Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's History

This is it!  Tonight at midnight we all say goodbye to the old year and welcomed in the new. We've been celebrating endings and beginnings since ancient times.

The tradition of a New Years Eve celebration stems from old beliefs and superstitions. Noise making goes back to the ancient custom of using loud noises to drive evil spirits from a house during the times of festive celebration.

Many nationalities and cultures still use noise to celebrate. America has her ratchet rattles and noise makers.

Denmark smashes in the New year.  People go to friends houses and throw bits of broken pottery that they have collected throughout the year at the houses.  They also bang on the doors to make noise.

The Dutch love to celebrate New Years.  It was one of their favorite holidays when they settled New Amsterdam in the mid-17th century. When the English took over the city in 1674 and called it New York, the British custom at the time called for celebrating the New Year on the Vernal Equinox, March 25th.  The Dutch populace so loved the holiday on January 1st they convinced the British to move their New year celebration.

Traditions have to start somewhere. The ball dropping tradition at New York's Times Square began in 1904 when the Times Tower was constructed.  At the time it was the city's 2nd tallest building, rising to a height of 375 feet.

Adolph Ochs, the young publisher of the New York times, moved his paper into the new building on New Year's weekend and decided to celebrate the event with a New Year's eve rooftop fireworks display.

It was spectacular, but it was dangerous.  The following year the fireworks were replaced by the decending brightly-lit ball.

A tradition begun.  Have a Happy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Some thoughts on this coming New Year.

Beginnings always have an expectation. Where do we go from here? What happens next?

In 2010 there is hope these hard times for so many will end with a job and a decent wage for all who seek it.

The first decade of the new millennium is over and we are still searching for a global sanity. There are still over 32 regional wars infecting the planet as we struggle with the belief that security should come from common sense and not fear.

There is always hope in the litany of Pandora troubles that are part of our daily struggle, but let us not forget that hope without action is arrogance. We each have to work at finding harmony in chaos.

It's there, we can feel it when we give from empathy and not reward.

When we resolve not to be discouraged, not to speak in anger, not to blame, and not to judge without the truth of looking within first.

Maybe this is the year that unconditional love and appreciation will guide the hearts and wills of humankind.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Creative Thoughts

There is an old saying that says we attract to us what we fear the most. If that's true, then it is time to let go of our fear and acknowledge that within each of us is an immense creative energy that can fill the empty space where fear was and find a way out of its sadness, despair, and the negative conditions for which we often blame others.

Perhaps it is time we see ourselves as creators.  Not only the creator of things, but also of attitudes and personal conditions.

We often constrict our creative self by placing false limits.  We often inadvertantly deny those in need by believing security is having more or success is stuff.  Sometimes we delude those we say we love by only loving ourselves through them and not honoring their choice and sacred self.

Perhaps it is time to listen to the life force of our hearts, for it lets us hear the trees, the oceans, the plants and animals and even strangers when they speak to us.

That life force is unconditional love, which translates to respect, courtesy and kindness.

It has never been tried on a mass scale.

It seems to me we have nothing to lose.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Over

It’s not that the Holiday is over that pleases me, it’s that the Christmas preparation is over. It is an exciting, wonderful, special, and a welcomed time every year, but it also nice when it’s over.

The long preparations now become “put-a-ways” and clean-ups.

The kids and grandkids are gone, back to their youthful playmates, their comfortable beds, and things familiar to them. It is right. It is the way things are in this day and age of close distance.

I will soon let the air out of the second blow up double mattress in one of the guest rooms; that bedroom will look a lot bigger.

We grandparents had a magnificent time preparing for the feast, the day, the festivities, the noise, the clutter and the chaos. It was wonderful and infectious; teenagers and a nine year old attacked with parents in support, but the ramparts held and we are able to do it again.

It was amazing when everyone left. In an instant I could hear the refrigerator hum again. I could hear the heat pipes creak in the walls, night lights were no longer needed to find one’s way to the bathroom and the hot water returned to normal. AND the sink, we haven’t seen the bottom of the sink in four days and how about the living room floor? It’s no longer festooned with opened toys, abandoned games, old bows, discarded garments, stored gifts, plastic bags of used wrappings and half-empty paper cups.

I would not change it for anything. I can’t wait for next Christmas assuming everyone wants to come here again. We’ll ask if they want to, for we are really over the river and through the woods and it takes a lot of effort to get to this house.

The next holiday is next week, New Years. A wonderful alone time. No noise makers, no shouting “Happy New Year.” I’ll be in bed by ten and will welcome in the next decade by sleeping with expectant wishes, profound hopes for global peace and continued wonderment at the sacred joy of the universe.

