Feel like a phony?

02Last week I had dinner with a friend and he felt the need to point out that I belong. I constantly second guess myself and any abilities that I do or don’t have which may be why I start a lot of things and don’t finish them all or I do some things really well, but the little bits that would make the completed project perfect are crap.

Maybe I do this to prove to myself that I am a phony.

Some times

Really I just feel like a phony a lot and never quite feel worthy of the things that I have worked for and the accomplishments that I have earned. I’m a mish mash of ideas and thoughts and theories that make an interesting person who doesn’t want to talk about them so when they come out on paper they make me sound mad.

I can talk shop with anyone…to a point. I don’t share my best ideas and I often hold back from the conversation all together. If I talk to you with any depth it’s because I’ve decided your trustworthy. But I still don’t share. Not vocally.

I share here, but even there I haven’t shared much in the last year and a half. I have plenty going on I just don’t want to sound showy or “Hey, hey, look at me now!” So many of the bloggers that I connected with at the inception of this blogging journey are still struggling with their finances and lifestyles. I’m not. Sure I have problems, but they are nothing when compared to the stories that I read and the struggles that I have faced and I feel like a phony finding a complaint. Clearly this isn’t a humor blog. I don’t do obvious humor.

I feel it is now my mission to not dawdle in the past strife, but to build up others as much as possible. How can I share a piece of the good word, a good idea, a good thought that may make a day brighter. Likewise I share stories of others that need to be shared because it’s news that you won’t see unless you’re looking. That takes a lot less space, so it’s all on Twitter or Facebook (Friend me I will accept).

Often I feel like a phony, an imposter, a person who does not deserve all this goodness. I feel the past follows me like a cloak waiting to wrap itself around me in a swift wind. Not that it warms me, but it makes me cold. The emotions of the craziness that didn’t feel crazy until I stepped away and looked back. I feel like someone somewhere is just waiting to throw the cloak on me even though I’ve grown up, I’ve changed, and there is so little of that person remaining. That sad girl who wanted so much to feel the warmth of love and being needed that she clung to the first person who passed her way. I still haven’t figured that out. Why did the thing that damages have to be the thing that stuck for so long?

That may be a question I can never answer.

I feel like a phony to have bigger dreams. To want to be and do more in this world. All the dreams I write about on this blog…I want to see them realized, but that cloak of doubt keeps the fear inside me. I don’t deserve my dreams to become reality because I didn’t do this or that, or I don’t look a certain way.

Why is that? How many of you feel this way? How many of you hold yourselves back because you don’t feel worthy?

Damn it – FEEL WORTHY!

I say this to myself as much as I say it to you.

We belong. We have earned it. We fight for it daily.

The things we have accomplished are worth talking about. Every day little wins are worth sharing. Letting people know that this day is an awesome day because you woke up and set out to conquer the day is worth being said!

Don’t be afraid. You are not a phony.

Surround yourself with positive reinforcement and bring light to the world.

When you see that light in someone else – that kinship – reach out to them!

It’s only by building ourselves and others up that we finally begin to feel worthy.

For a bit of inspiration tonight watch:

Why Not Overestimate What You Can Do?

This afternoon I had every intention of coming home at the end of the day and posting a blog reworking day one of The Purpose Driven Life. Well…crap…life happens and things change…so I don’t get to write that post because there is other stuff going on.

Life…the eternal brevity of life.

We are all here forever in our minds. Our days become months that turn into years that form our lives. We don’t know why we are here in the grand scheme of things and where are we going?? Only time will tell us.

But we are here and we are intelligent and for better or worse we will make it work.

There was a quote that I shared once on people overestimating what they can do in a day, but underestimating what they can do in a life. What can we do? What can we change? How can we live to our potential in the quick succession of our many days?

Is it even important that we change the world to effect change on the world?

I don’t think so.

We can change the entire future of our planet by simply changing how we relate to it. We need to realize our power is not in the halls of government or the corner offices of commerce, but in how we live out each and every one of our days.

