I Get It!

DO FACTS MATTER?

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Facts can play a minimal role in major decisions. I’ve had the experience of being in a meeting with a number of people. When we discussed the meeting, after it was over, it was as if we attending different meetings. My analysis or summary of the content presented differed greatly from some of the others.

I’ve heard people repeating something I said, my only concern was, I didn’t say what they said I said. In some instances what they were saying I said was better than what I actually said. I wish I had said what they thought I said. I assure you I used it the next time I spoke on the same subject. As a public speaker I’ve learned what I’m saying is not as important as what people are hearing while I’m talking.

Making people think was once a noble endeavor. Now, it can be a risky business. Interrupting some people’s thoughts is viewed as an act of aggression. A peril that must be eliminated. Even if you can find good manners in public discourse you can’t trust them. Behind many smiles is a desire to kill you for your differences. I’ve never seen hatred bring about virtue. Stagnation is the result of holding onto fear. Decline is when we insist on someone, other than ourselves, being responsible for our discomfort. Forgiveness and maturity are threats to the chaos that some people feel entitled too.

HOW DO WE FORM OUR OPINIONS?

I think the core of America is reasonable, logical, and realistic. You can’t know that from strongly biased media outlets that sensationalize everyone but themselves. If you want to observe children playing and having fun your best chances are at playgrounds. The adolescent anchors and reporters on news organizations have a different kind of playlet where honesty, fairness, and neutrality seem to be forbidden or scarcely tolerated. Very little data provided from news organizations make it into my process of forming opinions. I need untainted information. A rarity indeed.

Candy-sticks and bandages drive hypersensitive positions. Traumatized people are often unsafe. They are different from vulnerable people who have been victimized. Victims want to recover and move on to better things. The traumatized are living in pain. Unable to get past it. Since they’re always injured their bandages become a part of their identities. When people don’t heal, their wounds can become weapons. They can turn on themselves or others. Sometimes both.

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On the other end of extremism are those addicted to licking their favorite lollipop. Their flavor of choice becomes all that matters in their world. They drive too fast. Weaving in and out of traffic. Endangering everyone on the highway. The rules of the road don’t apply to them. Red for stop, and yellow for caution, are unacceptable. Green for go is the only color that should have ever been allowed, in their opinion. Their belief in their right to pleasure supersedes the safety of others. They want what they want and if you dare to interfere with their agenda you had better sleep with one eye open. They take their entertainment way too serious.

Then we have those less inclined to put their opinions on display. Not wanting to see their values used for sport. This is not the do-nothing-crowd. Their existence is almost denied because they aren’t vocal. They are less punitive than those who have a taste for blood. But, don’t be fooled by their lack of impetuosity. They have a tolerance meter with a clearly marked line of “That Is Enough.” They may not be seen leading chants or carrying picket signs, but they are responsible for creating balance in a Nation that’s suffering through an identity crisis. When they decide to move our Nation gets a wake up call to the necessity of moderation.

CAN YOU BE A SAFE PLACE?

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I won’t use your weaknesses against you. I won’t use vitriol to promote my self-righteousness. I won’t beat you down to feel better about myself. I won’t abandon you to avoid being abandoned. I will stand up for myself when you defraud me but I will forgive you.  I predetermine to walk with you even if we don’t agree. I will use respect as a basis for dialogue. I ask for your patience as I workout my shortcomings. I offer my strengths as a comfort to be shared. I pledge to do these things because, I get it!

Power is only safe in the hands of those who know how not to abuse it. The only thing worse than voting for either presidential candidate is not voting at all. Doing what’s best for the Country requires a forfeiture of selfishness. Yeah! You have a right to be you. We all share the right to be ourselves. Do we know how to give our best to each other? Do we know what our best self looks like. Does being lawful ever make anything, automatically, expedient? Before I vote I ask myself, what does this mean for me, my grandchildren, and the person next to me?

 

I get the unrest. I get where everyone is coming from. In my opinion, the success of certain candidates this year is not an approval of their personalities so much as it is disapproval of our state of the union. People are fed up with corruption, hypocrisy, abuse of power, and the political class. Emotions are running high. Passions are elevated. The insanity of continuing to do the same things over and over again is fully represented as well. I pose the same question to you I ask myself;

DO YOU GET IT?

