D-Day Paratrooper falls prey to Covid-19

An American hero has fallen to the Coronavirus and the world may never see the likes of him ever again.
Ninety-eight-year-old George Shenkle, a card-carrying member of the “Greatest Generation” took part in the invasion of Normandy more than 75 years ago, freeing our universe from the evil of the Nazis. He served as a paratrooper with three combat jumps – including both D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge — and got a purple heart in return for the wounds he received after hitting the ground and running into enemy fire and explosions. Continue reading

Expressway of a heart leads to equanimity

I wanted the driver who cut me off to crash and burn.

For a brief moment, I thought of praying that he would immediately die for cutting in front of me as I was doing 60-miles-an-hour on the expressway behind a car just five lengths in front of me. I beeped my horn and flashed my high beams at the driver. I relished in the hatred I felt burning inside of me. I loathed him from the bottom of my heart and wanted a bloody accident to befall ‘em. Continue reading

Weight loss found in lightening myself & I

One doesn’t have to go on a diet to lose the excess weight of a lifetime of living. All you need do is to lighten your mind, get rid of burdens carried from childhood when the trauma of difficulties and missteps caused you to stumble and lose faith in your God-given direction.

“Lighten up,” is what someone told me once, and that is exactly what I have tried to do after experiencing Holotropic BreathWork  and listening to the new “Weight Loss” meditation offered by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra today. My struggle has ended and from now on, I will be harmony with me, myself and I. Continue reading

PTSD undergoes a Shamanistic treatment

The shaman applied pressure with his fingers and thumbs to the side, back and front of my skull. He told me to let him know if he caused me any pain.

I felt some discomfort, but it wasn’t intolerable and so I said nothing and let him continue the process as I sat in a chair in front of more than a hundred people attending the symposium on “What is Healing? – Archaic Traditions Meet Ways of Experiencing Modern Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy.” He was the principal speaker, having taught the participants to dance and sing in two large circles in the room where we had met. Continue reading

Owning the mental illness amongst us

Mental illness scares the shit out of me. The very term conjures up images of some crazed guy with wild, straggly hair and a demon-like smile of malevolence. Steven King kind of comes to mind when I think of someone who might be a little touched in the head. A Stephen King character, that is. Not Stephen King. Continue reading

My ‘Vietnam War Recall’ starts tomorrow

“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, and more desolation. Some of these young men think that war is all glory but let me say . . . war is all hell.” 

  • American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman

Continue reading

9-11 is Our Generation’s ‘Day Of Infamy’

Like December Seventh, Nineteen Forty-One, “9-11” will go down in American history as a new generation’s day of infamy.

In my lifetime, it ranks up there with the horrific day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Continue reading

Recalling some cool summers in the army

Summer always served as a “new beginning” for me when I was in the army. I got drafted on the Third of June and did my Basic Training in the hot, dry air of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I can’t tell you how many push-ups I did during the two-month training session as the meanest drill sergeant I ever seen brought fire to my poor soul by running me everywhere and cussing me out to force me into fighting shape. Continue reading

Cause of All Wars Questioned in Confederate Flag Controversy

President Barack Obama may have raised an issue on all wars when he eulogized a fallen comrade on June 26, 2015, at the funeral for the pastor of the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

While never detracting from the valor that Confederate soldiers fought with in the Civil War, he offered a plain and simple truth.

The cause they fought for was wrong. Continue reading

Who had the biggest impact on your life?

The person who had the biggest impact on my life was my second wife. She had a 157 IQ, but never once acted as if she was better than me. She easily got angry at injustices, and would on occasion lash out against the hypocrisy of politicians, while helping the underprivileged and the rights of women in a male-dominated society. Continue reading

It was me an enemy sniper was trying to kill

A Viet Cong sniper was trying to kill me. Some motherfucker hiding in the trees, the bushes, the triple-canopy jungle had just shot at my platoon. I thought he was shooting randomly, despite the debris from the ground, grassland and other tiny bits of rock that struck me from a bullet’s ricochets.

No. he was aiming at no one but me! It’s taken me more than forty years to figure that out. Continue reading

As stress keeps arising, meditation caps it

Someday I may just get my stress under control.

And like Buddy Holly once said: “That’ll be the day . . . that I die.” Continue reading

Learning a ‘Little Greek’ from Francesco

What did I learn about Francis of Assisi while researching the facts about his life?

He wanted to grow up to be a crusader and fight in the Crusades which had gone on for some one hundred years when he was born in 2081 or 2082.

Francis fought in a battle between the city-state of Assisi and its neighboring town of Perugia, which sided with the nobility and wanted to continue with the feudal system. Continue reading

Francis released on amazon.com

Well, I told you my first book would soon appear. And it did.

Just as I went on a cruise in a boat up to the new frontier of Alaska.

Francis of Assisi is on sale. It has one error which I found today. It has to do with Esther of the Bible and her relationship with a fellow who was her uncle but was identified by me as as her father. Not bad for a 266-page book, if I do say so myself.

Check it out. It’s called: “Francis of Assisi, A Novel Awakening to Lady Poverty”

Oh yeah. My name doesn’t appear anywhere on the cover. You see, I “discovered” the manuscript which was actually written by the  13th century monk and I arranged for it to be published after it was hidden in an old castle on an island of Greece. It is novel of an historic book. I think you’ll like it!

Michael j Contoveros

—————

For a look at the book, click on Francis of Assisi

Meditate first and foremost each day!

What a surprise!

