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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It’ll Take More Than Time

We look up to our superheroes because they have lessons to teach us. Some good and some bad, but all of it necessary. It’s amazing that we would have to look at an image drawn by the comic artist Wayne Boring back in the 1950′s to be reminded that little has changed since then. Probably because we humans need a lot of time to learn the important lessons – more time than we’d like when we want things to change.

Remember Tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really need to keep this in mind as we descend into the madness that is the world of politics. And this is what it all has in common no matter where you look around the world: INTOLERANCE and the ugliness that goes with it. Whether they are words or actions, the results leave a lasting mark on all that come in contact with it. If you question that observation, then ask anyone who has been the target of intolerance:

  • The family that hurts one of their own because that person acted against the family beliefs.
  • The kids who have been teased and abused because they look or act differently than us.
  • The fear that makes us say and do things that others consider inhumane.
  • The laws that are passed in order to “protect” the majority (read this as status quo) against change and the future.
  • The ignorant labels and caricatures that box all of us in, instead of allowing us the freedom to learn.
  • The actions by those with power who only believe in the rule of law at the cost of everyone’s rights and freedoms.
  • and on and on and on…

It took a conversation with one of my family to understand that time does indeed have a positive effect on how society progresses. When I was a teenager who had recently returned to the US after being away for so many years, I had to figure out ways to fit into a society that didn’t respect the breadth of my background (read this as race if you must). Years of answering the question, “What are you?” from people, questionnaires, check boxes, and officials without understanding why this is so important to them.  And to this day, I still have not come up with any answer that left me in peace.

Yesterday, I found out that someone important to me had a very different experience from my own. It was so much more promising than mine, made possible because others saw the world in a much more open-minded way. As I looked at her, I could see a more positive outlook than mine simply because she did not have to fight against the intolerance that I’d experienced. It also showed in the shock that I saw on her face as she heard me tell my stories. Wow, what a different a decade can make.

So, why are we moving backwards today around the world? Why is bigotry and every ugly “ism” ever created winning a war that continues to drag the soul of humanity down a black hole? Why are our leaders allowed to have time in the presses to spread words of intolerance simply because they want to stay on top in a world that has given them all they desire? And why do we have to listen to any of them simply because they won the luck of the draw, which had nothing to do with pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (as they keep telling us)?

Take a look again at that public message created by a man who saw the world much like those who understand that it is our differences that make us strong as a species. It is a really important viewpoint that affects how we behave towards one another. Go find others who have a similar message in our world today and help them spread it so that we can put a stop to all of the ugliness that is created by continued intolerance by so many around us.

This is why I despise the labels that we continue to press upon others, without getting to know them first. Not one of us is as one-dimensional as our image portrays – which can be easily manipulated to affect other views of us. We are made up of pages and pages of our own history that creates the person we are today, and who we are working to become.  So why would we accept whatever one-dimensional label some person or institution forces on us? It only matters if we choose let it happen.

We don’t have to be the world that our news and history books think we are. The change is in each and every one of our hands. This year being an election year is an important reminder, not because of your vote but because of your motivation to WANT something more positive for us all. Don’t let petty squabbles of individual topics force you to pick a side! Nothing in our world is just black and white, because there are also many shades of gray. All of these topics are issues that have connections to one another when we take the time to view the world with a wider vision. We are not simply living under rules of law, because we now see just how broken the rules have become. Listen to the protests around the world, and you’ll see that more people are no longer accepting life that only takes rules into account. The leaders are not the only ones with wise words. Look around you and see what their words have created to see the obvious.

Our lives will never be only about jobs, money, and power.  Your position in life cannot and should not define you, unless you let it. Those who place such importance on the shallow do not see the depth of the world. And if all you see and hear are what can be versus what is possible, then you’ve given up on dreams. Dreams become real when we choose to accept the challenge that life offers us, while ignoring the naysayers that tell you that what you want is impossible. As much as that phrase “Never give up, never surrender” annoys me, it is absolutely evident each time I’ve picked myself up off the ground and kept going.  So, thank you (I think) Galaxy Quest for advice that my hubby tells me all of the time.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that all of the conversations that we are FINALLY having today are very important to the future of humanity. It’s obvious how important they are because status quo and the system are trying to quiet down the discussions before they can take place, simply because they don’t want anything to change. Rules are not what is important, but questioning the rules is absolutely imperative if we want to learn, grow, and change all that is wrong. THAT is what makes history – everything else is just window dressing. Just remember that it’ll take more time than you expect, but all good things seems to require a lot of time and effort before they come to life. I for one think that the effort is worth it when you imagine the possibilities our future can hold.

