I cried when I saw a woman comforting a black police officer who was helping others get hospital treatment from an assassin’s attack in the streets of Dallas last night. The cop was like many I knew in the legal profession, good guardians of the peace who laid their lives on the line every day to protect us civilians, particularly those of us in the inner cities. Continue reading
It was Saturday morning, May the 19th of 2012. I awoke that early morning feeling well rested. Since the beginning of the new year I had started working Monday thru Thursday, having Fridays off. In the past, when working a full week my Saturdays were spent sleeping in and catching up on the many hours of sleep lost during the week. Continue reading
“Don’t do it Michael,” my ex-wife told me when I began planning for a debate between the candidates running for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1978. I didn’t listen to her and I spent too much time and money in an effort that failed miserably and kept my dreams of entering politics a nightmare that I never again wanted to materialize. Continue reading
I’ve never been so proud of being an American as I was the past week when some forty members of the Senate held an unprecedented filibuster and it was followed up by Congressional Democrats who took the House Chamber hostage for a“sit-in” protest against our nation’s inability to halt the sale of high-powered weapons now being used for mass destruction. 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
Cut back, Michael J. Simply cut back like the sandlot football running back you played as a kid while scampering on a field in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
You can’t go “cold turkey” on a lifestyle you’ve been living for more than 30 years. But you can choose to limit the amount of news you take in on a daily, or even an hourly basis. Continue reading
I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
Peggy’s mother, Mary, answered and said “Hello Michael.” She didn’t invite me in, but smiled and I kind of smiled back. Continue reading
My second wife stopped breathing shortly after they placed her in the emergency vehicle en route to a hospital some eight years ago. The day was six-months to date of her first bout with an emergency wagon when she fell in our Conshohocken, PA, home suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
She remained in a coma for more than five days then. This time, however, they were more certain that she would not recover from her latest, unplanned date with Miss Fate. A nurse or a social worker at the Hospital suggested I contact a priest to say the last rites for Wendy. Continue reading
My son, Nicholas, just didn’t seem to understand how much pain I suffered in Sutcliffe Park when 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
“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 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
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
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
When I write, I try to tap into the child within. I try to “feel” something that I can share with another, be it humorous, educational or shocking. I have stories to tell from my past that brought me to this point, and I think they may help another to feel what I feel and to take action even if that action is simply to refrain from acting or even thinking.
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.
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
Listen to what the Universe is saying. It may speak to you in ways you might not understand unless you’re open to all means of communication. Continue reading
Peggy sat at the table of the Blue Jay Restaurant, staring out the window and wondering where her life had gone, and what she should do with her new condition. 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
Ever wonder what you can do to be more like the person you always aspired to be? You know, the one you hoped you would grow up to be, but didn’t get the chance because life seemed to hit you upside your head and throw you off course? Continue reading
Is “letting go” a feminine trait?
Is it in the same category as “surrender” or “submit” — actions deemed by some son of a bitch to be “unmanly”? Continue reading
What gifts can I offer the world today? What insight, wisdom or thought could I bestow on others seeking the healing we need for our mutual pain and suffering?
I am no psychic. I’ve never seen an angel or felt the tingling sensation from a spirit wanting to use me to provide a message or a sign. I’m no medium. Continue reading
I miss you. My God, how I have missed you!
It feels like forever since we’ve been together.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I know that it’s my fault. I walked out on you believing I could get along without you, without your guidance without your help. Without your love . . . Continue reading
First, do no harm.
This quote from a famous Greek of antiquity could be the basis for a new Golden Rule for the Road. Continue reading
I got hit upside the head today.
Next, the sweet fragrance of roses mixed with just a slight tinge of oranges enticed my senses while meditating.
This followed the experience yesterday of missing keys mysteriously reappearing as I puzzled through my new life journey of “unnatural” awareness.
The guru then made the following announcement, quoting the feminine deity: Moor Jani:
We all have the capacity to heal ourselves as well as facilitate the healing of others. When we get in touch with that infinite place within us where we are Whole, then illness can’t remain in the body. And because we’re all connected, there’s no reason why one person’s state of wellness can’t touch others. Elevating them and triggering their recovery. And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and our planet.
There is no separation except in our own minds.
