Cultural Gestalt

 

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” – Leo Tolstoy

I went searching for a specific Leo Tolstoy quote today, and stumbled upon this one instead. I cant help but marvel at the timeless relevance of this thought- Isn’t it true that so many of us wish for change in the world? Is it possible that change can start with each of us living our own values?

With all the beauty and greatness, evil still exists in this world. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to think about what we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones from.  But what’s more overwhelming to me is our own hypocrisy.  The lies we tell ourselves actually contribute to the darkness we protest and cry about.

I am thinking about what we tolerate, and what we create.  I’m wondering, ‘How did we get here’, and how do we add to it in our own way?

How do we justify posting naked bathroom selfies on social media, and equating ‘likes’ to our own self worth, when we rage about being objectified?

How do we choose potential dates by perusing ‘dick pics’ on dating sites, then feel entitled to deep fulfilling relationships?

We define ‘getting to know someone’ by evaluating their net worth and their zip code.  But we don’t want to be treated like a trophy.

We want to be someone’s BAE, but we reserve the right to trade up if the opportunity presents itself.

We scream and yell about a person’s character when they engage in “Boy Talk“, but we promote much worse on the secret dissolving screen of Snapchat.

I don’t get it.  Maybe what we see wrong in the world begins and ends with what we contribute to it?

Please know that I am in NO WAY suggesting that a victim of heinous crimes like rape, and pedophilia, etc. are EVER even remotely responsible for their assault. EVER. PERIOD.  I am simply trying to provoke thought, and inspire introspection about what we as individuals and as a culture allow for, when we blur the lines of right and wrongness.

 

 

 

November 19, 2016      JMK
Photo Credit: https://www.urbandaddy.com/culture-entertainment
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/leotolstoy105644.html
http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/10/17/melania-trump-locker-room-talk-anderson-cooper-intv-ac.cnn

Pull Up Your Big Kid Pants

 

038acd5f5fb1407eccc983196c6c45daThe buzz of US Representatives boycotting President Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration reached my inbox again today. I have to say I’m surprised and concerned by the blatant message of short sighted immaturity I see on TV and read in the news. Especially when it comes from people in positions of power. Celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians are of particular social influence, and they know their role. I wish they would make it a priority to take that responsibility seriously. Do they not realize their own hypocrisy? The strong message these individuals convey to this nation- and the world, is steeped in egocentric ignorance. Their actions, or lack thereof, give affirmation to the thousands of Americans who took their disapproval to the streets, on Election Day, and the weeks surrounding it. They had temper tantrums that only a toddler would envy when they learned of Trump’s win. It was…embarrassing. Difficult to watch.  Could they not see how deplorably childish they looked? Could they not see the very things they claim to hate about Trump are the very things they promote and project?

…There’s no way I am the only one seeing this ridiculousness.

President Obama set a standard in his Farewell Address, when he spoke of acceptance, and open mindedness. Like his political position or not, there is no denying that Barak Obama is a man of good character.  At the very least, you cannot deny that he has class. He represents himself and his family well, and with peaceful integrity. He urged Americans to do the same, and he reminded us all of our place and power in this democratic nation.

I hope people will wake up, and rise to this challenge.

…Before I go on, I should offer my perspective, in a quick self disclosure: I am not a citizen of the US.  I am a legal alien.  I pay my taxes, I volunteer and look for ways to give back to the community.  I love my City. I love this Country. I follow the laws, and am respectful to my neighbors.  I teach my (American) children to do the same.  If I had to choose, I would say I am Republican, because I identify with many of the values Republicans stand for.  And, because I disagree with most of the Liberal’s Political Platform.  For this reason, I would not have voted for Obama in 2008, but  Trump would not have been my choice for President in 2016, either.  I do not have the right to vote in US elections, so my opinion is of no threat to anyone.  I am an ‘Alien Observer’, in that regard.  I have been here in the US for over a decade now, and I am proud to call it home.  I feel it is a privilege to be here.  This privilege, I fear, is something far too many Americans take for granted….  

We have enough global uncertainty today. Showing the world that as a nation, the US appears to be incapable of mastering the basic skills of cognition is simply dangerous. While we’re busy ranting and raging about our unfulfilled, thirsty egos, adversaries are taking notes. It seems it wouldn’t take much to distract this nation into a place of vulnerability, and this puts everyone at risk- especially those who devote their very lives to serve and protect us.

To the members of Congress, and government officials who have chosen to boycott the inauguration, please reconsider. Don’t reward any form of conditional love for this country. Choose better than ugly pride and ignorance. Set a better example for us all. This thing is happening, whether you like it or not. Apply your good skills of Object Permanance. Choose to be a part of it for the love of your Country. For the greater good. It’s clear that President Obama has political values that differ from President Elect Trump’s, yet he reminded us all of our responsibility when he said,

“democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity — the idea that for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.”

It’s true. We’re all in this together. You don’t have to submit to political beliefs that oppose your own, but you will have to be present to make a difference.  You do have to show up.

Benjamin Watson once quoted his father, saying, “Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.”

I think the same can be said for poor choices.

