The magic that lives inside each and everyone of us. I believe that our belief in ourselves in the single most important factor in determining our present and our future.
I believe in the almighty power of LOVE and that the meek shall inherit the earth…if we believe.
I believe in unity and understanding, in tolerance and compassion. I believe in the power of a smile and that a little kindness can go a long way.
I believe that diversity is beautiful and inclusion makes us strong. I believe we can stand together for what is truly important and I believe we have the wisdom to know just what that is.
We are all in this together. We are an intrinsic part of the greater world around us.
Drop by drop, like rain falling into sea–there is an incredible force in that which is
I believe in UNITY
and that it’s our right and responsibility, our duty to ourselves and future generations to make this world a better place.
WE have more power than we know
It is we who create our own reality
We need to love more and judge less. We need to listen and hug like there is no tomorrow. We need bravery and character and backbone.
We need action and work and planning and focus.
We need HOPE
and dreams…we need one another.
We need to believe. That is what I believe more than anything; we need to believe.
“That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality–your soul, if you will–is as bright and shining as any that has ever been….Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”
On this Earth Day please do something however small for the Earth. Plant a tree, walk instead of drive. Don’t buy anything new. Look to the past for inspiration. We once were more in touch with the Earth and the basics of life and death. Life was messy and sometimes ugly but real.
We worked hard and got our hands dirty. More people grew their own food, made their own clothes and bartered with neighbors. Children played outside all day in the fresh air. We were strong and healthy…life was good and rich and full.. but somewhere along the line we gradually removed ourselves from the nasty bits of life. The dirty. the unpleasant, the time consuming.
Life is now for the taking, prepackaged and ready to go. It’s been inspected and sanitized. And it’s on sale for those that can afford to pay. Everyone else must make do…and we left the rural communities and farms and tight knit families. We worked in the factories to make goods and life was good, there was enough to go around…we reached a gilded age. A time of plenty.
It is not only unfortunate but starkly unfair that our spending spree comes at the expense of our progeny; the ones left in our wake who will not think so much of us I think.
On this Earth Day, plant a tree, plant several….do something, or better yet, do nothing. Go outside. Spend some time with the earth. With nature…
I think if we all spent more time outdoors. learned to love the natural world all over again….and if we brought our children and allowed them this gift; the love and deep appreciation of nature.
I think we’d as a people would care more about our beautiful planet and take active steps to do as little harm to our home as possible and perhaps leave it a little better than how we found it. Hopefully they will look upon us as pioneers who blazed the trail and set in motion events that will subsequently save our planet from us and thus save ourselves too.
HAPPY EARTH DAY 2015
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” ―Theodore Roosevelt
“The earth is speaking to us, but we can’t hear because of all the racket our senses are making. Sometimes we need to erase them, erase our senses. Then – maybe – the earth will touch us. The universe will speak. The stars will whisper.”
“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
~Native American Proverb (source unclear)
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
― Kahlil Gibran
“Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!”
If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. ~Joseph Wood Krutch
“We have become, by the power of a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life’s continuity on earth. We did not ask for this role, but we cannot abjure it. We may not be suited to it, but here we are.”
There’s much to be said for the way we look at things. Our vision is tempered by what we expect to see. Look for ugliness and you’ll find it, the same goes for beauty for both can be found in everything. It is the way we look at things which control what we see and how we see it.
We create our own reality. I know how that sounds; like some metaphysical mumbo~jumbo that seems profound and wise but an idea that some of us may find difficult to grasp, myself included. Real life is the reality we live with every day. It can be cold and hard and can smack one right in the face.
If I had control of all reality…seriously…I would eradicate war, hunger and poverty, mean people and bad hair days too..all that stuff. Most of us would but that does not make it so. We can see the state of the world. Who wants that? It’s so overwhelming and beyond anyone’s power and control but we can control some things.
And that is where the magic comes in…
Yes…back on the magic. I realize you are sophisticated and have a certain sense of the world that is pretty much on target. I like to think of myself as an open-minded sort who is tempered with a fair amount of skepticism. I want to believe in Santa Claus and in unicorns and elves and giant talking trees. Do I really, truly believe? Perhaps not, but am I certain? Can I be 100%certain of anything?
Any minute now my knight in shining armor will pop up riding a unicorn and whisk me away from my life of drudgery.
Not likely…but I do contend there is magic. This I know for sure.
Magic exists! I know for I have seen it. It is all around us.
“It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.” ― Charles de Lint
LOVEis magic…so is gratitude.
Attitude is everything: We choose how we feel; happiness is a choice and so is dissatisfaction. Pretty much we are as happy as we make up our minds to be. I have found this to be true after much trial and error. There was a point in my life a few years back when I very much needed this to be true…
..and so on blind faith born of desperation I believed. I willed myself to believe and I didn’t stop despite all my wishes not coming true. I learned that my happiness cannot be based on outside forces. I had to stop reacting to life and start acting. My challenges gave me an insight I wouldn’t have had before; an appreciation for perseverance. A willingness to go the extra mile without a promise of reward, the strength to carry on despite it all….and through all this I believed.
