Wednesday, April 19, 2017

JACKSON THOMAS: "I'm Not Sure How He Made It, But He Did"


Last Thursday morning, the world turned upside down for Jackson Thomas – literally.

Jackson, a recent high school graduate with a passion for photography, video, and travel, has filled his Instagram and YouTube feeds with images and short films of his adventures camping, hanging around Franklin with friends, touring Israel, living in Greece, and exploring Turkey. Jackson invited his viewers along as he jumped into oceans, walked railroad tracks, climbed rooftops, and rode foreign highways, often with his trademark left hand extended with an open palm.


Jackson wasn't planning to attend college. He was going to chase his passion for film, travel, and photography and eventually support himself with his own business. His parents were 100% supportive of his plans. Besides the social media posts, Jackson also took senior portraits and interned with Compass Cinema. And a multitude of other things like working part-time at McCreary's in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee.

As a kind of graduation celebration, Jackson traveled with "The Roadshow," which hired him as a photographer for three shows of its tour. Jackson and his dad, Dwane, left for California on March 1 and hung with the band for the first 5 days. The last show was in Colorado Springs.


Afterwards, Dwane and Jackson attended a Brendan Brechard conference on the 8th. Dwane and his son both had read and discussed a lot of Brendan's books, and they both functioned with his goal-oriented, positive, how-can-I-serve-others mentality. Jackson was the youngest person there, and he loved the conference. After the conference, Jackson’s friend Mitchell flew out to meet him. They were driving around, living in the van and taking pictures. They stayed with a friend in LA for a week or so.


Meanwhile Jackson’s family, his mom and dad and four younger sisters, traveled to Greece for the second year in a row to work with Syrian refugees through a local ministry, Servant Group International. Servant Group, a local non-profit with twenty years of dedication to reaching and serving Muslim communities through schools in Iraq, has more recently sponsored short-term service trips and local ministry here in Nashville to support refugees. The family planned to stay through July 25. The girls and Gretchen loved being with the Syrian and Afghan people and were excited to be there.


Besides helping with refugee work, Dwane was there to study and learn Greek. A Latin teacher for nearly twenty years at various schools in Franklin, Dwane shifted his Latin teaching online to create Visual Latin. The Greek trips afforded Dwane the opportunity to learn Greek by immersion and expand his online education platform.


Last Thursday morning, Jackson and Mitchell were headed home. Jackson slept well Wednesday night, had coffee, and crossed the mountains. A natural morning person, Jackson was driving the first shift while Mitchell slept in the back. Around 8:30 am (as best as people can figure out) a tire blew out on the van. Mitchell woke to a violent shaking followed by a heavy sway to one side and then two huge swerves before the van started to roll. It rolled six times, landing upright. Mitchell, who was unhurt, immediately got out of the side door and checked on Jackson.




Passersby called 911 and came to help. A nurse heard the call on her emergency radio while going to work, and she turned around to go to the scene. She held Jackson's head to apply pressure to a large laceration until EMT arrived forty-five minutes later.

A life flight took Jackson to the hospital in Aurora, right outside Denver. Mitchell did not have to be medically transported. At the hospital, a team of doctors treated Jackson for the head laceration (which now has forty staples), brain trauma and bleeding, two mildly fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and some mildly fractured vertebrae. (Doctors have not been able to assess as much about those injuries because Jackson cannot sit up or stand yet. Jackson also suffered a humerus bone broken by the elbow into three pieces and a left hand with four fingers broken, some in more than one place. During a Monday surgery, Jackson had plates, pins, and wires installed to hold the arm and hand bones in place for healing).


That left hand was shattered.

But the boy lived.
  • He suffered no internal injuries. 
  • His face was left whole and uncut. 
  • His feet and legs were not broken. 
  • Mitchell was conscious as well and able to help him
  • He received immediate help from a skilled professional sooner than expected
Miracles, miracles, and more miracles.

In Greece, Dwane and Gretchen and their daughters heard of the accident and rushed to sever plans, cancel reservations, and hurry home. Though they had travel insurance to cover some expenses, their return flights cost €12,000.

