Pandemic Inspirations – My God Will Not Fold

During times of uncertainty, when we are uncomfortable and cannot accurately predict our circumstances, we strengthen our resolve through faith. We find comfort in the shelter of our faith and the Holy Father in which we live and move and have our being. A key element of God as our fortress is the belief that He will not fold, fall apart, or crumble in the face of present and impending danger.

My God Will Not Fold

When things are too hot;

When things are too cold;

I feel like a dot,

Too small to behold.

It’s during these times

My heart is cajoled

With psalms for my doubt;

My God will not fold.

At times I’m frightened,

But I must insist,

To be enlightened

And next on His list.

When God made me whole,

My spirit enrolled.

It’s well with my soul.

My God will not fold.

Personal problems,

May yet beset me;

If I’m struggling,

My God might let me

Learn from the hardship,

And then set me free;

When I was drifting,

My God came for me.

God through the ages

Has always been true;

Faithful through stages

Of what we go through.

He was there for me

And I felt consoled,

My God was with me;

My God will not fold.

No, God will not fold,

When things are too hot

Or when they run cold.

I know he will not

Break down, and His love

To the young and the old,

Gives strength and I’m told;

My God will not fold.

When my composure’s

Disintegrating,

Relationships are

Not generating

Kind words from my lips.

I am unstable

And losing my grip,

But God is able.

When things are too hot

Or when they run cold,

I’m sensing the plot,

As long as I hold

His hand in my hand,

I’m anchored and bold,

For He helps me stand;

My God will not fold.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

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Pandemic Inspirations – I want You to Know This

You

I Want You to Know This

I want you to know this.

As dire as it may appear,

Your Higher Power casts out fear.

I want you to know you are just

God’s Spirit breathed into Stardust.

I want you to know this.

A plague may be single or in a swarm.

You may emerge battered out of this storm;

And go from transfixed to being transformed,

From a new natural to a new norm.

 

I want you to know this.

You are a component of something grand,

That’s too miraculous to understand,

You are a part of the universe and

Metaphorically stationed in God’s hand.

I want you to notice,

The wonder in the evening skies,

The innocence in children’s eyes,

The evidence that God has created

A universe where we are related.

I want you to notice

The pruning and fine tuning undergone;

That thing in you that God is working on.

Let us underscore and not undersell

God’s grace that makes us infinitely well.

I want you to know this

Is an incantation and not a curse;

A blessing of love from the universe.

You must know that God’s creation,

Was scripted from His imagination.

I want you to notice

The sunsets and the sunrises;

Internal beauty and surprises;

The good among a range of bad;

The happy standing next to sad.

I want you to know this to be true;

A purpose is planted inside of you,

I want you to notice, as you pursue

The promise, that God will provide for you.

The image of God is your GPS.

He knows and notices,

And He will bless.

Copyright © 2020 Orlando Ceaser

 

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I Am Not Enough

Ucanturn2

We work together as a team. No person is an island and no person should work in isolation. Most goals are designed to be reached i coordination with others. Additionally, no one should think that they should go through the ordeal on their own, that the objectives should be reached on their own merits.

You are sufficient, as an individual. You are enough within your own right, but when the storms of life are raging and objectives and performance targets must be achieved., you are not enough, nor should you be all that is needed. Involve the team. Involve mentors and coaches and peers. Your growth will accelerate and escalate when you realize and say to yourself, “I am not enough.”

 

I Am Not Enough

 

In search of wisdom I think vanity

Will hide the weakness of humanity,

As ego converts the truth into lies.

Misguided in the darkness I confuse

Reality with an elegant ruse;

What I surmise as wisdom is not wise.

Sometimes rejected, the world will mock me

And life will rock me, and friends will shock me,

Reminding me that I am not that tough.

Though I consider myself fully grown;

The evidence is present and has shown;

When I am in need, I am not enough.