Join me!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Time

Christmas Time
© Rolland G. Smith

Christmas time surprises as it
Jumps out from the cold
To warm the late December days with
Frankincense and gold,
It heralds in with music in the silent of
The night,
And when it wakes the child within, my
Memories are all bright.
Happy thoughts are set to play this darkest
Time of light
And brighten up the shortened days with
Friends who reunite.
Chums of old and pals of new, all wishing
Christmas cheer,
With cedar sparks from glowing logs to
Warm the midnight clear.
It’s wrapping hearts in holly green and
Rudolph red with bow
And standing ’neath a berried sprig of
Kissing mistletoe.
Dancing dreams of sugarplums and
Minted candy cane
Bring visions of a Christmas tree and a
Circling tooting train.
There’s spruce to cut and wreaths to make
In circles and in sprays
That decorates the doors and hearths on
Merry Noel days.
There are lights to string, and wood to
Bring, and ornaments to make
For packages beneath the tree, as snow
Begins to flake.
I hearken as the angels sing, with distant
Family near,
And I love to hear a child say the names
Of eight reindeer.
Patina thoughts of Christmas past and
Shiny ones of new
Remind me of the Magi three and a child
Named Jesu.
There’s jingle bells and icicles and
Packages to tie
With ribbons tight and wrappings bright,
Of sleighs up in the sky.
There’s hugs galore and candy more and
Kids with favorite toys
And shirts and socks and building blocks
For little girls and boys.
There are cards and calls and carols,
And candles fill the room,
And tins of sugar cookies shine by red
Poinsettia bloom.
Christmas time indeed surprises in a
Special wondrous way;
In winter and forever, it’s my favorite

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Away Again

This is for all of you who are away from home this Christmas. It is a poem I wrote entitled, "Away Again."

I am away this Christmas,
   but I will send my heart
to ring each bell you hear
   when distance keeps us part.

I can’t be with you now
   to sit there by the fire
and hold your hand in mine
   and fill my heart’s desire.

When you awake my love
   You’ll feel my Christmas touch.
Know it is my message -
   I love you very much.

I can’t be home this year
   to hear the season sing
nor be with you to smile
   at every little thing.

I can’t be home this Christmas
   to decorate the tree
So hang a stocking too
   from heart at hearth for me?

When morning comes at dawn,
   with every breath I take
I'll hear your sweetened laugh
   to take away my ache.

I can’t be home this Christmas,
   if only it weren’t so.
Hear my special Christmas wish -
   never again to go.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Myths

In England, it is still common to hear someone say "the cock crows for Christmas."  Legend has it that the crowing would scare off evil spirits from the holy season.

Other superstitions say that bees can sing at Christmas and sheep walk in procession in commemoration of the visit of the angel to the shepherds.

In an old book called " Sketches of Upper Canada" there is supposedly the true story of an Indian creeping cautiously through the woods on Christmas. When asked what he is doing, the Indian replies that he is watching to see the deer kneel and look up to the Great Spirit.

At one time in the German Alps it was believed that cattle had the gift of language on Christmas, but it was a sin for anyone to try to eavesdrop.

In Poland, the story is told that on Christmas the heavens are opened and the scene of Jacob's ladder is re-enacted, but only the saints could see it.

A hundred or so years ago in the rural life of Russia, the young and old of a village would gather and form a procession to visit the houses of the resident nobleman, the mayor and other dignitaries. They would sing carols and receive coins in return.

In perhaps no other land is Christmas more celebrated that in Scandinavian countries. Peace and goodwill is the order of the season. Old quarrels are adjusted and feuds are forgotten. In each household family members place their shoes in a row. It symbolizes that during the year the family will live together in peace and harmony.

Let us hope the world's shoes will be in a row this year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Copenhagen's Climate

If we, as a world people, needed a sign that we mortals are often incapable of a global grace, of understanding nature, or reaching a collective agreement on how to coexist with nature, we have it from Copenhagen. The leadership actions of the past several days are indicative of our inability and our inaction to acknowledge we are the nature we abuse.

Copenhagen’s global warming summit was a dismal failure.

Politics, pride, greed and perceived need, as well as regional demands for reparations for past industrial abuse prevented 193 countries from reaching a sweeping agreement to protect the future of all of us.

What a shame. What a major disappointment in the deva realms of nature and in the angelic spheres of omniscience. What a letdown to those who acknowledge that the natural world and human world must co-exist as one or eventually not at all.

The native peoples of the world know this and have always been the ones to give honor and thanks to the spirits that balance and hold the potential and unseen forces of Mother Nature in check for the benefit of humanity.

What happens now will be up to the sentient consciousness of Gaia and the Divine plan.

We, as humanity were given the opportunity to come together, to use our scientific knowledge, our compassion, our cognition and our grace to convey to our world’s people that it is an imperative time for less so the future can be more.

Our representatives failed the future and us; in many ways we too failed ourselves.

