Song of the Warrior Poet

author’s note: it’s been awhile since last I wrote. Finally I started looking to those I know and drawing inspiration from them. Enjoy

This life is full of people who don’t know why they smile and say hello. The same conversation repeated over and again among the ranks of adults all the way “til death. Little variation and little motivation to change. A rhythmic beat to which society marches. Though occasionally we meet someone different, someone with the spark of madness. These are those who have something to say and the passion to act instead of just talk. These the fighters who stand up, not to be counted, but rather to take a stand. These the orators who speak with the elegance of an ancient philosopher. mesmerizedĀ  by their words, we draw to them as if they were gurus. When really they’re just us if only we had the courage to be more outspoken and driven. They live the lives we dream of, giving us something to strive towards. And they, they are the ones who will lead us, modern day warrior-poets.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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Write something

Don’t forget to write. Something, anything. Set the pen to the paper and let the rhythm of your mind do the rest. It’s simply not that hard, just let it happen. Though I should warn you there is a chance you’ll end up reaching deep inside and pull on the strings you’ve tucked away. And that’ll hurt, fortunately the resulting beauty is always more powerful than the pain. Don’t forget to write, Because in the end the words will escape somehow. Don’t forget to write. Because at least this way you still have some control over what the words say.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

dare to dream

We exist in an absurd world,

constantly at odds with ourselves;

life itself becomes a remarkable feat.

yet still,

we dare to dream in the face of it all.

Knowing full well dreams rarely come true.

And that,

that is the courage the world so desperately needs.

Each pivotal moment in history is led

not only by doers, lost in the present

but by those who turn ideas into reality.

that’s why I ask you to live for today,

hope for tomorrow,

and never, never stop dreaming.

Always choose to Be more.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Days of Gold

These are the days of Gold

Days of Love & Loss

of Triumph & Failure

These are the days

we’ll remember when old.

These are the nights of Joy

nights of Song & Laughter

of Life & Conversation

These are the nights

we’ll forever live for.


This was a piece I had written a good while back and just never knew what to do with. I had held on to the stanzas above telling myself they weren’t ready that they needed something more. my perspective was changed the other day while on the train. A man with a guitar in a knapsack and a message of love and hope hopped on. After having played a few Bob Marley songs and leaving his impact, he left, presumably to play for another train full of people.

Right then and there something clicked. It was wrong of me to withhold “Days of Gold.” It’ll never be finished; it’ll never be ready. All that matters is the willingness to be vulnerable. So anyway, go make something you love, and then give it way for the sake of someone else.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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Gentleman & a Scholar

There’s a, shall we say experienced, man I know who when you do him a favor will refer to you as a “gentleman and a scholar.” This is definitely a phrase of the past, one of those expressions we are worse off for losing. Though we brush it off as an oddity, he intends it as the utmost compliment. What does it mean to be a gentleman and a scholar? my belief is that if we can master the traits of these two characteristics, then we can vastly improve our little portion of the world. Let’s see if we can break this down.

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At a time in history when incredible numbers of people are earning higher degrees, and an increasing number of jobs look at credentials both first and last. We have lost the concept of scholarship. Sitting in a classroom for four years and passing the correct number of tests does not guarantee quality work in a future career. So why do I, and so many others, pursue this way of life? I will not speak for my classmates. Though as for me I study not so as to grasp a choice career, rather with aspirations of knowledge. I want to practice learning. The hope is that beyond my lectures and tests I will be able to continue the pursuit of knowledge. To always remain a student. Being a scholar only requires a slight adjustment of perspective, and is the easier component to achieve. Far more difficult are the traits of a gentleman.

It’s easy to sound elitist with words such as, “pursuit of knowledge” and “practice learning.” Knowing more than the next guy could make you feel powerful. Unfortunately we’ve all met a snobbish academic. maybe that’s why we quit trying to be scholars. This is definitely why it is important to be both a gentleman and a scholar. A scholar is familiar with the world from the inside out. A gentleman is humble about it. He knows his place. And if he finds himself more capable in some regard than another, then he takes it on himself to share what he has. Because a gentle person cares about you. They will tell you what they mean, and they are always true to their word.

