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Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Repeat Performance for Father's Day

Good Evening All.  I don't usually post reruns, but I think what I posted last year for Fathers' Day says it all:

I know that I appreciate my dad immensely.  He'd be pretty humble about it, but much of what I post in the blog is an outgrowth of the life lessons he taught me.

But even more than my appreciation of him, is my appreciation of Him:  G-D the Father.

Now this isn't based on any religion in particular.  It's just an understanding that there is a supernatural being who has a completely rational expectation of us to recognize and fulfill our personal responsibilities.  Our Mother Lady Karma is the One who handles things we can't control, executes judgment against those who wrong us, and pardons us for our errors.  G-D the Father, however, has a very different role to play.

What He does is remind us of what we CAN control, and that we'd better handle it to the best of our abilities.  His message is, "I'm not going to do your job for you."  Should we get started and keep moving, He is very likely to provide assistance, and quite possibly rewards, along the way.  But if we don't work for it, He won't provide it.

Our Father G-D doesn't want us to give up trying after only a few attempts.  He wants us to get our hands dirty and fail again and again until there has to be some sort of success, great or small.  He wants us to rise above critics and nay-sayers, disable our triggers when they are not needed, and to be as disciplined as possible in our thoughts and actions.

He knows that we'll make mistakes.  Honestly, He expects them to happen.  And He also expects us to keep our emotional reactions to a minimum because they'll only get in the way.  Our Mother can kiss our skinned egos to make them better.  But Our Father wants us to heal them ourselves, because we can!

That doesn't mean He's mean or unforgiving.  If He were, He'd be convincing us all to jump off bridges and end it all.  Instead, He wants us to live, and live right.  He wants us to understand that every new day is another chance to get it right, and not to eternally punish ourselves for when we get it wrong.  He wants us to own The Four Pillars, and own them hard!



So, Friends & Neighbors, today I hope you told your fathers how much you appreciate them.  And every day going forward, I suggest we show appreciation to Our Father G-D by making ourselves even better.

DISCLAIMER:  The above message is not an endorsement or a rejection of any organized religion in existence.

RESPECT ALL

BEFRIEND FEW

LOVE ONE

HATE NONE.

I EXIST.

I MATTER.

I BELONG. 

I DESERVE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Words That Hurt, Words That Heal

Hello All!  Hope you're having a nice relaxing summer Sunday!

Recently, we've seen two celebrities forget to think before they spoke.  One said something so heinous and disrespectful that she lost her job, but the other one appears to be facing significantly less severe consequences.

Roseanne Barr had a sitcom she starred in rebooted (and ret-conned so her husband did not die), and it became a real hit after only a few new episodes.  Aaaand then she tweeted a statement that seemed to indicate that a former Obama senior advisor, who happened to be African-American, was the illegitimate child of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. 

Not smart.  And it led to job loss for a whole cast and crew that had nothing to do with what was said.  Hopefully the show will be repackaged somehow.

Mere days later, Samantha Bee became so incensed at Ivanka Trump's perceived failure to rein in the President, her father, that she used a word beginning with "C" and ending with "T," which has been universally thought of as the worst thing that a woman can be called.

Not smart.  But her job and her broadcasting segment have been left intact.

It remains to be seen why both instances do not warrant the same consequences.  I've already discussed this with a few other people to understand how the same actions mean different consequences for different people.  Despite the fact that the "C-word" was once considered to be as evil as the "N-word," there is a segment that now believes that it was completely legitimate for Bee to have used this word, most likely because it was used against a member of the President's family.

When we finally reach the Point of Evaporation, the need to use this type of hateful and divisive language will dissipate.  Our high-conflict friends and neighbors will find themselves without a stable of victims, and there will be a dearth of enablers and sycophants to encourage their behavior.  Until that happens, it seems to me that there would need to be the same or similar consequences for same or similar behavior.

"But look what youuuuuuu said!"  "But look what heeeeee said!"  "But look what sheeeeee said!"

NONE of that exonerates what weeeeeee said.  Let's try to own what we say a little more - and hopefully think before we speak so we won't have to next time - and spend less time finger-pointing at their side and making excuses for our side.