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
Good enough is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment . . . There’s nothing more to do . . . Your job is good enough . . . Your spouse is good enough . . .Your life is good enough . . . Your meditation practice is good enough. . . You don’t need anything more, and what you now have is good enough. — This is all according to a young monk, – Ajahn Khemavaro, who spoke on Impermanence, in a 2008 presentation, “Everything Will Be alright.” Continue reading
How may I serve you?
That’s the key to a happy life, you know. Learning to serve others selflessly with no expectation of a reward other than the knowledge you are doing unto others something you’d want them to do . . . unto everyone else.
I am about to be an author!
Well, a “published” author, that is . . .
I just learned that my book about Francis of Assisi, a historic novel, will be available at Amazon sometime in the next two months, September and October (2014). Writing it was a true labor of love. I mixed in Catholicism with Sufism and lots of Buddhism. I also introduced Francis, aka Giovanni di Bernadone, his real name by the way, to the Wisdom of Kabbalah and a belief in what I call “angel therapy.” Continue reading
Today’s meditation showed us that we all have a profound and innate wisdom. How have you experienced this in your life? Write about a time that you spontaneously said the right thing at the right time to someone. What did that communication feel like for you? — Deepak & Oprah 21-day Meditation Experience.
As I struggle to come up with a satisfactory answer for this question, let me focus instead on what Deepak had quoted William Blake as saying in reference to wisdom. Wisdom is “organized innocence.” What a concept! In order to have or to cultivate wisdom, I know that I must be in awe of something; I must see that thing with wonder, with the eyes of an innocent child. Continue reading
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
Him: God, I miss being in love. I guess I could say I miss you.
You helped me to tap into the feelings I usually only got with Shekinah, what the Kabbalah says is the feminine side of the divine. She’ll always be with me, and I see now you simply took her place for a little while here on Earth. Love is still there but only redirected now.
Thanks. Continue reading
- the lovely garden beside a Thai Buddhist Temple
- the freshness of post-meditation
- the purity of post-meditation
- the high of talking dharma with a new friend Luke
- surrounded by Bonsai trees Continue reading
Am I among the “Chosen?” Will I be one of those who make the “cutoff” at the end when the proverbial bill finally gets to be paid?
I don’t know. If you would have asked me some five years ago, I’d tell you to hit the road. Jack. I’m not into any of that doomsday stuff. The so-called “Chosen People” were the Jews, Right? Look what happened to them. And don’t the Jehovah Witness folks believe that a couple hundred thousand of them will disappear from the earth at the time of the Rapture? And what about some old-fashioned Presbyterians? Didn’t Calvin or one of their leaders claim to be among the chosen few? Continue reading
Sometimes the only way for me to understand something is to try to put it into my own words. Particularly, if I want to memorize or “imprint” something so that I can keep it near and dear to me like an inspirational poem or saying I still remember from my earliest days.
And so, thanks to the kindness of WordPress, I will use my meager intellect to place into words something my heart has tried to understand and permit to grow from one lifetime to another. It is the four truths that can enable those noble among us to overcome what is wrong in our lives and how we could set things right. Continue reading
It took several hours for the effects of the Sweat Lodge ceremony to kick in, but when it did I realized the control I always thought I needed was not in my hands, but in what the Greeks called the Fates; the Christians, God; and the Buddhists, Karma.
A Divine source, refered by some as the “Force,” the Divine Feminine,” the Creator, has dealt a hand to play with our own free will. We get to choose which cards to keep and the ones to discard. By standing pat or by seeking new ones to “change our luck” or to improve our hand, we cast our lot to the future. None of us expect to lose or to face tragedy or a financial crisis. We hope for improvement, to enrich ourselves through our card-playing skill and years of studying the game of life. Continue reading
Deborah loved with a love that was more than a love. Cupid’s arrow struck her just as a choir of angels sang and a special cherub played the most beautiful music in all the land over an ancient lyre, the same instrument that a shepherd boy named David once played to honor the god of the psalms. Continue reading
Take ’em. Break ’em. Make ’em.
O Grand Master, it is your females that will save this species. It is through their power, their innate abilities that man will be saved. Compassion and love must rule the day again. And power must be crushed by the mallet of humility before any dare send another child into war that old men dream of winning as if playing games of adolescent ruffians. Continue reading
You are the catalyst to my greater love. Your existence right here, right now, awakens in me another time, another place, when unconditional love blessed me. Continue reading
Why write of an experience, when you can experience it?
