Sounds like something cruising slowly out of a Twilight Zone episode.
But, it is the creation of MoveOn.org to organize a bookmobile to travel to sites in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis will be speaking so that persons outside his listening audience can be freely given some of the books that he has banned in schools in the Sunshine State. They plan to have persons drive the vehicle around the state in highly trafficked areas that will attract media attention.
“Gabriel’s Messages” opened my heart to so many truths not only about life but of the transition of death, and I hope that others can read this wonderful book by my friend, Cyndi Smith, a fellow member of the Center for Contemporary Mysticism of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.
It offers hope to a world that seems so weary about bad news for it predicts a new order of things 25 years from now. For instance, a “food tax” will be developed and help to send food to all corners of the world to end hunger; fossil fuels will no longer be used and be replaced by battery power or renewable energy. and medicine will become universal – we will be able to see any doctor in any part of the world.
The world is celebrating the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi today! Francesco di Bernadone, whose real name was actually Giovanni (John), was born some 800 years ago. He came from a wealthy family. But turned his back on his mercantile father and gave up all worldly goods to help the poor as well as the animals.
I got a new pair of hearing aids, and a new world of sounds has opened for me!
I wore ‘em outdoors during a walk on my 10,000-steps-a-day journey, and the first thing I noticed was the sound of birds chirping merrily in the trees I walked under. They had to have been communicating with each other because as soon as one stopped chirping, another one seemed to follow up in response.
The following is Gabriel’s Message as channeled by my good friend Cyndi Smith:
Your soul does not completely fit inside your body. Some of your soul remains in Heaven in what you call your higher self. Much of it is here inside of you but the part that overflows your body is called your aura.
The authentic human voice is a thing many writers strive to capture. Few can claim to have succeeded. Contos, however, very much has earned that badge of honor. The text is home to an authentic and powerful narration that still, in its honest humanity, grounds itself in the humble approach to one man’s life and what that life means.
I don’t often cry over books. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just something that very rarely happens.
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated . . .”
This quote from Mark Twain touched my very soul yesterday when I got a message from one of my old colleagues who said that he had read something “disturbing.” The exact quote via Messenger was: “Michael, are you okay? I saw something disturbing for your name.”
My reply: “Disturbing? I haven’t done anything to warrant that since I made an illegal turn into the senior citizen center in Upper Merion Township last week and a cop stopped me.”
I knelt at the gravesite while bowing my head and closing my eyes to pray yesterday morning. I was visiting Calvary Cemetery of West Conshohocken, the burial site for Father William E Atkinson, an Augustinian priest who passed away in 2006 and is now being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church to be named a saint.
It took me more than 50 years, but I finally published my Vietnam War story and the toll it took on me after leading a combat infantry platoon as a 21-year-old first lieutenant in the US army.
I self-published with the help of editors who wrote the back cover description. They used a mug shot I had taken some ten years ago while attending a PTSD meditation clinic at Omega Institute for veterans and their families. The clinic introduced me to different forms of meditation that allowed me to eventually deal with the trauma and view the war experience in a more benign and compassionate light.
Synchronicity is a term I have come to cherish since being introduced to it by my favorite psychologist, Carl Jung. It refers to deeply meaningful coincidences that mysteriously occur in one’s life. Jung proved by the law of probability that they were not mere coincidences but insights into our rich and worthwhile lives.
“Groundhog Day” is the movie starring Bill Murray who visits Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is destined to live each day over and over for what seems like eternity. Its message is one of Karma and reincarnation, particularly when one realizes that the director and co-screen-writer was a practicing Buddhist named Harold Remis. Continue reading →
I will never forget my old wooden desk in grade school and the drills we held in order to protect us from a nuclear blast. The nuns from St. Ludwig’s Catholic School ordered us to get out of our seats and to curl up beneath the desks where we practiced the silence of Benedictine monks. Someone had pulled down the shades over the wide windows of the second-floor room and we sat for long minutes that felt like hours. Continue reading →
Joy filled my soul as I read that the 12 boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were thinking of entering a monastery in honor of the former Navy Seal that gave his life in an effort to save them. Continue reading →
Padre Pio has a close connection with Philadelphia because of a woman called in a prayer to bring her sick child to see him in 1968 and the blessing he granted that led to her miracle cure just a few weeks before he died. Continue reading →
Father Koenig put the gloves on me when I was ten years old and directed me toward the kid who was my same size but some two years older. That kid – Billy McLaughlin – kicked my butt. But I never cried or gave up as I swung wildly at him in efforts to land my own punches. Continue reading →
I experienced the Presence of God when I was 12 years old but didn’t know it until some fifty years later when I meditated and realized how much the Divine had filled me when I was praying for a girl I had just met on that glorious pre-teenage weekend. Continue reading →
Alexander giggled like a schoolboy as 40 of us met in a service Sunday and quietly tried to meditate for some 30 minutes.
