A Time to Kneel

“A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body, or rather it is as if my body has been meant and made for the act of kneeling.  Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, my hands before my face.” ~ Etty Hillesum

Etty Hillesum 1939

There was a deep peace in the heart of Etty Hillesum.  She wrote extensively about her love for fellow human beings while being persecuted and awaiting the certain fate of deportation from her home in Amsterdam during World War II.  She was one of 1.1 million who died at Auschwitz concentration camp but her faith in God and people live on in the many letters and diaries she left behind. The thought that kneeling was Etty’s demonstration of awe is one that should inspire us today.

I wonder what it might be like if we all knelt a little bit more and stood tall a bit less.  The thought of making ourselves vulnerable in the kneeling position is a foreign one to us.  But the image of getting on both knees to help a child or to pray at night is universally embraced. The reverence and wonder demonstrated by such an act can only be matched by how defenseless we become in this position.  It is time for more kneeling.  It is time for becoming so open to God and each other that we are once again willing to find the common ground necessary for a cessation of all the misunderstandings and animosity which are destroying us.

A Recipe for Living

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” ~ John Quincy Adams (Sixth U.S. President)

Life is unpredictable. Just when things seem to be going our way the rug gets pulled out from underneath us.  Good times become hard times.  Health issues crop up. Money once plentiful gets tight.  People leave us or die. When times get tough it is important to remember that everything will change. The ingredients needed to face these situations are courage to straightforwardly deal with them as they happen and perseverance in our efforts to overcome.

The fact that change will always occur can be as comforting as it is disturbing.  Happiness, joy, celebration, friendship, and abundance are every bit as certain as their counterparts.  When we begin to understand that God is not punishing or judging us and the power of love will conquer anything…courage and perseverance are not so hard to muster.  Life happens and God is never distant.  Like the Prodigal, we can take stock of what is happening and accept the unconditional embrace which is always waiting for us.

Make the World Come Alive

“There must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful.” ~ Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman was the grandson of a plantation slave in Madison County, Florida.  Profoundly influenced by his grandmother, he made it his life’s mission to teach about the inseparable connection each of us has with God. He found reasons to seek out more than common-ground; rather, he revealed the incredible beauty which is the essence of everyone.  This truth is elusive nowadays.  We seem to be fixated on finding differences and darknesses in those who are different.  Such divisions lead us to picking sides, creating misunderstandings, fostering hatred, and being violent.

There is a weariness that hangs heavy over us.  Tired of the mean language, name-calling, character assassination and loss of civility, we long for relief from it all.  The only force which will restore Thurman’s vision of beauty is the effort that you are willing to give and the vitriol you are willing to abandon. God is present by our side, ahead, behind, above, below and inside. Take a good look. And then listen to the angels sing.

Sage Wisdom

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“Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”~ William Wordsworth

The wounds and pain that we suffer are the very experiences that provide us with information to navigate as we progress along the winding path of life.  It has been said that the bamboo reed growing in the wetlands must be cut, carved and smoothed in order to make sweet music.  This is not only true of the reed but of us as well.  The wounds that we receive can serve to define us in ways that allow our own unique music to play while assisting and inspiring others.  They should never be seen as cuts that have left us unattractive.

Most of us think that we know everything when we are thirty only to find at fifty that we know almost nothing.  My grandfather used to say; “Too soon old…Too late smart.” When we finally recognize that our experiences can be used to benefit those who struggle with their own distress and suffering, our lives will take on a new dimension.  The fullness of understanding and real wisdom will follow.  We will begin to intuitively know what to do and what to say when people ask our advice and counsel.  While intelligence is something with which we might be endowed at birth, true wisdom only comes with time and age.

