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The following is a speech that I gave at a "retreat" hosted by my place of employment. It serves as an introduction to the writtings found in this Website. It serves as compelling motivation for the Books and Essays found in this Website: I want to learn to love more deeply the people in my life instead of remaining stagnant, in rutts of habits that are bland and lifeless.

What "Force be with you"?

Whoever has watched the Star Wars saga notices that it is a rich world,
very beautiful, full of diversity,
with some really believable and winsome characters,
and yet it is a deadly scary place just like ours.

The Light Saber:

The light saber that was Anikin Skywalker's first weapon is a magical weapon
that kids fantasize with in some of their play times,
but when we as adults look at it realistically, it is a horrific weapon
that can and does make life look cheap in any world...

Some ask:
Is there an equivalent weapon to the light saber in our world? Take your pick...
I think it is the tongue.
It is our light saber...
and the force
that the Jedi and Sith use to wield it
can be compared
to the energy within that we act on.

If our energy is unhealthy
then we won't respect others...
we know this when we see people act like jerks, who insult others,
hurt through betrayals and lies,
violated by crossing-boundaries,
blackmail others,

are insensitive,
or just manipulate others.

I'm not just talking about motives...
if our mechanisms or attitudes
for bringing about change
are wrong we operate with dark energy too and so fail to respect people

even when our intentions are good!

Our light sabers or tongues ideally should be used for nurturing,
self defense

or through Non-violence
as a pathway to conflict resolution....
We do this when we practice
non-coercive love,
own our anger and healthily process our anger...

Krista our Executive Director
related at the last All Team Meeting
how she initially thought if she screamed and pushed
hard enough she would get results
when she first tried to help street people...
but she eventually learned that does not work...
so she resolved that when she came to our Shelter
that she would embrace
non-coercive love as the pathway to healthy change.
Non-coercive love also means expressing anger in healthy ways. Both of these lead to respecting youth and people.

The Mask:

What other consolation did Anikin Sky Walker have besides gigabytes of dark power after he became Darth Vader?
He had a mask.

To be fair, his mask was used
for life support after his ordeal on the lava planet, but I think deep down inside he used it to mask the inner scars,
the shame, the guilt,
and the humiliation he felt

for ruthlessly killing younglings in the Jedi temple, and being the cause of his wife's death;
he had a conscience after all.

He respected his Jedi power too much, but not himself, or others.
His lust and acquisition of power
could not love himself back...

neither could his mask...
and it took decades for him to figure that out with the help of a son: Luke Skywaker.

The human face is a marvel.

You get handsome guys, Some cute,
and some ugly guys
the way some see it.

You get pretty ladies,
Cute women,
and some women some guys hurtfully advert their eyes from...

This can be distracting from reality...

but when you stand back
you see that each face is designed to project the soul's emotions

Positive emotions and energies like: strength and courage,
controlled anger, joy,
being proud, happiness,

surprise, fascination,
being understood, understanding an idea, expressing care, empathy, compassion, kindness, solidarity and warmth...

or other emotions like embarrassment, tears, fear,
sadness or guilt

and still others that are least liked:

such as hatred, contempt, pride, meanness,
being snobbish,
Sending the messages:
"you are not special but I am"... “I don't care” or showing, impatience, and apathy...

So the human face is truly amazing! So...why cover it?

All the mask did for Darth Vader at the end of each day was allow him to hide as a coward and loser.

The mask was cold,
and unable to nurture growth, feel human touches,
And warm feelings,
or to help him communicate meaning and joy to others...

The mask did not communicate
healthy respect for others
but fear and a "stern watch your step" presence! It kept people at a healthy distance
no wonder he had no friends and felt so lonesome
even with the great power and force
He had at his finger-tips.

When we wear masks we have trouble respecting people!

I was an Anikin Skywalker as a child,
and I became a Darth Vader as a child,
then later again I became Anikin Skywalker through rebirth again.

and a hot uncontrolled temper

disintegrated and fractured my personality
as a child, just like it did with Anikin Skywalker.

