Sit Down Comedy … August 30th, 2019

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Sit Down Comedy

The eyes pop open and the feet are heading toward the floor—it’s the beginning of another day. Right there, in this pivoting moment, you get the message.

A feeling sweeps over your body, informing you where you are and threatening to control your whole living space.

Stop rushing.

With your still feet on the floor, ask yourself a question—out loud, if you’re alone:

How do I feel?

Don’t be surprised if the answer comes back, “Shitty.” Or maybe, “Great.” It could be, “I’m not sure.”

Unfortunately, many people believe it is wrong to run your life by how you feel.

Since educational systems are very similar for all of us, our religions don’t differ that much and our politics bluster controversy but don’t render anything unique, what ends up setting us apart are feelings.

Please do not think you can control your existence through “mind over matter.”

You aren’t a goddamn Ninja and you certainly don’t have a sword.

The best and the worst you’ve got are your emotions. Therefore, speak the question, “How do I feel?” Make it your morning drill.

Then, when you get the answer, ask a second question:

Why do I feel this way?

Sometimes it’s because you watched a scary movie before you went to bed, or you have to pay a bill or take a test. Or maybe you spent your nighttime hours eating like a four-year-old in a candy store.

You will be surprised that the physical, psychological and even spiritual can often hijack your feelings. Identify the reasons.

This is what I refer to as a S.O.D.—a sense of dread.

Something is going to come up that you don’t want to come up and you’re frightened about how it’s going to come down.

It won’t be resolved by a good breakfast. You can’t get the shower hot enough. Playing music in the background has limited possibilities.

Make note:

You aren’t living a life—you are learning to masterfully maneuver your emotions.

And by maneuver, I mean find them, identify their source and open yourself up to other people. Yes, never be afraid, when you emerge from your room in the morning, and someone asks you how you feel, to speak the truth out loud.

“Physically I’m pretty good, mentally I’m a little scattered and for some reason I’m a little nervous.”

This statement is for your benefit–because we gain power and healing as human beings when we confess who we are openly.

So let’s review:

First question: How do I feel?

Second question: Why do I feel this way?

Confession: Based upon what I know thus far, these are my beginning sensations today.

Candidly, if you try to ignore your starting feeling, you will fail the day. On the other hand, if you identify the feeling, you will receive a much greater sense of well-being. Once you know how you really feel, have figured out the source of it, and you’ve confessed it out loud—either to yourself or someone else—then you’re ready for the door.

Sometimes it’s a door in, and sometimes a door out.

But many of us ruin our morning, still bleary-eyed and uncertain. We’re not maneuvering our emotions, and we miss the door. But if you know how you feel and you’ve identified where it came from and you’ve confessed your profile, then you’ll see the door in or the door out.

It’s probably one of the most exciting things—and one of the most unexplainable happenings in our lives.

A way is made for us if we are ready to see the door.

Then, once you see the it and you have yourself primed, enter the door. Change, adapt, include, evolve. When you do these things, you find yourself in greater unity with the world around you instead of going into situations kicking and screaming, blaming others and eventually laying it at the doorstep of God.

So find the door in or out, then change—happy that you’ve alerted yourself. And finally you end the day grateful.

There is a much better chance that you will wake up the next morning feeling better if you end your day grateful.

It’s not luck. It’s not chaos. And by the way, God does not have a wonderful plan for your life.

This is your space and your doing. If you want to do it with power, begin each day with, “How do I feel and why do I feel that way?”

Then confess, look for the door in or out, change, and move toward the solution.

And finish it off by giving a big chuckle in gratitude.

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3 Things … July 11th, 2019

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That Make a Great Meal

1. Prepare it with someone you love

 

2. Make it simple so that it’s always fun

 

3. Eat it with gratitude and laughter

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Jonathots … November 20th, 2018


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Jonathan's Handbook of Hands

On special occasions, when we are able to escape the sensibility of our own head and reach out beyond our cloistered environment, the question then becomes, how do we touch?

How do we use our hands in a constructive format that isn’t clumsy or ham-fisted? There is a severe danger in trying to over-complicate our lives, by studying our motives to such a degree that we are frightened to motivate.

But there is one enlightening approach that never fails to deliver an exciting conclusion. When we don’t know how to touch the lives of other people, find a moment, an opportunity to pat them on the back–literally.

Understanding that people are disappointed, grief-stricken, uncertain or wounded, rather than trying to force our thoughts into their space, we can pause before leaving the room and touch them on the shoulder.

There is no greater tool of communication than the passing graze on the shoulder or the pat on the back.

