Monday, December 10, 2018

God's Biggest Mistakes


All right, now this isn't to say that God hasn't done some incredible things.
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Double rainbows
  • The creation of German Chocolate Cake
  • And most recently, the Miracle in Miami, where the Dolphins scored a touchdown to win on a hook-and-ladder play with seven seconds to go against the evil New England Patriots
However, let it be said that no one is perfect.

And though hating to be the bearer of bad news, I believe it's important we see what has worked and what has not. Just the messenger here. Don't kill me.

So without further ado, here are five of God's biggest mistakes, in order of blunder.


1. THE ESOPHAGUS AND TRACHEA

This is better known as the food pipe and the windpipe. What the heck? Who designed this thing? Why, if you are pretty much starting from scratch anyway, would you assign the same orifice ("mouth") to handle two VERY DIFFERENT functions? Breathing and eating? I really don't think these two bodily functions should be sharing the same opening.

What good could come of it? Here, let's review some of the results of mixing the two:
  • Bloating 
  • Choking on food
  • Coughing and coughing... and coughing
  • Intake of water into lungs
  • Death
  • Unwanted and agitating hiccups
Why do it? Did the Grand Master run out of space on the body? Had to multitask, huh? Oh sure, you give us that handy-dandy flap to separate the two. But it doesn't always work. And it gets even more complicated if you mix three of the mouth's functions: eating, breathing and talking.

Doomed. 


2.  HAIR

OK, again, what was the point here?

It's understandable why dogs, cats, bears and other furry creatures would want and need a nice head of hair (as well as covering for other body parts). But the human? Didn't we come up with coats, clothes, mittens, mufflers, hats, and umbrellas for such needs of shelter and protection from the elements?

And even if we didn't have these inventions, you think these measly patches of hair would keep us warm? No way.

And don't even get me started about the fact men routinely lose the hair on top of their heads. Was that because of the Divine Intervention which would become the "baseball cap?" And then it's true most women have no beards or facial hair. So random. As if they had never a plan, in the grand scheme of things, to go outside? Talk about sexism.

Perhaps hair was a necessity in the arena of job creation. Barbers, stylists, hair products, coloring, etc. But was it really worth it? All that trouble - and for what? Something that wouldn't keep anyone covered or sheltered in the cold or heat. 



3.  FLEAS

I get the whole bug thing. In nature. I understand for example the ants. Cleaning up the leftovers left behind by litterbugs, animal deaths, other types of death, and sloppy homemakers. Other bugs, as well, I believe come along to deal with the messes left behind - naturally and not-so-naturally.

But the flea.

Let's review its life-cycle:
  1. Hatch
  2. Find a cat, a dog or a human in order to suck its blood
  3. Die through some sort of violence - either a spray, a chemical or through the death-squeeze of two human fingers
Laaaaame!!!

No higher purpose at all. No sense of service to the well-being of others. No reason to exist at all. All they do is take. Sure, there a number of humans like this, but at least they have the chance to turn it around and transform - with free will, the power of choice, and a human body to maneuver and help others if they so choose. But what has the flea got? This tiny body that is only designed to suck blood.

Get the hell out of here. You don't belong. And you are one of God's top five mistakes.

Sorry, but that had to be said.


4. WEEDS

So you got a garden going, or a nice plot of lawn. You take care of it. You water it. It looks nice. And then what appears in the middle of the beautiful roses or petunias or daffodils?

A bunch of thorny, ugly, meaningless patches of evil.

Why?

No really, why? What was God thinking? "Oh I know how to mess up the garden. I know what can bug the living crap out of some caring and conscientious gardeners who lovingly tend to the beautiful shrubs and flowers. I'll just stick some giant weeds in there." 

God is rude.

There truly is no purpose for weeds. They are not serving anyone. They are not protecting anything ... save for themselves with those prickly edges. Some weeds - those round ones that uncoil - are the ones you find in your socks after a trip to the park. The "foxtails" - doing nothing of merit - are the ones that send dogs to the animal hospital at 1k a pop. And then all the other weeds simply disfigure a wonderful landscape.

In a phrase: stop it!



5. NON-INSTANT KARMA

And now ... for the biggest mistake God has ever made.

