Healing … February 11, 2013

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There is only one limitation in life–one, and one alone.

We are only limited by the boundaries of “normal” which we establish, prohibiting us from receiving inspiration beyond our permission. That’s it.

The more commandments, rules, doctrines, political parties and philosophies you adhere to in order to corral your spirit and willingness to change, the less likely you are to ever be enlightened.

When folks tell me they’re a Republican, what they are trying to say is that I need to stay within the parameters of their thinking–otherwise they will be forced to repel both me and my ideas. If they tell me they’re Democrats, likewise–it is a warning that I need to maintain a total and complete respect for the dominance of that particular profile.

It does not anger me; it does not frustrate me. It just makes me sad that we think any one given collection of ideas has the capacity for handling the intricate need of the human heart.

The world needs a healing, undoubtedly. But merely being cognizant of a cure or trying to establish a prescription for treatment is not what is required to get to the root of the problem and soothe the aching need.

After my presentation yesterday, a dear woman came to my table and told me a bit of her history–how she had been filled with the Holy Spirit and was working with the elderly. She said she found herself wanting to pray for them. In the process of pursuing these supplications to God, she deeply believed that the Lord had placed a touch on her life, to grant her the gift of healing.

I listened. I didn’t listen as a cynic. I didn’t listen. wondering if I agreed with everything she said. I didn’t listen, considering whether it totally lined up with my theology or intellectual profile. I just listened.

She asked me if she could pray for my knees. There was only one answer. Yes. Why would I want to deter someone from granting me a piece of tenderness, perhaps insight and gentle relief to my faltering joints?

  • Yes. Pray for me.
  • Yes. Meditate over me.
  • Yes. Summon the reincarnated spirit of your grandmother from the Brahma bull for me.

Why do we think we have to be so suspicious–when it’s obvious that we all are needy? I look for three things, and when I see them in a human being, I embrace them:

1. “I care.” No one has anything to offer mankind if they haven’t developed a brokenness in spirit that causes them to really care. You can’t teach it in seminary. You can’t earn a degree from a college which transfuses that feeling into your soul.

2. “I’m aware.” Yes, for a moment, I’ve stepped out of myself and I’m noticing that you exist. I see you–not just in relationship to myself. I see you as you are.

3. “I share.” Even though I don’t have silver and gold, what I do have I give to you. I don’t have all the answers, so instead, receive my love.

Those are the three things that bring healing. And whether you believe in the gift of healing or not, would you agree with me that this gift would certainly be accompanied by I care, I’m aware and I share?

So you can continue to be “normal,” squelching all attempts by God and the universe to enter your back door with some unexpected delivery. Not for me.

I’ve let down the guard of many of my pre-conceptions–so the heavens have a chance to conceive something … inside me.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Chair Person… November 6, 2012

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Here’s how it works.

With the present condition of my lower limbs, I basically divide my life into two segments. For short efforts, jaunts or tiny toddles, I get up on my pins and hobble along, trying to maintain as much of a stride as humanly possible, to exercise those muscles and let those joints know that we haven’t settled next to a pool in Boca Raton. For longer distances, shopping excursions and moments when I am not sure where I’m heading, I opt for the wheelchair. It’s a pretty good system–especially when you consider that it’s the only one available.

So last night when Janet and I took the stage and I rolled up to the front to our set, I discovered there was a dear lady also in a wheel chair, sitting close to where I would dismount from mine, to assume the piano bench. So I rolled up next to her–similar to being in a gridlock on a San Francisco freeway–and we had a moment of delightful eye contact. Then I eased out of the chair and onto my musical perch. She was not more than four feet away from me.

She was a chair person.

It’s a title we normally grant to someone in charge of a meeting, so that is why it’s so applicable, because this dear soul was in charge. All through the presentation, she whispered her approval, appreciation, encouragement, joy and admiration. I think some of her friends and other members of the audience privately desired that she remain a little more quiet. (*Isn’t it interesting that “normal” people always want to stifle what they consider to be extreme outbursts of praise? It happened at the triumphal entry of Jesus and it occurs every day when we all become more concerned about being “civilized” than appreciative.)