 

 

Feel The Burn!

Before Bernie Sanders requisitioned the phrase feel the burn for his campaign most people would’ve associated it with exercise. Those sadistic well-intentioned physical trainers could often be heard barking feel the burn as they try to get just a few more reps out of you. Promising that you are only now getting the benefit of your workout. Let’s give it up for those who push us in the right direction.

san miguel fire by Kevin on flickr

Image via flickr.com courtesy of Kevin

There are lots of ways to feel the burn. Relationships? Many invitations to feel the burn there. Many believe that relationships are the sandpaper of life. A way to smooth out selfishness. Embrace diversity. Perfect inclusion. Perhaps the opportunities for intimacy, oneness, and wholeness are the greater attributes of relationships. Since love covers a multitude of sins, imperfections, and shortcomings, the way we treat those who disappoint us may tell us more about ourselves than it does about them. For the sake of thoroughness, let’s not forget, some relationships have never done anything but cause us to feel the burn.  We all know what to do when disrespect is someone’s addiction.

These are interesting times if you look beyond the rhetoric permeating the atmosphere. Cultures are pressing their boundaries into expansion. Some areas of society are bound to grow from the pressure while others will simply pop like a balloon with too much air. Hate tends to run out of fuel. It doesn’t seem to ever evaporate it just hibernates until it finds emergence. People who are too stubborn to grow are feeling the burn of hyped-up immaturity and narrow-mindedness.  Their tantrums are loud enough to disguise their minority status. I’m empathetic toward this segment of the population that believes accountability is for everyone else but them. I can disagree with you without calling you names, demonizing you, or wishing a fatal disease on you.

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The “squeaky wheel gets the grease” philosophy has back-fired on us. Special Interests has become big business. One person in a family, who decides what they want is more important than what anyone else wants, creates havoc. The unity of shared things is replaced by competition. The natural flow of common good is disrupted. A Nation is an extended family. When any social class feels the burn of entitlement look for chaos to substitute teach.

Drinking “Jim Juice” is only possible when people swap principles for personalities. Money, power, and dominance has a shelf life. Ill gotten gain comes with an expiration date. Civility dives into decline whenever the I know what’s best for you crowd takes over the thinking for all of us. You have a false sense of security if you think you are safe because your position happens to be currently headlining. This is what I’ve observed in my sixty years; Liberals don’t know when to put up a fence. Conservatives don’t know when to take a fence down. And, Progressives don’t know what a fence is.

I have felt the burn in love, hate, success, and failure. I’ve gained and lost several lives. I’ve felt the burn of dissension and I’ve felt the burn of comradery.  I’ve been on the inside and I’ve been left out in the cold. I’ve been disillusioned and I’ve been surprised. I’ve lived long enough to know politics isn’t salvation and religion isn’t free of corruption. If I want things to be better it has to start with me.

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I feel the burn that’s ignited in nearly every segment of society. My concern isn’t that we will burn up. Or, that we will burn out. My anxiety comes from watching the fires of hopelessness burn within. It’s unnecessary in my mind. We have become so individualized that none of us can live on our small slice of the pie. We were never meant to become islands unto ourselves. It’s not too late to fan the flames of community. Show me that you love yourself and I will be able to believe you care about me. I feel the burn to be at peace with myself and my fellow-man.

How are you Feeling the Burn?

 

Days To Remember!

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On a lifespan of 70 years we start with approximately 25,500 days. That’s about 3,643 weeks. We all start off being dependent. Totally dependent on the graciousness of our caregivers. We are at the mercy of others for food, shelter, and hygiene. Assuming we live a full life, many of us end up right back at the same position. Needing others to provide for our daily needs.

