Saturday, March 24, 2018

WHAT IS KEEPING YOU FROM A LIFE OF ADVENTURE?


WHY NOT LIVE AN ADVENTURE?

I was talking to a guy my age the other day. Just making conversation in a semi-crowded room over coffee and cake. I asked him how he spent his time. His response began with “I lead a pretty boring life,” and continued from there with a quite predictable list of senior-acceptable, time absorbing activities and pass-times.
I just had to ask him, why he was leading such a boring life? At that time in his life, with no debts, no responsibilities, free time and all the experience and confidence he had accrued, why was he choosing a life of boredom instead of adventure? What was holding him back? Where was the risk? He challenged me as to just what 'adventure' was possible. I countered in asking him what adventure was not possible.
What purpose or cause was important to him, I suggested. Wasn't there a need, bigger than him, that could use him? Was a life of boredom and uselessness really a sign of success, the culmination of all that his life had been?
I don't remember his name. Maybe our short conversation isn't remembered by him even these two short weeks later. However, it's clear in my mind. There's something very powerful in verbalizing our own thoughts, especially with others. Sometimes it's easier to share deep questions and hopes with strangers.
The question was really for me. Why not chose to live a life of adventure? Does age really have anything to do with it? Hardly! It's an excuse like any other. Just imagine what a difference could be made if those of us of many years were to start living as if we and the world were important. If we would choose to 'side' with today's youth in actually doing what was right and needed, we would really count for something 'of life' and not be just statistics searching for nursing homes.
So, to all people, if we aren't living a life that is open to adventure, are we really living? WHY NOT?

Anthony Gifford


Monday, February 19, 2018

FAMILY DAY as a Follower of Jesus of Nazareth

FAMILY DAY? WHAT FAMILY?

It's Family Day again in Canada. A great and needed sentiment. If I were with my siblings, all four of them, and our various 'accumulations', we'd have a good time, mainly catching up on lives and such. We'd spend time talking about the old days, our wonderful folks (yes, really), and do a lot of singing.
But we wouldn't be able to talk about any topic that was really important. Some of us are 'Trump' supporters, so that takes a third of life's topics out of the possibility for discussion. At least two of them are pro-gun in a big way. Some are simplistically so-called 'Evangelical Christian' and just know that all others, including most of the family, are going to fry in their Hell forever. Many of others think that any who have faith or hope at all in a 'spiritual' way are just as delusional.
So, we sing and talk about the kids and how well we're all doing.
On Family Day, it's good for me to remember the story of how Jesus was once with his friends and supporters, people with whom he shared his questions and life. He was talking with them and word came to him that he was wanted by some members of his family. (In that culture, there was nothing more important than kin-folk.) Instead of jumping up and running to 'do his duty', even to his mother, he stayed where he was, looked around at those dear to him, those with whom he shared his future, and asked them, “Who is my mother, my father, my brothers and sisters? Those who are with me in doing the will of God; they are my family.”
I suppose he eventually went out and saw his family, but there was no doubt as to where his values and support lay. On this Family Day, yes, I think of my biological family, as I hope we all do. However, I feel very sorry for those who have to say that the highest of their values and lives are held within that group and past. If we haven't grown beyond them, have not found a More that challenges us and gives us meaning and purpose, we have hardly given life a chance and have not used the basis of our original families as a foundation for new life.
So, a toast! Here's to our old families, the ones in which we were born and had no choice about. May we love them all!
And here's to those with whom we chose, with whom to grow in love and adventure, who bring out the best in us, with whom we can dance, even when our toes are getting stepped upon!
To Family, born and chosen! To Life!
Thanks.
Anthony


Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Two Reasons I'm Not An Atheist

