The Written

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The Seasons of our Emotions

There are as many faces as there are emotions, each powerful for what it conveys. Yet we wear them as though for the first time, unaware of their power to affect those we love.

If our smiles are the heat of summer and tears the rain of spring. If our naked bodies wrapped in blankets are autumn preparing for winter, then we can embrace each season as an integral part of the cycle, and look forward to what each brings.

By | 2017-08-05T06:16:48+00:00 August 5th, 2017|The Written|Comments Off on The Seasons of our Emotions

Over the Edge

When we live in fear, we see only failure.
When we fail, we protect ourselves.
When we are protected, we feel afraid.

And we spiral down,
      until we have pushed the one thing we hold dear




By | 2017-05-09T01:27:19+00:00 May 9th, 2017|The Written|Comments Off on Over the Edge

Stirring the pot

Women's March on NY

As with so many of us who feel a kind of deep pain when injustice is served, I have struggled to make sense of what unfolded this past two months. What I witnessed often felt too far removed from my own experience to present anything more than a repeat of what had been said by experts in history, psychology, and politics.

Now, it seems, the pot is about to boil. Perhaps it is time to release the pressure and address the pain. It is time to acknowledge that a latent, mostly silent, large minority of individuals desire to speak their mind. And what their mind has to say is “I no longer feel in control,” or perhaps, “I no longer feel important.”

In a world where the generational demographics are changing, where the borders are no longer clear, there resides a growing sense of “What about me?” When a leader focused entirely on himself says “Make American great again” he implies “I want to be in control” where we seldom feel empowered to do anything.

It became implicitly clear on election night that I live in a bubble, surrounded by those born with the empathy gene switched on. A blessing or a curse, it is difficult to determine at times. My friends, colleagues, and peers all in disbelief at such an overt expression of anger, bigotry, and fear. Not since Woodrow Wilson and the segregation of the White House staff have we seen this rise to the office of the president.

Should we be surprised? Dare we expect a consciousness rising to have established a new equilibrium since 1969? We remain a product of our DNA and evolution does not work with such haste. We are not yet arrived to a social paradigm in which those born without the expression of xenophobia carry the upper-hand.

Until that day, we must live with the potential of radical, even bipolar change.

But when more than one million people stand in peaceful protest against one man, calling for equal rights for all humankind, that is a kind of stirring the pot that might just make this president worth his crimes.

By | 2017-04-10T11:17:31+00:00 January 22nd, 2017|The Written|Comments Off on Stirring the pot

A mantra for the New Year

Seek intellectual stimulation.
Express creativity in multiple forms.
Promote science education as the best hope for the next generation.
Never stop learning or challenging the norms.

By | 2017-01-22T14:00:27+00:00 January 1st, 2017|The Written|Comments Off on A mantra for the New Year

version 2.0

The Internet has failed to deliver what was promised over two decades ago. Or perhaps, we have failed to fully embrace that which it delivers.

We have at our finger tips facts, figures, and data. At any given moment, 24 hours a day we can validate and substantiate the tidbits of information which bombard us. We can negate rumours, stories, and marketing campaigns that tease our sense of logic or appeal to our emotional pleasures and fears.

Yet, we do not.

The Internet also delivers a kind of drug, an addictive substance which calls upon the very foundation of our DNA. We are drawn into conspiracies, twisted logics, and backward ways of thinking that support our innermost fears, the stuff that predates one or two generations as we give into eons of xenophobic behaviour.

While the spiritually minded speak hopeful of consciousness rising, I see instead the rise of the human species for who we are when the spiritually minded retreat to their havens of like-minded and similarly kind.

Perhaps some day the Internet will deliver an upgrade to humanity, a version 2.0 in which we care about the other as much as we do our own self. But for now, the beta release a few million years in the making will have to do.

By | 2016-11-21T03:45:21+00:00 November 21st, 2016|The Written|Comments Off on version 2.0

the gift

I have a gift for you.

Something thin, transparent, yet powerful and strong.

It is able to block the most painful, invisible projectiles and
in the same moment, allow what is desired to enter.

It is neither supernatural nor entirely physical, … or perhaps it is both.

I have something for you, a gift that cannot be given, a source of tremendous power that is always within reach yet difficult to receive.

The gift is you.