I am proud of being spontaneous,

With wit that’s sharp and instantaneous

And eloquent when speaking off the cuff.

I state opinions with precision

Use intellect to discuss religion;

An empty vessel who’s seeking more stuff.

The myth of the person who is self-made.

The courageous one who’s never afraid.

Gregarious in the face of trials.

Despite a vivid personality,

I’m stuck with the truth and the reality

That something is missing behind the smiles.

A goal in life is to be prominent;

To play a role, forceful and dominant;

Confident life, will never call my bluff;

A revelation is inside of me;

Doubt points to an innate deficiency.

I was created for community,

When I am alone, I am not enough.

And when friends have aching hearts filled with grief;

I search for the right words to bring relief,

But silence is all that I can bestow.

The pain seems permanent as I confess,

To being anemic and powerless,

Aware that my incompetence might show.

I often question what I see in me;

An arrogant idol, a deity;

I cannot survive independently;

I finally came to the conclusion,

That life without God is an illusion;

When I was lost and bound; He set me free.

When I deliver all I can provide,

I still fall short of being satisfied;

Love has made me a diamond in the rough.

I bask in the splendor of His brilliance;

I ask the Lord to give me resilience;

Until I’m with Him, I am not enough.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

 

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Leadership Greatness through High Performance Poetry

Innovation demands that we seek different and distinctive ways of stimulating our imaginations. This may be achieved by making an association through poetry, which is not often seen as a companion of business thinking. It is the other soft skill. Hopefully you are open to this additional insight.

book_of_poems

High performance poetry is an invaluable vehicle for expressing leadership greatness. This art form emphasizes key elements of achievement and helps to cultivate development for personal and professional gain. “Leadership above the Rim turns out to be a shockingly original collection of poems by Orlando Ceaser, a manager-cum-poet who shares them at team meetings and when his direct reports are promoted.”1 This comment from the Financial Times magazine was an early confirmation of the radical insight found in poetry.

People go to work and school and keep their gifts or their light hidden from their peers. Those with a gift of poetic expression will shy away from putting it on full display due to a perceived negative stigma. However, poets can be important to business. Poets have keenly developed powers of observation, outlook and curiosity that lead to investigation and interpretation. These powers can lead to leadership greatness and high performance if we harness the inherent strength of the language and imagery.

Poets use their senses to gain a better understanding and appreciation of their world. They are introspective, intuitive and deep thinkers who are able to view a situation from many perspectives. They are used to experimenting with different approaches. This can be very helpful in leading people and running a business.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a poet as:

  • Gifted in the perception and expression of the beautiful or lyrical
  • A creative artist of great imaginative and expressive gifts and special sensitivity to his medium.

The poet has inspirational words for winning, has a vocabulary for victory and can speak effectively against the language of losing. The poet is a panoramic thinker. The poet can use

high performance poetry to link the vision and mission of the organization to desired outcomes. Further, through conversations with their peers, poets can help you sell the vision and the goals of the organization. They can approach a subject, such as business, with the radical insight that could lead to inspiring innovation in ideas, products and services. Their observations and perspectives will add to brainstorming and problem-solving sessions.

High performance poetry focuses on using achievement-oriented language to encourage and celebrate excellence. Dana Gioia, a poet with extensive business experience, is a graduate of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and the former Vice president of General Foods. In addition, and quite notably, he is the past Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts. As he rose up the managerial ranks, he felt he had “an enormous advantage over his colleagues because he had a background in the imagination, in language and in literature.”2
In a business setting, high performance poetry allows people the use of language, through stories and metaphors. Through these stories and metaphors, the poet is able to paint a positive and attainable picture of the company’s vision. On a deeper level, the poetic communications will touch the hearts of people to build trust and engagement.

