Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Day Morning Meditation

“The disciples were full of questions about God.

Said the Master, “God is Unknown, the Unknowable. Every statement about Him, every answer to your questions, is a distortion of the Truth.”

The disciples were bewildered. “Then why do you speak about Him at all?”

“Why does the bird sing?” said the Master.
Not because he has a statement, but because he has a song.
The words of the Scholar are to be understood. The words of the Master are not to be understood. They are to be listened to as one listens to the wind in the trees and the sound of the river and the song of the bird. They will awaken something within the heart that is beyond all knowledge.”

     - “The Song of the Bird”
         Anthony de Mello S. J.

The pilgrim wonders if this bird singing before the first light of day proclaims or celebrates the forthcoming illumination and warmth. He meditates in questions. Is it a song of anticipating something really great and magnificent? Is it the song of farewell to the darkness and aloneness of night? Is it an aria of hope and gratitude? Is this a prayer that echoes my own heart’s yearning? Does gaining any understanding of the motivation of this song or the nature of this feathered co-pilgrim make a difference in life?  Listening to the wind or being present to the simple gentle swaying of the new born leaves in the not quite dawn mystically fills a void in a way no other experience can fuel his fire with a genuine equanimity of love.

The absence of the sweet morning songs during the previous barren grey season is quickly consigned to oblivion. Seasons change. Impermanence. The swift V formation of geese gliding piercing the morning sky celebrate as they honk their way north while the union gulls are diligent in their work effortlessly making their announcement that the tide is in and the beach is now ready to welcome sun and sea worshippers alike.

An unseen owl continues her repeating query as the pilgrim attempts to let go and let the May morning fill his soul. “No more questions,” he says. “No answers .No solutions.” Being present without distraction is truth, is life. After what seemed to be an endless wait-filled moratorium the morning sun finally makes her unpretentious yet majestic appearance above the horizon on the ocean of mercy. The pilgrim exhales and is humbled and free , 

Morning Phase - Beck ( Smart phones click on link)


Will there really be a morning – Conspirare ( Smart phones click on link)

Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

  - Mary Oliver


Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Easter Reflection - Happy ( Joy )

                                       Ode to Joy- Cell Phone users click on link

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso once told a group the following story that went something like this….

“I went into a green grocer where I saw a piece of fruit that was my favorite. I knew that I would be absolutely delighted if I purchased that piece of fruit and would be happy to taste it’s sweetness. I had more than enough money to buy it but I left the store without purchasing that fruit. I really didn’t need to have it so I could be happy. I can be happy without it.”

Recently after what seemed to be a hard few days on a business trip I returned to be welcomed at the airport by my oldest daughter. The fatigue I had felt earlier on the plane seemed to diminish when I saw her smile as she greeted me and drove me to her home. There my wife and son in law seemed to be slightly frustrated, as my half asleep two-month-old granddaughter seemed restless and whining. I reached out and they placed the baby in my arms and within a short exhale between whines the baby looked up and realized and noticed a new adult was now holding her. It was Nonno! (That’s what the family fondly calls me.) Just like that the baby smiled a smile bigger than her face could hold and quietly rested her head on my shoulder.

My daughter smiled and said, “she is so happy to see you!” I wondered about what is this happiness that the baby is experiencing. I thought, “ What is it within this recently created human being that sparks the flame of happiness or joy? How can she know happiness? What is it that she is really feeling?"

I have read books and heard lectures on true happiness and peace of mind but I decided to do some research from a more scientific perspective. But after reading pages and pages about neuroscience and oxytocins and behavioral stimuli and such and on and on and on, I thought of what causes me to really feel happy.

Just as I have found from my own experience, there is a common thread amongst all cultures that the desire for and attachment to things often brings temporary satisfaction but not a sustainable pure sense of happiness.

Whether the happiness I have felt surfaced when in connection with another person, or stimulated by a beautiful sun filled day, or the song of a morning bird, or walk on a beach at dawn or sunset, or the sweet soothing sounds of a new or familiar song or of course the smile of granddaughter there is something mystical, spiritual …no, sacred that is present. Some common source that connects everything to everything and lives in everything is that essence that fuels our happiness or joy. That pure true happiness is love.

This morning in my journal I began a litany of what fuels my spirit with joy and happiness. I then thought of all those I know and love and who are seeking happiness. I hope they know, as I too must often recall , that it is within us and around us all ways.

                              Why are we Happy- cell phone users click on link

Happiness Factor- watch video in the story – cell phone users click on link

from" Hector in the Pursuit of Happiness"- cell phone users click on link
                 Pharrell- Happy cell phone users click on link

                   Happy – Rolling Stones – cell phone users click on link

I wish you all Happiness and Joy!