I am learning that the most direct way we create our own reality is by our own actions. Action powers everything we do, everything we create, we are responsible for the kind of world we live in–all of us.
We can have a world where magic exists, we just need to create it.
Ifound happiness in gratitude and in taking pleasure in tiny things. Oh what a joy this has given me! It is a gift granted to me by circumstance.
We can embrace these wonderfully human and magical traits like love and compassion, generosity, altruism and understanding. We can reach out to each other in friendship, our minds and hearts open. We need to stop paying attention to what we are told to think and believe and learn to trust in our own hearts and our own souls again.
These are natural inclinations. Bring these into your life and miracles happen…
Magic happens…and it’s contagious.
Have a magical day!
“When you’re touched by magic, nothing’s ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They’re too busy, or they just don’t hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.” ― Charles de Lint
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ― Frederick Buechner
Fear is insidious. It undulates and creeps around like a viper. It whispers in our ears like the winds; howling and shaking and crying out. It demands our attention. It assumes control and commands there shall be no other gods before it.
Fear makes us think the unthinkable. It calls us to action at times and paralyzes us at others. It seizes all common sense and hijacks the imagination, forcing it to succumb to it’s will. Fear is irrational. It claims to be all-knowing, all-seeing. It promises to share it’s insight for it insists it knows the future. It will take care of you. It will provide you with thoughts to think, things to do, and people to hate. It offers so much but leaves only emptiness in it’s wake.
Fear grows rampant in this crazy world. It’s no wonder since it has been used as a means of control since the very beginning. Nothing motivates like fear and nothing can feed that mob mentality quite like it.
Throughout history there has never been a shortage of boogeymen. We have been taught to be afraid from the very beginning. Some of that fear has been benefical. Our early ancestors lived a life fraught with real life dangers, it paid off to be able to perceive threats and respond quickly and efficiently. The physical effects of fear itself such as a quick dose of Adrenalin gives us quicker reflexes to be able to try to outrun that Saber-tooth Tiger or fight it off.
Not all fear is bad. Some of it is fun. We can get a vicarious thrill by watching scary movies. Haunted houses are popular at Halloween which is a major holiday in The United States. People go to amusements parks for that same thrill. Facing danger without truly facing it can be quite exhilarating. Science has proven our brains really don’t know the difference between a real and not so real threat.
There are forces in this world which feed off our fears. They distract us and manipulate our thinking. We don’t need them but they need us. It’s a new threat played out on TV, the internet, and in advertising and print media…everywhere. It is fed to us and it’s difficult to know who or what to believe. In times of doubt and uncertainty we tend to believe the authority figures we are trained to obey. Governments, the media, religion and even your 5th grade teacher and dear old mom have used the tactics of fear on us at one time or another. But we are all grown up now and ready to face the truth, whatever that may be, not what someone tells us it is.
The only thing we have to fear….
Fear causes us to miss out on what is truly important to focus on the improbable. Most likely it will not be the object of our fears which will “get us” but something that hits from left field. If we have taken reasonable precautions in life there is nothing much more we can do to prevent that great unknown menace except for having a positive attitude. There is no logical reason to worry. At this point any concern is counter-productive.
That often quoted quote by FDR still rings true today maybe even more so.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear can hurt you literally. Fear effects our physical and mental well-being. The most common physical reactions are a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, sharpened or redirected senses and dilation of the pupils. Muscles tighten up and are primed with oxygen, in preparation for a physical fight-or-flight response.
Most of what we fear in this modern age we cannot fight or run away from. Many of us live with a certain amount of chronic fear, real or imagined. This weakens our immune system and can cause heart damage and gastrointestinal problems. Fear impairs the formation of long-term memories and causes damage to parts of the brain. This can make the impact so much worse because we lose the ability to regulate fear by rational thought. We are more susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions and our decision making processes are altered in negative ways.We are anxious, depressed, tired and old before our time.
“Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?”
― Lemony Snicket
Of course there are valid dangers in this world, much too many. It is within the realms of possibility, albeit a very slim possibility, I could walk out my front door and get hit by a meteorite. It is much more likely that I will proceed to my destination unharmed. Most of our fears are the meteorite-type ones; dramatic dangers, hideous and terrible with the infinitesimal odds of ever happening.
Most of us lead relatively uneventful lives and deaths. What are the chances of your typical average Josephine such as myself or you or anyone being killed in a terrorist attack, or from getting the “plague du jour”? Not likely, but it seems the dramatics of the very possibility can supersede reason.