Back home, Gretchen’s sister and Jackson’s old boss at Compass Cinema flew to Denver before the day was out to support Mitchell and Jackson. More friends prayed, called relatives and friends in the area to visit the hospital and pray, set up a GoFundMe account, and filled it with over twenty thousand dollars so far. Friends plastered Jackson’s story across social media and sent words of love and support to the family. Friends even had coffee and snacks delivered to the hospital.

Gretchen arrived Friday, and Dwane and the girls arrived soon after. Doctors have told the family that Jackson is looking at a two-to-three-week minimum stay in the hospital, which means that the Thomas family will be staying in Colorado for the time being.
Jackson’s physical therapy will be long and painful. He will not be taking pictures any time soon. And the family needs help, too.

***THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS THAT YOU CAN HELP THE FAMILY...***
(and this is where this blogpost counts).

Here are their needs:
____________________________________________
  • The MEDICAL BILLS the Thomas family incurs will supercede their insurance
  • Once Jackson leaves the hospital, he can get a total of 40 OUTPATIENT THERAPIES of any combination, but he will require extensive therapy.
  • Add to that the change in TRAVEL PLANS and the new expense of a hotel near the hospital for six people and travel. 
  • They have household obligations in Greece FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS (like rent on their apartment to which they are currently committed to pay through May 13).
  • The Thomas FAMILY VAN WILL NEED TO BE REPLACED, something they are likely to do while in Colorado instead of incurring the added cost of a rental for three weeks.
  • JACKSON'S CAMERA IS SHATTERED AS WELL AS HIS IPHONE, Not sure if his computer is functional yet. Those technologies are the tools of his trade.
____________________________________________

The goal is to raise $150,000 BEFORE JACKSON TRANSFERS TO HOSPITAL IN TENNESSEE. We're talking about two more weeks. Over $20,000 has been donated through GoFundMe in less than a week. So we need to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE the family's needs.


The Thomas family (both Dwane and Gretchen) have taught, loved, and cared for children in Franklin, Tennessee for twenty years. Now it’s time for Franklin to show up for them. And beyond. Franklin and beyond. What can you do to help? Currently, here are 3 portals:
  • Pray. Share his story with other people who will give and pray.
  • Give to Jackson’s GoFundMe to cover family expenses and medical bills.
  • Follow Jackson’s Caring Bridge site to send messages of support.
  • Supply activities for family members who are not in the hospital (Friends suggest that sketch pads, journals, face paints and brushes, colored pencils, books, movie passes, and outings like horseback riding would all help the family, especially the four girls, to cope with the long days of sitting at a hospital or hotel).

Right now, Dwane and Gretchen aren't counting costs. They are counting blessings.



When asked about Jackson, Gretchen says, All in all [Jackson’s injuries are] mild compared to what it could have been… More friends continue to support us through prayer, financial giving, showing up, having coffee delivered ;) providing snacks and emailing or messaging their encouragement... Thank you thank you thank you!

Let’s put the world right side up for a really great family.


(If you want to help beyond the opportunities listed, please, contact Robbie Grayson at stonetableschool@gmail.com).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Saint Michael's Shield: A Tribute to Caleb White (February 24, 1993 - March 4, 2017)




I learned last week from Ed and Tina White that Caleb White's real hero was Michael the Archangel. I'm not sure why I didn't see that before. Everything about Caleb was about protecting others. I think that he was more Michael's shield than his sword.

***

Imagine how incredibly sad it is for a teacher to learn about the passing of a former student. Especially if that connection survived the separate-but-equal status of most middle-school, student-teacher relationships, eventually morphing over a decade into the level playing field of adulthood. Incredibly sad is the best way I can describe the sudden arbitrary and intense moments that seize me by the gut, radiate up my spine, and blur my vision before I even know that I'm intensely sad for Caleb's family, proud of Caleb, and in awe of him all at the same time.

I lay no sentimental claim to Caleb White, nor do I attribute his general awesomeness to any specific lesson I taught him as his headmaster from 2005 to 2007. With most of the male students I taught at Stone Table in Franklin, Tennessee, the healthiest relationships that I have today usually experienced an initial break in the relationship where the man-child drew a very deep line in the sand, daring me to cross it. That student-teacher divide gave way to mutual respect and friendship almost every time.


Strange enough, that was never the case with Caleb. 

