Sunday, May 22, 2016

What are you growing?

It's rather amazing that 3 little packets of seeds can result in hundreds of plants. Each of those plants will have seeds that can yield hundreds of plants. And on and on. Just one seed can eventually create an entire forest if given a chance to grow and flourish.
It's a miraculous example of the circle of life. It's an example of how very small things can create enormous impact if they grow and flourish.
Everyday, often without purpose or great thought, we all plant seeds through our thoughts, words and deeds. We hope that our negative thoughts, words and deeds don't take hold and grow. We hope that our positive ones grow and flourish.
The negative ones are weeds that choke out the positive. It's important to realize that. Those weeds can take over our life and leave no room for the seeds we want to grow. We would not fertilize and water the weeds in the garden. We would fertilize and water the good plants and eliminate the weeds. We put our time and energy into what we want to grow in our garden. Get rid of the weeds early and it's not so hard to keep them from taking over. If we let them grow, we've got a tougher job to do.
We should give more thought to the types of seeds we are planting every day. Be focused on the reminders of how our seeds are growing. Reminders are all around us if we become aware.
Have you heard yourself say "I'll never forget what xxxx did?" It may be good or it may be bad. It's a seed that person planted and it grew with you. How many people did you tell how that person made you feel? The seed grew with you and you planted more seed from it. A forest grows just like that.
When someone takes time to tell you they appreciate and enjoy something you do, it's a reminder of a seed you planted with them. Be joyful in that reminder. Let that be a seed that grows your determination to tell someone else how you appreciate and enjoy them. That's how a forest grows.
Every once in a while, we do need to caution friends and neighbors about an invasive weed. We want to be cautious not to give it a kind of energy that could actually help it grow.
Over the course of time, you'll begin to notice there are fewer weeds as you grow the positive. You will attract positive people. You will experience positive growth. As you become more aware of the seeds you're planting, you will see that even the smallest, seemingly insignificant thoughts, words and deeds are growing something. Tend the seeds you want to grow.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Recently I watched a Ted Talk about how humans are different from other creatures. In the talk he said it's our ability to create - our imagination. We have created elaborate things - elaborate systems - intricate "realities".
Think about any major concern you have and ask yourself if your dog, cat or the bird outside your window cares a bit about it. Hmmm? Didn't Jesus say something about that?
It seems that 99.9% of the things we worry about, fight about, and consume our thinking are totally made up by us - human kind. Money, a "work week", political systems, religious theology, highway systems, technology - humans create it. If we don't like how they are working, we need to change the reality. At some point every one of the things I mentioned above came from an individual with an idea. They shared that idea and convinced people to join in.
So, if we don't like what is going on, we need to create something else that actually works. If you think you have the right answer, please don't hold out on us. I'm ready to get behind the next great idea. It's not out there or up there with people who are touting more of the same old thing. It's right here at our level. We are the creators. Let's get something done. Here. You. Me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If you think about it....

Change is hard. Even if we know the change is good, it's challenging. If we aren't convinced the change is good - if it requires that we step outside of our comfort zone and what we have previously believed to be true - it's very hard.
Often we fill the unknowns with dangerous outcomes. Those imagined dangerous outcomes can loom so large that we cannot accurately weigh the risks and the benefits. The thing we fear could happen is so big that it doesn't matter how small the possibility is or the historical facts regarding it ever happening. It might. It could. And that is enough.
Once that fear has taken hold, we don't care about another living soul. We don't care how our reaction to our fear may hurt another person. Realistic or not, we have entered survival mode. That's how phobias grow and freeze a person's ability to cope. We're seeing a lot of that in our country right now and it's freezing our ability to cope with the realities around us. The fears are so large that many are unable to grasp reality at all.
Yes, there are deadly spiders but spiders are not lining up at the border ready to take over the country.
The airplane you are boarding is likely much safer than the car you are driving.
Snipers are not hiding behind trees in your neighborhood.
Transgender people are not lurking in your bathroom waiting to hurt you.
Marriage equality is not going to be the cause of your divorce and it won't destroy your family unless you create cause.
Change is hard. Give yourself a little time to accurately assess the situation. Base your decisions on factual information and not imagination. Take a few steps to learn something new.
Yes there are spiders that are deadly. Yes, planes sometimes crash. Yes, there are snipers in the world. Who do you know that has been killed by a spider, been in a plane crash or been victim of a sniper? That might tell you something, if you think about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The "solution in search of a problem"

