The End Game!

The Real Deal

None of us are likely to get out of this alive! The value of our lives certainly includes more than what we take…and finds us eternally attached to what we leave behind. In a time where personal expression is at an all-time premium, contributions to the greater good seem lost in translation.

The digital revolution has failed to connect us to the larger world and instead has made us more tribal. When we have to meet the criteria of sameness, to fit in, inclusion seems problematic. Deference is the thread that reveals our humanity.

Pain and suffering along with pleasure and euphoria shape the lens we look through…and sets the boundaries for the way we interpret life events. We want more or less of what we have already had.

If we haven’t changed a major position in our thinking in the last few years it might speak to the stagnation of our own growth. Speaking louder with increased emotion does not of itself indicate we have gained more clarity. I ask a simple question:

IS THE WORLD BETTER BECAUSE WE WERE IN IT?

Analytics

Self-evaluation offers the opportunity to legitimize authenticity. We are able to determine not only what we want but, why we want it. My desire to be “right” is not for dominance but rather for sharing. To actually cause more peace and harmony among my fellow sojourners.

As the push to make everyone identical increases in intensity I consider the loss of built-in beauty intentionally designed in our makeup. Life can be described as a floating mass of thoughts, unimportant until claimed. Once ownership of thoughts is harnessed an agenda gets established. Followers are secured when the cause is commercialized.

How we define ourselves is our path of destiny. Violence, force, and coercion are hopeless to bring us together. Blame lacks urgency and prevents us from being taken seriously. Heck, even we can’t take ourselves seriously when we know we aren’t being responsible for the attitudes we promote.

The Finished Product

Corruption is the thing we are all complicit in. Selfishness, greed, the compulsion to dominate still has no probability of making crooked systems straight. If we stay the course we are now on…what will change?

The deep-dive into the conflicts within offers the only hope for change we can believe in. The constructs of human frailty have sabotaged our highest potential. The need for less rhetoric and more substantive processes are in high demand. The killing of each other has never killed bad ideas.

As I get closer to the end of my life I’m more uncertain of the world my grandchildren will inherit than I was a decade ago. The atmosphere is charged with an uneasy, undetermined inevitability. As those who like to play god and those who like to hate god continue to duke-it-out in the streets I sense the denial of our best selves.

Only when we treat ourselves like we are someone we really care about will we be able to properly care for one another!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misordered Priority of Function!

Finding Meaning

When it comes to defining meaning, there are more paths to explore than can ever be recorded on a map. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of ideas, opinions, and admonitions. The extremes might best be expressed by tribes or isolation. The vast majority seem to quietly search for a connection to something larger than themselves.

In a broad sense, I’ve come to realize how religious people really are. It doesn’t take God, in fact, God can be fundamentally left out, and religion can be highly active. All we really need is some beliefs, an attitude, and a determination to express our crafted ideology as the one to be elevated above all others.

One definition of religion is a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. 

We all engage in an endless process of interpretation. Everything that happens in life gets a label, a definition, and gets wrapped in some measure of emotion. Pain and dissatisfaction most often provide the framework for our expressions and explanations to what we’ve experienced in our lives. Anger can drive our operational theology and can be a powerful motivator. We’re generally deeply troubled by the ever-so-present hypocrisy of imperfect human beings. The problem this creates is that we can fail to acknowledge our own hypocrisy.

The short answer to why there are so many religions is that religion is man-made.

Everyone thinks they are right. I’m reminded of the song For What Its Worth by Buffalo Springfield. Here are some of the lyrics:

There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side

I recommend listening to the complete lyrics as I think they represent a clear picture of what we are participating in today.

External Fantasies

What we take in is what we give out. Looking down the road to what lies ahead is an art undeveloped. Troubled minds are not relieved by instant gratification. When individuality is sustained by selfishness and self-centered appetites, it’s difficult to believe in a shared utopia.

Even our politics are upstream of culture. As hard as it is to swallow all externals are a reflection of what’s inside of each of us. It’s a fallacy to believe inner peace is possible by forcing our will on other people. Any honest critique of society at large can only draw the conclusion that the equality being promoted today is a shuffling of the deck at best.

Taking away injustice from one group to give it to another group can hardly be considered progress. The real work lies inside of each of us. Hatred does not possess the ability to perfect anything. As powerful as anger can be it has a shelf-life and will expire before virtue is obtained.

The Fine Print

The best thing that ever happened to me was a colossal failure. One that broke my own heart and turned my attention away from the wrongs I suffered and helped me see the wrongs I had done to myself and others. It opened me up to a spirituality that went beyond my limited understanding of what is possible. I went from seeing barriers that I perceived as hindrances to awakening to the law of unlimited potential.

