Where is the love?

So I am sitting here today thinking about the pain that is being experienced by faculty, staff and students on our campus as a result of the murder of one of our female students. I cannot even begin to imagine what her parents and family members are feeling at this time. I have thought about the staff member from the school who had to call and inform them. I have thought about the young man who is responsible for her murder. I have thought about his family and what they must be feeling at this point. Then I think about the violence that is so prevalent in our world and I find myself asking the same question I have been asking for decades now. Where is the love?
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R E S P E C T, Find out What It Means to Me

For the past few days, well maybe longer, I have been thinking about the whole notion of respect. I found myself remembering the chorus from the old Aretha Franklin song RESPECT. However, when I read the lyrics to her song, I realized that while respect might have meant one thing to her, at least from the lyrics, it meant something completely different to me. As her song says, find out what it means to me. For me, respect is an expression of love. It is about love for myself and love for others.
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Unprofessional and proud of it!

I never thought I would be excited to have someone tell me I was unprofessional, but yesterday was one of those days. I was talking on the phone to one of my online students who was having technical problems. Once we got through the immediate problem, she shared with me how much she loves this class and said that in part it was because I was unprofessional. So in all honesty, I had to stop for a moment because I was trying to think about what I could have said or done that might have been viewed as unprofessional. For a moment, the parasite of fear began to poke its head out at me, but I caught it in time, rained love on it and myself, and did what I always tell others to do – seek clarification. Being unprofessional to her meant I was real, authentic, and approachable.
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Week 7, Day 6 – Solitude

Generally, I love being alone. I value the time I have by myself. The peace. The quiet. I love it. As much as I love my wife, I love having my personal time with me. I love being able to curl up with a book or my laptop or my journal and just write or read or dream or envision or just be. There is a peace and a calm that comes when I am alone. While I love teaching and working with people, my time with me is restorative and rejuvenating. It is the single best gift I can give myself. However, there are times when being alone does scare me. Those times come when it is not about me choosing to be alone. My guess is that some of this comes from a time I do not even remember well. But it used to bother me when nobody wanted to be around me because they didn’t like me.
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Week 5, Day 3 – Self Esteem

Where did the insecurities come from, not sure I know, not sure they just appeared over night, more like this gradual accumulation of internalized messages. It is kind of like that analogy I made once about a coffee cup. When we are born, we are like this brand new coffee cup, but the longer we have it the more we notice the stains and the little tiny cracks and chips and imperfections that gather over time. It is not that the cup went from one condition over night to another, it just happened and then when we begin to see or more appropriately own our stuff then we can begin to do something about it, or at least choose to do something about it. I think for the longest time, I ate my feelings. I ate my words. I was scared to speak what I was feeling because of a fear of abandonment.
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Week 5, Day 2 – Changing Identification

Hmm, ©©©©© ok, it took me a minute to think about what I wanted to say. Not sure I remember anybody in my family ever talking about these things. Not to say they didn’t, but I don’t remember. What I remember most from my parents was this message about love and commitment. That being in a relationship meant that you worked things through, you talked things through. This was a lesson they learned from almost divorcing and then working themselves back together. They learned how to respect each other in a way they had not been able to do before. Of course, part of that had to do with my dad’s drinking and being an alcoholic. Once he sobered up and stopped drinking, they built a completely new relationship and taught me a great deal about unconditional love. It was during my mom’s illness that my dad taught me the most powerful lesson about love. He said that even though my mom did not remember who he was, he remembered who she was and he still loved her.
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Week 3, Day 5 – Accepting and Reaching for Support

I guess there are all kinds of ways of dialoguing with people. for me, one way is through poetry. I have so many memories of times when I have felt supported and of times when I have supported others. The first person that came to my mind was Mikey. I have no idea where you are right now, but I have never forgotten you. It was 1970 something and my high school sweetheart gave me this ring as an expression of her love and commitment to me. She tragically died in 1975, at the age of 19. More than a decade later, I had very few things in my life that reminded me of our relationship, but I had this ring. It wasn’t anything fancy. It was this cheap little ring with an open heart, but I wore it all the time. That was until this one particular day in 1980 something. I can’t remember the exact year or dates, but what I do remember is this young five-year-old boy. His name was Mikey. What I remember about Mikey was his first day at the summer day camp. It was his first time to be separated from his mom. He was terrified and scared and nothing seemed to keep him from crying
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Week 2, Day 2 – Anger

so I went to bed last night thinking about anger, knowing that this was the word for today – the emotion for today – the flavor of the day – my friends would and have told me that I do not do anger well. there are so many times that I have felt like I have exploded and yelled at someone and then when I go to apologize for how I voiced my anger, they look at me like what are you talking about? When did you yell at us? Really – did you think you were angry. I guess it is how I voice my anger that has made all the difference. But the thing about anger that frustrates me is that at times, not so much anymore, but there are times I feel like I should apologize for getting angry and that makes me angry.
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Week 1, Day 6 – Grace

Here I am at towards the end of this first week and loving that I am taking the time in the midst of grading papers to take care of me. as I sat down to read Janelle’s reflection on grace, I found myself giggling like this little school girl because she talked about sitting at a church that I had once visited, MCC San Francisco, and the pastor there was in charge of education for the denomination when I was considering being ordained through MCC. What a small world this truly is. It is moments like this, when I become aware of how interconnected we truly are. How, even when we do not know it or realize it, the Creator has this way of bringing us all together at just the right time. And some folk do not think the Creator has a sense of humor. Ok, so I was giggling until I got to the choices and I realized I do not have a book of poetry
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