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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Impossible?

Hey All - Hope you're having an easy Sunday afternoon.  Now that we're almost done with Thanksgiving weekend, it feels like we're just about ready to return to work.

But first, let me address a challenge that I'm about to undertake - a quest for an answer to a problem that some say cannot be resolved.

"WE WILL NEVER GET RID OF BULLYING.  TEACH YOUR KIDS TO FIGHT AND STOP RAISING A GENERATION OF VICTIMS"  I respectfully disagree.

Every time I see that meme, I cringe.  The idea that the bullying is a permanent part of human behavior, and that every kid should be taught how to fight - which is exactly what the bullies have been doing - is completely unacceptable to me.  As a species, we have evolved from our old hunter-gatherer roles and completed at least one metamorphosis in how we govern ourselves and the world around us.  Or as I like to say, we don't live in the Stone Age, the Middle Ages, or the Old West anymore.  Accordingly, with very few exceptions, we live in a civilized society with laws.  The notion of "might makes right" is outdated and unacceptable.  Accordingly, I firmly believe that the act of bullying, in and of itself, can be contained, controlled, and hopefully eliminated entirely.

There are those who think that stopping bullying is completely and entirely the responsibility of the ones being bullied.  They're right, but they're also wrong.

They're Right:

(1)  We have the power to disable our triggers and willfully control our emotions.  This is how we can stop becoming offended, triggered, or reactionary to what they do or say.
(2)  When we demonstrate that we are unflappable in the face of slings and taunts, the bully often finds another more receptive - and recessive - target.
(3)  When we release ourselves from grudges, resentment, and outdated behavior patterns, we advance to the Point of Evaporation and achieve Emotional Maturity.

THAT'S NOT THE END OF THE STORY, HOWEVER.

We can teach members of other races to not be triggered or offended by racism.  But that doesn't make racism okay.
We can teach women to ignore catcalls, harassment, and ungentlemanly behavior.  But that doesn't make such conduct legitimate.
We can perform every form of personal responsibility needed to prevent theft, burglary, or assault.  NONE OF THAT DE-CRIMINALIZES THOSE OFFENSES.

They're Wrong:

(1)  Bullying behavior does not magically become legitimate because people don't get angry about it and become de-triggered.
(2)  The fact that it continues to remain unacceptable is not weakness on the part of the rest of society - it is a mark of strength to reject behavior that should not exist past middle school, if at all.
(3)  If bullying victims have to step up their game, shore up their weaknesses, and work on themselves to avoid being hurt, then bullies have a contingent responsibility to control, restrain, and outgrow their unnecessary aggression. 

This is a Two-Way Street.  Apparently our opponents would rather make it a one-way street, and then argue that any expectation that bullies have a shared responsibility with their victims to eliminate the conduct is "not real" or "pie in the sky" or "garbage."

There is a plethora of programs that teach kids how to repel bullying without even an ounce of violence.  There is no reason why there should not be just as many programs that teach those who do bully to take the same exact responsibility for their behavior as well.

Cynicism and criticism will not be seen as roadblocks to this challenge, but rather stepping stones.  Those opponents insist that we not demonize bullies (or as I sometimes call them, alpholes)?  Great.  Let's use the "good in all people" that they supposedly have to outweigh the evil within them that won't let them stop treating others like trash.

I EXIST.                                                            RESPECT ALL.
I MATTER.                                                       BEFRIEND FEW.
I BELONG.                                                       LOVE ONE.
I DESERVE.                                                     HATE NONE.

MOTHER PROTECT US.                              FATHER EMBOLDEN US.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.


Monday, November 19, 2018

The Head of The Table

Howdy All.  Got a reallllly short week ahead, and everyone's favorite American holiday follows!

People often joke about how Thanksgiving is one of those events where family gets together - and family often includes people you don't voluntarily associate with, but because it's family, most of us still do.

I've spent years promoting the concept of #bootem.  If people aren't good to you, or for you, family or not, it's perfectly OK to dismiss and release them from your realm.  However, many of us have relatives that do not accept the concept of #bootem, see nothing wrong with breaking bread with those who are less than bread-worthy, and honestly believe that whatever those others are doing is American as apple pie, and think we should believe likewise.

Accordingly, our boots might be deactivated for the next few days.

What To Do?

(1)  Respect All.  You may be giving them a low score, and rightfully so, but they're not chopped liver.  As alluded to above, there are always those who are more than willing to give them high scores, no matter how intolerable we find them.  Accordingly, the contempt and dislike we might feel for them is not welcome at that gathering, justified or not.

(2)  Shields Up.  Do not show annoyance, haughtiness, frustration, fear, or anger.  They'll smell it the way sharks can pick up on a nosebleed from miles away.  Stay straight-laced, unflappable, and just a little detached.  The desire for them to start trouble with you will already be reduced.