"A solution in search of a problem" is likely not a new line but caught my attention when it was delivered recently by Fox New's Chris Wallace.
When actions are taken to fight against a problem that doesn't exist, we have "a solution in search of a problem". ID laws are a very good example. These laws were proposed to prevent voter fraud, however, voter fraud is practically non-existent in the United States. When we follow what these laws actually did, we get to the real reason for their existence. It made voting more difficult and costly for anyone who does not have a driver's license. Poor, urban dwellers, minorities, and elderly women were the most affected. My own step-mother had to pay over $80 to obtain a series of documents to get her driver's license renewed in Florida due to these ID laws. Even though she already had a Florida driver's license, she had to obtain a copy of birth certificate. But she had been married twice. So, she needed her first marriage license to verify that name change. Then she needed her divorce documents to verify that change and then she needed the marriage license to show her last name change. In this case, the fraud is not at the feet of voter's, it's legislators creating a problem for a select group of people. Their goal was not elimination of non-existent voter fraud.
De-funding Planned Parenthood to stop abortions is another "solution in search of a problem". No government funding pays for abortions and hasn't in decades. The actual result of this is to decrease programs that help prevent un-wanted pregnancies and provide other health care for those in need. The actual intent of attacks against Planned Parenthood is to send women back to a time when they had no control over what happened to their own bodies. The laws passed to thwart the work of Planned Parenthood are another example of legislative fraud.
The most recent "solution in search of a problem" that Chris Wallace was referencing is the transgender bathroom laws. There have been no reported instances of a transgender person sexually assaulting anyone in a bathroom (or anywhere else that I've read about.) NONE. Recently a story floated around about a a guy who wore a dress so he could put cameras in a women's restroom in 2013. He wasn't transgender and likely these laws would not have helped prevent this. If you want to pick a population with a very high incidence of sexual deviance, you'd be better picking Catholic Priests than picking transgender people. The fact is, white males who identify as straight or celibate are the ones committing most sex crimes, not transgender people. The actual result of these laws is not about SOLVING a real problem, it's meant to create a problem and it's a backlash against LGBT people in general. For transgender people, the issue is life threatening for them, NOT us.
Most transgender women look and act like any other woman. Most transgender men look like most other men (but some behave much better than most men). It's actually a very ridiculous notion that someone is going to be enforcing these laws somehow. The purpose certainly isn't about a real problem, it can only be about creating one.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Look for Brilliance!

Quite often I feel like the luckiest person in the world because I'm surrounded by very incredible people. Today, I stopped what I was doing, walked into the other room and sat down. "I work with 4 geniuses." I thought and said something similar aloud. They laughed but I was not kidding.
And they are not the only geniuses in my life. I'm surrounded by them! Dozens of them!
Brilliance is all around us. All around us people are doing big things in big ways, big things in small ways, small things in big ways and small things in many ways. Brilliance! Excellence! They are engaged. We need to celebrate one another more.
This day - stop a moment and look around you. If you don't see something wonderful, you are either in the wrong place or not seeing something. Perhaps you are not engaged yourself. It's happening around you. Don't let it happen without you.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fighting Injustice