Being a person who has been afraid of most everything for most of my life I can testify to the needlessness of fear and how it can control you and keep you from living life to it’s fullest. I can also say that it can be overcome. I know most have never been afraid to the extent of myself but I do know I can’t be the only one who has experienced this intense emotion. Any fear is valid because it feels that way to the one experiencing it and it’s difficult to step outside of an accustomed way of thinking. Face the dragon and the dragon will dissolve before your eyes. We are more powerful than we believe.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s in everyone’s best interests to support a system that bestows elite status only to a privileged few on the backs of the underprivileged many. Do we think it’s alright because we hope to someday become one of these lucky few; those one percent?
Could it be that the deck is stacked against us poor huddled masses? Could it be The American Dream is only for those who have the greenbacks to pay for it ? And if you have to ask how much…you can’t afford it.
I suppose it is unfair of me to say that we the people support such a system per se. I mean if we all had a chance to have our say we may find some of our citizens are fed up with all this damn economic inequality that is deepening by the day. Some may dare to suggest, shudder the thought, that some reshuffling may be in order.
You heard it right; I am suggesting that perhaps the all-mighty capitalistic society where markets regulate themselves and corporations are people too, may not be all that it is cracked up to be. It is a system that rewards avarice. It promotes those who can take, take, take for themselves. It favors unhealthy and unjust competition and creates an atmosphere of dissatisfaction and mistrust. How can we love thy neighbor if we are continually competing with them? In this kind of game there must be many losers for one winner. And for the most part the winners are chosen not solely by merit but by luck of birth. We do have a Monarchy in this country, in the world. Money is king and those one percent aim to widen the gap between those that have it and those that don’t.
It’s hard to blame anyone; it is the system after all. I think people should be entitled to what they have worked hard for. Industry should be rewarded. I don’t blame people for wanting to hold on to what they have. It seems that the more money some people have the more they worry about losing it. Our society has driven in that fear of poverty and homelessness.
Many of our community governments and police have adapted ordinances and laws that unfairly punish those who can least afford it. It seems as though they are waging an undeclared war on poor people.
Where are we going with this? What is happening to our humanity?
We all know this. There’s no surprise here. The question is what to do? What can we do? We cannot simply tax the rich to the hilt and expect to save ourselves. Our problems go way beyond that. It sounds great; Make the rich pay for everything. This causes people to want to hang on tighter to what they have and that makes it all the worse. And really it’s not very fair or practical. I’d like to offer an answer or at least part of one. The problems are so massive. It’s hard to know where to begin. I do know it cannot go on this way forever. The world is changing regardless of what anyone wants. The sun shines and sets on us all alike. Nothing is forever. This cannot go on. And the ones on top; those one percent…they can’t believe it can last. Can they?
This wild ride we are on is not the least bit sustainable. It is expensive, messy and just plain stupid how we exploit our dwindling resources. Our value system is wonky. We tend to miss what is truly important. We glorify the empty and the greedy. The perfect smile and the right sound bite being sold to us night after night…and we the people lap it up. The great economic machine feeds on us, then spits us out when it’s through. It asks for our children too and doesn’t give a damn about anything but the bottom line.
We are products of our environment. It can be difficult enough to see someone else’s point of view, but to actually feel how they do; to truly understand…that requires a special insight that is hard to acquire in a life insulated from want, from unsightliness, unpleasantness and misfortune. An extreme hardship for one person may be a mere annoyance for another. I think some of the more fortunate have no idea how difficult it really is to be poor. It is easier to blame the victim of circumstance rather than the circumstance itself; that the poor somehow deserve their fate. Otherwise that would mean that bad things happen to good people who try really hard and that we are more at the mercy of the fickle finger of fate than we would like to comfortably acknowledge.
The rain falls on us all and sometimes a gut of wind can take your umbrella and you are left to get wet. Fate is a funny thing. Who would have thought? I feel as though we are living in a bad Science Fiction movie with a horrible ending. What sort of world are we leaving our children?
Something must be done. A lot of somethings must be done….by us all. We cannot afford to wait for it all to trickle down.
Our priorities are skewed but they do not have to remain that way. I think we need a new way of thinking about what success means; what it means to be rich. Perhaps in the future the measure of wealth will be not be what one has but what one is able to give…and we will need more givers in the future if we are going to make it. We are all going to have to work together–all 100% of us.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
― Nelson Mandela
There is a rebel lurking inside us all. A defiant dreamer that dares to question what we’ve been told. A searcher, a seeker that yearns to know more, to find out for oneself, to do something different and not just blindly accept the status quo.
Rebellion does not have to be violent or messy or loud; there can be quiet rebellion. a shift, a change. An insistent force of good can overcome the dark. To love can be an act of rebellion, to care about each other in a world that does not care for itself. To think for yourself in this world; that is an act of rebellion.
Lead me into darkness, I will not follow. Show me the light and I will embrace it. Shine your light and together we shine like the sun.
FIGHT the Power and have a nice day!
“I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion — against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.” ― Johnny Cash
Rebellion is the only thing that keeps you alive!
“There’s a rebel lying deep in my soul. Anytime anybody tells me the trend is such and such, I go the opposite direction. I hate the idea of trends. I hate imitation; I have a reverence for individuality.” ― Clint Eastwood
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
THE EARTH NEEDS REBELS!
It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.
~H. L. Mencken
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.
“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” ― Tom Robbins
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” ― Barbara Ehrenreich
Andy Warhol was famous for saying that in the future we will all have our 15 minutes of fame. Well my friends the future is now and many people are already famous inside their own heads.
I am talking about that phenomena that’s sweeping the globe:
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone, digital camera or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
I see more and more people doing this… MM calls it “selfing”.
And not just adorable little blondes with cutesy pink phones…people from all walks of life, actors, artists, men on the street, ladies of the evening, cats, babies and even presidents and leaders of people.
How did we get so obsessed with our own image?
The first selfies; born out of “necessity” for most of us. Since the advent of social media and as more and more of us are becoming social online we need a profile pic. It’s not something anyone really planned, it sort of just happened. We could blame Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook who thought of the world as one big yearbook with a sea of faces with which one could compare against each other and judge. The selfie does predate Facebook and MySpace, where the term was first generally used. Taking a photograph of oneself started with the invention of photography. It has only been lately that it has become an obsession for some, a joke to others. Whatever it is–it has become a part of our social landscape and our common global culture.
Speaking for myself; I took my first one in the Autumn of 2012. I “needed” an updated Gravatar for this very same blog. I was hesitant to ask anyone to take my picture because it sounded so weird and self-indulgent. ( Of course I am not one of those people.) I snapped a few shots myself with my webcam, it was so easy. We are humans and social media is a place of social interaction between us. Our faces convey so much to each other, so much emotion, feeling. Many of our electronic communications are littered with emoticons. Mere words cannot give the entire picture.
We have a need for each other. A need to meet others to express thoughts and ideas. To be understood. To reach out and make that connection. To share ourselves with others. Running the gambit of emotions; happiness to sadness and back again… from the amazing to the mundane. We have a need to belong and to be looked upon favorably by our peers. Selfies can be fun. Some are very inventive and creative. I don’t think they are necessarily a bad thing or a sign of the moral decay of our civilization and subsequent doom. I think they can be empowering for people and a way to boost self esteem. There are groups that embrace the idea of the selfie and encourage people to submit their own self portraits 365 days a year. I have explored some of the submitted images. Some of it is quite artistic; there are talented photographers out there snapping pics of themselves every day.
The internet has put so much of our lives on display for one another. This puts the viewer of such display in the judges seat. It is tempting for anyone to judge given some of what we see and it’s easy to assume some find themselves on the short end of the comparison. People’s opinions of each other unfortunately are swayed by appearance; the appearance of wealth, youth and good looks…the appearance of happiness….no one wants to look like a loser, or old or fat or bald or whatever. Simply put, we care what other think about us and this very human truism is being played out on a grand scale throughout the digital world.
We call them selfies, we take them of ourselves but do they truly reflect our real selves? I have seen quite a few of them and rarely are they realistic.
The selfie is a way for many to become the self they have always wanted to be. I googled “selfie fails” and found a plethora of examples of Photoshop gone wrong. Men and women with obviously unrealistic bodies and faces, freakishly thin waists, bulging chests and completely unlined faces. The pull is strong to want to doctor ones photos. I myself I am guilty of erasing a line or two here and there. Who doesn’t want to be younger; to look 25 again? Who doesn’t want the perfect body and the perfect life? We see them all the time…these people with the perfect everything.
The perfection hype we buy into is sold to us by the media. The Joneses we are struggling to keeping up with don’t even exist.
The perfect job, mate and kids, the perfect parties and friends. These people go on exciting and exotic vacations with all the other beautiful people living perfect lives. We know this because we see it in their selfies. The ones they are nice enough to share with us so we can “like” them and comment; tell them how wonderful they are and how young they really do look. All accompanied by smiley faces and hearts.
Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?
And we like them every time they put up a new one, every week even if it’s every day. Some people change theirs constantly; living a life in front of the tiny screen. Every minor event documented and accompanied by the same needy almost pleading stare. Just like anything else selfies can be addictive and perhaps that in itself is a sign of trouble–a cry for help.
I also saw some other types of selfies on my googling adventure into this odd and narcissistic world. There were the funny ones, the amazing ones, the clever and cute ones, the silly duck faces and the ones with the bizarre backgrounds. But there were some sad ones as well. I was stricken by the number of photos taken by women, apparently mothers in bathrooms and other places with big mirrors posing for suggestive selfies in front of their small children.