The poet may be the introvert in the room, deriving their energy from absorbing everything around them and processing it later in the day. They may be the creative ones, who are insightful, observing and analyzing problems from many different perspectives. They may see things that others don’t see, mainly because they are looking. In my book, The Isle of Knowledge, I tell a story about my friend Buttons from my childhood. During our walks around the West side of Chicago, Buttons was always finding money and other things of value. I tried to match his skill, but with little success. His secret was that he was always looking down and therefore, had a greater opportunity to find things. He was looking where the treasure was located. The poet is always looking for treasure in the places where they reside.

They are always observing, always using their senses, always connected and involved in the world around them. Identify the poets in your midst. Whenever possible, be sure to include them on cross-functional teams and you will be rewarded with a higher performing team that will exceed your expectations.

Another quality that poets bring to the table is a love for experimentation. Their use of metaphors, similes, allegories and hyperbole are some of the ways in which they explore different portrayals of the current reality. At work, they use the same talent to experiment with different solutions, searching for more than one right answer, to improve the quality of decision-making.

It is beneficial to know the poets in your organization and to encourage their expressions of creativity. When these individuals and others focus on high performance poetry, they will leverage their talent to help you utilize and maximize the innate abilities within the team.

You may have heard that poetry and business do not go together. However, this perception may hinder people from exploring and experimenting with a valuable perspective. The high-performance poetry featured in this book will help employees examine its use for achieving their goals. This perspective, if harnessed, will improve the culture within your business in a myriad of ways.

Max DePree, former CEO of the Herman Miller furniture company, tells a story in his book Leadership is an Art, which is a part of the Herman Miller company history. It is a story about a millwright. “In the furniture industry of the 1920’s the machines of most factories were not run by electric motors, but by pulleys from a central drive shaft. The central drive shaft was run by the steam engine. The steam engine got its steam from the boiler. The boiler, in our case, got its fuel from the sawdust and other waste coming out of the machine room – a beautiful cycle. The millwright was the person who oversaw that cycle and on whom the entire activity of the operation depended. He was a key person. One day the millwright died.”

One day the founder of Herman Miller went to the house of the recently deceased millwright. While visiting his home, the widow asked if the young manager would mind if she read some poetry aloud. After listening to her read beautiful poetry, he asked the author of the work. She replied that it was her husband, the millwright. For years the young manager and others at Herman Miller who were apprised of the story wondered,” was he a poet who did millwright’s work, or was he a millwright who wrote poetry?”3


High performance poetry will start you on the path of discovering more about the people in your group or organization. It will help you to explore various aspects of the work experience. It will illuminate and elucidate human motivation and the desire to innovation on an even grander scale. This greater understanding of people will be instrumental to the team’s commitment to exceeding expectations.

Max Dupree goes on to say, “understanding and accepting diversity enables us to see that each of us is needed. It also enables us to begin to think about being abandoned to the strengths of others, of admitting that we cannot know nor do everything. This simple act of recognizing diversity in corporate life helps us to connect the great variety of gifts that people bring to the work and service of the organization.”4 Leadership greatness can be achieved through many avenues. Achieving leadership greatness through high performance poetry is another way to experience the variety and versatility present within your team. I trust that this book will assist you in extracting and multiplying the greatness around you and within you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

Acknowledgments

Adapting

An Ancestor’s Apprentice

Ask (Acquire Selling Knowledge)*

Athletes Leading As Role Models – (ALARM™)

Be humble as you hustle

Be strong to the finish

Championship Thinking

Circle of Excellence*

Coming Through in The Clutch

Confessions of a Corporate Climber

Do You Ever Want to Spin with Me?

