About Me

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I am a pastor and a clinical psychotherapist. My life's passion is defining healthiness from a human perspective and paralleling it to the holiness of God, divine perspective. Shifting perspectives creates a paradigm that is alongside of rather than over and against. The parakalein of God and the paradoxes of humanity are redefined. Humanity is all about winning and yet we are losing ground everywhere. Divinity is all about letting go of the desire to win and the fear of loss. The Divine embraces the world with loving care regardless of anything.

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Stability

Posted by Don Paine

I was reflecting on all the crazy events in our world as the year 2012 draws to a close.

Then it hit me that Jesus was born in the stable to offer to the world the stability of peace, hope, love, and joy which are the gifts of advent, the gifts of God to our world.

I know that God's peace, hope, love and joy are the things the make the most unstable of times stable.

In your stable, know God's stability.  For whatever was in the past and whatever is to come know the stable assurance of God's love.

Easy

Posted by Don Paine

What was easy about that first Christmas Day, 2000 plus years ago?

Not much.  There was the difficulty for Mary of what people were thinking about her and for Joseph the same.  There was the necessary trip to register at the census/tax office at the worst of times in her 8th month of pregnancy. There was the "no place to stay message" and the "no vacancy" signs everywhere.  It was a difficult time, not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Imagine in the presence of all that uneasiness that the message of the angels was a simple "be at ease".

"Be at ease" does not mean that things are easy or that it is easy to be calm in difficult times or  in the storm.

It means that when you cultivate an internal space of calmness whatever is not easy becomes more easy.

So the next time you are uneasy about something anything see if you can step out of that feeling and hear and "be at ease".

It is a message of Christmas!

Hey there God loves you, the Hay is For You

Posted by Don Paine



   
I imagine the God of love and peace awaiting this first advent.  Since the beginning of time, which God began and marks, God knew the day would come that it would be time, to send his son into the world made for and of God.

He knew as Paul comments in one of his letter that the time was just right.  “In the fullness of time, God sent his son”.  In the fullness of time, at the exact right moment God is present in every moment with love and peace.  God offers us the way to give our hearts rest and peace.  God orders the world to acts of love and kindness.

We forget that every moment is pregnant with the presence of God’s love, every situation is made better when looked at through the lens of peace and love, and all the world will become a better place when we all see "the way of grace" and embrace that way as the way of life.  It is the Jesus way that is bigger and broader than any ecclesiastical way. 

It is the Jesus Way that is the Way of and to heaven.  It is not about church or religion it is about relationship and relatedness. 

That is the message of Christmas.  It is not about Christmas. It is about the love that produced Christmas That love is in all of us regardless.

I heard of a woman in Bethlehem, PA who is attempting to form a museum of nativities from all over the world.  She collected them from many nations and tribes of people all over the world.   Over the years she has stored them in her home and now wants to create a museum of Nativities.  At 71 she wants to leave a legacy.  The interesting thing is she said she does not believe in Christ or Christmas but just likes the nativity scene, loves babies, and so has collected them from everywhere. 

That is the true Spirit of Christmas:  seeing the beauty and message of the baby of love laid in a bed of hay so that all may lay their head in the lap of God’s love.


What a mess, the message of the mess

Posted by Don Paine



What a mess.
Imagine Joseph and Mary walking out into that smelly nature infested stable.  They had learned that God was in this and with them no matter what.  I imagine Joseph telling her not to worry that it will all work out.  Another part of me imagines that it was Marry the one pregnant and uncomfortable that was reassuring the Joseph who was feeling badly, not to worry that it will all work out.  Maybe they were speaking this truth into each other’s life.  It was and is true.

No matter how messy it is in your life, the message is the same:  the I will be with you God will be with you no matter what. 

God will be with you!

The Way of Love and Peace, the new narrow way

Posted by Don Paine


I imagine the God of love and peace awaiting this first advent.  Since the beginning of time, which God began and marks, God knew the day would come that it would be time, to send his son into the world made for and of God.

He knew as Paul comments in one of his letter that the time was just right.  “In the fullness of time, God sent his son”.  In the fullness of time, at the exact right moment God is present in every moment with love and peace.  God offers us the way to give our hearts rest and peace.  God orders the world to acts of love and kindness.

We forget that every moment is pregnant with the presence of God’s love, every situation is made better when looked at through the lens of peace and love, and all the world will become a better place when we all get the way of grace and embrace that way as the way of life.  It is the Jesus way that is bigger and broader than any ecclesiastical way. 

Lots of religious groups, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples etc declare "their way" as the only way, the best way, or the better way".  It is the way of most to define their unique or special insight on the way and the what that people should believe.  Few if any define "the way" as living in peace and loving all people regardless of anything.  Some would argue: that definition of "the way" is too all inclusive.

Everyone seems to think that the way needs to be a specific or narrowly defined way and that the broad way that leads to destruction is "specific and narrow".

I believe that the narrowly defined way to God is what everyone thinks is right but it is inherently self-serving, self-indulgent and therefore inherently counterproductive.  The narrow way, that few people accept or find because they are busy trying to define their way to God, is really the broadly defined "way of love and peace".  The previously narrowly defined way to God serves tension and contention so itself leads to competition and destruction.  The new narrow way serves what is its core: peace and love.

In the fullness of time, in our day, we can begin defining the narrow way as the way that defines the way to God in more inclusive and coalescing language and breeds the same: love and peace in all for all.


True Gifts of Christmas

Posted by Don Paine



Yesterday I was on the phone with an insurance agent who was trying to help me resolve a problem.  She was so respectful and cooperative I became increasingly relaxed and confident that we could together resolve the problem without attacking each other or defending ourselves.  We laughed about several things and even before I knew the problem had been respectfully resolved I told her that it was delightful and sort of Christmassy to make the best of a mess.  She thank me and I said, So I want to wish you “Merry Christmases all around”.  She commented that she had never heard that expression before and really liked it and wanted to use it.  I told her it was not mine that I had never said it to anyone and I sort of liked it so would use it myself.  She laughed and we all felt Christmassy all around us. I had never used that expression before it just came up from somewhere inside me.  Interesting.

It did not just happen.  We made it happen by making the best of a troubling situation.  That is what Christmas is: the gift of making good in the midst of something bad or just not good!

Merry Christmases all around!

Speechless, no words

Posted by Don Paine

I have not been able to blog for 7 days.

It has been seven days side the horrific tragedy of 12/14 where 20 children and 6 adults working a school in Newtown, CT, were killed.  Also killed that day was the mother of the shooter and the shooter himself.

Every time I went to blog I felt like "silence was the best way" to represent the horror of the moment.  Words fail us when there are no words to describe what you feel inside and the compassion of silence is your only true friend.

I noticed that each day I looked for children walking, shopping, at a funeral, and just went up to them and their parents in a light and caring way to honor their living with a sense that there are people in the world that care.  Who will go out of their way to offer an "intention act of kindness and goodness".

Maybe that is what I needed to do to break the silence.  I did not have to share my thoughts on the tragedy what I need to do is break the silence of seeing people but not speaking love and kindness into their lives.

So do something in memory of those who died that day by "contributing something to the presence of goodness in the world.  Maybe the good answer to the violence in the world.

"Peace in you and on earth, and Good will, goodness and kindness to all"

Tears of the eyes, water the soul

Posted by Don Paine

Tears of the eyes

Water the soul

Troubles of the heart
Temper the spirit

Sorrows of the Mind
Comforted by the soul and spirit!

The New PC

Posted by Don Paine

I just received an email from a good friend reminding me of humanities political correctness which is the more modern pc having replaced the pc of personal computer.

