Swan Song

This blog post, which I named Swan Song, is my 52nd weekly entry. Hence, this week marks the completion of a full year of Journaling Life’s Sojourns. These 52 posts represent my experience voiced in several different ways. So, “What Now”, after this year ends? Apropos is a well-known adage of old, “Change itself is the one thing that never changes!”

“What Now?” (Photo Credit: Paul Gilmore)

Now, recently (like I wrote in last week’s post), there has been a continual string of busy months apace for the Pittmans. On July 1st, I began a 10-week (and perhaps longer) hiatus from Sunrise Toastmasters, my speakers and leaders club here in Fort Collins — while Melanie and I are in the midst of moving to Thornton, Colorado (an hour’s drive south). Doing so will enable us to live closer to our children and new grandson in Denver.

And I am rehearsing a classic one-act play (Swan Song by Anton Chekhov), opposite Jonathan Farwell, a friend and veteran film, TV, and Broadway actor. Live performances are set for August 7th & 8th, in Fort Collins.

Amidst it all, I have greatly enjoyed sharing with you my ongoing perspectives and narratives via the blog, where archived Journeys are set in five categories: Home; Healing; World; Earth; and Cosmic.

Firstly, the two categories, Home and Healing, are largely integrated, with each of them comprised of 14 unique blog posts.

The Home Journey (like the title says) addresses my blessed time at home: Living Life with my wife, Melanie (an Angel-Incarnate, one with months of experience in urgent, palliative, and near-death caregiving — vis-à-vis our five-year, miraculously evolving Healing Journey).

Home Journey also describes fatherhood in general, plus my own parenting experience, in specific. Also celebrated is Melanie’s and my privilege and pleasure to now be living our first months as grandparents.

Then, World Journey speaks to willingly and ably handling Abundance; “Truth-Telling” (communicating what’s true — free of deceit or falseness); and supporting millions of citizens searching for a United State of Identity, trust, common courtesy, and what remains of a nation’s role in global leadership.

As to the Earth Journey — My blog post, Climate is Everything, queries cardinal elements, like this one: Is Earth’s Life unique in the Universe?

To know, in the end, whether Life even exists beyond Earth, one must come to terms with the nature of one’s own significance here and now. Hence, all of Creation’s primeval elements are, in essence, “closer than hands and feet” in the experience of every one of us.

So, what is the nature of my own personal “Climate”, one moment to the next? Is my life’s every element part and parcel of the manifest expressions of Love, Truth, and Life? Rich food for thought …

Now, in meditating on the Cosmos, I am assured that “Divine Will” is what fuels all attuned human energy, enthusiasm, courage, and endurance — as It seeks Divine Ways to manifest and express through human Being on Earth.

Here, one’s own unique currents of connection with Life Energy bring into manifestation countless resonant processes in any given moment.

These include each Soul’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities — which live and breathe in evidence of an actual, tangible Attunement that, in truth, we share with the Creator and all of Creation.

What a Wondrously Marvelous Wellspring of Life Energy, Eternal Being IS!

All the while, my own sensing is that the realm of “Private Speaking” is an actualized field where creative thoughts (unspeakable, beyond words) are inspired by a deep range of positive emotion attuned with Source Energy.

Such a creative field is powerfully known when held in a quiet, yet radiant atmosphere of Peace and Assurance where wonders materialize with ease!

In that vein, this blog entry happens to be a “swan song” (a farewell) of sorts, before I take a hiatus from blogging. For sure, I will let you know when I return.

Meanwhile, I invite you to enjoy journaling your own life’s sojourns via the “private speaking” of your own mental, emotional, and spiritual making! And an easy way for us to be in touch is via PenDell@PenDellPittman.com

Take Good Care, and Keep, in Heart & Mind, the Source of Life Eternal … Gratefully Yours, as Always …PenDell

The Power in Private Speaking

In an earlier blog post of mine (10/16/2020), I defined Oratory as “the rationale and practice of persuasive public speaking.” Public Speaking is defined as “the art of effective oral communication with an audience.”

I have always had admiration and interest when it comes to Oratory. Many public speakers have acknowledged that Oratory is as much about the art of performance as it is about persuading others of the merits of one’s viewpoint.

Speaking in Public (Photo Credit: TM Int’l)

Please indulge me while I elaborate upon that term, Public Speaking, by means of a story or two about elements that radically changed my youthful, naïve view of grand ways to live a purposeful life in service to others.

Years ago, I greatly wanted to be a public speaker. However, for starters (in my 20’s), I found myself drawn to the entire spectrum of Performing Arts. Singing, dancing, acting, writing (via book reviews, scripts, articles, what have you) led me to finish three university Performing Arts degrees, conservatory studies at Cleveland Institute of Music, and winning every level (but one) of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council auditions.