There’ll be time enough for writing when the chapter ends and a new one begins at the stroke of the pen.
Live now. Live in the present.
Love now. Love in the presence . . .
Write with the love you become tomorrow.
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
What is a monk to do when he is lonely? When he is blue?
When you reach that low point where you feel you are the loneliest person in the world, who or what do you turn to for relieve? Continue reading
It’s an affirmation I can live with over and over, day in and day out, from one lifetime to another, without ever getting tired of saying it.
It is in the giving of love that I’m twice blessed. I got so much of it when I come into your presence that I can’t keep it in and I must share or I know that I could die. And so, I tell you that “I Love You,” and hope that you never stop listening to me. Even if you blush and say that I’m only kidding and scold me, saying “Stop that, Michael. Quit playing around.” Continue reading
He’s at it again. This time, the Friar Pope is championing what I call the “untouchable class” of Catholics, the single mother, also known throughout Christianity’s Dark Ages as the “UN – WED MOTHER.”
(Funny, but those dark ages seem like only yesterday!) Continue reading
There’s a passage in Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus’ disciples complain that someone — one who is not one of them — is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. It seems that fundamentalists of all ages have held a belief that there was only one way to get to the kingdom; only one way, and that was through Jesus. Continue reading
How could I – a mother of two with a 10-year drug problem – be facing a life sentence for something stupid I did at the local Rite Aid store? Continue reading
When I was a child, I’d feel sorry for anyone who appeared less fortunate than I. That would include the white-haired elderly stooped over with age, as well as the infirm, a word I didn’t learn the meaning of until I was much older myself. Continue reading
On February 5th, 2012, a friend who calls herself, the Frugal Xpat, commented: “I always wanted to meditate . . . ”
I didn’t respond to the comment until now, but want to share how everyone could enjoy this exercise the frugal expat spoke of in Daily Meditation Desperately Needed. As she describes her life’s quest, she is on “An expat’s journey in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.” Continue reading
Shifting into cruise control, I let myself glide through many of life’s activities nowadays. I relax, take several deep breaths and seek a place inside where there are no thoughts, no worries, and no frets. Continue reading
I knew a boy
Who went to war
And left his home
I knew him well,
That boy was me
And now I cannot
— 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… )
I’ve taken compassion on the road. Literally!
I send affection to motorists cut off by a speeding car that winds in and out of lanes. I feel for the driver who was never told by the operator of a car in front that that operator was going to turn, despite what appears to be working lights that turn on and off when you press the turn signal lever up or down. Continue reading
I am complete.
I am finished.
I’ve done what I have done and everyone can be satisfied with my efforts, including — and most importantly — me. Continue reading
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
Cleaning a pot can be very meaningful, particularly if you block out all thoughts and concentrate on nothing but you and the instrument that has helped provide you with so much nourishment. Continue reading
Death entered into my life recently and I have never felt more alive than with — and in — its presence. Continue reading
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
Purity. There’s something in it that resonates with me. In my private moments, I try my best to connect with it, but once I start to analyze it, it vanishes. Continue reading
I get such a high while exercising that I can’t imagine why I haven’t done this more often in life. Continue reading
There is a tradition in Eastern philosophies where you’re taught to view each person and other sentient being as if he, she – or it – is your mother. I never knew how nurturing this could be until I allowed the child in me to reciprocate and bask in the most secure and loving place. Continue reading
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
After chanting a non-English mantra for some time, I finally learned its definition and discovered a gem of wisdom while contemplating its meaning. Meditating will never be the same, and I want to share with others a little of the enlightenment it’s provided me.