I am sure there is a disappointment within the sentient awareness of Gaia. Her reaction in various conditions may forcefully bring us to our senses and to a non-negotiable consensus of global survival, not just a brokered deal between a few countries.

Paper notes will not change the climate nor will inaction. Intention is the only action that can change the outcome.

Watch the weather.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas History

Primitive Christianity regarded the birth of Jesus as a significant moment. It was important in the understanding of his personhood and the biblical stories of the events as told by Matthew and Luke in the new testament.  It is also interesting to note that Jesus' birth was not observed by the church until the 4th century and then it was chosen to counter some pagan festivals.

Santa Claus has quite a history. An ancient Teutonic festival had a person called, "the old man of the woods" dancing around a burning log;  a log that came to be known as the Yule log. The old man was characterized as having a red-nose, a white beard, and being a jolly old boozer who danced around the fire proposing toasts.

When Roman missionaries began to Christianize the lands to their north that Teutonic festival blended with the celebration of Christmas. The old man of the woods got a new name and became "Kriss Kringle.

Enter Nicholas, a 4th century bishop, noted for his kindness and gifts. He became Saint Nicholas and blended with Kriss Kringle. Eventually Dutch settlers brought his legend to the new world, but dialects distorted the Dutch name Sint Nicholas to Sinterclaas that in turn became Santa Claus.

 It was a Washington Irving story in 1809 that probably helped the legend develop even further. He had a jolly Saint Nicholas, smoking a pipe,  flying through the air in a wagon dropping presents down the chimneys.

 Several years later, in 1822, Clement C. Moore, wrote the poem "The Night Before Christmas".  The wagon became a sleigh and reindeer pulled it through the sky.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Origins

This may be the most festive time of the year, but it is also the darkest, meaning less daylight. The sun is the farthest from the earth than at any other time. It's what scientists call the winter solstice. Modern man understands why we have less daylight, but ancient man did not, so he created joyful festivals to lighten up the dark mystery.

The Christmas tree, originally German in custom and called the Tannenbaum was decorated with brightly colored objects and candles. It was symbolic of bright light in a dark time. Modern man, of course, has replaced the candle with LED bulbs. There is also the old Teutonic custom of hanging holly branches around the house to shelter the sylvan or air-spirits from the cold of the outdoor winter.

In Roman times the great feast of Saturn was held in December. People would exchange green boughs as a token of friendship and then decorate their homes and temples with them. That custom may have been transferred to the early Christians, who celebrated Christ's birth, to them the light of the world.

The Holly or Holy tree is called Christ's thorn in Germany and in Scandinavian countries. The evergreen branches became symbols that while all other plants and trees around us appear lifeless and leafless, the light of all that is will see to it that in the spring, life will return. 

Interesting how it all works.  A marvel!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cards

Are you receiving your share of Seasons greeting and holiday wishes from family and friends this year? The greeting card people figure there are about ten thousand different Christmas Card designs and they expect over three billion cards to be sent this year.

Christmas cards probably descended from what was once called "school pieces" or "Christmas pieces" which were popular from the beginning to the middle of the 19th century.  They were sheets of writing paper, sometimes surrounded with elaborate pen flourishes and scrolls.  They were used to school children at the approach of the holidays for carefully written letters telling about their progress in composition and showing their penmanship.

The Christmas card itself had a tentative orgin in 1846.  Joseph Cundall, a London, England artist claims to being the publisher of the first Christmas Card, but he acknowledges the idea belonged to another.  Writing in the London Times of January 2nd, 1884, Cundall said the idea came from Sir Henry Cole.  He added that the Christmas Cards were printed in Lithography, and nearly a thousand were sold.

It was not until 1862 that the Christmas card custom started to gain popularity. To begin with the cards were small in size, a little larger than a business card of today, and they were inscribed simply with " A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." Later the cards got a little more fancy adding art work of holly branches and landscapes.

Today not only are they works of art, but we have them with musical micro-chips that play a carol to go along with the season greetings or say Ho Ho Ho.

I love it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Christmas Holiday season is always a time to think about life and spirit. Life as in what we do every day, the pleasures we enjoy, the people we love, the compassion we give and the daily courtesies extended to us as unwrapped gifts.
Spirit as in what we believe or know to be true; that part of us, deep within that senses something more to life, to us, than what we do everyday.
Each of us embraces spirit in our unique way. Some see it in religion and religious ritual. Some find it Samaritan giving. Some feel it in meditation, prayer, and good works. All of us have a sentient spiritual component even though some choose to ignore it.
When I was growing up my Mother would say, “Your guardian angel will protect you.” As a child I thought that meant some angel spent my lifetime hovering over me to protect me from harm and/or guide my youthful choices. Even now, as an adult, I still like the idea of some entity looking after me and I do firmly know that angelic beings do exist and they interact with the physical world.
My concept of a “guardian angel” has changed. What I think now, after years of study and thought, is that my “guardian angel” is me looking out for me. The spiritual component of my being is in fact my “guardian angel.”
My Canadian friend and meta-philosopher, the late Kenneth George Mills put it this way in one of his many books.