I am a bit naive but this shocked me. It came off as desperate, so sad and lonely. And then I began to look at all the selfies in a different light. Maybe they are not just a sign of our collective narcissism and self-obsession, maybe there is something deeper; an underlying anxiety of separation, a feeling we are losing ourselves, the dissolution of the family unit. We are spending longer hours in the office, on the road, increasingly we are spending more and more time apart from each other.
We need to be accepted and understood. We need to be connected and have others think well of us. Unfortunately this need to be liked and accepted maybe envied or idolized has become an obsession for some.
And maybe…just maybe, if we can have the perfect selfie we can get a little piece of that perfect life too…
As with everything else; nothing is all black or white…
…points to ponder…
Have yourself a wonderful day!
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
What is the value of a productive member of a society? In what ways does a civilization benefit from the works of an educated and thriving population? Does society in fact benefit so greatly from an educated workforce and a knowledgeable citizenry that to deny this benefit is not only not beneficial at all but wasteful and just plain stupid.
There is no doubt to the value of a college education or work training. Society benefits greatly from a workforce that has been fully prepared for the diverse and challenging workplace of today. The cookie cutter one-size-fits-all, the test-test-test atmosphere of the current educational system in The United States is, in my opinion, sorely lacking.
Society benefits from a educated workforce in many ways: higher levels of education corresponds to lower levels of unemployment and poverty in general and this in turn provides more tax revenue to the state and less burden on social assistance programs such as food stamps and welfare. An educated populous is healthier with lower smoking and obesity rates and with more positive perceptions of personal health in general. Higher levels of education are correlated with higher levels of civic participation, including volunteerism and voting.
If there is no doubt to the benefits of an educated populous, why are we so lacking?
There’s no shortage of people who care and it is not from the lack of effort from many dedicated educational professionals, parents, volunteers and students.. on all fronts. There is certainly much debate on this subject of how to fix our broken educational system, it is obvious that indeed it is broken. We can all agree on that at least. Whatever we are doing is not working, but we cannot seem to reach a consensus on how to fix the problems. In my opinion part of the problem is as with many issues, we are going by the blueprint of another era. Our models and way of thinking is outdated. The world is undergoing rapid change on many fronts and we are dealing with issues we never would have dreamed up even a decade ago. We rely too heavily on what has “worked” in the past and I think we tend to cling too tightly to tradition and ceremony. Innovation is viewed with a cautious and weary eye. It seems whenever new ideas that work on a smaller scale are implemented on the much larger scale disaster happens. This could be part of our problem as well. We approach education with a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Diversity and innovation are not only not encouraged but discouraged. Feel-good, do-nothing campaigns with misleading names that embrace cheap easy answers only compound the problem.
Students are more likely to be taught what to think not how to think for themselves.
In the effort to provide certain standards we have over standardized ourselves. We have pigeon-holed our thinking that everyone learns the same way. We know this is far from the truth as many factors determine the success of a student including socioeconomic status. The successful student is more likely to be a successful adult, meaning one who contributes positively to the community and society in general.
Many don’t get this chance. Many perfectly capable people are lost in a system that rewards who you know and what you have instead of what one can do and the content of your character.
I can’t help but notice how illogical this system is where we base how someone will contribute to society by the economic status that one is born into. Opportunities are missed and talents squandered. The best person for a particular job or profession may not necessarily be the person who’s parents could afford to foot the bill for the education required.
I think about all the bright people with talents and ideas that will never be realized because of their geographic and/or economic status. I think of the result of that lost potential; the loss to society and the world at large.
There is no doubt that a mind is a terrible thing to waste yet this is what happens. People come in all sizes and shapes; all kinds of backgrounds, socially and economically. A diverse population brings to the table a wide array of talents and experiences. This is one of the aspects that have made the United States so successful in the past. This and our capability for dedicated, hard work.
We have it in us to become great but we need the valuable contributions of us all in order for that to happen. Good ideas are like seeds they not only need to be exposed to the light, they need care and feeding order to grow. Good ideas can sometimes become great ones and like a mighty oak tree provide shade for many on a hot day. And oh my friends don’t let a blast of wintry weather in the winter fool you…we are going to have quite a few hot days in the future and we need all the oak trees we can get.
We can longer afford to throw away the minds and talents of people who weren’t born at the right place at the right time to the right parents. We can no longer afford to punish those who seek an education “above their” station” by saddling them with the crushing burden of potentially lifelong debt. There is too much at stake.
We the people need to make this a priority. The middle class should be on the endangered species list and a part of the widening gap between those that have and those that have not is the access to higher education and work training beyond high school. This should not be a luxury for only those who can afford it it should be the right for all citizens and a necessity of any modern civilized society that wants to have a chance in the global marketplace.
One of the best things about human beings is our innate talent for creation and innovation and the ability to work effectively to realize a dream fulfilled or have an idea come to fruition. We are smart and capable, all of us regardless of race, color, sex , religion….or the economic status we are born into.
