just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness
June, 2009

Daily Prayer

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009



Good morning, good night.

Good morning, good night.




Dear Heart, from which the Divine Arises


We acknowledge the precious Nature of the Divine, in all of its manifestations

In full appreciation to the power of Divine intention

We pause in wonder at the gifts of the moment…this daily bread of opportunity to participate…to belong…to breath in recognizing we’re alive…to breath out in full smile for this gift and our responsibility to contribute to the health and care of this life, individually, within the family and throughout the community.

Heart is filled with happiness as our gratitude grows for this gift of opportunity

Within our acceptance of impermanence we find capacity to ‘let go’ attachment to negative thinking as we learn to forgive others as we would have them forgive us

With our ‘arrival’ to deep understanding and love we find the discipline, courage and power to live mindfully…beyond temptation to destroy, to violence and ingestion of those substances and actions that are toxic in nature.  We take great care to live life in wonder, nurturing the positive seeds of happiness, hope, love, peace and harmony as we participate in the healing of the universe in honor to the Divine, clearly listening to the voice of the Heart in our pursuit to live deeply for great enjoyment in responsibility to others….beyond notions of birth and death, being and non-being, right and wrong, existence and nonexistence.  Breathing in we silently scream “yes” in affirmation to life.  Breathing out we silently say “thank you” for this gift.  Amen.  12/01/03

The Way We Come to Know Things

Monday, June 15th, 2009









We enter the mystery of life, and spend a great deal of time attempting to make sense from our universe.  With this in mind, it can be helpful to distinguish our beliefs, our faith, and what we accept through consensus learning.  We try to organize our world through language and just how we structure our thoughts can have a very profound effect on our relationship with others and our universe.  This is why ancient Toltec wisdom suggests we be impeccable with our words.  Brother David Steindl Rast suggests we go through the following exercise before we speak:  a. What do I mean?, b. How do I know (suggesting that if it’s not through direct experience, keep silent), and c. Even when it is knowing from direct experience, so what?  Such honest appraisal of our expression brings us to a humility and openness seldom found, but so deeply craved for in our ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’ knowing universe.  Greg Braden speaks to this in his book The Spontaneous Healing of Belief.  He sites a runner who’s had direct successful experience in completing several marathons.  When asked if he believes he can do it again, he replies, “I believe I can do this”.  It’s based on his past experience.  Yet, what happens when the questioner adds new information, saying it’ll be run at 14,000’?  The belief weakens with the introduction of uncertainty outside of past experience.  While he doesn’t have direct experience with this, he still may have faith that he can do it.  His assumptions and possibly second hand information and inference from others may strengthen his faith.  He could sample run at 14,000’ and add some objective information that would strengthen or weaken his faith.  Yet, his belief can’t be fully substantiated until he actually runs the entire race at that elevation.


This dilemma is perhaps most evident in our various global faiths about what happens when we die.  There’s simply no scientifically documented account from a human who left their body for several days and then came back to tell us what happens.  Each religion carries myth and ritual and various traditions feed the faith of their followers.  The belief in ‘knowing’ what happens when we leave our bodies is not based on direct experience.   It’s based on faith in second hand information.  It’s not based on common consensus from documented scientific study.  This brings us to one of life’s most perplexing issues.  How do we determine truth in matters of deep mystery?  Over the centuries, those wielding the most power dictated societal ‘truth’.  Whether accurate or not, the person in the most powerful office could simply command authority of belief over those subjected under him/her.  This parental attitude of “Because I say so” seems to be dramatically challenged in this day of rapid change.  It begs us to all examine the nature of authority and decision making.


The Program for a New American Century played a huge influence in the Bush administration’s belief that it had world dominant authority to take offensive actions against other nations.  It forces us to examine where authority to intervene in another nation’s affairs comes from, particularly when it’s from a preemptive attitude rather than from a retaliatory position.  America intervened with a belief about what’s best for government in the Middle East. It did so without the consensus belief from other nations. Today, as we face governments that appear intent on gaining power through means of threat, we come to question the alternative to the Bush doctrine of force without consensus from the global community.  


