Birthday reflections: A letter to Shun P.

What can I say or give to you on your birthday?

Would the typical platitudes of shouting Happy Birthday in concert with a balloon drop suffice?

I’m inclined to think that it will not.
I wanted to give you something of substance, provided that you are open to accept it.

I want to speak truth to you, as it is often a topic that I often opt to move to the back burner.

In lieu of the many layers of complexities that accompany what I want to say, I have to admit that I’ve bit my tongue on more occasions than I care to admit, but the time for that has passed.

Shun P. you have endured.

Throughout the years you have met, accepted and disbursed of a host of challenges, while at other times I have seen you grow weary of the burdens that have been cast upon you.

You’ve persisted against the tides of can’t, won’t and will not.


Yet you are still standing, fulfilling the mandate of your Momma “to make people eat their words”. However, is not my intent to be congratulatory of you merely notching another mark on the belt of life.


I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I must…

You have endured, but is it enough?


I think you know that this can’t be the end game, the goal, the trophy at the end of the finish line.
Ensconced in corporate America with a benefit package, vacation time, a pension and a 401k, but is it really good?

Are you happy?


Is this what fulfillment is for you?

You are supposed to loyal to your craft… You are supposed to write, but I suppose you have something better to do?

I listen intently as you wake in the morning and recite with conviction:

“What I do for living is not what I’m supposed to do with my life.”

You are on the cusp of doing something of consequence, possibly significant and dare I say impactful?

I have to admit Shun P. you scare me, because throughout your time traversing the Earth, I have born witness to your proclivity to becoming drunk from complacency and frankly, I’ve had enough of it.

I’m waiting for you to get out of your way.

It is your serial acts of complacency that could serve as your own undoing and if left unchecked, I fear you will languish in a prison of your own making. I feel compelled to remind you that being content is a prison of its own.


I implore you to set aside the expectations and goodwill of those who know you and…

Dig… Dig deep and access that fuel, that motivation that you’ve sparingly tapped into over the years, when your back was against the wall and use it to push the envelope and to inspect your expectations.

You are only scratching the surface Shun P.


Often, I wonder if you’ve forgotten the words of wisdom that your Daddy would impart to you when comparing life’s challenges to bowling.


He would glare at you with his eyes flashing behind his tinted glasses saying:

“Boy, its mind over matter, I’m going to will me a strike right now, watch!”

He’d saunter over to the rack, turn back to ensure you were watching before grabbing his ball.
Then he would stand there, stoically surveying the lane for a few seconds, before starting his follow through.

And with a crisp flick of his left hand, he would send that ball rotating down the lane and after the pin action subsided, nothing remained but a pulsating “X” on the display, “See boy, mind over matter!”

I love this game. Thanks Dad!

I love this game. Thanks Dad!


From that you learned that by wielding the tools that you are supplied with, you only need to find the pocket to secure the strike.

Like your Daddy did back in the day, you need to survey the lane before your follow through.

I see him in you, especially during your excursions in the forests that you frequent, maybe you don’t realize it, but you are standing on another lane of sorts.

Standing soaking it in

I know that you haven’t forgotten, but I must confess that you give me pause at times.

I implore you to be indefatigable, to fight, and to push back against that poisonous urge to be comfortable and to strive to be, uncomfortable.

Because it is in that perpetual state of discomfort where innovation takes residence and that is where I believe your destiny is lying in wait.

I am hopeful that you won’t interpret this as critical or browbeating, because I’m certain that you know it is coming from a place of love.

Your destiny is waiting Shun P., but her patience is waning I fear.

If you question this if this is true, you should also question your walking relatively unscathed from an accident that logic would seem to dictate that you should have perished in, right?

You weren't spared to languish...

You weren’t spared to languish Shun P.


Time is a finite, borrowed resource and you need to treat it as such.

I need you to write… So that you can start living, finally.

Because what you’ve been doing up to now, has just been a dress rehearsal.


I love you Shun P.



Shun P.

An ode to Love

Can Love be harnessed?


Is it a force that cannot be reckoned with?


Not unlike the forces of nature…


Do we demean love by thinking of it as a mere force of nature or should it be relegated to a manifestation of divine intervention?

Love is oft to be underutilized misunderstood, misplaced and exploited.

Even in lieu of this.

Love is perfect.

Love is…

A resource that is tantamount to alchemy.

Just as the alchemists of antiquity labored at their craft, so do those who wield love as their medium.

Because of the transmutative powers of love to effect, change, empowerment and influence.

It can’t be counterfeited, as it can only exist in the realm of the…


Is an ovation really called for?

My siblings routinely accuse me of remembering everything, regardless of how inconsequential the event or circumstance, I seem to retain it.

Shun P. Age 8

I’m not sure how much truth their accusations hold, but I must admit that find myself stuck in a perpetual time warp of sorts on a pretty regular basis, drowning in the depths of my recollections.


When I was growing up there was a family commandment enforced, that stated in no uncertain terms:


“Don’t expect an ovation for doing what you’re supposed to do.”


Admittedly, the meaning behind the commandment was lost upon me until I became much older. My parents worked split shifts to ensure that there was always someone at home, with my Mother working in the morning and my Father working in the evenings the system worked like a well oiled machine.


One of the responsibilities that my siblings and I had was to ensure that we promptly woke our father up at 9:15PM, so that he could shower, eat dinner and head out the door to get to work on time.

It was always an adventure waking up my Dad, in lieu of him being such a hard sleeper he would always wake up with a cataclysmic jump, as if 20,000 volts were suddenly surging through his body.


