In Witness of the Ineffable

Grand Parenthood, Part 2

“Ineffability” is a word identifying experiences that cannot be portrayed in words spoken (or habits of mental concept, for that matter). Often, with my blog posts here, I am hard-pressed to find words to manifest and express what I most want to share with you. Therefore, let’s rely on real life experience! Nothing beats my own personal experiences with our grandson, Reed.

Baby Reed, now 3 months old

We treasured this past weekend — when time flew by for Melanie and me over a four-hour, ever scenic drive from our northern Colorado home to majestic Crested Butte, high in the Rocky Mountains.   

We were about to be with Reed for three straight days — while, several miles away, his mom and dad (Evan & Isabel, our son & daughter-in-law) were attending a wedding ceremony (with Evan officiating), receptions, and other attendant events for two long-time friends of his.

Melanie & I took turns caring for our precious grandbaby bundle. Hence — for the several hours that Reed and I were together, just him and me — we saw each other’s fun on display — with wide eyes, flailing arms and legs (his!), and joyful smiles and coos abounding. All the while, I was conscious of innate, yet newly evolving (wordless) patterns of communication between us.

First, I took to mimicking his hand movements and facial expressions, while softly singing overtones to him audibly and visibly, for both his ears and eyes to perceive synchronously. 

Next, I lifted one hand high above our heads with fingers splayed out and sweeping the air, like a floating bird. Ably, Reed followed it intently (so much so that his previously hard-chomped pacifier became suspended between his gums.) Soon, a second “bird” (my other hand) took flight, and both flew like falcons apace in formation. It was then that I saw his energy “mellow”.

With his nap time due and a growing song list from me, an exquisite quietude qraced Reed’s countenance. Actually, I can assert that I shared several mystical moments with a physically tiny tot, Reed, yet amidst a powerful Presence encompassing and sublimely enfolding both of us.    

Still barely out of infancy at the moment, and in wonderment, sussing out this world’s many contrasts (amidst a baby soul’s wanderlust of hungering after Mommy’s unique nourishment), Angel-Incarnate Reed was now discerning through radiant eyes, reflecting deep pools of pure Being, so timelessly kindred to me that I found my soul transfixed in witness of the Ineffable. 

And then, in the deepest stretch of the final night when Reed was still staying with us, I had a vivid dream. It was similar to a quite memorable vision in my past — a day after I had been sleeping endlessly for weeks while edging toward a so-called near-death experience. I remember this:  

I was in a non-physical realm, witnessing (yes) ineffable emanations — currents of which I was acutely aware and deeply understanding (albeit far from anything mental or vaguely palpable). 

Today, in quite distant retrospect, I can only attempt a few lines to depict the message thereof. Here they are:

“We have been with you on this journey for a long time now, embracing your divine heritage grounded in great wisdom and understanding in the way of Love, Light, and Life.

“You asked to be Here Now. And, with your every sojourn through time and space, you live your deepest longing: To Love and to Be Loved — through Living each day in the Fullness of Life. 

“You have found Peace and safety with Us by listening to the subtle, clear wisdom streaming from Currents Invisible. Such profound Emanations speak to you constantly through us, your closest of friends: They encompass us all, guide us, refresh us, and show us One everlasting Truth that leads to all truths.”

That One Everlasting Truth I sense every minute of every day — Whenever I remember, then  know (preferably always!) that I live in witness of the Ineffable, the Unspeakable beyond words — the inevitable unknown changes that are the only things that can be unequivocally counted upon to never change.

And most of all perhaps, steadfast assurance that any seemingly near-death experience is, in truth, an invitation to ascend — either Ascension to the “Sweet by & by Hereafter” or else, much more efficiently and conveniently “Ascending in Place” starting Now, while embracing this moment ever present, here on dear Mother Earth.

That is quickly becoming my inherent Lifestyle — amidst every precious day granted.

I’ll See You Around … ByeBye (only) for Now …!

Grand Parenthood

Melanie & I are now first-time Grandparents!

And we are over the moon with pride in our son, Evan, and our daughter-in-law, Isabel, as well as our ever-new reverence for Life, its cosmic movements of celestial proportions, and the emanations that Life actuates, so that incarnate Being is yet again fulfilled.   

The baby is a boy by the first name Reed. The last I held in my arms an infant soul this small, it was when our daughter, Erin, was born. And Reed has a look as similar to me as I recall Erin’s visage was. Except he is a boy — unmistakably, as I saw at my first sight of him au naturale. (And Thank You muchly for sharing that mental picture with us!)