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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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Oh, Lord it’s Hard to Be Humble

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“He that would have a perfect brother must resign himself to being brotherless.” ~ Italian Proverb

I’m not perfect…Nobody is.  When we expect perfection of ourselves or others and find it to be lacking, the next step is to find someone to blame.  Blaming other people, places or things is a waste of time as well as a spiritual drain.  The ability to form creative solutions is diminished or eliminated.  After all, what does blaming accomplish? We expend our energy finding fault and complaining only to discover that doing so has rendered us ‘brotherless’ and isolated in an ego created cocoon.

There exists a remarkable opportunity to embrace blame as a guidepost to better understanding our imperfections setting us free to explore our common brokenness.  Looking within, we will then find how much alike we really are.  Life becomes an adventure in humility where we seek counsel, wisdom and ways to become better members of an inclusive community. Though perfection can never be found, we will know real peace and happiness as we become open to new dimensions of relationships with others and with ourselves..

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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 Courage to Speak Up

Opportunities to be courageous present themselves every day.  These challenges often come with a little dose of fear.  This is not the significant fear faced on the battlefield, but that gnawing emotion which stops us from doing the right thing.  

Courage presents its opportunity to stand tall when we hear mean comments, character assassinations, racial slurs and demeaning jokes.  It shows up in conversations and in casual encounters.  The little doses of fear stem from our need to be liked, admired, appreciated and loved.  It takes real courage to deal with the possibility of rejection.  Sometimes we cave in and sacrifice beliefs we hold sacred but more often than not we just choose to keep our mouths shut.

“Courage has to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.”

Rita Dove

The decision to be silent is not much different than siding with a perpetrator.  We are witness to the effects of silence as victims of abuse come forward to tell their story.  So many people say nothing, even when facts are presented which are unimpeachable. 

The physical and emotional trauma borne by the wounded-one are magnified by all of the responsible people who somehow justify ‘not getting involved’.  We all have chances to be brave.  We can choose to face our fears by saying what should be said and rising up for those who are being injured.  In so doing, someone might stand with us when the tables are turned.

Today I will be courageous in my defense of those who are being injured and victimized.


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

Seasonal Wonders

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“A comprehensible God is no more than an idol.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

Autumn is here and I can hardly wait for all of its splendor and a glimpse of God’s immense grandeur.  How can we begin to think that we are masters of anything?  No matter what we do, how much money or power we wield, what kind of influence we exert, whether we are at the top of our game and fit as a fiddle, nothing…absolutely nothing can even vaguely compare to the magnificence of God’s work.  When we let go of the illusion that we are in charge of anything, child-like innocence returns.  Then our eyes will be re-opened to the splendor of it all.

My most vivid memories of God are not at an altar or sitting in a congregation. They come back in waves of wonder which return me to Max Patch overlooking the reds, oranges, russets, and greens nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I think of waterfalls cascading in the Pisgah National Forest.  Memories flow of a brilliant fall sunrise over the Atlantic just before a tropical storm.  I recall double rainbows on the plains of Lincoln County, Colorado reflected on the icy scrub brush and rambling tumbleweed.  God is incomprehensible. Whenever we think otherwise, we are ignoring the evidence.  Happy autumn splendor to everyone!  Celebrate it with gusto!

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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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This Is It

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“People who cling to the past and resist change have a hard time participating in God’s and their own future.” ~ Richard Rohr

The future is unfolding and we join in it here and now.  Full participation, looking forward while accepting the past, is absolutely necessary if we are to live out our lives in meaningful ways.  The universe is expanding in ever larger spheres and orbits.  Though this rapidly changing reality may be scary, it is undeniable.

We cannot make ourselves ‘great-again’ by attempting to recreate the past.  But we can make ourselves great.  There is no turning back.  There is no standing still.  There is only moving forward.  Imagine this universe being created anew every moment…evolving, changing, and unfolding.  Who I have been is not who I am.  Who I will be is becoming.

This is the mystery and the miracle of constant union with God.  Created as co-creators, we have a responsibility and a mission to carry out our destiny.  Embrace change and celebrate life.  The future is in your hands and carried out by your efforts.

Alligator and Turtle at Sunrise

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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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