With my mother spending the last two and a half years of her life in a nursing home, I became well acquainted with what the end of life looks like for many people. I was there everyday. Looking after her. Making sure she was properly cared for. Catching the many mistakes that get made with treatment and medications. Bringing her food that she liked. (hamburger, french fries, and a Dr. Pepper were a regular request)

More importantly, I never wanted her to feel abandoned, cast aside, or that she didn’t matter. She had a hard time being in a nursing home. I had a hard time with her being there too. We kept her home until she required 24 hour a day care. We just couldn’t do it anymore. There were precious moments during this time in our lives. I talked to mom about many things. Got insights into a few family secrets. Solved some generational mysteries. And, accepted there just aren’t any good answers to why some things happened.

We make choices in our lives. According to various sources on the internet we make about 35,000 choices a day. Conscious and unconscious. Many of us will make over 225 decisions about food in a single day. We all have our differences so this isn’t exact for each person. However, it’s safe to say, we are all making a lot of choices each and every day.

I found the candy aisle at the grocery store. It was the first time I was in this store having just moved to the city. I was well acquainted with the candy aisle in my previous store. As I walked down the aisle I noticed a man standing in front of the candy. He barely moved. He was searching desperately for the answer to his craving. I arrived, stood next to him, and joined the search. We quietly traded places so we could continue the search on the other side of each other. I said to him, there are too many choices. He replied, that’s

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Image via cwgoodroe on flickr.com

exactly right, as he grabbed a bag of candy. Walking away he stated, I always end up getting the same thing. It’s my favorite.

I continued a short search before grabbing the same candy I always get. Too many choices can defer to our default setting. Keeping us locked into patterns we may not want. Many of our daily decisions, things like what to wear today, have no long-term effects on us. Other decisions, such as marriage, can alter the very course of our lives. When I take the time to be thoughtful, authentic, and write out my choices it helps me minimize my options to the point where wisdom is more apparent.

Sitting with my mother day after day, I realized something was going on inside her. When she first suffered strokes there was a window of opportunity for her to regain much of her life. She didn’t want to do the work and refused therapy. Over time she declined beyond rehabilitation. Now, years later she wanted to do better. She wanted to help herself. She wanted to live but her quality of life was gone forever. I felt the sadness she was experiencing.

We will make decision after decision. Many times from auto-pilot. 25,500 days can go by before you know it. Whether it’s wardrobe or politics, we can find our true north by taking the time to be mindful. We can harmonize our purpose, passion, and power into serving our highest calling. We can gain momentum by slowing down the process of decision-making to be sure our energy fuels a deliberate trajectory. Scattered and unattached choices weaken the desire for resolve and reward.

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That candy aisle doesn’t fit my divine intention. In spite of how long we’ve been together I’ve had to make a decision about candy. There are defining moments in all of our lives. They becomes days to remember. Days to remember births a life not soon forgotten. You are worth strategic planning. Your life deserves the benefits of wisdom. You have the right to good decision-making. Even if you have days you prefer to forget don’t pass up the opportunity to create days to remember!

Do you have a system for making decisions?

 

 

What’s Important?

The Right Now                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Some say it’s living in the moment. Being present. Dismissing the past and being open to the future. Allowing the fullness of what is to run over and through you. I agree that you can miss wonderful parts of your

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Image via commons.wikimedia.org, courtesy of pampy 96

life by worrying about things you can’t change or things that haven’t happened yet. Mastering the technique of the here-and-now is an art form.

I was dating a girl years ago. She invited me to go to a concert with her and another couple. I had never been to a concert. I said yes. It was about an hours drive to the venue. At the last-minute I decided not to go. I wasn’t sure why. I had already paid for the ticket. I just had this feeling come over me. It wasn’t anything spooky or mysterious. Just a feeling of nah, I don’t want to go. On their drive home from the concert they were in an accident. Their car left the road, crashed into a tree and they were all killed.

While I have thought much about this over the years, and I have a couple of other similar stories to tell, I have never been able to declare the moral of the story. I do know that the now is the only aspect of your life you have any real power in. What we do in our now brings the past and future into alignment and cooperation with what is alive in us.

The Will                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 It’s an important document, A Will. Without it your intentions might not even be considered. The last thing you want to happen might be the very thing that happens when you are gone. Beyond the paper instructions left to deal with our assets we will leave behind some things much more important. Everyone will remember how we made them feel. How we make other people feel is the direct result of how we learn to feel about ourselves.