"The angel-hood of "you" is always claiming your attention to consider your Transcendent Nature, and that's what the angels always do.
They're always calling you to consider That which you aren't...crying.
Usually the one caught in the flesh needs to be cried unto in order for the angels to get his attention. That's why your son or your daughter would cry to you. They would cry to get your attention.
Well, that's what the angels do. They are that part of you which you have allowed to be etherized, therefore, not considered viable as your dressed-up situations. So, they're always crying unto you.
It's a great Force Field because it's uncontaminated by your mind, but it's known to exist by its pulling at your heartstrings."

Close quote.
Thank you Dr. Mills for the reminder and the confirmation.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Season

Some thoughts on this chilly Monday in the Northeast on the Christmas season and the needs of  community.

One of my favorite trees is the Redwood. The Sequoia. Magnificent standing monuments to the efficacy of family and a model of what a community can be.

These trees are often over a thousand years old and grow to 300 feet tall. Yet the root system of a single tree rarely extends below eight feet. Hardly enough strength to keep them from falling.

Community keeps them upright.

Their roots intertwine with other redwoods in a community called a grove. The roots of the grove interconnect to other groves and an exponential strength evolves as each tree helps the other stand erect in grace against fire and storm and time.

Our human species is similar to the Redwoods. Extended families and friends gather in people groves, and like the Redwoods, intertwine life with life, hopes with hopes, wishes with wishes and mutual celebrations in the simple beauty of being who we are.

Shared experience is the substance of hierarchical transformation. Empathy and service to others engender joy and helps create an immediate and an extended community.

This time of year we call that community the Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 11, 2009

War and the Peace Prize

Dichotomy is a wonderful word. It allows us to say one thing and do another. It supports two separate mutually exclusive parts with integrity. On one hand it is illogical and on the other it is the logic necessary to account for the difference between words and action.
President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. Even though he did not initiate the actions, he is the Commander in Chief of two wars being fought a half a world away.
The question is: How do you morally accept a peace award when you are fighting two wars? I know how he justified it. He made a strong argument for a just war. I also understand the criteria the Nobel Committee employs, but this is only a question for contemplation, not adjudication.
This is not a criticism of the Nobel Prize process nor of President Obama's acceptance of it. It is only a question. For some it is a rhetorical question. For others it is an essential component into the psyche of human thought, its logic, its philosophy and especially its ethics.
If you accept that “ethics” are sets of unenforceable values by which we choose to live, then “dichotomous” is the perfect out to say one thing and do and be another.
In this day and age I am happy that some are thinking “Peace” even though, as a global society, we do not have it or practice it. I would like us all to be honest in our definition of what real peace is and then be it individually and enact it as a global community. It starts by stopping the blaming of somebody for something and taking personal responsibility for our thoughts and actions.
According to the UN, there are ten major wars going on right now, with major wars being defined as wars with 1000 battlefield deaths per year or more. There are also 32 current civil or "intrastate" wars, with mostly civilian casualties.
In my thinking there should not be a single “Nobel Peace Prize” awarded to anyone when there is a war-like conflict going on anywhere in the world. I do understand the difference that trying to encourage peace is different from achieving peace. I still think none should be awarded until there is a global peace.
Alfred Nobel was the man who invented dynamite. The money accumulated from his invention funds the Nobel Prizes. Dynamite and its advance components are the ingredients of bombs. Bombs are part of war.
Mr. Nobel thought his invention was so powerful that it would put an end to war. How times have changed!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

I sit here in my home office on a cold December night, six inches of snow on the ground today and a cold wind coming on the morrow.  I think about the significance of this moment in thought, as well as the monumental responsibility for it, if in fact “energy follows thought” as some disciplines espouse.

"Energy follows thought," means ultimately all thought is creative or creating and even continues once the thinker abandons responsibility for it. If intention is the yeast then the rising component has the potential to manifest into a creation on the canvas of time.

This kind of thinking gets a little convoluted in its possible consequences, but you get the principle of the idea. It’s a little weird too. I like weird thinking.

The idea is that once you think about something, what if that thought caroms around the universe bumping into and attracting like thought patterns that end up in mesh-mash ball at a junk yard of collective possibilities? Hopefully the thought trash heap is somewhere at the edge of the universe and away from any disorder the original thought could have created. It may be out of the way, but it’s still there.

I have no idea whether it could or could not happen, but I don’t want to take any chances with any errant or ill-conceived thoughts hanging out there with other like-minded energy thoughts down at the corner of space, so what do I do?