The American dream is alive but it’s lying in a hospital bed sicker than a dog…gasping and sputtering and wondering what went wrong. It is up to us to fix this mess.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”
― Charles Dickens
The light streams through the blinds and tickles my eyelids. I am slowly pulled from a nasty dream brought on by last night’s wicked storm. The faint melody of birdsong rouses me to full consciousness. I waken refreshed and renewed. With a slow lumbering yawn and cat-like stretch I move closer to the window. The streets are still wet with last nights revelry. They glitter and shine in the morning’s surprise sun.
The world seems fresh and new after a long rain. As the sun shines it graces everything with a wee bit of hopefulness. It’s as if the sky has had a good cry and is now sporting a beaming shiny bright smile.
I myself always feel good after a good cry. I suppose that is why it is called that: a good cry. I have always been the sensitive type; prone to cry easily and at times for what I will later deem silly reasons. I used to be ashamed of my sensitivity. I hid it well behind a veneer of fake indifference but now I am proud of my sensitive nature. I know I am far from the only one who feels the way I do.
Crying is basic. It is humbling and very human. It puts us in touch with our very basic of needs. It makes us vulnerable. It is generally thought of an activity of one who is sad but sometimes the act of crying can denote joy.
I have cried at the birth of both of my children. The first time this took me by surprise as tears of pure joy often do. I have also shed tears for the normal reasons of loss and rejection….misfortune, unfairness and at times simple frustration. I have wept at the loss of loved ones and upon witnessing the death of a tiny bird on my front steps.
Music makes me cry, certain songs do it every time. These I generally avoid, except on certain rare occasions.
I always feel better after I do. Crying is good for you.
And this is not just in my imagination. Many scientists agree with the theory that emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins and waste products that build up in times of elevated stress. The phrase “having a good cry” suggesting that the act can make one feel better physically and emotionally better is not far off the mark.
Crying is a great way to release pent up emotions, frustrations and stress. It restores the mind to a quieter place. Holding your emotions in can be dangerous over the long-term. In fact, research indicates that stifling emotional tears can cause elevated risk of heart disease and hypertension.
“In fact, three types of tears exist, all with different purposes. Basal tears are omnipresent in our eyes. These constant tears are what keep our eyes from drying out completely.
The second type is reflex tears, which serve to protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as smoke, onions or even a very strong, dusty wind.
Reflex tears are generally found to be about 98 percent water, whereas several chemicals are commonly present in emotional tears [Source: The Daily Journal. First is a protein called prolactin, which is also known to control breast milk production. Adrenocorticotropic hormones are also common and indicate high stress levels. The other chemical found in emotional tears is leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood.
The third type of tears is emotional tears. It all starts in the cerebrum where sadness is registered. The endocrine system is then triggered to release hormones to the ocular area, which then causes tears to form. Emotional tears are common among people who see Bambi’s mother die or who suffer personal losses.”
*Courtesy of HowStuffWorks.com
I think society treats males unfairly when it comes to the issue of crying and emotions in general. It is crazy, nonproductive and downright unrealistic to think that boys and men do not have feelings. Men may deny they have them to each other but we mothers and wives and sisters know better.
Having emotions are not exclusive to one gender but showing and sharing them is. In most societies, tears in men are seldom acceptable. Boys learn early on it’s not kosher to show emotion, as it is considered a weakness and thus they grow up to be men who are cut off from expressing emotions of grief that can help them heal from emotional wounds. Anger becomes the preferred emotion because it is considered to be more “male”. (I don’t need to tell anyone how that is all working out.)
We as a people are in constant change. We have evolved and adapted to our circumstances. I do think we as a species are on the road to enlightenment but is a long one. Despite the harshness of the state of the world and apparent accelerating violence everywhere, I do believe that on a one-to-one individual basis people are growing kinder, gentler and more tolerant. In my own experience living on this planet for 44 years I have noticed this trend and it is encouraging. The acceptance of the showing of emotion is just one aspect of this shift.
“Those who do not weep, do not see.”
“Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”
― Tina Fey
Haha….got you with the title didn’t I? I’d like to think I fooled you but I know you are too smart for that, but it did get your attention did it not? I’m not above cheap theatrics; I’ll freely admit, but I do have a bit to say on this subject because there are many who do fall for this sort of nonsense all the time.
The quick and the easy
People want big results with little or no work. It’s an American thing, this instant gratification. Pair it with another very American thing; our fixation on looks, endless youth and vitality. We are talking some serious stars and stripes here.
We are a nation obsessed with health or at the least the appearance of health. People want others to think they are really healthier and more together than they really are. We have this desperate need to show others what a full life we are leading, jam packed with triumph, success and over-the-top uniquely unique experiences.