There are seven steps involved in being successful at what I do. I honestly don’t think this would be much different in any occupation, but I could be wrong, as I often am just to confirm my status in the great race.

The first step is always overcoming disappointment. After all these years of travel and experience, conventional wisdom might say that I should be performing to packed houses. They rarely are. I normally receive a congregation that consists of the chosen few minus those who have previous plans or a great excuse for absence. It doesn’t bother me. It really doesn’t. Usually it is of more concern to the sponsor, who is horrified that his or her efforts rendered such a trickle. We have to be careful about disappointment–it often can be arrogance wearing a mask of piety.

The second step, for me, is being grateful for each and every face that has come out to beam in my presence. Many of them don’t smile at first because it is too heavy a commitment. I am patient.I can’t expect them to grin at me in approval simply based on my comely features.

Which leads me to the third step, which is finding a door. Yes, all of us human beings have a door–and it’s somewhere near our hearts. Trying to communicate to human beings on a spiritual level is comical. They are preconditioned to throw their religious attitudes your way and block any attempts at revision. Coming at them from a mental angle can be baffling, both to me and to them. I talk about human things in a human way to human beings seeking out human answers. It’s a great door.

And when I finally find that door, I get to my fourth step–I always try to enter with love. God does not give me permission to be a grouchy, fussy bigot to His children. If I can’t encourage, edify and exhort people, my best profile is to shut the hell up. I try to find a way to love everybody in the room. (It’s made so much easier when I have my fellow-chair-person not four feet away from me, leading the charge for acceptance and inclusion. She was precious.)

After I enter with love, the fifth step is to be patient and wait for those who are drawn to me and feel they might benefit by rubbing up against my spirit. There is nothing more intrusive than insisting that you’re right and deciding for other people that they need what you’ve got. They will find you. It’s why you must let some people leave your presence hurriedly–almost rudely–because there is absolutely nothing you can do for them right now.

And when these souls DO show up at my table, my sixth step is to listen. My dear God, they were courteous enough to open their ears for me for an hour–it won’t hurt me to give them sixty seconds or so. After the show, my dear lady who created her own front row of observance came to the table and we chatted for quite a while. Her life has not been easy. The wheel chair is just an outward sign of a life that has been crippled by difficulty. But she was hopeful. She was joyous. She had a great sense of humor. And she even boldly piped up at one point that she thought one of the best things in life was enjoying a Miller Highlife with a bologna sandwich. This might have embarrassed some overhearers, who thought it inappropriate to say such words in God’s house, but since Jesus turned water into wine, I think she was on safe turf. Yes, the sixth step is to listen.

Do I always like what I hear? Of course not. But God hasn’t made me a judge. It isn’t my job to decide who makes it into the camp and who ends up sleeping in the woods. I’ll leave that to the Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals. Don’t ever forget–if you think one group of people is smarter and better than another, you’re just a bigot. You may be a well-educated one, but it doesn’t mean you’re any prettier.

Finally, the seventh step in my journey on any given night is to leave humbly. For naked I came into this world and in a similar unclothed fashion I will depart. My strength is not in my talent or my spirituality, but rather, in my humanity.

I am a chair person.

Right now I am rolled in, to roll out what I have. Last night I met another chair person. She lives that way all the time and still loves being alive.

I can recommend this seven-step process. Shall we review?

  • Step One: overcome disappointment.
  • Step Two: Be grateful for what is set before you.
  • Step Three: Find a door.
  • Step Four: Enter with love.
  • Step Five: Wait for those who are drawn to you.
  • Step Six: Listen to them.
  • Step Seven: Leave humbly.

Much thanks to the folks in Brookville, Ohio. Much appreciation to my fellow chair person. She confirms that the seat of power is not in how we stand, but rather … in what we feel.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Contrary… December 28, 2011

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Jonathan in Miami

“Contrary to popular opinion …”

Actually, nobody is particularly interested in that. But there is nothing we enjoy today that was not, at one time, contrary to popular opinion.

  • The I-phone was, at one time, the “what the hell were you thinking?” phone.
  • Civil rights was certainly more, “go back to the colored section, write a letter to the editor and we’ll get back to you.”
  • Computers were deemed to be the fodder for science fiction movies, instead of ways for grandmas to communicate with their grandchildren.