Nothing needs to be said, no note is required to explain the meaning–just the simple confirmation expressed by that motion personifying, “I’ve got your back” takes any frustrated human traveler to tears.

It is the prudent, kind, tender and economic use of our touch.It doesn’t demand that the receiver be grateful or that they converse about their sensations concerning the overture.

It is the first step in understanding the Handbook on Hands.

  • Don’t speak.
  • Don’t become angry.
  • Don’t editorialize.
  • Don’t hug.

As you leave the room, pat their shoulder.

It is powerful.


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Good News and Better News… July 24th, 2017

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Sunday morning, bright and early, I headed off with my buddy, Janet, to St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Melbourne (even though the words “bright and early” should never appear in the same sentence.)

Over the years, Ms. Clazzy and I have learned a very important lesson: those who have gathered in a church are not there to see us, no matter how much we’ve been advertised. And they’re not necessarily there to learn about God, either.

They are accustomed to gathering. It is a tradition. Each one has his or her reasons for being there–ranging from preparing the coffee to loving the organ music, to appreciating communion, to getting stuck with usher duty.

So it is ridiculous for the two of us to think that we will come in and move mountains, or even rearrange dirt piles. Our job is simple–and made easier by the kindness of those who assisted us with our equipment and by the tender spirit of Pastor Blaine Johnson.

We are to be grateful for those who’ve attended, encourage what we see that’s positive, and gently address what’s missing.

Without the initial burst of gratitude for what is available, you immediately becomes the eternal brat who is never satisfied unless you get your own way.

Do I wish there were more people at St. Timothy Lutheran Church? I don’t give it a second thought, since there aren’t.

Do I wish I was going to larger churches than St. Timothy Lutheran Church? I don’t give it a second thought, because I’m not.

I am grateful for all the souls before me.

Then there are things that come out which are delightful and positive. There are people who greet you even though they have never seen you before. There is a sense of organization that lends itself to progress instead of chaos. Opportunities.

Yet in the midst of Jan and myself being grateful and reveling in the positives set before us, some missing spaces are obvious. Shall we refer to these as an absence of the presence?

  • An absence of the presence of jubilation.
  • An absence of the presence of radiant joy.
  • An absence of the presence of personalizing the message of Jesus to our own endeavors.
  • An absence of the presence of giggling.
  • An absence of the presence of the hand clapping which symbolizes confirmation of inner glee.

Just quietly ask the question, what’s missing?–and then allow the Spirit of God to offer suggestions.

So while grateful for the congregated and my celebration of the positives, I talked to them about passion–the ability for the heart to stimulate praise instead of relying on the memory.

Did we make progress? Will next Sunday’s service at St. Timothy reflect any of the energy of the visitation?

It’s a foolish question; irrelevant.

Because the good news is that Pastor Blaine and the fine folks of St. Timothy found it in their hearts to invite us to come and share our talents.

And the better news is that God, in His infinite wisdom, leaves it up to each individual soul to determine what he or she will do with what has been seen and heard.Donate Button

 

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Jesonian… June 17th, 2017

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Leprosy is a loser.

You lose feeling. You lose your fingers and your toes; you lose your friends. You lose interaction with the world around you. You lose control of your life. At least, that’s the way it was in Jesus’ day.

That is why it’s so remarkable that ten lepers got together and overlooked their angst to come up with a plan. They decided to go see Jesus.

I’m not so sure lepers do a whole lot together. I suppose there would be the fear that the infection in your brother or sister might even be worse than yours.

But ten of them planned a road trip. They even included one Samaritan, which all the Jews hated. I guess they gave him a free pass since they shared dying in common.

Ten lepers traveling together caused quite a stir. Everyone was frightened of the disease. Multiply that fear by ten. Therefore, getting anywhere near Jesus must have been a feat, and being granted an audience–the first miracle.

So when Jesus tells all ten lepers to go and show themselves to their priest, they launch off together on a mission of questionable potential. They are not immediately healed, nothing is changed and they’re on their way to see an aged rabbi who certainly possessed no remedy..

But along the way, suddenly each one of them is restored to wholeness, with beautiful pink flesh (or whatever color they originally had). We don’t know how long it took.

But being faithful, and even more aggressive to achieve their mission because of their restoration, they plunged ahead to come in contact with what would surely be a dumbfounded clergyman.

All except one.

The Samaritan–that renegade outsider–decides to turn back to see Jesus and thank him for the miracle. The other nine shake their heads in disbelief. They view themselves “the good ones”–the souls being obedient. They trudge on, praying for their errant companion as he races back to express his gratitude.