What trumps being perfect is at least looking perfect….and we are a self loathing society. 33.3 % of Americans are overweight and 35.9% percent are considered obese. Our ideal of beauty does not configure to the perfection that most of us can never live up to.
This is not to say that being overweight is not a health hazard, it is, but there are a number of other factors that contribute to good health and beauty for that matter than just what is considered the ideal weight and shape.
I have spent most of my life hung up on my weight. Starting with my first diet at the age of 9, continuing on through my teenage years and then onward into my adulthood. I was caught up in the angst of weight worry and denial. Following one crazy dieting idea after another. Denying myself and denying in general that the way I was going about it was well, stupid and all so wrong. I once spent two years of my life, two years..denying myself ice cream, yes ice cream!
Like so many others my self-worth was hung up on body image. I would compare myself to the ideal airbrushed “perfection” the media feeds us all. Of course I could never come close. No one can.
There are a million promises from a million sources who will tell you they are the ones with the secret to slim perfection. Just promise to pay the shipping and handling and it will be sent out immediately. One thing these empty promises provide is at the most, false hope with none of the hard work or willpower that accompanies eating a sensible diet, getting regular moderate exercise, time and patience. Nothing is easy and nothing is free. (except for love)
Sometimes there is temporary success but these fad diets and insensible lifestyles are difficult to keep up. It is easy to feel like a failure. It is also quite common for let-down people to comfort themselves with food and overindulging,…the very activity that is a major culprit in weight gain.
It’s big business; The health and weight loss industry. Add the beauty and fashion industry and you have a powerful bloc of economic players and reapers of piles and piles of big money. These companies get richer while we get more unhealthy.
They play on our fears and insecurities; pointing out what we “lack” and selling us a bottle of the stuff. Let’s stop buying it.
Tell them to keep it and let it rot on the shelves until they see that there is nothing lacking in us– it is they who lack. They lack the obvious; they cannot see the beauty that is inside us all. What a shame is that. Let us not be manipulated any longer…
We are all beautiful. Damn what they say, that media which feeds us stale perfection for us to consume.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
YOU are a beautiful being. Believe this. Know it.
Some people have a spark; a special something that transcends the physical. It is the belief in oneself.
What matters is one’s inside. It is the light of the soul and the love in the heart.
Beauty has a way of shining through.
Beauty is kindness and compassion. Beauty is strength and resilience. Beauty is devotion and gentleness. Beauty is quiet. It doesn’t declare itself it.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”
― Lewis Carroll
Have you ever allowed yourself to be caught up in flights of fancy? Do you savor spontaneous moments, taking delight in the quaint and unusual? Then perhaps you have partaken of the sweet nectar called whimsy.
I partake quite often as it seems; my thirst is seldom sated. I suppose at times just plain reality can get boring and it certainly gets less stressful having somewhere fun in my imagination to wander to. This is helpful to me. I like to taste each tiny bit of delightfulness that comes my way….fortunately there is a tremendous amount in this world to delight in. I often find that it is in the small and mundane moments where I can find these sweet little pockets of joy. I believe there are deep veins of happiness out there….or in there just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.
Just the other day while I was singing along to the radio and washing the dishes my cat spontaneously jumps up and sits on the edge of the sink. He gazes up at me with an earnest intentness seldom seen in cats, at least that is what I imagine it is as I gaze back into those big green eyes. He doesn’t seem to notice the water droplets misting his black coat. I call him a crazy cat like I do in my sing-song childlike voice I reserve for animals and babies. I am delighting in the ridiculousness of the moment when MM comes in…the look on his face was priceless…this makes me laugh.
On certain afternoons in sunny spring I have been known to go down to the nearby park for a swing, stopping to smell the roses. I often talk to the urban animals I meet along my way, the crows especially since they tend to answer me back with caw caw but squirrels and cats and other birds too are also fun to talk to. Thinking about it; I talk to plants as well, trees mostly. They are really quite friendly and so knowledgeable too.
To the outside observer I may seem to have lost my marbles but his is how I keep my marbles intact: through whimsy and imagination.
I will at times travel to various exotic locations in impromptu flight of fancy. These turn out to be for the most part: sandy beaches and enchanted forests and luxury hotel suites with excellent room service, great deserts and fantastic views…as these are the places my imagination prefers.
Your imagination probably takes you to different spots, some very interesting ones I bet….
Whimsy is a natural high and it’s free. It lives inside us all. It cavorts with the inner child in the recesses of the imagination. Whimsy is kinda’ bummed out that it isn’t given the respect that it’s due. One could argue as to the needlessness of whimsy but I contend that it is that very needlessness of whimsy that causes it to be important. It doesn’t take much to spare a little room for the unnecessary, whimsy included…in fact whimsy is so light and fluffy it hardly takes up any room at all.