To that end, I can only hope the men and women of Congress who have chosen to boycott Trump’s inauguration will reconsider. And if they don’t, I can only hope that people will see it for what it really is…a deep character flaw.

Americans, please know your power- you do model the qualities you wish to see in your President, and countrymen.  If you’d  like that to change, you need to start with yourselves.

 

 

Jan 18, 2017 JMK
http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/state-texas-three-texas-congressmen-announce-inauguration-boycott/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/16/more-than-30-democratic-lawmakers-now-skipping-trumps-inauguration/?utm_term=.d14835efece0
https://www.whitehouse.gov/farewell
http://www.simplypsychology.org/sensorimotor.html
http://m.simplypsychology.org/sensorimotor.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconditional_love
http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/donald-trump-inauguration-when-does-it-start-performers-and-more-w461259
http://study.com/academy/lesson/piagets-sensorimotor-stage-of-development-definition-examples-quiz.html

 

Photo credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Curbside Confessions: What Would You Do? 

Strangers tell me things. I don't really know why, exactly…. Maybe they sense that trust is a quality I value. Or maybe the reason has more to do with random probability. A time and place type of event. Sometimes I feel like I'm on Candid Camera, and I find myself looking around for someone to confirm a punch line. Or…or, maybe it's completely normal to drop confession bombs on strangers in shopping centers. I don't know. Nonetheless, strangers tell me things, and as much as it sometimes shocks me, I am honored to hear their stories.
Last night I was picking up some items at my local pharmacy. I was standing in line when a woman and her friend walked in. I am really not good at guessing age, but Id say she was probably in her late 20's. He was maybe in his early thirties.
They joked around a bit, and seemed like they were having a great time. She seemed like a happy, bubbly person who just needed to run a quick errand at the pharmacy before returning to a fun evening with her friend. She sent her friend to search the condiment aisle for something. When he left, she struck up a conversation with me about what she was going to cook for dinner that night. Maybe she felt uncomfortable just standing there waiting. I don't know. But her energy seemed off. Below the cheerful facade, she seemed troubled.

She said something about rice, and asked if I thought that was good. I was polite and agreeable. The next person was called,  and I proceeded to the counter. A moment later, another clerk appeared and she was called to the counter too. We stood side by side, and made our respective requests, then both clerks left to fetch our prescriptions. She turned to me and said, "This Christmas is going to be hard…My husband and kids are gone." I said, "Oh, are they traveling?" She said no. Then she looked around anxiously, and told me that her family had died….

Died.

At that moment, both our clerks had returned. She perked up and smiled, as if realizing that she needed to return to character. Leaving me in that moment with a chill from the glimpse of her true identity-a young mother and wife in despair.

My transaction was completed before hers, and another customer had entered the que behind me. Reluctantly, I left the counter- all I could do was touch her arm and wish her a Merry Christmas.

It seemed like she wanted me to ask about them-like she wanted to tell their story. Her story.

I'm not one to pry, but I wanted to hear it. I have so many questions. When did this happen? How old were your children? How did they die? How are you getting through this? Do you know that it's ok to sad? That mourning is a healthy part of the healing process? 

Now I am wondering if I should have lingered nearby, and waited for her.

Would you have waited for her? 

If you were me…what would you do?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candid_Camera

photo credit: https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/question-mark-vector-1068869

For My 1st

I am thinking of my first born today. He's going through some things that life sees us all go through. Something that is just part of the human experience. 

Right now, it feels like his world is falling apart. He's forgetting that he's been through much worse. I think it's difficult to see the whole picture when you're in it. I'm trying to reach him, but, like me, he can be difficult to reach when he's working through something. I get that. He comes by his reclusive nature quite honestly. 

Still, I'm thinking of him today, and didn't realize just how much until I sat down to write my own thoughts. This is what spilled onto my page. 

"…Your survival skills have been honed by the deepest and darkest tests this world could ever conjure. And you've not only survived them- you've taken them and let God instill them into your soul. They are a powerful part of you. I've watched you heal from your pain, and I've witnessed you heal others from what you've learned from your pain. You are powerful. You are exceptional. You are loved. 

Don't let fear discourage you and decay these gifts- you've EARNED them. They can't be bought, sold or duplicated. They are rare and you've EARNED them. 

Do not waste your gifts on people who don't understand them. You don't have to prove that you are competent and special to anyone. Just give others grace, and walk away. They are not where you are yet, and that's why they can't see. That's all. Go do what you are created to do. Help those who you can, and continue your journey toward greatness. 

Be everything you can. Learn everything you can. And sew the seeds of courage and strength, by being an example of courage and strength. Be open to receive your blessings- look for them. They are there around you. 

Don't be discouraged by hate and wrath- don't be tempted by simple selfish sin. You're above that now. And you know it. Allow yourself to be encouraged by that which you cannot see. 

Show up for yourself and for those who have proven to show up for you. And when you're feeling stronger, show up whenever you can, simply because you can. Dont let fear stop you from living your values. Fear is a lie. Stop wasting your precious energy on mediocrity. No matter where you are, or what you're doing, know that you are so loved. Make all your choices from that powerful truth, and every day that you get to rise, you will shine.

This is my 'Desiderata' for you today, my child.

 I love you eternally.