I have been told of two antidotes. One is all you have to do is say “cancel” and the thought energy dissipates and two, you can offer a prayer thought, the non-denominational variety, that basically says, “I release into the light any negativity created by my thought and ask that it be transformed into a useful energy for the good of the whole.” I like this one.

These are just a few of the mystical mental wanderings that come to mind on a cold night when a mesmerizing fire frees thoughts from the “what if” file in the back of my mind.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


In my tiny sphere of awareness in the rural community within which I live, there is a microcosm of life.

Of course, this is similar throughout the world; there are billions of microcosms, but most of us do not take the creative mind thought of awareness into the heart. We take it into the ego emotion of what isn’t, what could be, what hopes and wishes we desire and what we fear we will not experience.

In my neighborhood there are the young and their families. There are the elders and their children and grand children.

The elderly that were here, for nearly 60 years in the same home,  just transitioned to another community for greater care and they will be missed. A young family has purchased their home and is about to move in. The cycle continues.

That makes me and mine the elder by age default. A role I am not too anxious to assume. Then too, not to far away, there are the alone ones. Alone is OK for some. Lonely is different. There is a profound difference between alone and the lonely. The lonely struggle to be connected to anything this time of year without seeming to be needy.

It’s not easy especially when everyone else is overtly happy.  Life is hard.  Hearts are soft and wanting and there is the pain of want and hope in between the two. We all know the ache of unfulfilled feelings.

So what are we to do?

There is only one balm, one assuagement, and one sweetness to the acidic illusion of life. It’s LOVE. Be it! Give it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Health Care?

I am wondering today if there is sometimes a motivation far below the higher calling of healing from some of America’s medical professionals and institutions.
Here’s my thought.
An elderly neighbor of mine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer about a year ago. She initially had trouble finding an oncologist who was part of her health care system.
Eventually she found one and her new doctor recommended chemotherapy. My neighbor did that and was told they got it all, but “a little bit.”
A short time later, in follow-ups, she was told they would have to operate to remove the “little bit.”
They did. She had a slow recovery as most 87 year olds would have. Then the doctors did more chemotherapy to make sure they got it all.
Now my neighbor is entering hospice. She does not have long to live.
I did not ask this question to my neighbor, but I wonder if she was told all the implications of her disease and the truth about her diagnosis and prognosis? Was quality of life ever in the discussion?
I don’t think she was told everything based on a limited conversation with her.  I also wonder if she was told the whole truth, would she have chosen to go through all the pain, all the discomfort for a tiny bit more of life.
The desire for life, the struggle to survive is an immutable instinct endemic within each of us. We all think we can be the one. We can beat it. We can be cured. It does happen and when it does we call it a miracle.
But for most, it does not.
Cancer treatment is very expensive. The doctors, the hospital, the drug companies, all got paid. My neighbor got very little for the cost.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Begun

It’s Begun
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

It has begun, the grasp of snow
That ushers in a winter clime.
It comes in white to set the glow
For creatures all at Christmastime.

The trees no more in silhouette
Against a sky of gray and blue.
They’re bright in white as statuette
Before the sun bids snow adieu.

Rejoice my friends the cold is here
To last for just a moment’s time.
For next is when the spring appears.
Nature’s cycle is most sublime.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Christmas Season

The essence of the human heart is wonderful.  It can, by choice, expand and embrace both the suffering and the celebrations of the world, but every once in awhile it needs to connect to the human spirit, so that tragedy and pain is softened with compassion and caring.

            Christmas is one of those special times for the heart to re-energize and become enlightened again. Christmas is an energy,  a good feeling, a warm glow, that recharges the heart when we do something nice for someone else.

            You can't see it, you just feel it.  It comes from the little gifts:  a courtesy, a gesture, a smile, a hug, a handshake, a kind remark, a willingness, however momentary, to place oneself in another's shoes and share the struggle and sanctity of life from a different perspective. 

            It happens when we choose to give what we seek the most.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Universal Thought

This is one of my favorite Sonnets, hence its reprive.

Universal Thought
© 2007 Rolland G. Smith

Would that we could see far beyond the eye
To where the mind oft goes to be alone.
Where mystery blends with thoughts that never die
And magic melts the ice of what’s unknown.
The miracle of mind is what’s not seen
Except when artist’s hands can clearly show
The Universe and time set in-between
The silence and the thought; a vast tableau.
What greater gift is there, but to create
And greet imagination at its core.
It is in bringing forth that we await
The opening of wonder at the door.
The mind is just the hook to hold the thought
Before we let it go and what it’s wrought.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