Wait a minute. He is a school boy. Alexander was all of 14 years old yesterday while attending the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia along with his mother. I was sitting next to the youth and about halfway through the gathering, a sound erupted from the other side of the room. It sound like someone adjusting a metal chair on the wooden floor, but to a young mind like that of Alexander, it also sounded like someone farting. Continue reading →
A “dead-dog-loser” is the name trial lawyers gave to cases no one expected you to win in court. I had a few of them and always tried my best to get a defendant to plead guilty before making a fool of myself and him by calling his case “ready” for trial. Continue reading →
There is a message I receive every time I travel to the IKEA store and visit the “As Is” department. I get a feeling that the Universe is telling me to open myself to the message the Swedish furniture store wants to share with the rest of the world.
I wanted to shoot the political sign I saw outside of Philadelphia the other day but ended up feeling sorry for all of us who react violently against the person we demonize on the other side of the aisle. Continue reading →
If I had my druthers, I think I would have made cats and dogs more like people and make people more like the other animals.
Yes, as God, I would have changed the book of Genesis and created the dog first and then taking a rib from the first one, I would have created his loving mate and good friend, the cat. Continue reading →
You’ll never find me here. I learned years ago that I could hide away from you whenever I feel you’re looking too closely at me or expecting me to act a certain way that I really don’t want to act, to speak, or to even think. Continue reading →
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just thought you needed to know, that’s all.”
Peaches said nothing as we sat on the floor of her vestibule. I saw her eyes water up a little and I wanted to cry myself.
“I still love her” I continued without looking at the young girl I had shared such an intimate moment with at the young age of 19.
“I guess I never stopped loving her, if you want to know the truth.”
“You were her best friend in high school and you knew her as much as anybody did” I said, asserting a belief that neither one of us could deny. “I would break up with her, but we’d always got back together every time. You knew that when we first dated.”
“I should have been honest with you. But I liked you, I still like you. And wouldn’t hurt you for anything. But I don’t love you. I love Peggy, and I guess I always will.” Continue reading →
Why is anger my “go to” emotion? Why does it crop up whenever I’m confronted with something I don’t understand or something I feel threatened by?
“Crop up” is not the right phrase to use. My anger “erupts.” It goes from zero to sixty within the span of a mini-second. It always seemed to be that way, even as a kid. Now at last I think I know why. Continue reading →
If you could go back in time to attend a Meet-Up in Jerusalem with the famous rabbi from Nazareth to share some bread, wine and good conversation, would you sign up and go?
How about traveling back some 2,600 years to give a listen to the Four Noble Truths in northern India by a fellow who some claim had reached enlightenment? Would you agree to meet weekly to discuss life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Continue reading →
My son, Nicholas, just didn’t seem to understand how much pain I suffered in Sutcliffe Parkwhen I took him to see fireworks on clear and starry night sky on the Fourth of July some years ago.
At first, I enjoyed the rockets zooming into the air. They were a colorful red, white and blue explosions that took your breath away with gasps of wonder and awe.
Soon however, they took on a menacing demeanor, however, as each blast began to remind me of the Vietnam War and the rounds of mortar fire that fell on me and my platoon some 30 years earlier. Continue reading →
I’ve opened my mind to a new way of seeing and I am free as long as I can keep my peripheral vision on anything but the object of my focus.
What I do is distract myself from looking at the car in front of me when I’m cruising on the highway. I set my gaze off in the distance where I take in the beautiful blue skies interrupted now and again by a while cloud. Continue reading →
I see my life through the eyes of a kid who grew up in Brewerytown, swashbuckling my way through fights on the streets and later the jungles of Vietnam before finding my true calling as a spiritual clarion who wants all North Philadelphia children to return to their God-given Nature of Love. Continue reading →
It was the second time in about a week it turned up missing. The first time was in Korea and I never detected it’s loss. The Reverend Lee, the WON Buddhist minister leading a pilgrimage in Korea last week, had approached me with a black object in her hand. She looked worried and I couldn’t figure out what caused her distress. Continue reading →
That’s one of the prayers I’d recite as an altar boy at St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church and I’ll never forget it ‘til the day I die. Don’t ask me what it means. I never figured it out, but I loved to say it! Continue reading →
Korea awaits me next week as I travel more than a thousand miles to find myself and discover reasons why I am still here on planet earth.