We’re also at pivotal points in consensus belief in key issues dealing with personal freedoms.  Exactly when does the soul/personality enter the human form?  Just as we’re learning more and more about what happens when form leaves, we’re also learning more and more about how soul comes into form.  These insights from quantum physics have more congruency to ancient spiritual wisdom and conflict dramatically with the old dualistic paradigm and authority dictated from various religious organizations.  Issues of abortion, gay rights, capital punishment, preemptive war, and gun control, etc., continue to draw billions of dollars from various church and political organizations attempting to sway community consensus on these issues of belief.  Real attempts to steward the health of a nation are often sidetracked by these issues of belief and the emotive fights that ensue around them.


Society’s greatest challenge is to hold peace in these areas of uncertainty, as consensus assigns authority, yet holds an open mind to ever changing information and conditions.  As we look at the harm done from holding beliefs of bias against race, gender and religion, we can see the dramatic evolution in changing mindsets with an accelerated change in landscape.  The dominant consensus for authority in the executive branch of government was to give authority to a man of color, intelligence, and apparent sincere desire to collaborate.  This is a tremendous shift in orientation from the forceful Bush approach of “Because I say so”.  There’s willingness to open to participation from others.  There’s recognition that our global community is changing at a pace never before experienced and creative input from all corners will be invited.


Are we finally coming to a shift in how we determine our acceptance of belief?  Can we move beyond antiquated notions that things don’t change?  Can we accept the scientific facts of entropy…that energy disperses?  Can we recognize the now scientifically documented belief that everything is connected, everything affecting everything?  Can we finally move to that space where we once again touch the commands of all ancient spiritual traditions…the command to act with others with the knowledge that we are each other?  Can we move beyond forceful authoritative stances of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and start dedicating our resources to exploring deeper questions?  In effect, can we move from persuasive monologue to open listening and dialog?  Can we move from our strategies of cleverness from the mind to actions from the heart?


It’s my contention that when we openly move to actions from the heart we touch divine authority.  When we can surrender our beliefs and fixed notions of ‘knowing’ to the deeper collaborative circle, God provides the healing response.


Peace is an ongoing practice.  My fixed notions of belief jeopardize peace.  Whenever I stand in judgment of another’s sense of ‘knowing’ I jeopardize peace.  In practice, my most responsible approach to peace may be to simply question my perceived adversary with the question of, “So where do you find the authority of your belief?”  This may then be followed with, “So where do you find the authority to command that I believe what you believe?”  In matters that are not solidly founded in scientific research, the only response may be to defer to the laws of the land as voted upon by the people.  In dictatorships, the people have this freedom taken from them.  At this point a higher global authority needs to be invited in.  And so we struggle with our Rowanda’s, Serbia’s, Darfur’s, Sri Lanka’s, and Burmas.


I’ve personally had years of conflict with adversaries holding different beliefs about our agreements.  They employ tactics of anger, intimidation and threat to encourage acceptance of their belief system.  My most successful response is to non-emotionally hold to the question of authority.  Simply put, “From where do you find your authority to make the demands you do?”


It’s like they say the sky is red.  I see the sky as green.  Our judicial system is set so we all spend thousands of dollars trying to persuade an ‘authority’ that the sky is indeed red or green.  The authority (judge, arbitrator, or jury) then is vested with power to determine the color of the sky.  They have authority to rule from their ‘belief’.  The sky may be blue, however, given the persuasive arguments presented, we have agreed to live by their ruling that the sky is red or green.  Some of life’s greatest pain comes from our later discovery that the sky is indeed blue, even though we live under the belief that it’s red or green.  Certainly, there was a long period of transition before people accepted the notion of a round earth.  Unfortunately, in most legal disputes, we’ll never have the absolute evidence that documents the blue sky.  Without DNA, accurate video recordings of events, etc., we’re asked to rely on the plastic, inaccurate memories of the parties in dispute.  The more we learn of our limitations of memory, the more we discover the lunacy of accepting eye witness reports as factual evidence to be used as sole evidence against another.


