Posted in Lore

Click HERE for Validation

I was sitting at coffee, eaves-dropping on the table next to me . . . . er, uh . . . I mean . . . minding my own business, when I hear the guy say,

“Nope!  Never had a vacation in 15 years!  Never had a reason to leave home.”

While I sipped my whipped chocolate java goodness, my mind wandered to places I visited years ago.  It’s been a long time since I ventured very far from Minnesota.  Funny how one year can turn into four, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting in a coffee shop telling your buddy you have no reason to leave the comfort of your home

Now, I’m not one to eaves drop.  Well . . . okay . . . I am, and you can read about that here.  But let me be very clear that the guy deserved my eaves-dropping for two reasons.

  1. He was very loud.
  2. While I was enjoying my first sip, he said, “Good morning, how are you?”  Not in a your-eyes-meet-and-its-just-a-polite-thing-to-do sort of way.  He said it in a “Hey, little lady” I-hadn’t-even-glanced-in-his-direction sort of way.  It was awkward.

So yeah, he’s just asking to be overheard . . . and judged.

When I zeroed back in on the conversation, he was telling his friend all about what the people around the world think of Americans.  “They don’t like us,” he said.

Now, this may be true or not.  We’ve all heard people say it.  I’ve also heard people talk about their travels and how nice everyone was to them.  But here’s the thing . . . on what experience was his statement based?

WB11 News At 10 - What's his name?
(Photo credit: NYCArthur)

Is he watching his favorite news channel?  Back in the day,  it didn’t run all day and night.  There was the 5:00 and the 10:00.  They lasted for an hour, and if you only wanted the weather, you knew when to tune in.  How long does it take to report the real stories in a factual manner?  Now we have channels with nothing but news 24/7 and they have to fill in the gaps with personal accounts packed with opinions.  With all these viewpoints being aired, they found it necessary to have not one, but several, different 24-hour news stations to cater to everyone’s perspective.  Presto!  You now have your world views validated every hour of the day without challenge.

English: Newspaper "gone to the Web."
Newspaper “gone to the Web.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fewer people than ever have the newspaper delivered to their door.  When I was a kid, almost every house on my block got the paper.  My parents sat down each day to catch up on current events.  They budgeted time in their morning routine because it was important to them.  Sure, some newspapers lean one way or another, but they only have that one issue a day to interest everyone, so they tend to offer a buffered perspective.

These days our information is digitally delivered on the internet.  And do you know what the internet recommends for you?  Links that it knows you will like based on what you clicked in the past.

 

@brockuniversity Social Media
@brockuniversity Social Media (Photo credit: giulia.forsythe)

It’s all just marketing.  You see, they need to tell us something we agree with.  Because the more people who subscribe, click, follow, like and retweet, the more money they make.  Unfortunately, we are all becoming convinced there is no other valid opinion but our own.

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”
— Frank A. Clark

It is sometimes difficult to listen to another point of view; to find out that we may have been wrong — to think we may have spent 15 years sitting in our living room watching t.v. instead of seeing the world.  No one wants to be wrong, but when we are always right, we stop evolving.

Bringing myself out of my thoughts and back to reality, my loud neighbor was now talking about gun control.  He was quoting Archie Bunker who was not only a fictional character, but one who failed to evolve forty years ago.  I couldn’t wait to go home and Google “Archie Bunker on gun control” to educate myself.


I must always stay open to the possibility that I am wrong.  There is a splendid gift in being given the truth.  We need only be open to receiving it.

Please don’t make the mistake of interpreting this post as a political one.  This is about pulling your head of the sand (or wherever you might have it) and seeing all that is around you.  Challenge that which you have always believed.  Listen consciously.  Speak carefully.  Grow deeply.

 

Peace . . .

 

 

Posted in Lore

If You Treat Children Like Human Beings

I am back from what I am beginning to recognize as my annual December break from reading and writing.  The break is used for celebrating family, the spirit of giving, and visualizing peace on earth.  Also, a whole lot of running around with a list in one hand, bags in the other.  Despite what I hope for the holidays, I am programed to fall into the Christmas rut I have dug for myself, one year at a time.

DSCN0909Separating myself from reading and writing opens opportunities for listening and watching.  I watched A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart while baking Butter Currant Tarts, slicing baguettes of parmesan and garlic, and simmering spiced pecans.  My mouth already waters in anticipation of next year!

Frequently I will watch  TED Talks through Netflix from my smartphone while walking on the treadmill.