Yes, I’m joining a group from Philadelphia, New York and Chicago that will fly to Seoul, South Korea, to take part in the centennial celebration of the WON Buddhism founding by its master on April 28th, 1916. Continue reading →
I went within and felt nothing this morning. I knew this day would come, but I thought I would put it off until the day I’d die. Yes, I thought I’d have enough juice within to tell my story until I took that last breath.
But Life fooled me. It hit me upside the head, showing me you can’t take anything for granted. All things are subject to change. All phenomena are transitory, all are impermanent. The only permanence that exists is Love I believe that energizes us and the world we all live in. Continue reading →
Describe three sources of inspiration in your life that keep you aiming to be a better you.
— Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s Free 21-day Meditation
My calling in life is to help others come closer to the Light. I firmly belief that we all came from the Light, and that we all want to return to it. I want to share my experiences with the Divine so that others can see how Love’s energy can raise from life’s difficulties a simple schmuck like me.
If I had a magic wand I would wave it and remove all of the hate in our land. It would take away the hurt all felt throughout the ages of man from the beginning of time when Cain killed his brother and when a stupid Esau sold his birthrate to his brother Jacob for a lousy bowl of soup. Continue reading →
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 →
My host in Freiburg, Germany, escorted me and her husband on a shamanic journey as we laid on the carpeted floor in their guest room and she guided us to the “lower world.” She drummed for a good 15 minutes, never letting up the beat as she walked around us covered by blankets with eyes closed and our hearts open. Continue reading →
Don’t take my word for it. Scientific research has discovered that the active conditions of anxiety and agitation causes unhappiness. Becoming quiet and stilling the mind lowers blood pressure and relieves the stress that’s produced in our busy lives. Continue reading →
I feel like the character in a comic strip who has had a cloud over his head with nothing but calamities and obstacles blocking his every move. No matter what he did, he’d be thrown off stride, be it from a torrential rainfall or an avalanche along a sunshine-filled pathway. Continue reading →
I grew up in a two-story row house in North Philadelphia in a mixed neighborhood where we played in front of the fire-plug and got ice from old ice-trucks that made their way up the tiny one-way street. Continue reading →
I’m enjoying life and feel a peace and calm I didn’t know I’d ever experience again. It’s like falling in love for the very first time. I look forward to each new day filled with hope and a smile for whatever life presents to me. Continue reading →
When will I develop enough faith to believe things happen for my well-being? And when can I truly trust my instincts and live more peacefully in tune with what the Cosmos is manifesting just for me ?Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, I envisioned what the coming year would be like in a “Vision Board.” I got together with a small group and pasted magazine pictures and bold 48-point type letters to a cardboard placard showing what we would like to see enfold in 2016.
I placed the Vietnam War book at the top, adding lots of spiritual and meditative symbols along side of it. On the bottom line I pasted “Love to Travel” and displayed two large pictures of my son and I on a cruise to Alaska some two years ago.
Little did I know then that writing about the war would take a backseat while my traveling plans would enlarge and grow immensely! Continue reading →
The word, “Contoveros” in Latin means “Singer of Truth.” I didn’t know that as a child when I learned that it was my father’s real last name. Someone at Ellis Island shortened it to “Contos.” One of my wives once told me that the new word means “Short.” Continue reading →
“Think before You Speak”reads the sign that my new best friend gave me for Christmas. She thought of me when seeing it, she said. She knew how many problems I have had with boundaries. Or, rather, lack of boundaries. Continue reading →
Reiki, the universal life energy, opened me to one of the most vivid dreams of my life last night. And, as my Reiki teacher once told me, “Write down your dreams . . . There could be a message in store for you.” Continue reading →
“What am I doing here?” I asked myself as I sat in a cushioned chair with some 50 other people early this morning on the last day of 2015. I was here at the invitation of a woman I hardly knew, a minister, that enticed me to join the world in a planet-wide prayer for peace. Continue reading →
I experienced something scientists have labeled “Post-Traumatic Growth” twice in my life and some forty years apart. Both led to major changes in my life and a new look at life like I never had imagined it to be. Continue reading →
I didn’t know how much joy there could be in grief until sorrow encompassed me and a warm flow of unconditional love spread throughout my entire being. Someone I knew experienced a death in her family and it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks when I learned of her demise . . . Continue reading →
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 →
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
Brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
— Marianne Williamson
( My good friend MaryCatherine shared this and I am shining it for you!)
