Monday, October 31, 2016

The darkest days....

The darkest days of this nation's history, were seen in the Civil War and in the years after. There was a growing hatred and fear of the Federal Government. There were many who argued then, and still today, that the underlying issues revolved around states rights versus federal overreach. But the "states rights" at issue were about social justice and equality. Thousands of men were convinced to fight for "states rights" who had nothing to gain for the preservation of the right to own slaves. Their only hope was to maintain a status just above the slaves. Somehow, that seemed enough.
This is the eve of a potential second civil war, for similar reasons and with similar overtones. Thousands - millions - are convinced that "others" are not equal, are not worthy, and should not have what "we" deserve. The Federal Government is only useful if it bars them. Otherwise, the states should be permitted to decide for themselves. Issues of social justice and equality be damned. Common decency and working for general social good are completely overlooked. In fact, it's viewed as weak, "socialist", and un-patriotic. Add to this perspective a love of money with the view of escaping just contribution to others as "smart", and we have a treacherous mindset evolving. The United States is becoming a pirate state. You just need to be "smart" enough to take all that you can however you can and those not "smart" enough should be trampled.
If we are no longer great, this is why. Our values are misplaced. What we consider valuable, what we allow to be bought, is killing our national soul. The spirit of our nation - what stood above - is being crushed in the weight of our displaced anger and our misplace values. We need to get our priorities right. That comes down to treating others the way you wish to be treated. It's about setting standards of decency in everything we do, everything we say and how we think. If we cannot, darker days are coming. It's up to you. It's up to me. It's time to change how we're approaching everything.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trump Versus Clinton..behind the headlines

Have you ever changed your opinion about something based on some graphic or two line message?
Do you share a graphic or write a two line message expecting to change someone's opinion?
Has any "discussion" on social media left you feeling "enlightened" to the point of changing your opinion about something?
Mostly what we post on social media lacks context. It's more like the headline or the soundbite. The full story is missing. Sometimes there's a link to something more but mostly context is missing. Add to that the lack of human connection - inflection, facial expression, fluid response - and we are left with a flat, one dimensional communication. Humor especially falls flat.
Recently someone posted that anyone sharing an opinion on Facebook should be prepared to defend their opinion so they could learn something. In light of the perspective noted above, I found it somewhat humorous. So, I simply replied "Why?" The humor was lost in the medium and caused a bit of a stir. (I left them all hanging as I've learned that explanations also typically fall flat.)
We need to talk to one another more - actually talk - face to face. And we especially need to talk with each other more to understand the complexities of issues. We are gentler and kinder when the person is right in front of us. We draw from the inflection of voice, expression, body language and fluidity of response. We're more likely to lighten up and seek common ground. We are more likely to find solutions. That's what we need to do as a society. Work through it. Roll up our sleeves and do the work needed to hear one another and to understand the context and complexities behind the issues we face.
Giving this a suggestive headline will get more people to read it. My actual goal is to get us to start caring about each other and actually talking. Then we may start making change happen in a meaningful way.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How can I make a difference....

We don't know what impact we can have or have had in the world. But we certainly can and we certainly have.
There's a story of gratitude I continue to carry that I have never been able to deliver to a person who, in a few short hours, changed the course of my life. I'm told he's still around somewhere. Locally, when I say his name as I retell the story, faces light up with recognition. I know little about him except that he was a radio personality in our area in the late 70's who took time with a young woman who hoped for a job at WFRA. He had no immediate openings but was willing to teach me to read news if I'd come down to the station on my own time to learn. He said a news position was the most likely opening to come up. And so, I showed up a few Saturdays.
He gave me news wire copy to read and record while he was doing his show. We'd listen to it. He gave me tips and told me about how he started his career in the Army in Armed Forces Radio and Television. He probably doesn't remember me. It was a few hours - a few Saturdays. I never worked for WFRA.
Instead, I joined the Air Force. I had to audition for Armed Forces Radio and Television. The audition was reading newscast. I read it just the way Denny taught me and it launched my career. That was 1978. I hope someday I can thank him personally.
You don't know what a few hours, a shared story, and a little effort might do. Just do it. And if you are the recipient, tell the story. Hold that gratitude close to your heart. Let it be part of you. Send them your well wishes and pay it forward. That's how we make a difference just like they did.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Our "anger and resentment" movies...

Too many years of my life, simmering beneath the surface, was a feeling of anger and resentment. And 'oh do I have good reason to be angry and resentful'. I maintained a shelf full of "reason" movies to replay any time I needed them. And then I was ready to add new ones to the collection just in case the ones I had were not enough.
Then I realized while I was playing my horror movies, a whole world full of exactly the opposite stories was passing me by. Yes, I experienced a lot of great things too, but I wasted a lot time replaying pain that could have been over. While I was replaying that pain - hanging onto it - I was missing opportunities to experience and actually do more good things. Wallowing in my anger meant disconnecting. Some great connections were lost - maybe forever.
Hanging onto anger and resentment makes us more critical of others and more forgiving of ourselves. We use our reason movies for justification. Then we use the same script over and over again. We watch for new opportunities to create the same storyline over and over again. We build this whole collection on the shelf to further justify our anger and resentment. Rerun - replay - recreate....
There are very painful things that happen in our lives. There are things we should not accept. But if it is really that bad, don't replay the movie. Let it go. If we don't replay the "reason" movie, over time the reason - the anger and resentment - grows much smaller.
As I see people who are clearly angry and resentful, the question I ask myself now is 'what pain are they holding onto and replaying?'. Usually it's not directly related to their expression of anger. There's more. That's especially true if the level of their anger seems disproportional to the infraction they appear to be so angry about. There's more and that more is so very personal to them. I understand that. I've been there. Sometimes it's a struggle not to collect new "reason" movies. But I want a more connected life. I want to create a new kind of movie to replay when I want or need. I want the kind of movie that's PG rated and makes me smile. We have that kind of power in our lives. It's our personal movie collection.
What are you collecting and replaying? How's that working for you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A personal political objective

