Sunday, April 27, 2014

How can anyone be "self made"?

How can it make sense for anyone to say their success is self made?
Even if they had lived on an island alone all their lives and were able to thrive, would they not be thankful for the gifts of the land? Would they not feel lucky that a storm had not destroyed them?
Here in the United States it seems we take a lot for granted. We benefit from the labor of millions of people every day and millions more who labored many years ago.
Consider all the things you have been given throughout your life? Consider all the things you have enjoyed? These things cost someone something.
Our parents gave us shelter, food and clothing. They took us places, bought ice cream and gifts. Start totaling that up and consider the bounty given - GIVEN!
In our lifetimes can we really pay enough taxes to pay for the education, the roads we drive on, the bridges we cross, the public parks, roadside rests, and countless other benefits of government or community? Not likely. It's our collective contributions that make these things possible.
It's the same for business. No one built a successful business alone. People worked for us, with us, encouraged us, and labored on our behalf. Anyone who has succeeded in business has benefited from someone else in some way. It was not accomplished alone on an island. If the business succeeds it's because everyone involved is giving more than their money's worth - they are contributing to the bottom line.
Yes some of us work a little harder or smarter or are luckier. But no one is self made. We need a lot more gratitude in this country. We need a lot more recognition of the importance of collective accomplishment. We need a lot less arrogance and a lot more appreciation.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time to enter the light...

All the major religions of the world are centered around texts that were written thousands of years ago - Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim, Hindu, Taoism. Isn't that odd?
Consider all the advances of the world's understanding of so many things - medicine, biology, chemistry, geology, medicine, astrology, oceanology, physiology, technology... Would you ever pick one book and say that is the end all - be all - authority on that subject? Of course not!
And yet, if you were raised in the tradition of any of the "religious" teachings above, you are prone to believe it is the ONLY correct teaching about spirituality. We have been led to believe that ONE and only ONE is the correct path. AND only what was known thousands of years ago is known and correct.
Consider what medical practices were 2000 years ago. Would you want your doctor to follow ONLY what was text book knowledge then?
Consider the world maps of 2000 years ago. Would you want to follow those today?
Have we learned nothing in 2000 or more years about spirituality? Should our focus be purely on reading those ancient texts and attempting to interpret them in a new way?
Would it not make more sense to find the core meaning of each and then seek new discovery?
Let's accept them for what they are - ancient history. We can learn from them but it's time to shed the old cocoon and emerge as butterflies. It's time to awaken from the spiritual darkness and find the light.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Good in the World

Last Saturday morning a group of strangers converged to do something - unexpected - unrehersed - without hesitation. They did not know what the outcome may be. It could have resulted in nightmares. It could have resulted in worse. But it did not.
While driving on route 8 just south of Union City, a jeep slid off the road, entered the field and rolled over on its side. It seems no one who converged on the scene actually saw it happen but the sight of that vehicle on its side with lights still on - a slippery road - caught our attention. Cars stopped. People came from the houses and a a chain of events unfolded.
911 people are so skillfully trained to obtain the needed information from a frantic caller.... something like this.
"there's been an accident"
911 "Where are you located?"
"On route 8 somewhere between Townville and Union City.... I mean Centerville."
911 "Are there injuries?"
"Donno - jeep on it's side"
"How many vehicles?"
911 "Any chemicals?"
A man climbed on the jeep and pulled open the door as another man stood alongside waiting. "Call 911 - there are children in here."
"No..... They are pulling driver out....there are children in the car....children...."
911 "Any injuries? Help is on the way...."
As the 911 operator continued to gather pertinent information - all were pulled safely from the car - shook up but ok. A dear woman opened her car to keep them warm and seconds later a responder arrived - likely a volunteer fire chief.
As quickly as the strangers had converged, they dispersed when trained help arrived.
In the days that have followed, I am flooded wth memories and thankfulness. People did not hesitate to help. We are gifted with trained responders. We are also gifted in some remarkable moments to see the heart of strangers.
Years of my life I observed the dedication of volunteer firefighters in these types of situations but most often as the one who watched them leave home to respond - My dad, uncle, brother in laws....
This day there were simply people who saw a need and stopped to help. I am thankful to have been witnesss. I am thankful all turned out well. I am thankful for all.