My doctrines of rigid adherence evolved to guiding principles of empathy, patience, and a willingness to work with strong differences. I learned to accept my humanity, my imperfections, and my hypocrisy. The gifts I have to offer don’t extend from intellectual supremacy, religious dogma, or any claim to unique enlightenment.

While God is my foundation, I have transformed my faith. I have come to embrace love as the final frontier, the predetermined priority of my life. If my strategies and methods of life fall short of love, my legacy will represent a destiny drowned in almost.

I have no illusions that my mission involves ridding the earth of debauchery, immorality, or anything I think is undesirable. It doesn’t mean I don’t participate in the processes of common sense. What it does mean is that I don’t pretend to do what only God can do. And, I’m not confused about our significantly different roles.

The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness!

My understanding affords me the privilege of knowing that crimes against humanity, sexual deviance, or any controversial topic you may choose do not represent the farthest distance one can travel away from God. The farthest you can get from God is unforgiveness! If you don’t find forgiveness for others, you will not find it for yourself.

The priority of function calls each of us by name!

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The Power of Sufficiency!

Compassion

I came running from the backyard when I heard the magical tune of the ice cream truck. I darted into the house to ask grandma for the money to buy an ice cream. I panicked when she said she didn’t have the nickel it cost. I paused, standing in place as my hopes melted.

ice cream truck

Image courtesy of flickr.com

I was five or six years old on that warm summer day. I slowly walked outside as the truck drove past my house. We lived on a dead end street so I knew it had to come back past me. I stood at the edge where our sidewalk met the pavement. Pitiful as I could be, tears streaming down my face. The young man driving the truck evidently couldn’t take my distraught demeanor so he stopped and gave me an ice cream for free.

The next day I was playing away when I heard that same sound. I jumped off the tire swing leaped up on the porch and yanked on the screen door slamming it into the wall as it swung open. I ran into the house to find grandma. I didn’t have a good handle on economics. I didn’t understand that our finances hadn’t changed since yesterday. I gasped as the air completely departed my lungs.

Wait! I cried my way into an ice cream yesterday. Maybe I can do it again. I put on my sad sack formal wear and assumed my post. I watched in anticipation as the truck turned around at the end of our road. Here he comes…I got my beg on. He acted like he didn’t see me. I think he even stepped on the gas as he went by. I’ve never forgotten the feelings I experienced on both of those days.

We were poor and I hated everything it represented. I have so many memories of being left out because we couldn’t afford this or that. I think in my own naive way I vowed to overcome monetary depravity. I didn’t want to ever feel those feelings again.

A Backward Glance

I ventured out into the world unprepared to succeed. My father and three stepfathers did little to move my ball down the court. Leaving home at fifteen to escape the violence and hatred did little to increase my stature. Even though I left prematurely I didn’t get out before some significant damage was done.

I looked back only to remind myself to keep going. I wished things were different but, it didn’t take long to learn that wishful thinking wasn’t the mother of invention. I appreciated the free ice cream I got that day but I wanted to be able to pay for ice cream whenever I got the urge.

Steady As She Goes

When I got married and had a couple of kids my financial forecast was bleak at best. I wanted a family…the family I never had. I also wanted to give my kids a better life…a better childhood than I’d had. I didn’t have a very good plan or strategy to make a better life but, what I did have was the intention to do so.

perfect storm comons.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Shame is a terrible weight to carry and I was loaded with it. Before I knew what my issues were I added on layers of responsibilities. Life is full of good intentions that never get followed through on. I had the makings of a perfect storm.

I tried one thing after another. Seeking. Searching. Trying to make it all happen. Oftentimes my only fuel was the necessity of those depending on me. I simply had to keep going. There was so much I immediately improved. And, there were fierce repetitions from adolescence at work that I didn’t even know were there.

The refusal to give up eventually brought about opportunities. The kind of monumental moments that change your trajectory. Things began to work out that wasn’t connected to any well-planned scheme. They happened solely because I kept looking, pushing, believing I could make life worth living.

Never Give Up

Back in the 90’s I built a  multi-million dollar insurance agency. The residual income should have lasted me for the rest of my life. For a while, it looked like I had set us up for good. Through some mergers and shifty corporate shenanigans, it evaporated overnight. Gone with a thirty-day notice.

I don’t like to be violated, who does? I don’t know how to warm up to rejection. What I do know is that disappointment is never unemployed. It’s almost like some people feel it’s required of them to do you wrong and do so blaming you for their unacceptable behavior. I’ve had the bitter experience of disappointing myself more deeply than anyone else has. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

Callenge yourself Air Mobility Command

Image courtesy of Air Mobility Command

When you peer past the obvious there remains a subtle truth: If you made it once you can make it again! If you’ve yet to experience that one big break the only reason…the only reason you’re thinking about it is that it’s within you…within your reach.