The short story of that contrary “But One” is this:
My vocal coach/mentor called me in one day and, out of the blue, announced that he had decided to withdraw his recommendation that was required for my Met auditions. When I demanded and finally pleaded for reasons why, his harsh, long-winded delivery of a reason boiled down to this:

“Look, PenDell — Whereas I am quite certain that you could and would capture all those auditions (and I know how it’s done, because I’ve been there myself) — I am realizing that you are not equipped with all the right stuff needed to succeed as a professional opera singer.”

After a full minute, with me nonplussed and staring at him in disbelief, he said, “You, in no way, have the self-interest or self-centered heart not to be eaten alive by that competitive world. You are far too soft for sucker punches that hit you, fast and hard. Now is the time for you to release that untenable notion.” 

In retrospect, I see that he was testing me in order to suss out this possibility: IF I was both willing and able, then and there, to countermand the likes of him, one who was marshaling a most acerbic surprise attack on my self-esteem — then, maybe with luck and some generous agent’s authoritative management, I just might survive in that perilous world of professional music-making.

A day later, he called me back with this verbal addendum: “I was thinking, What you would be ideally suited for is teaching vocal techniques — at the level that serious singers need to sustain a demanding career for years. I know that you are developing undeniable skills in that area of expertise.”

“Don’t just teach, one-on-one lessons. Teach and exercise small to medium-sized groups in both beginning and advanced classes. Then add individual coaching and mentoring for select students of your choosing.”

Honing that approach, aligning it with definiteness of purpose plus a trojan work ethic, and incessantly spreading the word, I was soon invited to concertize at a University, and afterward, to address students and faculty in its Performing Arts department on what it takes to sing classical music professionally.

When I arrived there, early afternoon, to check out the concert hall on campus, I was directed through a side door to the backstage area of the main auditorium.

Once in, I walked onto the stage lit by a single bulb suspended from above its center point. From there, I peered into the still pitch-black expanse of what must have been audience gallery beyond. Between the stage and the front-row seats, a forestage apron was one small step down.

As I began to soundcheck the hall’s acoustics, I was overcome by this chance opportunity to orate! “Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking …”, I bellowed, as I high-step marched onto the broad, inviting, yet dark forestage before me.

Except it wasn’t a forestage; it was the Orchestra Pit! WO-AH ..! (Crash)
Mangled were several music stands, imploded was the kettle drum that broke my fall, and utterly deflated was my pride-filled ego! 

During a quiet month taken off between tours to iron out the “Pit Man” aches and pains in my body, mind, and heart, two realizations came to me:

“Firstly, whereas I had been so privileged to perform music of great composers, lyricists, and other singers — I now deeply desired to author, compose, perform, and produce my own original artistic creations. In doing so, I resolved to live and work, fully and ongoingly, in every facet of ‘my world’ on earth.”

And moreover, whereas I had once intended to practice Public Speaking, I was now increasingly conscious of what I called “The Power in Private Speaking”:

— Thoughts behind Words verging on the “Ineffable” (what is beyond words);
— Depths of Emotion that inspire creative, self-governed Thought; And …
— Attunement with the Source Energy that imbues core Consciousness in Man.

In my recent experience — on July 1st, I have begun a 10-week hiatus with Toastmasters, my speakers and leaders club, while Melanie and I are amidst moving from Fort Collins to Thornton (an hour’s drive south) — closer to our children and new grandson in the Denver suburbs of Park Hill and Aurora. (Those three neighborhoods are all just minutes apart in the Denver metro).

In addition, I am rehearsing for a male duo, one-act play, Swan Song by Anton Chekhov, opposite Jonathan Farwell, a veteran film, TV, and Broadway actor. Performances will take place in Fort Collins on August 7th & 8th. 

Internally, I feel and know a deep Peace that frees up external elements — like the “How, What, Where, When, and Why of things, material and immaterial.

More specifically, I sense that my “private speaking” is most powerful when it is held in quiet, yet radiant essence. For example, I frequently have visions of things possible, and, within a day or two, I will hear of someone else I know (or know of, at least) taking ahold of that vision and making it real and operable.

Hence, I am assured that, in the “bigger picture”, Cosmic forces are actually in charge, enfolding and embracing this world of ours. They move with us to the exact extent to which our balancing out of true reception over human resistance creates rewarding restorations, while releasing untoward trials & tribulations.

In my experience, “dis-ease” stems from a lack of ease. Therefore, I choose Ease as a pleasure, a privilege, and hence, a Priority. And my physical body (a willing servant of my heart, mind, and soul) reaps the rewards given it.

