Friday, August 22, 2014

ID Laws

Here is how the new ID laws in Florida play out. It's supposedly intended to protect us from terrorists and the non-existent fraudulent voter problem. But the reality is that it creates a lot of unnecessary stress and costs people money.
Below is a description of the ID requirement for renewal of a driver license. www.dmvflorida.org/drivers-license-identification.shtml
So, a 79 year old woman from Pennsylvania goes to the Florida DMV to renew the license she has had in Florida for a decade. She has her birth certificate, her social security card and her expiring license.
Issue #1 - her birth certificate bears her maiden name. She needs a marriage certificate to explain the name change. But she has been married twice. Now she has to prove two name changes. She must provide both marriage certificates and a divorce or death certificate to explain the end of the first marriage. She has to call a registrar office in one county and a registrar office in another county along with a call to the prothonitary office. Each document costs $10. Cannot be faxed or emailed because they must bear the county seal.
Issue #2 - Her birth certificate is from the hospital and does not have a stamp. Another call. Another $10.
Already the renewal fee is rather high at $48 but turned into $88 to protect us from the potential 79 year old female terrorist or voter impersonator.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Color is Your Spirit?

Somehow spirit, spiritual and religion have gotten all jumble up and twisted into knots. Sometimes religion and spirit or spiritual seem to be at opposing ends of the spectrum.
Generally when we talk about someone "getting in the spirit" it's about connection, joy, unity and enthusiasm. We have team spirit when we cheer for our side. We get in the spirit of holiday gatherings when we happily celebrate together. Being "in the spirit" is an uplifting experience and a shared experience.
Shouldn't our spiritual experience be about connection, joy, unity and much greater than enthusiasm - pure awe? Is it not about our deepest spirit? Shouldn't our spiritual journey be about creating a healthy space within that is able to connect to all that is - including the all encompassing spirit that surrounds us all?

We all have a particular spirit about us. It's what people feel when they are near us. If you have ever spent time around native people of North America, you may notice that they seem to stare - perhaps not directly but a long stare in your direction - especially if they do not know you. They are looking for your spirit - tuning into to the deeper you.
It's said of some that they light up a room when they walk in. Others have a commanding presence. Some can bring calm into any situation. It's their spirit. They tap into an inner strength that emanates out into the room. Meanwhile, others are like wall flowers remaining nearly invisible.
What color would you associate with each of these examples of spirit?
What color is your spirit?
When a person is said to "light up a room" are they yellow or white? Is the commanding person more orange or even red? Is the calm person more blue? Is the wall flower simply a very dim color we cannot see? What color is a mean spirited person? What color is God? What color is religion? Is all religion the same color?
Imagine the spiritual color of those at work, in your family, in your community. Are they bright as the sun or dimly shaded? What color is your spirit?
A spiritual truth will shine bright and clear for all and it will bring brightness to all. Some religions don't teach that but rather encourage separation and a belief that light can be split so one person has light and the next has darkness. That is just darkness and damages the spirit of those believing it as much as those they believe it impacts those who must endure darkness. Doesn't the sun shine the same for us all? When we practice that kind of thinking, we feel it in our spirit as a burden. We display it in what we do and say. Those things we do and say shed darkness.
What color are the words you say? What color are the beliefs you hold? Are they bright for you and dark for someone else?
What color is your spirit? What color are the words, beliefs and actions you feed your spirit? What color is God?


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Very Good Place..A Very Good Time

Days pass so quickly. It seems we are always wishing for a day to never end or wishing for a day to come. In a blink, the day we are in is gone.
More often than not lately I've been thinking about how fondly I will remember these days. It won't be the things or events as much as the sharing of those things and events - the people in these moments of time. It's about sharing thoughts, dreams, and joys. The dreams and joys will grow larger and whatever concerns we face will grow smaller.
At the end of each day, as I close my eyes to sleep, I count the moments that mattered in the day. Sometimes it's a funny comment or kind gesture from someone. Sometimes it's the faces of the people I treasure. It may be a milestone or an accomplishment big or small.
Quite often I am reminded of the words of a friend when we were in a far away place with customs quite foreign. "We could have been born here," he said. I could have been born anywhere. How different life could have been. So many things could have been different. But I am here and here has turned out to be a very good place to be at a very good time to be right here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Behind the Curtain