JF Sobecki LLC - 2015 -All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Muse - A Birthday Reflection

"Te Voglio Bene Assai"
On that one birthday morning waking as if it were for the first time the pilgrim wondered if was a dream or a dream of a dream or something much more mysterious.

Eyes wide opened it seemed as if that which appeared was being seen for the first time. As a matter of fact all of his senses experienced the same “this is the first time” phenomena. The initial anxiety over the newness of everything quickly evaporated and was transformed without forethought into wonder. Genuine awe was the new sense that was all consuming. New sounds, sights, touches and all smells. Fragrances were sweet and some seemed like unusual odors.

Slightly flailing the limbs moved this way and that almost uncontrollably. The head limited also in movement moved left and right but it was almost impossible to lift. Immersed in a sea of wonder that which surrounded and filled everything was unfamiliar and was more invigorating than threatening.  The ambiguity fueled the fire of delighted inquisitiveness.

It seemed that this was some form of commencement; an origination or a launching with the only thought of what went before was beautiful in its genesis. Being present to this continued magnificence in all aspects of what was being experienced fueled the spirit. Love, peace, joy, beauty and that inexplicable wonder were the sole essential elements filling each moment marked by beats of the heart and each breath.

No plans. No desires. No worries. Only a desire to reflect and share that unconditional love that sustains life was all that mattered.

Suddenly with the blink of an eye the pilgrim realized he had found himself while being lost in an eternal moment as he held his new baby granddaughter in his arms and he too was reborn by her love.

Caruso ( Te voglio bene assai)- A. Bocelli - ( Smart Phones click on link)

( Dedication- for Lindsay, Joe and Caroline)


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Old - Random Reflections


                 Old – P.Simon ( smart phones click on link)

So with just weeks away from another birthday I have had a number of reflections and ideas about a blog post bouncing round and round in my head. I have drafted at least four separate posts but I thought I would highlight just some random sections from these drafts as the post today.

* Less than a week has gone by since my 20 something daughter and fiancĂ©’ gathered to celebrate the music of the not-ready-to-retire original members of Fleetwood Mac. There in the oceanside city that refuses to die, where lost sheep seek dreams and gamble their fortunes is where we found ourselves. It was observed that “The Mac still got it and time ain’t got nothing on these players!” The congregation of pensioners and newbies danced and sang the night away.

“Everything that dies some day comes back. Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.”

* So there is a friend who is telling me that he is getting concerned about his age as he moves forward in his second career, which in all truth should have been his first. But that’s for another post. This friend and I know of a peer of ours who has posted his age as being ten years younger than he really is. Hmmm? A recent 6-week bout with sciatica as a result of two bulging discs reminded me that I couldn’t do the same things the same way I did years ago. (Hey now…I am talking about golf!) While in pain I couldn’t read, write or even play music. I did worry for a while but the worrying didn’t change anything. Physical therapy and prayer helped!

* There are some Buddhist monks who spend days carefully creating intricate works of art called “Mandelas” with millions of colored grains of sand only to brush away the work of art when their work is done. They believe that the “art”, the sacred experience is in the doing…in the “creating”, in the being “present.” Being present is to be lost in the moment of the task at hand and all that fills the spirit. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow mystery and the present is a gift.” All is impermanence some say. There is no need the boast about what was finally completed. It is being present to the moment that matters. I like to get lost in the doing and the flow...

* The pilgrim was asked to create a profile that featured his experiences, achievements and credentials. He wrote down that he is most proud of his two daughters. The newly designed automatic electronic digital form that was to collect his input wouldn’t accept that response. So he tried again. This time he wrote about his family, friends, playing music, running marathons, meditations and walking on the beach at Cape May watching the sunrise. Again, big red letters appeared “ERROR: NOT VALID ENTRY!” and wouldn’t accept his input. There were designated spaces about educational degrees earned, work titles and employers and memberships to organizations. “That’s not who I really am”, he thought.

* A dear friend sent me this quote in response to some correspondence about my letting the winds and waves carrying me to where I need to be…. Coincidence or a greater plan, who knows?

“Perhaps the best river runners are Taoists at heart. Taoism considers someone wise if they accommodate themselves to the rhythms of the universe.”

* Becoming a first time grandfather recently has changed everything. All of a sudden the sacred has exploded like some beautiful fragrant flower in the middle of the winter of my life and even I feel reborn.

* I read the quote below years ago and only recently did I begin to grasp it’s meaning. I am not sure if I am correct but it doesn’t matter in the end does it?
“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” ~Zen proverb

        Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac  ( Smart Phones click on link)


           Atlantic City – B. Springsteen ( smart phones click on link)


Friday, January 2, 2015

Caroline's Letter

On December 27, 2014 Caroline Olivia Malone was born to Lindsay and Joseph Malone.