So then let’s all attempt to adopt the traits of a gentleman and a scholar. It’s about working hard to Bemore. It’s about bettering ourselves, and giving ourselves to others.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Author’s note: For my sensitive readers, when I say “traits of a gentleman” it’s not meant to be exclusionary. This applies to all of us

a Treaty on character

Authentic. Trusting. Passionate.

We live in a culture that no longer values putting an honest image of yourself out there. Preferring for each of us to fit a preset mold. most often this causes us to wear a view of ourselves that is far from the truth. The authenticity that I seek is contrary to this cultural norm. I choose to pursue the entirety of who I am. and not just the most convenient parts. Fully aware that pieces of who I am are faults. And while I will try to overcome said issues, I refuse to hide them from view. We are best as a whole person. To disregard our blemishes is a hindrance to the truth. A lie that damages us most of all. St. Irenaeus told us, “The glory of God is human being fully alive.” We cannot hope to become fully alive if we do not accept who we are. So I choose to be authentic. To show the world my whole self, the good with the bad.

everyday we are surrounded by individuals who give us no reason to trust them, or worse, give us reason not to.It’s easy to walk through life wary of every step and each character we meet. not only is it convenient, but also the safer route. We are more likely to come to a gentle rest at the end of our days if we have kept to ourselves. Unfortunately, though it be a softer landing, it will most certainly be lonelier. Therefore it is in our interest to trust others. To bring them into our inner circle. The trouble with this is that we feel an obligation to protect those we hold close. This becomes difficult the more trust we give away. Regardless, we must simply do our best to trust them all and embrace the consequences. Now I do not wish for you to think me naive, I know that my trust will be misplaced often. Yet if I must error it will be in favor of an innocent trust. I believe that every person deserves my respect, and so I choose to begin at the top of that spectrum. I will trust.

Both Shakespeare’s King Leer and the Greek philosopher Parmenide Proclaim Nihil Fit Ex Nihilo, that is “nothing comes from nothing.” This continues to hold true to this day. If you want something you have to put the effort in. I am part of a generation oft associated with demanding the world be handed to us. Welfare babies and laissez faire workers. We are millenials. And still we are the generation with the most potential to change the world. Passion is about pushing the envelope. A passionate person cannot afford half measures. To be passionate is to envision what it takes to complete the task. The pain, frustration, and sacrifice that passion requires is enormous. The guiding light is that the rewards of these are limited only by our imaginations and the effort we put forth.

It is my desire that these will define who I am. Authenticity boils down to fully being the person you are. Trust is simply loving each person for who they are. Passion is a commitment to what we love, and a rejection of half measures. These I’ll strive for today, tomorrow, and after that.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

be more Poetic

nowadays we all talk about loving yourself. That’s good and great and all, though it’s an incomplete idea. Often we choose to overlook our flaws and problems as part of a beautiful whole. It is a betrayal of what has shaped us into who we are. The reality is that it is entirely possible to follow the popular sentiment of “loving yourself” and still acknowledge the rough parts that got you where you are. For myself, I appreciate everything that comprises who I am, but I also recognize that some of it is not so great. Some of it is down right awful and needs to be done away with.

So long as we’re going to be spend all this time being introspective we might as well consider ourselves in the future tense. There lies all our hopes, dreams, and visions. It is there that we can go beyond who we are now because future us contains all possibilities. I encourage you to try this. I encourage you to dream. You’ll find it makes you poetic about yourself. In turn that helps you be poetic about your past and present also. And just maybe you’ll discover there’s beauty in the light and the dark.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

dreamer

a Call to Leadership

“A good leader has a compass in their head, and a magnet in their heart.”

-Howard G. Hendricks

A quality leader tends to be an enigma, but that shouldn’t have to be the case. Consider the authority figures in your life. Teachers, pastors, friends, politicians, family, employers these are the people who shape our lives. Now how many of those authority figures do you look up to for guidance? A leader evokes that from you with ease. Far too often we force ourselves to follow authority figures that we simply don’t trust. We do this because we know that they should be creating these feelings in us. We do this because we desire leadership. We are social beings, and the very act of our humanity causes us to seek out a leader that can keep us safe. When our authority figures fail to lead us they are denying us a natural craving. Only chaos can come from that.

