Warriors

May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

On this Memorial Day 2010, I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my father. He served in Europe and the Pacific Theatre in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He oversaw weather planning for operations in Japan with Generals James Doolittle and Curtis LeMay. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, and went on to lead a distinguished career as an Air Force officer. He died in 1962.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle who served as a Merchant Marine and was killed aboard his vessel during World War II. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross flying a P-38 over Germany in World War II. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle who served in the US Army in Germany in World War II and later as a flight instructor in the Air Force. He went on to race P-51 Mustangs and was a daredevil in the truest sense of the word. He died peacefully at home in 1985.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my father-in-law, who piloted B-17’s in the Pacific and European theatres during World War II and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. He went on to great accomplishments as a career officer in the Air Force, including commanding a B-52 bomber wing of USAF Strategic Air Command.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to my uncle who served in combat in the US Navy during World War II. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my brother, who piloted an F4 Phantom during the Vietnam war. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my uncle, who served in the US Air Force during the Korean war. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my cousin, who served in the US Coast Guard in the 1970’s. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to another cousin who served in the US Navy in Cuba and elsewhere in the 1970’s and lost valiant comrades at sea. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today.

I light candles in loving gratitude to each of these men: my father, my uncles, my father-in-law, my brother, my cousins. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the patriot Nathan Hale, my ancestor, and to the countless other members of my family who have fought to create and protect this country for almost 400 years. I light these candles to acknowledge all my fellow countrymen who have known dedication and sacrifice beyond my understanding.

I also light a candle in loving memory of my other brother, who chose a different path and instead fought in the streets of our country—with courage befitting a warrior—to help end what he believed were illegal and immoral wars in Southeast Asia. He died in 2008.

I light these candles to acknowledge these gifts I have received: I have lived a life without having to wield a weapon of war, or to have one held against me. I live my life today free from the horror, fear and madness that characterizes all wars.

So, just for today, I honor these brave and unselfish men by choosing to face my life in the fullest way I know: resolved to being mindful and present, accepting of what is, acknowledging my fears with courage, wisdom and serenity, dedicating this day in service to others, and filled with gratitude for the countless gifts I have received from those who came before me.

Happy trails!

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.” — from The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Casteneda

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Self-Help Library

May 20, 2010

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Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

As I happily trudge this road, travelers sometimes ask me, “What most inspires you spiritually, besides yourself?” I trace the roots of my spiritual enlightenment to something I found in a Cracker Jacks box, but sadly I can no longer recall what it was.

In the meantime, striving to provide deep and meaningful spiritual inspiration and wisdom to others—or, more likely, the occasional distraction and amusement—this is a burden I grudgingly bear. I felt it was time to share my secret: contrary to some misguided teachings, any of us can become a beacon of spirituality, serenity and wisdom—simply by reading Self-Help* books!

The answers are all there. No uncomfortable “soul-searching,” or embarrassing “confessionals.”  No annoying reminders to surrender what little precious control we have to some amorphous “Higher Power.”

Instead, we can go home, rip out the mailbox, lock the door, pull down the shades, unplug the phone, turn out the lights, grab a flashlight, crawl under the bed covers and read our way to serenity and enlightenment (while we wonder why no one ever calls or writes).

It really works! Provided, of course, we have the right books.

With the growing demand for Self-Help* books, I felt it was only fair to share these titles (soon to be available on the Apple iPad® and Amazon Kindle®) which have given me so much inspiration. They promise to help each of us become the most serene, peaceful and all-knowing person we have ever had the pleasure to know—or at least to give the authors some financial peace of mind. In the meantime, may they help guide you on your journey!

Happy trails!

* PS Two famous quotes on self-help:

“There is “no such thing” as self-help. Anyone looking for help from someone else doesn’t technically get “self” help, and one who accomplishes something without help, didn’t need help to begin with.” — George Carlin
“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” — Steven Wright

Control This

May 12, 2010

Control Chart

Control Chart

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

I’m a list-making type of guy. My to-do list covers things that involve family, health, work, spirit, learning, money, household, creativity, etc. It has colors. It has categories. It is attractive. I spend time on it. I fantasize about managing it. It’s so comprehensive, the only thing missing are check-marks.

This morning I made the mistake of actually looking at the list. There were 200+ tasks. I read somewhere that most people accomplish, on average, about three actual “to-do” list-type tasks per day. That means that, on average, the first thing I do in the morning is treat myself to 197 reminders why I don’t, why I won’t—why I can’t—measure up to my expectations. Ever.

So, I figured, why not rewrite out a list of all things I can actually control, and those I can’t? It turned out that list was a bit lopsided. So much so that it wasn’t even a list anymore—it had to be graphed. That worked! Now I’ve winnowed my to-do list down to the suggested number of items: three.*

To-do Today

1. Ask for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
2. Ask for courage to change the things I can; and
3. Ask for wisdom to know the difference.

Happy trails!

Help Wanted

May 5, 2010

Help Wanted

Help Wanted

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…
For anyone struggling with asking for—or accepting—help from a “Higher Power”, I’ll be happy to share any responses I receive from this Craigslist posting.
Happy trails!