First of all, Caleb and I both are the middle-child of three. As a result, I knew that Caleb cared less about performance (the first-born curse) and even less about cuteness (the third-born curse). By gosh, Caleb was spontaneous and original (what I liked to call absurd. Hey, I'm the same way...) and most importantly of all, timing was important. And the timing was always now. 

Second of all, Caleb wasn't aware of certain protocols. It wasn't that he didn't care (he didn't). It was that he didn't know, and then he didn't care about what he didn't know. So if Caleb derailed my Physical Science class because, say, the word uniformitarianism reminded him of something he recalled off Sponge Bob and he felt it absolutely important to say so and I objected, then that bright look on his face would give way to worry eyebrows and he would turn the discussion to how You say that you want us to interact, but you're the only one talking (which was true...) or You let the girls say things that have nothing to do with class (damn, that was also true...).

Third of all, Ed and Tina White's boys were different than quite a few of the boys at my school. My school lay within the boundary lines of Williamson County which boasted a delicate conflation of the quickly-fading-but-endearing-Southern-small-town-hospitality ethos and the evangelical-hipster-coffee-drinking-my-skinny-jeans-so-tight-that-it-hurts-my-balls-and-beanie-wearing demographic. And everything in between. Caleb White and his brothers were neither.

The Whites lived in a little "hollow" called Fernvale where they were completely cushioned by the beautiful scenery of Middle Tennessee: the woods, the hills, the streams, wildlife, few people. They lived in Davy Crockett's world. There, they were sheltered from Williamson County tensions and nuances of which church, which band, which brand, which neighborhood, decisions, decisions, decisions. Being oblivious made the boys stick out as a one-of-a-kind posse at our school. Can I get a witness?

I still can see Caleb rolling out of the car each morning, entering the squeaky school door, barrel-chested, his clothes smelling a combination of Tennessee earth, strong soap, and, I don't know, Camel cigarettes. I remember this, because on most days Caleb would hug me. And he always sported the "smirkle" below.


And what did Caleb learn at our school? Caleb was almost always under David Raymond's charge. Back then, David did most of the teaching of Caleb's grade, and I did most of the playing with the same kids in and outside school (death soccer, wrestling, and Airsoft Wars based on historic battles). Caleb read a lot because Mr. Raymond had the kids read, and read, and then read some more. Classics. Especially the kind that boys need to read to learn to be men

I approved of this, because my goal for the students (who I affectionately called POMOS) was about determining what each student deeply valued, giving them more of that and less of everything else. While their reading was guided, each student was the ultimate interpreter of what she or he was reading. If the students did this right and didn't simply answer God for every question David Raymond asked them, then it told me that the students were assimilating. And if they don't assimilate it, it can never be a part of them.


Referencing something that Mr. Raymond recently said, Caleb loved the adventures of Odysseus. And he went on quite a few adventures himself when he left Stone Table from joining the wrestling team at Fairview High School to adventures with one of his best friends (Bryce Nolte), to arranging fistfights all over Fairview (I followed these on facebook, hahaha). One day, he showed up at my school with Bryce. I couldn't stop looking at Caleb's thick shoulders and arms, because the last time I saw him he was average-sized. But he thanked me for my compliment and complimented me on my thick shoulders and arms. Always the gentleman.

The last time I saw Caleb (Spring 2011), he told me that he was joining the Army.


The next time that I talked to Caleb (April 2014), he sent me a facebook message to call him. I got on the phone, and Caleb described to me how much combat was wearing on his spirit. It wasn't that he didn't like his job (he loved it). He was just trying to figure out how to do his job and retain his sense of justice without loving it too much. He didn't want combat to get normal.


We kept in contact from that point on, but only through Facebook Messenger and Instagram. I was a fan of his Instagram posts, a side-splitting marriage of absurdity and vulgarity that I relished because I could hear Caleb saying the memes with that smirkle on his lips. The last time we chatted was on Instagram (January 2017) where he described to me yet another one of his adventures where he jumped into a brawl out of duty for a Soldier-brother.

When I went to visit Ed and Tina White after Caleb's passing, they filled me in on the gap years when I wasn't in much contact with Caleb. Perhaps, the apex of my visit with them was when they pulled out a coat-of-arms that Caleb created for one of David Raymond's projects. Look at it here. It took my breath away.