It’s a low level vibration that claims truth from the dictum of “Because I say so”.  At higher levels of vibration, we speak of our direct experience (knowing) from the heart.  We listen without judgment, with curiosity to further explore the unknown.  We carry faith that a richer answer will be provided from a deeper collaborative question.  We recognize the pitfalls in taking things personally, in feeding ego’s desire to fixate on an answer, and we drive in deeper courage to face life’s uncertainty.  We recognize the responsibility we have to participate, to show up and pay attention, to do our best to collaborate, and to be at peace in knowing the result is always surprise.


In summary, our deepest gratitude can come from flexibility in our belief system.  Our greatest courage comes from our deepest humility, in forever holding curiosity to another’s sense of knowing and not knowing.  A life dedicated to power accumulation, persuasion, and dominion over the freedoms of others may ultimately turn out to be the most constricting prison imaginable.

Allowing Conscientious Objection

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It seems so much of relational life is trying to work the balance of giving and receiving power/authority.  We can see the lack of effectiveness in solving problems from force.  Whether in government, church, or family, most pain comes from one party trying to convince another party that it is ‘right’.  We meet one another with a mental set of ‘knowing’  what’s best.  Tremendous energy and effort is spent in persuasive attempts to convince the other to agree with their opponent’s position.  Yet, as we see in nature’s law, the harder we push the more resistance we create.  Create a force and up comes an equal or opposite force to push back.  This approach is antiquated, hasn’t worked for years, and we now risk our future in our stubborn refusal to evolve to higher levels of collaboration and cooperation.


We know it works when two opposing parties can empty their bias to hear one another’s point of view.  The science of active listening and dialog has come a long way in the past few years, yet we continue with most of our business, government, church and family relations moving from persuasive monolog or game playing to one party’s advantage and another’s disadvantage.  The weak and the unconscious simply bow to the more powerful authority without question.  The strong and the conscious mind will always courageously hold open the door to dialog in respect to the requirements of collaboration.  There’s faith and trust in putting all party’s concerns in the middle to see how a better answer is given when opinion, bias, and belief is surrendered in sincere desire to determine what’s best for all with harm to none.


Tremendous pain and damage can result when we resolve to engage the persuasive process.  When we can’t or won’t step from our notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ we’re caught in the soup of conflict.  Noam Chomsky has written that violence and discord underlies all attempts to persuade, to change another.  The peace practice requires we empty our minds to hear one another outside judgment, that we respond without rehearsal from the heart’s response, and we recognize in some way we are each other.  Former Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara, came to this wisdom many, many years after his term of service.  In his movie The Fog of War he lays out his ten most important lessons in resolving conflict.  His first and most important insight was to empathize with the enemy.  He basically admits the entire conflict that cost 58,000 American lives was based on false premise that could have been discovered early by actively engaging the dialog process.  Clearly, this happened again with Iraq.  Unfortunately, in both instances tremendous persuasive power was put to a weak congress, an uninformed public and a conflict driven media.


The time has come.  We can no longer try to solve 21st century problems with 20th century communication models.  It simply doesn’t work to devote that vast majority of our wealth to militaristic efforts to control others.  It’s now time to sit in circle, adult to adult, to go deeper into the question of, “What do you really, really want?”  Rather than centering upon argument, negotiation and difference, can we shift to a focus on common sense for the common good, for the very survival of the planet and future generations?