But first, it must be said He/She actually started off with a really great idea.
  • A checks and balance system
  • A way of teaching souls of the Golden Rule
  • A scientific cause-and-effect concept that reveals the truism of farming: "You reap what you sow"
  • A plan that would bring peace and harmony to all of life 
It's called "karma" - a term of ancient legacy that has been used in present time, as more and more people are aware of the reality ... and the warning.

Well ... something happened to this great plan. Someone messed up. One of the designers didn't include the concept of timing into the scheme. Someone forgot to ensure the karma would be experienced at such a pace that the cause and the effect would clearly be identified.
  • The stealing of the Mounds Bar would be met with the losing of the bike privileges. 
  • The lying to a friend would be met with instantly losing that friend.
  • The cheating on a business deal would be met with the loss of money immediately.
And it would all happen in the moment so there was no confusion that the person "made his own bed and then had to sleep in it."

For it's true, without that timing element, the distance between creating karma and then receiving karma is so delayed, that humans can't put 2 and 2 together. It creates an opening for other such travesties:
  • Denial of any wrongdoing
  • A whole slew of excuses and distractions
  • Blaming everyone else and everything else for our troubles
  • The continued poor and unconscious behavior that harms family and friends
  • The prospering of cheaters and liars (for a time) 
  • Absolute selfishness
Good job God. Didn't see that one coming, did ya?

Well, having said all this, I tell ya what.

As we have all experienced, everyone gets a million chances to get it right. And that shouldn't exclude You.

Plan: you get rid of the weeds and the fleas, come up with a better idea than hair, windpipes and foodpipes, and then speed up this whole karma thing ... and we can talk.

Looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

And Yet



A Prayer for the Burdened



Crumbling Under Weight
I carry for no reason
My shoulders and back burdened
By life
By the invisible band of thieves, muggers and murderers
By the streaking tear
By the shreaking fear
That tells me lies construed to disguise
All truth to the contrary

My back and shoulders burdened
I collapse into dust, like a tower of controlled demolition
Isolation is my company
No dream left to dream
No inhale, no exhale
The stillness of smoldering embers
In the aftermath of this war against my sanity
Thoughts spiral downward in beliefs all too familiar

It is too late
You are not enough
This is your fate
There is no love

And yet …

As the embers cool
A reminder to the fool
The ash and dust replaced
By the face behind the face
By the sun behind the eclipse
By the seed buried deep in soil
We play the foil to our foreign, over-dramatic selves
Once burdened – our back and shoulders
Someone has moved aside the boulders
Escaping the cave of eternal death
Plato ushers us around the corner to perceive
All that is truly to be seen
The truth

It is never too late
For the below is above
You control your own fate
You are the love

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Collateral Damage


There is collateral damage.
The harm.

Those people, those animals, those elements of our society harmed by simply standing by.
Harmed by being in the vicinity of the devastation.
It was not their plan to get hurt.
It just happened ... because they were so close.

Where is our collateral damage? In some windows of our world, it is easy to see.
  1. In war - as burned out homes and blown up body parts send a stench into the air, while hearts break from the loss. 
  2. On our farms - as pesticides poison the insects and pests ... but also poisons anyone who ingests the chemicals not meant for human consumption.
  3. In medical practices - as the chemicals within "chemotherapy" attack cancer cells but thrash and trash other healthy cells and organs in the process.
And there are other such scenarios where a misfire of offense can harm that which stands nearby.

The latest version of this tragic story comes to mind, when I consider interpersonal relationships.

Collateral damage? Yes. It's subtle, but yes.

Consider the times you brought your own hurt to someone in hopes of being heard.
Only to be met with defensiveness or even an attack.
Your significant other was simply trying to make a point or stay out of their own guilt.
But in their attempts at protecting themselves, they did not listen to you.
They only offered a slight, a fight, a judgment.  
You were not heard.
And you were hurt ... again.

And there was damage
Collateral damage.

On some level, their judgment was not meant for you. Deep down, it was not intentional to slight you. You did not approach a loved one to receive this.
But it happened. And it happened because you were close. So close.

You were in vicinity of their own pain. A pain that spilled out of them without knowledge or precision. They met your request for being received with a slam of energy of their own upon you.
There was not a reception, but a deflection and then rejection.

Damage.