So back to Saint Michael's shield. Caleb's posture was almost always defensive: defensive of his family, of his brothers, of himself, of others, of those he didn't know, of his brothers-in-arms, in service to his country, in service to the country in which he was fighting. I will remember Caleb as a shield more than a sword.

As miracles have it, a combat soldier who is a friend of mine mentioned in casual conversation (and unprovoked) the Cave of Saint Michael in Italy. I was stunned, because I had Caleb on my mind and he didn't know about it. I looked it up on the internet the next day and thought that I would write the curator of the shrine about Caleb White. I received a response within the hour. In Italian.

***
Gent. Sig. Robbie Grayson,

Ho appreso con tristezza la notizia della scomparsa di Caleb White. Ma subito il mio cuore si è rasserenato apprendendo dalla sua grande devozione a San Michele Arcangelo.

Il Signore ha voluto chiamare a Sé Caleb. Sia benedetto il Suo Nome. Ora Lui è felice ed intercede per i suoi cari fra i cori angelici ed i santi.
        
Coraggio e fede! Abbiamo l’assoluta sicurezza che un giorno ci ritroveremo insieme ai nostri cari che sono già passati sull’altra riva e con loro canteremo eternamente le lodi del Dio della vita.
        
Pregherò per lei e per il defunto Caleb e per suoi genitori e fratelli, toccati profondamente da questo lutto, attraverso l’infallibile canale del Santo Sacrificio della Messa e della preghiera quotidiana. San Michele Arcangelo che accompagna i defunti davanti al trono dell’Infinita Maestà lo introduca nella luce della Santa eternità dove tutti ci ritroveremo.
        
E’ certezza della nostra fede ed in tale convinzione La saluto affettuosamente.
            
P. Ladislao Suchy

***TRANSLATION***


Dear Mr Robbie Grayson,
I learned with sadness about the news of the death of Caleb White. But now my heart is cheered from learning about his great devotion to St. Michael the Archangel.         
The Lord wanted to call Caleb to Himself. Blessed be His Name. Now Caleb is happy and intercedes for his loved ones among the choirs of angels and saints.         
Have courage and faith! We have absolute confidence that one day we will meet together with our loved ones who have already passed on to the other side, and with them we eternally will sing the praises of the God of life.         
I will pray for the deceased Caleb and his parents and brothers. Know that I am deeply touched by this grief, through the infallible Holy Sacrifice of the Mass channel and daily prayer. Saint Michael will accompany Caleb before the throne of Infinite Majesty, introducing him into the light of the Holy Eternity where we all will meet again.         
I say this with the certainty of our faith and belief.

Affectionately,             
P. Ladislao Suchy

***

I will always remember Caleb and be grateful to God that he let me teach him, become friends with him, and learn from him. What a beautiful life God gave Ed, Tina, David, and Silas.

***

Saint Michael's Prayer 
Saint Michael Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, By the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits Who prowl through the world seeing the ruin of souls. Amen.

Friday, December 23, 2016

MY HAPPIEST CHRISTMAS: A Mother's Christmas Letter about Family (December 19, 1952)



While taking inventory of my 2016 Year in Review these last few weeks, I've been reflecting on how May 14, 2016 could have (should have?) been my last day on planet earth. In the wee hours of the morning (3:10-3:30 a.m.) I suffered sudden anaphylaxis. Had it not been for the extraordinary alertness of my 16-year-old daughter, I would have expired on the bathroom floor.

I woke up to confusion roughly 30 hours later in ICU. I was intubated so that I couldn't swallow. That alarmed me. And my hands were tied down to the sides of the bed. That alarmed me, too. As I became more lucid in stages, I recalled being unable to breathe and nothing more. Before that, I recalled that I had spent the last week stacking my plate with record-breaking accomplishments involving home improvement & the landscaping of my property.

