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  • After he had journeyed, and his feet were sore,
    And he was tired, he came upon an orange grove
    And he rested…and he lay in the cool,
    And while he rested, he took to himself an orange and tasted it,
    And it was good.

    And he felt the earth to his spine,
    And he asked, and he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
    And the veins in the leaf,
    And the light, and the balance.
    And he saw magnificent perfection,
    Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
    And he knew he was.

    Just open your eyes, and realize, the way it's always been.
    Just open your mind and you will find the way it's always been.
    Just open your heart, and that's a start.

    And he thought of those he angered, for he was not a violent man,
    And he thought of those he hurt, for he was not a cruel man
    And he thought of those he frightened, for he was not an evil man,
    And he understood.
    He understood himself.

    Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
    It was because he was not understanding,
    And he learned - compassion.

    And with his eye of compassion, he saw his enemies, like unto himself,
    And he learned love.
    Then - he was answered.

    Just open your eyes, and realize, the way it's always been.
    Just open your mind and you will find the way it's always been.
    Just open your heart
    And that's a start.

    - Justin Hayward, Moody Blues, “The Balance.
    I honestly feel like I’ve lived a very full life. At this stage, I have no regrets about anything that has happened. I’ve experienced more joyful moments, and more gratitude, than I ever imagined was possible when I was younger.
  • For all intents and purposes, my life could be divided into two fairly equal halves, time wise. But that’s where the equality of halves ends. There were 29 years where I was mostly lost and alone, and then 29 years where I never felt alone, and where I enjoyed experiences far beyond my wildest dreams. This coincided with the convergence of two fortuitous events that happened simultaneously – my finding recovery (or it finding me), and my finding my soul mate (or, she finding me), my beloved Kathy. These two events changed everything for me. It’s almost as if I have lived two complete and separate lives. As dear family friend, and honorary brother, Dick Kilburg “Bridgeman”, would say – I got a “do-over” in life! I did make the most of it.

    During that first half, I had dreams of greatness, illusions of grandeur that I often chased, while I was miserable in my own skin, often angry either at the world around me, at myself, or most of the time, at both. There were a number of incredibly high moments, but more often, there were prolonged periods of agony, depression, and isolation. Life was a constant struggle. I was mostly looking for a way out of that life, and a way into something better, something different. Then, just when things looked their bleakest, I got lucky – I found just such a way out of it, and into a much better way.
  • During the second half, my life was based on gratitude and humility, along with a continual effort to be a better person, to be in a position to be of service to others. For the most part, selfish concerns were left behind in the first half. They had never served me, hard as they tried. Early on in this half, I dedicated myself to three basic discipleships – “Excellence”, “Supportiveness”, and “Leadership”. There was a ceremony and everything, and I took these discipleships very seriously. I did everything I could to improve my adherence to these qualities, for the past 22 years since I adopted them. They took me to places that blew my mind, and surprised the hell out of anyone who knew me in the first half.

    I don’t feel like there is anything that I’ve left unsaid, to anyone in my life. I feel like I have said it all. I’ve been touched by many people, too many to count or to list. Each and every one of them knows who they are. There have just been so many moments in which I’ve had a meeting of minds with another individual, a fellow soul, and in that moment, in each of those moments, I touched, we touched, the “sublime”. Those were moments that live on in eternity that I and those who met me there will always have to hold in our hearts.

    I don’t feel the need for a dramatic closure or ending, and have no need for any pomp or circumstance. I lived. I loved, I was loved. I laughed. I made others laugh. I cried, and I brought others to tears at times. Life has been full. Life has been good. Basically, it’s been a blast, dude!

    A year ago today I made a commitment. I almost got talked out of following through on it. It sounded good at the time. But I have found that I just can’t. I made a commitment, and I must follow through with it. I must honor my commitments. I didn’t know until this afternoon what the fulfillment of this commitment would look like, but in the middle of a busy afternoon at work, between high level meetings where I was having the opportunity to apply all of my discipleships, during a brief break in the busyness, a moment of clarity just came to me. I knew, in that moment, what I had to do. Trust me – it surprised me as much as it will surprise you. It was neither my plan nor my intention to do this.
  • This will be Hawkeye’s final post on Cowbird. I’ve dearly loved this place. I’ve shared so much here, and been a part of so many of your lives, through our mutual storytelling. What an amazing place this has been! I never dreamed I’d be able to share all that I have shared here in the past year and a half.

    Thanks to each and every one of you for listening, for reading my stories, for sharing yours, and for the love.

    And now, it is time for me to move on. It’s just time. I feel it in my bones, and I’ve learned to trust that feeling. There’s not a moment to waste.

    Since some of us have met in that place of the spirit, I will always be with you, as you will always be with me. We are changed forever for having known each other. As it should be. I leave behind a wealth of stories and take a boatload of love with me into the next “life”.

    I will surely meet some of you again, as we make our way on this wondrous journey called life – until we meet again – Happy Trails!

    If we only have love
    Then tomorrow will dawn
    And the days of our years
    Will rise on that morn

    If we only have love
    To embrace without fears
    We will kiss with our eyes
    We will sleep without tears

    If we only have love
    With our arms open wide
    Then the young and the old
    Will stand at our side

    If we only have love
    Love that's falling like rain
    Then the parched desert earth
    Will grow green again

    If we only have love
    For the hymn that we shout
    For the song that we sing
    Then we'll have a way out

    If we only have love
    We can reach those in pain
    We can heal all our wounds
    We can use our own names

    If we only have love
    We can melt all the guns
    And then give the new world
    To our daughters and sons

    If we only have love
    Then Jerusalem stands
    And then death has no shadow
    There are no foreign lands

    If we only have love
    We will never bow down
    We'll be tall as the pines
    Neither heroes nor clowns

    If we only have love
    Then we'll only be men
    And we'll drink from the Grail
    To be born once again

    Then with nothing at all
    But the little we are
    We'll have conquered all time
    All space, the sun, the moon and the stars.

    Song by Jacques Brel, "If We Only Have Love"
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