Change?

Happy New Year everyone! May it be much brighter for all of us as a whole.

 

Is this the year where the norm of status quo will change, or will it be more of the same?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This quote by the Amazing Grace Hopper is a powerful reminder of how these words have shut down so much opportunity, simply because those who utter them refuse to see past the comfort and ease of status quo. It helps that the lady who uttered them was a computer scientist helping to push the envelope of programming during its infancy, as well as a Rear Admiral in the US Navy.

Well, we are indeed moving further into a time of profound change, or so many people like myself believe. Whether it is for good or bad depends on who the people leading the charge for change are, and what they manage to accomplish. Last year felt painful to many of us, possibly because those in charge kept uttering those words as though they were gospel. Well, many of those people are no longer at the forefront of society, simply because the quote above does ring true for far too many.

Change should always take into account the full history of what it’s impacting, to see if it is really necessary. 2016 was the year that proved to us that much of society and its institutions are not as they need to be to meet a positive future for mankind and the planet Earth.

What do you think? Can we make changes in the foundations of mankind so that a much better outcome for all can happen in 2017? Or will it be a continuation of the pain from 2016. Yes, it’s up to each and every one of us to take a step in a different direction so that we don’t always keep hoping that things will be different though we keep taking the same actions.

Fingers crossed, cuddle a rabbit to touch his feet (and keep it firmly attached so that he or she can continue to hop about happily), find a four-leaf clover that hasn’t mutated from some weird chemical we’re using…whatever it takes to get some luck to pull us up the cliff we are falling over.

btw…this is not a pessimistic thought, but the most positive of hopes. Don’t wait for others to change, but start the process for yourself. I am working at just that myself.

Things have not always been done this way. They’re just things that we’re used to doing without deep thought. Change? It might be just what the future of us as a whole wished for.

…just saying

 

Thanks again Reddit for sharing at the most perfect of times.

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In Memorium…

A Worthy Opponent (courtesy of gargantuan18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battles are always hard fought, but rarely do the victors choose to respect the fight at the end. Well, it’s clear that gargantuan18 understands the good fight and how to celebrate a worthy opponent. So, he gives you the Rat Memorial from the seemingly endless Eggy Battle of 2016. And who doesn’t like a tasty egg? Clearly, both of them do love those eggs – scrambled or otherwise.

After a year full of battles that we all have fought, lost (or won if you were lucky) or even observed from afar, it seemed like a fitting way to end this year by share how true honor is shown. Not the disrespect that we all have experienced by being on the losing side, but the worthy respect for the ultimate battle of wills. And understanding the need for a good sense of humor when the going gets tough.

If only those in critical roles could learn this lesson as well. Otherrwise, 2017 is going to be way more bumpy than 2016 (hopefully, not as fiery as this one). At least Reddit is always available to share these stories.

…just saying

 

Happy holidays to everyone!!!

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Do Unto Others

We may not realize that the decisions we make are wrong until it’s too late. It’s in our nature…

Bull Moose battle frozen in time (credit: Jeff Erickson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taught certain truths from our earliest moments by those who come before us. One of those truths is to do unto others as they would do unto you. Whether you follow a religion closely or not, this motto should be familiar to you. Its message is pretty hard to question once you’ve lived the results for yourself.

Love begets love, and hatred begets more hatred. It is a rare person who can reciprocate with the opposite if they understand the aforementioned motto. There are variations to this motto, but the underlying understanding is the same: expect to get back what you give out.

The world at large is going through another cycle of hatred (or maybe it just woke up again), partially caused by fear and also caused by selfishness. It’s hard to see that light will diminish the shadows once darkness has thickened.

Light can only penetrate dark if it has help, whether by chopping down that which blocks the light or holding a light up against the darkness. Both actions hold merit depending on what the darkness throws out and who receives the message. We always hope that we’ll be the bigger person and let love win, but sometimes even love cannot overcome hate or fear.

Yin and Yang are the opposite sides to life, and they need one another to exist. There will be people who bring forth love, but there will be more who cannot fight their natural instincts. If nature’s battles, like the bull moose fight found in Alaska by Jeff Erickson, prove that it is hard to overcome inner instincts, then we’ll also follow similar paths ourselves.