When was the last time you read a book where you had to stop to digest what you just took in because you wanted to savor what you felt?
And then while resonating with it, you get a warm glow about yourself; you feel lighter, more connected with the world and so happy that another person can put into words what you know is so true? Continue reading →
Why is it that I find myself sticking my foot into my mouth everytime something good comes my way? Why do I screw things up so badly? What curse have I created in some past life for me to resolve through some kind of karmic debt that I must repay in this lifetime? Continue reading →
I fall to my knees every day and give thanks for at least three things that I am totally grateful for. I usually include my son and at least one of our cats, but also acknowledge the advent of a new day as well as a nice new warm bed and the person who invented the heater to keep all of us warm. The cats included! Continue reading →
I believe that all of us are placed on this earth for a purpose, and the aim for us in life is to find out what that purpose is!
We don’t usually seek the answer right away. Most put it off until some calamity forces us to find answers to life’s most important questions. Why am I here? Why am I in this body? Who am I, really? Continue reading →
“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
I grew when meeting four people Monday who helped me expand my consciousness in ways I had never knew existed before. Someone introduced me to the Fifth Dimension, while another invited me to a New Age exhibition in Bucks County where light-workers of all shapes and sizes would introduce newbies like me to new and exciting pathways to Nirvana. Continue reading →
You wanted more and I couldn’t give it to you. I was seeking love, romance, and someone I could be committed to. You simply saw me as a “one-night stand.” Someone you enjoyed being with for an hour, a night, or just one day in the life of two ships like us meeting briefly on a night at sea. Continue reading →
On this Labor Day weekend, I’d like to offer the song “Joe Hill” to all my union-supporting friends, and share the story of the man who helped me as a union organizer in what seem another lifetime ago.Continue reading →
Musical refrains from Rock & Roll songs helped get me through the Vietnam War. I didn’t know all the lyrics of the songs, only those short parts where I’d stop what I was doing and raise my voice in unison with the lead singer. Continue reading →
Kids I grew up with in the tough section of North Philadelphia said that I had “a lot of heart.” I cherish that statement more than any I later heard as a teenager, a young adult or even someone in his middle ages looking back on what made him the most proud in his short lifetime. You’d have a “lot of heart” if you didn’t care for the consequences when sticking up for a black kid when a white “friend” called him the “N” word and then classified you as a “N-gger lover” for coming to his defense.
Reiki melts away stress. That’s how it works on me. I feel parts of my body easing up, relaxing and “collapsing in” on themselves, if that is possible or, rather, imaginable. I liken the feeling to the green-colored Wicked Witch of the West who, when splashed accidentally with a bucket of water by the Tin Man trying to douse a fire engulfing the Straw Man, the personification of evil in the Merry Old Land of Oz declares, “I’m melting. I’m melting.” Water melts away the bad, and Dorothy is proclaimed all that is good. Continue reading →
Much of what I know about war was what I learned while playing as a kid. You know, using a stick or a broken branch from a tree, I’d pretend it was a rifle to shoot the bad guys who were out to get me and the rest of the good guys in my old neighborhood. Continue reading →
All of my legal career involved defending someone charged with crimes or offenses against the law. I worked 20 years as a lawyer, trying more than a hundred jury trials, winning more than half of them.
But to be honest, my first taste of arguing the law came not as a defense lawyer, but as a prosecutor, one appointed by some colonel to bring charges against a buck private who broke a law and faced a summary offense for some minor infraction.
We could never ever have a delicate coffee table in our home when I was growing up. My dad – who came to America from Greece when he was only 15 – would smash his hand onto the table, breaking it in two or more pieces.Continue reading →
Closing my eyes, I open all my senses to group meditation!
The smell of lavender and a hint of myrrh greet me as I walk into the meditation room. I had not expected my sense of smell to be the first one to experience such a warm and inviting welcome. I should not have been surprised. The olfactory system is the first sensory organ I usually use, and I’m not too proud to state I am usually lead by the nose. Continue reading →
I believe that I have become a “spiritual soldier of fortune” and would travel anywhere my heart beckons me to learn, to pray, and to find answers about the universe.
I got an inkling of this calling when I was a teenager. It came about when I was 18, just out of high school, and experimenting with grass and LSD. Timothy Leary enticed me with his message in the 1960s, advising all to “turn on, tune in and drop out.” I turned on and tuned into the message, but couldn’t afford to drop out because I was from a working-class family that saw work as a way out of poverty and into the middle class. Continue reading →