Friday, December 2, 2016

A Christmas Gift You Can't Buy

"Into this world, this demented inn, where there was absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.”
- Thomas Merton

For Religious fanatics only...
Charlie Brown asked 
Lucy why she was so happy. Lucy explained how it was "Christmas" and
 she explained further that this was the time of year to "spread joy,
 caring, compassion, giving and love." Charlie Brown wondered to Lucy,
 "Why do we just do these things at Christmastime and why can't we do 
things all year round?" Lucy yelled at Charlie Brown "What are you
 some type of religious fanatic?"

From small villages his heroes and
great things seem to come.
There was that asterisked Home Run champion,
A nobel awarded vagabond singing poet ,
And best of all - a son king born in poverty-
living peace, love and mercy.
Though the journey not always easy
And the path not always clear,
The way is simple.
Those who doubt and those who stray
Are welcomed
To join the returning prodigal
Sons and daughters and their celebration.
No formula , elaborate scientific calculation
Or manufactured drug
Will result that which is discovered when the heart
Lets go opening self to the fulness of time and 
To what the soul has known all along.

And the blessing of the miracle of babies at Christmas continues:
The first one we brought home Christmas morning ;
The news of the second was accompanied with
Carolers singing “Joy to the world;”
The first’s first a little patient or persnickety
arrives 12/27; and,
Now news of the second’s first will be a son
As the holy waiting season continues  
The word of the departed poet
Echoes in his own voice as he sings

 Cry of a tiny babe  Bruce Cockburn


                    Hallelujah – Choir ! Choir ! Choir ! (Leonard Cohen)


                    Hallelujah Chorus – Mormon Tabernacle Choir


                      Simple Gifts – Yo Yo Ma and Allison Kraus


                     Do They Know Its Christmas


                      True Meaning of Christmas


Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Peace-filled New Years!


Copyright JF Sobecki LLC 2016 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

True Nature - Going on November

Artist Frederick Franck

Frederick Franck in writing about spirituality spoke of the Bodhidarma in the 6th century who said something like “It has been suggested that All That Matters is transmiitted outside of all scriptures, not depending on words or letters but pointing at the true human mind/heart making us see our true nature…”

Sometimes in that birthing moment on the first of November
Chimes singing from the autumn wind
Weaving in and out of the great artist’s canvas,
conjures gold, reds, yellow-orange , and a few
reminiscent lingering forever greens .
Sparks of salvation history
Illuminating and warming the sanctuary .
Sometimes songs and words of unawarded poets
Speak for him more clearly,
They become personal scripture,
consolations to and from his soul .
Distracted and momentarily lost from the present
Forgetting why he is here and where he is headed
He waits on the shores of the ocean of mercy.
"Going on November."

An Autumn 2016 Song and Poem List

Memory Lane – Van Morrison ( click on link)

"Memory Lane"

 It's Autumn here, going on November
I view the leaves in all their splendour
Is it déjà vu, I just can't remember
I stop a while and take in the scene

I stop a while and ask a stranger
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
I don't know where I am or what I'm after
I'm stuck here again back on Memory Lane

Now the leaves are falling and it's coming on to Winter
Nights keep getting shorter and shorter every day
One sign up ahead says 'DANGER'
Another one says 'STOP'

And it swerves and moves around the corners
And there's flashing lights up ahead 'round the bend
The road curves and twists and turns
And twists and turns and wanders
'Til you get, ' til you get to the very end

Now I'm back here again with more questions than answers
And I'm standing in the pouring rain
There's something moving, moving in the shadows
And it's getting dark now, up on Memory Lane

I stop a while and ask some strangers
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
I don't know where I am, don't know what I'm after
I'm stuck here back on Memory Lane

I stop a while and ask some strangers
Is this the place that was once called Memory Lane
Don't know where I am right now or what I'm after
I'm stuck here up, just up on Memory Lane
I'm stuck here up, back on Memory Lane
I'm stuck here back up on Memory Lane
I'm stuck here back, back up on Memory Lane