A friend of mine recently had a serious accident and was in that space between life and death. He knew it and in his mind invoked the names of the archangels.
He also said he felt the prayers of those attending him from the air ambulance to friends who prayed as he went through several days of touch and go.
This in some ways is the classic experience of an NDE, a Near Death Experience.
When one has lost conscious thought and balance within the illusion of earthly life there is an awareness of comforting light and love that descends and then transcends the density of our creation. It brings our etheric being into the NOW in a singular moment of being.
In some disciplines this is called Nirvana, in others it is called “living in the moment,” still others use the words “rapture” and “atonement”, (at-one-ment.) Certain types and kinds of meditation, hallucinogenics, music, chants, and drumming will also bring one to this enlightened brink of choice.
There are many ways to get to the precipice of NOW, but the most common is a surprise accident, as in a spontaneous trauma to the physical body where knowing consciousness is ripped from the intellectual mind and awareness is then manipulated by the divinity within us. We are then confronted with a profound choice. Do we stay or do we go?
Sometimes the answer is made for us by angelic beings and we are sent back to finish the life cycle we choose only a moment ago in another realm, but years and years ago in this illusion of time and reality.
Sometimes, it is us who chooses to return to this density when powerful images of unaware possibilities and unattended consequences are presented to our divine nature. We then choose for unconditional love and finish our pre-life choise.
The caveat in all this is the phenomenal power of prayer. Prayer can pull you back into life. It can heal. It can bring you from the addictive attraction of the loving light to the knowing individuation of spiritual promise.
Prayer is the freeing essence of unconditional love and the most misunderstood anecdotes of all bodily traumas.
As Spock says, “live long and prosper”.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau was an American writer, essayist, naturalist and renowned author of “Walden,” an account of his two years and two months living in the then Walden Pond semi wilderness.
Thoreau went there, built a small, ten by fifteen foot sideboard cabin on land owned by his friend and teacher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau wanted to experience nature at its simplest. He was not a hermit, but he did live and write in a solitary environment some of the time. Most the book was collated and edited by him after he left the woods.
Thoreau sets his criteria. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live” and he adds, “"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
There is probably much more to Thoreau’s life there than is accounted for in his writings on Walden or in scholarly research of his life and times. His parents lived about a mile away and one would suspect he visited for an occasional meal and probably laundry. It was also an easy walk of a couple of miles into the town of Concord.
I mention this history because I walked around the pond recently and visited the site where Thoreau’s cabin existed.
I have one negative comment, but I do understand its necessity given the 600-thousand visitors to Walden’s shores each year. The path for visitors to circle the pond is a narrow four-foot channel, fenced in on both sides with barbless wire.  There are a few places where you can stray up a hill, but never near the water accept at the beach entrance to the park.
My walk with family was at a moderate to slow pace, pensive at times and conversationally wondering at other moments about why Thoreau did it and what this life experience accomplished for him?
I suspect Thoreau was looking for life’s meaning and its kinship with nature. He spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the social conditions of the time and elevating his spiritual transcendence to blend with his seasonal observations. He rarely condemned his fellow beings, but he did condition their worth with succinct and erudite prose. I enjoyed the book and the walk.
Even today most people have never experienced raw nature. Perhaps that’s the legacy and value of Walden. 150-plus years later Thoreau lets us live it vicariously without the commitment to do so.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Catholic Church

I have read and watched with interest and disgust the contention escalating between the son of Senator Edward Kennedy, Congressman Patrick Kennedy and the Catholic Church.
Representative Kennedy has been both privately and publically reprimanded by his local bishop for supporting abortion rights legislation. The bishop claims young Kennedy started it by attacking church doctrine. The church then responded, not with forgiveness and turning the proverbial cheek, but by denying Kennedy the sacrament of communion, privately at first, then publically after Kennedy publicized the church's private letter to him.
There may also be a political agenda on the part of Congressman Kennedy.
In a public pronouncement Kennedy's bishop claimed the moral ground on this issue.
I was born a catholic, raised a catholic and abandoned its dogma when I was old enough to think things through with mind-full thought and common sense. I do believe though that many of the churches foundations have comforting value and sacred traditions.
I do dispute the church’s claim of moral ground. This is not a moral issue. It is a dogma issue.
A church that protects its clergy from discovery and prosecution in pedophilia allegations, a church that historically sold indulgences for the illusion of heaven’s entrance, a church that can annul the sacred contract of marriage, even when children are present, has no right to claim a moral ground, in any cause, anywhere.
Unless the Catholic Church as a whole, as a universal community, embraces these changing times and the enlightened spirituality of its parishioners it will continue to diminish in influence throughout the secular world. The church needs women priests. It needs married priests. It needs to be open and honest in its problems. It needs to be ‘Catholic” in its understanding of life, not dictatorial as the current Pope prefers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Poetic Meditation

© 2008 Rolland G. Smith

Beware the black of fear and seizures night
When earthly reason cannot see light’s bright.
For now’s the time to bide your mind and soul
As reason swallows all illusions whole.