In a world filled with corruption, polarization, and the hollowness of the world wide web we have a standing invitation to make things better for ourselves and those we come in contact with. The age of entitlement is half right. We are each entitled to our dreams and to what we can achieve. But, if we define success by what is given to us we can never be free. We cannot know what we are capable of and we will never know who we are.

I learned something about compassion the day that young man stopped and gave me an ice cream. I learned something even more important the very next day when he didn’t stop… when he didn’t even look my way, I learned the power of sufficiency!

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Finding The Perfect In Chaos!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked into the face of confusion. While I have my share of things that have worked out I, also have my share of things that didn’t go as planned. The ebb and flow of life can be fiercely independent. It’s difficult to talk reality out of being the reality.

Order choas

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

When I suffered a setback and had to deal with hardship, I used to look for someone to blame. The idea of my best efforts not producing desirable results left me dazed and confused. How could my good intentions not be rewarded? Why don’t people see the virtue I see in myself? I had a perception problem. We all have a lens. What we see when we look through our lens is based on our interpretation of life events.

I remember when I first noticed that my vision was changing. I made an appointment with the eye doctor and discovered I needed glasses. I had mixed feelings about wearing spectacles. I worried as to whether I would look professional or studious. Or, would I look like a nerd? I was only in my thirties. I wrestled with the idea of ending up with thickening lenses as my conditioned worsened over time. The fact was I needed help seeing. Deal with it, Rick!

What a metaphor for life. Sometimes we all need a little help with our perception. I learned in my Behavioral Analyst Training that people fall into two predominant categories; we either see the world as friendly or unfriendly. And, we base much of our attitude on one of these notions. Either premise contributes heavily to how we exist and relate to the world.

I discovered that I could drive or draw people and things away or into my life depending on how I was seeing and interpreting the world around me. In my work with people, I have seen this principle perform with precision. Things don’t happen to us; they happen for us.

Clarity jon wiley flickr

Image courtesy of Jon Wiley via flickr.com

 

A client who had married multiple times thought she was simply “bad in love.” The truth is much less mysterious. She was looking for someone to complete her. What she attracted were men who were looking for someone to complete them. We get out of life what we are in life. If we don’t like the fruit, we have to look at the root!

We will be a part the pollution or, part of the solution. When patterns emerge, there is only one place to find a remedy, inside ourselves! That’s not a bad gig. Just think about it. You’re readily accessible, very familiar, and worthy of transformation. We actually deserve a rich and rewarding life filled with good things and relationships.

I know it’s not always easy to forgive…especially ourselves. Letting go is a form of letting grow. While it would be nice to be able to erase moments of failure and disappointment it’s just not practical. What is possible is to learn and embrace the lesson.

Confusion can be a door opener or a door closer. Life is a delicate balance of tension with a yin and a yang. Can anything be more perfect than to experience it all? I think mastery evolves out of finding the perfect in the chaos.

 

What’s your strategy for moving forward?

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MATTERS OF FACT!

Love, as a necessary construct is missing. When I observe society and consider our present state of affairs I find that many of our social ills are the direct result of a lack of love. Our politics and policies would look very different if we insisted on compassion and empathy as the framework for governance.

Liberals and conservatives occupy the landscape like they are the only choices we have available. These two predominant points of view, in their present makeup, fail to accurately present the growing concerns of the vast majority of our population. As awareness, of the deep departure from the principles of our founding, matures, more and more people are wanting to return to our roots.

As diversity is touted as the pinnacle of enlightenment we discover that “political correctness” has only camouflaged the corruption of special interests. Back-room deals, constitutional ignorance, and an out of control elite class has run our country off course. There’s a rising mandate to recover from years of dysfunction and abuse of power.

We’re living in an echo chamber where we have been trading deficits with imaginary progress. We have sliced and diced our way into divisions and clicks that can only be described as mass detachment from reality. We have erected totems that represent attitudes of self-centeredness and selfish thinking that epitomizes the worst of humanity. For all of our accumulated knowledge, we lack the basic restraints needed for recognizing the unalienable rights of every living person.

It’s time to … 

I’m not inviting or encouraging nullifying any genuine progress that is universally beneficial, without violation, and non-threatening. I am advocating for authentic and transparent leadership, accountability to our oaths, and a willingness to respect our principles as we heal ourselves from the wounds of manipulation. I’m promoting personal responsibility as the means to charter chaotic waters. I’m saying we have not yet found our best selves.