                                        Urge For Going – T. Rush ( written- J. Mitchell )


                                        Child of the Wind- B. Cockburn


Autumn Poem by Mary Oliver
In the last jovial, clear-sky days of autumn
the mockingbird
in his monk-gray coat
and his arrowy wings
from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing — but it's neither loose, nor lilting, nor lovely —
it's more like whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges.
All birds are birds of heaven
but this one, especially, adores the earth so well
he would imitate, for half the day and on into the
its ticks and wheezings,
and so I have to wait a long time
for the soft, true voice
of his own glossy life
to come through,
and of course I do.
I don't know what it is that makes him, finally, look
to the sweet spring of himself, that mirror of heaven,
but when it happens —
when he lifts his head
and the feathers of his throat tremble,
and he begins, like Saint Francis,
little flutterings and leapings from the pine's forelock,
resettling his strong feet each time among the branches,
I am recalled,
from so many wrong paths I can't count them,
simply to stand, and listen.
All my life I have lived in a kind of haste and darkness
of desire, ambition, accomplishment.
Now the bird is singing, but not anymore of this world.
And something inside myself is fluttering and leaping, is
to type it down, in lumped-up language,
in outcry, in patience, in music, in a snow-white book.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

The Journey – David Whyte

The Journey, a poem by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again
Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens
so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.


Copyright 2016 JF Sobecki All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Simple Gifts - Here and Heaven

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
                      -   Mark 8:36

So the pilgrim had one of those dreams again. He woke tired and filled with sweat as if he had been wrestling with some unknown angel. He couldn’t remember if he won or lost the wrestling match. He thought that maybe because he woke as the sun rose that he had probably won. Still unsure with his own interpretation he ran to meet with his master teacher and confessor. After he fumbled to find the words to explain what had occurred the teacher smiled and looked at the pilgrim with compassion.
The teacher asked, “”What is this obsession you have with winning?”
The pilgrim was confused by the teacher’s initial reaction and responded to him , “One doesn’t like to lose.”

“Why not?”, smiled the teacher.

“ No one likes to feel embarrassed after trying so hard“, whispered the pilgrim.

“ Embarrassed with what?” the continually smiling teacher queried.

“ You know, embarrassed about putting one’s complete effort that results in not gaining anything , you know…losing,” The pilgrim stood frustrated.

The teacher outstretched his hands compassionately smiling saying “Losing what? Is it that your pride and your ego were lost? Is that a good or is that a bad thing ? Do you think anyone loves you any less or that you can love others any less because you had that dream? What does it really matter anyway? Maybe that angel was you? Maybe this moment now is the dream. Maybe we are here… and heaven.”

The pilgrim tried to bring this conversation to a more proactive conclusion and asked,“ So what can I do?”

The teacher poured a cup of tea for the pilgrim and gently handing him the cup he smiled and said, “Be grateful, be present to how all is sacred and learn true simplicity to bow and bend. Keep your heart open all ways. Help any you meet on the way.”

                                           Yo Yo Ma and Alison Kraus - Simple Gifts

                                                Yo Yo Ma and Friends - Here and Heaven

For my Soul Teacher


Copyright JF Sobecki LLC 2016 All Rights Reserved -

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Days Like This - Good Luck ? Bad Luck ? - An End of Summer Reflection

“There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his neighbors and friends, trying to exist and fulfill a peaceful life. One-day news arrived from far away, that his old loving father had died. His neighbors gathered to grieve, but the farmer simply said, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" 
In time relatives brought a very fine horse of great cost and fine breeding, left to the farmer by his father. All the villagers and neighbors gathered in delight with him to celebrate his good fortune, but he just said, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

      - Anthony De Mello SJ, Song of The Bird

“If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.”
                 Woody Allen

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

                 - Lao Tzu

It seems like yesterday that the pilgrim, who had grown tired of what was considered an extended and unwanted winter, was dreaming optimistically about a mystical filled summer season.  On the eve of the season and the great sacramental celebration for his second everything that was dreamed about would change in the flip of switch. Homebound for weeks great anticipations were altered. It wasn’t until this season was to make her final bow when the predicted second great hurricane of the century became a great false alarm the illumination occurred.

