Repost – The Price of Being Right…But first an Announcement

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Shameless self promotion time! My new book is available on Amazon.com. I’ve been so busy getting it ready that I didn’t take time to polish a blog for today. Next week I will be ready!

The Price of Being Right

When I think about my beliefs on how society functions and what I would like our world to look like, I get this wish to make it happen. Visionaries in our society have often been glorified and sometimes rightfully so. I think of Martin Luther and Mother Teresa, who have freed many from the bondage of religious beliefs. There is a balancing act. Churches exist to help the needy. To give strength to the weak. To feed the poor. Somewhere in the process they become the cripplers, the takers, and the tyrants.

I was speculating recently about my perfect society. The one where we all live together in harmony. The one where goods are shared, and all are fed. All are honored. Can’t we all just get along?

Mother-Teresa-collage

I was curious about my hopes for society, how they compared to earlier beliefs and social systems. Marxism was one that stood out to me. And that is disappointing to me since the results were nowhere near what I had dreamed. The dreamer in me, that blonde-haired idealist, wants peace, but so much more. I want children to grow up strong and whole. I want parents to have what they need to raise those children. I want teachers to have tools to teach and children to have the access to learning. I love growth.

 

It’s not peace I want, not mere contentment. It’s boundless joy and ecstasy for me. -Kugell

Before we all start singing ‘round the campfire and holding hands, fan away the smoke from your eyes. Here is my issue. Yes, I want these things. What I don’t want is another Stalin or Jim Jones. So for a reality check, I have to take a step back. What makes a monster like Hitler? What causes a leader to brainwash his followers? They are RIGHT! They have The Truth.

Leaders take note. If you are headstrong and charismatic, people will follow, regardless of any truth or you even having the people’s best interest in mind. I find this sad. There are many helpful people in our world. These helpful folks don’t have the charisma that David Koresh had. Therefore, people aren’t listening en masse. Does this devalue their truth? No. I think our issue is more that we want a Messiah. We need our white horse riding, strong-armed warrior. We want and crave a leader who is elegant and fierce. And why?

Why do we crave a hero? For the same reason social systems such as Marxism swerve away from their origin. Social Equality is a great idea. There are those who could work with each other and make a village style society work. On the other side of that argument, people are afraid without guidance. Not everyone has grown up. Many still believe that we need a church or a government instructing us, or else we would end up in chaos and violence. Possibly, they are right.

So my point is, I don’t wish to push my ideal society or my ideal lifestyle on anyone. The price of being right is tyranny. It’s Jim Jones and his mass suicides. The truth is never forceful. Love is kind and patient. It doesn’t need to use charismatic persuasion to make you believe. And it refuses to allow others to follow blindly.

If there is no savior what will we do? The end of the world didn’t come. The pot of gold was not where we thought it should be. Now we stumble along until enough people wake up. When enough wake up and realize that maybe it’s time we take care of ourselves, then it’s possible we can discuss this around the table. Then we can treat each other with the respect we all deserve. We are all equals. No one man or one government is RIGHT. Not even ourselves. It’s very tempting to believe that an angel on high gave us the answers, but what made us so special? Isn’t that the beginning of madness? My next question would be, why do I need to feel that special?

The Borders and Two Flags

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week we filled the sky with waving flags, but it isn’t until next week that my country celebrates its independence from British rule. This week had its own colors and controversies, as many have noticed.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it once again. As a child, I’d walk naively, without the knowledge of borders, not understanding the concept of North side and West side. It’s only as adults that we learn where we supposedly belong or don’t belong. I’d walk inside and outside with a large mirror in my arms, facing upwards so I could only see the ceiling. I liked the openness, the uncluttered feeling. There are moments that I still feel the wild child inside of me stir. She gets restless and wants to run and be free, hating the constraints of the 9 to 5, the should of the day-to-day life. Living in this society means coming to terms with the borders and the rules placed by civilization, but it doesn’t mean being completely tamed. We are never meant to be slaves.

I believe human conventions, pre-conceived notions, religion and the world’s cacophony do not stifle creativity, neither should they. Rather they serve as breaking ground manifestations of the limitless parlay of ideas floating the grand mass called ‘space.’- CL Ngwe-Nwi  A Multi-faceted Creative from her About me page

Life is untamable. Life is wild. Unpredictable. There are no permanent borders. No true boundaries. We try so hard to put up fences. To keep out the bad guys. To grasp on to what we love. But it’s not possible. Somewhere in there is righteous reasoning, but if we aren’t careful, we become like the zealots who kill everything good. We kill instead of healing. There’s a line that get’s crossed, and it has nothing to do with a flag or a country. It has no heritage involved. There are no lasting borders, only love and hate. No flag representing a heritage of shame should fly. Put it in a museum with the other items of shame. But let’s not wave our dirty laundry on the top of a flag pole for all the world to see. Please, America. Let’s have some modesty.