I expected to try to get through the day today without my morning cup of meditation-offering from Deepak & Oprah. I figured the 21-day journey had ended yesterday, August 31st. Yet today, the American holiday called “Labor Day,” they gave us a gift — an extra day. And boy, did I need it. Continue reading

Explosion shatters peace but calm prevails

Question 2 of 4 on “Feeling Peaceful”

Thinking of this same peaceful experience, imagine that feeling of calm becoming deeper and stronger within your soul to the point where nothing happening in the environment could shake it. Describe what that kind of peace would feel like physically, mentally and emotionally. How could this type of peace change your life? — Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Day 3 — “Feeling Peace”)

Well, it would be hard to imagine my peace in Vietnam being any better than what it was that day. It could have very easily been shattered by gunfire. Worse yet, the peace could have been destroyed with my heart and my soul wounded by something called friendly fire.

That’s what happened during another incident while leading men on a search and destroy mission in what we called the “bush.” I had called in mortar fire on a suspected enemy location, but one of the rounds fell on my squad. Five soldiers were injured and I thank God that none were killed.

 (Please see Part 1 at:https://contoveros.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/peace-found-inside-middle-of-Vietnam-war/ /)

Continue reading

NaNoWriMo done in 30 days, thank God

Just finished 73,000 words about Francesco, the young man from Assisi who overcame post traumatic stress from battles as well as a year-long imprisonment before being ransomed by his rich mercantile father. Continue reading

Truly Living May Just Be Worth Dying For

The thought of going to prison never bothered me. I’d survive and flourish behind bars where I’d have more than enough time to reflect and write which I have found is my true love in life.

No, I could kill without worrying about the consequences. It would be my first offense. I am certified as a Vietnam veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I don’t see any judge or jury putting me to death for the crime.

All of this went through my mind when I was waiting at the train platform and a rather tall, white guy walked in front of me. I was standing near the tracks. I was close enough and in line with others stranding on either side of me that I never thought someone could make their way between me and the tracks. But the man did. He walked around me. He stood directly in front of me. No one else stood that close. I recall thinking how totally inappropriate and rude his actions were.

That’s when I planned to kill him. Continue reading

Vietnam War veteran recalls his journey

Dealing with the Vietnam War becomes a little easier each time I write about it. I “desensitize” myself. I now see my actions as separate from the emotions I felt while a young soldier, as well as the feelings of guilt many veterans like me,  imposed on ourselves while readjusting to civilian life. It’s helpful when a high school student asks questions and you try to be honest and direct. Continue reading

Where is the boy I left home for the war?

I knew a boy

Who went to war

And left his home

Behind him.

I knew him well,

That boy was me

And now I cannot

Find him.

— A Vietnam veteran’s tweak of a World War II sailor’s song about war
(Photo of this young World War I “Doughboy” courtesy of greatwar.nl/oldsoldiers/lloydcleme… )

Pinned for a life above & beyond the call

While Neil Armstrong was taking a giant leap for all mankind, I had taken a small step toward adulthood one month after the moon landing, and I had no one to thank for it except my brother, who encouraged me to aim for the stars in becoming an officer and a gentleman in the Army of the United States of America. Continue reading

Tattoo Tests Tale to Tell the Truth

A tattoo can readily identify someone, and sometimes one can become the key to the guilt or innocence of a man facing the wrath of a woman he may have wronged. Continue reading

Omega opens doors to lost PTSD veterans

I didn’t want to go back to Omega Institute this year. Each time I travelled to this land of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, I’d get high from the holistic experience. But then I’d change into an Ichabod Crane feeling chased by the Headless Horseman who’d tell true life stories that caused so much pain I couldn’t hold it inside. Continue reading

Need not battle to understand war horrors

When I heard the song  “Still in Saigon” the other day, I could have sworn a Vietnam veteran had written about his flashbacks and a need to process what was unprocessed as a young man.

Little did I know that the writer never set foot in Southeast Asia, let alone serve in the military. That got me wondering about the performing arts and how someone who never experienced war could capture its long-term effects on those who faced combat. Continue reading

How many times must we say “I’m sorry”?

Saying you’re sorry can be downright scary. Particularly, if you’re not sure if the other party will accept your mea culpa even though it’s from the bottom of your heart. Continue reading

Seeing a Veteran’s’ History Never Repeats

Do yourself a favor. Keep an eye out for a vet.

Actively seek out someone in your church, synagogue or temple and befriend him so that what happened in Philadelphia last week never happens again. Continue reading

Resolve to stop anger from feeding on me

Anger. It hits like a poison arrow causing me to drop what I’m doing and focus on the pain it inflicts. Continue reading

War is never the answer 11-11-11

On this Veterans Day, 11-11-11, what would you tell yourself if you could go back in time and greet that young man recently returned home from the war?

War is never the answer, but only a failure on all sides to reach an answer. Continue reading

End needless suffering in US debates

Tone it down America. You are cutting off your nose to despite your face. The face of the body politic, that is, and we are creating needless hurt for the countrymen we’d like to lead to our mutual goal: the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading

Don Quixote battles PTSD in Philly courts

I never felt more like Don Quixote than when I represented a woman charged with a crime.

And while I didn’t want it, I’d feel called to “champion” her, even when it cost me my reputation, my sanity and my very career as a trial attorney. Continue reading

PTSD creates new ‘Cause and Condition’

Causes and conditions.

That’s what life is all about. Causes and conditions. The sooner I realize this, the easier it will be to reach enlightenment.  Continue reading

Light shines here from a tip of the candle

‘Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle,’ illuminating the way for the whole nation.

If veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding, and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war.

And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Gratitude Given Freely Can Grow on You

Want to feel good? Pick out five things each day to show your gratitude. Write ’em down. But, don’t try to fake it. You really gotta look for some thing in your life, some person, some reason that, deep down inside, you can say “makes me grateful.”

That’s a message I got from a fellow named Bill Stauffer who addressed a group of like-minded people who were seeking some spiritual insights this morning. Continue reading