For certain, I already know that, in a very few months, Reed will be flying in my arms, like this:

Grandpa’s Arms

This blog entry will be uncharacteristically short, because Melanie, Erin, and I are traveling over five hours to enjoy three days in Crested Butte, Colorado — a sweet mountain town that Budget Travel selected this year as a semi-finalist for recognition as America’s Coolest Small Town

But I digress …
We are going as Grandparents (I like the sound of that!) to care for Reed, while his brilliant and beautiful parents attend (and Evan officiates) one of his good friend’s weddings. (We don’t mind at all!)

Our children are grown now and ever-maturing (as are we). And we see our “empty nest” continually overflowing with Life’s new adventurous perils and payoffs. In short, what a Consummate Blessing Life Truly Is … My Chariot Awaits … Layta …

Visionary Generations of Humanity

Earlier this week, I gave a speech to fellow Toastmasters who regularly come together to learn and exercise leadership and communication skills. This particular speech was my finishing touch on a months-long project of mine — the topic being “Visionary Leadership”. And during those several months, it came closely home to me that great lessons can be learned and lent when one takes responsibility to be a leader who communicates a vision to others.

Words are powerful

My speech stated examples of essences along these lines:
“A visionary leader ensures that the vision held is actuated (made real) beyond oneself. This is accomplished early on by outlining a strategic plan for achieving goals, then empowering those whom one leads to generate a vision and resultant actions of their own creation.”

And successful visionary leaders are, first of all, leaders of themselves by creating a Vision Statement, one which supports a Mission Statement, outlining values, purposes and goals.

Relatively easy for me, or anyone, to say. Yet obviously, it is the actual doing that counts. 

Leading the doing of anything worthwhile calls for communication. And any integrous communication must have its facts straight. Continually, I find that keeping facts straight is more important now than ever before — especially when streams & screams of MIS-Information often play out — loud & large in this rapidly real-time Information Age of ours.

Acts of Doing come in a myriad of forms by people of varying ages. Case in point, five recent Presidents of the USA, present and past, are now over 70 years of age. Former President and Nobel Peace Prize-winning philanthropist Jimmy Carter is still going strong at age 96.

And, on the other end of this current generational range of lives, the youngest generations now living are notably and nobly represented. Here follow three outstanding examples of excellence:

Millennial, 31-year-old  Whitney Wolf Herd is the youngest female CEO ever to take a company public. Last month, Time magazine’s headline, in its Profile article, “Queen Bee”, said of her, “Whitney Wolf Herd turned a vision of a better Internet into a billion-dollar brand.” She herself was reported as stating, “The Internet has megapower to shift behavior, if you use it for good.”

Generation Z’s currently most famous 23-year-old, Amanda Gorman, read her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the recent Inauguration Ceremony for President Biden and Vice President Harris. Days later, former First Lady Michelle Obama was interviewing Amanda, when she voiced this:

“Amanda, You are part of a rising generation that isn’t afraid to call out racism and injustice when you see it. How do you think Art fits into these larger social movements? Do you think about these things as you write?”

“Absolutely”, Amanda answered without hesitation, “Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change. Poetry is the lens we use to interrogate the history we stand on and the future we stand for.”       

Now, a Generation Alpha, industrious 10-year-old — named Bellen Woodward, living in Leesburg, Virginia — is already on a mission for Inclusion regardless of skin color. Her “Vision Statement” includes this summary: “My different shades of Peaches and Browns can hopefully match everyone — including me, my friends, and my classmates.” 

Again, as Time magazine reports: “Bellen has created her own line of crayons in tones that reflect the wide spectrum of skin colors she sees in the world — claiming the title, “World’s First Crayon Activist!” 

“The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids have already achieved — Positive Impact in All Sizes.”

Well now, that ends our quoting and interviewing for now. And, for a couple more minutes, let’s engage together in a bit of wordsmithery:

We have, until now in this post, used the word “Generation”, to refer to all of the people born and living at about the same time, and regarded collectively.
OR “Generation” is also the name for the acts of creating, causing, making, or engendering something.

Now, the word “Humanity” can refer to human beings collectively, the human race as a whole. OR we can employ the word, “Humanity” as a synonym for several positively uplifting words: humaneness, kindness, benevolence, empathy, compassion, and  brotherly or sisterly love. 

So now then, let’s combine the words generation and humanity in a statement that reads as follows: “May the visionary generations of our humanity bestow upon one another Humaneness, Kindness, Benevolence, Empathy, and Compassion through our manifest expressions of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.”

The new, combined reference resonates with me when, at times of intensity, I have a seasoned, internal alerting mechanism that cues me to stop and take a few deep breaths. Then, in quietude, I offer up thankfulness for the Currents of Love, Truth and Life.