Often I've pondered the notion of not mixing religion, politics and personal with public and business. Gnawing at the back of my mind is Gloria Steinem's statement, "the personal is political". Those four words are so very profound.
Religion, politics, business and personal are so very intertwined because behind them all are people. There is a very real and personal connection to every religious, political and business decision because there is a person behind and opposed to every religious, political and business decision. While it may seem plausible to separate them into nice, neat categories, it is not possible. There will always be quite personal effects and quite personal connections. If we fail to recognize that we fail them all - Religion, politics, business and personal.
The answer is not to keep them separate. The answer is to align them all. We cannot love the world and pray for peace on Sunday morning and vote for war on Monday. We can't personally believe in exclusion and promote our business as inclusive. We have to align our inner selves with our public selves. If we don't, we are only fooling ourselves. People know. They may not be able to put a finger on the problem, but they can smell a fraud. Sadly, we have been led to believe that we should maintain this "separation". That's a fraud.
If we have our religion, politics, business and personal lives headed in the right direction, there is no need for separation. If they all align around love, kindness, compassion and truth, there will be no need for separation. Speak truth in the spirit of love, kindness and compassion and you will prosper. It's personal. It's political. It's your business. AND it's very spiritual. Be spiritual in all you do. Oddly, you will be politically correct and spiritually correct at the same time.
That's my personal political objective.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The importance of roots....

At the end of the day - after the election - one candidate will win and one will lose. Think about the people you know on either side of the equation. Not the candidates - the people you actually know. Think about the family member you've known and with whom you share decades of memories. Think about the neighbor - the business owner - the fellow members of clubs and organizations or the ones you wish would do more and contribute more to the causes you support. These are the people you will see on the street after the election. These are the people who can help you. These are the people who could support your causes.
The person you are fervently supporting probably doesn't even know your name. When your child is sick or your dog is lost, they won't be praying for their safety. When your fundraising campaign is underway, they won't know or care. They don't care about the milestones in your life. They don't know or care that your child or grand child took their first steps or just got married. They don't know or care that you just had a difficult health care crisis. They didn't know your aunt or uncle or grand parents. They don't know or care that your basement is flooded.
Yes, elections matter but what matters more are relationships. Relationships are precious and deserve respectful tending. We need to respect and care for one another. We need to understand the value of that respect and careful tending. When we elevate our hero worship above our respect and careful tending of those relationships closest to us, we are destroying something very precious. There is a reason trees grow roots. The roots ground the tree and provide the needed nutrients to sustain and grow. Don't loose your connection to roots! Cut your roots and your tree grows weaker.

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Locker room banter"

Most of my career was spent working in male dominated spaces - the military and then 21 years in the mining industry. In earlier blogs I've written about those experiences. In the late 70's, women were far outnumbered in broadcasting. I was the second woman assigned to AFRTS in Greenland and the station manager was quick to let me know the "broad" in broadcasting did not stand for women. As he then put it, he "was stuck with me."
I never stopped encountering men who had similar sentiment. That manager, and others like him, actively sought to prove themselves right. They provide half the information required to do the job right and then revel in how successful they were in undermining the process. These are the "locker room banter" guys. These are the guys who take the men in the office on fishing trips, to sporting events, on hunting trips, golfing or have them over for poker nights. They share the "inside" information. They provide chosen ones (mostly men) with the fast track, the high profile assignments and wink or nod to overlook bad behavior. They are a "man's man".
Through the years I've worked with some great guys. Those years of experience helped me learn who I could trust at 3 am in the most deserted locations. The "locker room banter" guys were not in that category. If a person brags that they would or did do something denigrating, believe me - they would or did do something denigrating! Don't leave a child or a defenseless person with that person!!!
The guys I learned to trust would be called wimps by these "locker room banter" guys. They don't share the same predatory behavior. They don't need to put anyone down to feel better about themselves. They respect themselves and those around them - including women. I refuse to believe that "nice guys finish last". They are my heroes and always will be! Every woman should be saying the same thing in my mind. We will never be treated with respect until we set that bar. If we don't believe we are worthy of something better, we'll never have something better.
"Locker room banter" is a HUGE RED FLAG. READ IT for what it really is and what it really means.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

If we offend and dismiss others...

Every minute, every day - we have a choice. Each time we decide to share something, to do something, to ignore something, to act on something - we create an energy that carries forward. Those choices matter. Those decisions make a difference.
Those choices, those decisions, and those actions becomes seeds and they grow in the same manner of energy in which we plant them. Those seeds are our Karma. They color us. They cloud us. That color or cloud becomes a collector of the same type of energy. We reap what we sew.
If we offend others, we will likewise be offended. If we dismiss others, we will likewise be dismissed. If we are outraged and angered, we will likewise be the recipients of outrage and anger. This is the law. It is the law of God. It is the law of attraction. It is quantum physics.
It is extraordinarily simple but extraordinarily complex in discipline. For my own practice I'm trying very hard to focus on the rule "do unto others"... As I find myself critical of someone else, I think of what they could say to me. As I find myself wanting to question another person's judgement, I think about how they may question mine.
Then I focus on my garden -planting my seeds - creating the karma, the color, the cloud I most desire surrounding me. I think of the law. I plan the energy and the harvest that is most desired. I will support those most likely to share the same energy and seek similar results.