Follow through

Front-line Leadership*

He Makes Leaders for a Living*

Habits and Hustle

Hustle

I Am Not the One

I am in sales

I Am the Good

Faith Effort

Imagine a Company Anarchy On Demand

Inertia

Intellect Fulfilled is an Awesome Thing

It Is Time

Keep the Ones We Love Alive (Drive

Defensively)

Last Will and Testament

Leadership in a turbulent Season

Leadership is Allowed

Let them Lead

Make your own good news

My time and my touch

Obstacles

Passion makes you cry

Paying your dues

Peace

Quest for meaning*

Quotas and forecasts*

She is not too old

Someone you may never know

Stronger together

Structure

The Box

The Hunger

The Lady and her Legacy

The Leader Within

The Mark*

The Old Guard and the New Way

The Third Quarter of Life

The Temple of Wasted Time*

The Unabridged Life*

The Un-led

The Year in Review

Uncertainty

Universal Coach

We are committed

What will you be known for?*

When I say diversity, What do you hear?*

When we announced the merger*

Where is the diversity?

Whether Report

You have been chosen to lead*

About the Author— Orlando Ceaser 

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The Saga of the Least of These

This third installment of the Trilogy of Mercy is The Saga of the Least of These. It was inspired by an encounter with a former classmate. It teaches us to be mindful of the personality of Jesus and His intent for His followers to model love and compassion for everyone.

The Saga of the Least of These

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

Strategically positioned beneath his gaze.

They walked the streets and loitered under trees;

Fought for survival on difficult days.

Rather than seeking to understand,

He figuratively gave the back of his hand.

Invisible to some, but to his glance;

The poor decisions they made in their lives,

Were not deserving of a second chance.

But they were not angry for life deprives

On one hand and gives with the other;

At times a way forward is discovered.

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

He did not know their stories or their plight;

To those down trodden and knocked to their knees,

He gave an uppercut, a left and right

And offered platitudes instead of food

And chastised a non-existent attitude.

His words were a punch to their mid section;

His accusations were born of neglect;

His demeanor inflamed their rejection

Their current state was not their fate and yet

He blamed them for their present condition

And gave them negative recognition.

One day he came upon the least of these,

Not the image on the evening news,

But a panhandler who wanted to please

By offering to shine his shoes.

After a few pleasantries were exchanged

He noted that the man was not deranged.

He was spell bound by the look in his eyes.

There standing before him was a classmate;

A football team member to his surprise;

A high school friend he had not seen of late.

They had a reunion for old time’s sake,

But pondered the difference time could make.

He was outrageous, loud and authentic,

While they reminisced within the concourse.

He found out his friend was schizophrenic

And lost his job while on the police force.

He was homeless and as a last resort,

Tried to survive working at the airport.

The image of suffering changed for him;

Became personal and it changed his heart.

He no longer felt the need to condemn,

But to contribute and play a part;

For if not by the grace of God he sees

He could have been among the least of these.

Copyright © 2012 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from the book Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

Jesus Did Not Say (conditions & qualifiers)

Cocky & Rhodette Pray

The ministry of Jesus is often quoted for his doctrine of love. In the second installment of the Trilogy of Mercy we wish to spotlight that Jesus did not place restrictions or conditions on his comments about love, grace and mercy. However, many of his followers’ place qualifications on his word, which were not intended.

The first installment highlighted what Jesus would do if he was just like us and we take the discussion a step further to challenge different interpretations.

Jesus Did Not Say

Jesus did not say,

To “Love your neighbor as yourself,” unless

Their difference makes it hard to comply

And bias makes it hard to acquiesce

And your discomfort makes it hard to try.

He did not say,

“Take care of widows and the fatherless;”

Unless, the budget is under a strain

Instead of searching for how you can bless,

You rationalize and ignore their pain.

Jesus did not say,

To comfort and care for the poor, unless

You can convince yourself that they’re to blame,

For financial uncertainty and stress

Flows from their actions and goes with the shame.

He did not say,

“Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul”

Unless, it’s inconvenient today.

Why put your future under His control,

When you can prospect for a better way?

Jesus did not say,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,” unless

A major acquisition is in sight;

Or there is a prize you want to possess,

To feed your ego and selfish delight.

He did not say,

“My grace is sufficient for you,” unless,

You shop around and find a better deal;

Higher probability for success;

With self centered emotional appeal.

