From the BlogMeet Ron





“Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint. This carries a top priority rating. When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot. One unkind tirade or one willful snap judgment can ruin our relation with another person for a whole day, or maybe a whole year. Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen.” 
c. 1952 AAWS
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 91 
The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.
H A L T: Honestly, Actively, Lovingly, Tolerant
Vernon Howard’s SECRETS OF LIFE 
“Discover the pure power of cosmic logic.”
 Treasury of Positive Answers, p. 49


Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.
The immediate admission of wrong thoughts or actions is a tough task for most human beings, but for recovering alcoholics like me it is difficult because of my propensity toward ego, fear and pride. The freedom the A.A. program offers me becomes more abundant when, through unremitting inventories of myself, I admit, acknowledge and accept responsibility for my wrong-doing. It is possible then for me to grow into a deeper and better understanding of humility. My willingness to admit when the fault is mine facilitates the progression of my growth and helps me to become more understanding and helpful to others.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

“We will not refuse to help the helpless or lift up the fallen,
but we will reuse to wallow in the mud because of our sympathies.” 
― Ernest Holmes

I came from the home with a lack of love, 
a lack of abundance and today I am Most Blessed. 

“You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are.
You are what you are!”
John Lennon

When you do things from your soul, 
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. 
They’re in each other all along.


ACIM Workbook Lesson 288 Insights
“Let me forget my brother’s past today.”
The Course tells us that the world we see is entirely a projection of our minds. In one lesson it says point blank, “There is no world.” It sure doesn’t seem that way when I miss the nail and hammer my thumb. This idea is completely the opposite of everything we seem to experience in the world. It is why the Course says it is leading us to a complete thought reversal.
Since the world is a projection from my own mind, then what I perceive as my brother’s past is also a projection of my own mind. By forgetting my brother’s past, I am forgetting my own projections of a past. This is forgiveness. The past that I have attached to an image of a person in another body is purely a figment of my imagination, a projection that does not exist outside of my mind.
But in this world images of other bodies seem very real and I’m not being asked to deny that I believe they are real. I am simply being asked to forget what I believe they did. The process of forgetting the past of “others” will lead automatically to the recognition that I have truly forgiven myself. With my strong investment in the belief in an outer world, I am not being asked to find my own way to stop believing in it. I am being asked to bring these beliefs and perceptions to the Holy Spirit.
As I learn to open my mind to His teaching, He will show me step-by-step that what I have hung on to in my mind about the past is not here and is not real and is therefore nothing. My job is to bring all those thoughts and perceptions to Him and then open my mind to His gentle correction.
It is not my job to do the correcting. To attempt on my own to correct my mistaken beliefs is like the blind leading the blind. Belief in illusion will only foster more belief in illusion. But with my willingness to accept the Holy Spirit’s intervention, I can learn to recognize the illusion for what it is. Thus it is with the Holy Spirit’s help that I learn to forget my brother’s past today.
The Course tells us that time and space have never been. It tells us that time and space are the mechanisms of illusion in which we write stories of being separate people leading separate lives. The Course reminds us gently, again and again, that these stories are not true. It reminds us that any thoughts regarding having a past or future could never be real. It reminds us that we are still a Thought in the Mind of God, Which remains changeless and eternal.
In this lesson we are being gently reminded to let go of the past. Letting go of our brother’s past helps us let go of what we may think of as our past. Because we are one, it is all the same. No one’s past is real. There is only the eternal present in God. There is only Heaven. Believing in anything else is really holding a grievance against the truth. It is resistance to accepting the truth.
The whole journey Home is a process of letting go of what never could be real. This is what the Course calls forgiveness. As we let go of what could never be real, what lies behind those false stories becomes clear to us. All is still as God created it. Everyone is still as God created them. Nothing could ever happen but God. Love is all there is.
While I am thinking that I move in a world of time and space, seeing my brother differently with the help of the Holy Spirit is the way the dream gets dissolved. Letting go of the past is the way the dream gets dissolved. Opening to Holy Spirit’s Light again and again will show me the consistency of the eternal presence of Love. This habit will heal my mind of all belief in time and space. This habit will gently undo all grievances I have against God’s oneness.
There is not now or ever could be a past or a future. There is only the eternal now. Today I would watch my thinking and see where I am making the past appear real, which means I am making the false stories appear real. I would take each circumstance to the Holy Spirit to receive another perception. This is true forgiveness. This is how the dream is undone in my mind.

© 2003, Pathways of Light.
You may freely share copies of this with your friends,
provided this copyright notice and website address are included.