This cycle will continue - as innocent lives are lost, as tomatoes and corn are tainted, as chemicals destroy the vibrancy, as relations are torn asunder - until we awaken to the fact that we are all connected, that everything originates from the same source, and that harmful unconscious behavior only hurts us all.

In something called "collateral damage."


James Anthony Ellis is a writer living in San Diego. He can be reached at www.LegacyProductions.org.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Beneath It All



Raging
Blaming
Shaming 
Fingers pointing everywhere - past, present, future 
A retreat from peace
Into shadows of regret, reeds grow high blocking the sun
Where is the one? 
A silence is devoured by earthquakes that shatter glasses tumbling from cabinets
My rage
Turning the page
Revealing the frustration beneath it all
Beneath it all

In frustration
The end of anticipation
Into a full blown cry of bitter consternation 
Eyes darting back and forth, to and fro
Where am I to go?
What has begun?
Where is the sanity? Where is the one?
Just a sea of hopelessness and depression beneath it all
Beneath it all

In a closet of darkness - depressed 
So much suppressed
A pillow suffocates instead of comforts
Placed squarely upon the mouth
Which longs for breath
As it awaits the death
Shivering and shaking, holding nothing dear
Succumbing to the numbing fright, the paralyzing fear
Beneath it all
Beneath it all

And as acts of terror bind the deepest night
A gentle bird ... somehow ... enters into sight
Crossing the sky on its eternal flight 
A glimmering hope brings a shimmering light
Faint at first, like the dawn's first peek
Then exclaiming "free" in a game of hide and seek
We rejoice in the recovery of a truth once known
The third eye has opened; this bird has flown
Now fully illumined we know what has begun
What's passed is passed, what's done is done
And so, awake, we greet the brand new sun
Remembering forever, we are the one
Beneath it all
Beneath it all
Beneath it all


Friday, October 5, 2018

On National Poetry Day





Thank you poetry
Thank you poem
You’ve led me inward
You’ve led me home
You’ve protected me
Never leaving me alone
You embrace me deeply
You are my very own

Thank you poetry
You’ve always been there
Through the tremors of fear
At times so scared
When I carried no hope
When I thought no one cared
Then you whispered to me
“We have something to share”

Thank you poetry
Though I felt the defeat
Though lost in the darkness
The dawn’s light, we did greet
I feel so blessed
The sentiment so sweet
Here, I stand with you
I am complete

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Now



















The sun sets as the tracks roll beneath me
I peer through a window revealing sand and sea
Then I rest again, eyes closed, sitting silently in my seat
Stillness, I make my exit as the journey is complete
Home I walk the streets, the glowing bulbs illuminate trees
I fall into myself, I fall into bliss, I fall to my knees
Amazed, the universal flow, all hail, please take a bow
The world is really pretty right now

A world really pretty - reminding us of the depth
Knowing the times we have laughed and the times we have wept
Knowing of our sorrow - all that we have lost
Knowing the consequences of injury, all at a cost
Recognizing our purity and beauty beneath it all
Recognizing our mother's and father's voice - an echo down the hall
Remembering our childhood nickname - ah, the source of joy
Remembering when we were simply ... a girl  ... a boy
All the wonderment and innocence that the universe will allow
The world is really pretty right now



It's quiet and still and shimmering in the fading light
Giving way to a deeper stillness that is the night


Yet the darkness does not remain or stay for very long
It ushers in another tomorrow, right where we belong
Sometimes hard to know, this dance of righteous divinity
I open wide my eyes in order to see all there is to see
And I stand astonished, mouth agape, in the wonder and the wow
The world is really pretty right now
So pretty
Right now
Now
Now

Friday, September 14, 2018

At Last
















Shouts of doubt
The avalanche of harsh critique
Mild and meek, we attempt our retreat
Under the crush of it all
Yet our shields can not protect us
From that which tears at us from within
We can not win
The devil futility enrolls our participation in our own demise
We fall for the lies
We are not wise
The guillotine of self-loathing leaves us broken, scattered
What matters to a lonely soul without purpose or drive?
We must survive
And so we take up the fight to stay alive ... at last
Not silencing or shushing the voices without reason
We embrace the treason
Stationing shouts of doubt no longer at the helm of this ship
But rather under our wing
This lonesome, sweet, little thing
We protect it, not neglect it
We reveal it, not conceal it
We love it, not hate nor berate it
Inner demons hold no power
When engulfed in our mindful presence
A lasting essence
Delivering us to peace, at last, peace


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Chew Toys - The Answer in a Divisive World



Our dog Hennessy loves to play tug-of-war.

