, rather than a late adapter. Not that I have to have the latest and greatest; rather, I like to create the future before it gets here. That’s all.

Someone once said to me, “Gary, you never seem happy with the way things are.” I responded, “Why thank you.” He retorted, “No, I meant that as a criticism.” I had taken it as a compliment. Different side of the blade, I guess.

What are your edges? Do they box you in? Cut paths where there are none? Or leave you with paper cuts? Whenever you try to cut through society’s crap, you are bound to get a little scraped up yourself. Is it worth it to you? Is it worth it to make a difference? To be on the next cutting edge? To make a difference?

Maybe you do not need to be an innovator. [Which tends to have a high risk-factor.] But please, don’t drag the rest of us into the “safe,” good-ol’-days of our past. Those edges are dull.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary