Farewell (For Now) Dr. Omer Avci

Omer flower (friend (fr nd). n. 1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts you. 2. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle …(3) “a person who’ll do things for you when it’s of inconvenience to them” (Rod Davis).

I have developed a term that signifies my conceptualization of friendship: Uncomfortable Sacrifice. This is just one tenet of friendship, however, I have found it to be the soundest tool to measure how it works. As such, camaraderie is risking your personal comfort zone for another. I’m not talking about fake charity. Keep the transparent, “I know you could do it” or the proverbial ‘tough love’ b.s. to yourself. These and other statements need works to mean anything of value at least in friendship.  With that said, I have a short list of friends.

Omer Avci is a friend. I met him a few years ago when I joined the College Learning Enhancement Program (CLEP) as a reading instructor at Northern Illinois University (NIU). I sat in on his classes as I was trying to see how not to screw up my students. I modeled my early teaching after him and Dr. Armstrong. Unfortunately and fortunately, this past spring he completed his doctorate degree and is heading back with his family to his home country (Turkey) after eight years in the U.S. By the way, without Omer’s support and others my comp exam could have been harder.

Omer always had time, always. He never passed me on to someone else, not once. This cat defended his dissertation while helping me with my comp exam. My friend Rod Davis is like that and so am I. If you’re our friend, we will not let you down, not once. We’ll give to you and forgo our own agency under many circumstances. Omer did the same with no excuses, no b.s. he just said…What do you need?”

I will miss him dearly…

My friend, Dr. Omer Avci

The Invisible Dragon

Book Review: Greatest Salesman in the World

Note:  I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at.  My friends and I share and read books.  We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon.  Such a book is below.

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Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology.  This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.

In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”.  This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay.  Spoiler Alert!!!   Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.

Hafld:  Teach Me

The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.

The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization.  Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.

The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.

My Take:

Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.

In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”

Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.

Three Dragons… Recommended for purchase…
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Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success

purple dragon

The Invisible Dragon

You Do Not Know What’s Best for Others

492073189_eff60d3b1a_m “If only you shut up and listen to me” or “I’ll be quiet, why you destroy your life.” Regardless of the syntax, these statements wreak egotism. In fact, they often appear as helpful proposals but cloaked in the almighty ego of “I know what’s best for you”, they are self-centered wrappings of pride and fear. As a result, a difficult narcissus mental tool to surrender is the belief, “We know what’s best for others.” Without question, untold relationships have dissolved under this false notion.

Do you know the ego instructs the mind to “Know All?” Often, for some, we follow the ego’s instructions as we collect life’s memories. In the closely held materials reside accomplishments, adverse situations, hard knocks, triumphs and defeats. We however, unintentionally, become entrenched with a false sense authority; in fact, we become bloated with the false perception of all-encompassing wisdom.

In other words, we now know what is best for others and ourselves because of our memories. As such, we become possess with “Special Talents of Foreseeing the Future.” It may sound absurd but let us ‘chop it up’ like my friend Clarence would say.

Once a___Always____

For example, “Only an addict can talk to an addict about life changes.” Alternatively, “the religious person who formerly was astray can now help one change their lives.” In addition, the adult knows what is best for the child or the teacher is the master to the student.  These are all monomers.  They are all false assumptions of wisdom.

Nevertheless, all these noble assumptions and likewise appear genuine, nevertheless, these self-absorbed beliefs may lead to absolutism. Also, above all else, these arrogant beliefs blanket all people alike and once categorized the people are easily demonized if they refuse to listen to the “Special Person”, or the one “Who knows what’s best for them.” 1411577622_039cca041b

For instance, we may demonized husbands, wives, co-workers and friends when they refuse our counsel, in fact, the closer the relations, the more intense the feeling of dissent may become.

We literally hate, yes hate, when love ones refuse our counsels and predictions. As a result, we may condemn them to a life of sadness and despair; in addition, subconsciously desiring God to prove us right by bringing his wrath on the person.

“Hit Rock Bottom”

In fact, we call it, “rock bottom,” this not only indicate we’re right, but that God supports our beliefs of “We know what’s best.” Let us not deceive ourselves, the egotistical mind will defend those beliefs of being right till death. Countless relationships snap under such duress each day.  Sadly, some would rather be right, than to accept and surrender the egotistical thought of fortune-telling.

However, what is it we should accept and surrender too? Simple, we do not know what is best for anyone and we cannot predict his or her outcome. Regardless of our relations, titles, abilities, and accomplishments we lack the ability to see the final outcome.

Moreover, to make it more clear, the drug addict and convicted felon today becomes a writer and scholar tomorrow and who shall deny God’s proclamation. On the flip side, if you want to help someone, quiet your egotistical mind and self-righteous mouth and get to work on yourself.  Because, remarkably, the so-call righteous “Know-it-All” person today is the addict and felon tomorrow, now who would have predicted that?

The Invisible Dragon


Is Being Truly Grateful Achievable?

the-path-to-spirituality I have no clue what gratitude inspires in us. Does it help one become more self-empowered or instead, hoard their supplies. Do accomplishments or dreadful experiences determine our volume of appreciativeness? Why are we thankful? Moreover, what are we indebted to and what motivates us to examine ourselves when we are not?

Unfortunately, yesterday, my wife and I received a call our oldest son (Aaron) was hospitalized with a collapsed lung. In particular, this kind of news immediately translates the assurance of mortality to its listeners. As such, my wife and I being humans were not immune to this stark realization. Seemly, however, my wife appeared more concerned than I did. Subsequently, her face visible with unease drew my attention and an assessment. In other words, I did not get her initial conclusion to go to Chicago and visit him immediately. I did not get it.

That’s what my life is about now. When we get free, when our minds are clear, all it leaves is gratitude and how can I help?”~ Byron Katie Quote

Your Son’s In Danger

Nevertheless, she explained love was the motivating factor of her worries and not fears. As a result, I became concern then with my lack of concern, was I insensitive? Worse, was I out of touch with her feelings; what cues did I miss; however, we will table that for a later date. In this case, my calm seemed to illuminate gratefulness more so than non-concern. Namely, my past is littered with early deaths (i.e., Father, grandmother, and mother) and so maybe I am numb to life’s realities. On the other hand, my two-decade battle with clinical depression may have enlightened me to being mindful. Who knows, however, this is for sure, I react different, as a result, I never panic or think the worse when bad news arrives.Spirituality-What-a-Concept

I believe however, the reason for my calm is what I went through in life; it made me. I do not become terrorized or immobile because I know what is important. In particular, the little things taken for granted, (i.e., walks, quietness, solitary, tranquility) strengthen my gratefulness for the moment, the present. When we think about lost, as surely as I think my wife did, we think missed opportunities. As a result, our mind begins to play this continuous loop of ‘what we wished we had done’ or what we wanted to say to them.

All Talk N0 Action

Unfortunately, becoming and remaining truly grateful normally is thrust upon us by circumstances similar to ours; where situations are out of our control and threatening to take something away (i.e., life, health, material items). When this occurs, we may plead relentlessly for resolve. Nevertheless, if prays become fruition not soon after some are back to the human race in days. Again worshipping the God of circumstances, hoping she does not greet us again in the near future. The busy lives we treasure can become negative bowls of thoughts looking behind and ahead. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.~ Henry Ward Beecher Sadly, we are always looking for more in the physically world and we cannot find peace because of this unquenchable thirst.

To examine one’s gratefulness one need to be in the moment. Subsequently, being present and mindful ceases the insatiable appetite for worldly pleasures. We desire nice walks, instead of countless hours to achieve more money, to buy more things. A good sign of an appreciative person is their ability to sit and actually listen to other people.  They make one feel appreciated and that your time is valuable.  On the other hand, we  know individuals that are always busy, running like a track star, in the never-satisfied races.

The moment is all you ever will possess on earth, the past and future does not exist. Gratefulness occurs when one experiences this higher consciousness, when we take advantage of the important things in life. Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”~ Oprah Winfrey

You have a lot of love inside, be grateful, slow down and nurture it like a fine garden.

The Invisible Dragon


We are living a bad dream…

Dragon’s Daily Fireball


Imagine yourself immersed in a dream.  A scary mental projection that appears all too real.  Unable to awake, you moan and complain about this dream state referred to as, ‘Life.” 

You react to its rapid plot-changing action with deep-emotions.  You cry, laugh, and experience mental exasperation.  The climax is always the same, pain and fear.

When we are slaves to this imagination, our dream (Life) appear as reality.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Nothing conceivable is real.  Our memory is a manufacturer of surrealism.

Break away from its bondage and witness your true existence.

The Invisible Dragon