Oh my gosh! It’s so fun. Not only does she love the action of pulling and tugging on a favorite chew toy, but she will also come up to me with her toy or ball or rope and actually hand it (or err - jaw it) over to me so we can play the game.

So, you see it isn’t that she just wants that toy in her possession. If that were the case she would just take the toy and saunter over to her bed and hang with it. No, she brings it over to me so I’ll grab it too and play some intense game of tug of war.

It’s competitive, it’s polarizing and yet it’s a game and it’s fun.
  • Kind of like life.
  • Kind of like the tug-of-war games played on grammar school playgrounds.
  • Kind of like how we humans enjoy a good push-and-pull conversation with those who hold a different point of view.

NOT!!!

What happened?

Was there a time when two people could hold different points of view, and hold a intriguing, investigative and yes constructive conversation?

If it were ever true before, it appears that is not the case any longer.

Whatever happened to the US of A and the freedom of expression that paved the way for respectful dialogue, energizing debate and healthy conversations, made enlightening because of the variety of opinion? Conversations, especially those witnessed in politics and on our highly charged social media, have become grounds for anger, division, attack and even violence.

Anything but fun.

Anything but engaging.

And, may I propose, anything but American.

Besides a handful of moderate voices who fairly observe and critique all parties, we now have a left and a right that balance out their collective time in two ways:

1.    Glorifying their own viewpoints and constituents. 
2.    Pointing fingers at the lunacy of the other side.

But wait!

What happened to the game?

The push and the pull.

The two sides that could refine their own views, strengthen their own reasoning, and open their own minds through the vehicle of discourse and dialogue.

Is it not OK to have opposing viewpoints, especially in this Constitutional Republic of ours, which propels us forward through the freedom of thought and expression?

On a higher level, do we think we were plopped into the world of duality to have the same beliefs, filters, and thoughts as everyone else? Would you even want that? What would we talk about?

What a boring life it would be if we all saw things the same way.

It would be like living in an echo chamber of our own thoughts.

Like a bad movie that held no opposing forces.

Like a tennis match without an opponent.

It would be like having a chew toy and no one to hand it over to so we could play a gun game of tug-of-war.


James Anthony Ellis is a writer living in San Diego, who even enjoys debating the various sides of himself. He can be found at www.LegacyProductions.org.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Armed with Grace, Beauty and Love




I awoke this morning and decided to meditate. And for the sake of my sanity - and perhaps yours - I am glad I did.

I think I'm onto something here that could help everyone. It all has to do with arming ourselves with the very weapons that will help us throughout our days and nights in the world of light and dark...

I awoke this day with the rattling memory of a whirling social media and news-feed that spits back its vile petulance and darkness. Images of left and right wingers spouting condemnation, antifa marches catapulting hatred, bombs ripping apart human rights, drugs and guns blasting down the innocence of the innocent...

Oh my god, it is happening out there.

And the worst part is ... it is getting IN there.

So many images and memories of the dark forces at play can really have a field day on our psychology and consciousness. But what can we do?

As I sat down at my meditation altar, I had my eyes closed at first. At this point, the images and memories of a culture gone kooky and a nation gone mad caught my mind's eye. And then I made an important move. I made the smart choice to take a certain action.

I peeked.

I slightly opened my eyes.

And what was before me? What was there staring back at me from my altar? It was a simple picture of a smiling aura of grace emanating from a certain spiritual teacher from southern India. A vision of Ammachi, known as a "hugging saint," glanced back at me.

Full of love, full of grace, full of beauty.

And it was here that I realized that to stay sane in this world of duality - ups and downs, rights and wrongs, rights and lefts - we would be wise to first arm ourselves. But we would not arm ourselves necessarily with guns and knives. Rather we can arm ourselves with a connection to something deep within: that identification with a higher power, a connection with a deeper source. What swiftly came to mind was "arm yourself with grace, beauty and love." That was the message told to me.