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Remember when Toto revealed the Wizard of Oz and everyone could see he was just an old man with a big electronic toy box?
He was actually a very nice old man so why did he want to create an imposing persona?
A person's persona can grow from a perceived power or authority and a love of that position or title. We've all seen the police officer with the huge swagger who fondles his gun holster or nightstick constantly. Then there's the "Reverend" who prefers to always be addressed by his title and never his actual name.
We all have a bit of a need for recognition of some kind. Some more than others. It becomes a persona when we want everyone to view us through the filter of some crowning achievement. That crowning can become a persona that is a curtain through which no one should see the real person. When the real person does not match the persona, it's a problem.
The examples above are extreme but there can be much less obvious ones. It can be anything that we become "big headed" about. It could be a desire to be known as the expert of all experts on a subject. A persona can be attached to owning the biggest, grandest house or a particular business or being rich. It can even be attached to being a victim. If it becomes the filter through which all should view, there is an imbalance.
Crowning achievements can fade away or suddenly be stripped away. Who is left behind the curtain?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's in it for THEM?

"What's in it for me?" is not an unusual question. If someone is trying to sell an idea, sell a service, sell anything - we want to know what we get in return.
A successful business sells a product or service that someone wants and that person believes the product or service is better than the next person's product or service. As purchasers we need to believe it benefits us in some way that is a measure of the price we pay. It is our "return on investment" - value.
We love a vehicle that gets us from point A to point B every time and with the level of comfort we expect. We will pay a price for that at the level of our ability and expectations.
At the grocery store we decide if generic or brand name is the best value. Sometimes we pay more if we think it is worth more.
Value, incentive, and some benefit are all tied in somehow. All relationships are like that - business ore personal. They are not so far apart. Through our selection we drive changes in the way people do business. Through our selection we drive changes in the way people around us behave.
Perhaps we need to sometimes ask "What's in it for them?" What are WE offering the other person? Not just in business but in all aspects of our lives.
It's easy to get in ruts of expectation. We slack a little at work. We let our family take a little more on than we do. We ask people for things. What's in it for them? Am I adding value to all that I am part of in this world?
Am I giving my employer an honest days work - greater than the value of my pay?
Am I making life better for my family - greater than the value they hold alone?
Am I making life better for my friends - giving them more than I ask of them?
If we all seek to add greater value in all we do, we will make a better world. Instead of "what's in it for me, " ask "what's in it for them?"
The next time you ask someone for anything it may be interesting to consider this question. What answer would you want the other person to give - the person asking YOU for something.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Isolation?

What parts of your life would you like to have others comment about? What parts of your life do you feel are everyone's "business"?
We live in a society. We have neighbors. We have family. We are visible in many aspects of our lives. There really is nothing that is not somehow connected to something else. Nothing happens in a bubble. Nothing is totally isolated from everything else.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thank you - Why I write....

Often someone asks, "why do you write all that?"
The stories vary from what pets are doing - to community - to current events - to deeper thoughts. The best answer that I can give is that getting my thoughts in writing is kind of like satisfying an itch. It's there and I have to scratch it. The thoughts roll around in my head and I just have to write them down.
Within my blog domain lies many drafts that are never published. A thought comes but it doesn't seem quite complete or cohesive enough to share. Often I go back and fill it in or re-write or.... I'm curious that people do read it once it's posted. I'm curious to see what old posts capture someone's attention. But if no one reads them, I would still have to write. I cannot explain it. And I cannot dismiss the underlying sense that someone, somewhere, sometime, will think the words are meaningful. So, it is not for me alone - scratching an itch. Indeed, there is hope that someone may not feel alone in their questioning or their experience - whatever it might be.
Often I can write something easier than I can say it to someone. The words can be reviewed and changed as often as needed before sharing. That is comforting. Then once released, I must accept that someone may not understand - they many not agree - they may not like... I try not to let them go until I am ready to accept that agreement.
Now this blog is nearing 16,000 views. In the larger scale of the world, that is not too big. But I am a tiny little fish in a small pond. Why would people visit me this many times if I am not somewhat interesting? I am ok with those viewing and not agreeing. I thank you for giving me a few moments of the precious time we share. If I have only made you think and caused you to smile a bit, it matters to me. Because of you, I am not alone. And if you have found me, you are not alone.
Quite likely, I will scratch this itch as long as my days allow. Thank you for tagging along.