Mike's Life

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Simply

I no longer need the complex, shiny things.
Rather, I jettison the clumsy details and shallow idolatry;
Greedily gathered and hoarded while in fear.
Simple life is what I need – all I need,

But living simply need not mean a colorless, flavorless existence.
On the contrary – being saturated in God’s love,
And armed with the absolute beauty and strength of who I am in Christ,
I am now more alive than ever before!

A small swirling stream will do nicely now.
Mountains; real or dreamed, or once seen,
Majestic peaks stacked and tiered,
With fading hues of blues and green.

Simple is not plain, rather it is pure:
Filled with beauty, love, and purpose.
Just as my life, now simplified,
Is richly textured with the purity of God’s creation,
And filled with awesome purpose.

If only then I knew,
That all I had to do during times of darkness,
Was to step out of the shadow of my own flesh,
And into the light of grace and ever-warming love of our sovereign Father.

Thank you God!

Mike Griffith
11-5-11

Midwives Deliver Babies in Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

I recently purchased a small Oxford notebook. I think its pages may someday soon end up swirling about in the Texas-sized Pacific Ocean garbage patch of plastic bits and other slow-to-biodegrade refuse. The paper of this notebook is unlike any I’ve experienced. As you write with a ballpoint pen the paper gives and flexes, very much like it is slightly but uniformly damp. Instead of tearing crisply like ordinary paper these pages stretch first and then more break than rip. It appears that the paper has a polymer component – maybe recycled plastic mixed with paper pulp. The soft paper in my notebook may not actually contain any plastic at all but it got me thinking about how things are changing – and how they’re not changing. Many of the things in our lives represent a shift from God-furnished resources to man-made materials. Plant based clear plastic-like water bottles and eco-friendly “green” cars are (presently, at least) more consumer directed marketing strategy and less real-solution. We humans have path-of-least-resistance inertia and a move from center track is only made when a pothole of substantial size is encountered, or in time of personal or national disaster, or in time of last resort. The movement of social, environmental, and economic change needs to be an urgent, proactive, preemptive, community-centered, across all boundaries action. Instead, the current movement (the current movement of change can only be referred to loosely as such because it’s hardly a movement in terms of what’s actually needed) is big-business profits driven with most people having no real agreement on how to best enact enduring global change that will save our planet from our own indulgences. Current transformative activity amounts to little more than a blurry vibration of minimal consequence on a global level. It’s time to stop with the baby-steps and plate-shift jerk forward… or just face the music and recede painfully and destructively into what will amount to a future archaeological discovery for the not so distant ancestors of the resilient few who might survive our collective irresponsibility.

Mike 7-19-2011

Note about this writing: You may find this to be a strange piece of blathering babble, and I suppose that it kind of is just that. It is so weird how my brain works. If someone told me that they would pay me to write something I seriously doubt I could complete anything at all. On the other hand, I can be spontaneously inspired to document an idea, an image, or a ‘something’ with words or photographs – and then stay hyper-focused on it until completion.

Light Surrounds Me as Darkness is Smothered Once Again

I. . . c a n n o t — t h i n k — w e l l, — o r — c l e a r l y. . .
Fuzzy, foggy, heavy,
Cloudy, muddy, shackled.

Fight it hard – battle back,
Lift up high – on attack,
But not with fists or kicks,
Not with anger, sarcasm, or spite,
Not with false courage, revenge, or hate.

Instead, choose quiet surrender,
Armed with the word of God,
Open all the rooms of your heart,
So He may strengthen within and work throughout,

Then go to battle not alone,
But be hand in hand with your brothers in Christ.
By reaching out to Him,
You are reaching out to love,
And reaching victory!

Thank you God!
Mike Griffith
6-2-11

Symmetry & Flow

Orderly flowing slopes and soft depths.
Receding planes in odd perspective colored by contrasts of light.
Escher-esque designs and pseudo-static loads of b.s.
Integrals and derivatives give way
to imagery via words and neat doodles,
and the air is afloat with melancholic notes from speakers.
Strategic chess that’s only 4 moves deep
still beats ninety percent of those claiming to know the game.
Finally, with His word in my hand and Him in my heart
I understand that “Emotional Being” doesn’t have to mean “being emotional”.

Inevitable Togetherness

Rain, I quiver as you gather,
and when we’re together,
I thank God for connecting us.
Rain, inundate as you may -
I am inspired by your power,
by your solidarity.
You arrive separated, seemingly, from each other,
but even as you fall over square mile vastness,
you still find one another through effortless attraction.

You simply follow God’s paths – to reunite in fellowship.
It is  impossible for you to isolate from one another -
For even when you fall far away from each other, 
God’s great plan rekindles your togetherness in short order.
Regrouping, congregating, pooling, flowing, seeping,
and then cycling back to His atmospheres – to become close once again.
The inevitable togetherness, just as God intended, is beautiful.
Lord – I am so very blessed by your teaching.
Amen
Mike G

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Self disclosure in the work place

Having self disclosure at work can be dangerous – it can even very easily get you terminated. Self disclosure is also necessary and important. So, why is it a good thing? – and when is it a bad thing? – and how do you do it? – and when don’t you do it? – and what if others don’t open up to you? – and what if you discover that you have opened up too much?