It reminded me of another maybe the best kind of hallmark "PC": "Peaceful Contentment" which is the message of all the angels of Christmas to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, and everyone:  Be Still and Don't Worry for the I will be with God is With You!  Now that breeds the pc of personal contentment!

PC to you this Christmas Season!

Sheep or Beach?

Posted by Don Paine


Yesterday I heard a research project declare that "counting sheep" is not as effective a strategy for creating calmness as picturing a beach.  Interesting that in the 21st century so many get to the beach that that is a comforting scene.  At the same time, centuries ago not many got to the beach but many had sheep farms.  The image of the "sheep jumping over the fence" created movement and a soft comfortable cushiony image that was familiar so it worked.

So different things at different times create the same "calming effect and affect".

Tough and Tender

Posted by Don Paine

Dualism can create balance not tension, conflict or duplicity.

Tough as nails and soft like wool.
Tender as sheep and a tender of sheep.

Maybe that is why there is so much duality to invite us to balance and harmony not to foster conflcit and duplicity.

Imagine the world with dualities but no duplicity!

The Mess and the Message

Posted by Don Paine

It was a mess.  It was messy.  Was I the cause or had I just stepped into a mess? I asked.

Then I took a step back and saw a message to me.

So often when there is a mess or when life seems messy I have a "you messed up" part that speaks to me (making me feel it is all my fault) or to someone else who I want to blame or shame.

This is as old as Genesis 3 and what we have referred to as the "fall".  God refereed that moment and took on no shame or blame and released the couple from the need to blame or shame each other.

So I learn, when there is a mess or a messy situation to take a step back and look for a message.  The message always massages meaning and learning into the mess.


Wonder and Witness of Calmness and compassion

Posted by Don Paine


Robert Bly, a well-known poet, has a wonderful analogy. He says that we arrive from the far reaches
of the Universe as 360-degree balls of radiance, place ourselves at our parent’s feet, and say, “Here I
am.” And they say, “I didn’t want you. I wanted a good little girl or boy.” That’s where the Judger
begins. It points out all of the unacceptable parts and shoves them back into what Bly calls the long,
dark bag we drag behind us. What we hide composts in the bag, gets wild and builds up a big head
of steam while we expend all our energy maintaining a mask by which we purchase love and
affection. Whenever these wild parts threaten to break through the mask—our power, stubbornness,
exuberance, terror, curiosity, rage—we deny, numb out or project them onto someone else as fast as
we can. We relate to these parts exactly as they were met when we were developing the image of
ourselves, usually with fear and rejection.

I just finished a training that uses parts language to assist in people welcoming all parts of themselves and others and offering those parts the attention of compassion that they need to release overwhelming burdens and unhelpful beliefs.  They then breathe in the qualities of compassion and calmness for healing and restoration.

I had an image come up in me that was a ball of light filled with calmness and compassion  that then sprouted arms and legs and a variety of parts with which to engage the world.  When injured they become inflamed with protectors and preservers that only serve to frustrate the system.  When balance and harmony are achieved they see and feel the wonder and witness of the calmness and compassion that is their essence.

Pause Step Back and Breathe

Posted by Don Paine

Yesterday, I was up did my walk with my dog, started my truck and was off to work so I thought. I stopped at the local market for a coffee and while in their my truth which I had left running as it was a cold day, had quit on me. Without previous warning of any kind it just would not start.

At first I was upset even a little mad at my good truck.  Then I was frantic about what to do, how to get to work and what to say to clients who were waiting for me at my office and hour away!  It was like a first I shook my fist, then pointed finger, and then began to fret.  Ten I opened m hand and heart to the flow of the day and the sense that all would be well, it could be worse, and suddenly I was thankful that my truck did not strand me on the highway where i had little resources and bigger problems.

I even decided to not call AAA but just call a friend, rent a car and be on my way which I was able to be within an hour.

I "paused, stepped back, and breathed" and the flow of my day shifted.  I only missed one appointment and the rest of my day went smoothly.

So life lessen for me:  whenever you are frazzled and at first clench your fist, or cave in on your self, open your hand and heart and you will find things go better with an open heart and mind.

Oh and my truck is being cared for by a friend who picked it up.  I and my truck are glad for good friends as well.

A Mother's Legacy

Posted by Don Paine

Hannah was troubled by the infertility of her womb.  Elkannah's other wife had born him many sons and she had taunted Hannah with this reality.  Elkannah told Hannnah that her love was greater to him than 10 sons.  Her heart was heavy and she sought God and committed to give a son back to God if God gave her a son.  Hannah's heart was not about herself but about the "self" within her that honored the God who taught her the two faces of sacrifice:  One face was the face of Joy and Wonder when you have the unmistakeable gift of life within that mirrors the gift of life all around.  After her son Samuel was weaned she brought him to Eli to live and grow within the context of service and sacrifice.  I imagine the incredible struggle and strength in Hannah as she honor her word and gave up all rights to her son while doing the right thing.

The "right thing" was not just her honoring her vow to God but in pouring the oil of that surrender into her presentation of her son.  It was a legacy of honor and integrity much like the act of Abraham in being "willing to sacrifice" his son Issac only to seed in him a life ofd service and sacrifice.  Hannah likewise seeded in Samuel a "willingness to sacrifice" and the "witness of integrity".  What a legacy.

Imagine Samuel asking Eli where his mother was and Eli telling him the story of how his mother was amazing in her "willingness to sacrifice and love" and in her "witnessing of honor and integrity".  Samuel followed in his mother's honor and integrity because it flowed into him not with words but with action and intention.

Judgment Hall, Hall of Grace

Posted by Don Paine

The lectionary Gospel was John 18 on Jesus summoned to the "judgment hall" by pilate and the powers that think they have power.  Governments are like that.  They hold an wield power and judgment.  Weird, that God would be summoned to man's "judgment hall" when God was about to demonstrate the "Hall of Grace" and invite all humanity to a "judgement free zone" where truth and grace rules and honesty and humility thrive.  Indeed God's kingdom is not "of" this world for King's of the earth and ruler's of earth control and direct the affairs of their subjects.  The kingdom of God is within people and is ruled by "inner self-control", inner peace and calm, and outward acts of goodness and kindness".

That is a world that needs no end, and has no end.  A Kingdom of "truth, justice, and God's way".

In Every thing Give Thanks

Posted by Don Paine

What a concept:  be thankful all the time, for all things, everywhere, and always.

Is this a recipe for disaster or for delight.

If I accept bad things that happen to me or around me am I not inviting bad things to come into my life?
If I get a package in the mail that I do not what I can refuse delivery.  At one time in my spiritual journey I was taught to "reject all things that I do not want" and God will fill my life with only good things.  What self-deception in the guise of spirituality.

Today, I accept every package that comes to my door.  I do not separate packages that are form God and not, or packages that are good and bad.  I welcome everything and the welcome changes everything.  Everything is good not because it is qualitative evaluated as being good but it is transformed into goodness by acceptance, affirming love, and abiding grace.

This what Paul meant when he wrote to the Thessalonican Church people.  "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).  He was not saying to welcome bad and let that bad overwhelm you.  He was saying welcome the bad and good so neither become the focus but the focus becomes welcoming all things and letting that transform all things into goodness and mercy that will follow me all the days of my life and I will be dwelling in the house of God now and forever.  The will of God is not to accept the good and bad of life as from God but to accept that good and bad happen and in a spirit of thanksgiving find good in everything.   That is the will of God for us all to find and transform the worst into the best and to transform the good from making us feel entitled to making us thankful.

So this Thanksgiving:

Be Thankful for the blue skies
Be Thankful for the grey skies
Be thankful for the storms that destroy some or all you have
Be thankful for the seas of glass that give peace that lasts
Be thankful for the people you love
Be thankful for the people you hate
Be thankful for people who like you
Be thankful for people who do not like you
In everything and for every one Give Thanks

Peace

Posted by Don Paine



Jesus said, "My peace I give you not as the world gives you peace".  God's peace is not the same as man's peace.