Caveat to our friends in Hollywood:  You are here to entertain us, and not to insult us.  You were not elected by anyone to govern us, and you did not receive fame and recognition because of your debating skills.  Please find ways to entertain us without finger-pointing and name-calling.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Better Now

Good Evening All.  Hope you're enjoying the middle frame of this three day weekend!

I've been doing a little research from other self-help resources.  A good friend of hours gave me a time-honored classic that I had not already read - "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

I don't know about you, but this book should be required reading!

Thing is though, he teaches the same lesson my father tried to teach me when I was a younger man.  I remember quite a few dinner table conversations where I'd have some kind of argument with my Mom or my sister (they were tough ones, you had to be there), and I'd get annoyed or angry during that argument, my Dad would always interject with a simple admonition:

David?  Eat your dinner.

What was trying to say, in plain-spoken every day English, was the same thing that wise men throughout the ages had said, from the Buddha all the way up to Tolle himself:  Focus on what's in front of you, right here and now.

For my Star Wars fans, Qui-Gon Jinn said the same thing in the Star Wars prequels:

Don't center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan.  Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.

One huge obstacle to achieving Emotional Maturity and the Point of Evaporation is that we rehash and post-mortem things that are in the past, and we worry and get scared over things that have yet to happen in the future.  We either stay in the past abusing ourselves for mistakes we made or cursing the memories of those who did us wrong, or we look away to something that has not happened yet, assuming it even will.  And when we do that, we are distracted, unfocused, and hopelessly triggered.

(1)  Past bothering you?  Place it in your reference library and keep it there.

(2)  Future worrying you?  Prep for it.

(3)  Anything happening right in front of you?  No?  Why not?

The best way to leave the past behind, and to patiently wait until the future becomes the present, is to get a better now.

Either get busy doing something now, or meditating when unoccupied.  And if you feel yourself going back to memories of what happened - be it recent or distant - or anxiety and fear about what will or won't happen, pull yourself back to now.  And if now is boring, unboring it!

Moreover, the past and the future is the province of Our Mother Lady Karma.  She knows that the past and future are beyond our control, so She handles it.  It is She who decides whether the past hurts us or helps us, and it is She who delivers what we will face in the future.  Transmit your guilt and fear to Her, we don't need it!

The present, on the other hand, is the province of Our Father . . . and by extension, US!  The present is when we do what I always tell my Islanders to do . . . Make Something Happen!  Or nothing, if need be - but make that happen anyway!!!!

It's also the time where we take stock of our thoughts and feelings and own them hard.  Nothing that happened in the past or might happen in the future should have that much effect on what we feel, think, and do right now.

I hope anyone out there beating themselves up or worrying themselves sick can take this advice to heart.  Just . . . eat your dinner.  Thanks Dad!

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Lady Named Karma

Hey All - Hope you had a good weekend!

Big news this week, a story that made me feel sad on a few levels:  The conviction of Bill Cosby. 

Like many of us, I have wonderful childhood memories of Bill Cosby:  In the early 80's, I remember my father and I bonded over the movie "Bill Cosby Himself," filmed live in Toronto.  A performance that included the Chocolate Cake For Breakfast, and other stories of his children.  My dad would often repeat, "Cosby is right - children are brain damaged!" 

Watching the Cosby Show in the 80's and 90's was required viewing on Must-See-TV Thursday nights!  Just about everything that happened on that show, you could relate to your own family.

Fast-forward to this decade.  The question of how so many people could simply sit on accusations for years, or even decades, and now seek to portray Cosby as some sort of perverted demon is simply not clear. 

However, his prosecution for crimes against Andrea Constand is different.  Those accusations were  reported soon after they occurred, but since she was suing him for millions, the Montgomery County DA declined to prosecute charges at the time.  However, since there had never been a written agreement not to prosecute, the current DA decided to actually file the charge mere weeks before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.  So the accuser didn't actually sit on it for years, but actions taken on it were somewhat held in abeyance.

Now that it's over, and he actually has been convicted of crimes committed against one victim, it's an honest tragedy.  The notion of him doing these things behind the scenes is terrible.  More than anything, I would like to think that the jury got it wrong, and that his attorneys will be successful on appeal.