Sweet Caroline,       

Welcome to the universe. I wish you could tell us what is it that makes you smile . Your lips gently move puckering up and down and in and out as if to tell me about the secret of your origin and the first moments or your development in your mother’s womb. It seems obvious what new sights and sounds delight your innocent spirit.

Is it really hunger or is it just the unusual smelly mess in your diaper that causes you to cry out? Is it feeling your mother’s heart beat again next to your body and the firm and gentle protective loving caress of your father that brings you comfort of unconditional love? 

Somehow I think you sense that it was love that caused the spark bringing you life and that it is love  that brought you into this world . I wonder if you know that you are a gift of the divine and that your life is proof of the sacred as it is sacrament. I think your “GG” is convinced you are a special angel.

What is it that I can tell you? Here are a few things I tried to teach your mother and your zia. I am not sure how successful I was but I hope they know I tried.

Though there will be days of fair weather of warmth and sunshine there may be nights when some storms will seem endless. You are never alone and you are loved more than you will know. Listen to the wisdom of your mom and dad. Be present and live each moment in gratitude as it is a gift. Be mindful of the wonders of the universe .Be authentic and never be afraid of being precisely who you are meant to be. Mistakes happen as they are proof of our humanity. What really matters is how you live and not what you do to “make” a living. In order to respect and love others completely you need to respect and love yourself. Tell the truth and live in truth. Success is living with integrity , compassion, hopefulness and mercy. Accumulating things might delight you but they don’t really bring you peace or happiness. Don’t forget that there are those in this world who need your help, your love and your prayers. Never take one moment or one thing or person for granted. Cherish all of nature…the sky, clouds, the sun, rain, snow , trees, flowers, river, lakes, all creatures, oceans , sunrises and sunsets as they too are of God . If your faith is ever challenged just remember the love you have felt and been given as that love is God. What we call heaven is ever present as it is in your heart. Prayer works.

If you are to be serious about anything be serious about being yourself and living life with passion and joy. Music is a unique gift and let it bring joy , share the joy, let it console you when you are sad don’t ever be afraid to let go and dance! If you play a musical instrument just let the music flow . Sing always, it is freeing! Play with abandon and if you play a sport play with all the joy of your spirit.

Read as much as you can. There are so many good books with so much wisdom and fun and there is so little time. Write whenever and whatever you can and remember that writing is knowing . Art and the creative spirit in all the arts is the sacred being exposed to the world .

Trust your intuition. 
Be amazed by life and know that you will amaze others.

Te voglio bene assai


Dance ( smart phones click on link)

Love and Happiness  ( smart phones click on link)

Sweet Caroline ( smart phones click on link)


Monday, December 1, 2014

Repeat as Necessary! Religious Fanatic !

I believe in the value of tradition and as my friend Bernie would say “Not to post this blog post again from December 2009 would be a ‘violation!’ ”

The following is an excerpt that first appeared in the Second Chance Dance Blog Post from December 2009.

“We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean, first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.”
-       Thomas Merton

One of my favorite comic strips is “Peanuts.” It is a vehicle that helps me laugh and be reflective at the same time. In one particular strip that appeared around this time of year 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 those things all year round?" Lucy yelled at Charlie Brown "What are you some type of religious fanatic?!"

Every Christmas Eve both of my girls reminded me to put out milk and cookies for Santa. When they were old enough they dictated a note I had to leave for Santa to accompany the cookies and milk. They chose each word carefully and made sure that their message was clear and complete.

“Dear Santa

Here are some milk and cookies for your journey. Thank you for stopping by and leaving us gifts but please do not forget all the poor children who need food and clothing this Christmas and all year round.

Love you…

Lindsay and Leigh"

I was and remain moved by their continued  “fanaticism” and pray in hopefulness for them all ways…) 

                     Whats So Funny about Peace and Understanding( Smart phones click on link)

 As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

Cause each time I feel it slippin away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding?

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

Cause each time I feel it slippin away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What's so funny bout peace love & understanding?

                                   Band Aid (1984) - (smart phones click on lik)

It's Christmastime
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer

Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging
chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world

Feed the world

Let them know it's Christmastime again

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again

Here are some of my favorite Charities:

 Have a Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy Holiday!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Emmaus Dialogue: Act Three, Part Three “ Goin’ to The End of The Line”

The two pilgrims who have been trying to make their escape to a place called Paradise. Suddenly the two do not recognize anything on their passage. Most things and people they encounter are unfamiliar. Pilgrim One starts to show signs of anxiety while Pilgrim Two starts to flip through a book he has in is knapsack.

