Wednesday, September 28, 2016

If you "light your hair on fire"....

There are many varieties of ways to tackle a problem. One that's been gaining a great deal of attention and momentum is the "light your hair on fire" or "let's destroy everything" approach. That's the approach that's popular when everything appears far too overwhelming to comprehend and deal with rationally. Just set it ablaze and destroy the whole thing.
The reasoning appears to be that total destruction is far better than working with what exists. Results may be immediate - huge impact - but then what? There's no vision beyond the destruction. There's no thought of what happens after the fire burns out. There's simply no rational reasoning behind the so called plan. After the blaze - after the exhilaration of the annihilation is over, what's left?
Critical thinking has evaporated. We've become a nation that's hungry to consume fast talk, reality TV, sensationalism that feeds a thirst for blood. We love blame and demonization. We elevate those who have gladiator qualities. We crave a knock out punch - a dramatic crash - a bone crushing collision of bodies. Our measure of success is encased in instant gratification. We want a magic pill, an energy rush, a winning lottery ticket. And if a problem seems too large - level the whole neighborhood around it.
Our problem is that we think in terms of days, months and years instead of decades and generations. "Rome was not built in a day" and it was not destroyed in a day either. Our national fiber is unraveling due to short sighted, "light your hair on fire", destructive thinking. We need to measure everything we do in terms of the outcome 10 years and twenty years from now.
Let's start asking for a 10 year plan. Let's start asking how this decision, today, will play out for the next 20 years. Let's stop thinking so small. Let's stop the destruction mindset and start building something.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Love can make all the difference....

There are wonderful people - bless them all - who will make every effort to save a dog or a cat without questioning for a moment if it's a good dog or a good cat. Without question or reservation about whether or not they may be bitten or scratched, they will intervene.
These people will stop by the roadside if they see a wandering furry one. They will selflessly spend endless day seeking a lost one. They forgive furry fear or aggression because they see a wounded soul. Experience, or perhaps simple belief in something more, have convinced them that their furry friends deserve a chance. Love can make all the difference.
They are right. Love can make in the difference.
Our furry friends who have learned to be fearful or aggressive, became so in the exactly the same way humans do. We can learn a great deal from that understanding. Love can make all the difference.
Wonderful people - bless them all - will make every effort to make a difference. If you can love a furry one regardless of risk of fear or aggression, how about one without fur?
Some are lost and wandering. Some are fearful and aggressive. It likely become that way in just the same manner. Love can make all the difference.

Friday, September 23, 2016

About Fear...

There's great joy in choosing to see every person for the gift they are - just seeing them for the wonderfully perfect and wonderfully imperfect. Quite often as I look carefully I realize that what seems to me, on the surface, to be imperfect actually has more to do with my own imperfection or weakness.
In seeking to focus on the gifts of each person, I've begun to develop greater patience and understanding. It's causing me to be more reflective about myself - to want to learn from everyone I meet - to be more at peace with those things they may do that I don't understand and may even dismiss as not so good. Now I look for something deeper - something more - and am slower to take things quite so personally.
Usually anger and fear go hand in hand. I believe that the most profound and most powerful words attributed to Jesus were the words "Fear Not". Fear is the source of anger. Fear is the source of hatred. Fear is the opposite of love. We cannot love and fear at the same time. Fear clouds our vision and will always derail us.
There is a voice within us and many loud voices cry out today that would say "But WAKE UP to reality. You MUST be afraid or you're stupid." The truth is that reality is what we create. Fear will derail you from creating anything that is not centered in fear. Love is fearless.
Watch those living in fear. Watch them. There will be a path of destruction. It is derisive. The fearful will write off the "stupid" ones, the "unworthy" ones, the "different" ones. Be very cautious about nurturing fear - no matter what direction it may be coming. It is the OPPOSITE of love and will derail you from seeing the many gifts right in front of you.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Magical

Something magical happens when you switch from being cynical, critical, angry, resentful and revengeful. Choosing mindfulness, forgiveness, love, thankfulness and kindness changes everything. It requires discipline. It takes practice. And life always throws up road blocks that can cause one to stumble. But the longer you practice, the more disciplined you become, the greater the rewards.
For me, this journey started about 6 years ago when I had what most people would agree was much to be cynical, critical, angry, resentful and revengeful about. It began with a conscience effort to focus on thankful things. That grew into thankfulness surrounding the very source of my anger, resentment and gave strength to letting go. I had to change how I thought first.
As I grew my thoughts of thankfulness, I began to speak about thankfulness. Then I began to see where I wanted to go - a better place. New road blocks came but they did not cause me to fall as hard or keep me down as long. Increasingly, positive people who have become beacons of great clarity have surrounded me.
Today if I speak negatively about something, or become critical of someone, it troubles me for days. And, yes, I do still fall into that kind of thought and speech. But now, it troubles me that I did. Even telling myself that what I said was true - that my criticism was sound - isn't enough. Because somehow deep in my soul, I know that it actually damages me. My criticism of another brings criticism of me. My negative speaking brings negativity on me. And I damage the person I am speaking to and damage the person with whom I am sharing the criticism. We reap what we sow. There is a better way to change the course. It is only - ONLY - through kindness and love. Walk without fear. Speak and act only out of love.
I will keep practicing this path because I see the rewards. I feel the magic. It is powerful and it is without question the greatest truth.
I will keep practicing. I will sometimes fail. I will be tested. But I'm loving this journey and know it's the legacy I want to leave. These are the seeds most worthy of planting. Hmmmm, I need to write a song about this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why are people so angry?

