Bird Droppings August 2, 2011
When I walk out in the dark of the morning on a clear day the pines to my left seem nearly black. I joke they would be a good setting for a horror film. The trees form a wall of pine. They were planted so close you literally cannot see but a few feet in even in day light. However local deer and wild turkey love them and daily we see the big birds or does and fawns coming in and out. Still in the morning that black wall is perplexing. Today as I walked the dog on our way to put her out for the day I was greeted by the sounds of morning doves calling off in the pines.

“Keep a green tree alive in your heart and a songbird may come to sing there.” Chinese Proverb

Maybe a simple thought to start with. As I start a bit later than normal still sort of glowing in that back to school newness it has been interesting. Continually when I go out even to Quick Trip I end up meeting former students and friends, each of them have been pieces in that puzzle of my life. This morning as I picked up my energy drink at Quick Trip a student from years ago she is pregnant and due in a month. On her way to work and borrowing from a comically bit of whimsy “happy as a clam”, I never quite understood how clams were happy.
One aspect that I found most recently however is that when I am walking about be it looking for the good, the bright, or happy have a green tree in your heart and as the proverb states then maybe a song bird will come sing.

“When you were born, you cried and everybody else was happy. The only question that matters is this: When you die, will YOU be happy when everybody else is crying?” Dr.Tony Campolo

In 1970 or so I sat in his class at Eastern Baptist College in St. David’s Pennsylvania that feels like a life time ago. Very few people could walk in a room and fire it up the way Dr. Tony Camplolo could. I never while I attended Eastern College saw him not smiling, joking, and living to the fullest. One of the books he wrote Carpe Diem explains his philosophy “Seize the day” –

“Occasionally in life there are those moments is based on that unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols we call words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The primary joy of life is acceptance, approval, the sense of appreciation and companionship of our human comrades. Many men do not understand that the need for fellowship is really as deep as the need for food, and so they go through life accepting many substitutes for genuine, warm, simple.” Joshua Loth Liebman

We are communal beings we thrive on fellowship and on acceptance. It is true many do never understand the need within us for fellowship. For many I am a loner yet within my day I make contact with several hundreds in writing and in conversation. I consider many my friends that I merely met today. One word stood out as I reviewed Liebman words and that is appreciation. As I look at life sometimes when we show appreciation not only is itself gratifying but it too stimulates the person we appreciate. It is symbiotic, that is what we are about I do think, symbiosis.

“Joy, has no cost.” Marianne Williamson

Lecturer and writer of “new age” materials there is one aspect I have noticed in her writings and that is her optimism, a continually up lifting note. She promotes searching for and looking for that silver lining to the clouds in life and reminds us that joy has no cost it is free and waiting for your choice to have it. The other day as I talked with an old friend, what was a moment of pause, a period of time in my life when I felt pushed away and as did he.
I had come to realize had I not gone a different direction I would not be here where I am and I am where I need to be now. I may get pushed away, fired, turned around, but only to where I need to be at that time. In reality it is not a significant change in outlook only a few words and one or two steps. When we focus on the reasons of the past it is so difficult to see reasons of now. When bitterness holds a chain around your neck you cannot rise up and finish crossing the stream. You are held down and drowning floundering in the water.
Take the effort pull up on to the rock and cross, it is Carpe Diem as Dr. Tony Campolo lives his life, seize the day and it will be a joyous one. My dear friends each moment each hour we flounder and keeps us shackled. There is just too much out there to worried over “spilled milk”. Keep your eyes open and see the world around you as you have a glorious and joyous day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.


Bird Droppings September 1, 2010

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” Richard Bach

It has been so many years since first experiencing Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Bach’s whimsical tale of a seagull who dreams of more than simply eating fish entrails at the pier. I hear each day and listen to dreams as student’s talk of where and when, there are some who say whatever and that is hard for me to hear a young person with no concept of tomorrow often because today was dashed. I recall several years back on a first day in a class when a student answered a simple goal sheet. Question one: Where will you be in a year? Probably still in school, Question two; where will you be in five years? Probably in jail, and Third Question; where will you be in ten years? Dead.
I have been keeping touch indirectly with him since he has spent the better part of the last eight years in jail and currently is married and living in another state so he did attain his goal. In high school he saw no future and when I talked with him about his answers he really did not want a future. Today he is a father settled down and working a far cry from where he thought he might be ten years ago.