The only difference is that human’s actions are typically supported by thoughts that show purity or impurity. Not of truth, but of intentions. And that’s where Do Unto Others takes on importance, because your words and actions carry consequences. It won’t matter where you stand in life. What you send out will come back to you. Your pretty words of denial won’t stop those collective reactions, because you failed the basic test of understanding. You either see other points of view or you don’t. Or you simply don’t care…

If you show that you don’t care about others, why would you expect them to care for you?

Like the Bull Moose, your fate resides in whether you see a future for all or just your own. If it’s the latter, then don’t be surprised at what you get back.

…just saying

 

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Honor

We cherish it as much as we seek it. It’s integral to our standing in the world. It’s fundamental for the actions we take. And yet, honor is often misunderstood by its very existence. Why do we seek honor? Is it for ourselves or is it for others?

Our ancestors are honored for their sacrifices and their teachings. Things that we use when convenient for our own purposes. Is a flag honorable? Is a medal worthwhile to uphold? Is a place so important as to override its very reason of being? What happens when the actions behind them are not honorable, even if the results are? Why should we defer to society’s criteria of honor, if they are not our own?

The Remembered of Georgia National Cemetery (courtesy of freestockphotos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All living creatures, of humans are but a small part of the whole, hold memories of their cherished ones close to their hearts. And sometimes they seek to find a place of remembrance that will resonate, not only for themselves but for others.

But why do we remember them? Why do we honor them? Is it their sacrifices, or should it be about who they were? Not as in community standing, but in how they treated others. What they held as the most important part of who they were to themselves. What motivated their actions, passions, and respect. Were they able to maintain that honorable strain when it counted most?

It’s evident that honor holds a different place depending on how we are raised, and what we hold as most important. And in many cases, the honor is completely separate from what institutions and nations hold in high esteem.

The heart holds the key to what drives our honor. Each of us has different motivations for respect. Yet most forget that respect is earned, and not just to be expected. To be old doesn’t always garner respect, if the years spent cannot be held up to the light. To be in charge cannot guarantee loyalty, if that very leadership is not driven by the care for all under their command equally and lovingly. To be  honored is more than simply ticking off a checklist that society deems as the standards to uphold. As it should be!

Honor is about having an example in your heart that pushes you to be your best for yourself and for others. It is not about achievements and awards, and certainly not about legacies. If those are what you hold dear, then you are clearly not understanding the human experience as it’s meant to be lived.

Your past endeavors cannot reflect what is in your heart as most important. They are simply results of actions, intentional or not, that may have brought you accolades. All of the trophies and certificates are simply for show to appease your ego. Your ego is the window to your soul that others see. Whether it is an ugly representation or one worthy of honor is up to each individual you encounter.

You can’t make others like or respect you, because that is something that only they can give you of their own free will. All of the posturing from every person around you won’t shake the truth that you know and feel deep in your gut. Instincts are ingrained by nature itself, and that won’t be swayed by the number of medals you flaunt.

We may live in packs that value respect and even honor, but every pack has its black sheep. And you might notice that some of those black sheep really don’t care about what you think. Pushing your will on them just might backfire and bring about results that you’re not ready to face.

…just saying

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The Bigger Picture…Gets Bigger

While I seriously detest politics, I understand that whether we like it or not, it is this part of establishment that controls our world. So, I wanted to have a brief talk about a subject that is really important, though not in the way that politicians and the media typically covers it.

Take a look at the image below. What do you see?

What the 2016 election really looks like so far (courtesy: NYT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every election frustrates people on all sides because they hear the winners claiming the right to decide simply because they are part of the majority. I always wonder exactly what their majority really looks like – what is the bigger picture. Well, it looks like the NY Times has answered my question about the 2016 primaries that were so hotly contested by all sides. The claims of winning by the majority have been so vocal, and they have taken that claim as a mandate to make all of the decisions for not just the country, but also the world. The term “national politics” carry little meaning in a globalized world. It should be termed “international” politics when a country as “powerful” as the United States is the subject. Yes, I am putting the word powerful in quotations because that is not my word .

This year, the Democrats and the Republicans, have both had contested elections because there was competition amongst a range of candidates. As usual, power was the deciding factor of the competition. Money did play a large part, but it was overpowered by connections and stage control.