What America needs is a very clear and focused mission statement - an objective to achieve. We need our leaders to agree to it at all levels of society and we need to work to achieve it at all levels of our society. We can and should debate about how to best reach it, but there should be no question about where we want to go. Then we measure everything we do against that mission. That's how companies become great. That's how a country becomes great.
That mission should be tiered. We need to start with the basics. Once achieved, we up the mission. Don't understand why people are so angry? Look at the chart below.

http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

We will not have a healthy society until we focus our collective efforts on the basic needs of all people within our borders. As long as anyone in our society has unmet basic needs, we will have societal problems. In fact, as long as anyone on the planet has unmet basic needs, we will all feel the impact. The foundation of a healthy society lies here! We cannot insist that these basic needs are not OUR responsibility. Jesus said "what you do to the least of these, you do to me." We need to understand that what we do to the least healthy of our society of our world, we do to OURSELVES. It's common sense. When there are people in our communities whose physiological needs are not met, our own safety and security are at risk. People without food, water, warmth and rest become desperate and angry people. We cannot build fences and walls high enough to isolate ourselves from them. It's simply not sustainable.We need to stop talking about entitlement and start focusing on enlightenment! We cannot strip away resources that address the basic needs level of our society and expect to suddenly have a society of people who feel they belong. They are not going to feel "patriotic". They are going to feel left behind, angry and desperate.While a large segment of our population is focused on esteem needs, more and more pressure is placed on dysfunction surrounding safety and physiological levels. Solving this will require a 20 year plan - a full generation of concerted effort. We first have to meet the physiological needs by whatever means is required. Then we need to focus on efforts to sustain those needs. As it stands now, we need an entire cultural switch."Aw but we'll have more moochers than we already have." Study Maslow's hierarchy above. Study the basic theory. Once a person's basic needs are fulfilled, they want to move up. Once a person is no longer hungry, thirsty or insecure, we can help them understand the path to belonging, feeling accomplished and reaching full potential. It will take a full generation of concerted effort to change the course. Therein lies the challenge.We've become a society that wants instant reward, instant gratification, and instant results. We measure success in days, and months and rarely make plans that stretch further than 5 years. A child does not grow to adulthood in 5 years. Our society will not right itself in 5 years or even 10 years. Who do you know that is high on this hierarchy and rose from the bottom to the top in 5 years?There's no way to achieve societal actualization without moving the collective individuals within our boundaries up this chart. Whoever we leave behind will ultimately impact us all. We can't bully or bury or wall our way to a greater society. We have to love our way there!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Don't grow bitter! Grow BETTER!

We spend a great deal of our life in our work environment. That environment molds and shapes us. And in some ways, no matter what our role, we help mold and shape that environment. How it's shaping us and how we are shaping it are important things to consider. If, on both sides of the equation, the molding - shaping - collaboration - is appreciated, it's the right environment for us.
Sometimes it's simply not a good fit any more. Maybe we change. Maybe our environment changes. So, do you grow bitter? Or do you grow better? Do the latter! But realize that the changes that skewed the fit didn't happen overnight. The growing better won't happen overnight either.
It's really important to decide not to grow bitter but instead grow better. Bitterness will stunt growth. Bitterness is usually based in expectation that someone else do something. Most likely that someone else believes they are doing something that is better for them and their company. And it's likely that you feel disconnected because you are not able to contribute what you feel is better. Don't grow bitter. Go grow better.
If you're right - and you probably are - you won't fail. Plant the seeds today and watch them grow. Those seeds deserve your energy and you will be rewarded. Go do something better!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Love Prevails. Always!

As we think about people we know, love and respect - people we want to be around - people who leave us feeling good about ourselves and the world - there is an energy about them. Some would call that the person's aura or their presence. There is a vibe that resonates from them to us. We feel their energy. We can all think of individuals we keep a distance from because of their energy and those who draw us closer because of theirs. Most of us wish to be closer to those who give us hope, who express love and appreciation, and lift us up in some way.
As we join together in family, as friends, as community, the collective energy has it's own vibe. It has it's own resonance; a collective cultural norm. Individuals within that collective - friends, family or group - influence the whole in some way.  Stronger personalities can shift the whole in one direction or another. The overall resonance of the group depends upon the spectrum and influence of the most positive or most negative in the group. It will change drastically when the most positive or the most negative person no longer influences the group.
Collectives of people develop a cultural norm - an energy - a resonance. It's true on the family level. It's true in the club. It's true in the church. It's true in the town. It's true in the city. It's true in the nation. Everyone wants hope. Everyone wants to know love and respect. Everyone wants to be lifted up in some way. We need to be collectively pulling in that direction.
We need to set our goals - our collective goals - higher. We need to understand that collectively we can only be as good as our lowest common denominator. That will require an entirely different tone and energy. We need to be determined to lift one another up. We need to look the negative forces in the eye and simply say "this is not where we are going". We cannot cut them off. We have to help them find a way to follow. If our focus is love, respect and hope, they will. Love always prevails. Always!