Inclusion; Let It Begin With Me

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“We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.” ~ Karen Armstrong

Building bridges to connect us with our better selves and with one another is a spiritual imperative. We cannot serve a higher purpose or walk in concert with God if we accept people in our lives and hearts only under certain conditions and with great caution.

If we allow only those who are like us, reflect our values, or affirm our principles, we are restricting our growth and denying possibilities. In a sense, we have made ourselves into an exclusive little Country Club. An invisible sign hangs around our soul that reads ‘Members Only’. Spiritual and emotional well being depends upon universal inclusion.

We cannot know ourselves fully until we begin to recognize and accept those who are different and those who challenge us. We cannot fully Love God or ourselves unless we Love our neighbor. My dear friend, Steve Magin, began teaching me this lesson at an early age. He made things hard at times. I was more interested in exploring the woods just the two of us.

But he was forever thinking about bringing other kids on our adventures. There was always some boy that he thought we should include. When we were choosing up sides for baseball he would pick the ones who normally would be last in the first round. He encouraged rather than teased. Those same kids remain close friends with him today. His life-long message is one of inclusion. Peace can be achieved when we reach out to others. I am the one to build the bridges and make the connections.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” global_module=”26968″ saved_tabs=”all”]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Sail on Sailor

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“May you always sail with fair winds and a following sea.” ~ Traditional Navy Blessing

I was listening to Jimmy Buffett sing “Sail on Sailor” when the old nautical blessing came to mind.  Fair winds and following seas has been used by the Navy in commissioning ceremonies, command change, and at the time of retirement for people and for ships as well.  It is a blessing filled with hope for faring well, safe travel, and good fortune.  It is not naïve.  Sailors are well aware of the power and might of an often unforgiving sea.  They have often been the victim of its wrath.  But they sail on, often delivering life-saving and sustaining cargo.  They carry, bring, and then become the blessing.

One of the incredible benefits in the practice of carrying the blessing like good sailors is that we are given the gift of recognizing the image of God everywhere.  This enables us to deliver sacred cargo and to become beacons for others. It is no longer possible to harbor resentments, lick wounds or long-suffer our injuries when we supply messages of joy, love, and good news. Fair winds and following seas have been granted.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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An Irresistible Banquet

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“Life is a moveable feast” – Ernest Hemingway

Years ago, it was trendy and popular to participate in progressive dinner parties with a group of good friends.  A progressive meal is one in which guests travel from home to home, eating one course at each.  Five families volunteer to be hosts and it would be their homes that people would travel to and from.  Usually, some kind of theme was used (for example a detective who-done-it, football, a foreign country’s cuisine, pioneer days, the 1950s, and so on).

The invitation was designed as if it were a restaurant menu, listing each course and where it would be served. At the first home, appetizers and drinks would be served…at the second home, soup and salad….at the third home would be the main course…at the fourth home, dessert and coffee. Finally, at the fifth home, some kind of party games would be played.  These feasts were terrific and always very entertaining.

Hemingway tells us the feast is everywhere because it is easy to forget that life is a banquet.  We become so focused on our troubles, our busyness, and our duties, that we fail to celebrate.  We move from day to day as if everything was such a terribly serious matter.  We are here today.  Our very lives are reason enough to rejoice.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make today different by joining in on the feast?

How can I enjoy my life today by participating in its miracles and happiness?

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Going Down to the Crossroads

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Here we are…at another Crossroad.  Which way to go?  It is not that one way seems less traveled by than the other.  It would almost be easier to be in a woods like Robert Frost and follow an untrodden, strangely dangerous, and unconventional path.

But this is one of those crossroads so often found in the rural Midwest, laid out in neat sections of corn and bean patchwork.  Standing on flat ground with an endless horizon, it seems the choice of direction is almost mundane.  We know it’s important to make a choice but indecision has frozen us in place.

There is no use in procrastinating…no need for ‘sinking down’ or giving up.  Because we are not alone in our Crossroad decisions when we trust ‘that which is unknown by us is fully known by God and the universe’. Here is what has to happen.  We must let go and take a few faltering steps with faith and trust that God is in charge of the outcome. We will discover or rediscover that we are…and always have been…in good hands.

Today I will experience life fully at the Crossroad by stepping out with faith, and trust.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” global_module=”26968″ saved_tabs=”all”]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Bring Us Some Good News

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“The good news, which the World Redeemer brings and which so many have been glad to hear, zealous to preach, but reluctant, apparently, to demonstrate, is that God is love, the He can be, and is to be, loved, and that all without exception are his children.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Sometimes it’s hard to sort through the many messages we receive to find something positive. Lots of warnings, tragic tales, and major concerns present themselves. So when someone comes along with a happy story, a light spirit, a smile and good news, they are met with joy and relief. What a terrific gift it is to carry good words.

The prophet Isaiah writes with enthusiasm as he describes ‘how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news’. Each of us has the ability to be such a messenger. All we have to do is make a little shift in our perspective and presentation. We can begin to share the good things going on in our lives and in the world with as much emphasis as we have shared the difficulty and woes surrounding us.

Bringing good news to everyone we meet will change the way things go for us and for those we encounter. I went into a local business not long ago and was greeted personally by the owner. Steve engaged me in conversation and shared stories of his grandchild and love for his wife as he helped me with my purchases.

My mood lifted dramatically. His good news created a spirit of thanksgiving within me. I thought about my own wonderful marriage, delightful wife, children, and grandchildren. It does not take much to make a difference. It does create a genuine atmosphere of joy.

