Off The Top of My Head…

“Off The Top of My Head…”

This oft-used phrase is spoken in response to a comment made, question asked or just because there is too much silence in the moment. Funny how we use words to convey our thoughts, needs and desires; yet we will say something that could likely deliver just the opposite result. And then wished we could take it back, apologizing profusely…

How often do you do that in your relationships; either personal or business? Doing a degree of damage to the people who matter most to you. A son or daughter who hangs on your every word for encouragement and direction. A staff member who looks up to you as a mentor, and you have now given them reason to doubt your ability to listen, think and speak on their behalf. All because you did not take the time to process what it is they have shared with you.

Take time today to consider speaking only words that you intend to say…not something to be cute, funny or worse. It is refreshing to allow a moment or two of silence to pass when considering how to respond to those who ask, tell and query us daily.

Not that our response requires a quote that will be etched into stone and quoted by historians in the year 2075. But one that will be so much more in alignment with your true self when you can allow your magnificent brain to gather the information, organize the thoughts and send an appropriate response to those lips. No excuses or apologies needed.

So, from my frontal lobe to yours…Peace.

Get in Where You Fit in…

Get in Where You Fit in…

The world is witnessing a dramatic change. People halfway around the world, many of whom have been kept in the proverbial dark for all of their lives, are now exerting their power. What is unfolding in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya is as inspiring as it is dramatic.

I am not old enough to have borne witness to the dismantling of the British Empire’s hold over the millions of people living in India…and the power that came through the man known as Mohandas Gandhi. We in America, especially those of us of darker pigmentation, have experienced this new freedom as the civil rights era brought forth a new level of equality to all citizens of the United States back in the 1960’s.

And so it is with that in mind that I wonder when we will follow suit and discard our complacency. Can we push ourselves away from being entertained to the brink of being anesthetized…tranquilized, so that we won’t resist the continual eroding of our personal freedoms and the concern for our fellow man/woman.

If you think the end of our troubles is near…how much did you spend filling up your automobile this weekend? Why is it that the prices are rising, yet supplies are high and demand is still low in comparison to 2007 and 2008? The stock market is rising each week, yet the unemployment numbers are not falling. Do we really believe that the economy is picking up steam? Or is the shift happening to make oil a commodity that will offset the devaluing of the dollar?

Do yourself and your family a favor this week. Turn off American Idol, Glee and whatever Charlie Sheen is in, and pick up a business magazine. Read it from cover to cover. Check out it’s online content. Discuss your findings with family and friends…heck even Tweet something if you must. But, DO NOT just keep doing what you have been doing.

Let the example of those awakened brothers and sisters thousands of miles away, risking their lives for freedom from decades of imperial rule, to be impetus for us to join in solidarity. Do it for your children, grandchildren…me. And do not believe the media crap that would call humanitarian concern a socialistic society. The word spin-doctors are busy crafting their responses even as we consider what will happen next and where.

It is time we shake off the anesthesia and WAKE UP!

This square peg still won’t fit in the round hole.


Love is Thicker Than Blood

Love is Thicker Than Blood…

We all have heard the saying, “blood is thicker than water.” And it is so very true that in times of need and crises, we find that relatives step forward to pull us through the fire that is burning at our feet. But, what happens when we have less-than-loving relationships with our family members? On whom do we lean and trust then?

The past week I have had the misfortune to have two people that made major impacts on my spiritual and emotional maturity, make their transition into the spirit world. In looking at this from another perspective, I can see that I have had the good fortune that each of them included me in their lives and the inner circle of their families, without there being any DNA shared between us. It was nothing less than the love that Jesus taught, which had nothing to do with biology. It was based purely upon love for humanity.

Once more I see the importance of showing love on a daily basis to the people who matter to us. As is my testimony today, those people needing to know that they are loved may not share your name, pedigree, religion or political party. But they do breathe the same air, bask under the same sun, and hope for a better tomorrow. Just like you.

So, in homage to Janie Jenkins and Theophilis Thompson, I commit each day to living more fully in love and generosity of spirit. Because I know there will be someone who reminds me of that young boy growing up in Peoria and the adult man in transition in Oakland. That person is walking among us on daily basis. I am going to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to that interaction.

Will you join me this year in making a difference?


Out of The Shadows

Out of The Shadows…

It’s been one week since a rather silly American culture was re-visited: watching an
over-sized rodent to determine whether or not spring will arrive sooner than later this year. Now, I live in Northern California. I always like to specify that, just in case anyone might seek to confuse me with those who live in La-La land. We have had a week of seasonably high temperatures…while our fellow citizens to the east have been buried under a few feet of snow and below freezing temperatures.

Did that big rodent specify where spring would begin? How do those dealing with the worst snow storm in a decade feel about their plight right about now?

What the heck would we have thought had it been a cloudy day? Huh? Oh yes, the rodent thing really is only as good as the sunlight that is present that February 2nd morning. Overcast skies = no shadow = longer winter. What kind of people actually believes this piddle? And get all dressed up to boot?

For me, it is important to remember that even on the most overcast day, the sun is still shining…although I am unable to see it directly. All it would take is for me to board an airplane and rise up to thirty five thousand feet to see it’s splendor. Hidden, yes. Absent, never.

May we all be reminded of that simple thought when life gives us an overcast experience. The source of the shadow is still at work…it is just temporarily blocked. Our testimony becomes stronger and more ingrained when we press on in spite of the darkness. So, put that groundhog back in his hole and get busy living your life anyhow…Peace.

“Let ‘Em Play, Ref…”

Let ‘Em Play, Ref…”

This evening I had the pleasure of officiating a high school basketball game in the Oakland Athletic League. Those games are rarely ever boring or one-sided. And tonight’s contest was no exception to that rule…Rules. We officials do not make the rules. We only know and enforce them during our appointed games.

And so it is interesting when we had a close score at halftime, that upon returning to the court prior to the start of the third quarter, a fan in the stands shouts out to me, “let the kids play, ref.” He said it again, as though I could not hear him from the 15 feet that separated us. And so, as I often will do to bring levity to a situation I said, “but they are playing…” Most of the people sitting near him laughed at the irony of this statement. The game had been played well by both teams, with one player hitting a shot at the buzzer to create the two-point advantage. So, to me and the others in attendance, the kids had played quite well.

Later in the evening, after the game had been decided, and I had time to reflect on the fans’ comment, I was struck by what type of game would be had if we just “let the kids play.” Would there be no fouls called? What about three seconds in the lane. Surely no one would call the numerous traveling violations that occur during an officiated game.

No, it would be less of a contest and more of a talent show to see who could outdo the other player. The game of basketball is a TEAM game. And as such, we officiate the actions of all the players, not just the wanna be superstar.

In your business or place of employment, are you allowed to just “let em play? No rules to follow. No procedures to adhere to. Come in when you feel like it and go home whenever…that is a recipe for confusion, chaos and bankruptcy.

Please, do us all a favor and respect the fact that we officials do this out of our love for the sport and our desire to insure that young athletes have the chance to play a game that will be officiated by rules, not by our whims. And every once in a while the team with the bigger heart achieves victory over the team with more talent. That would not happen in a game with no rules or guidelines to follow.

Our kids will respect the rules we fairly enforce. Let’s prepare them for the work world now, so that their having to adhere to a job description won’t send them into convulsions. That is sure to be a slam-dunk in preparation for their game of life.