God's Peace is not the absence of conflict, despair or disaster

God's Peace is the presence of calm in conflict, despair, or disaster.

Doxology

Posted by Don Paine

The Doxology a major part of many church services says:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God above, all you heavenly host
Praise all creatures here below
Praise Father's Son and Holy Ghost


The implication of the first line is that we are happy and thai God for all the blessings that come our way but how about the heartaches, the adversities, the apparent curses.  Some even believe that the curses on our lives are our fault or that God is mad at us so withholding blessings.  Others believe that the blessings are only because of God and nothing to do with us.  It is the worst kind of duplicity of the duality of life. This implies that blessings are on God and curses are all on me so that I do not get any credit for the good and all the credit for the bad.  That seems unfair and twisted. Blessings and curses, good times and bad times just are.  We do not do anything to get or not get them.  This makes it fair and untwists the duality.  As God pours goodness into everything and as God turns all the good and bad into "some good in our lives" so God invites us to raise God at all times when the blessings come and when adversity visits us.  God invites us to in the best of times not take him for granted and in the worst of times make them better by finding good an during goodness into them.

So here is a possible new first line:

Praise God from whom all goodness flows!

Kill or Be Killed, Love Your Enemies

Posted by Don Paine

This picture appeared on the front page of the New York Times on Friday, November 16, 2012.

It is an illustration of current world events where two groups justify their killing each other which in the end is "global blindness".  A "kill of be killed" orientation and world view results in "global annihilation" and is justification of that which is not "justice for all" but "death to all".

Ghandi said, "An eye for an eye orientation results in a blind world".  Additionally, an eye for an eye orientation results in everyone seeing the world with "one eye" or "one way".  If we pluck out the offending eye then see "our enemies" with an eye of love, we negotiate a cease fire.  We cease from perpetual violence in the name of justification and embrace a "justice for all" through non-violent acts of goodness, fairness and kindness.


Alternately, we see the world with two eyes.  With one eye we see the way we want to see it, the way it appears to us, and the way we justify our protective, provoked, and proactive part.  With the other eye we see the world form the other persons perspective in which we see their protective, provoked, and proactive part.  

While many acts of violence can be "justified" there is no such thing as "just violence". Violence by its very nature is injustice in action.  Love by its very nature is just and justice in action.  There is such a thing as a "war I can justify" but that does not make it a just war.  All acts of violence are acts of injustice.  All acts of goodness kindness and peace are justice in action.  Jesus and many others said, "Love your enemies".  This was not because our enemies as so lovable, or because we want to invite them to kill us, but because only love can heal a broken heart.  

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm our hostilities.
Longfellow

Only when "the eye of love settles the eye of violence will there peace and justice in our world".

In the name of the God of love and peace, may it be so!


Peace that is Peace

Posted by Don Paine

Peace is not the absence of conflict, despair, or disaster
Peace is the presence of calm in conflict, despair, or disaster!

A Model of Justice and Peace from South Africa

Posted by Don Paine



A MODEL OF JUSTICE FROM SOUTH AFRICA

"In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly, unjustly or with disrespect toward themselves or others, he/she is placed in the center of the village.  All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual.

Then each person in the tribe, regardless of age, begins to talk out lout to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person in the center of the circle had done
in his/her lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted. All his/her positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. The ceremony often lasts for several days.

At the end, the circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back in the tribe, in touch with who they are and who they can be".

The Garden meets the Gardner

Posted by Don Paine

I wept inside with someone who became a widower this weekend.  Strange I had just blogged about two widows now I meet a widower.  It is the same on both sides just different sides.

His wife of 66 years died leaving him alone.  He and she were in different ways "relieved and released" from the heavy burden of a body that shackled a soul.

As he described her to me I had two visions created in my mind as I listened to her life though his words.  She was a gardener who I watched meeting the one who after his death as he was on his way to heaven, "was thought to be the gardner".  Jesus is the gardner who plants, waters and gives increase but he is also the garden in which we live and move and have our being.  So the woman gardner joins the gardner in the garden of heaven.  I could see it.

As he continued to speak about the love of his life and the life of his love, I had another vision come to my eyes of Jesus welcoming her to his garden and calling her a "woman of a green thumb and a golden heart".

Grief and grace will flow into this man and his family even through this loss as they embrace "everlasting life and live everlasting love.

As Paul Anka once wrote and sung, "if love is not forever what is forever for"!

Two widows one message

Posted by Don Paine

The lectionary scripture for last week had two widows providing one message.

The Widow of Jerusalem (Mark 12: 38-44):  Jesus watched all the people bringing their large offerings in a showy way to the synagogue.  For him it was never about the show but about the reality of the heart as transparent and translucent. The widow came and gave her last penny as an indication of her willingness to give everything not because she had nothing worth living for but the model of a "living sacrifice".   A person who does not live through what they have but through what they do not have.


The Widow of Zarepath (I Kings 17:8-16):  Elijah asks this poor widow who was gathering some water so she could have a last meal with her son then die.  She was full of despair because all she could see is what she did not have. She was also full of hope which she could not see.  Elijah asked her to go home and bake some bread and draw some water and he would be there to share in what she had.  As she poured oil and flour and water into a bowl she discovered that she had more than she ever thought. From her giving she became abundantly blessed.  They all ate and were full.

A "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:2) is someone who mourns great loss, weeps for the loss and those tears become water for the soul.  Death shadow breathes into us and we become "living souls".  People who do not live through what they have. They live through what they do not have, freely becoming who they really are.

The World as it is, The Church as it should be

Posted by Don Paine

A week ago I was in NYC picking up my packet for the New York City Marathon.

Runners were coming together from all over the world, from all nationalities, all ethnicities, all political ideologies, all religious and non-religious orientations, all races, all sexual preferences, all philosophical positions, and all realities to run a race that is "like none other".

Many runners who came to use their feet and sneakers switched to use gloves and hands to help people dig out of debris and to lend a "helping hand" rather than "running feet".  This was amazing to watch happen and to be part of.

There was no political, religious, ethnic, racial, or gender posturing.  There was runners taking the position of compassion.  Compassion overruled agenda.  They had all come, 47000 of them, to NYC to do an amazing run.  It became an amazing fete of a sense of global community a new kind of "global warming". It warmed all the hurt, cynical, overwhelmed parts of people to see people helping people.
That is the way the church, the synagogue, the temple, the mosque, etc. should be.  We are each others neighbors.  The world of neighbors came into the NYC neighborhood.  We all became what we already are, "good neighbors" doing good from hearts of compassion and creating a "good feeling"in the presence of tragedy and trauma.

The "race like none other" took on a new dimension of seeing the human race in action.  A "moment like none other" making the 2012 ING NYC Marathon a Race Like None Other!

A Snap of Anger and a Touch of Compassion

Posted by Don Paine

It was the day after the election.
I was at a coffee shop having a "moment of relaxation".  A woman was also there at a private table and on her cell phone.  Her voice was getting steadily louder and more and more disturbing to everyone in the coffee shop.  I turned and gently motioned for her to soften her voice.  She began to speak louder than ever telling the person on the other end of the phone that some obnoxious old man was telling her to lower her voice.  She then spoke to me telling me loudly that this was not a library but a public place and that this was her voice and if I did not like it I could go to a different coffee shop.  As she was "ranting" I tried to softly say, "I am just asking for some simple courtesy".  Giving up, I turned back to my warm refreshing coffee and my reading the newspaper.

I did notice that her voice dropped and she was speaking very softly.