Om Mani Padme Hung. Continue reading
Reality shifted on me the other day, and it helped me realize that I have more control than my “preshifted” thoughts allowed me to see. Now, with a “time-control outlook,” I can try to change my world for the better. Continue reading
We should accept Rush Limbaugh’s apology for calling a woman a slut only if he agrees to take, and pass, a course on female reproduction. Then, and only then, can we be assured that someone other than locker-room juveniles has finally taught him the real facts about the birds and the bees. Continue reading
I don’t understand all the fuss that Catholic universities and hospitals are raising over providing health care for woman that includes mandatory birth control provisions. Why not let “practicing Catholics” following the teachings of their church to “opt out” for the coverage, while permitting non-Catholics what doctors and women’s groups say is a health benefit? Continue reading
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
The damn branch broke my concentration. I had not planned for an overhanging tree limb to block the pathway walking three-quarters of a mile from my home to the train station with my head facing my feet the entire time. But I was ordered by an eye doctor to lean my head all the way toward the ground 50 out of 60 minutes of each hour for seven straight days. Continue reading
It’s time for my disappearing act to begin. I close my eyes, wave an imaginary magic wand, and slowly begin to vanish from existence here. All thoughts and fears come to an end as I find protection beneath a cloak of invisibility, safe from the savages outside and the demons within. Continue reading
I was seething when I saw my former US senator decry Blacks receiving food stamps from the government. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told an Iowa audience this week that he would tackle this “race problem” if elected president, thus echoing the sentiments of his old congressional colleague, Newt Gingrich, who suggested poor students in city schools clean the bathrooms for their more affluent ones, rather than grow up to be pimps or prostitutes. Continue reading
“Why did you shoot her?”
“I don’t know.”
With these three words, the defendant buried himself, and no matter what I did to rehabilitate a self-defense claim before the jury, we were sunk. It showed that no matter what one plans, sometimes something can, and always will, go wrong. Continue reading
Ever wonder what life was like for ancestors living fifty, a hundred or even 200 years ago? How would you like to read a journal of some great, great, great-aunt forced to raise a family alone after her soldier husband had been killed in the Civil War? Like to see your great-grandfather dressed in Irish kilts speaking to you from the old country, or view a relative wearing a straw hat toasting you from America’s Roaring 20s? Continue reading
How’d you like to go back in time and correct mistakes made in the past? No, you couldn’t go back to the moment before you were conceived, or any other time in your far distant past. Go back to more recent moments – say in the past year or two — when you believed you knew so much about life and how to live it without doing harm to others. Continue reading
Anger. It hits like a poison arrow causing me to drop what I’m doing and focus on the pain it inflicts. Continue reading
I can think of no worse place to be than in a church, a temple or a synagogue when an unbidden and involuntary giggle would invade my psyche and take control of me. A “giggle,” is too mild a word: uncontrollable laughter would rise to the level of guffaws and downright knee-slappers’ right at the most somber parts of a religious service. Continue reading
I love women. I’ll take them in all shapes and sizes, the old and the young, the rich and the poor.
If it wasn’t for women, I — and a lot of guys I know — wouldn’t even be here! Continue reading
Am I un-American or anti-religious when I tell you something I’ve been trying to say for years, but have been afraid of hurting your feelings?
I want nothing for Christmas! Continue reading
(Caution: Exposure to this post could be hazardous to your health, particularly if you were raised Catholic with a taste of Buddhist and Kabalistic ingredients thrown in the mix.)
Indulgences are some things I never thought I’d think about once I finished with my Catholic upbringing and moved onto Eastern Studies and the spiritual advice from the Kabbalah. But, there I was reading how someone could limit their time in purgatory by performing certain acts and saying prayers. Continue reading
I saw more of the Divine in a beggar on the road to Calvary last year than I did in the three religions occupying Jerusalem. The beggar’s blindness beamed into me, and I’ll never forget the look on his face as I offered him Israeli shekels, and he bowed to me in thanks.
Thank God for Buddhism. What’s that you say? I can’t have one in, and of, the other?
Are you telling this red-blooded American veteran that I cannot follow the teachings of the Buddha and still believe in the God of Abraham? Continue reading
I am as dependent on you as you are on me, as we all are on the kindness and labor of others we too often take for granted.
As I look around, I see that my fortune is dependent on the cooperation and contributions of others. Continue reading
I want to follow and not lead; give and not take; love and not hate.
Like you, I want to be a soldier of peace and not war; a kind and loving friend to the poor and a prodding yet mild abrasion to the rich. Continue reading
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
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, Continue reading
Let’s Occupy a Vital Earth! Try it on. See if it fits and whether you’d be comfortable in adopting it when the Occupation of Wall Street and the protest at a thousand other locations worldwide comes to end.
And end it will, with nothing to commemorate it save historians remembering in their books the greatest mass demonstration since Abraham protested the Tower of Babel. Continue reading
“We all dream of a kinder, happier world. But if we wish to make it a reality, we have to ensure that compassion inspires all our actions. This is especially true with regard to our political and economic policies. Given that probably half the world’s population lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and education, I believe we need to question whether we are really pursuing the wisest course in this regard. Continue reading