Be (subject) vs. Do (subject/object) Contrasts

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

While it’s often dangerous to simplify contrasts to a binary view, nature seems to work this way.  The way we approach life can often be broken down to one of “subject” or one of “subject vs. object”.  This is central to the delineation Just Be It makes between directing our actions from heart’s ‘being’ in contrast to mind’s ‘doing’.  Some of the delineations are listed below:



Here, now, interconnected Not here, before or after, separated
Healed, sense of wholeness Dis-eased, fear
At peace with Being Restless to Do
Largest sense of belonging without surrender of identity from smaller group’s belonging In fear that the smaller group will be threatened from differences
Embraces change and uncertainty with equanimity Attempts to stop change with forceful methods
Values authority demonstrated through deep listening and understanding Values authority demonstrated through strong belief systems and judgment
Values Laws of Nature as demonstrated through ever evolving laws of science and integration with ancient spiritual wisdom Values cognitive belief systems passed down through second hand information
Listens to understand Speaks to persuade, refusing to openly listen
Dialog Debate and argument
Collaborative Persuasive
Love/gratitude/ joy base Fear/scarcity/anxiety base
Healing and stewardship approach to health Prevention and cure approach

Mission Statement

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Just Be It, Inc., is an organization dedicated to participation in the healing of the planet through increased awareness to the power of “presence in the moment” and happiness as consequence for recognition of the gift of “belonging”.   All ‘practice’ comes from awareness to life’s affirmation with each breath in, followed with ‘thank you’ and consequent joy for each breath out.

Just Be It, Inc., functions from a perspective of nourishing the body, mind, and spirit to greater potential performance in participatory action to a more peaceful planet.  Upon ‘arrival’ to the moment, in gratitude for the opportunity to participate, Just Be It, Inc., points actions beyond notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, in recognition to the divine wisdom located within the hearts of all creatures, in recognition to the “non-duality” of the universe.

Current Project Focuses

A. Mindfulness Retreat Center: In recognition of the need for ‘space’ to nourish oneself to renewed freshness and clarity, Just Be It Retreats provide programs of practice aimed at more mindful living.  Through scheduled daily periods of mindful breathing, walking, meditation, eating, writing, speech and listening, and body sport activity, participants ‘stretch’ into deeper levels of life action aimed primarily to those activities the heart draws one to.  The participant’s decision to ‘make space’ for listening to the heart with clear intention to nourish the body, mind and spirit contributes to more sound life intention and solid direction in where one’s attention must go.  While these retreats deal with ‘spirit’, they are nonsectarian and they serve to deepen one’s understanding of any particular religious background.

B. Horns For Healing: In recognition that our response to this gift of ‘belonging’ must aim toward global peace, Horns For Peace is dedicated to ‘sounding the horn’ daily with intention to ‘conflict resolution’ and our full ‘arrival’ to peace.  In a time of increasing violence, where it’s more difficult to hear the dove’s cry, we come to recognize the need for increased volume in our ‘pleas to peace’.  Horns for Peace will contribute a conch shell to those classes willing to commit to ‘sounding the horn for peace’ each day.  Particularly in times of apparent growing conflict, we must hold our optimism by ‘seeing peace’.  This is best done through ‘toning’ since the more delicate sounds of the dove and bell seem to be lost in ever increasing distraction.  The ‘volume’ aiming to peace must be turned up if we’re to evolve from our adolescent methods to solving conflict.

C. Teaching “Thank You” As Source of Happiness:  Just Be It, Inc., will work to further understanding of the power of gratitude in one’s arrival to personal peace and happiness.  Currently, there is no apparent research directed to the importance of teaching children the use of ‘thank you’ as a source of ‘their’ happiness. The use of ‘thank you’ beyond mere etiquette function carries great power to heal the planet.  Educational programs will be created and research in this area will be supported to clearly show the improved sense of well-being found through an attitude of gratitude.

D. Consulting:  Success in life and business is becoming increasingly more dependent upon finding peace in these times of accelerating change.  Randy Johnson is available for consulting and speaking engagements for all organizations looking to increase awareness to ‘quality’ performance.  Johnson has directed speech and language clinics in the Canada and the US, taught Interpersonal Communication at Valparaiso University, and successfully founded and headed up one of the largest boardsports companies in the country, now in existence for more than twenty years.  Johnson’s main area of interest is in conflict resolution, creating genuine customer and employee loyalty through gratitude, and enhanced performance through mindfulness training.