But as I lay in the hospital for the next two days, I couldn't recall anything more important than my daughter who saved me and the family I almost lost. And if you've been muscled by your mortality, you know this to be true: all that ever mattered was love.
Had I not made it, I would have left a book unpublished: Little House on the High Plains: Growing Up Happy and Healthy During the Dust Bowl and World War II by Major General Carl G. Schneider USAF (Ret.). This book had been a remarkable project for my wife and me. We enjoyed the learning curve it took to wrap our heads around the time period, lifestyles, and the customs of Texas farm culture.
I want to share a piece that I thought fitting for the season. In chapter 11 the author's mother, Laura, wrote a letter, on the advent of the Christmas of 1952. She was anticipating all of her grown children being back in their little house once more:


My Happy Christmas
December 19, 1952


“JoAnn, jump right in bed while I get the hot water bottle and an aspirin.” Then I will call Mr. Neis and ask him to bring a prescription from the drug store as he comes to supper. This was the first thing that happened when I got home from school the afternoon of the 19th beginning the Christmas holidays.
We had had a very busy day at school. The gift exchange had worked out well, however. Each child had been given a generous treat by the room mothers and sent home with many good wishes for a happy holiday. When the books had been put away, the Christmas decorations taken down from around the room, flowers removed from danger of a possible freezing, and the thermostat set so for a comfortable heat in a closed room, I drew a deep sigh of happiness and closed the door on school room worries. Two whole weeks of happiness at home, just being “Mother,” and the anticipation of having all my children at home together again.
After making JoAnn comfortable, I made a quick clean-up and pick-up over the house, went to the grocery store, and got supper under way.
Scarcely had I turned around it seemed before Daddy and Joyce came into the house laughing and I looked beyond them to see Martha giving Clyde’s uniform a final check, with particular attention to the new wings just that day pinned on. Of course I said, “Greetings, Lt. Schneider,” and in return got a big hug and saw the boyish grin of pleasure spread over his face. How a mother’s heart swells with pride in such a splendid son!
After supper Daddy and I dashed off late to our Sunday School class social at the church. It was a delightful evening with old and new friends, and I went home with two gifts after Daddy gave me the box of ladies’ hose he’d drawn in the gift exchange!
When we got home our first thought was of Grace, who was coming home with Carrie Bier. When they had not arrived by midnight we turned the fires low, left the door unlocked and a light burning, and went to bed.
Martha and Grace were to sleep in our room and Daddy and I took the extra bed in the boys’ room where Clyde was sleeping. About two o’clock Grace came in. She undressed very quietly, and not looking in Mother’s room lest she disturb, went to the back bedroom to that seldom-used bed. She called softly, “Clyde, Clyde,” and was startled to hear a movement in the bed that she was so sure would be empty.
Saturday morning brought the happy reunion of four children – Grace, Clyde, Joyce, and JoAnn, as well as Martha, the soon-to-be new daughter. A quick trip to town for last minute shopping, groceries, and a Christmas tree largely took up the morning. JoAnn and Clyde chose a beautiful, tall tree and began to decorate it even before the noon meal.
As the latter was almost ready, a quick wave of excitement ran through the house as someone called from the front, “Glendon has come.” And there was the tall, sturdy jet pilot who had not been with us at Christmas time for the last three years. How glad he seemed to be at home again.
After having driven steady for the past 24 hours [from Alabama], he fell in bed as soon as he had eaten lunch.
Sunday was a happy day with church in the morning and callers [in the] afternoon. I sat with little Hal Seaman while his parents attended a rehearsal and dinner for a wedding party Sunday night but was back home in time for coffee with the family before bed time.
Again the light was left burning and the fires going because Finis would be coming in before morning. Daddy and I did not sleep very soundly and were awake when the car stopped in front of the house at 3:00, exactly 52 hours since they had left Red Bank, New Jersey. We knew he really wanted to be with us to make such a long, hard journey home. Christmas had already come in our hearts when the entire family gathered for a late breakfast on that beautiful Monday morning.

How quickly the days went until Christmas Eve morning when we wakened to find a beautiful blanket of snow covering the earth and what fun it was to go downtown and see the gaily lighted windows, the throng of busy shoppers…

What struck me in this letter was something I've always seen but have never felt until recently, and that is Mothers love their children. Forever and always. Unconditionally. Because mothers give birth to children they have never seen, they love their children when they are gone just as much as when they are present. And they will love them just as much when they leave this earth.
At the time of this letter, I'm sure Laura didn't know that she only had only seven more Christmases. But that's no matter, because she loves her children now just as much as she loved them before they were born. That's what Christmas means to me this year.
Mother.
***
Little House on the High Plains can be purchased in Paperback & Kindle on Amazon:

Connect with Carl Schneider on Facebook



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2016 THE BULLY WITHIN: A Journey of Consciousness by Dale Crowe [Where Boxing Meets Spirituality]

Traitmarker Books 2016 New Author Feature
View this email in your browser
Dale Crowe's The Bully Within
A JOURNEY OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Imagine answering someone who inquired the whereabouts of a Dale Crowe with, "There never was a Dale Crowe." Now imagine responding that way if you were Dale Crowe. To most ears, that sentence would sound like a nonsense statement or an evasive manuever. For Dale Crowe it is neither.