I know what it is like to live a shallow existence... wanting to do good and respect people
but not having
the working-mechanics-volcabulary- know- how- understanding, or wisdom,
or healthy energy to respect people deeply enough to be able to show them the respect they deserved.

My old supervisor Colin never moralized.

He laid out directly on the table what he expected from us, he never preached,
or purported continual superiority.

He set clear boundaries
but never threatened or coerced.
He chose mercy instead of inflexible perfection ism.

He never moralized or blamed when a job was poorly executed or not done for whatever reasons.
He never preaching or used guilt to motivate us.

He wanted people to be treated healthily
and that meant respecting people and their boundaries. I learned a lot from him.

He and Krista
both learned how to practice non-coercive love and deal healthily
with their emotions such as anger.

Coerciveness means to use force or threats to get one's way.
Force and threats like:

Blackmail, Ridicule, Shame, Pressure, Guilt,

Abusive authority, and Abrasiveness

These forms of Coerciveness lead to disrespect.

If one uses them on others
it is because one uses them on oneself too.

Respect starts with healthy self-respect.

Have you ever gotten into disputes
with people you know to be good persons,
but who for some reason
didn’t react/listen to/or take your words seriously?

I have, and it puzzled me.
But eventually I realized
they were reacting to the energy of my sugar coated words,
the dark energy within me.

I realized that these people
who seemed to not take me seriously
had something I lacked...they did take me seriously! They respected the true me.

Unfortunately, I was respecting my mask!

Their spirits were able to read mine.
They respected the true me
not the mask I had erected over the years.

I think that when I respect a person
I respect the true
essence/ energy/ and attitudes
of the person I'm dealing with
while not totally ignoring their presentation.

For that I need to be able to have my spirit and mind read theirs.

One of the things I can do
is to project my own
goodness or failures onto others.

i.e. Judging them
and putting them into boxes because of the dark energy and blindness within me. This disrespects them!

Even embracing the philosophy of non-coercive love and healthy anger management ideas and techniques did not by themselves enable me to keep them,
and therefore respect people and youth more.

I realized that I am in need of wholesome power, or grace for lack of a better word
to get me to become the change
I want to see in the world.

I needed power to change my attitudes or energy or force within me.

That has meant focusing on
and relationships...
learning from others like my immediate family (especially my wife)

and also from my Covenant House family -youth and staff alike.

The shield:

The last piece of armor I want to talk about: is the shield. Something Darth Vader did not have...but Captain America does! The shield is supposed to absorb blows and attacks.
For me the best shield encompasses:

Kindness, Listening, Gentleness, Peace, Patience, Humility,

Forgiveness, Love,
And Respect!

This shield has grown slowly in my life by dismantling the dark
energy/force structures within me. that lead to coerciveness

It was a painful process of undoing,
and I could have abandoned it many times over If I had not hungered for genuine love.

We all want some concepts that help us practice non-coercive love and maintain our boundaries.

Here are a few I have found indispensable in my journey:

(I) When I communicate acceptance to a person who feels
(angry, hurt, violated, disrespected)
for whatever reasons

I can choose to communicate love, understanding, warmth, and

care to them in their journey.

(II) When It is healthy for me to apologize,
and I don't do so out of pride
I begin to disrespect the person I hurt.
I disrespect them more if I don't seek to change my attitudes, feelings, judgments and selfishness.

The force or energy within me

(III) Forgiveness is healthy
and can bring healing to all involved... it removes guilt,
and suffering
and respects the Creator's destiny
for the persons we forgive.
It also heals my wounds
and rids me of the anger

that comes from my wounds or hurts. Enabling me to love again.

(IV) As far as attitudes or energy is concerned I get to choose my attitudes...
I get to choose my energy...
This is not the same as navigating by feelings.

(V) Respect is done in
small warm,
caring, kind,
and affectionate ways
with wholesome energy.
Wholesome energy means peace and freedom.

(VI) Next, I need to believe in people
and their potential like Mark does so well.

(VII) Finally, if you want to rid yourself of an enemy do your best to make them your friend.

Thank you all for your part
in my learning-journey
towards respecting self, youth and coworkers more deeply.



Removing the Mask