I stumbled upon this ladies writing this week and found her post intriguing. Check her out if you can. http://www.quietrev.com/portraits/gina-stroud/

A Child is Always a Child

Father carrying sleeping son

When I was raising my children, there was a standard trend to treat children as individuals. It was a part of the growing psychology of the day. It was the trend.

Every generation, every social movement has its experts such as, Benjamin Spock, James Dobson, PhD. or Robert Myers, PhD. The cultural meme flows as if it were a living thing. Maybe it is. Maybe instead of flowing, it vibrates as the music of the generation beats through our bones. Pulsating like the jazz of the 1920’s or the hip thrusting music of Elvis in the 1950’s. Once children were born to a family as if they were slaves. The more children in a family, the more wealthy you were. Now there are countries that are needing families to procreate, such as Denmark.

Do it for Denmark! 

Have children changed? No. Babies still form the same way as before. They cry when their hungry or tired. They grow up and develop just about the same as they have for 100,000 years or so. So what’s the deal? Why do we fuss so much about pre-K and special formulas?

There are two things that impress me the most in mankind’s progress. The first is the lowering of disease and mortality, which includes childbirth. Think of how precarious it was for a woman to give birth even just a hundred to two hundred years ago. The second is the increase in brain size which happened a lot further back. And there are certain things that we have learned that have made an enormous impact, such as the need for touching and talking to your child. And how important it is to their neural growth. This isn’t instinctual in mothers by the way. These are things that are taught from one mother to another.

Babies are still babies, but as parents I think we’ve come a long way. As a society and as humans we have a lot further still to go. Someday we might discover the virus that spreads this disease of war and be able to immunize our children at birth.

Word of mouse – Seth Godin

Every fast-growing social movement, non-profit and brand of the last decade has grown because people have chosen to talk.

Not shelving allowances, coupons, A/B testing, Super Bowl ads, dancing tube men or Formula One sponsorships. Each can be a productive tool, but at the heart of real growth is a simple idea:

People decide to tell other people.

Start with that.

And I’ll Say It Again, In All Humility

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Here is an updated version of an earlier post

In All Humility and Arrogance, I Say….

SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

I used to be foolish and believe what people told me. I do hope I have grown past that by now. Other’s have said that they could look people in the eye and tell what type of person someone is. I don’t have that gift I guess. All I see are blue or green and if they have cataracts. For me, that is like looking under the hood of my car. I can stare all day at the oil dipstick and the battery cable, but I can’t tell a darn thing about the vehicle and why it won’t start.

Show Me

My way goes back to SHOW me who you are. Yes, people can fake it, but not for long. Something of who the real person is will leak out. I had an incident happen this week that reminded me of this. I was having a conversation with someone, and they had said something but meant another, like “I went to Paris” when they meant to say “I went to France.” I was no big deal, but she was shocked, believing she SAID what she had THOUGHT because obviously her brain doesn’t get her words mixed up. At that moment, I received a very clear picture of that person. Here is a person who never faults herself. It’s not so much that she doesn’t think she is capable of error, more that she couldn’t see it.

Do you know the time when you got that car, maybe the blue one because not too many people had a blue car and especially not the brand that you had? Then suddenly you see blue cars everywhere. You COULDN’T see them before, but now they are everywhere. In that way, SHE couldn’t SEE that she could make an error and didn’t take it into consideration. In her thinking, we heard her wrong. Hmmm, all 5 of us. Blindspots.

Arrogance and Humility

In my eyes, this is the difference between arrogance and humility. The arrogant cannot see the flaws in their judgement. Their opinion is correct because their opinion is all they see. To contrast, there are those with humility. And to that extreme there are the self-abasing humble people who need to see themselves as well as others. These are the ones who have been long considered low on self-esteem and self-conscious. Psychologist have been telling them they have a flaw, and God knows that they are aware of this, and they cringe. They want to hide. They see their flaws and are very aware that of the errors of their ways.