“So is this it? Is this what it is all about? Is your great plan just one big roll of the dice for us and then you wait and see how we deal with the outcome? Are you trying to teach us that our pilgrim egocentric plans are really of no significance in the long run? Why is it that it takes some of us so long to learn that it is how we respond to situations and people and how we treat others that matter? How is it that with all my imperfections that I am permitted to wake to another glorious new day? Why is it that my heart is not filled with one perpetual feeling of gratitude for all the tender mercies? How often do I have to be thrown off my Pauline horse before I hear your voice and trust in just being mindful and compassionate? Forgive me for not being more cognizant and appreciative of all those sacred pilgrims you have placed in my path to help me along on this passage. Though people come and go and things change I hope I remember the holy presence and that this life is a sacrament no matter where and how I am and there will be days like this. ”

(He remembered that when feeling blue and in doubt – PLAY Van Morrison!
 - Besides he had been accused of being on the Harrison payroll and a Jersey Boy disciple.)

Days Like This – Van Morrison

That’s Entrainment – Van Morrison

Real Real Gone  - Van Morrison

These are The Days – Van Morrison

*Labor Day 2016
For all who work, have worked, can’t work and want to work ... and of course my father..

Factory - B. Springsteen

Copyright 2016 JF Sobecki LLC All Rights Reserved. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Contemplation 54

The Now is called “The Present” as it is a gift.”

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
                                     - Eckhart Tolle

There she was standing on the shore with the majesty of that sanctifying sea, her feet inviting and welcoming the christening waters into the great peace and the great journey ahead. On the horizon the canvassed vessel coasted with the current and wind carrying her dreams.

The witnessing prodigal pilgrim wondered:

What knocked me off course? When did I lose that innocent joy where living in the present wasn’t questioned and being and living were one and the past was not regretted nor the future feared? Am I too easy to let storms or even prospective squalls distract me from being?

On the eve of the eighth anniversary of the second chance dance the season he had hoped seemed to evaporate.

However, however… that vision of the bloodline innocent present on the gateway to paradise reinvigorated his own spirit with gratitude, humility and commitment to letting go and being.

Be Here Now – George Harrison

Looking For My Life – George Harrison

* Tomorrow Never Knows – ChoirChoirChoir – The Beatles

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining
Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not living(Leaving?), it is not living (Leaving?)
So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
                                                     Of the beginning, of the beginning

* George Harrison questioned whether Lennon fully understood the meaning of the song's lyrics:
You can hear (and I am sure most Beatles fans have) "Tomorrow Never Knows" a lot and not know really what it is about. Basically it is saying what meditation is all about. The goal of meditation is to go beyond (that is, transcend) waking, sleeping and dreaming. So the song starts out by saying, "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, it is not dying."
Then it says, "Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void – it is shining. That you may see the meaning of within – it is being." From birth to death all we ever do is think: we have one thought, we have another thought, another thought, another thought. Even when you are asleep you are having dreams, so there is never a time from birth to death when the mind isn't always active with thoughts. But you can turn off your mind, and go to the part which Maharishi described as: "Where was your last thought before you thought it?"
The whole point is that we are the song. The self is coming from a state of pure awareness, from the state of being. All the rest that comes about in the outward manifestation of the physical world (including all the fluctuations which end up as thoughts and actions) is just clutter. The true nature of each soul is pure consciousness. So the song is really about transcending and about the quality of the transcendent.
I am not too sure if John actually fully understood what he was saying. He knew he was onto something when he saw those words and turned them into a song. But to have experienced what the lyrics in that song are actually about? I don't know if he fully understood it.[4 (The Beatles Bible)

With gratitude and love for the First Member of The Band and our recent reunion on stage.


Copyright 2016 @ JF Sobecki LLC