By | 2018-11-24T01:24:51+00:00 November 18th, 2016|The Written|Comments Off on the gift

I believe

Every time we accept a rule or a guideline without asking Why?, we give into someone else’s power. Every time one group of people is told they don’t belong because of their beliefs, we have used religion as a means of controlling how people think and behave, isolating rather than uniting.

A belief is a powerful motivator, a means to drive one forward through challenging times, to unite individuals in a common goal, for multiple generations. Yet, a belief is nothing more than a thought process, nothing more than an electrochemical pattern in one’s head. It cannot be proven nor denied, therefore it should never, ever be used to conquer and divide.

By | 2016-09-10T21:20:47+00:00 September 9th, 2016|The Written|Comments Off on I believe

The Home of Her Mind

When she secures home to her back,
and moves from red desert to blue mountain,
she will find comfort in what was left behind.

For through mobility comes the discovery,
that home is not a place
but a state of mind.

By | 2016-08-23T11:58:54+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|The Written|Comments Off on The Home of Her Mind

The Call to Serve

50 yr Ordination of Richard Staats I grew up a PK, a preacher’s kid. Saturday nights my father sat at the kitchen table with one, two, sometimes three consecutive bowls of ice cream to fuel the hand writing of his sermons for the next morning. Draft after draft on a yellow note pad, his crisp printing of a style I yet wish I could mimic. Drawing from the unfolding events of the prior week, in our own community or across the nation, my father told stories which captivated those who attended the service, bringing them to focused place and time where ancient history found relevance in our modern world.

The simplicity of the connections he drew were easy to understand. The characters he brought to life, both biblical and modern, were memorable. He never hid behind the pulpit, but walked among those who came to listen, engaging in a kind of two-way interaction that was both subtle and meaningful, even if his audience was mostly silent. The stories carried messages easily interwoven in our every-day lives.

We moved frequently, a half dozen times in twenty odd years. My brother and I embraced a father whose time and attention was most often devoted to serving those in need. Growing up I was sometimes asked if I would follow in my father’s footsteps, embracing a life in the church. My answer was, “Most PKs either rebel or yes, follow suit. I find myself in the middle.” But now, my response would be that I cherish what I have gained from being the son of a minister, for I have learned what it means to be selfless, at times putting others’ needs before my own.

AZ Republic editorial by Richard Staats Therein lies the real blessing of a life of servitude–putting others’ needs before your own, devoting your life to causes which challenge the political, economic, and social norms. My father protested the Vietnam war, worked with the Sanctuary movement in the 1980s, and within the City of Phoenix to better understand the homeless and the poor. He is a regular contributor to the Arizona Republic newspaper on issues of human rights and political arenas, and has worked tirelessly to improve his own neighborhood through research and planning for improved street safety and sense of community.

With two masters degrees and eight years experience as a social worker, my father has seen a diversity of humanity. He has performed countless marriages and funerals, welcoming those new to life on this planet and helping find closure for the families and friends of those who have departed. He managed an adoption agency for a half dozen years and has been witness to the pain and suffering of an often confusing world, in an era when suicide took the lives of farmers who lost their land. My father has helped many to celebrate the cherished moments in life, to learn to communicate when it seemed relationships were destined to fall apart.

But his lasting legacy is his nearly 30 years dedication to giving a safe haven for the LGBT community. When in 2014 Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert filed law suit against the State of Arizona, and won, they credited my father for having given them support, for accepting them in the church family, and for encouraging them to pursue their legal acceptance as a married couple.

Dick Staats cutting pineapple

Fifty years ago today my father was ordained a Lutheran minister. He walked away from a likely career as a PGA golfer and his university education in mathematics to pursue a life of serving others. While his skills are many, including carpentry, writing, cooking and baking, it is his relentless pursuit of finding justice, acceptance, and peace for those within his reach that I cherish as the most valuable asset to carry with me.

By | 2017-04-10T11:17:31+00:00 July 10th, 2016|The Written|Comments Off on The Call to Serve

Into the Forest

Once again, I have moved into the forest.

The place where I am most at home, where each hour of each day is mine to own.

Into the forest and the distant, chaotic heart beat of the city is but a fading memory.

Here, the only sounds are those over which humans have no control.

We cannot stop the aspen from quaking, the thunder from shaking, nor the rain from falling.

Into the forest and I feel I am once again … home.

By | 2016-06-28T02:33:08+00:00 June 28th, 2016|At Home in the Rockies, The Written|Comments Off on Into the Forest