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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A Change Will Do You Good

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

What would you change in the world if you had a chance?  A priest who was traveling through Grand Central Station posed this question to a woman who was slumped against a wall, homeless, friendless and ‘an empty shell’.  Her answer was that she would change her mind.  She was so filled with bitterness and an inability to forgive.  Her only desire was to let go of hatred and that by so doing, would become free.

This is the same awakening that the physician in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered in his recovery from alcoholism.  He says that acceptance taught him that ‘it is not so much what needs to be changed in the world, as what needs to be changed in me’.  The one thing we have the ability to change in this world requires a huge undertaking.  For the one thing that can be changed is me.

“Repentance calls us to an inner healing that comes from choosing a new mindset, moving us in a new direction, and releasing all that holds our heart in bondage.” ~ Daniel Groody

I was privileged to hear the joys, pain, celebrations, and sufferings of my counseling patients for four decades.  Often their emotions have been hinged on the doings of family members, employers, frustrations with the government or a variety of other external events.  These all have the ability to please us or fill us with bitterness.  Not much of it is in our control.

I have learned that bitterness and resentment have a sticky quality.  That stickiness becomes more than a diversion and can become the kind of hatred that so overpowered the woman who met the priest in Grand Central.  Freedom comes when we let go of those external distractions, take responsibility, and forgive.  Then we can set a new course, follow a new star, and change our direction home.  This is the essence of a really radical awakening.

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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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More on Judging and Being Judged

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“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.” ~ Rumi

I often write about judging.  But right now it seems so important. The finger of judgment points in every direction nowadays. With it comes feelings of superiority and inferiority.  Neither is good.  So I try to revisit the subject in my prayers and mindfulness meditation daily in hopes of being spared the burden of judging.

You know how terrible it feels to be judged.  I think we all have felt the sting of judgment at one time or another.  Many of us are all too familiar.  A description of how it feels to be judged was shared with me during a counseling session.  This wounded young fellow told me; “It feels like I am being awakened in the middle of the night and dragged naked in front of everyone to be teased and ridiculed.”

Perhaps the saddest part of his story is that he had been living in a therapeutic community in which he should have been receiving compassion and encouragement.  Instead, he felt rejection, pain, and malice. As our time together that day progressed, he began to launch into a rant which described the failings of the people in the group that was wounding him.  He labored with character assassinations and perceived shortcomings as he verbally railed against one and all.  When he was finished he started to sob.  I told him that he was loved and not to put so much stock in what others thought of him or about their feedback.  He replied; “I know you’re right.  I’m crying because I just did to them what they have been doing to me.”

“Who are you to judge the life I live?  I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be.  But before you start pointing fingers make sure your hands are clean.” ~ Jimi Hendrix 

Can you imagine what it might be like to stop judging?  Can you imagine what it might be like to not be judged?  How wonderful it would be to believe that we were not under scrutiny and that nobody was looking down on us.  Think how great it would feel to accept those who are not behaving as we might want them to with understanding and patience.  There is much harm done when we have been judged.  And there is no good that can come from our judgment of others.

Today I will live without judgment.  I will not accept it nor will I indulge in it.

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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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A Choice For Happiness

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The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.” ~ James Oppenheim

We have choices to make.  They lie before us waiting for fulfillment.  Each of us has the ability to be happy and set out to make happiness happen.

Despite the problems and woes that have littered life…despite the things that are looming in the distance…we can still make the decision to be happy and to create happiness around us.  There is no magic formula.  It is just about deciding to accept the people, places and things surrounding us as being just the way they are.  We can complain and whine over our circumstances or celebrate the fact that we survived despite (or because) of them.  Happiness is an inside job and the choice to recognize that truth is ours to make.

I hear people grumble so often that someone has made them unhappy.  Something happened years ago which ruined their lives.  Losses and tragedies have made it impossible to allow for real happiness.  There is not enough money.  There is nobody to love.  There is no fun at work.

On and on we look for happiness outside of ourselves only to be disappointed when it is fleeting.  Only the false self or ego drives us to find happiness anywhere but within our own hearts.  We are immersed in the real happiness for which we were created.  We have the freedom to choose to allow God to be God and accept the contents of the moment as a reason to celebrate being alive.

Make the decision now.  Be happy.  Work for happiness in all you do and say.  You might be surprised as it abundantly rains down and all around as a result.

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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 Promise and Acceptance of Faith

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“Faith’s only real demand on us is that we trustfully keep moving forward into the unknown.  How things turn out in the end is not up to us.” ~ Paula Huston

Walking the path of life, while maintaining faith, can be a tricky project.  There are so many distractions.  Alluring temptations of power, fame, and the savory or sensational, wave us in their direction.  Pitfalls of disappointment, resentment, sadness and grief whisper to us that we are all alone.  These interferences lead us on a well-worn trail that is ego driven and desolate.

Faith becomes a meaningless notion when the results depend upon us.  After all, in the words of author Richard Leonard, SJ; “Where the hell is God?”  Where is God when we are tempted?  Where is God when we are full of grief?  Where is God when things go wrong?  Why are my prayers falling on deaf ears?  Why should we have such capricious faith anyway?

God is not distant. 

This is the promise of faith.  The experience of living in the world with the pleasures and storms which come our way can be challenging.  There are no guarantees that things will be easy just because we have faith.

What we have is a God who never leaves us.  We can go to the depths and rise to the heights but God hangs right in there.  The answer to the question ‘Where the hell is God’ comes as a gentle whisper saying; “I am with you always.  Everything I have is yours.”

When we are battered and beaten, God is at our side.  When we fall and skin our knees, God is there to be with us.  We cannot be separated. Faith is simply an acceptance of that truth.

Today I will step out with assurance that I am not stepping out on my own.  I am held in the arms of a loving God.

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[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member 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/” admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” _builder_version=”3.0.101″ 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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