However, the jury may have gotten it right.  If they did, then it validates everything I have said about Our Mother Lady Karma.  She doesn't need a vote of confidence before executing judgment.

A jury of Cosby's peers found that he took advantage of Ms. Constand in a particularly hideous way.  He also happened to have done so while married to a a permissive and enabling wife.  When this is done for long enough without remorse or regret, it comes within Our Mother's jurisdiction.  There is such a thing as natural justice, and it appears that we've seen it happen.

Bill Cosby is the last person I'd ever call an alphole.  Apparently he was one.  That's why they called in The Big Girl.

Farewell, Dr. Huxtable.  You will still be remembered for your talent and your charitable deeds.  But you must be remembered for this too.  We can only imagine that other predators like yourself will take heed of the consequences that await those who violate others' bodily integrity so that this issue will reach the Point of Evaporation.  Until then, we'll have to settle for a slow boil.

THERE'S A LADY NAMED KARMA.  SHE'S NOT ATTRACTED TO BAD BOYS AND SHE'S NOT FRIENDS WITH MEAN GIRLS.  SHE MONOPOLIZES REVENGE AND RETRIBUTION BECAUSE SHE HAS BETTER TOOLS AT HER DISPOSAL THAN WE DO.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Revenge Evaporates

Hey All.  Looks like spring is finally here!

This is kind of an old-hat topic, but I felt the need to return to it.

Demonization Is Death.

Part of the reason we stay so angry at those who wronged us is that it's so easy.  It takes no skill at all to just get angry.  That's why children are always doing it and need to be taught how to stop.

This world we live in has become more and more contentious by the day.  Physical confrontations are started and manipulated to go viral.  Debates escalate into full-out war just because someone doesn't like someone else's FB post.  And divorces are less about an orderly termination of a marriage and far more about making the other former spouse's life as difficult as possible.

The reason for this is because we stop trying to understand the ways of our opponents and we instead see them as less than human, undeserving of respect, and something to be destroyed with as much pain as possible.  This is a mistake of the highest order.

This way of thinking enables the narcissists, abusers, and manipulators to do even more of what they do.  It justifies their high-conflict personalities, and encourages them to be aggressive where no aggression is needed.  It also keeps us stuck forever blaming, pointing, and self-victimizing.

How To Stop?

(1)  The Fact That It's Their Fault Does Not Give Us a Lifetime Free Pass.

Being someone else's victim does not make us flawless, does not exonerate us from all of our own wrongdoing, or render us immune to our own responsibility.  Contrary to popular opinion, it does not place us onto a pedestal from which we can continue judging, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, or to hurt others with immunity and impunity.

(2) We Cannot Spend A Lifetime Blaming Someone Else For How We Are.

The way to deal with our opponents is by either (a) removing them; or (b) refusing to allow them to trigger us.  Not by attributing all of our misfortune and shortcomings to them.  Yes, they still are alpholes and narcissists, let's be honest.  But what they are is far less important than what we are.  Whatever they may have done or said is not an excuse for us being filled with bitterness and resentment, no matter what the enablers and sycophants might suggest.

(3) Reach The Point Of Evaporation.

As I've said in my last post, when speaking about Tony Robbins and #MeToo, most modern-day problems and grievances eventually reach a Point of Evaporation.  Racism, sexism, rape culture, and other types of hatred do still exist, but they're shadows of their former selves.  It is only a matter of time before the Point of Evaporation is reached there - and at that point, the backlash that you may think is deserved against those perpetrators is no longer necessary.  It has evaporated into thin air.  So let our hate and anger do likewise.

To reach Emotional Maturity, resentment and grudges must be contained, controlled, and where possible, eliminated forever.  It doesn't mean that they weren't wrong, and it doesn't mean that we didn't get wronged.  But it does mean that we are not ruled by hate and anger at someone else's actions, and we are instead taking responsibility for our lives.

It's not our place to seek revenge, and it's not our obligation to remain in a state of war against people we don't like.  We are not avenging angels, and it's not up to us to interfere with the judgment that will be executed against them.  I've been giving Her a little bit of a break lately, but say it with me . . .