Whimsy not only feels good, it can make those around us feel good too. Most of us can relate to the absurd from time to time. Children love it. We adults tend to put that sort of thing aside for more mature pursuits and poor old whimsy is locked in the back of the closet never to be shown the light of day again. I think a lot people are fearful of looking like a fool or insane. Society generally frowns on the eccentric. Instead of caving to societal pressure I am taking this as a sign that I should embrace my eccentricities more fully and more publicly. The more of us “crazies” out there, the more acceptable it will to become to be one.
It is up to us mavericks to set the tone and say to the world: It’s okay to be silly, in fact it’s amazingly fun… and dammit why lose out on all the fun because one enters into the dreaded “adulthood”? The act of fancifulness is sometimes seen as irresponsible. The world needs dreamers to dream the dreams that show us that reality is not always what we see and it really doesn’t have to be. Reality is what we make of it.
Wishing you a really fantastical day!
“Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
― Anaïs Nin
There was a time when our ancestors roamed in hunter-gatherer bands who lived on the frayed edges of existence. Outsiders were seen as a threat, a valid one indeed. Our survival was insured by this protective, cloistered behavior. We as many other species thrive in a group, a pack or tribe. This us vs. them is a part of us. It is inborn and innate and it starts early.
At one time this tribal mentality worked to our advantage, but as global populations swelled and competition for resources increased, our survival depended not only on the cooperation of a small group but on the greater one at large. It truly does take a a village to survive for most of us. We are not only connected in this village but we are dependent on each other. At the very least, what I do effects my neighbor and vice versa.
This is not a choice. It is a fact.
Another fact: the earth is changing. Regardless of why, it is and we as a species must adapt. This requires cooperation and understanding. This at least requires an honest and constructive discourse with each other and ourselves.
Circumstances and surroundings change faster than we do. It is our ability to adapt paired with luck that has gotten us this far.
There is no room for us vs them. This way of thinking leads to the inclusion of some at the exclusion of others. It is a childish attitude that must be eradicated. We need to grow beyond all this. We all belong to each other on this beautiful planet we share. We are beyond boundary lines and colored shapes on a map.
We as a species have always seemed to thrive on war. Is it even possible for the human race not to have war? Will fate allow us the time it takes to evolve past this ultimately self-destructive inclination?
Is it even possible for us to evolve past this? Is it within the capabilities of humankind to not only see humanity as a whole but as a connected and thriving whole capable of almost limitless potential?
Can we even entertain this as a realistic outcome to our present manic state?
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
― Thomas A. Edison
I am reminded of the story of the Scorpion and the frog.
One fine spring morning a scorpion spied a frog at the edge of a stream. “Hello friend frog.” said the scorpion with a smile. “Could you please ferry me across to the other side of the stream?” At first the frog refused; bringing up the valid point that it feared the scorpion would sting it. After much sweet talk the scorpion convinces the frog it will not. “After all…” said the scorpion to the frog: “I cannot swim therefore if I sting you we shall surely both perish.” The frog finally consents and allows the scorpion to climb on its back. It proceeds to make the swim across the stream. Suddenly the scorpions stings the frog. “Why did you do that?!” asks the frog as they both sink below the surface. “It ismy nature”. The scorpion explains.
Isn’t it fortunate we are human beings and not scorpions or frogs? It is possible to evolve past our violent and self-destructive nature into something wondrous and incredible. We are a thinking, reasoning species and we do have the advantage over other animals because we can and do play a a major role in guiding our evolution.
We as a species are about to embark on a great challenge and opportunity. It can be an opportunity if we see it that way.
Must revolution always be wrought with bloody violence? Must it beat down the door and thrust a gun in one’s hands? Or may the revolution creep along quietly like a whisper, serenading sweet somethings into the collective consciousness of humanity beckoning “come closer”, ever so gently? Need a revolution be a destructive prospect? Should we automatically fear it?
Could it be that revolution is part of a natural growth process? In some circumstances could a revolution be a good thing, a wonderful thing?
Perhaps it is the duty of the next generation to challenge the ideas of the preceding ones, to stretch boundaries and reach just a little bit further.
As we traverse the present and head on straight for tomorrow what will we find there? Isn’t change constant and could we possibly encounter tiny revolutions at every step? Change happens whether we look for it or not, whether we even notice the change at all. Could we be amid a quiet revolution right now; at this very second and not quite realize it?
“A revolution is coming. A revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough. Compassionate if we care enough. Successful if we are fortunate enough–but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character. We cannot alter its inevitability.”
~Robert F. Kennedy
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
“Until they become conscious they will never rebel and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”
~Edward R. Murrow
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?” ― Dorothy Day
“Revolutions are not made ; they come. A revolution is as natural as an oak. It comes out of the past. It’s foundations are laid far back.”
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
― Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Here’s to taking life head on like a hurricane and seizing the damn thing and making it your own. My tiny revolutions start today.