Jesus did not say,

“I am the way, the truth and the life,” unless,

You have your own path to the Creator;

And it is appropriate to obsess

On idols as God impersonators.

He did not say,

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened

And I will give you rest,” unless you find,

He is inept when He says that his word mends

The brokenhearted and gives peace to the mind.

Jesus did not say,

“If you ask anything in my name, I will

Do it,” unless He has a change of heart;

Unless, He reneges on promises until

He tears the foundation of the world apart.

Unless He,

Wakes up on the wrong side of the universe

And changes His mind to send another flood;

Develops an attitude to make things worse,

As He exempts us from the Savior’s blood.

Unless He,

Decides to qualify His love for us,

I would not question the work of His hands.

He did not mollify His love for us

Or place an escape clause in his commands.

Jesus was not conditional when he spoke

About His love for us as a healing balm;

His inspired words were not placed as a joke

In wisdom writings in proverbs and psalms.

Jesus did not say,

We should abide by his communications,

Unless, we take issue with his intent;

Be skeptical of interpretations

That are not consistent with His intent.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

www.watchwellinc.com

Personal Reflections

  1. Reflect on each stanza as you read it. Wrestle with the content.

  2. What do you think about the message?

  3. Are there instances where you misinterpreted the words in Jesus, either through understanding or your actions?

The Trilogy of Mercy

daily_resurrections (1) (2)

The trilogy of mercy are three works inspired by Scripture that wrestles with the mandate of love your neighbor. They are,

  1. What would Jesus say, if he was just like us?

  2. Jesus did not say (which speaks to no qualifications or disclaimers on his love)

  3. The saga of the least of these

These poems are present in the book Daily Resurrections. The book is not a devotional, but it can be used that way. The title refers to the signature poem covering points during the day and during our lives when we are submerged and immersed in situations from which will rise.

Intellectually, we submit to the basic tenets of love and forgiveness. We accept that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, we must be reminded about mercy and how it goes hand in hand with love and forgiveness.

The first installment of the trilogy is a poem entitled What would Jesus say, if he was just like us? The poem is good for personal reflection and a group discussion. There is an irony in us expecting good things from God when we are reluctant to have His goodness trickle down from us to our neighbors.

 

If Jesus was just like us,

What would he do?

There is a matter I would like to discuss

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would he forgive unconditionally,

Or from a list he formed on Calvary?

He said, “Come to me all who are heavy laden

And I will give you rest.”

But would he make us fill out forms

And pass a series of tests?

And based on our affiliations,

Affinities, addresses and how we live,

Would he base reconciliation

On if he thought us worthy, to forgive?

If Jesus was just like us I wonder

About self serving parties to mark his reign,

Commanding the lightning and thunder

As miracles for personal gain.

Would he choose disciples by their net worth,

Socialize with an exclusive crowd,

Suggest we store treasures here on earth

As pompous, privileged ones and the proud?

To those who took the more traveled road,

For beating the system would he reward

Those who took short cuts to lighten their load

By throwing their good neighbors overboard?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would grace be earned and favor granted?

Do you think he would be inclined,

To answer prayers with the favors slanted

To those with nice bodies, pure souls and minds?

Touch the hem of his garment for a price

Or sell tickets to let the spirit in;

Would he pose as the perfect sacrifice?

Would he do anything to save his skin?

 

There would be no need for confession

He’d love us only if and only when

We blame others for indiscretions

And go cold turkey to curb our sin.

Free will eliminated or curtailed;

Abandons when there is an accuser;

A constant companion until we fail;

To not associate with a loser.

Would he charge for frequency and length of prayers;

Score the difficulty of each request.

Pledge to stay out of earthly affairs

Because after all, The Father knows best?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Ten commandments and sermons on the mount

Would be delivered if the speaker’s fee

Was high enough to take into account

The distance he traveled through the galaxy?

Copyright © 2008 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

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