Now move your thoughts to where it’s empty space
To thus acknowledge true the wholesome grace
Of joy and wisdom coming from the Source
Where sadness and old pain hold no remorse.

Love holds us in the brace of lasting peace
That comes to all as if it’s a release
To see the life that you have chosen now
As right and just and what you did avow.

Avow, you did, before the counsel light
Before your spirit came into its might
For density is hard to comprehend
When essence is about to matter blend.

Let the poets of this time tell us truth
In teaching to the learned and the youth.
For death does not diminish what I say
It is the listening mind that does decay.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for many, many things. Clean water and air. Flowers. The scent of a pine forest. The love of my family and friends. I give thanks to the Turkey who gave his life so that we can celebrate this holiday with a feast of abundance and I thank you for tuning into the blog from time to time.

Rolland G. Smith

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let Go Of Fear

I suppose everybody is frightened by something sometime. We have all sorts of phobias documented by science that give legitimacy to our fears. Acrophobia, thristadeckaphobia, hydrophobia and so on. Phobia is a Greek word meaning fear.

After 9/11 and rightfully so many of us developed terrorphobia. We are worried that some misfits who have no concept of the real world will again kill indiscriminately in order to disrupt, disorganize and punish.

In many ways these terrorists are a lot like the road rage guys. It’s their way or no way. The road "rager" will dart dangerously in and out of traffic creating fear and anger and counter rage.

This is where we have to be careful. If we let our counter rage, our anger, or the fear encouraged by government comment or actions to control our common sense then we give up our franchise of choice and many of the freedoms that come with that franchise.

President Roosevelt was right when he said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I think we’ve forgotten it lately.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Climate Change

Here's the story from Reuters News Agency:

"The United States will propose an emissions reduction target at U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen in December with an eye toward winning support from U.S. lawmakers who must agree to put it into law."

Despite the fact that some individual and organizations are trying to convince us otherwise, there is scientific evidence that shows human influence has contributed substantially to global warming and that the earth will get a lot hotter than previously predicted. Wine growers in Spain are worried. Islanders in the South Pacific are worried. We ought to be worried.

What global warming means is beyond devastating. Possibly the melting of the polar ice caps thereby raising the oceans levels, flooding low lying areas like Florida, Holland and much of the world's coast lines. Very troubling possibilities. Crop failures, dust bowls, and species extinction.

Nearly forty years ago satellite and space technologies gave us a view of our planet never before seen by humankind. We saw a shimmering globe from deep in space without borders, without boundaries, without fences and walls. We began to see a whole living system, with all life interrelated and interdependent. We saw the effect of choice becoming the affect of life.

What can we do?

No longer can the individual look only to the corporate polluter and say, there is the source of my pain. It's part of it, but until we, as individuals, no longer tolerate pollution and pollutants in ourselves and in our work environments, and let our voices be heard in a clarion call to stop, we will continue to befoul our nest for future generations.

We forget, we are the nature we abuse and if we don't protect our environment, the earth will.

Monday, November 23, 2009

President Kennedy's Assassination

Some thoughts on the memory of JFK. He was killed 46 years ago yesterday.

The tributes are always many on the anniversary, but the Kennedy family does not participate. They understand and accept the honors paid to the fallen president, but they prefer the memory of JFK be focused on the day of his birth, May 29th, rather than November 22nd, the day of his death.

That may take a long time, for there are so many of us alive today who remember that tragic time 46 years ago. Our children's children may learn more of his life and philosophy than will recall the day he died. History bears that out.

We honor Lincoln on his birthday and not the day he died, April 15th.

Very few even remember the assassinated 20th president James Garfield and the September 19th he died.

William KcKinley's assassination day is now forgotten. He died on a September 14th.

It takes time to bury pain, but it must be done so the healing process can begin and memory can stand without sorrow. The Kennedy family has learned through many tragic experiences, that once you acknowledge the death, you must let it go and honor the life, for only the body dies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hard days

I've was fortunate enough in the past week to visit an old friend of mine confined to a long-term medical facility. He's in his seventies and he has Multiple Sclerosis. It's not a good disease for long-term thinking. He knows it and he makes the best of it by roving in his battery wheelchair through halls and rooms and being helpful to others. People there suffer from a myriad of afflictions including stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

His smiling positive attitude is the antithesis of the general demeanor of most patients.

Granted, it is not an uplifting place to visit, but it should be. When one is approaching the end days of their productive lives because of a debilitating illness their surroundings should be filled with bright colors, music and art; easels of canvas and posterboard with trays of washable paints should be everywhere so when inspiration strikes anyone of the patients can express it.

I walked several hallways in which the infirm, the halt, the lame and the chair bound patients were starring into the narrow space of blank walls; boredom is killing them more quickly than disease.