…just saying

and thanks to Thurdbase for finding this important and oh so timely reminder!

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Price We Pay

With the start of a new year, usually we are given more time to live with a certain level of optimism. 2016 doesn’t seem to be following the same pattern. I wonder why that is? Could it be that our continued denial of the fact that all is not right with the world is causing reality to want to teach us a harsh lesson? We talk of history as lessons we’ve learned, and yet our actions deny the knowledge. Acceptance of all that is seems to be the answer of the da(ys)ze. We are dazed from the continued thumping we get when we choose anything but the accepted path…the one that society tells us we must follow.

Or we can stray from the garden path – if you’ve been watching “The Magicians” on SyFy (no, I haven’t read the books yet, as I still hold the meaningful world of Harry Potter in high esteem). This series is starting a good talk with me, simply because it’s being told by people who are not part of the “accepted” or status quo (and I love fantasy so I will give any such storyline a chance to experience a little magic in my life). Here is a hero that we can all relate to in all of his broken potential. People who chose not to follow the norm are attempting to live without drowning out themselves. They understand the importance of being different, and that it’s much more than some cliche saying.

Think of all those articles you’ve read that try to help you to accept yourself if you’re not popular or “normal”. What do they all have in common? They try to build a narrative that allows us to fit our true selves within the construct of acceptance. We all crave to be accepted by someone, or we would never try so hard to build our relationships. It’s an integral part of nature, though even nature understands that growth requires change.

And then some book comes along that touts the norm and tries to discourage us from “being different” because that process wastes too much (like the one below – thanks again Reddit). These books are written and published by humans so you might want to take their advice with a barrel of salt, and question everything with a sense of humor (if possible).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All I could think was…WOW, really? As I’ve never read this book because my SAT days are in the distant past (when I accepted its importance because I was too young to know better), I’m choosing to see the dark humor of their sarcasm. Once again, here’s the story about the fight for acceptance which is showing its ugly face in politics (which I truly despise). That this fight is at the forefront in politics is showing just how far our current form of morality (the so-called lifeblood of society) has receded from our beliefs. Rules have now taken the place of human intuition, and these rules are not something we should blindly accept as our only fact. When anyone tells you that we are a nation of laws, ask them what importance they place on such rules and why. If it is their guiding light, then you should probably ask further questions and be prepared for a long-winded argument about their beliefs. And if they claim that chaos does not have a place in this world, because order is the most important, then be prepared for a long battle because they think that they are in charge and won’t want to give that up. Remember…greed is a powerful thing.

Rules are the new price that we pay for not fighting the current condition of humankind. We have strayed from the lessons of old, as well as the ways of old. And I’m not talking about our recent forefathers, but those who brought mankind into enlightenment. Who saw that light and dark co-exist because they must in order to get the full story. Who understood that the battle of good and evil was never about choosing a side, but about accepting that we all carry a duality that is necessary for us to grow and learn. Who learned their lessons when simple actions like beliefs became ugly in their consequences and derailed the true progress of our potentials.

If you’re like me and are tired of the prices that we continue to pay by not fighting the established, then we need to laugh at the sarcasm that shows in the above text. Just as we need to help those who see a future that is much different from the present that we are all drowning in. The good guys are no longer as obvious as we once thought they were. Even our stories show that heroes such as Superman and other such warriors are not so clean-cut in their intentions. When intentions get strangled in human greed (and they somehow always do), then other heroes must take the place of the original. That logic shows us that there CAN be a hero in each one of us, and the potential is simply waiting to be discovered by us. Potential is our magic that just might build a wider and more colorful future.