Those Currents imbue me with kindness and patience with myself, as well as compassionate openness to others. And, in this pristine moment, I remember the last verse of John Lennon’s visionary communication set in his legendary song, Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will live as one.”

Three R’s

Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

I remember now that the “Three Rs” were basic to one’s education when I was a new student in grade school. When my first teacher, Mrs. Heffington, stated “Reading, Writing & Arithmetic” are the “Three Rs”, I got nervous and confused about what I thought I already knew. 

Actually, my 7-year-old mind felt captive to my realization that the first letters of the three words, “Reading, Writing and Arithmetic” are so obviously “R,W & A”.

Reading and Research

After an early supper that evening, I was sitting with my father in his home office, drawing pictures until I asked him, “So, what are you working on, Dad?” His one-word reply, Research, had a ring of excitement in it, as if a discovery was about to be unveiled.

Then, when I asked Dad what research was, he replied, “It is searching out information with a desire to know the truth in something or someone.” Amidst my unseasoned experience, I had no set ideas as to what “knowing the Truth” meant — or with any other profundity, for that matter.

Moments later, Dad looked over at me, and asked, “What are you working on these days, son?” After a moment’s puzzlement, I answered, “At my new school? Oh yeah, the 3 R’s”.

“Oh, ok — What are the 3 R’s?” The twinkle in his kindly eyes told me what I already knew: To any question my father ever asked me (or most anyone else), he knew the answer already.

Instantly on a roll, I blew into a two-minute windstorm of a mini-speech with the impassioned finish line, “That’s Why I KNOW that the three R’s is a wrong word for those three words!”

In the moments after my last exclamation, the silence in the room was deafening, while I stared at my feet. I was so startled by my own catharsis that I felt suspended in motion.

When I finally looked up, I saw my father’s kind face with compassionate eyes enfolding me. 

Whereas a man as brilliant as my father might have been apt to coldly patronize me —
Or a man not of such fine character as Dad embodying indifference or downright perfunctory dismissal —
Or a man occupied with an outlook so analytical as to ask questions like:
— Well now, are “the three R’s” one word or are they actually a phrase?
— Are they “wrong”, as in right vs. wrong, or are they merely inaccurate?
— Do you really know all this, or is it only your speculation or one of your assumptions?
— If you think that you really know, how could you really know?

When my father finally took a slow, deep breath, his gently spoken words were these:
“Well son, I realized today that my research — my reading and study with a desire to know the truth in something and someone — also has three primary R’s that anchor its meaning in words:

RECEIVING all elements of any situation without resistance or reserve;
RESPECTING the Truth of Life in other human Beings, as I respect my own True Being; and
RELISHING each and every precious moment of Life, as I fully Live each blessed Day granted.

The spirit of my Dad still abides with me and in me, and always will …
Thank You, Father …

One Nation Under God

In God We Trust

At times, when I observe varied present-day tensions (and even powerful tumults) in America, I take deep breaths and let my soul relax. And in doing so, I am warmed by reminiscences of magical times when, as a child, I spent periodic weekends at my grandparent’s house in the Highland Park area of Dallas.

Memories Live Here

I and “Grandma Mammoo” never missed a chance to spy on Idella, our vigorous housekeeper. Idella would rehearse her gospel solos for church while she cleaned house; baked bread; washed, dried, then ironed mountains of laundry; as well as mopping and polishing the several expanses of hardwood flooring.  

One remarkable instance (which I remember to this day) was when we heard Idella sing all four verses of “My Country, tis of Thee” — the forerunner of the current “Star-Spangled Banner”.

So indelible was the deep symbolism of that original patriotic anthem on my young soul that I grew up singing it in all the years since then.

The first verse is the one that the most people in the USA would readily recognize now:

“My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

The second verse I solo sang at a variety of spring and summer festivals in the uniquely majestic Rocky Mountain National Park — Amidst the backdrop of two vistas that cradled the mountainous “Twin Sisters” — Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker.  

“My native country, thee — Land of the noble free, thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills.
My heart with rapture thrills, like that above.”

This third verse I sang (amidst all four verses), at my outdoor Graduation Concert that served as the finale of my 2-year conservatory study at Cleveland Institute of Music:

“Let music swell the breeze and ring from all the trees, sweet Freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.”

When I was 3 years old (in 1954), the “Pledge of Allegiance” was amended to declare the United States of America as being “One Nation Under God”.  As I matured, so did my vivid envisioning of the One Planetary Nation of Mankind — Not only serving in outer expression “under God”, but Being ONE in GOD.

So, this song’s final devotional verse inspired in me a wakeful dream of hope:

“Our Fathers’ God, to Thee, Author of Liberty, to Thee We Sing;
Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom’s Holy Light.
Protect Us in Thy Might, Great God, our King!”