TED (conference)
TED (conference) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition, I recently found TED Talks radio podcasts on Stitcher, to listen to while walking the dog.  One particular story caught my attention, and I pulled it up on YouTube this morning to watch the full presentation.  It is a talk by Bill Strickland, and to tell you why it caught my attention, I need to flashback a few years.

Travel back with me to the year 2006.  My youngest, a daughter, was in middle school.  This is an average school with average teachers in an average neighborhood with average parents and kids.  It’s the one that operates down the block on any average day.  My kids are pretty average kids by anyone else’s standards.  (By mine, they are aMAZing.  Of course!)

I’d had a couple prior grievances about which I felt strongly enough to bring to the head of the school.  After all, by 2006, my fourth was attending.  We’d dealt with teachers, coaches, volunteers, programs, special groups, over-achievers, and detention.  We’d gone to parent nights both willingly and grudgingly.  After nine years at one middle school, having a couple of grievances over teachers is expected.

Which brings us to the night I was at the school for an extra-curricular event.  Before we left into the cold, I thought I should hit up the girls’ restroom one last time.  I had no sooner locked the stall door and pulled down my bloomers, as a man’s voice echoed in.

“Come on, how long are you gonna be?  I gotta get in there!”

I responded back apologetically, “Oh!  I’m sorry!  Just a minute . . . ”  And the voice came back softer, “Oh, I’m sorry. No hurry.”  I emerged after barely stopping to wash my hands.  The janitor stood leaning against a mop in a yellow bucket on wheels.  He apologized again, saying he hadn’t realized who was in there.

Why did that matter?  Should our children expect to be treated with less dignity than their parents?  I could have been the school track star, the valedictorian, the class clown, or as it turns out . . . a parent.  I was a faceless parasite.  The principal heard from me again.  I don’t remember how she responded, but I do remember counting the days until my youngest graduated from that school.

Bill Strickland speaks in Charlotte
Bill Strickland speaks in Charlotte (Photo credit: chascow)

Materializing once again into present-day 2013, I watched this TED Talk by Bill Strickland.  Bill has made it his life’s mission to treat children in not-so-average neighborhoods with the respect and admiration they deserve.  So much of what he said is quotable, but something stood out and brought this incident in the girls’ restroom to the forefront of my memory.

He said, “I figured that if you treat children like human beings, it increases the likelihood they’re going to behave that way.”

And this is how all children — affluent, disadvantaged, challenged or gifted, should be treated.  Because they really are human beings capable of amazing things, not only in their parents’ eyes, but in the eyes of the world.  I am so saddened when I think back to that gruff voice in the restroom.  I was a strong, confident woman in the peak of my adulthood.  How would a pre-teen girl feel with her pants around her ankles and nothing between her and that man but a flimsy metal stall?  What is the likelihood she felt like a human being at that point?  What is the likelihood that there are many of her across the world?

Because I think this is a very powerful talk, I have included the video below.  I would love for you to find the quotes that are meaningful to you.  Someone once treated Bill Strickland like a human being in the middle of chaos.  Listening to his words, you cannot mistake the good he has done for nothing but the chance to pay it forward.  The video will take about a half hour of your time, so if you can’t watch it now, be sure to bookmark it for later.

Peace . . .

Posted in Lore

Are You Still Here?

DSCN0902_2_2Are we absolutely sure the apocalypse didn’t come in 2012 and we missed it?  Can we do a head count here?  Knowing what to expect might have helped me know where to look.  Were zombies supposed to inherit the earth, was Jesus showing up for dinner, or was the earth just going to explode?

What I’m saying is, perhaps the apocalypse did happen, and we were looking in the wrong direction.  Is it possible the Hopi fifth world arrived, but it just looks an awful lot like the fourth one?  Was a baby born on the 21st of December in 2012 who will change the course of Global Warming?  Maybe the apocalypse is somewhat of a gradual movement toward a better world more than the total destruction of the one we know.  We won’t really notice it until one day we look back and say, “Hey, didn’t the world used to be a much worse place?”

If you’re looking for doomsday, just check out the morning paper.  It’s here.  People living their days on earth in hell.  Lonely people.  Hungry elderly.  Children with no one to teach them how to find the good in themselves.  Children gunned down in the middle of their play.  People living in fear.  People with no hope.  Not like those days when you wake up and life seems hopeless.  I’m talking about a real total depletion of hope.  No hope of hope.

It’s 2013.  Are you still here?  Don’t dread the apocalypse . . . I say we’re ready for it.  Don’t wait for it to happen, bring it on! Make it happen!  Stop preparing for the worst and start initiating the change.  Be the Shift!