My Dad would finish his shift and get back home in the middle of the night, being that we were all asleep it gave the illusion that he had never left. Because when we woke up in the morning it would be to the tune of his familiar baritone snore filling the house.


When the need for sleep made its presence felt, My Dad would often sprawl out on the couch in the living room, communing with the Sandman in short order and filling the room with torrential snores that was his hallmark.


On more occasions than I can remember, I would shake my Dad to consciousness to ask him to take me to the museum, the park, the zoo or whatever venue my heart desired at that moment. There was never an instance where my request was met with a “No”, like clockwork he would briefly convulse to an awakened state, pivot off the couch, run his hands through his hair, reach for his shoes, grab his hat and we would head for the door.


In the early 1980’s the Museum Campus in downtown Chicago was a proverbial toy box of sorts. We had the Museum of Science of Industry, Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum at our doorstep. We visited each of those museums hundreds of time, which time seeming as if it was my first time there.


To this day, I can’t go by a museum without thinking about these excursions with my Dad, it was these times that colored my childhood.


At the time I was totally unaware that he would have to wake up in a matter of hours to go to work, but he never made mention of the commandment, he just did it.


This is what is missing in the present:

An unceasing need for an ovation has replaced an implicit understanding and commitment to:

 “Doing what you are supposed to do”

Borrowing a cup of solace


Wasn’t sure where this should go…

Originally posted on Shun P.'s interactions with Mother Nature:

The cascading sounds of water flowing downstream, over the rocks on a mission.


To fulfill its calling, undeterred, unhindered, unimpeded.

Far be it for me to impose and take a serving of solace from this place, but I must.


Being connected is toxic, draining and hazardous to my health.

The actions that I am taking is far greater than mere insertion, it is soul survival and self preservation of the highest order.


Being here is medicinal… Healing the fractured confines of my psyche.


As I download my burdens and drown them in the currents, I rejoice in their end.

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Divided loyalties – Speaking truth to myself

I often sit here at let the water make sense of it all.

I often sit here and let the water make sense of it all for me.

Life gives the contrast for appreciation, often it just requires being still, engaged in active listening. Being willing to accept what is given, regardless if it is what we want at the time.

Being loyal to yourself is a concept that constantly gets lost in the realm of the esoteric. Sadly, like many of the lessons of life we often make it more complicated than it needs to be.

I can’t speak for other 6 billion inhabitants of Earth, but I confess to being guilty as charged. On so many occasions at different times of my life, oh how I’ve been guilty.

Elk Neck State Park

Elk Neck State Park

I’m not trying to dodge my complicity in the crime, but it has been the contagious “virus like” nature of complacency, which has lead me to settle for just enough to get by at the aforementioned times.

What is most telling about complacency is not the fruit sown by it, but it is this. I was cognizant of what was happening, but powerless to impede its hold over me.

By not pushing the envelope, by failing to demand that much more from myself, I was a traitor, for the worst reason of all. Simply because I felt that the outcome wasn’t predefined or guaranteed to be easy.

For me the worse crime is being disloyal to yourself, yet having loyalty to that which does not have your best interests at heart. This misplaced loyalty can be projected in any numbers of ways, take your pick.

Considering the price paid by traitors in antiquity, I should consider myself lucky.

I am inclined to believe that the privilege of being able to reflect on my missteps and draw a line in the sand to rebuke my past disloyalty.

Is something more consequential than luck, greater than mere happenstance.

I chalk it up to divine intervention and experience has demonstrated, to me. That this is the purest form of loyalty that I can ever hope to harbor and for that, I am compelled not to waste the power that was selflessly granted.

Heartfelt appreciation and thank you’s

There are a host of thoughts rushing through my mind at the time of this writing.

Perhaps, I am writing as an acknowledgement of the apprehension I harbor at confronting the specter of doubt that periodically haunts me, but it would be foolhardy for me to ignore its presence.

As I comb through a litany of words, thoughts, feelings and experiences. That have migrated from the deepest recesses of my mind now inhabiting the confines of expandable USB drives, countless notebooks and number of blogs and websites.

And… I still find myself wondering. Is there a future for me, writing?

If there is, I audibly find myself questioning the logic behind the declaration “I am a writer”. Am I worthy of this mantle?

Often, I feel unworthy to hold the pen, to sit at the keyboard, typing words for consumption.   What is it that I have wrought that makes me worthy?

Ever since I was a little boy, I implicitly understood the power of words and I wanted to wield that power for myself. I’ve been chasing it ever since and I’m wondering when I will catch it.

But… Having the distinct privilege to be in the presence, albeit electronically, of people whose literary prowess far trumps my own.

It is a sense of confirmation, that maybe you know something that I don’t. Each “like” and “comment” that is given in response to something that I have written serves as fuel, as confirmation that maybe I am figuring it, slowly but surely.

To my small but dedicated cadre of readers. I thank you; I treasure you; words don’t do justice in expressing my appreciation. It is the encouragement that you freely give, by your literary patronage that empowers me to forge ahead.


Thanks for being there to constantly push me out of the corner and into the ring. Sometimes it is easy to forget that life is not unlike a 12 round boxing match… Ding!

The art of trying

I’m trying…

To live life,

rather than

life living me.


I’m trying…

To stay


in the midst


the torrential

clatter, chatter

pitter, patter…

The rain and thunder



I’m trying…



inoculate and envelope,


in a place…

Fortified, encased…

In a realm



I remain impervious…

But, humbly open

to mercy…