I have, deep within me, as a part of my current core self, an approval addiction, low self-esteem, and a need to talk about it. These variable don’t bode well in the workplace. I’m somewhat of an anomaly because I can interview quite well and can come across as very confident and successful. Well, indeed I am confident and successful, at times, and have actually been very confident and successful for long stretches in the past. So, whatever my physiological and emotional makeup, I don’t do myself any favors when I let on to others that I’m worried, unsure, or insecure. Self-disclosure is a strong way to grow trust among peers and is instrumental in building relationships. However, I’ve experienced time and time again that others have a more positive view of me than I do of myself. Often the discrepancy is large.  There is a clear pattern I’ve detected when beginning a new job. Within several weeks, as my comfort level increases, I begin, unwittingly, to paint the picture I hold of myself for those I work with, and even during interactions with customers. Eventually, the people I work with begin to buy in to the image I create for them, or at the very least they see me for who I am at the time: a talented person with confidence issues.  My self disclosure takes the form of sharing my thoughts and feelings, good or bad, in real-time. I believe I do this, at least in great part, because of a natural impatience and unrest I possess – the ADHD part of me. In other words, If I were an extremely confident person people would hear about that too. I am still learning how to stay in the middle, emotionally, and to be okay with that middle ground. You might say that I’ve discovered where I need to mature emotionally – the place where I need to grow my E.Q. – my emotional intelligence. 

This approval addiction and lack of confidence is so ingrained in me, so intertwined into my personality, that I need daily, hourly, and even minute-to-minute reminders to not be self-defeating. If I don’t keep positive affirmations dangling in front of my brain at all times then, and I mean AT ALL TIMES, then my tendency is to ruminate, be negative, seek approval, compare myself to others, and so on and so on. It is maddening.

Summarizing to this point, I’d say this is a two-pronged issue: 1) my deeply seeded low self-esteem and approval addiction, and 2) my ADHD characteristics; including being very impatient and battling emotional highs and lows – almost in a clinical manic/depressive manner. The latter could also be stated as lacking a steady, healthy emotional middle ground.

Self disclosure in the workplace has served me well too. I often build relationships more quickly than other people. I believe that healthy self-disclosure (not a continuous, ill-timed, spewing forth of every thought and feeling) shows a willingness to be vulnerable that many people either admire or are drawn to. This can build trust within workplace relationships, which is important to job satisfaction, performance, and longevity with a company.  I have had the opportunity to explore these issues, and to grow in them, as a direct result of having several different jobs over the last 5 or 6 years. This is a very real benefit to the unsettled career and financial situation I (we) have faced.

My plan – my goal, in going forward, is to completely avoid openly expressing self-doubt, concern, or any negative commentary to coworkers, superiors and customers. I will not get what I need, or what I want, in doing so. What I will do is be myself, believe in myself, and do my best. Now, that is some good old down-home mom’s advice!  Those are things I can commit to doing. Those are things I can accomplish – and as I do, what do you want to bet, that good things will happen?!

Au revoir Krum kitty

Krum Kitty – January 1st, 1999 to November 23rd, 2009. We had to put our little Krum to sleep today. We’ll miss you buddy! Sadly, Kate & Jack have had to say good bye to 3 cats and their dog in the last 2 1/2 years (and some goldfish). It is an important part of life, I realize, but it has been very difficult on all of us.
the following is from a photo caption of Krum:
“Krum yawns, completely unaffected by his colorful journey. The sole survivor of a long-since-born frigid New Years’ day litter, let me tell you sometime about Krum’s fall to gamma-cat status, sad banishment, bloody attack on the un-cat man, terrific rescue by the un-dog man, re-abandonment, triumphant return, temporary ascension to alpha-cat royalty, and finally… giving up the seat once more.”

Good Bye our friend - See accompanying post

“I Have a Cat” – From Dad’s Writings

I have a cat – the name’s S.A.L., or “Sally” (a male) – S.A.L., for “Sweetness And Light” (for moral integrity and “the prevailing” intellectual power – prevailing name – because he has none and certainly isn’t). Gotta find another name for the cat. Maybe Elmer Gantry. He’s a sly devil – even conning me sometimes into thinking that he’s a lot smarter than I know he is. He’s of the age to begin loading and toting those ponderous bags of wild oats and is working out and getting in shape to portray the fierce warrior-harem warden he visualizes himself to be. If persistance in delusion is a virtue, he will survive. Invariably, each morning of his return – he sports new evidence of gutsy determination – the mouse on the left eye, the mouse on the right eye, missing feathers, the clean-shaven tail (God, who knows?), the split lip, missing hunks of triceps, the Capone nose – freshly adew…. the thoughtlessly sliced Pinocchio, and the truly and always enigmatic tire track straight down his back – Pinocchio to past tense. A friend of a friend told me he was a nice cat. I told her how he kicked a mugger’s ass. She wanted to know if he got around okay. I told her how he patrols the yard and warns me when the neighborhood winds are on a rampage. She asked why he had a wooden leg. She wasn’t impressed when I showed her the portrait he had done of and for me. “Yes, but why does he have a wooden leg?” I told her how he had saved a life by snatching a climbing child from a beanstalk. She got ugly and demanded to know why he had a wooden leg. So, I told her. – “If you had this cat – of obvious courage, rigid loyalty, and unsurpassed intellect – you wouldn’t eat him all at once either.” Did I really do that? I guess it just kinda sneaked in there. Anyway, we have an understanding. He’s ok – I’m ok… everything’s ok – if he doesn’t piss on me or “mine”, I don’t rain on his parade. That’s the long short course on my cat. Gees – what a cat!

From page 2, section 2 of dad’s letter. This section dated July 1st, 1989.

~ Michael

Dear Matthew

You’re certainly not afraid now, my friend, and I now know that His currents steered you away from fear, away from pain, and fully into the warmth of His Son-shine. 

I’d like you to know that I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you in all ways a best friend should be, and I hope you’ll  forgive me.

I miss you dear friend, so perhaps you can drop me a line, only so I can see your smile.

God bless you Matthew – I love you so much.

Eternally your friend,

Michael

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