Sometimes we are filled with utter frustration as we witness injustice in the world. "This cannot - should not - continue!" We want a solution and we want it now. In fact, it should have been yesterday.
We turn our attention in the direction of someone who "should have" "could have" or we believe can solve the problem for us.
To understand, perhaps we should be asking ourselves what we could have done, should have done or can do. If we cannot answer that for ourselves, quite likely the ones we seek to solve the problem are struggling in the same way we are struggling.
In fact, sometimes we look to someone else to fix it because we feel we failed. When justice is not served, in fact, we all fail. All injustice is our battle too.
There are those who seem to be able to do greater things and overcome the impossible. Look a little deeper and you will see that they had many hands lifting them. They had many struggles and felt many frustrations and moments of doubt. They held the front line and faced the greater risk but they could not do it without others risking for them and with them.
When it comes to issues of injustice, many will turn a blind eye or take a neutral position in the wake of conflict. We cannot expect others to fight the battles for us if we cannot stand tall beside them. We need to know what we can contribute to the cause - "skin in the game".

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gender questions and the bathroom

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, I was a "tomboy". My mission was to run faster, climb higher, build bigger and jump my bike farther. Entering my teenage years, I didn't "grow out of it" and one day Dad asked why I didn't "act more like a girl." I wasn't interested in make up, dresses or high heels. In his question was the answer - I did not care to "act" based on anyone's definition of my gender role. I just wanted to act like me. I wanted to do what I could do and do the things that interested me.
Fortunately for me, I grew up in an era where many women were breaking free of gender roles and seeking their own identity.
I wanted to create my own identity. I simply wanted to be me. It wasn't easy and people often expressed their vision of gender identity. Breaking into broadcasting and video production at a time when few women were in the field, I heard "the broad in broadcasting does not stand for women." Twenty years ago as I lugged video equipment underground, the mining industry was just opening up to women and I was often the first woman to have ever entered certain mines. "It's considered unlucky to have a woman underground," I was told. So I ran faster, climbed higher, built bigger and jumped further.
There have been times of frustration wondering why I had to work harder just to prove myself worthy of being treated equally. At times it was challenging to avoid a sense of paranoia or developing a defeatist attitude. Add the dynamic of not identifying as a straight woman and the challenge grew even larger. Some would argue that I made my life difficult by refusing to conform. I thank my lucky stars, the divine, and my guiding angels that I never conformed to an "act". Through all my mistakes and misfortunes, I have been me - just me.
In 1972, during many study halls, I talked about life's frustrations including gender roles with an older student; a girl I most admired. She was smart, pretty and about to graduate so I thought she had the world by the tail. One day she said the most baffling thing; "I feel like I am a man trapped in a woman's body. I want to get a sex change." I thought she was perfect the way she was and I had never imagined wanting a different body. After she graduated I called her number - a number I had called and talked with her before - and they told me no one by that name lived there. I wish I knew what happened to her.
Not feeling right in the body you were born in - your gender - is difficult to understand for those of us who have not experienced it. It's not our experience. But I can readily identify with being expected to "act" like something other than what I know to be true for me. I know what it feels like to be condemned for refusing to conform to what makes others comfortable. I fully understand what lengths people will go to in their attempts to drive non-conformists to "act" as they may visualize one should "act". They will say it's just "not right", "sinful", and name every extreme fear they can name to try to put pressure enough to make you go away. And they will try to eliminate your ability to work, to live in certain places and to be part of an extended community.
Know this - once a person discovers that there is a path to be true to themselves, they will follow it. No amount of obstructionism will stop them. Truth - Truth - Truth - prevails. I won't wear heels. I don't wear dresses and I don't wear make up (though I may regret not knowing how to hide the wrinkles I'm noticing.)
Passing bathroom laws will not make Transgender people go away. Actually, we've been sharing bathrooms with Transgender people for years and didn't even know it. Why not? Because it's not an issue! I fully embrace my transgender friends right to use the bathroom that fits their identity. If that frightens you, please get to know a transgender person. Really, they have much bigger concerns to have to deal with than trying to figure out if they are safe to use a bathroom or not.