Each convention had the largest stage to put on a play that tried to control the narrative of this election. The winner wanted the nation to believe that they alone spoke for the populace, because their voters allowed them to win their respective nomination. But when you see a picture like the one above, that narrative suddenly can be called into question.

  • “How can 9% of the votes become a mandate to make all of the rules for your party?
  • Is the fact that both parties are private, as well as their various supporting institutions, an unfair advantage simply because they can use the laws to their advantage for complete control?
  • How do we have a real conversation about what every person cares about, when the “majority” controls the national narrative?
  • How do the minority ever get their concerns heard if the majority is not interested about their issues?
  • When does the media take responsibility in their share of the narrative control that created a two-party system that does not represent every person in the country?
  • When can we question the rule of law, when it is clearly controlled by groups who have captured the system?
  • When can legal be questioned because it is detached from morality?
  • How does “business as usual” change when it is successfully confronted by an alternative approach that is supported by more people – many who cannot have a voice in the current system?
  • When do we recognize that the world is also captured by our actions and decisions, and that they rely on our responsibility to take the entire world into account? (Remember – globalization)

There are so many questions to ask, simply because of this one bigger picture. The NY Times has a further breakdown of those who did not participate in the primaries for a variety of reason. But none of them will be heard from because the majority does not speak for all of their concerns. The majority speaks for the picture that it wants to create. Hopefully, the NYT builds a story about this picture because it is an important one.

When the picture is of a country that once was, or maybe never had been, then how do we move to the future as we only look at the past? The vibrant promise of this country, and every other country out there, is the variety of people who make up the whole picture. Every person has their own background, their own lifestyle, and their own story. Every person is just a little different than the next person. But we only seem to look at similarities when we make an acquaintance because we want a common foundation to build on. When the common foundation doesn’t appear, then people tend to get nervous because they’re out of their comfort zone. When did comfort become the deciding factor for all rules in life? And when did we all decide that rules were the foundation for living life?

You’ve heard the phrase, “rules are meant to be broken“. It’s a pretty important concept because that is how progress (change) is made. Change is the way of life, as nothing about life is static. So, maybe now is the time to acknowledge that change is ahead and rules will not stop progress when it is being pushed by the future.

Only 9% of the population of the US voted for either the Democratic or Republican candidate. So, 91% of the voices are now held hostage by a minority. Somehow, their majority doesn’t look the same, does it?

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Refusing Reality

Sometimes, you just need the message to be simple and heartfelt. If this offends, then I apologize but I’ve reached my limit as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly, 2016 just keeps getting worse. The violence and suffering keep increasing, simply because we are refusing to see reality. Our problems are so complex that they interconnect with one another to form the mess that we all have to live with. All around us are voices telling us that you need to pick a side. And if you pick one side, then you are an enemy to the other. There is no more grey zone in our world. It is us vs. them, and you better be ready to defend the belief of your side. No more straddling the fence, or trying to stay neutral. There can only be one standing.

No matter how much we try to start a conversation about all of the important problems that are plaguing our world, there are always voices shouting that each side is wrong. People are feeling hurt from each voice that is attacking the world at large because all of the daily experiences have reached an intolerable level. Frustration is at an all-time high because we keep refusing reality. Flowery talks from our leaders no longer work because there is only empty action following, and we all know it.

It’s gotten so bad that our government officials have taken to doing their own protests against their fellow legislators. If the very people who are supposed to make reasonable laws can’t even talk to one another, much less agree on written words of “law”, then how is society supposed to follow their lead? Even religion no longer has the answer because they are each too busy declaring their own legitimacy. Instead, we get factions who call themselves by old labels that no longer stand for what they once did. Democrats, liberals, conservatives, liberals, religious, atheist…the broken bell keeps tolling on. When does change happen if we only accept the small steps of progress? How do we call it progress when the breakdown is so universal? We are all part of the problem, and we all have to be part of the solution together. There is no longer a right side.

If someone has the guts to open their feelings to you in public, can you just listen to what they say without prejudice? Can we PLEASE just have the conversations that need to be had, and acknowledge that there is much in this world that needs to be fixed. One person’s comfort always comes at the expense of others’ discomforts, and we just accept it as the way that it’s always been. The majority gets to tell the minority the rules, and expects them to follow without complaint. Well, status quo is now on notice – this is not good enough anymore! Nothing stays the same forever, that’s just the fact of the universe. We are constantly in motion, trying to find a new equilibrium that works for the next moment in time. We have to allow bigger changes that will require the dismantling of what has always been, in order to build what can be.