Ten minutes later I felt a touch on my arm as i was focused on reading an article in the paper.  I had given up and let go of the "fray".  It was the same woman.  She began to apologize to me for being so obnoxious and rude.  She seemed genuinely sorry.  I told her that it was okay and I was glad she lowered her voice.  She agin told me she had treated me poorly and was very sorry.  She then added that her husband had died suddenly last week and she is angry at the world.  I told her I got that and that she could release that anger and in fact was doing so by talking to me.  I told her that while it was not okay to disturb others it was okay to express her disturbance and that she needed to find a place to do that.  She left with a smile on her face and I had a smile in my heart and face.  I hope her smile found a way into her heart.

It was not how I expected to spend my time at the coffee shop.  But is was all good.  As a tense angry exchange was transformed into a healing moment.

I thank that woman for her courage to be honest and reparative and trust she will repair her hurt heart.

Beyond Politics: Practicing togetherness

Posted by Don Paine

It is the American Way!
What is the American Way?

As the dust and wounds of a competitive political settle, all Americans begin to embrace their common bound, their common goals, and their common ground.

When Abraham Lincoln made his second inaugural address it was after the civil war that had been due to a deeply divided nation.  The wounds on both sides further divided the nation.  It was not the time for a winner take all mentality or for the winners to "claim mandates".  It was a time for the nation to come together to bind up their wounds, to come together for the good of all, and to sacrifice all agendas in the name of "the common good" and the "unity of a nation".  Abraham Lincoln said these words to this nation at that time, March 4, 1865:
  With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to know the right,
let us strive to finish the work that we are in  To bind up the nations wounds,to care for him who 
shall have born the battle for just and lasting peace among ourselves and all nations.


Today, while not a civil war, we have been deeply divided as a nation.  Nearly half of our nation is disappointed in the election results.  We need to celebrate unity, common good, and common concerns.
We need the five c's of courage, compassion, conscience, cooperation and collaboration.

In President Barak Obama's speech on election night he attributed the greatness of our nation to all who made phone calls or held signs on street corners whether for him or Governor Mitt Romney.  The American way is to have strong opinion and dreams, to campaign for causes long and hard, and in the end regardless of who wins to "come together" for healing and for unity of the nation.

So let us come together, sacrificing our individual agendas for the common good, embracing justice and peace, and engaging in acts of love, goodness and kindness regardless of anything to the good of all people, to the healing of our nation, and as a witness to the world of "the American Way".

 

Radio Interview with KLOVE Christian Radio

Posted by Don Paine

Before the marathon was cancelled, I was interviewed on K-Love Radio about the worship service.  You can go here and listen to the interview


ING New York City Marathon: A Moment Like None Other

Posted by Don Paine

Last night, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Road Runners Club, who were working together to orchestrate the ING NYC Marathon ("A Race Like None Other"), decided that this was a moment like none other and it need bold and courageous leadership like none other.  Together, they made a decision that was not about runners who had trained for a year for this event, or about the revenue that the marathon brings to the city.  It was about the people in Staten Island and other parts of the NYC area who were reeling from the trauma of Hurricane Sandy.

 42 years ago, Fred Lebow began the NYC marathon, sacrificing a career in a different direction, wanting to make the marathon a "people's marathon".  The simple fact that people matter was at the core of his heart and the passion of his running.  That is what made the NYC Marathon into a "Race Like None Other".   In 1992 Grete Waitz and Fred ran the NYC Marathon.  She sacrificed a potential unprecedented 10th NYC Marathon win to run with her friend out of care and compassion. I had the privilege of joining them for a stretch in Central Park.  Fred was in pain, but he was inspired to finish by the care and compassion of fellow marathoners.  Like me and like Grete, they were pushing him to the finish line by the sheer force of their will.

Sacrifice is at the heart of the marathon runner and it is what this 2012 decision required. So this year the New York City Marathon says loud and clear to the world that there are times that all agendas can be sacrificed. This year the discipline and dedication of runners who have come to NYC gives way to caring for the people of NYC.  Compassion trumps competition.  That is a message like none other for the world to hear.  How fitting from the "race like no other".

Wind Storms and a Gentle Breeze

Posted by Don Paine

Wow the east coast gets another storm.

I an so many have been out of power or just over whelmed by the winds and the floods.

I realized that in behind the winds and the floods and in and behind any tragedy is a "gentle breeze" of God's presence.

"A breeze of presence is in every storm of adversity"
Behind every flood is a river of peace.

Marriage is a One Way Street

Posted by Don Paine

It is also true that Marriage is a One Way Street.

This refers to the sense that we are traveling together with varying past experiences that create various automatic and autonomous responses that in themselves may be polarizing in relationship.

Just as the universe has many polarities but is moving through space in a natural way.  Just s the earth is moving around the son in a one way direction yet allows for multiplicity of opposites, so too a couple can learn to move in one way while retaining all their differences and even polarities but in a less threatened and threatening way.

If we are facing forward we are side by side.  In dance the "promenade" position is lead arms extended out, bodies open, faces cheek to cheek, body heart to heart, and side by side.  The stance is an open position, the direction is forward, and the posture is "side by side".  That is the one way street of a marriage.

Seeing all things as in form or behind but form a posture of "looking forward" and a position of "side by side with openness.

Marriage is a two Way Street

Posted by Don Paine

This no doubt refers to the fact that it is not "my way of the highway".  Many of us get into thinking in one way that contradicts or invalidates the other persons feeling or reality.

The discipline of hearing and respecting the other persons way of seeing the world, of feeling hurt, or of solving problems is at the heart of a "heart to heart" relationship.

Grand Slam Grand Opening

Posted by Don Paine


A Grand Slam Grand Re-Opening

The Public Market in West Stockbridge had a reopening holiday weekend.

In a day when huge multifaceted electronic communication devices and huge superstore markets this little “Ma and Pa” Shop reopened with a resurgence and revitalization that goes to the depth of human experience of community.  We have so many ways to connect why is their so much non connectivity. Why so much loneliness when we have so many people and so many ways of communicating.? Have we missed the art of "eye gazing into another's heart?"

The "Public Market" gives a hint!

Four distinct differences mark this as more than a “public market”.


11)   People say hello to you whether they know you or not as you come into the store even sometimes before you get in the front door.
22)   The personnel are all personal (they often know your name), friendly, and helpful.
33)   Products of all kinds are personally prepared, wrapped with care, and neatly offered to you.
44)   You are wished a good day and feel better after you go out of the store regardless of how much or how little you depend.

It was a grand slam of a weekend and a slam dunk for a place to stop even to go out of the way for.

As a local yokel,
I go in nearly every day.  It is a joy to be wished well and to wish others well every day. 

It is more than a “Public Market” it is a “Community Market Center”.  It is life the way it used to be and always should be.

As a note when I first came to West Stockbridge I needed someone to walk my dog.  I checked with Ann Fallon who was the then owner of the market and she gave me the name of Tim Butterworth who provided wonderful care and companionship for my dog while I was at work in Albany.  So whatever you need you can find help at the market as Tim Walsh and Andrea, the new owners pick up the same community minded focus of the past into the future.

Insecurity and Insensitivity are out,secure and safe in

Posted by Don Paine

I was working with a couple recently and they identified a somewhat common pattern of approach avoidance with a twist.

She acknowledged an insecure part that triggered in her partner a shut down part that withdrew and became distant.  This only exacerbated and furthered her insecure part.  She then complained that it was all about him and that he was incredibly insensitive.

In an attempt to not foster the traditional back and forth, accuse defend modality, I invited him to go inside and see what was going on inside his own mind.  This was hard as he was accustomed to defending himself and attacking her.

When he looked inside he noticed that he to had an insecure part.  His insecure part felt really triggered when she didn't trust him and became accusatory and/or judging him as insensitive or worse.  When I asked him what his insecure part needed form her it was trust.  His insensitive part was his protector that moved him away from a familiar childhood experience of distrust and accusing.

She began to notice that her insecure part was triggered by a childhood experience of "emotional injury" that carried the feeling of distrust.

They made a commitment to understand each others parts and their reactions as where the insecurity and insensitivity were fed.  They choose to begin to feed the "aware and sensitive" and the "safe and secure parts of each of them.

Awareness replaced judgment and fear of loss of relationship.  Trust replaced fear of abandonment and lack of safety.

The Secret of Job, Letting Go keeps me moving

Posted by Don Paine

Job is a Biblical character that is authentic and audacious, non-anxious and non-agenda driven.

The closer we look at Job the more we see true "willingness to sacrifice".

The context of this book is that God is thinking well of Job.  God is confident that regardless of what evil or good is thrown at him or taken form him, he will remain faithful.  To do this he would have to be willing to live with great courage and be thoroughly honest regardless.  Regardless of what happens he would not let fear of abandonment or desire to control things become his focus.  His focus would be always to perennially see God in all things while not seeing God as the sender of all things, to see hope in the hopeless, and help whenever helpless, and health in all illness.

When the dust settles at the end.  He has health, wealth, and family restored.  What happens when I am willing to let go of all things is that all things are welcome even the loss of things not just the gain of things.  So in the end what Job had he never took as certain for all that he had learned is that compassion and courage are the only certain qualities of eternity.

In Job 42:8 when he prayed for his friends he let go of everything infusing his frustrations with God's presence and friends with compassion.  Then all he had lost became gain and all he gained was never as important as it once was.


What Price Eternal Life

Posted by Don Paine

When the rich man asked Jesus "Good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

He got a comment: "Why do you call me good there is none good except God" and an answer:  "Keep the commandments".

His response was I have been a good boy keeping all the commandments till now.

Really, do any of us think we are that good.  The audacity to believe that I am that good is not so good, honest or humble.  Did he really believe that about himself.  Notice, God did not debate that issue but went to a deeper issue.

Jesus said, so be willing to sacrifice all that you have and give to the poor and then come and follow me then you will have riches in heaven!".  The man went away very sad as he had much riches.  He was sad that the part of him that did not want to give up what he had was greater than the part that wanted eternal life.

Was Jesus saying if you keep the commandments you will have eternal life or if you give up all and follow him you will have eternal life or something more?

Jesus, himself, was willing to give up al the riches of heaven and come to earth to live among us and die for us to teach us how to live free of the fear of death or the holding on to things.  Following his example of "willing to give up everything" to transform us form people who try to hold on to things to people who let go of all things so that the life that is everlasting can live in us here and now.

What seems to be "no where" on earth that is a place of heaven is "Now Here" when the Kingdom of God that is already within us is free of the things of earth that weigh us down.

The rich man went away sad because he was not willing to let go of what he had to discover who he was free of that weight.  You cannot buy eternal life, you cannot do enough to get eternal life you simply have to be glad regardless of anything and "eternal living is in you".


Melchisdek or bust

Posted by Don Paine

Who is Melchisdek?

Yesterdays lectionary reading was in Hebrews 5:1-10 which mentions the priest Melchisdek.

The primary place to go for information about this priest is Genesis 14.  This means this man was appointed a high priest not by a religious organization or political machinery but appointed by God. So Jesus was appointed by God directly as a high priest in the "same order".  This is very different than the order of priesthood in our day which is driven and directed by men.

Melchisdek was a "priest of the Most High God".  This most high God is above all religions.  This God is about authentic presence and attributing oneness.  Notice in Genesis 14:18, that Melchisdek was   the King of Shalom, Salem or Peace.  Jesus is spoken of as the "Prince of Peace", a priest of the Most HIgh God who  is maker of heaven and earth".  He broke bread and shared wine as a way of blessing Abram and of attributing to Abram blessing.

Before Judaism and the Passover, before Christianity and the Communion Table, "bread and wine" were the way people celebrated communion and communicated blessings to and from God!

This is not about church this is about being "the church".

Either we as the church will get that it is not about us but about God or we will self-destruct.  If we do get it, we will construct a vibrant community of Faith, Hope and Love.


Religion: None, is misleading

Posted by Don Paine

I read an article, in Times Union, Sunday, October 21st, www.timesunion.com  by Kristen Brown on how the growing norm among responders to a question about having religion is, "none".  It was a good article and challenges us who are in the church to be more "in the world" though not "of the world".

Organized church has taken people out of the world while being of the world.  The world says life is about power and control which it is not.  The organized church has used power and control to manipulate and mandate things to people.  I call that being of the world. Being in the world with an authentic and non-anxious presence is what people are to be.  People are to be caring and compassionate not controlling and counter-pointing.

This article challenges those of us who are in the church to stop the controls and the counterpointing and get "in the world" in a real and authentic way.  Then the "none" will become "one".

In my opinion that movement has already despite, within and without the church.  It is called the rise of concern for spirituality as a corollary to "old time religion".

If you changed the question and instead of asking people if they are part of or practice religion, you asked people if they "practice any form of spirituality" the answers would be very different.

While organizations are formed to perpetuate an organism, in the churches case the organization has killed off the organism.  St Francis of Assisi said to a Pope after asked, "Francis what shall we do we cannot say as Peter of old, silver and gold have we none", said "Yes and neither can we say rise up and walk!".

The none of religion will become one in faith hope and love when the organized religions of the world give up their agendas and people begin "to live as one" (John Lenin).  If you recall he had a line that called for "no religion too".

Dreamers see hope when others fear loss.  I dream that one day the church will be the church in the world.  We will not be of the world but of a mind set beyond the chaos and conflict of the world in order to bring to that world the courage and compassion it needs to live as one!

Awards are Nice, Life is Better

Posted by Don Paine

Last weekend I received an award as Alumnus of the Year.  Most of the responses have been positive in multiple ways like:  to be happy for me, to congratulate me, to say way to go, etc.

Two responses were negative and I really understand and receive the truth behind them.  One was to say, "awards are not what life is about, life is what life is about" and another "awards and diplomas" are meaningless caring for people is what matters.  I agree with both statements.  I wonder why they needed to be made.  Maybe each person felt I was flaunting my award.

At the ceremony I spoke about how this is just an award that honors "transforming the pain, suffering, death and loses of life into lessons that breed life and love, passion and compassion".  I focused on thanking Nyack College and my brother (who died three years ago) as the ones who God used to have gifted me a ministry that focuses on "transforming death into life, heartache into hope, and loss into faith.

So indeed pain suffering death and loss on our journey are what God helps us to transform into life lessons that we live before people and family into whom we pour our life lessons.

Slamming is what I have learned I do to myself and others when I have unhealed untransformed hurt and pain.  When hurt runs deep, we cannot just be happy.  When we enter into happiness, we leave the road of bumps and bruises into the way of blessing and peace.

Romans 14:13 tells us "Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or trap before a brother or sister".

I receive the true comments of all even those two negative ones as they are true.  I see that "transformative living" removes all things that are obstacles or traps that muffle or mute the message that it is "God who is at work in all of us" and God works through the least of us the greatest work.


Nike and Ekin

Posted by Don Paine

I recently was in a fund raiser race and as I walked up to the registration table I noticed a teenager walking toward me with a t-Shirt with the Nike Message in huge letters:
JUST
 DO
  IT

As I thought about it I began to see an alternative or alternating opposite Nike message, an Ekin:

  JUST
DON'T
   DO
    IT

Some times we need to with great courage and strength "just not do" something.  Other times we need to with the same great courage and strength "just do" something.  All the time we need the wisdom to know the difference.

"With Age comes wisdom, Sometimes age comes alone"
"With Wisdom comes a sage, Sages are Wise"

Judgment and Righteousness

Posted by Don Paine

I was at Nyack College to receive an "award" as simply an honoring of the ministry that god has called me to, and has poured into my life through pain and suffering.

The exact quote on the award is: "For exemplifying the Integration of Faith, Learning, and Spiritual Transformation to Fulfill God's Call to a Life of Influence".

This is an honor because it is the reflection of the transforming of my mind into what I believe to be the mind of Christ.  Christ focus was to love people no matter what. So I owe this honor to the Christ who is in me and the me who is in Christ.

In Mark 10 Jesus is approached by a rich man who wanted to know, "What do I have to do to gain eternal life?".  Jesus told him keep the commandments.  The rich man. "I have kept all of them since I was a little boy".  Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Jesus could have spoken for other parts of him like the part that said, "really you want me to believe you have kept all the commandments".  He could have spoken to the rich man's "selfishness", spoken shaming judgment, or just shake his head and walk away.  Please also note that Jesus could have questioned him about his very idea that you "inherit" eternal life.  What Jesus did was from the deepest and core arena of his soul, "he looked at the man with the look of love and compassion".  The look of love is what transforms people. Only when they are willing to be honest with themselves about themselves are they ready to be transformed.  Jesus then said, "sell everything, give up everything you have, give it all away and follow me and you will have riches in heaven".  The text tells us he went away sad in heart because he had great riches.  Was Jesus telling him the way to heaven is "to trade one inheritance in for another? No, he was inviting him to be honest with himself.  Honesty with oneself is the key to personal transformation.  Attacking others or defending or inflating yourself gets in the way.   Peter who was listening said, "we have left it all and followed you" as if he had a part that wanted to be affirmed and promised eternal life.  Jesus said it is hard for the rich to enter heaven as hard as it would be for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle but with God all things are possible.

What is the transformational truth here?  That nothing you do or have is at issue but so many think that is the issue.  Some are sad when they are asked to give up their wealth because they have a lot, their pride because they have a lot, their self condemning parts because we all have inner critics, or their self inflating parts, etc. etc. etc.

Having the look of love in your eyes is what is both transforming and the result of transformation.  It is not about being right in our judgments or in our positions but it is about being right in our hearts toward others.  This is my aspiration and to which God inspires me.  I fail often when I think it is about what I do or when I try to do things to make myself look good.  It is sad when I do not see what God wants me to see.  I walk away sad or I pay the price of "giving it up" and "taking it in".  I like the rich man and the disciples realize it is not about being good or doing good.  It is about goodness, kindness and love in you and coming out of you.  That is letting eternity into the here and now.

Personal transformation is about looking with a transformed mind and heart.  It is not about me it is about me in Christ and about Christ in me.  It is about the "look of love" that transforms all hearts that are willing because the heart that is willing is transformed.

The Lie, The Truth

Posted by Don Paine

When I was embroiled in church conflict, I wanted to tell everyone the truth.  The truth I wanted to tell everyone was my truth.  Behind that truth was a lie.  Others wanted to tell their truth.  Behind their truth was their lie.

When I was a kid I heard and used the expression:  "Liar liar, pants on fire!"

Today, I know that lies promote other lies and those lies can be presented as truth only to result in a greater lie.

I lie not.  I am scared to death to blog this blog.  Scared that no one will understand and many will misunderstand what I am about to say.  I have learned the brevity and bravery are good friends so I will attempt to be brief:


  • The First Lie   "In the Day you eat of this fruit you will be as God, you will not die".
  • The Second Lie  "In the Day you eat of the bread and of the cup, you will live and if you do not eat of the bread and drink of the cup you will surely die, go to hell, or at least be annihilated"

The first lie was fabricated to make people feel that they had to do something or they would be missing out on something for ever.  If Adam and Eve did not eat they would miss something good, pleasant, and right for them to have and if they chose not too they would die without it.  They had a part hat felt they had to have it.  They had to eat or else.  So they ate.

The second lie was fabricated to make people feel that if they did not become Christians, eat of the body and drink of the blood of Christ, they would be missing something for ever.  Anyone who did not eat would not live.  The church has set up a part that says if you do not eat, you will die which perpetuates the agenda of the church being needed if not necessary of salvation.   This is essentially self-serving theology diametrically if not diabolically antithetical to the message of Jesus the founder of faith but perhaps not the founder of the church.

What lie are you hearing right now?  What truth are you hearing right now?

The take eat of self indulgence is present in the Garden of Eden.
The take eat of self sacrifice is present in the Garden of Gethsemane the Rock of Golgotha.

The church while intentionally and understandable wanting to promote and prompt faith in the Jesus of Calvary has forgotten or neglected the Jesus of Nazareth.  The human Jesus and the divine Jesus are fully present in him and can be fully present in you. 

The TRUTH is that when you live in the balance and harmony of self-sacrifice (compassion and love toward all) and self-serentity (calmness and peace towards all)  you eat of that which is good and healthy and you reject that which is not.  The TRUTH is that there is nothing missing in me, nothing outside of me that I need, nothing inside of me that is essentially bad, nor anything inside of me that is not essentially good.   I am created in the Image of the Creator.  The creator is peace and love.  I do not need anything outside of me and everything I need is already inside of me.  Parts of me doubt that other parts believe it but all parts will surrender to the Peace and Love that they know already exist within. 

Jesus is THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE but not in the way or with the truth or with the life that the church has presented it.  Jesus is the Way of Serenity as he lived and died in perfect peace without any agenda or fear, fearless and agenda free.  Jesus had no fear of loss or desire to win(gain).
Jesus is the Way of Sacrifice/Love as he lived and died in perfect love for all without any defense, disdain, or regret.  Jesus had no fear of suffering so was full of compassion.  Jesus was so full of compassion and peace (calm) he felt no suffering and had no fear.  Peace and Love un-eclipsed by anything, embracing everyone and everything, promoting nothing except the way of "peace and love".

That is the Way of Jesus that is the ONLY way and it is not the way of any particular church, synagogue, temple or mosque or hut.  The Way of Jesus is the Truth and the Life beyond all human and religious truths and ways.

The Truth is that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) but not as presented by the church for that presentation is itself contradictory to the truth.  My desire is to present the Truth free of the prejudices and perspective of the church but as a challenge to the church to be the church that Jesus wants us to be not an exclusive club but an all inclusive club by simply changing the lie that we do not live and living the truth that is no lie.

What is your truth?  What is your lie?

My pants are not on fire but my heart is on fire with love and peace toward all because I choose the way of lot sand peace inside.  I believe in Jesus in a new way to a new end for a renewal of the message of "peace on earth good will toward all humanity".  I believe that was the message of the angels on a particular day in time.  A message not to one person or one group but message to all and for all.

Thank you for noticing

Posted by Don Paine

So many things people do go un-noticed.

One of my alma maters, Nyack College, Nyack NY www.nyack.edu/homecoming elected me "Alumnus of the Year" for "Transformational Ministry".  I am still unsure who nominated me for this honor.  I am sure that it reflects my life long passion to "make a difference in people's life" and "to help people make sense of non-sense".

"Transformational Atonement" a concept I began presenting a year ago fosters the idea that while Jesus died for our sins for we could not atone for our own wronging doing, he did not die because an angry wrathful God needed a blood sacrifice.  Jesus died to transform the way we live by teaching us to "be willing to sacrifice everything to be set free of trying to hold on to things and be free to let go and gain the peace and love that is transformational".  Transformational atonement sees God's working in Christ as leading us to "be not conformed to the way the world lives and thinks but to be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans12:2).  The renewed mind thinks as God originally created us to think:  "it is not only about me it is always about us".

So I trust you do not hear pridefulness in my blogging about this honor for it is the pain and suffering of my life that has led me to believe in "Transformational Atonement" as a parallel concept to "Substitutionary Atonement".

The award will be presented on Saturday October 13th which happens to be my brothers birthday.  He died suddenly three years ago and his loss, the pain and suffering that it brought into my life is part of where the focus of "Transformational Atonement" came from.  God literally transformed the way my mind was thinking into a renewed sense of God's presence in all things.

I thank God for this honor for all the good that I do as a reflection of the goodness of God in all things and in all people.

Necessary or Not They are here to stay

Posted by Don Paine

Would it be wonderful if there was no pain or suffering in our world?

As I was driving to work this morning I heard an academic minute (NPR) by a microbiologist who was researching why it is that the cellular system has not in the process of natural selection and mutation not discarded "unnecessary parts" that seemed to have no function and therefore were deemed "unnecessary".

He likened it to a construction site building a roller coaster at the sight of a sky scrapper.  An engineer would just eliminate the waste of energy and the waste of space and scrap the roller coaster and just build the sky scrapper.

What the research and study the biologist conducted proved is that while the part seems unnecessary it is preserved because it maintains some hidden role of balance in the system that does not seem necessary but serves a necessary purpose.

I began to muse: what if pain and suffering is exactly that.  While most of us would like to get rid of them they may serve a utilitarian seemingly unnecessary role to balance the system.  All parts of the system are important to the function and survival of the system even if they do not seem so.

So pain and suffering are here to stay.

Perhaps one of their functions is to call forth compassion and courage as partners in living with and making sense of suffering.

I do not like pain and suffering as I watch it happening to others or feel it myself.  It is here and if I hear its message I may hear it say: "Make peace with your pain and suffering and it will lead you into greater courage and compassion".

Self and the Couple Relationship

Posted by Don Paine

I was recently at an IFS Conference that focused on healthy togetherness and came up with the following plan for a Couple's Retreat:

Blending together the principles of Internal Family Systems and Parakalein System of Being into redefining being a couple, a family, and Global Community of Life and Faith


 Three Principles woven as a cord of three strands, a stance of three ideas into a dance of intimacy

1.  All parts in all people are All Welcome

2. The SELF is an inner and eternal essence of healing, hope, honor, honesty, and humility.  It is an agency of peace and love without agendas except to nurture peace and love

3.  All parts are invited to, called to, and created for an "alongside of and with" all other parts in balance and harmony that promotes togetherness.  

Summary:  Polarization and paralysis are the natural reactions of a disharmonious system of opposite parts. While it is not the intention of a part oppose another part it is often the belief of a part.  Oppositional defiance and oppositional compliance are equally unhealthy to any system.  A system is healthy when opposites are seen not as compensatory opposites but  as complimentary opposites. 

Parallels and propellants of community are the natural reactions of an harmonious system that welcomes all parts, all experiences, all burdens, and all beliefs as one.  Burdens that propel disharmony are released of their burden. Beliefs that propel disharmony are shifted to beliefs that promote healing and wholeness for all so we become one yet many, many yet one.

Shame, Blame and Guilt

Posted by Don Paine

Have you ever touched someone in a bruised part and watched them flinch.  A normal touch to a normal arm conveys love and care.  A gentle touch to a wounded spot causes a response in each.  The wounded person winces in pain.  The touching person flinches in fear as he sees the unintentional hurt caused by his inadvertent touch.  For the wounded time and sensitive un-touching combine for healing over time.

Shame blame and guilt bring attention to wounded parts and add to the experience and expression of those wounded parts.  Shame, blame and guilt are protective and defensive parts but they are not redemptive parts.  They lead to the call for calm (non-defensive), compassionate (uncritical), and courageous (unproductive) qualities that invite redemptive healing.  Redemptive healing is healing that returns the person to the former state of wellness through the way of calm, compassionate, courageous, and recreative energy.

The redemptive purpose of Shame, Blame and Guilt is to lead us to the well of Grace, Goodness, and Gentleness that are restorative. Having learned the lesson of hurt and wounds of healing we become more cued into the hurt and wounds of others.  The healing balm is present in the wounded healer.  By the stripes that represent pain and hurt, that evoke shame and blame, and that are mentors of care and compassion we are healed of all strife.

Famous Peanut Butter: Altruistic Competition

Posted by Don Paine

I heard a report on NPR about a special kind of peanut butter produced in Haiti, begun by a humble woman in St Louis, to provide the nutrients that mal-nutiritioned kids need in an easy accessible product. It has been reported to be doing just that in Haiti (rich in peanut farming) and other areas of the world as well.

A second company is building a competitive factory in Haiti to produce the same or a similar product.  They say that it is not about competition.  It seems the original conveyer of the product freely share her focus, purposes and recipe.  Both companies are focused on helping children in an altruistic way.  I mused so why not cooperate adn collaborate rather than compete.  Why not build one huge factory and work together for the shared cause of healthy children.

Then I realized this is human nature at its best and worse in the same moment.eh best is an altruistic focus.  The worse is a particular agenda, a competitive profit focus.

It is similar to church life.  The purpose of all churches is to introduce all people into "inner peace", peace with God and peace form God and into "loving kindness" towards others as the outgrowth of receiving loving kindness form God.  The altruistic focus of all churches is to introduce peace and love into peoples lives so that they live in peace and love.  With such altruistic motives why is there so much competition.  Why do we who go to any church set aside all our particular differences and work together and build one factory that would produce one message to help the world live as one! Churches say it is not about competition but I wonder.  What would happen if we united all the altruistic forces of faith into one movement of and for peace and love, what would happen? Peace and Love through out the earth?

Society does the same as there are so many cancer research centers competing for the cure.  They all want a cure.  They all work for the cure.  They all raise funds for an altruistic cause.  What if they all set aside their particular agendas as an agency or group and combined forces and funds, and cooperated and collaborated as one, what would happen?  A cure for cancer?

Altruistic competition is agenda driven. It is good but Altruistic Compassion, Cooperation and collaboration is the best and betters everyone and everything.

Working as one will result in the world profiting as one but the price is everyone has to not care about their profit but embrace the profit of all.

You may say I am a dreamer.  I am not the only one!  We can live and work as one!

Saying on Vulnerability Strength and Strong Power

Posted by Don Paine

There is nothing so invincible as strong vulnerability
Nothing so vulnerable as invincible strength

True Intimacy, One and All are One

Posted by Don Paine

John 17:21

"That all of them who believe may be one, even as you Father are in me and I am in you"

The bullet of intimacy is not a bullet fired with a gun but a bullet of love fired in all from above.
As I mediated on this verse it hit me like a bullet that lodged in my heart and brain at the same time. True intimacy is being so into the other person that everything in the other person is in me and the other person being so into me that everything that is a part of who there are is in me.

True intimacy is a shared union of opposites that results in a communion of togetherness that is not about competitive achievements or  compensating opposites but as a complementary differences being more as one that anyone could be separated from the essence of community.

Just as everything that is in the Father is in the Son and everything that is in and known by the Son is in and known by the Father so everything is in all of us and all of us are in everything.

Be in others and in your self with equity and equality and the communion of opposites will heal the burdens that separate people and nations from the truth that we are all the same only different all different yet the same.

We are one.

Live as one and living will be one for all and all for one and all.

Esther, A Women of Courage and Compassion

Posted by Don Paine

Esther and the Feast of Purim are the Old testament illustration of being the salt of the earth (see Esther 5-7, and Mark 9:38-50.

Esther flavored everything and everyone with God's Favor.

She calls all of us through her life to be willing to say, "If I perish, I perish" which fosters humility.
She calls all of us to be willing to sacrifice what we have every right to preserve for the strength to risk everything for the community of people which fosters honor.
She calls all of us to hold on to what is ours and speak truthfully while respecting others which fosters honesty.

Haman and his wife, Zeresh plotted for the annihilation of the Jews in the days of King Xerxes.  They were filled with hatred and erected a gallows of hatred for Mordecai.

Moredecai approached Esther as the woman who God had put in the palace as the Queen.  She could not use her position for herself but for her people she was willing to risk everything even her life.  She stood tall as a woman of honor, honesty, humility, courage and compassion.

With the support of all the people who had fasted adn prayed for three days become a communion of the fellowship of suffers, she boldly and emboldened by them entered the Kings presence uninvited and was accepted and offered up to half the kingdom.  She could have profited herself and sold out her people but she was willing to sell out on profit to cash in on her compassion and courage.

She told the King of Haman's design to kill off all her people clarifying it was not about her anger or hatred as she would have said nothing is it was just about selling them into slavery as they had done that before and thrived. His design was annihilation and sporting slaughter thus humiliating and disgracing her people.  Full of grace in the face of this disgrace she asked for the king to spare the lives of her people.  Hatred always fuels more hatred which is why Jesus teaches to love those who hate.  Flavor them with favor.

Haman who was so consumed by hatred was inviting if not summoning hatred to himself and while intentionally begging the Queen for mercy having witnessed the King's anger, he did so while reclining in her presence which appeared to the King like he was attempting to rape his wife the Queen.  The King ordered him hung on the same gallows he had erected to hang Mordecai.

This is the story of human hatred as it finds its way back to its beginning.
This is the story of human honor, honesty and humility that leads to courage and compassion and returns all things to their beginning in balance and harmony with the creator loving God of all things and all people.

Whether I perish or not is never the issue how I live is always the issue.

Living with an intention to flavor everything with God's favor regardless of anything is to be as Esther,
a salty woman of courage and compassion.

Jesus said, "be the salt of the earth", flavor everything with God's favor.

Crazy People filled with Care

Posted by Don Paine

We went to Castle Island in Boston for the ALS walk to support a friend 47 who is losing the battle but still fighting!  After the walk we went with some of the family to a mall for lunch.  A food court seemed a great idea as everyone could get their own food to their own liking.  I rounded up a section of 4 tables and 12 chairs.  Three of us sat at the table while the guest of honor, our ALS friend, found his way in his huge wheel chair to the sitting area.  As we were attempting to save the space for the group, a woman came and sat down at the end table. She began to unwrap her good to eat at this table which by the way I had cleaned off, wiped down and set up. Somewhat surprised, I politely and quietly spoke to her that we were saving these chairs for our party.

 She loudly and quite undiscerning said, "I am just gonna eat my sandwich, this is not a high school where you can save seats for your friends".  I quietly went to the chair next to her and spoke softly to her letting her know that this was a group from the ALS Walk in Boston and we were saving the space so the ALS patient could have his friends around him at lunch.  She announces that she did not know why this was such a problem that  she would be done before he arrived and that we were rude to save spaces as this is not high school.

Quite frankly I moved from surprised to stunned by her indifference and rudeness.  The too ladies in our group at the other end of the table part of our group were also in shock.  Looking at each other and me in unbelief.

She shacked her head as she got up to leave as if we were the rude insensitive ones and that she was highly offended by our behavior.

She reminded all of us if we live without consideration, compassion, and respect for others it is because we have lost all self respect and other perspective.

I hope she never has a family or firmed suffering from this vicious disease.  The community of compassion and care of the thousands of walkers was not abated by her lack of community or compassion.  I had actually invited her to join us but wanted her to know that the table will be filled with caring supportive people.  With that she got up an left.  Obviously caring and compassionate people are too much for her to stand.

Love wins!

8 years of hard Goodness, Deepening Peace and Love

Posted by Don Paine

I sat in a room overlooking Monument Beach Bay on Cape Cod, with 28 or so people all introducing themselves.  When it came my turn I said something I had not thought of before it was as if it just cam out of me.  Some of what I said was previously felt, thought or experienced but none of it had been strung together as the string of words came out of my mouth.  Today I know why it happened that way! Here is a recollection of that moment:

(Written as on September 7th, 2012)  "As I sit here today I reflect on this place, a beach where my father taught me to swim some 50 years ago.  I think of how the strangle hold of death has gripped me over the past 7 years.  Nearly 8 years  years ago a young woman client of mine was killed by her husband who then killed himself. I began my IFS (Internal Family Systems....www.selfleadership.org) . Then Nearly 6 years ago, my father died during level 1 training.  Then 3 years ago my brother and Karen Reed (my co-presenter of IFS) both died suddenly 5 days apart.  I descend into the death pangs of hell itself, was depressed, despairing  and had lost all sense of Self or  Calmness or Compassion in me.  With the help of supportive and loving family and wife and with the help of an IFS therapist,  I was immersed in death and emerged out to life.  Out of the depths of despair into the depths of compassion. I am here today, alive and well and wanting to deepen my experience of life and relationships.  Anyone who wants to go swimming with me when we are done I am going swimming in honor of my dad and in honor of new life."

It was well received.

Today, October 1st is the eighth anniversary of the murder of my client who began my journey into a deeper depth of appreciation for life and death than I could ever know without experiencing both the trauma of death and the wonder of life.  A person who shared in the trauma of her death shared today in the wonder of her healing in a special way.  Amazing connections continue to happen in the road that intersects the grace of living and the grief of losing.

I know today better than ever the wonder of this 8 year journey into the depths of Love and Peace of Death and Grief to a renewed sense and presence of the Glory and Grace of God.

Thank you Liza Warner.
You died on this day and you live in so many today!
"Be the Change"

Yon Kippor, Atunement, Atonement

Posted by Don Paine

I like many of you have friends who are Jewish for whom  this day is the holiest of days.  In celebration of, in respectfulness for, and in reflection of that day in Jewish history and in human history I offer these reflections:

Yon Kippor teaches all of us the import and importance of life and death, of suffering and serenity.  

It is a call and summon to a shift from offering questions to offering compassion and consolation. Yon Kippor invites all to tune into that sinfulness and emptying oneself from the burden of sinfulness into a sacred place:  to become one with the sinner and the sin, for healing and wholeness.  This is the focus of Yon Kippor:  healing and wholeness in adversity and suffering.

The suffering for sin which is universal invites all to enter a place of full compassion. Compassion releases all from the burden of suffering into the blessing in the presence of suffering. We see our own suffering and the suffering of all others as a call to the community of suffering and healing.  A part of me want to run from that suffering, run through it or to simply pause to embrace it.

With compassion the burden of our suffering is lifted while simultaneously our compassion is expanded to all who suffer lifting all of us.   In the moment of holiness, there is an at one with all.  In this "at one" moment for and with all we are invited to tune into our own suffering and then to turn with that compassion offering it to all.

The sacred place and space of unburdening and Blessing is the most holy of all acts on the most holy of all places on the most holy of all days.

The high priest enters the sacred place, on one sacred day, with the sacred purpose  of releasing all burdens and restoring blessings not for himself alone or for the Jews alone but for all people and all of God's creation for all time, all seasons, and all.


Yon Kippor is a day of calling all of us to the fellowship of human suffering, human hope, and human healing.  Tuned into the place of mercy and grace, atonement from the place and practice of sin and suffering, transported to the place of healing and wholeness.  The Yon Kippor is a day when death and suffering are embraced by and embrace the compassion and creativity of hope, healing, and wholeness.

A sacred day of sacred blessings for all.