Pilgrim One: What the heck are you doing? How can you begin to think about reading when we are at the precipice of self-demise? Can’t you take anything seriously?

Pilgrim Two: I am quite serious and this is just not any book.

Pilgrim One: Oh, I expect that this book is the one and only “ Good Book?”

Pilgrim Two: Well, it is a good book in a way. It is one of the journals I have been keeping. As a matter of fact this particular journal is one in a long line of meditation and reflection filled pages.

Pilgrim One: So, do you have a map in there or some great insight that will put us on the right path again?

Pilgrim Two: Well, yes and no. Years ago I met a wise man from the Big East who gave me some advice.

Pilgrim One: Don’t tell me you took that “Course on Miracles” and these are your notes! Don’t you realize that …

Pilgrim Two puts up his hand to signal, “stop” as he interrupts the wound up Pilgrim One’s queries and confrontation….

Pilgrim Two: Hold on a minute will ya! No, this is not that text on “The Course in Miracles: To Find Peace and Happiness” but in a way it is an elementary method of discerning one’s blessings and being mindful of the sacred in all things. This wise man I spent some time with used to quote Einstein for me , “ There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” So, years ago I started to try o be aware of all the miracles and blessings in my life. Then I started to write about these observations and meditations in a journal.

Pilgrim One: What are you talking about? How does this help anything? How does this help us now?

Pilgrim Two: If you let me finish I will tell you. Every morning I sit in wonder and am overwhelmed with humility that the great grace is filling all things in the universe. This wonder-filled canvas of pure peace and love surrounds us and it fills up my spirit.

Pilgrim One: A little simplistic isn’t it? You are not going to lecture me about God, heaven and all that again.

Pilgrim Two: I really don’t care what you label that energy of great love that has caused all existence through magnificent peace and love. By the way, for the record, I don’t believe in your concept that heaven is really the same as some theme park at Disney world or grand resort on the Riviera located above the stars. All one needs to do is look, see and feel. No thinking is required, you know.

Pilgrim One flailing his arms screams out

Pilgrim One: Where are you going with this? How is this going to help us get to where we need to go? I don’t understand.

Pilgrim Two: In the pages of this journal I have tried to write what I am sensing or experienced when I attempt to be present. Sometimes I feel as though great secrets of the universe are revealed. Sometimes I experience a consolation so great that I believe I am a part of the expansive canvas of pure peace. Sometimes the tranquility comes from the stars. Sometimes I can hear to sweet serenity in the songs of the pre-dawn birds welcoming the sun. Sometimes the waft of salt air form the sea along with the lapping waves on the beach are all part of the harmonious symphony of serenity.

Then sometimes I drift and contemplate to wonder of existence : Love, intimacy, compassion and mercy. The miracle of conception and birth comes to mind. Where does that spark come from that initiates all life? How does that happen, really?

I think of how there are no accidents.  Einstein was to have said that,
“ Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Whoever and whatever God is I don’t think that this universal magnificence is passive at all.

Then sometimes I drift again and write about true happiness. I reflect on how I have never read a story or poem or heard a song or have seen a movie where the one who has the most possessions or biggest bank account has found authentic happiness or peace.

Pilgrim One now with his face in his hands whimpers

Pilgrim One: I don’t understand. I don’t understand. How is this book and all this going to help us get to where we need to go?

Pilgrim Two:  You see I believe that the help, this gift is all about love. Love is the origin of everything. Love is the reason for existence. Love is that which fills the universe and every moment we love we are experiencing the sacred. We become the divine when we love, as all that is love is divine.

So, we really do not need to get anywhere. We really don’t need to own anything. If I feel lost or feel alone and can’t connect with that which is truly important I look into my journal’s writings and discover that I have witnessed true peace and that miracle of love. And, in this witnessing I realize somehow mysteriously with all my imperfections I am participating of this miracle. Heaven is not a destination. Heaven is where love is. Heaven is here and now.

Pilgrim One: I guess I know what you mean. In the movie “Field of Dreams” the main character meets the spirit of his father who asks
‘Is this heaven?’ and the main character responds that it is Iowa and asks his father’s spirit if there is a heaven and the father says ‘ Oh, yeh, it is the place dreams come true” and the main character looks at his wife and daughter on the porch of their farm house next to a ball field in the middle of his cornfield and smiles saying “Maybe this is heaven.”

The two find a half finished bottle of Merlot and a baguette in their sole knapsack and the companions begin to celebrate.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God's gift, that's why we call it the present."

(Final Scene Field of Dreams- smart phone click link)

( Awaiting on you All - G. Harrison - smart phone click on link)

(Looking for My Life - G. Harrison- smart phone click on link)

( The End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys - smart phone click on link)