E. Educational Materials and Events:  Just Be It, Inc., is dedicated to the acquisition and assembly of insight wisdom harvested from music, writing and speech.  In a time where it seems too few take the time to pause in reflection to ‘what works’, Just Be It, Inc., will aim to contribute to the collection and preservation of these insights for continued movement to humanity’s nourishment to peace.

F. Just Be It Apparel: Throughout the course of history we’ve used clothing to demonstrate our interests and ‘level of knowing’.  Those following a lifetime of spiritual pursuit wear a particular dress that tells others of their ‘practice’, whether it’s a monk’s robe or a nun’s way of dress.  Practitioners of the martial arts communicate their level of skill through the color of their belt.  The purpose of ‘Just Be It’ apparel is to serve as a means to communicate this mutual level of deep knowing in a particular area of interest.  It’s a way for one human being to communicate to another that their depth of knowing within this particular area has resulted in experiences beyond boundaries, experiences that have touched the divine.  It’s an invitation to others within this ‘community of mutual interest’ to initiate dialogue.   It’s a statement to others of our commitment to ‘heart’s pull’ within this area of intention and attention where understanding grows deeper day by day.  It’s clothing that designates deep commitment and discipline, in honor to a particular area of interest.

G. A Study of Language. How we ‘language’ our world determines our approach to life.  Do we language through love or fear, connection or separation?  How do we language our notions of time and space?  Do we language to close learning with answers or deepen our knowledge through pushing the question further?  After journaling for many years, Johnson discovered a key language element that facilitated ‘presence’.  Much of the writing could be condensed down to three words…just be it.  If we could just connect the authority of our heart with our ‘doing’ we could align with our true nature.  Johnson hopes to ‘deepen’ the Nike ‘Just Do It’ campaign to an ‘awakening to our doing’ in peace with the divine authority of the heart.  Moving from the separation caused through language of the head brain to connection of all through the heart brain, we stand in ‘wonder’ at the level of performance.  At this level, outside the boundaries created through language, we find the space to ‘touch the rhythm and harmony of the universe’ like never before.  The combination of Johnson’s study of language, sport and music with the practice of Zen Buddhism has given him a keen insight to the thoughts we continually allow to impact our living.  Johnson is currently assembling years of writing in his upcoming book entitled Just Be It…Waking Up to What We Do.

H. Circle Process.  Johnson has collaborated with several approaches to the ancient format of circle process.  Intrigued with the dialog process and deeper listening, this format of moving from shallow to deeper conversation has provided a safe container to explore a greater awareness of topics of interest.  While the conversational agreements may vary a little, they generally involve the following elements as laid out by Conversational Cafe (www.conversationcafe.org)

Open-mindedness: listen to and respect all points of view

Acceptance: suspend judgment as best you can

Curiosity: seek to understand rather than persuade

Discovery: question old assumptions, look for new insights

Sincerity: speak for yourself about what has personal heart and meaning

Brevity: go for honesty and depth, but don’t go on and on

I. Health Care Freedom.  The old paradigm of ‘disease care’ simply doesn’t seem to work anymore.  A true ‘health care’ system will place the majority of its resource on working the population to healthy living.  This necessarily requires a dedicated ‘practice’ aiming to honor body/mind/spirit in the ‘wonder’ of all that goes right.  Johnson sees this ‘health care’ provided to all and looks forward to the day that we can reduce the billions of dollars spent during the last months of one’s life in exchange to educating one another to the benefits of mindful living.  Johnson believes this move to mindful living can occur when we truly accept the fact that we are only temporarily housed in these bodies rather than functioning from actions of harm to a body we ‘deceive ourselves into believing will last forever’.  This project works to strengthen the power of integrative medicine, education to the power of regular exercise, mindful consumption, meditation and community participation.  Having faced a terminal illness with his son and serious health deterioration with his father, Johnson is available to listen to others who may be facing these difficult experiences as they, too, travel into a land of deeper questions.