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Image via flickr.com, courtesy of BK

Legacy is a powerful motivator for those who think about such things. I want my legacy not to be a carefully crafted set of actions employed solely to keep my name in the public eye. I have visited many buildings that were named after someone and I haven’t given two seconds to thinking about who some of these people were. How they lived their lives. They might have a historical connection to me but I didn’t know them. Some powerful people with their names on buildings or memorials have turned out to be scoundrels.

What I will everyday, the intention I have to make the world less chaotic, dangerous, and threatening, is what’s important to me. I can’t change everything I don’t like. But I can demonstrate kindness, generosity, and a willingness to share. I can live my life believing in you and your dreams. I believe that our highs and lows, our wins and losses help to balance our individual and collective greatness. Our living will, attitude, beliefs, and actions, tell the real story of our lives.

Leave a comment about what’s important to you!

 

 

 

 

Too Much Fun To Be A Sacrifice!

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Image via commons.wikimedia.org, courtesy of asenat29

Giving is so natural for some of us. Many people have to work hard at thinking of others. Still, some people are very selective in choosing recipients for their generosity. For some it is business. I will give to you if you will give to me. The givers who give for the pleasure of giving are a brand worth studying. We will probably give something of ourselves to someone today. Will it be deliberate, instinctual, or totally random?

We’ve all heard, “When you’re wrapped up in yourself – you make for a small package.” Nothing expands us the way giving does. Having a piece of ourselves in others attaches us to an ever-increasing growth continuum. Everything you do and accomplish shows up as a personal investment payoff. My assets are growing with your success. Any contribution toward helping other people reach their dreams qualifies for dividend checks. Whether you are rewarded in public or private you will be compensated.

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Image via publicdomainpictures.net, courtesy of Piotr Siedecki

Giving with the intention of receiving isn’t good or bad by itself. If you think it’s more blessed to give than to receive and you develop that as a way to live your life you are banking on the recompense of your lifestyle. On the other hand, giving for some is manipulation. Even more severe are the relationships that create obligation by helping you out. I’ve helped you so you owe me. The bank is clear, I will loan you money and this is what I will charge you for doing so. Sometimes what people expect for what they are giving you isn’t so defined. How do we know who and what we are dealing with?

Finding people who give because they believe living generously is the best and only way for them to live is easiest when you are living that way yourself. I’m a natural giver. I learned to be a taker. I got over it. I’m back to my giving ways. I’m ambitious toward getting better at it. I have recently got acquainted with a guy, Kevin Knebl, who is so overwhelmingly generous that I’m stalking him. Hiding out in his shadow to just observe his kindness. He’s real, authentic, and most would consider a big-time name. He defies stereotype. He’s having too much fun for it to be considered a sacrifice. He’s a great reminder of how I will live the rest of my life.

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Image via pixabay.com, courtesy of inspiredimages

What does a generous life look like? Are you walking around handing out money all day long? Well, for someone who might be part of what they decide to do. For most of us it’s an attitude. A way of thinking and being. I’ve been testing my own commitment lately. I try to speak to everyone I pass. I acknowledge everyone I interact with. Looking them in the eyes. If they have a name tag I use their name in the exchange. I find something to give them. A compliment, an encouragement, anything to brighten their day. I’ve never felt this good.

It’s too much fun to be considered a sacrifice!!! 

Adventures in Marty! 18

new baby en.wikipedia.org

Image via en.wikipedia.org

The baby is cleaned up and presented to mother. Leelee received her precious offspring with the deepest possible affection. Alex had free-flowing tears as he reached out and touched his son on the head. He didn’t have the words to express his emotional transformation. He only knew it was definitive and permanent. From his core, he understood he could never go back. He would never be the same.

They couldn’t stop looking at their son. Taking in every detail of his tiny body. These are two proud parents. Deliberate parents. They are at this place in their lives on purpose. The past year has been an incredible journey. An awakening. An emergence of fate, destiny, and things meant to be. From conflicting positions, to this moment of unity, it feels better than they could ever have imagined. Not in their wildest dreams did either of them expect the exhilaration they are experiencing. Alex had baggage. Leelee had bark. Today they are a family. A beautiful family.