Do we choose to be a hero because it brings us acceptance, or do we choose to become a hero because the world needs us to step up? That’s a question that only you can answer. But having a whole lot of heroes working together is what we all need if we want things to be different. Words are cheap, and there are a lot of words out there to swim through in order to find the right ones. Who we choose to be a temporary beacon of hope is important, if we want other heroes to show their actions for good possibilities. The price we pay can no longer be about chasing a shallow acceptance, when we’re all so different by a deeper design. Differences make possibilities come alive. Acceptance smothers possibilities so that creativity and innovation are controlled by the present. The future, for us and everything on this tiny world, requires that we change from belief to a possibility that can’t be caught by what we consider normal.

Take this from someone who has had to answer the question, WHAT ARE YOU, throughout her life. There are a a lot of you out there who know what I’m talking about. Do we want to change a system that only worries about checkboxes that label us incompletely, or do we finally build a new way that no longer worries so much about acceptance in its current context? No one should fit into a single checkbox!

…just saying

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Creativity Is Already High in 2016

 

Hey everyone – Happy New Year! Silence seemed the best way to start a new time when things are wonky. It helps provide a clean slate to start the creativity on a good note.

And then, you find your inspiration. And boy is this inspiring!!! A wonderful dad wanted to do something special for his daughter, and I’ve got to say that this is a thing of beauty. Who doesn’t want their own tree in their house, and this is an amazing take on a tree house that you can grow in every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hats, palettes, and a full orchestral salute to randamshome for not only showing the power of love, but also sharing the power of imagination that will help his daughter live in the magic of creativity. If I had a tree in my house, I’d never leave it. It reminds us of the joy of play that we cherished when we were young – as well as helps us to reach for the stars. What an amazing, incredible gift! Take a bow, radamshome, because you’ve brightened all of our days with this creation of beauty.

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Voices…Just Beginning

We watch commercials that touch our hearts and remember how they made us feel. Most of these ads are done by well known ad agencies. But there are more voices out there, and some are just at the beginning of their journey into the world at large. I found this short on Reddit, and was amazed that this was done by students from the Filmakademie Baden-Würtenberg in Germany. The work is titled, Dear Brother, and will leave you in tears before its final note. If this is part of their demo, then I’m going to be amazed at what they come up with after some time immersed in the trials and tribulations of life. Atmosphere marries poetry, letting us wander through the tender moments of memories that last long after time evaporates.

Dorian und Daniel are already making their marks on the world, and  it looks like each one will be full of emotion and powerful storytelling. It sounds like this school has a tremendous history helping to create some amazing talents. It’s wonderful to see that the filmmakers of tomorrow still understand that the power of a story well told is the foundation to great works. We just need to get the message out to the rest of the world that creativity is something to be nurtured and respected without thinking about numbers and standings. Bravo to two creators for making such beautiful masterpieces that will stand the test of time, and best wishes for a long and creative future that fulfills you to the depth of your souls.

- As always, thanks Reddit for pointing me to such amazing talents when I need to see them the most!

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And A Creator Wins…

I’m in love with the works of Stjepan Sejic, an incredibly amazing talent who created a mind-blowing story, Death Vigil. Actually, you’ve probably seen his work everywhere including Angelus, Witchblade, Switch, Rat Queens, Sunstone, and so much more. In my mind, this Croatian master of character, story, and graphic majesty is among the best of the best in the comic world and should be celebrated with the top tier of comic creators.

So when I heard that his masterpiece about the world of death might not fly, I was devastated. Seriously, way too many big publishers continue to short-change their loyal readers in every writing industry and make it impossible for new talent to find their fanbase. Actually, I should say that I was a pissed that the status quo continues to win these creative “wars” by only pushing names that generate the almight $$. These industries completely miss the point of creation, which is not about profits…no matter what those at the top claim.

Well, today, I saw some amazing news that helped to bolster up a pretty crappy day considering the big loss in the music world. But when one force of magic disappears, another appears to take its place. And prove to us that the creative world is always teeming with genius, imagination and even more magic.

Behold the amazing news:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stop censorship