Let All Be (Privately) Spoken; And, By Heavens, All is Done!

Definiteness of Purpose

Last week’s blog post invited us to consider this:

“Divine Will” is what fuels all attuned human energy, enthusiasm, courage, and endurance — while It seeks Divine Ways to manifest and express through human Being on Earth.

Divine Will Expressed (Photo by Joshua Earle)

Then, this week’s blog illustrates how Definiteness of Purpose is the starting point for all manifestation and expression. Let’s use a shorter term for “manifestation and expression”: “Achievement”.

Achievement is the result of the agreement in action that occurs when Divine Will seeks and inevitably finds Divine Ways on earth. And those Divine Ways are epitomized by a Definiteness of Purpose. The essences of such were personified in this succinct yet historic interchange:

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy asked the preeminent aerospace engineer, Wernher Von Braun, a pivotal question: “What would it take to land a man on the moon, and then return him safely to earth?” Von Braun’s simple, succinct, yet profound answer was: “The Will to Do It.”   

Addressing Definiteness of Purpose in operable terms, Napoleon Hill, the late 19th-Century master teacher of personal achievement, stated that “All individual achievement begins with the adoption of a definite major purpose and a specific plan for its attainment. Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life.”

Further, Napoleon Hill established a methodology based upon specific action steps that instill Definiteness of Purpose in oneself. Those steps are stated herein below:

  1. Have one high, desirable, outstanding goal and keep it ever before you.
  2. Determine and fix in your mind exactly what you desire.
  3. Evaluate and determine exactly what you will give in return.
  4. Set a definite date for exactly when you intend to possess your desire.
  5. Clearly define your plan for achievement. Write out, precisely and concisely, exactly what you want, exactly when you want to achieve it, and exactly what you intend to give in return.
  6. Each and every day, morning and evening, read your written statement aloud.

Resultant Predictions:

  • Your “ship” will not come in unless you first send one out.
  • Be sure about what you want from Life and doubly sure of what you have to give in return.
  • You will get exactly and only what you ask and work for.

Now, these six steps and the resultant predictions — which, I note, use the word “exactly” seven times concur with decades of my own personal experience: Definiteness of Purpose calls upon every thought, word, and action to be exact.

But how can Exactness exist in this realm of earthly reality, where the one thing that never changes is Change itself? The simple, succinct, profound answer is this: Divine Will Does It.

Divine Will — the Power that creates Worlds — nimbly imbues the individual human experience “closer than hands and feet”. Its Ways bring one’s body, mind, heart, and spirit into resonance with the natural forces of Being — i.e. the human soul’s alignment with Life Energies from the Universal Source.     

Consistent practice of the Ways of Divine Will sustains the pristine resonance of one’s incarnate Divine Nature. In its midst, dissonance is nonexistent in the creative fields that, by design, encompass and imbue our unique individual worlds.

Jesus referred to Divine Will as the emanating indwelling of the ‘Father Within’: “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works”. (John 14:10)

May Wondrous Works of Divine Will Imbue Our World by Way of Us.

Divine Will Seeks Divine Ways

Last Tuesday, at my local Toastmasters club, our Theme of the Week was titled “Hot Times”.  And I, the Toastmaster in charge of that day’s proceedings, introduced the topic, as follows:

“Hot Times” can refer to currently increasing Intensities worldwide — like Global Warming, the Pandemic, economics, politics, ethics, on and on. And personal hot times may well be “closer than hands and feet”. Let’s see where such a broadly described range of topics leads us.

Divine Will Seeks (Photo cred. Benn McGuinness)

I saw where I broadly identified myself with the “closer” element. That was due to several increasing intensities in my own experience of late, including the following:

1) Melanie and I are packing boxes and planning logistics for a residential move next month;
2) I’m taking a five-week hiatus from Toastmasters, having ended my year of club presidency;
3) Then, I will begin five weeks of rehearsals for my live theatre performances August 7th & 8th, opposite veteran film, television, and broadway actor, Jonathan Farwell. And …
4) I remain committed to steadfastly maintaining this weekly blog, “Journaling Life’s Sojourns”!

Amidst all this synchronous activity, I am active with four cardinal self-betterment processes:

  • Daily Physical Fitness — 420 push-ups (7 sets of 20, 3 times/day), planks, scoops, and assorted aerobic and anaerobic exercises — plus 1 to 2-mile power walks 5 days/week;
  • The 22 Proven Processes from Ask and It Is Given by Esther & Jerry Hicks;
  • The 40-Day Prosperity Plan from The Abundance Book by John Randolph Price, and …
  • “Lessons on Success: 17 Principles of Personal Achievement” by Napoleon Hill

And, at the core of It All, “Divine Will” is what fuels all attuned human energy, enthusiasm, courage, and endurance. And that Divine Will seeks Divine Ways to manifest and express. Jesus referred to Divine Will as the emanating indwelling of the “Father Within: “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works”. 