It’s now become critical because we are killing one another simply because of our differences.  The deaths are shattering the fragile peace that is so hard to hold without working together.The deaths are not just people, they are dependent parts of Life. They are humans. They are animals. They are values. They are hopes. They are dreams. They are all an integral part of our world which degrade the possibility of our joined futures when they disappear.

Just STOP. Please. Stop only acknowledging one side or another as the only important focus. Hear all sides, because they are telling you something important that is part of the whole picture. Step back and see reality as it truly is. Too many of us are so tired of the choices that we are given. We want more. And we can have it without the violence, if we would just stop and listen to and acknowledge one another now. Incremental is no longer enough because we are out of time.

So…hello world. Can we talk? Will you listen and care?

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What Change Can Bring

edit: Wildcru is actually the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. I left out my most favorite word in the world, Research, which is the foundation of what I do. Shame on me. This organization deserves better than that!

 

We all remember the story of Cecil the Lion who was hunted for no purpose other than selfishly gracing someone’s mantle. I don’t presume to understand the mentality of those who hunt with no thought to the future of a species, or should I say all living species. Every move we make has a ripple effect, and our choices have to take in more than the present. This thoughtless action caused a global outcry that many understood, and many more ridiculed. Words like “Why worry about lions when humans are dying everyday?” or “How could you kill such a magnificent creature who was so loved?” competed in the midst of a conversation that never gets the full time that it deserves. Probably because we all realize that this conversation is about so much more than a lion. Perhaps the fact that it’s about the eventual outcome of humanity itself because we refuse to think below the surface is the reason why we are afraid to give it voice.

But out of tragedies can come triumphs when we realize what change can bring. These lion cubs are the direct result of Cecil’s life and his legacy. Read the Guardian story, Cecil the Lion’s Legacy: Death Brings New Hope to His Grandcubs if you want to see what a success story creates. It takes courage to stand against a tide of “why bother because nothing changes”. Wildcru (Wildlife Conservation Unit) is part of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology’s attempt to use scientific methodology to address the world’s conservation problems that threaten the natural world. Cecil’s story brought significant funds through donations to Wildcru that allowed a new way to protect our animal counterparts in the wild as they try to survive the frequent overreach of man’s hand.

And this is just one story from one organization which chooses to listen to its heartbeat instead of the profit beat that underpins humanity. People are looking for ways to make a difference. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we were given those all important links like this that will allow us to connect with the beat of our own heart and soul’s desire? What would you do if you had a choice that was more than what’s currently on offer? When presented with daily requirements to choose the “lesser evil”, wouldn’t it be life altering to be given the choice of the ultimate best for the entire planet instead of the blackhole-inducing “what’s in it for me”?

We are in another year of utter chaos that started with the voices of people who have been shouting for change all around the world. Every year those voices become more vocal as the group size increases and puts pressure to “business as usual”. It’s no longer possible to ignore the dreamers who want to create a better life that encompasses the planet and all on it. Those dreamers took us to the moon and beyond, and we still reap the daily benefits from what was created from the ephemeral spokes of what can be done when dreams become real.

What is normal is under attack precisely because it continues to ignore what change can bring. You can’t expect people to continue down a broken path that is littered with the wreckage of the shattered hope stomped out by those who want to limit the future. It’s all about control and those who have it. Why would they want change when they are at the pinnacle of their own possibility? Movies constantly remind us that fantasy and reality are only separated by the thinnest of walls. Today’s reality should make us push for fantasy, if only because the potential is so much more than what’s on offer now. The world today is a pretty crappy place in my opinion, and the opinion of millions more worldwide.

Chaos is scary, but the loss of all dreams should scare us more. Without dreams, there will be no more cubs like those who carry the legacy of Cecil in their very DNA. They are the embodiment of dreams that leap past the apathy that is suffocating the world. When the air runs out, it’s game over for us all. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you just care about something more than yourself. The rewards will surpass all those material things that will crumple with time and selfishness. Life always finds a way to survive. Whether we’re part of a more hopeful future is up to all of us together.

