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Sharon Brooks
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   We are deceived by our eyes when we think an inanimate object is just taking up space, or its sole purpose is to be manipulated by hands. Duality holds within itself, a kaleidoscope of consciousness and awareness, but eludes me, until I can spy the gecko sitting on a branch looking like a leaf. The veil, eyes cannot penetrate, remains intact, as long as my ears do the hearing. 
   I wonder what a rosebush feels, what it thinks, or does, while her tightly closed bud slowly opens, revealing the very depth of her soul. Is she aware of my presence, as I bend over to take in a deep whiff of her flowers fragrance? Does she feel connected regardless of whether I'm near or far? 
   A mountain gives off the illusion of being a heavy, sedentary mass staying in one place, but in fact ebbs and flows, dramatically changing its landscape at a slow pace. There is no such thing as stillness, in a universe constantly on the move. 
   What level of consciousness begets awareness? In the hands of greed, its not the boon its thought to be. Better to be a pillow case. * smiles* Life is a partnership, and an acknowledgment of integral cooperation within a vast consciousness. Treat it with respect.   
   All actions create reactions. Consciousness in its multitudinous shapes and forms gives me back what I give, but not necessarily mirroring the way it was given. Energy is wild, its unpredictable, and at times uncommonly predictable. Choose your actions wisely. 
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   Who among us is brave enough to speak about things that go against the tide, and be the bearer of color, in a colorless world? Strength comes from within, and it is here... great things begin. 
   Senseless inhumane treatment of people due to greed, and selfishness, comes from a heart ten times too small. What compels men to turn a blind eye to the rampant passivity of a planet and its inhabitants? Whether lost in a drug infused fog, drowning in a pot of gold, or plotting world domination, it doesn't minimize or dissipate this intricate, complicated mess we have created. Say it with me, “what I do, what we do matters, and what goes around comes around” (Also known as Newton Economics). 
   How can a country's government be sovereign when its umbilical cord is attached to another? If a country cannot self finance building new submarines for war, manufacturing bombs to drop on the bad guys, or sending rovers to Mars, then it shouldn't. When borrowing insane amounts of money from other countries, you, in turn, owe them your allegiance for good or ill, weaving a weary web. Its President becomes afraid to speak up about necessary things, which, in turn, leaves the country and its people weak. Caring more about what my banker thinks of me, and less of what I think of me, keeps me from being an effective leader. 
   Prisons and their prisoners, homeless people living on the streets, mental illness, people of all ages starving for food and love, unclean water, seas of plastic, pesticides, disease, GMO's. How can we as a people be responsible stewards when we make decisions based off of short term thinking, caring little about their long term effects. 
   Have we not had enough of China, and its heartless slaughter of the Tibetan people, of war and suicide bombers in the Middle East, of Israeli's and Palestinians using eye for an eye tactics all the while destroying themselves, Africa's warring factions, genocide and disease, Muslim and Hindu conflicts over religion and land? What of our own holier than thou propaganda? We as a people have to speak up... together, but how can we, while taking daily injections of ignorance and complacency through drugs, media hype, bigotry, selfishness, and fear. 
   We the people, elect representatives who are suppose to speak for us, concerning the well being of our country, however, oftentimes those elected have ties to big business who care little to nothing about anything but money. A conflict of interest is what we have; think about it. One hand lining the pocket of another. When was the last time a disease was cured? We spend trillions upon gazillions of dollars on space stations and spaces shuttles, nukes, armies, and lawyers who stringently object to justice for all. Why do we have little more than more hospitals, for the monies and grants donated toward a cure for cancer, alzheimer's, the common cold, and autism? We have too many doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals, making more money than God, keeping people sick. Do the math. Rather than getting to the root of the problem, they oftentimes treat the symptoms, which masks what is still there, keeping you sick or worse... and them, with your hope and money. 
   When are we the people, going to find our voice, make better choices with it, question everything and everyone, see the connectedness of life? When are we going to insist on the truth instead accepting lies? Our government has forgotten who its suppose to serve. We the people have not. 
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Hope gives us reason to live. Take away a man's hope... 
What is it whispering life is good? A cup of coffee, an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, the perfect shade lipstick, singing along with a song on the radio, a hot bowl of soup served with a smile, enough money to pay the bills, a warm fire, laughing real loud, someone to talk to no matter the time, flowers... and God. Hope, even a drop at a time can be the difference between hopeful, and hopeless. 
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 A city is just another city, until the people living in it make it a home. Treating everyone like they matter whether you live with them or not, alleviates many of today's distresses, and in return gives the word 'family' a make over. It is not the color of a man's skin which makes him a man, but the values he lives by.
There are far too many throwaway's in society today, and there shouldn't even be room for one more. 
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Under bridges, along streets, huddled next to buildings, in a shelter... there are people going about their daily lives in the sunshine, rain, sleet and snow. Do you see them? They look just like you and me; my brothers no matter the season. Some have jobs and families, and some don't. Still, others are addicts, alcoholics, have anger issues, and broken hearts. There are those who attend places of Worship, get around with canes and wheelchairs, have aspirations of a better life, want to believe somehow someway, this too shall pass. Sound familiar? 

We've all experienced times of distress in our lives. It comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and descriptions, but it all feels the same; bad. Reaching out, showing someone I care lets them know I know what loneliness feels like; take my hand.

Helping them help themselves gives a sense of connection; community. The Samaritan Outreach Center located at 715 Missouri Ave. does just that. They house 36 people. Provide meals, a clothes closet, a parents resource program, a computer room for finding jobs/filling out applications, a coats for kids program, a food pantry on Tues. Thurs. Fri. from 9am- Noon, a homeless prevention program, assist families in emergency situations (when funding is available). In addition, showers, clothes, restrooms, laundry machines, hygiene products, and meals, are available for those living on the streets. All donations are very much appreciated. 

