April 14, 2013:  One Example of an Autistic Sense of Beingness
    Within my immediately previous blog post, I concluded by saying:  "If we wish to be the best that we can be, we must be fully human--and that includes integrating every example of so-called disability that ever occurs, in ways that are genuinely supportive, effective, and empowering.  It is never a question of 'do it my way' but rather of 'how  can we make it possible for you to do it?'  In the meantime, I pray that faith in the ingenuity and compassion of others and of ourselves is able to survive.  Hope for a better tomorrow depends upon it."  To begin to respond to my own comments and observations included therein, I think I am beginning to regain a sense of being who I am with the addition of being someone with high-functioning autism.  I'm not sure there is anything other than time and patience, however, that makes such integration possible.  All the most proactive strategies in the world cannot--after a large rock is thrown into the pond--force the surface of a pond to become calm again, any more quickly than the water and underlying contours of the pond have the ability to do.  Receiving a diagnosis of high-functioning autism was a huge rock thrown into the pond of my conscious and subconscious self-identity and awareness, the presence of which is something to which I must adapt. The water level around the shore, for example, may have risen a half inch in response to the displacement caused by the addition of this rock.  Rather than see this as a set-back of some sort, however, and obsessing about the ways that a water level a half inch higher will negatively impact the shore, it is just as possible for me to imagine that this huge rock will be the first foundation stone within a larger project of building an island that will not only reach above the surface of the pond, but also support the construction of a new lighthouse.  The shoreline can be similarly landscaped with other stones to prevent erosion and perhaps even a bridge can eventually be built between that shoreline and the island where the new lighthouse acts as a navigational beacon.  I must decide what response I will contribute to the addition of this new understanding of my life.  There is a sense within each of us is inescapably a lighthouse by which others will navigate.  Whatever response to our so-called disabilities that we make, this may serve as a navigational reference for others whom we do not realize are watching the unfolding of our lives.  While we're busy coping, they're busy learning (by watching us).  Ideally, the combined end result is that the world becomes a better place--for ourselves, for others, and for all who will come after us within the future.  The most important contribution any of us can make, therefore, is to be ourselves honestly, truthfully, and authentically; to do our best in every way that we can; and to be mentally, emotionally, and socially fully present--which, to me, is what makes life worth living.


June 1, 2013:  Sister Who Speaks
    Popular culture as it manifests within any particular time and place is frequently a conglomeration of oft-repeated folk wisdom.  For this present essay, for me at least, I begin with "there but for the grace of God go I," add a bit of Martin Niemoller's verse about failing to speak up for particular categories of humanity until there was no one left to speak up, and finish with a dash of "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"  It is important to note that the central goal of that journey was not accomplished until after attention was paid to the man behind the curtain.  In similar fashion, as long as leaders are allowed to conduct their affairs in secret, without accountability or any requirement of integrity, the safety and security of home will elude us.  A principle difficulty with the experience of Bradley Manning is that as long as the citizenry collectively allows governmental and military leadership to deal with him as they have, the citizenry collectively allows the possibility that the same could happen to any one of themselves.  No one is truly free until everyone is truly free.  Additionally, if Bradley Manning--or any other citizen, for that matter--has exposed problems within our national and military leadership, it is pure stupidity to punish him (or her) for the exposure rather than to immediately and quickly address the problems that were revealed--and thank Mr. Manning (or whomever) for bringing those things to our attention.


June 3, 2013:  Just to be Clear
    By some I have been described as too conservative; by others as too radical.  My intent is simply to live my life with integrity in pursuit of ever-improving manifestations of truth, wisdom, and love.   Politically, as a registered voter, I am "unaffiliated."  I have certain significant disagreements with Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic political parties, as well as all of the rest.  With regard to my spiritual/ministerial calling, I am not a political activist, but rather the focus of my service to humanity is holistic and healthy approaches to spirituality and education.  Wisdom requires, however, that when one lives within an allegedly democratic nation, certain participatory responsibilities are inherent.  It has been said that "all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good to do nothing."  If the citizens of any democratic nation remain silent when problems arise, therefore, they become complicit in their own demise.  When the citizens conversely pool their collective wisdom and act with solidarity, a strong and healthy nation within which to develop one's spirituality, knowledge, wisdom, and love is the logical result.  Specifically because I am not a political activist, it would not be accurate to place me within any of the known categories--Libertarian or otherwise.  Manifestations of particular forms of government come and go, but groups of humanity persist and must find effective ways to navigate their transitions.  The necessity of government arises from the presence of two or more people within a shared space.  Violence, however, is never a constructive answer.  Civility, dialogue, and communication--whether through symbolic acts, passionate words, or demonstrations of compassion --are the tools by which a better future for everyone can be forged.  Although I have not the skills nor the resources nor the education to actively participate in governmental processes (beyond casting my vote, that is), I am happy to offer a blessing and a prayer for all of the riders who will carry the torch, demonstrating thereby their commitment to defending their country "from all enemies, foreign and [especially] domestic."  It is faith in our collective ability to address and correct whatever problems are discovered, that will ultimately construct the better world within which to live, of which we all dream.   Traditionally, "whistle-blowers" have been punished; I say they should be thanked for alerting the rest of us to ways that we can become even better than we've ever been.  Nonetheless, it's up to us to follow through and do whatever work of self-improvement needs to be done.  In the words of a witticism I created quite a number of years ago for one of my monthly newsletters, "whoever wants the muscles, must lift the weights."