The acknowledgment that what we’re doing isn’t working as a society is the beginning of our rebirth. What lies ahead is alterable. Personalities that provide lip service and false promises are losing their grip on our people. More and more rhetoric is being dissected and schemes to strip us of our power is being uncovered. A return to love affords us the opportunities we need to correct our path.

I’m excited and filled with hope for the future before us. I believe in our ability to regain our destiny. As we face our challenges we do so with the determination that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is still a possibility for all of us. We have a lot of work to do but, the work has already begun. Let us not grow weary in the worthy endeavor of triumphing over times of prevailing corruption.

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THE MISSING INGREDIENT!

Extremism has taken over our world. The absence of love has allowed for chaos and corruption to rule in nearly every segment of society. We often treat each other with a disregard for the inherent value we all share. Life is sacred and must be respected and valued for the virtue awarded to each of us by just being here, alive on the planet.

Competition has become the distracter to the greater challenge of learning to love. We have lost our ability to dialogue and substituted monologue in its place. Our differences are not things to fear. Rather, it affords us an opportunity to discuss the many challenges we face and explain why we think what we think. We aren’t likely to agree on every issue. But, we should relish the chance to offer the reasons for things we hold in high regard.

Extremism acts as a religion whereby we use politics to gain an advantage over others. Our Republic was carefully crafted to ensure the protection of our individual rights. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The erosion of these rights has evolved with a fierce and violent infringement. While many have sought to redefine love as only being applicable to a select group of our choosing, we have accepted the stupor of living insensibly. If any has lost recognition as being inherently valuable we have all lost. I contend that love, for ourselves and one another, is the way for each of us to move forward! Love pixabay

Love is the mark we can’t afford to miss. It is the only blueprint that makes inclusion possible, and the only means of avoiding discrimination. Our challenges are unique opportunities to bring the best out of ourselves. When we refuse to see one another as problems and see the sacredness we each possess we take significant steps to make the world a better place.

Love is the missing ingredient!

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THE MOST DEPENDABLE LIFE-HACK YOU CAN FIND!

The sun was shining and I owned the day. It seemed like it had been months since the rays of life broke through the relentless overcast sky. Gloomy disappeared behind the victory of my solar-powered personality. This is how I live my best life.

DISTRACTIONS

I’ve been ready to take my big screen TV and toss it out the window. The barrage of negativity often wears thin on my brow. I’m developing lines of despair on my forehead. Isn’t there any good news to report? Can’t we find something positive to talk about? It’s not the challenges we face that discourages me, it’s the non-stop hate that gets distributed like perishables with an expiration date.

distract

Image courtesy of flickr.com

 

Gotcha! seems like a job requirement. He said this… she tweeted that… they did this back in 1807. The pride in which garbage is shuffled from one program to another leaves the mind looking for an exit. I hate to be the bearer of critical thinking but identifying human beings as human beings is not a feat of excellence. The most uneducated and inexperienced among us can find success in this arena.

FALSE PRODUCTION

Diversity as the pinnacle of enlightenment is failing the test of nobility. Special interests, which is usually code for corruption, is a flagrant activity without progress. If the best that we can do is replace an excluded group by creating another excluded group… defending the rights of the less fortunate by violating the rights of those you decide are too fortunate is not progress. It’s rearranging deficits and nothing more.

If we are against hate we cannot use hate… not even against those we believe are haters. How can this be such a mystery? If we want inclusion we cannot use exclusion to achieve it. If we demand free speech we cannot protest speakers. What we stand against, obviously, does not explain what we stand for.

I stand for equality, liberty, and justice for all. I want to stand beside you if these things are important to you too. But, if you become the thing(s) you are protesting you force me to step away from you. Against my deepest desire, I might add. To demand respect by being disrespectful doesn’t work. Civility is the best evidence of mutual respect. A lack of civility is the best evidence of manipulation… the attempt to inflict your will on others.

For others

Image courtesy of crazymessybeautiful.com

 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

I’m under no illusions about how dangerous our world is or the necessity to defend ourselves from outside forces who wish to annihilate America. Terrorism, in my opinion, is not our greatest threat. What we are doing to ourselves is the thing that has my attention. Manufactured and synthetic fear has brought about a level of self-centeredness that has loosed a self-righteousness used to justify widespread vitriol.

A recognition of the inherent value in every human life is the proper response to the prevailing chaos. This is our highest intention. The religion of political correctness has backfired because at its very core is the denial of choice; the most fundamental right of every human being.

Our liberal and conservative agendas have shaken our foundations because both platforms have occupied sacred space as though we have no other options. Politics must be policed as any other institution. We have temporarily lost our way. We can hack our way back to well-being if we will commit to love as the center of all we demand.

Love remains the supreme weapon to destroy our emptiness and restore our collective reverence for sharing life!

Tell me what you think!

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