THERE'S A LADY NAMED KARMA.  SHE'S NOT ATTRACTED TO BAD BOYS AND SHE'S NOT FRIENDS WITH MEAN GIRLS.  SHE SOLELY DOMINATES THE FIELD OF VENGEANCE BECAUSE SHE HAS MUCH BETTER TOOLS AT HER DISPOSAL THAN WE DO.

Let's let it evaporate, and kiss it on up to Our Mother.  She'll handle it for us.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

FROM HERE TO THE POINT OF EVAPORATION.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Beyond Our Control

Good Evening All - hope we're all enjoying the spring weather.

Yes, there was a tone of sarcasm, in case you missed it!

This weekend, we are faced with two things that can make our lives pleasant or unpleasant, that we have absolutely no control over.

Taxes.

It's not something anyone truly enjoys, but as American citizens, we are obligated to provide a percentage of our income to our federal government, as administered by the Internal Revenue Service.  Anywhere from approximately 25% to 40% of our income, one way or another, must be given to the government, and sometimes more is given to states and local municipalities.  Some call it the social contract, some call it a form of socialism.  But it's still there, and we face untold penalties and consequences if we refuse to do so.

And once that money is provided to the government, as required, we have very little say as to what it's used to accomplish.  And honestly, they don't always do the job we hope they would.  That's why my father always taught us, "If you owe taxes, don't pay them before April 1st.  They don't deserve your money earlier than that." 

Most of us get refunds, where our employers take more taxes out of our paychecks than the government actually requires, and they are required to return the difference.  Many call this the return of an "interest-free loan."  Still a nice little bump that helps pay a few bills, etc.

As unfair as it often is - the prospect of having a government take money from us, under threat of civil and criminal penalties, knowing full well that we have no recourse against that government using our money in ways we don't like - it's something we have no control over.  It's not a cause celebre that anyone can take up and expect to be taken seriously.  Like it or lump it, unless and until someone completely dismantles and reorganizes the IRS, and rewrites the tax code, we've all gotta pay.  End of story.

Weather.

It's out of control.  We've had all four seasons in one week.  Sometimes in one day.  A winter that has not yet ended.  Well, this might be normal by upstate New York/New England/Minnesota standards, but certainly not be Northeast/Mid-Atlantic standards!

We can't demand sunshine all the time, and we can't manipulate meteorology.  But we can prepare and dress based on what we believe will most likely happen.

So let's save our energy for those many issues that we actually can do something about.  These two are not among them.  Kiss 'em up to Our Mother Lady Karma instead.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Backlash

Hey All!  Just came back from a little trip, now learning that just because the calendar says it's spring, the weather doesn't have to cooperate.

In the last few days, Tony Robbins, a giant in the self-help industry, has faced a torrent of criticism when he criticized the #MeToo movement.  He stated that those who are part of this movement are encouraging women to play the victim role, to refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, and to destroy other people to make themselves feel good about themselves.  Whether he thought this through completely before he made this statement is not clear.  What is clear is that the reaction to his statement is loud and angry.

Was he right or wrong?  Or are those reacting?  Let's review:

(1) Women are just as human as men - flesh and blood, heart and soul, thoughts and dreams.  Unfortunately, our species has celebrated male dominance and control for millennia, and only came to accept women as equals within the past century.

(2) Because of this, the notion that men can demand any type of physical contact, from playful slaps to full on intercourse, whenever they chose, so long as they were the strongest and most virile around, just like all other species in the animal kingdom, was hard-wired in our consciousness.  The notion that women are somehow empowered to reject this conduct is a comparatively recent one, and one that has not yet transformed how both genders interact.

(3) Gradually, women were accepted as equals, at least legally.  They now occupy every single profession that was once solely occupied by men.  Whether or not they truly earn less than men for the same work remains a subject of debate that will not be addressed further here.

(4) In terms of criminal law, prosecution of rape and sexual offenses has been transformed to the extent where the victim is believed, with or without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the accused, once found guilty, pays with the complete destruction of his life.  Earlier, nearly all accusers were viewed with skepticism and thought to have been untruthful, but now the pendulum has swung completely the other way.