Everything of quality is contrary. I wish I could shout that, but it would make me seem … well, contrary. For after all, shouting is contrary to the standards of today’s thinking (unless you’re a politician).

I have learned one valuable lesson in my journey through the roads and passages of human life. The things that we deem to be difficult, or “sent to harass us,” are actually the seeds sent by God to bless us. It would be impossible for God to be just and fair and sprinkle only well-explained possibilities, joys and emotional marshmallow cream over the earth.

For instance, I certainly didn’t teach my children to be better people by lavishing them with gifts, lightening their loads or telling them that everything they did was perfect.  To help my children grow up, I inconvenienced them. I gave them chores, I set household rules (which they decided were unnecessary) and when they chose to break them, there were punishments that followed. They often considered me a tyrant–an irrelevant relic of former times and an uncaring personage who was more interested in maintaining order than in their personal needs. Isn’t this exactly the way most people feel about God–that He’s a tyrant, a relic of former times and unconcerned about our personal feelings?

As a good Father, once He introduces any type of inconvenience, we use it as a stumbling block for our relationship with Him and walk around baffled over why life has suddenly become so painfully difficult. To understand how this system works, we must agree on three things:

1. The only way to make life fair is to make it equally restrictive for everyone. Without this, we create an atmosphere where easy solutions create lazy, unmotivated and uncreative beings.

2. Everyone has complete free will or the whole thing is a joke. If at any point we believe that God is stepping in to perform His will against our ways, we lose the sense that this planet is evenly balanced with more energy assessed towards those who seek to find, knock to have it opened and ask to receive.

3. Don’t walk away from what you think was sent to harass, but instead, harness any available input. I have become successful by picking up what other people don’t want, fear or deem to be useless–and have gained treasure from it. If you’re going to wait around for everything to come to you fully assembled, polished, well-painted, in a lovely box with a bow–you will spend most of your time doing nothing and the rest of your time complaining about nothing to do.

There is a “harass factor” to life. Opportunity comes with a contrary nature. It is never what we expect, rarely what we want and only occasionally even feasible. It demands that intelligent people of good cheer harness what’s presented without complaining and use it well until better options arrive.

For example, I have used a butter knife as a screwdriver, and in doing so, was completely content–but soon found that someone ran to offer their screwdriver to assist in the project. I will tell you this: no one will even offer you a screwdriver if you’re just lamenting what you screwed up and you’re not actually trying to screw it down. Just as God rewards those who diligently seek him, human beings reward each other by offering assistance to those who are trying to work with what they have instead of rejecting it and stomping away, pouting.

Get this straight–life is contrary. It is that way so that it can actually be fair to everyone. It is a door rather than a house. It is a penny rather than a dollar. It is a smile instead of an open invitation. It is a greeting rather than a banquet.

Life is sent to harass, hoping to find determined souls who will harness the potentials that exist while waiting for reinforcements. And what happens if the reinforcements don’t arrive? You will astound yourself with your own abilities to adapt.

I began exercising two days ago. I thought on the second day it would be easier. It was harder. My muscles seemed to be aware of my devious plan to engage them and became defensive. They ached and my joints creaked. But I persevered through Day Two, and woke up this morning expecting to be rewarded with rejuvenated energy. I’ve never felt so miserable in all my life. It took me years to get out of shape, yet I was looking for a forty-eight hour reclamation. I am hoping it will not take me years to get back in shape, but I CERTAINLY know that I am thirty days or more from having any benefit or feeling any purpose at all. Will I make it? I have a chance if I understand that life is contrary because God is good.  And if I take what was meant to harass and harness its better parts, I can certainly count on people, life and God to more quickly come to my aid.

Brats always lose. The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but eventually people put it in the garage because it’s just too high maintenance.

  • God will harass. I need to harness.
  • Life is contrary. I need to comply.
  • Nothing is simple. I need to simplify it.
  • We are all in search of what is fair. What we get is the next quandary.

So contrary to what people think–contrary is what people get.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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