If they try to break through your veneer of coolness and calmness, keep it reinforced.  If they ask you questions that sound legitimate, keep your guard up - answer them like you're being questioned by opposing counsel at a deposition; keep your answers short, without extemporaneous statements, and with allowing them room to attack anything.  They'll get bored and stop.

If they're asking questions designed to provoke you, don't even answer them.  Get distracted, change them subject, even interrupt them (like they do - it'll scramble them), without making it look deliberate or otherwise leave the conversation.  Just DON'T get angry while doing it - we can't let them push our buttons.

(3)  Don't Get Too Comfortable If Unwarranted.

Some of us are hard-wired for the same pattern:  When asked a question, we get so excited that we're asked a question, so passionate about the stories we have to tell and the wins we've scored, and so happy that we can be part of the family, that we can't fathom the idea that some might be a lot less interested.  To point where they will interrupt you before you can get about five or six words out, steer the conversation away from you, and take it in a direction that had nothing to do with what you were trying to introduce.

Yes, that really is rude beyond belief.  Yes, it does make it even less welcoming than it already is.  And no, there's nothing we can do to change their patterns.

But we can still take note of our surroundings.  For those who just can't expand their attention spans long enough for us to hit that period at the end of the sentence, see above about deposition questions.  Honestly, the best way to deal with those who do this is to let them make the conversation a monologue, especially if they are older members of the family.  Maybe even nod in agreement, it'll make them feel like their job is done.  Their need to have their voice heard might be even greater than ours.

Also, consider whether or not we should really be getting so excited at this particular time and place.  Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't.  We're not being interviewed on 60 Minutes about the latest developments at our job, we're not on our own YouTube channel sharing videos of our vacation, and we're not giving a press conference from the White House.  Our need to have our voice heard should be modified, and if need be lessened, in this venue.

That's doesn't mean we're nobody.  That doesn't make us worthless, and it doesn't mean that nobody cares what we have to say.  It just means that it's a group of people, a collective, and a tribe where sometimes others have the floor before we do.  And sometimes instead of us, period.  And if we aren't able to back out of attending these functions, we're simply going to have to accept that these are the roles we're expected to play for the limited time that we're there.  To put it a little more straightforward, it's not about us.

But once it's over, it will be again.  Let's give our time and attention to other people's lives, remain unflappable in the face of toxicity, and check our egos to the couch along with our coats to just get through it with a smile on our face once we finish.

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

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.  BUT THEY DON'T KNOW THAT YET, AND IT'S NOT THE TIME OR PLACE TO CONVINCE THEM.

I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Indifferent Detachment

Hey All - about to start a week's vacation, but not before sharing my newest thoughts with you all!

There's a new meme going around social media.  It asks the question, "Have You Ever Just Lost All Respect For Someone?  You Don't Hate Them, But You Have No Desire To Speak With Them?"

If you've lived, and conversed with people, the answer would have to be yes.  Even our more outgoing cousins, who are fraaaaaands with everyone, have seen this happen.

It's not really something to celebrate or advertise, because it's still stating that you have a low opinion of someone else.  And whether you like someone or you don't like someone, they must still be respected as another human being.  However, if it is necessary to remove someone from your life, it shouldn't really be shunned either.

Let's say you're a boss.  You want people who help run the business and make it even more successful than it already is.  But what if there are people doing the opposite?  People who show no respect for what's needed and don't care about their jobs?  If they do it badly enough, you need to let them go.

The phrase, "it's not personal, it's just business, often comes to mind."  You don't hate them as people, perhaps, but you can't have them working for you anymore.

The same approach is needed to those you choose to have in your social circles.  If they're not "doing their jobs" as Friends and Neighbors (family included), you need to let them go too.  Not the teeth-gnashing, finger pointing, high-conflict approach, of course - we're not animals - just letting them go from their position, simply and professionally.  Their services are no longer needed.

It doesn't have to be a Hollywood movie scene, either.  We're not characters, we're real people.

Once it's over, you don't keep re-hashing what they did do and what they didn't do that led to this firing.  That problem has already been resolved.  You wish them well on their way, and keep going on the path you've chosen without them.

And once they've reached that point, odds are better than likely that Our Mother has seen what they've done.  It's not our job to seek retribution, no matter how justified it might seem, it's Hers.  Trust in Her to attribute just the right consequences to their actions - Her job, period.

More than that, life is simply too short to think about those we don't love any more than necessary.  And it gets even shorter when we mimic their snark, their arrogance, and their b*tchiness.  So let's not, and trade those thoughts for those who do love us.

But youuuu-uuu're living in an echo chamber!  But youuuu-uuuuu're not getting reality without people "just being honest" with you!

That may very well be your truth.  Let's keep it that way.  We don't do high conflict in here.  Find somewhere else where that's welcome.

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

MOTHER PROTECT US, FATHER EMBOLDEN US.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

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.