THE MEASURE OF A MAN

Here’s a little something that encapsulates my feelings on Father’s Day.

THE MEASURE OF A MAN

How is a man measured
When the start and stop are known,
and what are the bell rings with which to atone?

Not just the beginning or end,
but the depth of places,
Dates and times, the benefited faces…
Where folks remember and speak to their kin,
about the man…
His How and His When.

Or the scope of his reach when Work became Art,
from his inventions created,
new cogs and wheels did start.

Or this man assessed as a Husband or Dad,
vows tended, guidance given..the good and the bad,
the lasting effort no matter the time,
the days, months and years
add ring to the chime.

While the measure of a man
after the time of the Gong
is perhaps best left to the Heavens
and to his soul’s song…

For us, his Family,
the measure is clear,
our love is the only gauge
that matters here.

So, to the Man we now measure
of this we agree,
We love you, we thank you,
and we wish you God Speed.

Transformation Prelude: The Cake’s In the Oven

I love the phrase “The cake’s in the oven.”  Not a darn thing you can do to make that cake bake to its best any faster.

This concept comes up a lot in appointments with clients about some part of their life – my work’s not the point of this blog.  But, what I hear that relates to the ‘cake’ is: “It’s taking so long!”  “What am I doing wrong?”  “It hasn’t come together.”  And, “Maybe I’m not good enough to…”

We’re all waiting on a cake – of some kind. I don’t care who you are, or what you do. If you are a writer, filmmaker, director, screenwriter, plumber, banker, gardener, salesperson, someone searching for some kind of fulfillment. We all wait on the cake.

If we rush the cake, its flavor may suffer from poor composition.  If we turn up the heat, it may get burned.  If we often open up the door of the oven to check on it, we slow its progress. If we take it out too early, it tastes like batter.

This is the great risk for any writer, filmmaker – even a seeker of love.  We rush the deal, the career, the publishing; we pinch, we look, we insist – the ART, the DREAM.  What we don’t realize is that as soon as we’ve conceived something and brought it into this world, it is orbiting around some planet in some solar system, that has to do much more with Itself than with us.  And yet, we act as if we can control it.

Enter the cake. The cake is the project, the intention.  Can we give it the time it needs in our head, in a drawer, in the mail, on a desk, in discussion, in production, in printing, in editing, in uploading – in time?   Can we wait with our blessings?

If we opt to wait and let it do its thing, then that work of ART, that realized DREAM will be the best version of Itself that you can deliver, like a midwife out into the world – whether viewed by only you, or by millions.

I Almost Died Today

Yesterday, I realized, “I almost died today”.  Or, at 3:15pm Pacific Daylight Time four years ago yesterday, to be exact.  The events of that day are definitely carved in my brain’s granite.  I am glad to say that I don’t feel a chronic apprehension about:  1) big trucks 2) freeways 3) concrete pillars supporting freeway overpasses (okay – just a little.)  More to the point, I can drive by the spot where a truck hit me going 70 miles per hour and not cringe.  But, the supernatural things that happened, well, I am not so ho-hum about.

As someone who has worked with the dying and the passed-away (my job’s a topic for another blog), I understand better than some, the emotions that plague a person who is dying.  I got an upfront and personal dose of that one sunny afternoon, when I got hit from behind and drifted along a lane and meridian to plow into a guard railing.

The most extreme part of the experience has to be when I overheard a nurse talking to Radiology about my then, broken neck.  I cannot forget when she said “The films on Nelda Doe are not good.”  Nelda Doe, their alias for me, intended to keep my anonymity at the ER.  But, I knew the name on my hospital bracelet.  Yep, that was me.  Then, a doctor came over and said I would need neck surgery.  Even now, as I write this, I can feel the cold sting of the same kind of adrenalin that flooded my extremities and dropped my blood pressure.

So, I was thinking to myself, “Fuuuuccckkkk – I’m going to die”!  Little tears dragged their feet as they left the sides of my eyes, crying for every moment I had wanted, that I would never get to live.  Earlier, I had sent some of my family away through a coy cell phone call designed to stem their fear.  It didn’t do that for them, I found out later.  They had wanted to get in to see me, but they said that the ER entrance was like some bad scene from the worst inner-city hospital show ever.  Even though they had my alias, I couldn’t describe where I was, and I wasn’t on any list.  The security guy wouldn’t let them pass.  So, I told them I was fine.  And then, I was all alone.  My smarts were in the crapper that night – my resources for finding solutions to situations like their not being able to come in, all but gone – my common sense was still waiting for a ride from the accident scene.

Basically, the story’s worth telling because of what happened next:  A doctor came over and said that while they were waiting for the surgeon to come and speak with me, they would take me for further imaging.  After, I waited, still on the same gurney.  Then, a doctor came up to the side of my gurney and said, “Well, we can’t find the break on the new images.  So, let’s see if you can move your neck.”  He sat me up some, and I was able to move my neck in every direction.  I was discharged within two hours, and able to call my better half, to come and get me.  For the next ten days, I lived in a neck brace waiting for another Radiology opinion – I didn’t want to end up royally screwed by an inaccurate radiology finding.  But, gladly the report came back saying that I had no break.

For weeks, I tried to understand what had happened.  Why had that truck hit me and how was it, that I was fine?  As startling as finding out that I didn’t have a broken neck, was when I looked up research on high-speed impact crashes.  I wanted to know the average injuries of someone in an accident like me.  There wasn’t any data, because NOBODY SURVIVES HIGH-IMPACT CRASHES.  Reading that was like getting a bonus on the lottery.

Since then, I haven’t looked back much.  I have resolved to LIVE and LOVE – enough said.  But, one of the greatest realizations from that event is that I am a Writer, and that if I don’t write, I’m as good as dead.

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