(5) Upon exposure of men who had taken unwanted liberties with women, the MeToo movement was spawned.  Those with long and tarnished histories of making unwanted sexual advances were taken out in the public square and faced loss of their livelihoods, and possibly their freedom.

To The Extent That The #MeToo Movement Is Culturally Transforming How Men Are Expected to Treat Women, it is Valid, Right, and Good.

Now let's try a twist:

(1) That same dominance and control that men were celebrated for has also been asserted against men who were not as strong, smart, or aggressive as others.  For that reason, those "lesser men" have been referred to by the more aggressive men by a variety of misogynistic references, which will not be repeated here.

(2) They have also been faced with the same type of aggressive stance that women have faced, although the nature of that stance has been more violent than sexual in nature.

(3) While the anti-bullying movement, in the academic and workplace setting, is actually a more recent concept than that of feminism, it faces even more criticism and rejection than movements like #MeToo.  While women-supporting advocates remind us that women do not share responsibility for the abuse they suffer or the attacks visited on them by men who don't respect boundaries, men and boys who face bullying are not granted such courtesy.

(4) Speaking from personal experience, I have heard the same people who are die-hard #MeToo supporters, who demand consequences for instances of sexual abuse and credibility for women who suffer them, nevertheless dismiss and reject allegations of bullying with suggestions that the victims of that societal ill "ask for it" and "bring it on themselves," and need to "man up."

(5) Bullying is concededly less severe than sexual abuse or assault, but the victims of both acts of wrongdoing are left with the same exact feelings:

  (A) It's my fault that this was done to me;
  (B) Nobody will take me seriously;
  (C) If I speak out about it, I'll be considered weak and/or deserving of it; and
  (D) They'll just get away with it again anyway.

Accordingly, We Face An Inconsistency.

 The reason why Tony Robbins has a real problem right now is that the notion that women are at fault for being sexually assaulted, are playing the role of victim in order to gain sympathy, and want to tear people down with accusations to feel better about life is simply no longer acceptable in our society.  The thought that it's always their fault, while once universally thought, no longer works because society has accepted women as equal to men - a concept that is incongruous with our ancient hard-wiring - and does not seek to grant men free reign over women's bodies or minds.

HOWEVER, when boys are bullied in school, and men are bullied at work, society most certainly still does feel that way.  Male victims of bullying are constantly told that the reason they are bullied is their fault, that playing the victim keeps them from growing, and that they need to "get over it," thereby letting the bully enjoy a no-consequences existence.  Internet memes suggest that "teach kids to fight" is the only answer to bullying, despite the fact that this is the very reason why bullying continues.  Also, when the abuser is a female and the victim is a male, the male is considered not only deserving, but also ridiculously weak, because a woman would supposedly never do that to a so-called "real man," despite the reverse often being true.

Can This Be Reconciled?  YES to both.

(A)  The #MeToo movement needs its recognition for many reasons.  With enough time and attention, the desire to ever subject a woman to unwanted advances or disrespect will most likely evaporate, notwithstanding that desire's long-standing tradition.

(B) Once the point of evaporation is reached, then the anger and backlash against men must stop as well.  The message has been sent, received, and absorbed.  At that point, seeking to point fingers at men who have acted respectfully, but still have opposing perspectives, is no longer necessary or acceptable.

(C)  Likewise with the anti-bullying movement needs just as much recognition.  As stated above, enough time and attention should also be given, rather than dismissing one group of victims as heroes and another as cowards.  Eventually, the desire to ever victimize anyone else, regardless of race/gender/etc., will also most likely evaporate, notwithstanding that desire's long-standing tradition.

(D) Once the point of evaporation is reached, any resulting anger and backlash against former bullies must also stop as well.  The message has been sent, received, and absorbed.  At that point, seeking to point fingers at former bullies who have reformed is no longer necessary or acceptable.

For the sake of clarification, we do not minimize the mistreatment of women, or suggest it is a less worthy cause than the response and elimination of bullying.  Rather, we seek to draw a parallel and an equivalent solution.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

RESPECT ALL.  BEFRIEND FEW.  LOVE ONE.  HATE NONE.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.