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Like a lighthouse at the edge of the sea, Outreach Centers are a beacon for weary travelers beaconing to come closer; rest. Abide a while in this shelter from the storm. What matters most right now isn't the size of the wave that brought me here, but that I'm here. Remind me what love feels like with a smile, something to eat, a hot shower, help me get my boat back in the water. Locate and support a shelter near you.

Houses of Worship opening their hearts and doors on the coldest of nights to street dwellers. Cots with pillows and blankets lined up one, two, three. A cup of hot chocolate or coffee says welcome you are home. 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me'. And 'Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me'. We don't just spread the Gospel around the world... we live it. 

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Living on the streets, can be a ‘ I gotta take care of me first’ kinda place, not unlike another. I was lying down on the artificial turf at the Neil Good Day Center. It was a chilly and damp day in San Diego. With only a thin blanket, I was cold: however, I was thankful to be under a tarp and out of the rain. With my eyes closed, I felt someone covering me. Ahhh, the sweetness of a warm heart. I slightly open my eyes to see it was the young lady lying next to me, sharing one of her blankets. Ever so gently, she covered and tucked me in, not wanting to disturb. Her name is K.K., and her kindness will always be yet another reminder of God’s wondrous love and that there is no where, He is not. * smiles* 


God bless you and keep you.
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  As the Himalayas simmer on the back burner of my heart, I move forward at a steady pace, then stop. A little later continue on, remembering the hindrance previously detouring my pedal to the metal mode. I come to a screeching halt, take an alternate route. Red lights, traffic jams, rest stops, lunch breaks, playing eye spy, integrally work together in order to arrive precisely on time. 
  Slow down, speed up, wait, wonder, tap my fingers and feet as I inch closer toward the designated area. Marvelous it is pulling up in my vehicle of choice and noticing... you're here too. When it seemed like a whole lotta nothing was going on, I was exactly where I was suppose to be...  so were you. * smiles*
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How often do I actually think about what it is I'm doing, its effect in the scheme of things? Do I realize my part counts just as much as the guy down the road? Together through our thoughts, words and deeds we, create life as we know it. There are over 7 billion people living on this planet, countless creatures, life forms of various shapes and sizes occupying every inch of every square inch, innumerable trees, vegetation, water, mountains, sky... and still I think the world revolves around just me. When's the last time I wiped off the fogged up mirror I look at myself in; do it again. * smiles*

We are here to acknowledge the connectedness of life, give of ourselves in ways the mind has a hard time wrapping itself around, and to love like there is no tomorrow. 

When my heart finally hears what it couldn't before, I'll remember it was me all along, I was giving all I gave to. 
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Whether two years old or eighty, selfishness is an inherent factor of life. Who among us has not experienced meness momentarily or longer? Saying change isn't possible nor likely the older I get, is believing my molecular structure is only skin deep. In a constant state of evolving, revolving, breaking down and starting all over again do the intricate mechanics of form take shape. Thinking I cannot change would be contradicting that which I am on the deepest of levels. I'm a compilation of every thing therefore, I live in a flux of change, changing accordingly to my propensity in all perceivable, and inconceivable ways. The more narrow my conceptual thought, the smaller I feel. 

Allowing society to label me with its soup of the day brings temporary comfort from the storm, validates my decision to be absent of any responsibility my actions bring, hindering me from grasping I am indeed capable of change... and the band plays on.

The inability to see someone else in any given situation, is an affirmation I feel alone and have forgotten... I'm not. Teaching one another through our example and words do we encourage the hidden adventurer to come out and discover previously unexplored territory. How marvelous to notice the power words hold within them, the impact they have, and the confidence it brings to another heart when they see through you... oh yes I can. 
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Two voices. One vies for my attention with its insistent nagging, unmistakable selfishness. The other, resoundingly aware, softly beckons me. 
A pivital moment indeed, as truth reveals my heart the very instant I think of me... or we, betraying whether I'm succumbed by greed and fear, or content.
While witnessing devastation, dryness, within my ever shrinking world, I become so small, and the possibility of sight all but eliminated. 
However, just a whisper away is a land of abundance where life giving waterfalls quench. A lightness in the air says ' welcome to all', and the view... spectacular. 
Instantly transported back into my chair, I notice the teacher holding her pointer still touching the word harmony on the blackboard, and I think to myself... ahhh yes, this is what that feels like. * smiles* 
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The level of our awareness determines the size of the box we live in. Within a clearer awareness, there is a knowingness of something much broader than was ever fathomed before, however, it also leaves one knowing... there's still so much more. 
Seeking a way to live in a box larger than is within our propensity, by whatever means is easiest or available, doesn't necessarily bring the results you thought you'd receive. For it also brings with it a false sense of spaciousness, and a continual dependency on something outside of you, somone other than you.
Throughout history and to this day, so many attempt to use go betweens as a way of communicating with that which needs no go betweens. If we could only realize, the level of our consciousness is the very reason we do use other means except the direct one. And the results we get, often times leave us feeling less than satisfied... unfulfilled. 
When we seek outside, what is within, this reveals the body and its senses are leading the way. The mere fact we're attempting to lasso a higher level of knowledge through our vehicle of lower awareness, speaks for itself about the manner in which we go about it. This very limited way of thinking is just one more form of bondage, holding us back from real freedom.

The work has to start in our own heart, and there are no short cuts, to see what can only be seen from there.
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