Let’s reach out and make dreams into reality. Just so that we can shut down those voices who have already given up on hope.

…just saying

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Lesser Evils

It started out as a good day, or so I thought. I hadn’t been watching the news much anymore because it was all too depressing.

And just now in, there has been another attack…switch

The courts have decided that the laws stands as is, forcing millions…switch

The results are in, and as expected, …switch

 

Maybe the radio will have something better?

It’s a song that you haven’t heard in decades! Here’s the national anthem!!!!…switch

Here she is back with her new hit that millions love…switch

The meek shall inherit if they listen to my message…switch

 

SIGH, maybe it will be just like yesterday, and the day before that, and it continues like a relentless tide eating away at my soul. It wasn’t always like this. I remember how much more vibrant things were a long time ago, when things seemed simpler.

Yeah, I know that phrase is cliche, but it still works so sue me.

 

I’M DONE! Something has got to change and it’s going to have to be me. I don’t know how, but I’m walking out that door and heading in a different direction to something new. I’m sick of choosing the lesser evil!

hmmmm, North seems good. I see lights that aren’t from some damn store selling something NEW AND DIFFERENT, which actually means that they offer it in too many colors with no other benefits. Yup, North works. If I start out now, I’ll make it before sundown.

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Wow, I can’t believe I’m already here! It didn’t even feel all that long. I wonder what I….Wait, why is the road moving? I’m not in my car and it’s still moving. Oh god, NO. It can’t be. Not another one! Dammit, it’s just like my old home. All of those pretty lights were just a trick. But how did they know what I was thnking? I just decided this morning that things had to change. AAAggghhh!!!! I will pull every hair out before I go back to life as usual! There is no way that…

What’s wrong with my hair? It feels different? I feel different? What’s going on?!

Thank you for trying our new body upgrade. You are part of a new and elite group who have been invited into the inner sanctum. You have chosen conformance over difference, and you will be honored for your belief in The New. We are different from the norm, and we are the cutting edge of life. We will not let you down…EVER.

Oh, crap!!! That site I went to last night was a trap of The Same. They got to me before I could escape.

So much for choosing the Lesser Evils…

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NIMBY – Anne Hars UpHouse Project

The UpHouse Project (photo and project courtesy of Anne Hars)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old does not mean bad. But you would never know it by the way the world currently works. When new shows its shiny face to us in the guise of bigger and feature-filled homes, gadgets that mesmerize, and items that pamper, we are all supposed to get on board with the new-buying program. But at what cost when the towns of old are losing their offerings of unique personalities in the name of someone else’s profits? How much more of our souls do we have to sell before a master balance sheet shows in all black, and endless cookie-cutter manufacturing can finally stop?

Artist Anne Hars decided to take the conversation into her own hands by using a momento from a much loved story, Up by Pixar, to indicate the older homes that are on a demolition schedule. It seems that homes everywhere serving as sanctuaries for the less fortunate are part of the gentrification agenda that’s killing our history as well as our town’s personalities. Anne wants to push a conversation as to why it’s necessary to remove homes that have been loved for decades, just because they don’t make someone a clear profit. And why is profit the almighty belief when it’s clear that it has a very destructive side? A town and its homes are much more than any number, as shown by numerous inhabitants that help one another in times of need.

We’ve heard stories of towns and cities that used to be affordable for everyone. But that is fast disappearing because the moneyed are taking over these places that were once vibrant and turning them into postcards that status quo can sell to us all in an ad. Because current marketing trends are about making all things pretty for a price that we’re all willing to pay, it’s difficult to be seen above the beauty. So, why not use a symbol of a story that warms our hearts and stirs our souls? What an amazingly beautiful way to be seen when you can’t be heard. It’s a small start, but it can lead to a much bigger and more important conversation if we heed its warning.

Bravo, Anne Hars and the UpHouse Project!! Continue to show us what true beauty looks and feels like. There are too many people who need the help to keep their lives intact. And thanks to the Guardian for pushing an important story to the front! Now NIMBY has a different meaning, and its one full of hope and heart.

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What Are You?

I know that I’ve been harping on this question, but when you’ve experienced it for so long it tends to leave you feeling a bit unbalanced.

Or to show you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, it can feel a little like this. Thanks for the laugh, asfand16 (care of Reddit, once again).

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