Former TV person, current college professor and media researcher. Ironman triathlete, meditation teacher and yoga instructor.
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Three of the five deer; Photo by Beth Bradford

As I sit on my porch this morning, there are five deer having breakfast. It’s a rather peaceful scene as they live on the trees and vegetation in my neighborhood. Nature is so giving, never expecting anything in return. We can learn a lot about life when we observe things in nature, particularly trees.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger dedicated her life to the preservation of forests. In the documentary, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, she urges us to appreciate the importance of the trees’ primordial call. “Our ancestors heard the call of the forest, and they heard the song of nature,” she said. “The song of the power of nature. …

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Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

If you sit outside well before dawn, you hear a chorus of crickets and perhaps a few bullfrogs. In some seasons, you’ll hear a fox’s mating call. You know this orchestra isn’t going to be interrupted because everyone else is sound asleep.

You know that morning will come, and the sun will rise, but you sit in the dark in anticipation. You wait, somewhat impatiently. It sometimes gets uncomfortable. You want to check your watch. You want to get up from your seat, but something plants you in place and compels you to wait.

Then you hear it in the distance. It’s a gentle song. It’s the first bird. …

What the Trump Administration and a dutiful police officer can teach us about our choices.

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Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Franz Stangl considered himself to be a man of duty. He started off as a police officer in Austria, and his faithful service would gain him one promotion after another. He would eventually become a key leader responsible for the deaths of almost a million people during the Holocaust.

In an interview with British journalist Gitta Sereny, Stangl said, “This was the system.” At his trial, he said he had to accept his various promotions out of fear for his family’s life. Each appointment meant further compromise of his ethics. To reduce his cognitive dissonance, he saw his victims as “cargo.” …

Responding with more poison lures you into other people’s trap.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We’ve all heard “sticks and stones” as kids, even though it seemed to be a rather useless saying. Let’s face it — words do hurt. People can be downright mean, particularly if they know they can say things anonymously. It’s like playing ding-dong ditch with other people’s emotions.

Even certain people in power spew vitriol from the comfort of their mobile phones without care. It’s unlikely they would say the same thing if they had a face-to-face encounter. We call this “digital cojones,” where people say anything they want as long as they don’t have to say it in person.

Regardless of the medium through which to hurl an insult, it says something about the source. It signals this person’s suffering that perhaps you awakened but didn’t cause. Oftentimes, this insult might have nothing to do with you at all. …

What might have worked for us years ago might no longer apply.

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Photo by Jake Ballard on Unsplash

Take a look at my library, and you’ll see several books by Wayne Dyer. I don’t even remember how I came across his work, but it has been pivotal in my mental and spiritual walk. I used to listen to his talks during my 13-hour drives to and from Alabama.

When I had concerned myself too much in other people’s drama, Dyer gave this advice: “Row your boat. Don’t row someone else’s boat for them.”

It was the perfect advice I needed. I would get myself so wrapped up in other people’s conflicts, traumas, and outbursts that I wasn’t taking care of myself. For many years, I chose to row my own boat. Many times the ride got lonely. …

How we approach competition can divide or strengthen our democracy.

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Image by J F from Pixabay

If you live in the Deep South, each year churches will organize a revival. A church organizes speakers for a week, and its parishioners come together in the revival tent. Not only does it strengthen the church community, but it revitalizes the faith. The revival tent brings people together to energize what they have in common. It’s a truly uplifting experience.

America needs a revival. Democracy needs a revival.

Gandhi wrote in Young India, “A democracy prejudiced, ignorant, superstitious will land itself in chaos and may be self-destroyed.”

When we treat others as expendable, less than human, or deplorable, democracy is prejudiced. When we seek to blame others for our problems without looking inside at our own contribution to problems, democracy is ignorant. When we place our trust in those who seek profit or power for themselves, democracy is superstitious. It’s no surprise that a country divided can destroy itself in the chaos. …

We accept the truth only when it’s in our favor.

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The great Jon Miller is a legend in Baltimore as a radio announcer for the Orioles. His beloved voice endured through the highs and lows of the Orioles in the 80s and 90s. He would call it how he saw it, even if it was unfavorable for the O’s. He would often express disbelief at some “bone-headed” plays, which didn’t sit well with the eventual team owner, Peter Angelos. Angelos later fired him for Miller’s candid criticism. Peter Angelos didn’t like truth-tellers.

My father used to be a football referee. His job was to make sure the players and coaches were playing by the rules. Every Friday night and Saturday, he would get dressed in his black and white stripes and officiate games throughout Maryland. He would tell me how ruthless some of the fans were at some of his calls. Some referees say fans follow them to their cars to threaten them, necessitating referees to have police escorts. …

Is our hypocrisy turning people’s hearts away from God?

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Photo by Sangia on Unsplash

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

I understand your desire to restore spiritual values in this country. Our declining church attendance coincides with an increase in mental health issues and a decrease in subjective well-being. I understand your pro-life stance — in giving a chance for innocent lives. I also recognize your fear of speaking what’s in your heart out of fear of being chastised.

Jesus preferred the marginalized over the righteous. His friends were tax collectors and other sinners who repented from their former way of life. He fed the poor. He sacrificed his life for us. Even though he knew he was God, he didn’t inflict harm on others. …

We need healing, not a $150 pair of pants.

I confess I’ve been complicit as well. When I worked at a yoga studio, I would try to come up with cool pictures of myself in yoga poses to advertise for my classes. I don’t know why I thought this pose would somehow lure people in, but I used it nonetheless.

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My cheesy attempt to “sell” yoga

What the pose above doesn’t reveal is how long it took for me to get that picture. I had to drive down to Tampa, find a place to park along the causeway, blow up my SUP, paddle to the middle of the waterway, drop anchor, turn on my GoPro, bust the pose itself, then come back, deflate my SUP, drive home, transfer my pics to my computer, fix the picture just a little bit, then try to find a catchy caption to accompany my cool picture while also tagging brands for potential sponsorship. …

It preys upon our inability to sit quietly in our sacred space.

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Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

You’re sitting at home alone and your WiFi goes out. You begin to panic, wondering how long it would be out. You try to go online even though the cellular network in your area is sometimes spotty. You realize you can’t take care of this online, so you, gulp, have to call customer service.

You work through the 17 automated menus to try to solve your problem, but after a while, you just hit 0 to talk to an actual human. You’re told you have at least a 10-minute wait. What will you do? You don’t have internet, you cut your cable cord a year ago, and you can’t play a movie because you disconnected your DVD player. …

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