Dreams and Reality; the Dance of Oneing

“Stay true to your deepest intuition that an extraordinary and miraculous life is possible.” ~ Craig Hamilton

I have a hunch that each of us struggles with a sense of emptiness when considering how seldom our dreams and present situation match up.  Life has a way of leading us in directions that are far from what we had planned or for which we had hoped.  When that emptiness descends, a bleak truth is laid bare. But this somber reality actually contains a guiding light through dense fog.  It is a touchstone.

The fact that an extraordinary and miraculous life is possible cannot be denied.  It is not only possible…but is a certainty if fully embraced.  This doesn’t mean an easier climb on the ladder which we are enticed to believe brings happiness.  Rather than a linear measurement of success and failure, it is a promise that there is an ongoing dance and celebration we are invited to join. Life is not about beginnings and endings, wins and losses,or scorecards to be kept.  It is circular and full of promise.

“The only things that can keep you out of this divine dance are fear, doubt or self-hatred. What would happen in your life -right now- if you accepted being fully accepted?” ~ Richard Rohr

This chapter of your story is being written in the very moment we are experiencing here and now.  How it evolves is up to you.  The miraculous and extraordinary are revealed when it is understood that you are never alone. We are one in all of our magnificent diversity. Nothing is so dark that it might extinguish this truth.  God is with us and we are with God. We dance this dance together.

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.

A Walk in the Desert

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“The absence of God’s love makes us like a dry desert land without water, and thus we treat our neighbors harshly, fearing we have no love to spare.” ~ Guy Consolmagno

The droughts, times with little rain and scorching hot days, leave us feeling empty and anxious.  Lake levels drop, plants wither and die, animals venture out in search of anything to quench their thirst.  An uneasy quiet settles over the land.  We endured a seven year drought in the Upstate of South Carolina not long ago.  It was pretty uncomfortable.  People became testy and on edge as everything outside seemed to deteriorate.  At one point, the flooded river valley which has become Lake Hartwell dropped so low that old roads appeared which had been under water for decades.  Recreation and tourism slowed and almost halted.  Two years ago the welcomed rain began to come.  Over time, everything was restored and the beauty of the area returned. We have even started to forget how desolate it was.

Emotional and spiritual droughts have strikingly similar effects on our insides. Emptiness and anxiety leave us feeling dry and forsaken.  God seems to have abandoned us.  When this happens, we withdraw and isolate.  The love we have seems to dry up and we hoard whatever is left for fear of losing even the most essential elements of affection.  Unlike the droughts of nature however, desert times of the soul and spirit are more misconception than fact.  Hard times are no delusion, but the sense of abandonment and loss of God’s love is only an illusion.  It is as abundant as when everything in life was going well.  We are promised this without exception.  We are never alone.  We are never ignored.  We are never without resource.  There is an endless underground spring of hope that will fill our hearts in time.  The healing waters will return.  My friend, Bill Scott used to remind me that ‘Things come to pass…not to stay’.  We can be assured of that.  There will even come a time when the drought is a distant memory.  Life is always wonderful…even when it seems otherwise.

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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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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.

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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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Our Common Humanity

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“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” ~ Desmond Tutu

We get to choose whether we will be connected with one another or not.  But if we don’t, how can we ever be fully human?  It seems so much easier to disconnect rather than to struggle with personal relationships.  The risk of rejection and pain can be daunting.

Life can be confusing.  We know, for example, that understanding ourselves requires some disciplined work.  We cannot connect with our brothers if we are disconnected from our inner selves.  Likewise, however, we cannot connect with our inner selves if we are disconnected from our community of friends, family, and neighbors.

This is also true in our mysterious relationship with God. 

When we begin to accept that each human being is a reflection of God, a child of God, and a manifestation of God, the confusion begins to disappear.  When we begin to embrace the sacredness of every person-to-person encounter as a kind of holy meeting, relationships become irresistible.  God is for us, with us and within us.  It is in this reality that we are able to connect with each other, with ourselves and with our God.

“Your neighbor is your unknown self.” ~ Miguel de Unamuno

 

Banner photo by GoaShape on Unsplash

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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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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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