Pope Francis met with a group of atheists not long ago and proclaimed the good news that salvation was just as much a reality for them as for the religious. The revelation of grace for one and for all is changing the entire notion of inclusion. Good news is everywhere. Take the grand opportunity to be a messenger of it today.

Today I will make a shift in the emphasis of my message. I will bring good news to hungry hearts.

 

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Being Present to the Present

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“If we refuse to think of anything except what we are doing or the person that we are with, we develop the habit of being present to the present moment. In a way, the present moment becomes as sacred as being in church.” ~ Thomas Keating

Looking Glass Falls, Brevard, NC

Living in the moment is a key to emotional and spiritual well-being.  But this kind of mindfulness is not always easy. The dark recesses of our yesterdays with their brokenness, wounds, resentments, and regrets drag us backward.

Fear and worry about tomorrows try to tug us forward, whispering that there is so much to do, so many mountains to climb, and so many perils ahead.  All of these distractions blur the importance of here and now.  We miss the chance to listen deeply.  Our ability to be compassionate escapes and the moment is lost.  We have missed a sacred opportunity.

How often do we succumb to the lure of money, security, fame, power, approval, or control?  How often do we sacrifice today on the altar of tomorrow?  How often do we throw caution to the wind, behaving in ways we know we might regret?  The best fix for this is to welcome the moment right in front of us by being ‘present to the present’.  We can fill ourselves with the possibilities of here and now by being mindful.  Slow down.  Look around.  Be still. Listen.  God will take care of the rest.

 

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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The Healing Heart of Compassion

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“When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.” ~ Henri Nouwen

Compassion is the ability to suffer-with those who are wounded. True compassion brings with it the gift of healing only because of the mutual experience of our own wounds, our own suffering, and our own healing. It is a sharing of our own brokenness in solidarity with those who are struggling, grieving and floundering. It is about making ourselves vulnerable in order to provide a source of comfort.

Giving advice is a lot easier than offering compassion. Helping to find solutions for the problems of others requires little effort. It is even easier to find a cure. When the person we are trying to help doesn’t follow our advice or chooses another solution we can shake the dust off, shrug our shoulders and walk away. Our inner voice says; ‘Well, at least I tried!’

Those who offer compassion know how to show up. They do not come with superpowers but with shared brokenness. They show up with an understanding heart free from judgment. They do not hide their scars for they are visible proof that wounds heal. Hand in hand, we shall overcome. Heart to heart, we can save each other…and by so doing will, as Michael Jackson sang, Heal the World. We will be doing God’s work.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chödrön

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” global_module=”26968″ saved_tabs=”all”]

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Overcoming Adversity

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“It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear the adversity.”

Father James Keller was visiting the Tower of London when he found the inscription above.  It was written almost four hundred years ago by a condemned prisoner who carved the words on the wall of his cell to keep up his spirits during a long imprisonment.  Keller was moved by the hope and courage that was embodied in the message.  Adversity will come for each of us during our travel through life.  How we deal with these difficulties makes all of the difference.

Photo by David L Gross

None of us need to be paralyzed by the adversity that comes our way.  We have the opportunity to rise above it.  We can allow ourselves to be strengthened by our personal faith followed by dogged determination and hard work.

We have choices when presented with adversity.  Despite the fact that we might feel trapped or cornered with only one way to go, we can choose our attitude and practice patience.  We can choose to be models of inspiration through the courage and poise with which we meet the hardship.

We can embrace the situation with a spirit of acceptance.  There is nothing more powerful than the example of grace under pressure.  It is what Ernest Hemingway called ‘guts’.

We can prevail over almost anything as long as we are willing to keep making the best choices.  They won’t always be right but we just keep trying and ultimately the good things will overcome the bad.

“Life’s about adversity.  The whole key to it, when adversity comes, you either get bitter or you get better.”  ~ Dabo Swinney

 

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

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Blessing The Fleet by David Gross

“…that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Can it be true that Americans are alienated?  Have we lost hope in the future? Do many of us feel that we don’t matter?  These questions weigh heavily as this Fourth of July arrives.

There seems to be so much disdain for the beliefs and values of those on the other side.  We have forgotten that the turmoil we’re in has always gone, to one degree or another, with the territory. It’s actually something to celebrate.

I think it is a good time to steal back some of our open-minded, multi-partisan patriotism and present it to one another without fear.  This is our country.

It is a land where hope and faith in tomorrow have forged a unique system of democracy which always looks forward.  We must never waive or compromise our fundamental and unalienable rights. Our sins cannot define us unless we decide to wallow in them.  Our goodness can guide the course of our ship with a compass whose true north always points us to unfettered freedom for one and all.

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” ~ John F. Kennedy

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

[/et_pb_team_member][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

From Sea to Shining Sea

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“Territory is but the body of a nation.  The people who inhabit its hills and valleys are its soul, its spirit, its life.” ~ James Garfield (20th U.S. President)

We are approaching the celebration of our national holiday which marks a bold declaration of independence followed by 242 years of struggle for freedom.  We are a nation becoming. This great experiment in democracy has overcome many obstacles, flaws, and shortcomings while never resting in a quest of liberty and justice for all.

Is any amount of fireworks, colorful parades or waving of flags too flamboyant or dramatic on The Fourth of July? I think not. Independence Day is no small event. For it is not that we are just a great country.  We celebrate because we are a diverse and determined people who will not be satisfied.

In the words of the song for Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”

Each year at this time we are welcomed back home from sea to shining sea with all differences set aside. Disgruntled people on the extreme right or left of our political spectrum for at least one day can stop their quarrels with the knowledge that our virtues far outweigh our shortcomings.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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