It’s time for some moderation. It is good be kind to others but remember the arrogant ones will never see you except to use you as an example or an icon to prove their “rightness.” You had best move out of their way and shut your doors. The arrogant won’t read this, so I’m not talking to them because they know more than me anyway. So to the humble I say, be good to yourself today. Show yourself some love and lock your doors.

For Sheila, My Cousin, My Friend

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This post is a short glimpse into a friend’s life.  She was much than this. It’s my attempt to say goodbye to my friend who we lost this last week in a car accident. She will be greatly missed. — Janet

When you’re ten-years-old, life is simple. Everyone around you is an uncle, an aunt, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, or a cousin. Other than a family member, you are a stranger until you become a friend or a neighbor.

I grew up in a small town. And that small town raised me. Collinsville had only a population of 3,009 by the time that I was ten, by the time that Sheila and I decided to figure out if we were just friends or if we were family now. It was about bonding. It was about how we mattered to each other. And it was important. Who wants to be just a neighbor when they can be a friend? Or a cousin? Only friends and cousins can do sleep-overs or know secrets.

We were at Sheila’s house. We attended school together since forever but something was different. My brother was dating her cousin. I’m not certain of the relations, but at the time we were solemn about this. We had to be cousins, she had decided. We must be cousins. We discussed it around and around and looked at it from both sides of the family tree. Surely we were cousins if my brother married her cousin. It made perfect sense to our 10-year-old minds.

Hours went by and running out of time, we decided that maybe it didn’t matter. That just maybe we’re all cousins or sisters because God was our father. From then on we were friends and family. I remember several times afterward calling out to each other, “Hello cousin.”

Thank you, Sheila, for being my friend and for being a friend to so many. You gave so much love while you were with us. You were the expressed image of friendship and family. Open arms and a warm heart. You are missing from us today.

My Salute to the Restless

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Should we discuss IQ? It seems to be a sensitive subject to some. A while back, during a casual chat on social media, I got into a discussion about intelligence. Bad move on my part. No cookies for me! A teacher mentioned that she noticed her lower IQ’d students sat quietly and didn’t run around crazily like the higher IQ students. Exit Janet from the scene.

Sitting still is not a quality that I either encourage or discourage. Sitting still is not the goal. It has its moments. To do it for me, yes. I learn and listen in silence. In stillness, I can go inside and find the truth I need. It gives the moment to think about what I want to do for the day, to plan, to daydream, to think even about where something went wrong in the past. Where did I get off track? What did I really want? Can I fix it? Should I fix it?

I never was a popular kid in class. 

– Nathan Myhrvold

At some point, I have to end these Facebook debates because Facebook is not the place, and hijacking a friend’s post to make a point is just plain rude. I can grandstand and soapbox here, on my blog, all day long. And if it bores anyone they can move on. It’s fair that way.

I raise my glass to the restless ones. To those that can’t sit still. What keeps them going? Money? Guts? Audacity? What keeps you going? Here are a few of my favorites, but there are so many more inspiring people, restless people. Please leave yours in the comments. I’d love to hear who you think should be honored.

31 Most Inspiring Women – Women Who Changed the World

Quite honestly I’d love for someone to stroke my ego all day and listen to me spout my poetry or listen to me boast. If I was never booed or hissed or disagreed with, I might think I was the most brilliant orator in the world. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Living With Brothers, if all the people in the audience were mothers, we would never come to the truth of ourselves. The real world teaches us that our breath stinks sometimes and that we have to speak up to be heard. We also learn that if we want something desperately enough then we might have to elbow our way to the front. No one in their right mind is going to pay you for something they can get free.

Make the Most of Life – Click Here  

Quit

I Can't Quit You Baby

I Can’t Quit You Baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming?  We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium
The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

We Need to be Lost to Find Ourselves – YOUTUBE

Slowing Down to a Human Crawl

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How much does it cost to feel well? What are you willing to give up to be free of pain? We know that healthcare doesn’t come cheap. Vitamins are expensive. Organic food is a bit extra so we weight the cost. Is it worth it for us? What about the medicine we take? That’s been my dilemma. But not so much about the cost. The medicine I’m taking, Topamax, helps prevent migraines. It’s also been helping in preventing my neck pain. The side effect for me is tiredness, fatigue. With each increase in dosage comes a bit of slowing down. So, my cost/ratio question is, how much pain prevention is it worth for me? How much slowing down can I adapt to?

All glory comes from daring to begin.

John Brown, a poem by Eugene Fitch Ware.