Dale means "valley" in Hebrew. That's fitting, because I've felt squeezed between two mountains for most of my life. After going to war with that duality for almost 40 years, I've learned that there never really was a Dale Crowe... Saying that there's no real Dale Crowe sounds like a riddle. But it's actually a truth that means a lot to me.

Dale Crowe & His Maternal Grandparents
The Bully Within: A Journey of Consciousness is the autobiographical, play-by-play transformation of former, up-and-coming crusierweight boxer, Dale Crowe: the transformation from a bully into an enlightened man. The Bully Within is a book about spirituality, not boxing. In it, Dale seeks to answer his own riddle. From the first page of the prologue, he paints in detailed brush strokes the deceptively benign beginnings of his volatile past:

I was born in Ohio and grew up with my mother, stepfather, and grandparents. The deaths of my grandparents and the absence of my father introduced me at an early age to issues of loss and abandonment. When I was very young, I was a class clown. But after meeting my father at age thirteen, I wanted to model myself after him, and I learned to box partly to impress him. I rose through the ranks of amateur and professional boxing, but not until my life came crashing around me did I return to the root issues of loss and abandonment and learn to deal with them.

Those losses opened a chasm of loneliness. The combination of Dale's losses with his loneliness found him seeking larger and larger doses of ego-driven attention from an early age. It's the voice of Dale's ego pockmarking page after page in increasingly sinister, 10-point-font stocatto that Dale exposes to the light the gremlin that taunted him. It's the bully that began with him...

Who's gonna stay around you very long? New school soon? New friends?
You better find a way to matter. What if nobody even likes you? 


... and grew with him...

Everything you got is because of boxing. You don't fit into any other role. You've failed at everything else. Better get your ass back in that ring, pal, if you like what you got. You better fight to keep it. 

It was this bifurcation of Dale's identity, this objectifiction of Dale's personality, and this normalization of the voice in his head that convinced Dale from an early age that one part of him was bully and the other part was Dale Crowe.
Dale Crowe (second from the right)
While much of the book chronologically catalogues the stair-step accomplishments of Dale's boxing career (ESPN, Fox Sports, The Oprah Winfrey Show), Dale focuses on specific vignettes that were catalysts in the uncontrollable growth of his ego. By structuring the story like this, Dale allows the reader to see the bully operate from a wide angle. Dale wanted to write the kind of book that he wished he would have read as a child that would had described his internal fears against the stark relief of machismo culture. It might have made a difference. It might have diverted him from a life of violence.

Growing up, I wasn't a big reader, but I did love stories. I was mesmerized by action heroes on television and in the movies. When my life slowed down and I started looking for answers, I found new heroes - heroes who introduced me to peace and wisdom and truth in their writings. I could ask no greater honor than to lead a reader into the path I've found by honestly sharing my life in a book.

That enlightenment came four years after Dale went to prison.
Dale Crowe vs. Michael Moore Fight (ESPN)
ON VIOLENCE

Violence takes center stage in American media. From mass shootings to murders and rapes to killings by and of law enforcement officers, we seem to hear about a new tragedy before we've had time to process the old ones.

We send out thoughts and prayers to the families of victims far too often. From Columbine to Charleston to Orlando to Dallas, the venues of shootings and the names of the killers become infamous. As a result, ordinary Americans congregate in large numbers with the understanding that anywhere can be a target: a school, a movie theater, a shopping center, a bar, or a city street.