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Well Alex, what do I call this son of ours? Leelee begged. I want to name him Showman. Showman? she replies. I’ve never heard that name before. Neither have I he admitted. How did you come up with that name? she inquires. Our baby has shown us the way, Leelee. I know it’s God. But He chose to use this baby to show us the way to abundant life. To open the eyes of our hearts. To heal our emotions. To instruct us in the power of forgiveness. To make us aware of the ever present love that sustains us. I could go on and on, Leelee. I do believe you could, she added. For me, Leelee, this baby is a Showman. I love it, she said. Showman! it is.

I better go get the family, Alex said. Just as he turned toward the door he saw them all standing there with hungry eyes. Can we come in? they all whispered. Of course, he said. I was just coming to get you. They seemed to rush past him as if he was in the way. Crowding around the bed. The” Ooh’s and Aah’s” begin. What a celebration. There is no shortage of happy today. Grandparents are infatuated. Parents are elated. Showman is “Living the Dream.” He couldn’t of had a better introduction to the world. He had to be feeling the love that was all around him.

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Image via publicdomainpictures.net

The days ahead will be filled with joy, challenge, and thankfulness. This family is not aware, not yet anyway, of the tremendous changes they will experience. Their lives will be richer, fuller, and more fulfilling than any of them could have ever thought possible.

Showman is finally here. And he didn’t come alone!

 

Adventures in Marty will be taking a break! Thank you for following this story. Your support means a great deal to me. I will be posting other things. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Embarcadero!

We are loading up for the second move in three years. You have to be at least, a little nuts, adventurous, deeply in-love or motivated in some special way to engage in such risky behavior. We didn’t unpack all of our boxes from the last move. Now we are packing again. We decided to purge. So we unpacked the boxes we hadn’t unpacked to get rid of the things we hadn’t seen in two years. How did we ever live without these things?

We purged honestly. Had a nice yard sale. Made many trips to Goodwill. Chose to leave some things behind for the next guy. Decided a smaller truck will do. Colossal mistake. Evidently we’re not as honest with ourselves as we need to be. Truck is completely full, car is on the trailer and securely connected to the truck. Problem is, a third of our stuff is yet to be loaded. Many words made themselves available for employment. I chose wisely. Took deep breaths, reminded myself that I volunteered for this assignment.

My wife will have to drive the car so I can get an additional trailer to tow. It’s the 4th of July weekend. The entire country is moving. Everyone must be feeling their independence. Lost a whole day locating a trailer. Finally, made the swap for the auto transporter and trailer. We load up the additional stuff after some more donations to charity. We are a day and a half late on hitting the road, but let it be known, we aren’t the type to be put off by difficulty. At 9:15 at night, after working like fools all day, we head west. California bound. San Francisco here we come. Got a seven year old grand boy waiting for us. He’s clearly worth whatever it takes to get there.

I had promised to be there to spend the fourth of July with him. We had to push hard. My wife is a trooper; driving for hours alone in the car. Following a UHAUL truck halfway across the country. She had moved at my request many times over the years, this time though, was at her request. She made no complaints though I could see the price she was paying. She just wants to be near her kids and grandson. I owed her this move. It wasn’t like I had to be talked into it. I want to be near my grand boy more than anything.

We arrived safe and sound first thing Sunday Morning. Went to the storage, to unload all the things we just couldn’t live without, to discover a major kerfuffle. UHAUL has some “splaining to do.” Relying upon years of experience and utilizing my negotiating skills, we came to a resolution. I will pay for the first month of storage even-though my paperwork says it is free. My grand boy is literally ten minutes away waiting for us to get there. I have to get through this exercise quickly.

With the trailer unloaded we leave the truck and take the car to go pick-up our daughter and grandson. I can’t remember all the frustration. I’m not even thinking about what we have been through the last two weeks. I’m not feeling the effects of two fifteen hours days of driving. Or the misrepresentations we are yet to deal with. There is one thing on my mind. It’s not the famed Embarcadero of the San Francisco waterfront. It’s the one made up of a little boy, without a father, wanting to be with his Papa who knows what it’s like to be without a father. Now that’s an EMBARCADERO!!!!!