What I'm suggesting is a change of internal scenery and sound in all long term facilities. Let comforting music echo through the halls of hope. Have a sound-proof room with a karaoke machine.  Let the brightness of color festoon the rooms and passageways. Let the drab garb of the dedicated caregivers reflect the lightness of life, instead of the medical seriousness with which they must contend every day. Why can't we make their uniforms in fuchsia, celadon and cerulean blue, decorate them with colored lights and flashy trinkets? Distraction is often better than medicine.

My friend told me of one elderly woman who had not left her room for two years. She has no family and few friends. A condition that seems to be a curse of old age when you outlive most of your generation.

This is America. We can correct this. All it takes is "intention" and action will follow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Terrorists Trial

The Attorney General has determined that the 9/11 terrorists and the alleged mastermind of the attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are to be tried in Federal Court in New York.

There are so many logical reasons to do so and so many emotional reasons not to that it is mind-boggling.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who loves publicity, is worried about security. He requested and got at least a 75-million dollar stipend to cover enhanced security for the Big Apple during the trial.

The arguments are valid on all sides. Some family members of the victims of the 9/11 attacks want one thing and others want another; some choices are based on vengeance and some on fear.

Some legal experts and governmental leaders want the terrorists tried in a military court somewhere other than New York. The Attorney General thinks a civilian court would have a better chance of getting a clearer guilty verdict.

A clear guilty verdict is probably a spin for the rest of the world for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has already admitted planning the attack; that admission is good enough for an emotional conviction, but not for the law.

Law professors have said a trial without the presumption of innocence and a chance of freedom is a problem. We all know that some scoundrels have been released on technicalities even though they were not innocent; that is the nature of proof.

America's criminal justice system has a problem. These are all legitimate concerns and need to be addressed for AMERICAN JUSTICE is based on a system of laws and proof, not what we think should be the result.

We don’t have the option of changing the law to suit the crime or our collective desire. We have a responsibility to be fair even though, as Harry Truman would say, “the SOB is guilty”.

Based upon the evidence and admissions as publicly known, I think the terrorists will be found guilty. They will be sentenced to death and the other terrorists of the world will cry foul and unfair and continue their attacks on anything American and anything western because thought and reason are not part of their modern culture.

Why do we go through the difficulties of a public trial? Because that’s America and that’s what we do. Let the terrorist world try even one iota of our judicial system and see how many minutes it lasts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


There are a number of vote recounts going on around the country for local and county positions as well as a Congressional Race in New York State and, as usual in any close race, there are suggestions of improprieties.

There are specific words that are important as we go through the arduous process of finding out who will lead us locally or regionally.

“Patience” is the first. Let us let the electoral and legal process work without accusation, without innuendo, and without suggestions of impropriety coming from those whose political loyalties may cloud their judgment and form their words.

"Courage,” Let us have the courage of our democratic convictions and have faith in the people whose responsibility it is to sort out the various contentions. Let them do this without pressure from the media for quick and instant results and let them do this without pressure from the campaigns.

If we, as a collective people, fail to have courage we will fail the republic.

We must also have "integrity". If there are deliberate polling irregularities or political skullduggery that demeans and falsifies the electoral process of any part of this land then let those responsible be identified and prosecuted under the rule of law, not rule of rumor.

The inner dimension of all elections should be honor. Without honor, we as a people, we as Americans, demean every document we hold sacred. A great truth once written said: "It is better to fail with honor than to win by deceit."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Palin's Prophecy and Politics

I have not read her book (since it comes out today) and I may not, but I’ll think about it and eventually when somebody loans me a copy I will peruse it. But as yet, I’m not ready to fork over the dough to buy a copy of a "tell some, spin some and hold some back, as told to book".

Very few politicians of the past were able to write their memoirs without the help of a skilled writer. It is the way of the 20th and 21st century of casting a spin on what you want people to think and to believe and what you want to correct, in your opinion, as an inaccuracy.

Governor Palin has the right to engage a storyteller to tell her story.

Christie Whitman, former governor of New Jersey did it. President Jerry Ford did it. Many other leaders have done it before and will do it in the future and that’s fine.

But here's my “but”.

If this were truly her thoughts, her concession speech to America that she was not allowed to make; if these are her words, her feelings and emotions, her right of passage to a presidential candidacy, then I have to ask, why did she not write much of the book herself?  An as told "to" book is not the same as writing it yourself and having an accomplished editor clarify, punctuate and spell your words correctly.

If you are astute, aware, and intelligent enough to be the President of these United States, then you ought not need a ghostwriter to codify your hopes, your wishes, answer your critics and refute allegations of what was and then offer your expectations for a future America.

OK, I guess that pretty much puts me in the arena of not supporting Ms. Palin for President. That does not mean I don’t like her or her politics. It means I have a lot of questions to ask and she has a lot of answers to give me before I think she is qualified to by my leader.

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