For a while I didn’t know if I was going to make it each time my doctor kept saying, we’re going to try upping your medication. But on the flip side, I didn’t know if I was going to make it with the fire-like pain that was radiating up the nerves in my neck and my skull. I trudged and braced myself, hoping I could make it through another day, then the week. Sometimes there was a reprieve. Until now. I’ve had a full month without headaches. That’s darn good. Freakin’ amazing! It’s been close to 9 months since this process started and now I finally see the progress. The slowing down is worth it.

We live and change

This article though is a little disturbing to me. The trend towards constantly rewarding our happiness button, or shortening our attention span a bit more, is increasing instead of decreasing. I think we’d be happier as a species relaxing our attention and letting go, but that’s just me. Check out the article if you wish here, What would you pay to be happy? The Guardian.

…the poet Guillaume Apollinaire: “Now and then,” he advised, “it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” That’s worth a T-shirt.

William Davies’s The Happiness Industry, from the above article.

 

Yoga challenge – Can you be still? A Sequence To Challenge Distractions.

 

 

Living With Brothers

Black and white portrait of three children

I never wished for sisters. It’s not something I really thought about. Maybe that’s how we all are. We only know what we know and don’t know anything else. I played with dolls. I wore dresses with ribbons and flowers. I was mostly a normal girl. The main difference that I noticed growing up with brothers was that there was no codling. Moms do that sort of thing, cushion you. Brothers don’t. Brothers roughhouse. They wrestle. We fed the animals. I tried to help them work on cars.

Resilience

My brothers taught me take up for myself. They taught me how to be an individual. I learned to change my bike tire and how to fix a flat. I learned from watching my oldest brother that manners were important, things like saying, thank you and please were expected. I learned from my middle brother that it’s okay sometimes to do things yourself if you need to, because people won’t always do it the way you want, or won’t always listen to you. I learned to be who you are even in the face of resistance.

I did wish at times I could live closer to my cousins. I missed the times we all got together and played hide and seek in the trees in front of their house. Late at night, when the lightning bugs were out and the grownups drank their coffee, it all seemed magical. We played for hours. During the day we’d play basketball or go fishing in the pond. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m reading.

Thinking we had to talk to connect, I asked her if she’d rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. Betsy sat up, dangled her feet off the dock, and said she’d rather swim in the ocean. She grew up going to Florida with her cousins and they’d spend the entire day playing in the waves, poking jellyfish with sticks and eating peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwiches with sand in them. She and her cousins would lie in bed at night and giggle because they could feel their bodies lifting and falling as though they were still in the waves. Those were some of the greatest days of her life. She asked whether I would rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. I said I’d rather swim in a lake. “Why?” she asked. I said in a lake you didn’t have to deal with the jellyfish and the seaweed and the sharks and whatever else. Betsy thought about that for a moment then reminded me that trying not to get stung by a jellyfish was part of the adventure. Betsy ran her fingers through my hair and kissed me on the forehead. I told her I’d put some jellyfish in the pond if she wanted me to. “It’s worth it to get stung by a jellyfish every once in a while,” Betsy said. “For the occasional sting, you get to go to sleep feeling the waves and you get to giggle with your cousins.” – Scary Close by Donald Miller

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

Take a Breath

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I’m sure that as this week went by you remembered to get plenty of rest. You took your vitamins and drank enough fluids to stay hydrated. Of course, to me the most important – did you take time for your mind to reset to its normal speed? For myself, I like the analogy of the vinyl, is your speed a 45 or 78? As a sidenote, most of our podcasts are running at 1.5 times their normal speed. So for those that feel life is rushing by a little faster, it might just be.

I hope that you are, because I’m challenged in these areas. I’m handicapped, if you’ll forgive me for misusing the term. I grew up thinking that if you ate your vegetables, you could have your dessert. It’s the reward system. I even believed that if you saved your money, it would still be there waiting for you when you needed it. And of course we believed these things, because even our Grimms’ Fairy Tales had been edited for children’s innocent ears. If I sound a little down, it’s okay, I’ll take a nap and be fine in a bit. Sundays are good for that.

This week I must take care of myself first, as in, put on my own oxygen mask first. Yeah, I have to remember this because it’s important. More important than jobs, money, houses, cars, spouses or even other people.

“You are your best thing”

Toni Morrison, Beloved

The Straight Dope: Why are Record Speeds 33 45 and 78?

Speed – Radiolab Podcast

‘Lord of the Flies’ comes to Baltimore – CNN