  1. Smile.  You don’t know what someone else is going through today.  Your smile could save a life.
  2. Hold a door.  I don’t care if it’s a big burly guy or a someone with a stroller.  Common courtesy requests you hold the door.
  3. Give blood.  For goodness’ sake get over your fear of needles.  You want to know what fear is?  Cancer.  Liver disease.  Major surgery.  Car accidents.  Premature babies.  Losing your loved one.  Not everyone can give blood, so if you can, why aren’t you?  It’s the ultimate renewable resource!
  4. Treat a child with respect.  Children are people, too.
  5. Hold your horn.  Try to limit your honking to those situations where some idiot really tried to kill you for the sole purpose of getting ahead in traffic.  If he just needs to get over because he didn’t see his exit coming up, for crying out loud, let him over.
  6. Wave.  I treat my suburban neighborhood like a rural country road.  Ever notice how country folks wave at everyone?  We’re all just country folk.  We just live a little closer to our neighbors.
  7. Thank.  Don’t just say thanks.  Say thanks for [fill in the blank].  Thanks for being so prompt!  Thanks for telling me that!  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help you!  Thanks for sending me that bill . . . okay, don’t overdo it.
  8. Share.  Plant a bigger garden than you need.  Donate books to a library.  Give away things you don’t use.  Share your skills.  Share your knowledge.  Hug more.

..~~*~~..

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~~Theodore Roosevelt

..~~*~~..

Can you imagine if you woke up this morning, in 2013, and everyone had a shift of global awareness?  Be the apocalypse.  How will you change the world this year?

Related Links:

United Global Shift:  Projects (Start small, check out the Peace Promises)

Tiny Buddah:  25 Ways to Make a Difference (Listed as quotes)

Scott Berkun:  Essay #49 (Scott is a writer whose popular topics are writing, creativity and management)

 

Posted in Awards

Renewed Narcissism

In my opinion, there are no truly altruistic actions.  People blog primarily for the warm fuzzies it brings to our psyche.  There are those who say technology is encouraging narcissism.  

Still, if along my narcissistic journey I can bring some good to others along the way — well then — why shouldn’t I?

I woke up this morning having been given my first award by a fellow blogger who has, herself, touched me with her writing.  Come November nominated me for my post Loving Your Inner Child, published September 3rd, 2012.  The award for which I was nominated was the Compassionate Communicator.  I am flattered, touched by the fact that she found meaning in my post.  I am honored that she thought of me after having received the nomination herself.  My narcissism is renewed!

I started this project (blogging) as a way to release my thoughts and see if they alight anywhere in particular.  These are a few stipulations I laid down for myself:

  1. I will treat my potential readers, and those they may know, with respect.
  2. I will speak respectfully of myself, my life, and those in it.
  3. I will come up with a tag-line that directs me in my writing.
  4. I will write with honesty, being as true to my own voice as I am able.

If respect is something that is needed for compassion, and I believe it is, then I accept this award with the spirit in which it is offered.

compasscommaward

The Compassionate Communicator Award

This award can be given, by any blogger who has received it, to any blogger they feel has benefitted them.

Passing it Forward . . .

The fellow narcissists I have chosen to recognize are for very different reasons.  Their particular posts touched me, though it was a monumental task to choose just one from each blog.

I would like to nominate the post Crap . . . eggs it is by Grapes, Gripes and Gratitude.  She uses humor and honesty to convey the love she carries for her children, their father, and herself.  I wish I had known her writings back when I was a mother of young children.  She would have reminded me that under the Super-Mom uniform is a real human being who needs nurturing and an occasional glass of wine.

There is someone at work who has become very special to me.  She brings treats to work.  ‘Nuff said?  Not quite.  She is a loving daughter of her mother who is suffering the onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.  They are the two most lucky people in the world to have each other.  I nominate Mary of Just want to ride for her post Mom and Daughter — Difference?

Lastly, there is a new blog I have started to follow, One Thousand Single Days.  I was mesmerized by the post Qualification: Pain.  She writes of compassion born of experience.  The quote she includes from a szisophrhenic patient illustrates the pain of the people she is compelled to help, ‘Even if I tell you my name I will die.

Guidelines…

1. That in awarding it to a blogger you simply link it to one of their blog posts which you feel has personally benefited you in some way.

2. You give a brief explanation of why you feel it benefited you

3. On accepting the award you link back to and thank the person who awarded it to you.