If we meet negative with negative, we can only escalate the insanity. Fire plus fire only builds a flame higher. Argument matched with more argument only constructs bigger defenses. Darkness plus darkness = darkness. It's math. A no-brainer.

This is not new or news to any of us.

But it's a good reminder for me, especially when I feel lost in a world that appears so many times so very lost.

Before anything. Before approaching the world of duality. Before taking on social media or a media frenzy designed to distract. Before leaving the house...
  • First sit.
  • Meditate. 
  • Connect.
  • Rekindle the grace, beauty and love.
  • Discover the kingdom within and everything will be added unto thee.

You will be armed with all you need to address that which arises.

You can not get lost when you have found yourself and your connection prior to your journey.

Be at peace. Be still. Know the truth. Reflect the light upon all you come across.

It can only support us all ... in reflecting the same.


James Anthony Ellis is a writer and filmmaker still looking for that peace and love, attempting to recall its true source. He can be found at www.LegacyProductions.org

 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Brighter Day - What Can You Say To Lighten Their Day?


"Light of the world shine on me. Love is the answer. Shine on us all. Set us free. Love is the answer."
    ~ Todd Rundgren




A Brighter Day
What Can You Say To Lighten Their Day?

And so it begins! July 1, 2018.

It’s the campaign to bring love and light and uplift to everyone … including you.

Consider yourself invited. But know that it is an exclusive invitation list, which includes only the inner circle of all humans who have the heart to play along.

So what is this campaign: “A Brighter Day?”

It’s a movement to uplift all those with whom you come in contact, as you offer a positive sentiment of personal acknowledgment.

Perhaps you require an example. Imagine this:

1.     You go to a Starbucks.
2.     You are greeted by a barista who takes your order.
3.     Your mind opens up to possibilities to bring some sort of acknowledgment, compliment or appreciation to this person, no matter their personality, no matter their familiarity to you.
4.     Sentiments are yours and yours alone, no script, and could be something as simple as “I appreciate your new hairstyle” or “My wife loved the last venti hot chocolate you made.”
5.     You either say the sentiment out loud, or choose to mainly keep it to yourself.

Sounds easy?  It is. That’s what makes it so hard.

There are a few notable guidelines, which I’ll get to in a bit, but the important part is not the response of the person, or barista in this example. No, something much more vital is available here.

What is actually happening in these encounters is more than a compliment to a stranger, who may or may not receive the good you are offering. What’s taking place is you are training your brain to look for the good all around you. And in your expression you are reinforcing the perception, making it tangible, real and part of a life experience. You are also creating a gift to another who could most likely be uplifted by your sweet sentiment. 

At last, you are conditioning your mind to consider ways of loving all those you meet up with on your journey in this life.

By design, if possible, this isn’t just a good thought, but an actual statement or sentiment that lifts them up in some way. Most likely those hearing the words will be uplifted; it’s often the case you will be lifted as well. But what is consistent and true is that you will be developing a consciousness to be in a place of lighter perception.

In the long run, it will brighten and lighten the day, with the actual words you choose to say.

Now what are some of the caveats?  There had to be some. And you may already be thinking of them with your own objections to this certain path.

First off, for logistical reasons, you won’t be speaking to ALL you meet in public. Consider giant crowds at a concert. And some folks you won’t want to offer something verbal – those hard at work for example. In some cases, a simple good thought sent someone’s way will be all that is available. 

Even so, we are indeed looking to make the experience “real” by uttering some verbal statement of acknowledgment towards another. It can take various forms as well, not necessarily a compliment. It can even be a light-hearted joke to bring a laugh or a smile.

When speaking with the opposite gender, be aware of the current landscape and the potential way your expression can be received. This isn’t the same as “come-on lines,” and some topics are off limits to those hearing a compliment about any sort of body part. I had one past experience inviting a female into a running club, stating that she appeared to have strong enough legs to run a marathon. That didn’t go over well. A friend of mine, who had the habit of calling people – male and female – “beautiful” got written up at work for sexual harassment. Though you don’t want to completely censure yourself, you will want to know your audience!

Also, if you are out there and someone actually triggers upset and anger in you, it may NOT be the best time to utter some “positive” words, as such statements could easily come across as anything from fake ... to sarcastic ... to confrontational.

This campaign is never about being fake, but rather finding the reality in the uplifting sentiment. There are moments to bring more challenging conversations if there is a conflict that needs resolution. As well, there are times to bring in constructive criticism when you are called to express this. (These are different campaigns.) For now, follow these supportive tips when the coast is clear:

GUIDELINES
  • Consider expressing verbally actual positive sentiments between you and another person. These can be ways they uplift you, a lighthearted gag, a compliment, or something you appreciate about them: a quality they possess or an action they have taken.
  • This is not about blowing smoke, or being fake with some phony baloney words.
  • This is not being “nice,” but expressing a perception of something that is actually working for you or something that you admire.
  • If are upset with the person, you may first want to resolve what stands in between you two prior to considering what to say to brighten their day. (Though starting off with an uplifting expression may support the conversation.)
  •  If there is discord between you or if no words are possible, you can resort to simply closing your eyes and sending a good thought or even a prayer – at least your mind has done its work.
  • Do not use sarcasm in these situations, or use veiled judgments, since that will send a confusing message.
  • Keep it simple and brief so the person knows it isn’t about striking up a conversation or a long-term relationship.
  • Use "I statements" as much as possible.
  • This is different than a “random act of kindness” – it’s an actual verbal statement to someone right there before you.
  • This is something you say in order to reach another person ... not a sentiment that serves you only, as in a physical gift you give another because you want to borrow it later.
  • If not in person, you could post something on social media or in a text, whichever is more fun.
  • Have no expectation on getting anything back. Don’t take personal the response, negative or positive. Remember this is about your training and not about you getting a reward. Your reward will be a heightened consciousness and a light that surrounds you.
And so there it is. A campaign, a path, a door to a lighter world. Imagine if more and more people took this on – instead of the overbearing “what’s not working” or “what’s wrong” mentality … what a great new place this could be. “Love one another” wouldn’t just be a catch phrase.

We will be able to just watch the vibrations rise within them ... and you, as we make our sentiments verbal for those we meet!  

The next person you see may just hold the answer to your own happiness. And that is because he or she will be your next opportunity to choose love over fear, to see the reflection of the divine and to uplift another on our path to uplift all. 



Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Mother's Day Story



She simply said, "If you ever want to talk about what's going on with you, you can talk to me."

It's one of those moments that etch a sweet place in the mind forever.

I was 17, that tender age when any sort of negative experience regarding the opposite gender could be devastating. But this devastation was taken to new limits. In my heart anyway.

You see, I really liked Isabel. She was a foreign exchange student who said that she could see the true me, and that I was different than others she had met. I was "special" to her.

Since "specialness," young love and foreign exchange students don't stick around forever, there came a time when I had to say goodbye to Isabel. For this youthful, innocent heart, it was the hardest thing to do. I was heartbroken.

And so - as 17-year-olds may tend to do - I moped. I took moping to a whole new level. Dragging my feet, being silent, showing very little initiative for anything. I didn't know what to do with myself. I would follow my mom around, hoping perhaps that she would notice my heartbreak and do something about it. We weren't the most expressive family, and we rarely talked about emotions. In fact, I used to think crying merely meant your head pounded and your throat felt all hot and burning.

This, mostly because I would hold my breath from the desire to squelch the tears.

But on this certain summer day, as my mom attended to some task about the house, I would find myself following her all around. As she took care of some laundry or the like in her room, I simply climbed up onto the end of the bed and just laid there.

Silent.

Sad.

Hoping to be noticed.

And then she said it. "If you ever want to talk about what's going on with you, you can talk to me."

Tears.

An opened door. It's what I needed. The permission to be human, to be hurting, to be heard.

I believe I needed the door to be opened more than I needed to walk through it.

But my mother opened that door, as mothers do. Allowing me in, and allowing me to open up.
Here is to all the mothers who nurture their young, giving an unconditional love that sweetly invites the heart to come out - to be seen, heard and experienced.


James Anthony Ellis is a writer living in San Diego. He can be reached at www.LegacyProductions.org.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why I am Standing up for our Law Enforcement



I'll be honest. For so long, I disliked cops. 

I would see them as enemies who would try and catch the next unsuspecting person going a few miles over the speed limit or making a safe but rolling turn at a stop sign ... all to feed the system with our own hard-earned money.