J. The Blues as Language to Peace. A truth of life is the knowledge that once we receive we ‘know’ the loss of what’s been given is inevitable since nothing is permanent.  On the flip side, those who’ve experienced these losses discover their healing through eventually finding the gift in what has changed. Etta James has capsulated life into ‘Life, Love and the Blues’, capturing blues as a language that helps us move from the pain of lost love.  Otis Spann has referred to the Blues, as ‘a doctor’ that sometimes heals, sometimes doesn’t, but its aim is to help one move through the pain of life.  For over thirty years Randy Johnson has developed his taste, appreciation and expression of the Blues through trumpet, vocals and harmonica and is always ready to participate in the party this great musical form creates as performer and audience meet as one in the glory of the human condition. The Blues is a very deep language of the heart that processes us through the deepest of wounds. Affiliated in Minnesota with the blues band, Ride, Johnson also performs solo for special occasions, from weddings and anniversaries, to funerals.

K. Multimedia Presentation. While nothing is permanent, do you really want to risk losing the photo images you now have on paper?  Randy’s father frequently reviewed a DVD that’s compiled a lifetime of photos.  While a rare form of dementia robbed his father of recent memory, the images of days gone by helped him maintain an appreciation of his full life spectrum.  Simply assemble the photos and video clips you’d like digitized in a movie format and Johnson can create a DVD you can share with friends and family.  During the recent series of natural disasters one of the more painful experiences was watching families crying over destroyed photo albums.  Whether for a special family gathering, a relative suffering memory loss, transferring your photos to a web page for all to see, or just the security of capturing your images before they fade on paper, digitizing makes sense.

The Fractal…Like Energy Clustering

Sunday, June 7th, 2009


A friend recently reported a strong unexpected physical reaction to the departure of student and fellow practitioner of a particular school of yoga.  Given the Law of Attraction, stating that which we give attention to grows stronger, it’s little wonder we feel a sense of loss when another’s energy diminishes through lack of physical presence.  Just as cells in the embryo cluster before they go off to make hands, feet, heart, lungs, etc., all life seems attracted to the similar, where the texture of life duplicates.  It seems that our ease in life is largely impacted by those we surround ourselves with.  As those with passions similar to ours nurture our spirits and deepen our passions, they also contribute to a felt pain and potential fear of entropy as we let them go.


We can see this in the inanimate world as well.  It’s more difficult to be a meadow on a mountain top than on the plains.  It’s more difficult to live as a wave in a pond than in an ocean.  It’s more challenging to be a mountain on its own (volcano) than one in a full mountain range.  With humans, we can see it’s more difficult to practice the laws of common sense when surrounded by extremists, more difficult to live in peace when surrounded by violence.  If you want your children to be close minded, steeped in a strong belief system, surround your children with closed minded people steeped in strong belief systems.  If you want your children open to receive new experience, surround them with people open to receive new experiences.  If you want children of fear, surround them with people of fear.  If you want courageous children, surround them with courageous people.  If you want to be angry, surround yourself with angry people, listen to angry radio and music, and watch angry TV.  If you want to appreciate the value in seeing the big through the small, be around people who appreciate seeing the big in the small.  If you want to erode your character and talents, be around those who erode their character and talents.  If you want to be sick, be around those who whine about their injury or sickness.  If you want to be strong, be around the strongest people who are able to be the hope and healing for those in suffering.


When looking at nature and fractals, with all the unique communities, can we see what we want to be around?  Is it a community that celebrates life, lives without fear in stewardship to the earth, one another, future generations, etc., in full joy and wonder for the mystery?  Do we want to be around awake people or those going to sleep?  The amount of joy or suffering we experience through life can very much be related to the energy we hang with.