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you are alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach

“I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success — the earliest spark in the dreaming youth — if this; dream a great dream.” John A. Appleman

So often when I meet people students who have little thought of a future there is significant past holding them back, I recently wrote a paper on an idea I had of funneling. Our past is a significant part of the antecedents that drive our behaviors. The fellow above in my questions and answers was in this situation. Years ago as I did research for a graduate school paper I found in looking at 28 Emotionally Disturbed children in my study only two were still with biological parents only two had not had trouble with law enforcement and not been adjudicated. Only four were not currently at that time on probation.

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” John Barrymore

“If there were dreams to sell, what would you buy?” Thomas Lovell Beddoes

I had not thought of this but what a question to ask young people what if dreams were for sale what would you buy. Often those that do not want to think ahead only see more of the same, for my young man above death was actually something he was looking forward too.

“The moment of enlightenment is when a person’s dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities.” Vic Braden

“You’ve got to create a dream. You’ve got to uphold the dream. If you can’t, go back to the factory or go back to the desk.” Eric Burdon

For some of you the name Eric Burdon is insignificant but for a few of us, back in the sixties three British bands came across and stormed the United States, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Animals. Eric Burdon was the lead singer for The Animals. He is still around although now living in California and performing often solo or with his new band The Eric Burdon, I Band; he has gone back to his roots, blues. But as I read Eric’s quote and look at Bach’s quote coming from a fictional character the idea of dreaming and possibilities all tie into you have to do something. You have to work to attain the dream. Here is a possibility, the dream and here are the opportunities, life in general. Just Do it as it is scribbled on your shoes.

“When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” Leo Burnett

“There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.” William Burroughs

William Burroughs name in literary circles often falls with Allen Ginsberg as part of The Beat generation spawned in New York’s coffee houses and universities. But he also is often associated with Timmy Leary and Andy Warhol and in the early nineties before killing himself, Kurt Cobian recorded an album with the then nearly 80 year old Burroughs reading his own words over Cobain’s guitar chords. A drug addict for most of his life Burroughs’s tried to write himself out of where he was and many of his greatest efforts are reflections of his own addictions and reflections on the addictions and limitation others impose on them selves.

“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell

“If your dream is a big dream, and if you want your life to work on the high level that you say you do, there’s no way around doing the work it takes to get you there.” Joyce Chapman

Trying to get teenagers to accept getting from point A to point B requires more than simply saying so, it can be a tough sale. Several weeks ago I was sitting talking with two students both who had dreams of college. One of the fellows said he was going to college and get a scholarship to play football. I thought for a moment and said you have never played in high school how will you get a scholarship? He thought for a minute and said he would go out for the team. He thought because of his size and make he could be a football player. Ok but you would still have to go to class and study and read. His dreams were dashed for him college was simply a football scholarship and play football. I tried also to explain playing football meant practice four or five hours a day, no TV, no video games, and no four or five honey buns and a coke for snacks. Very quickly he decided to change his goal, too much work, and no fun. He wanted the glory of the football player but did not want the work.

“When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” Jiminy Cricket

I have always thought it interesting that a cartoon insect could possibly go down as one of the world’s great philosophers. When you believe you can you can I have always been told?

“We’ve removed the ceiling above our dreams. There are no more impossible dreams.” Jesse Jackson

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” Robert F. Kennedy

So often I find myself drawn back to an idea or quote, Kennedy’s quote is one of those as is dreaming. Each time I find something new, a new piece to the puzzle, a new thought as I am rambling through my day, pondering on those moments of new ideas and direction. Today reading about William Burroughs and Kurt Cobain who both achieved the immortality of fame and genius, one lived to barely 30 and one to almost ninety only slight differences kept the parameters of their lives from being identical. I often speak of following a path, we do at times, have choices to make, and how far can we veer off the path? How many times can we make a new path without getting lost?
Mathematicians hold the shortest distance between two points is a straight line however by expanding that thought if point A and B if they are next to each other that line makes a circle which has no end or beginning.

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: — we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Perhaps a point to end on this morning. Over the years over forty now I have heard this phrase in my head. My father had a worn tape of the entire speech. Maybe a sermon would be a better word, for it was a sermon to mankind not just the United States. We can fulfill our dreams but we have to do the work we have to strive to make that dream a reality be it small or monumental. It is our choice where we place point A and point B and whether our path’s become simply a line or a circle. So this morning please keep all in harms way, for one of my dreams is a world in peace. So please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.