And that's not even to mention the family violence or random violence that fails to make the headlines. According to Gun Violence Archive, as of July 17, 2016, 7,458 people have died and 15,450 people have suffered injury in 28,932 incidents. And according to theNational Coalition Against Domestic Violence"nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States." Though mass shootings grab the headlines, the violence that occurs behind closed doors may do the greatest damage to the fabric of society. CASA reports on the link between child abuse and incarceration:

The new study draws a strong link between prior abuse and violent crime. Among male inmates in state prisons, 76 percent who were abused and 61 percent not abused had a current or past sentence for a violent offense. Among female offenders, 45 percent of the abused and 29 percent not abused had served a sentence for a violent crime.

Abuse is far from the only factor contributing to the likelihood of a violent life. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reports that "nationally, 7.3 million children have at least one parent in jail or prison. Sadly, 70 percent of these kids are doomed to follow in the same footsteps as their parents becoming imprisoned at some point in their lives".

In fact, self-control plays a major part in whether victims become perpetrators. "Self-control is key to a well-functioning life, because our brain makes us easily [susceptible] to all sorts of influences. Watching a movie showing violent acts predisposes us to act violently. Even just listening to violent rhetoric makes us more inclined to be violent. Ironically, the same mirror neurons that make us empathic make us also very vulnerable to all sorts [of] influences".

So the direction of society in great part depends on how well individuals dealing with pain and violence can control the impulse to commit violence:

"Reasons for committing a crime include greed, anger, jealousy, revenge, or pride." Uncontrolled negative emotion, the choice food of the ego, acts like a cancer on society, killing the innocent to feed itself.

Children who grow up abused, impoverished, or without a stable family structure carry a burden other children do not. It is harder for them to make positive choices and to halt the cycle of pain and violence.
Dale Crowe 

THE MESSAGE

It was in prison that Dale eventually was able to relate his loss and loneliness to the bully that he had become:


Outside events damaged me because of how I allowed them to make me feel on the inside. As a child, that's understandable. But as an adult, it shouldn't be. These days, I choose how I will experience any given situation. My past does not define my choices. As long as I operate in truth, I am satisfied with the outcome. My inner self is pleased, though my ego might not be. Why? Love. The ego needs past and future. I can be love in the present moment.

Dale's learned that his obsession with the past and future did not allow him the ease and joy of simply being in the present. This new understanding introduced Dale to a series ofkundalini events: impromptu "ego-burning" opportunities that allowed him pratical ways to further distance himself from the false chasm of "Dale Crowe the Bully" and "The Other Dale Crowe." In prison he began to look at the young men flowing through the prison doors. He wanted to show them that stoking that negative emotion would only hurt them. He wanted to tell them that they didn't need to hold on to the pain inside them and identify with it:

During my ten years in prison, I've seen a lot of bullies. I've seen men do violence to each other because they hear non-stop violence inside themselves. I try to help those who will listen to understand bullies - how to avoid suffering violence, doing violence, and allowing violence to reign within them. I know from experience that within every violent person is an inner self longing for a different life.

Dale's realization of the harm caused by his inner bully impels him to share that realization with others. While his first world traces the arc from his suburban childhood through the world of professional boxing into the adjacent world of crime, violence, and drugs and into prison, Dale's second world allows him to confront his inner torment and learn to live at peace with himself, the world, and God. And he wouldn't trade anything for that world.

So there never was a Dale Crowe. There never was an other. "Dale Crowe" is an identity and a history that one part of the divine essence inhabits.That divine essence exists in unity and love, and realizing its presence importance keeps the collection of wrongs, wounds, pain, and negative emotion that belong to the "other" Dale Crowe from causing more hurt and sorrow in the world.

Now imagine living your entire life never knowing there never was a Dale Crowe. That's the predicament of the billions of people who walk this globe. That's the predicament of the inmate and the warden alike, the CEO and the employee alike, the parent and the child.

And that's the reason Dale Crowe wrote this book.

The Bully Within Paperback
The Bully Within Kindle
Dale Crowe
Traitmarker Books is a Nashville-based publishing & publicity service for cause-authors.
Our authors own their copyrights and are free negotiate with publishers & marketing companies. 
A Bully Within is available for reviewers upon request.

Copyright © *|2016|* *|Traitmarker Books|*, All rights reserved.
*|New Author Feature|* *|Dale Crowe|*

To contact the publisher, email traitmarker@gmail.com
MAILING ADDRESS
*|2984 Del Rio Pike Franklin, TN|* *|37069|*
Invisible Doesn't Mean Unimportant

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences