Friday, February 29, 2008

The Drummer Within
Dear Joseph,

If you haven't already, you will hear an expression that people use to describe a person who acts differently than they do. They say that he marches to a different drummer, one that only he can hear. I want to tell you what this means and how important it is.

Although your name is Joseph, that is just a name your mom and dad gave you so we would know what to call you and you would know when we are talking to you. But, who is Joseph? Is he the boy or young man we see? Yes. Is he white? Yes. In fact, you are a lot of things that we can label. Maybe you will play baseball, and we will add the label baseball player.

But who you really are is something that lives deep inside yourself, so deep that even you are not aware of who that is. It is as if there is a drummer deep inside you, and that drummer sets the beat to which you march. To put it another way, there is a voice inside which, without speaking out loud, tells you what you need. It is the voice that tells you what is right and what is wrong. It is the voice that tells you what your passions are in life. The problem is that this voice is quite subtle. That is, it is not easy to hear, especially if there is a lot of noise around.

And there is a lot of noise around, at least in our minds. We are always thinking about something or worrying about something. That's the part of our mind we call the ego. It wants to be boss, it wants to please everyone, it wants to look good to everyone else. It always wants to be in charge, and it usually is. The trouble is that the ego is always busy and drowns out the faint sound of our drummer. If we don't hear the drummer we don't really know who we are, what we need or what we should do in life. So, how do we hear the drummer?

The secret is to quite this ego guy in our heads. It isn't an easy thing to do because there is nothing you can do to quite him. In fact, the trick is to do nothing, and that isn't easy. Some people call this meditation. It is simply sitting quietly and thinking of nothing, but that's really not easy to do. You see, the ego guy doesn't like it when he isn't in charge so, try as we might to think of nothing, he is always butting in. But if we continue to sit quietly a few minutes each day, we do start to hear the whisper or the drummer speaking to us.

That drummer, Joseph, is what we call our soul. It is the true us, what we call our essence and, no matter how hard the ego guy tries to run the show, it is our souls that speak what our heart knows to be true. It is the soul that know what we were meant to do, what we need to do.

Most people get busy and go running around out there looking for answers. Not wise, not necessary. Reading, visiting gurus or taking workshops won't get you answers to questions such as what should I do with my life? Those answers are found inside, those answers are already known by the soul, and when the soul tells us what we need it is telling us our callings in life.

Our calling is what we were born to do, what we are meant to do, and it is different for everyone. sometimes people don't like what they hear their souls tell them, and they ignore their calling to do something that will make them rich or famous. Even if they do get rich and famous, they eventually suffer when they are older and realize that they ignored their calling in life and never fulfilled their destiny.

I will stop there. This is pretty heavy stuff, isn't it? Just remember to be true to yourself. Never mind what other people think you should do or what they think about what you are doing. When another kid tells you to take drugs or smoke cigarettes, the ego guy might tell you to do it because it is cool and the other kids will like you if you do what they are doing. But take a moment and listen to your soul. It will, I am sure, tell you not to do these things...even if it means you lose your friends. You see, the soul knows that these kids are not your friends and that they will only get you into trouble and ruin your life. You don't need such "friends". Just listen to your drummer and march in time with him.

I love you,

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Need v. Want
Dear Joseph,

As you get older you will come to realize that there are confusing words that people use. Many of these are important to understand, such as the difference between need and want.

To help you remember, just think that need starts with the letter "n" and so does necessary. The things that are necessary to keep us alive and safe are the things we need. So, you need air to breath, food to eat and shelter from the weather. Sometimes you will need medicine to get over some illness, and so on. In a way, you need some toys to stimulate your mind and help teach you things. Beyond that, there will be things you will want.

You will want something, like a toy or fancy bike, that your friends have. You may want a bigger TV like you see at someone else's house. You may want the latest in cloths that all your friends are wearing or to go to expensive places as they do. That's pretty normal, and you need to remember that they are all wants. If you don't get them you may feel disappointed, but you will not die from it. Let's see if I can give you an idea on how to handle the disappointment when you don't get what you want.

When I want something and I don't get it, I sit with myself and ask the question, what do I really need that makes me want to have that thing. Seems like a funny question, doesn't it? But think about it.

Say you want the cool new bike all the kids are riding, and mom and dad say no to your request. You are disappointed. But what was the need behind the want? Think about it, Joseph, because as you come to understand this you will also become your own person. And don't worry if you don't get it at first, you will as you mature. But back to the question.

You want the bike, but (more likely than not) you need to feel like you were just like the other kids. You need to feel like you fit in. Make sense? You get the same bike the others have and it is like you are all wearing the same uniform that says we belong in the group. And that would make you feel good. What you will realize as you get older is that dressing the "right" way and having the right things does not make you a part of anything except a society that wants everything it sees.

What will make you be yourself are your thoughts, your ethics (we can talk about what this means another time) and how you behave, especially when the going gets tough. You will, during your life, want many many things, and you will be able to have some of them. What you will always need, however, is to know yourself and to be true to yourself. That's how we fulfill our deepest needs.

I love you,

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Circle of Life

Dear Joseph,

In some cultures, as a way of trying to understand how we live, people have looked at life as a great circle. Some Native American cultures have divided the circle into the four directions of the compass and have assigned different periods of a man's life to each direction.

As I write this, you are about 9 months old. You live in the East where the sun rises and day begins. The architype is the lover. You are an innocent. You are new, fresh and ready to learn. You will, for a while, do most of your learning through play. Play, in fact, is your job along with exploring and questioning. A poet once said that he wished he could recall once more the seriousness he knew as a child at play. That's how important it is. Never forget to take time to play, no matter how old you are.

During this time in your life you will achive many new skills and learn many new things. Store it all away for you never know when it will serve you. You will, as well, suffer some wounds, both physicaly and mentaly. These, too, will serve you well, although it will not seem so at the time. It all happens for a reason.

During this time of your life you will have the warm support of mom and dad as well as your 4 grandparents. Along the way you will meet others, most friendly, some not. Learning to tell the difference will also be part of your learning process.

I wish you well as you begin your journey. Know, that as long as I am alive, you have my love and support. I will not unfairly judge you, and I will not sell you short. If you have a need with which I can help you need only ask. Whether or not I fulfill that request will depend on how I judge doing so will effect you.

I will, in future letters, talk more about these things. For now, go play.

I love you,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

For the rest of you
The rules I've set for myself

Some call me Silbs. I blog under that name and talk often about kayak related issues. There is, however, another important and over-riding love n my life to which I am called to devote some attention. That love is Joseph, my grandson.

I would love to know that I have another 21+ years during which to share with him my thoughts, beliefs and passions. Another 21+ years in which to give him my unique insight into this world and this life. Another 21+ years to experience the joy of watching him go through his rites of passage and into manhood. But, alas, I cannot extract that guarantee of time from the Universe.

So, it is my intention to share with him many of those things on these pages. From time to time, when the Spirit moves me, I will come here to talk to him. Well, actually, to talk to the boy, young man and man he will one day be in the hope that I can exert a positive influence on his future.

I am clear that I am not his father who is, himself, a wonderful man. I am clear that it is his father's job, along with his mother, to raise Joseph. I am also aware that the energies of a father and a grandfather/elder are entirely different. His father is a loving man who will be faced with feeding Joseph in mind and body and to discipline him to learn right living. My love for Joseph is that of a man with over 65 years of life experience, a quenched ego and a life mission of service.

Who better to serve than my grandson? And that is what I hope to do as the time I have goes on.

Grandpa Dick