WHY I'M NOT AN ATHEIST

Because I write (share) about spiritual things, values and reasons for living, I'm often accused of being a 'know-it-all'. Nothing could be more wrong. Along with everyone, I only really 'know' what I have experienced. If it hasn't actually happened to me and is passed along as second-hand, at best, I can suspect that it might become a truth for me. My whole reason for writing and sharing about this stuff is that I know that others don't agree with me, that most others, maybe even all others have not experienced just what I have. That means that I haven't experienced what they have. And only in the sharing will I and them be able to grow in understanding and in life.
Fact: I don't believe in God. I KNOW there is a More that affects me and my world, a More that is both within me and in all I know and can imagine. This More is part of me every second, even though I have the complete power to turn away, which I often do. But again and again, the More awakens my most inner self and urges me onward toward new life and purpose.
For me, the best and most faithful path to follow this More, is the Way shown by Jesus of Nazareth. I'm not a Christian, however, for thinking that Jesus was divine and different from the rest of humanity makes no sense and would make any attempt to follow his path a farcical and doomed waste of effort. I assume that there are many other paths (spokes) to the Hub of Life. Only in sharing do we start to know more of the totality of this awareness.
Maybe this More is simply an illusion, or a social awareness. Or maybe the accumulated energy of the Universe. I couldn't care less. To not live within it as much as possible, is untenable over time, for this purpose alone brings me Joy.
There is a second reason that I'm not an Atheist, one who believes that there is nothing more than what can be measured and recorded. Something happened to me when in my early twenties: I interacted with a ghost, a specter that scared me to my core. I won't go into any more details here. Suffice it to say that I know there is more to life that what we can even imagine. To ignore this fact would be to simply waste my life, be it end at my death or continue in other realms.
So, back to my basics: to share with others in the hope that they might return in kind; to be critical of anything 'religious' that is narrow and does not enable people to question and share. (This, of course, includes most of Christianity.) The purpose of our lives is to grow. It is most hard to live in a culture that is based on the opposite.
So, back to life. Good luck to you and why not share enough to give life/love a chance, no matter who you label yourself? What you call yourself makes no difference. It's what you do that brings new life.
Again, thanks for your time.

Anthony

Thursday, February 8, 2018

AND WE THINK WE'RE SO SMART!

THE ILLUSION OF HUMANS BEING 'SMART'

Being the 'smartest' of animals is an assumption of all people. Every ancient tradition shares this with its descendants. We humans certainly get in more trouble than any other species. If that impulse counts toward being 'smart', we'd have good cause for the boast. If, however, we use a more basic test of stupidity, we'd find that people are surely the opposite.
Aren't we told that it's a sure sign of 'stupidness' if someone, time and time again, tries to do the same things that fail? Would 'smart' people not learn from mistakes and stop doing what they know, won't work and is hurting them?
There is absolutely no doubt that our world is in great crisis. The world as we know it is in jeopardy. Our politics and economies are controlled by fewer and fewer. Yet those of us who have even a smidgen of power or influence do little or nothing, allowing things to sail on as ever, again, vowing even harder to try again the very things and systems that got us into this mess in the first place.
Humanity, in its infancy, was based upon sharing, as is most advanced (and much that is not) animal life. When seen from space, and from any truly 'human' point of view, it is clear that only by humans leaning to share again, do we have a chance.
Is this basic truth heard or seen in our culture? It is not heard in our religious circles, unless whispered among a few who'd rather not be branded as 'counter-culture'. A politician would be unelectable if they shared this view. In truth, a life of sharing, let alone, a world-view that embraces this is very rare and is given no credence.
I have no real reason to expect the world not to swiftly continue on its downward spiral, nor for people to not choose to follow or allow the ways of death. Greed and blindness are in control and there are few who stand in their way. Those 'nice' folks around us are so caught up in the ways of our death-culture that they are not able to change.
Yet, tomorrow is still to come. And I know that there are many people, some young and many older, who know deeply that there is another Way. There is no reason we MUST remain stupid. Part of our humanity is the ability to change, no matter the odds against it.
The 'modern' torch that we hold high to illuminate our present way is a stick of dynamite. Will we lay it aside for a light that may lead to a better end? Will we even talk about it?
If there's a God, is He/She laughing or crying?
All the best,

Anthony