Whenever I saw a police car driving behind me, no matter what I was doing, I would get a burst of adrenaline and start to worry just a bit. "What are they going to do?" "Are they going to stop me?" 

This was my mindset. And it held steadfast. 

But like anything, perceptions can change over time ... and with experience.

For it was in 2012 that I produced a documentary "Indoctrinated; The Grooming of our Children Into Prostitution." This film brought awareness and light to the child sex trafficking issue, and highlighted the good works of the National City Police. I saw firsthand, on a ride-along and through interviews, how much darkness and evil these officers faced and how much effort many gave for the well-being of these young women and girls.

As one officer described the abuse the girls encountered from their pimps, "It's a level of inhumanity most would not grasp." 

After the film was released, it got a good amount of airplay and found its way to public forums across the nation and even to other countries such as New Zealand. Since the audience of this film was teens and their parents, I heard from a few mothers over time that said this film actually helped save their children from being lured or tricked into a prostituted life. Oh my goodness, on one level, it was saving lives. 

At a screening in San Diego in 2017, sergeant Matthew Blumenthal of the San Diego Police Department Human Trafficking Division approached me and said, "I have to show this film to every single officer in my department." 

This opened my mind - if this film could do some good, what next could I produce, what other way could I use my creativity and skills with a new project?

The very next day I met up with former police officer who said to me, "You really need to take a look at the PTSD that law enforcement is facing. They won't want to talk about it, but it's killing them." 

Bam! idea.


Another chance to bring some light where there may be darkness. Yes. Use me up God. Let's go.

It will be a short educational film called "Keeping The Peace," and I will gift it to receptive local and national police agencies once complete.

Once the idea came, i did some research and found some alarming statistics.

  • According to Officer.com, there are an estimated 150,000 officers who have symptoms of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).
  • Recent research indicates that 1/3 of active-duty and retired officers suffer from post-traumatic stress, with some unaware of this condition.
  • The Badge of Life Organization states law enforcement officers are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
  • With over 100 suicides per year nationally - the #1 one killer of police officers is ... law enforcement suicide.

I needed help though. I reached out to a few police agencies and talked with a few key players in the Wellness Unit and Peer Support arenas. But nothing was really moving things along until I truly started taking action on producing the film. 

I got help from a man on my men's team, who directed me towards his friend Victor who was a retired special agent officer for the Department of Justice. 

I interviewed Victor in person, and this was illuminating and mind opening. He spoke of what officers go through, and even told a story that brought him to tears. Thirty years ago, he had to tell a mother that her daughter had died in an accident. The distraught mother gave Victor a teddy bear to take with him back to the scene of the accident. While relating this story, he broke down much to his surprise. "That was 30 years ago and I've only thought of that incident only a few times." Though surprised over his reaction, he did note that he felt so much better having shared it.

This is the key to healing and wellness. Trust, safety, and sharing the burden. 

That is what this project is all about. Wellness of our first responders and officers who face intense amounts of stress and trauma while in the line of duty.

After interviewing Victor and half a dozen others, and after setting up a campaign fundraising page, there has been a lot of activity around the project. A team of six are supporting the campaign. There are endorsements. Funding has started to come in. A list of 94 contacts have been identified. And I'm here to simply manage the momentum and to do the legwork to film, edit and produce this piece.

How will the project unfold exactly? I can not know precisely. It's a process. But I can imagine and hold a high intention for the results:
  1. A cultural shift where officers ask for and receive the support they need to cope with what they face.
  2. Law enforcement experiencing wellness on all levels, serving the public in the highest.
  3. The public - realizing these are fellow humans needing support too - joining forces with law enforcement in co-creating symbiotic good relations.
  4. Reduced suicide rates among law enforcement.
  5. Lives being saved.
There was a side effect or result I did not consider when I started this. With officers owning their own needs as humans to get the support they need, perhaps the public too would see the officers as people and not enemies. 

We all know relations can be constrained between the public and police, and we have been privy to the horror stories played out on social media. This project will not eradicate all bad apples or remove due process and accountability for excessive force. But can you imagine a shift taking place when police and the public meet face to face on the humanity level in order to care for our neighborhoods, our communities, our society, our nation?  

Imagine.