“forget the past, for it is gone from your domain!
forget the future, 

for it is beyond your reach! control the present!
 Live supremely well now!
This is the way of the wise…”

Paramahansa Yogananda


Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen was known for his poetic lyrics, iconic songs and baritone  
“I always feel that the world was created through words, through speech in our tradition, and I’ve always seen the enormous light in charged speech. That’s what I’ve tried to get to [and] that is where I squarely stand.”
—Leonard Cohen
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen was born in 1934. An early writer and guitarist, Cohen began to compose and release folk-rock and pop songs by the mid-1960s. One of his most famous compositions is “Hallelujah,” a song released on 1984’s Various Positions. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and he received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010. Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 82.
Buckskin Boy
Leonard Cohen was born on September 21, 1934, in a suburb of Montreal, Canada. Part of an intellectual, middle-class Jewish family, he was encouraged by his parents to pursue his interests in poetry and music and was also thoroughly immersed in Jewish theology and the stories of the Old Testament. In many ways, these early interests and influences provided the blueprints for much of his later work, which straddles the worlds of literature, mythology, poetry and song with a masterful lyricism that is one of its defining features.
Another of Cohen’s primary lifelong interests—women—led him to take up the guitar at age 13, and he was soon playing country music in Montreal’s cafes, eventually forming a group called the Buckskin Boys. Their gigs typically involved performing traditional numbers at square dances. However, at this early stage, it was still poetry that most consumed Cohen, driven by his affinity for the likes of Federico García Lorca and Jack Kerouac, and when he attended McGill University to study English beginning in 1951, his writing would often take priority over his other studies. Cohen graduated in 1955, and the following year the university published his first collection, Let Us Compare Mythologies, which received good reviews but did not sell particularly well, setting yet another precedent for Cohen’s future career.
Beautiful Loser
Around this time, Cohen briefly attended Columbia University before returning to Montreal, where he worked various jobs while continuing to write poetry. However, when his next book, The Spice-Box of the Earth, was published in 1961, it marked the beginning of what would be one of Cohen’s most fruitful periods. Both a critical and commercial success, Spice-Box established Cohen as an important literary voice and also earned him enough royalties that combined with the proceeds from a Canadian writing grant and a small family inheritance allowed him to buy a modest house on the Greek island of Hydra, where he would live on and off for much of the next seven years and “write and swim and sail.”
Cohen’s output from this time includes the poetry collections Flowers for Hitler (1964) and Parasites of Heaven (1966), as well as the novels The Favorite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966), the latter earning Cohen lofty comparisons to James Joyce, and public outrage in Canada for the book’s overtly sexual content. Despite all of the attention, however, Cohen was beginning to feel that he would not be able to make his living as a writer alone, and he began to explore music again, seeing it not only as a natural vehicle for his poetry but also a potentially more lucrative one. He would not be wrong on either count.
First We Take Manhattan
Returning to the United States, Cohen settled in New York and began to explore the city’s music scene. By this time well into his 30s, Cohen was significantly older than his contemporaries and was on more than one occasion discouraged by agents from attempting a career as a performer. However, fellow folk singer Judy Collins had already recognized Cohen’s significant talents, performing covers of his songs “Suzanne” and “Dress Rehearsal Rag” on her popular 1966 album In My Life. With her encouragement, Cohen made his debut at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival, where among the audience members was A&R rep John Hammond, who quickly added Cohen to his impressive roster—which already included such superstars as Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan—by signing him to Columbia Records.
Released later that year, Cohen’s debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, is among his very finest, combining soft, sparse arrangements with his distinctive, untrained baritone to deliver masterful, melancholy lyrics about sexuality, love, spirituality and despair in songs that somehow manage to be simultaneously simple and complex. Based on the strength of tracks such as “Suzanne,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”—to name just a few—the album just barely cracked the Top 100 but earned Cohen a devoted following. 
After publishing a new poetry collection in 1968, Cohen followed up with Songs from a Room, which although not quite as strong overall as his debut effort, surpassed it on the charts by reaching No. 63. It contains the classic Cohen tracks “The Partisan,” “Lady Midnight” and “Bird on a Wire,” which has been covered by countless artists over the years, most notably Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. It would also be one of the tracks Cohen performed the following year at the Isle of Wight Festival in England, where he appeared alongside such big-name acts as Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Miles Davis and many others.
Another of the numbers he performed during his Isle of Wight set was “Famous Blue Raincoat.” A song about a cuckolded husband writing to his wife’s lover, it is one of Cohen’s best and among the highlights—with “Avalanche” and “Joan of Arc”—from his third album, 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate. That same year, Cohen’s music reached an even wider audience when three of his songs were featured on the soundtrack of the Robert Altman western McCabe & Mrs. Miller, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, but it would be another three years before he would return to the studio. 
However, Cohen was far from inactive during this stretch, releasing a new book of poetry, The Energy of Slaves, in 1972, the same year that his girlfriend, Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod, gave birth to their first child, Adam, followed two years later by their daughter, Lorca. Cohen also continued to tour, released a live album and had his songs featured in a 1973 musical called The Sisters of Mercy.