When the grateful, healed man from Samaria arrived and worshipped Jesus for giving him back his life, Jesus had a very interesting response.

First, let’s look at what he did not say. Jesus didn’t say, “Why are you here? I told you to go to the priest. Just like you Samaritans to not follow the rules.”

Or, “Because you didn’t do what I said, here’s your leprosy again.”

No–Jesus says something surprising. “Where are the other nine?”

This strikes me as a bit hypocritical, since Jesus sent them on a specific task to show themselves to a religious fellow to confirm their healing. But Jesus not only asks where they are–he mocks the nine for not having the gumption of the Samaritan, to return and express appreciation.

I view this as a warning–a gunshot in the air for all the righteous rowdies in our world who think because they follow some verse of scripture or some isolated command that they are viewed by the heavens as supernally superior. They tell you everything they are sure God finds unfavorable, and cite verses to prove their point.

They are wrong.

Jesus makes it clear–there is something greater than the written or spoken Word of God. It’s called “being led of the Spirit.”

And when the Spirit confirms to you that you’re healed and no priest had anything to do with it, and that the most valuable thing in life is to be grateful, you will bypass the initial command in order to follow the greater calling.

You don’t have to look very far in the life of Jesus to see that the scribes and Pharisees constantly reminded him that he was breaking Jewish law. His response was always basically the same: “You pursue the traditions of men instead of the heart of God.”

A Samaritan former leper broke a rule to fulfill a promise. Because he did, he was praised. And those who did everything by the book were mocked.

If you’re not prepared to go against the rules to fulfill the righteousness of where the Spirit is leading, don’t call yourself a follower of Jesus.

 

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G-Poppers … February 17th, 2017

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Jon close up

Feelings.

They normally travel around with a forlorn adjective: hurt. Hurt feelings.

It is the most common malady of humans–even more prevalent than the cold.

Feelings are hurt for one simple reason: each one of us feels that we are more important and valuable than what others may feel at any given moment.

99% of the conflicts between nations are based on hurt feelings. Some of those painful emotions go back generations.

And even though we try to use education and religion to tamp down our need for recognition, deep within our hearts, we want to be treasured instead of trashed.

So we fight.

We argue.

We struggle.

We promote our value in comparison to the worth of others.

So we start grasping at subtle differences like skin color, sexual orientation and even gender.

  • “You can’t be as good as me because you’re a woman.”
  • You aren’t my equal because you’re black.”
  • “I’m more important because I’m an American.”

G-Pop wonders if his readers might want to become part of the solution instead of clogging up the train station heading to confusion.

It’s really simple: walk into your heart and fire apathy–as you hire appreciation.

Everyone needs the grace of gratitude.

The amount we receive determines how much fuel we have to fire up our engines toward success–or crash down in revenge.

G-Pop thinks it boils down to a sip, a cup and a bucket.

1. A sip: “Thanks.”

That just cools the dry, complaining, achy throat of anyone who is tired of being unappreciated.

2. A cup: “Thanks, we could not have done this without you.”

Not only cooled, but a quenching of the aggravation over a history of being used.

3. A bucket: “Thanks. You are just so freakin’ awesome.”

Now you’re tying generosity into the power of their character. It drenches them in joy.

Of course, you can overdo the bucket and you can under-do the sip. But if you’re wondering why human relationships don’t work, it’s because the fluid of thankfulness that should be flowing among us has dried up in favor of the desert of distance and ignorance.

G-Pop will tell you that most of us humans need at least a cup of appreciation a day. That’s a lot of sips–but certainly can be handled with one bucket.

The next person you meet will be parched from the lack of gratitude. He or she feels they’re important.

God has not given you the job to humble others, but instead, to moisten their feelings with legitimate appreciation.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … February 1st, 2017

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pohymn-what-is-kind

What Is Kind

Today I viewed a kindness

Which healed me of a blindness

For the lies make me weary

My soul dark and dreary

Drowning in the carnal swill

Cynical, angry, had my fill

When there it was before my eyes

The reason for learning, the essence of wise

All it was–opening a door

An insignificant, meaningless chore

Patient he was, allowing her to pass

Grateful she seemed, this aged lass

A smile passed between the two

“As unto others” is what we do

I stood and peered at the holy place

Where new friends came, face to face

And yearned to join their heavenly band

Find my place to lend a hand

I noticed a man with a cardboard sign

“Will work for food” read the line

I pulled a five from my stash

He popped a grin–so little cash

I nodded to him and sealed my mind

The only cure for crazy

Is to discover what is kind

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