When I was younger, I looked in the review mirror and saw only an enemy out to get me. Adrenaline would shoot through my veins and I'd think, "Oh no." Now, after all these years of working closely with officers, seeing what evils they attempt to protect us from, i look in the review mirror at them and think, "Oh good." 

An unexpected shift ... in me.

And so in conclusion, what are the real reasons I am doing this project, and why do I stand up for law enforcement?
  • To live with purpose
  • To bring light to the dark
  • To save some lives
  • To be used up in the highest way possible
  • To honor those who truly serve and protect


James Anthony Ellis is a writer, producer and owner of Legacy Productions.
Details of the "Keeping The Peace" campaign can be found HERE
He can be reached at (858) 518-5826.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

What To Do With Depression and Darkness?



I am freaking depressed.

DEEEEEPRESSED!

It feels like the weight of 100 sacks of flour are resting squarely on my back.

I trudge through the world as if walking in soft sand while wearing army boots.

There is a tape loop that plays in my head every time I make a mistake. The words are cruel and punishing.

"You failure."

"You'll never make it."

"There is no hope."

Where did these voices come from, and what am I to do with them?

I want to hide away so the voices can't reach me. But they live within me and cannot be ditched.

So I carry on - in this deep depression, wanting so badly to find a way out of it.

Long ago, I learned that there was no better way to get out of the sadness and darkness ... then to go directly into it. I learned to not swerve away from it or go around it. I was never a drinker or a druggy, so these escapes never could serve. Even the gluttonous self-pleasure of food and porn can not mask the agony any longer.

I'm in the middle of it. Or it's in the middle of me.

So what comes to my mind? How am I to rid myself of this feeling of darkness and to rise up into a light feeling of joy and love? 

A simple phrase: "Give it away in order to keep it."

Huh? What does that mean? Give it away ... in order to keep it.

Simply, I'm being directed to bring positive thoughts, energy and sentiments to others. I am tasked to give away this love and light to others. But how am I to do that when I don't feel it within?

Give it away ... in order to keep it.

Give love, even if I don't feel it strong within me, in order to PROVE that it does exist within. Give love so that it can grow stronger within me.

But this idea of having something get bigger after giving it away? Surely this is madness. If you have 10 dollars and you give away 10 dollars, surely you are now lesser for it. If you have seven bananas and you give away five of them, no doubt you have fewer bananas. This concept of giving in order to retain something is a counter-intuitive thought within the physical realm and within the conscious mind.

But I imagine we are not talking about rationality but reality.

According to A Course In Miracles, "giving is proof of having," In Lesson 187, it states: "Having had and given, then the world asserts that you have lost what you possessed. The truth maintains that giving will increase what you possess."

So be it. I will give as much love and light as I can to all I come across.
 
I will keep bringing the uplifting sentiments to others, especially when feeling low and depressed.

I will give it away, to prove I possess it, and to have it grow stronger, ever stronger, within me.

No need to focus on the depression or heed the voices that would drive me downward. Simply focus on giving away that which resides in me ... in peace, joy and truth.


James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living and loving in San Diego, California. He can be reached at www.LegacyProductions.org or on the inner plane of higher consciousness. Check him out at either locale. 



Monday, April 30, 2018

The Dark Night of the Soul




















This night is not my night
It belongs to the realm of the hidden, out of sight
Where ghosts and shadows catapult into flight
Turning faces away from that which is right
This night is not my night

They call it the dark night of the soul
Where somehow we are to understand our role
Collapsing within, into one tight fold
Nothing left to grasp, nothing to hold
Just darkness in the dark night of the soul

So where are we to go and what are we to do?
When everything that is old removes what is new
Where everything that is false takes over the true
When everything glowing gold turns deep black and blue
Who is there to be; what is there to do?

The dark night is here; are we to fear?
Or allow it to consume all that is dear
Then devour us over time as we simply disappear
Dissolving into puddles made of 1000 tears
What are we to heed; what is left to hear?

In this, a night that must become my night
As I embrace a realm of the hidden, barely out of sight
Where shadows shatter silence in a knockdown fight
Turning all away from that which is right
This is a night that must be seen as my night
Though I share it with the angels who escape into flight
And usher in the arrival of the clarity light
Leaving dust, and brokenness in a final good night
Leaving behind the dark night that is no longer my night