The Ways of Divine Will can and do establish alignment in the body, mind, and heart with the natural forces of Being — i.e. the human soul’s alignment with the Forces of Life from Source.     

Consistent practice of the Ways of Divine Will sustains a pristine resonance in our capacities with our own Divine Nature. All the while, dissonance is nonexistent in the creative fields that, by their nature, encompass and imbue our uniquely individual worlds.

Hence, a Note to Self:

“The Gift of your Divine Nature is absolutely impervious at the core of your Soul. And Now is when you can be assured of the True Purpose and safe directions where your Journey goes.

Your core responsibility for living on Earth is based in an awareness and resultant attention to the invisible Emanations imbuing your visible creative fields of manifestation and expression.

Rest Assured that Divine Will Seeks and Finds Divine Ways to Manifest in and through You!

Notes to Self

The following text is a transcription of excerpts from a speech I delivered three days ago (29 June) to Toastmasters club members in Fort Collins, Colorado:

“I will begin by speaking about embracing Newness in the world of my own making, where I especially relish developments that are actively in motion now.

“While I seek, as always, to connect with you, my audience today, I’ll bet that there are many ‘newnesses’ in your experience that are similar to mine. One mutual newness for us Toastmasters is in this wise:

“I have been at home, ‘sheltered in place’, like millions of others avoiding the worldwide COVID pandemic. Amidst the quietness of our home, I have taken time to revisit my years-old personal reference library. There, I have unearthed numerous volumes of my Daily Journals and various other writings that remind me of my former days as a so-called ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’.

Volumes (photo cred:@seargreyson)

“I can still recall those golden Glory Days from 2012 to 2016 — years preceding an intense health challenge amidst which I functioned and felt like extinguished toast — anything but ‘distinguished’!

“Well, Hallelujah! Nowadays, I experience robust health, resilient fitness, a finer outlook on Life, as well as a creative urge to connect anew with audiences — via writing, speaking, singing, and acting. 

“In that latter vein, I will begin rehearsing next week for a 2-man Reader’s Theatre rendering of Chekhov’s classic one-act play, Swan Song. I will be on stage opposite Jonathan Farwell, a seasoned professional film, television, and Broadway actor — and a good friend of mine. Live performances are now set for August 7-8 in Fort Collins.

“Well now, from under my countless archives in storage, I pulled together some still-useful “Notes to Self when Speaking in Public“. These were some of my field notes with ten (10) crucial keys to success: 

Be a Problem Solver — Look people in the eye and declare, “I have a solution for you.” Although your audience may not know if any solutions are needed or not, your tactical solution, O Speaker, is to …

Keep Sight of the Basics — Don’t digress. Doing so will soak up your time and defuse the attention span of your audience.

Speak in Simple Language — Lengthy thoughts can overwhelm, so shorten your sentences. Try words with fewer syllables. Two simple examples are: ‘Use’, instead of ‘utilize’; and ‘detailed’, instead of ‘comprehensive’.

Visual Elements can be a huge help; but only if they don’t distract.

Hand Gestures are your friends! Spread your arms, open your palms, group your fingers together; And treat every gesture as being in perfect tandem with your assertive public speaking voice.

Ask Questions of Your Audience — For instance, inquire of them, ‘What never changes?’ Then answer your own rhetorical question: ‘One thing that never changes is Change itself!’

Be a Storyteller — Issue a compelling invitation: “Join me — I want to take you on a journey!” And when the impulse arises, tell an honest story with heartfelt vulnerability: Something like, ‘It was only five years ago when I hit rock-bottom.’

Let the Narrative Reflect the Truth in You — Exercising humility is good therapy for you and your audience. Keep in mind that wise adage of old, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.’

Tell Your Audience about a Time when You ‘Got It Wrong’ — Let your thoughtful listeners learn from your mistakes. Here is a true narrative from my own audacious past:

“As I strode onto the darkened stage of the theatre, I announced myself in a smug, orotund voice, ‘Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking …’

What I saw as a forestage was a 10-foot drop into the orchestra pit! WOAH! Crumpled were a dozen music stands, a kettle drum — and my pride.”

An indelible lesson was learned that day:
“While you reach for the heights, maintain a depth of humility.
Then, the reality of true Greatness will evermore inspire You.”

And One Final, Most Important Note to Self:
Have FUN Out There …!