New Skin
In 1974, Cohen returned to studio recordings with New Skin for the Old Ceremony, which while maintaining Cohen’s characteristically downbeat mood also featured fuller arrangements than his previous albums. Among the standout tracks from this offering are “Who by Fire,” “Take This Longing” and “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” about a romantic encounter that Cohen once had with singer Janis Joplin. Cohen toured in support of New Skin before releasing a 1975 best-of album and hitting the road once again, enjoying the adoration of a devoted core of fans, if not the commercial success that his label might have hoped for.
But if Columbia was expecting different results with his next album, they were to be disappointed, as would be his fans and, indeed, Cohen himself. Working with legendary and notoriously troubled producer Phil Spector, Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man was problematic from the start, with Spector’s erratic behavior culminating in him holding a gun to Cohen’s head. Spector also mixed the recording without Cohen’s input, resulting in the overblown end product that Cohen himself has described as “grotesque” and identified as his least favorite album. Perhaps hoping to right his ship, the following year Cohen released the similarly titled collection of poetry and prose Death of a Lady’s Man, followed by 1979’s Recent Songs, which, although it saw Cohen return to the sparser arrangements of his earlier work, failed to perform well commercially.
After a five-year hiatus, during which Cohen released no new material, he made up for lost time in 1984 with the publication of the poetry collection Book of Mercy and the album Various Positions, both of which focus more specifically on themes of spirituality, most notably on the song “Hallelujah.” Counted among Cohen’s best-known, best-loved and most-often-performed songs of all time, “Hallelujah” has been covered by hundreds of artists since, including Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. The album, however, failed to gain much recognition, and it would be another five years before Cohen would release anything new.
I’m Your Man
Resurfacing in 1988, Cohen released the synth-heavy I’m Your Man, which although failed to chart in the United States, was a smash in Canada and Europe and features the notable tracks “Everybody Knows” and “First We Take Manhattan,” as well as the memorable title song. Introducing Cohen to a new generation of fans, the album was followed by 1992’s The Future, from which several songs were included in the Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers, which also helped establish his standing with a younger audience. 
Cohen’s relevance would be further underlined by the tribute albums I’m Your Fan (1992)—which included covers of his songs by alternative acts such as the Pixies, R.E.M. and Nick Cave—and Tower of Song (1995), which featured heavy hitters of the rock and roll world including Billy Joel, Elton John and Peter Gabriel. But rather than bask in the spotlight, in 1994 Cohen turned inward, retreating to the Mount Baldy Zen Center, where he took a vow of silence and studied under a Zen master for the next five years.
Cohen reemerged in 1999, and two years later released his first album in nearly a decade, the plainly titled Ten New Songs, as well as the live recording Field Commander Cohen, which documented performances from a 1979 tour. Next came Dear Heather, something of a departure for Cohen, in that it included songs for which he did not write lyrics, followed by the 2005 tribute album and movie Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, which featured performances by Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, U2, Antony, Beth Orton and many others. 
Unfortunately for Cohen, while he was being celebrated, he also discovered he was being ripped off, and he filed suit against former manager Kelley Lynch, who had embezzled millions of dollars from him over the years. Though Cohen won a $7.9-million-dollar in 2006, he was never able to recoup the money, and the now-72-year-old bard was left without his retirement funds.
Dance Me to the End of Love
Not that he was without his prospects. In 2006, Cohen also published a new collection of poetry, Book of Longing, and in 2008, after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he embarked on a two-year-long world tour to rebuild his finances, which was chronicled on the albums Live in London (2009) and Songs from the Road (2010). In the midst of the tour, Cohen received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, and the following year Columbia Records released The Complete Studio Albums Collection, gathering together all of Cohen’s studio work into one box set.
By this point a grandfather and nearing his 80s, Cohen was, however, no mere relic of the past, and in early 2012 he released a new album of songs titled Old Ideas, which saw him return to the folk arrangements of his earlier and arguably best work. Reaching No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Canada and several European countries, it was the highest-charting album of Cohen’s career, rivaled only by his 2014 album Popular Problems, perhaps an indication that Cohen, like a fine wine, just got better with age. Prolific till the end, three weeks before his death, Cohen released You Want It Darker, recorded in his home while his health was rapidly declining. His son Adam produced the album, and told Rolling Stone magazine, “At times I was very worried about his health, and the only thing that buoyed his spirits was the work itself.”
“If you are the dealer, let me out of the game / you are the healer, I’m broken and lame / If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame / You want it darker / Hineni, hineni / Hineni, hineni / I’m ready, my lord” – ‘You Want It Darker,’ Leonard Cohen, 2016
Leonard Cohen died on November 7, 2016 at the age of 82. At the time of the public announcement of Cohen’s passing on November 10, few details were revealed as to the circumstances. A week later, his manager Robert B. Kory stated the songwriter had fallen during the evening of November 7 and died in his sleep that night. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful,” said Kory. 
Fans and celebrities reacted to the music legend’s passing on social media, often quoting his profound and poetic lyrics. 


Ron Richey
545 Queen St. #701
Honolulu, Hi 96813

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