I’m quite public with my disdain for the term “millennials.” The label that simultaneously categorizes an entire generation and assigns blame for problems that should belong to us all. My argument is that the disarray of my generation, both real and perceived, spurs from a lack of leadership; from that violation of the natural order. I hate to sound like a cynic, but it is too late for the older generations to do anything. They can attempt to explain away the problems with their labels and theories, yet their time to lead has come and gone. The issues that face us will be overcome by my generation.

We “millennials” are often accused of being narcissists who demand that everything in life be handed to us. The truth is found to be a little different. Perhaps it’s not that we demand too much, rather that we fail to demand enough of what we really need. Our entire lives we have been told that we can be anything. That is an idea we hold sacred in our society, and rightly so. Though somewhere along the way a lie crept in. A lie that says because we all have infinite possibility, than we must all be equal. The result is that we did away with the notion of leaders, and consensus became the dictator of our every action. Don’t get me wrong, I know that every person is of equal value and that a consensus of the whole is a useful tool for understanding. The problem is that it fails to accomplish anything. We are a diverse people so there will always be dissent. Only a leader, with that compass in their mind, will pick out the best course of action and make it happen. What’s more is that a leader, with that magnet in their heart, is able to unite a group in order to accomplish a goal.Because of our diversity, a group could never unify itself without a leader.

We must not allow leadership to remain a mysterious quality. It belongs in the natural order as much as seeking shelter or some other basic need. Every person is of equal value, though thankfully we are not all equally the same. Within our social groups everyone of us possesses a different set of strengths and abilities. The beauty is that through a little effort each of these talents can be refined into a specific type of leadership. Every moment of our lives is a chance to lead and to follow. A good leader is an excellent follower, and vice versa. Every moment we must choose to be more, the status quo only hampers solutions. We need to become a people of character that demands the best of each other and of ourselves.

I’ll leave you with this. Our way of life requires leaders. Only a leader can put the chaos to rest. So demand that authorities be quality leaders. In return give them the trust and respect they deserve. And should they break your trust, put your abilities to work. Demand of yourself the leadership necessary. Each of us has that ability, that will, and that responsibility.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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a deliberate life

I’ve always love the idea of living deliberately. Admiring those who seem to find purpose in every action and in every moment. I used to always strive to carry myself with the same demeanor; attempting to foresee the full impact of my every move. Turns out I had it wrong, in fact I had absolutely no idea what it meant to live deliberately.

“You don’t know in December who you’ll be in July,” sings The Suitcase Junket. Almost a year ago now I turned my life in an unplanned direction. I had no idea who I was or what I would become. I was lost, and at the time I viewed my choice as a panic reaction. The uncertainty of it forced me out of my comfort zone and into a year that I would not trade for the world. And now looking back I can see that every moment, every risk, every bit of that uncertainty was necessary. It formed me into who I am.

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Deliberate. The word haunts me as something I lack. How could I claim to be living deliberately if I had absolutely no idea what I was even doing? The truth that I had to learn, and that I still am, is that “to live deliberately” is rarely synonymous with “to act with full knowledge.” A deliberate life is not one of knowing the full impact of your actions, rather one of confidently stepping forward while still pausing to see the ripples stretch out. In his book Dynamic Catholic, Matthew Kelly asks his readers to be bold but never rash. I begin to understand that just a little more, and take it to heart as I boldly look for who I’ll be next July.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

“Staffers” aka Crazy People

This summer I once again have the privilege of serving at a Boy Scout Camp here in the midwest. Of course, as the staff gathers we only have a vague idea of what the summer holds for us. And yet we cast ourselves headlong knowing that in less than two weeks our camp will be fully alive with activity.

We’re staff. We’ve given up our summers, time with our friends, and good paying jobs. We’ll push ourselves to the breaking point and then carry each other over the edge. We do it all for the camp we love. And facilitating a great program is never easy; we’ll be working in less than ideal conditions, and by the end the stress will break each of us in some way. But when we fall we always catch each other. Because as staffers, we’re so much more than coworkers, we’re family. And that’s why I know it’s going to be a great summer.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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