Today several things have happened that I think will have an impact on me for a while. First, something as simple as a book club. This book club was not just a small group of girls gathering to read fiction. This book club is at my office. I now work for a Fortune 100 (plus a few) company. We are a STEM company and are trying to stay the leading company in our field. The book we are reading is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Here’s the thing. Our industry is traditionally dominated by men. They are the great builders, engineers and designers…at least in theory. But our office has something special that I don’t think many of the women (several thousand) understand the value of – we have a female chief operating officer running our campus.

Our big cheese is a woman!

This is abundantly important for us as women!

I am not going to look up the exact statistic now, but the ratio of female to male COOs of companies our size is miniscule! Then considering our industry…I was shocked that there weren’t more women at book club! I don’t think we would have had this book club if it wasn’t for her belief in possibility.

I have heard so many times women complain that they do all the work but never get the reward. The men get to have all the glory, but the women are the one holding it all together. Head down, pencil to paper, getting shit done.

Simple truth is – if your head is always in the muck – it will only ever see more muck.

How many women are so wrapped in their work that they don’t look up and see the opportunity? How many are concentrating so hard on what is that they don’t see the possibility of what could be? I am just getting into the book, but I challenge women to stand up, find their power, show up to the meetings, be heard. Make a difference!

So much happens when we are present, not just in body, but in mind and awareness.

Second thing that happened today…an awareness of self, not self-awareness, but an awareness that if I just keep working, growing, learning, and pushing that I will be where I always thought I would. It may not be the exact place or thing that was in my mind, but it is working out exactly how God made it.

This reminded me that we each on a different path and that there are no shortcuts to ease the pain. The pain is there to make you stronger. The hardships we face are intolerable when they happen, but when we finally taste success the result is sweeter because we can acknowledge the pain of the past.

Finally, TED. Dear sweet, amazing TED. This week is TED active and my inbox has exploded with massive amounts of info-porn. Seriously. My favorite week’s are TED week’s because the ideas and information that come out of them are transformational for each of us individually and all of us globally. So many things that changed as a result of putting these ideas into ACTIONS.

What is an idea if it can’t be put into action?!

A waste of freaking time!!!

I love the philanthropic, socially aware, more political ideological discussions, and today was mind-blowing. I am still watching, because I was late to the party, but it is all on video. I highly suggest you all watch it.

Here’s what ties the day’s events together. When we look up from the day-to-day and we see the possibility of what could be it is up to us to grab it, to hold it, to nurture it into existence. We must breathe the life into the thing that gives us purpose, that gives us life.

If your thing is simply living life as joyfully as possible and showing that joy to everyone you meet then do it. Your smile and easy laughter will change hearts and won’t cost a dime. If you are Bill and Melinda Gates and your thing is creating a planet that sees the best possible future in vaccinations and education improvements for children. Then do that!

We are each blessed with different gifts, scopes, and thought processes. The important thing is that you do it.

Please watch the evenings TED events here. TED2014: The Next Chapter
http://conferences.ted.com/TED2014/

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Kiev : A Little Over a Week Later

Wasn’t it just a little over a week ago that people were dancing in Kiev’s Independence Square ecstatic that they had the ability to change their stars?

Didn’t they laugh and sing and enjoy being “Happy”?

Kiev Happy

Isn’t it amazing what has followed? Is amazing the right word?? More like astonishing or unbelievable or terrifying…

I keep wondering about the varying storylines. Who is really pulling the strings?

No…Conspiracy theories help no one.

What I get caught in is the politics of intimidation and watching the most powerful political leaders of the world dance. One is leading, one is following, and then they reverse rolls.

During different points of the week you could see where Russia was gathering up the Ukraine and pulling her around the floor. Then the next day the United States would have the Ukraine bound for the other side of the dance floor. This constant back and forth following one then the other all over the dance floor…all the while the audience of watched.

The audience changed depending on who was leading. When it was Putin you could hear the echoes of the people in Crimea chanting their allegiance to a Russia few of us recognize. When Kerry finally took the lead you could hear the people who believe in the possibility of a free Ukraine.

I’ve been watching this incredible event escalate and diminish. I’m just dumfounded by the insanity.

Ukraine is a country. A democratic nation that could and should be free from the trappings of a parent nation. Ukraine does not need to be a state of Russia…or anyone.

What do you need when building a successful nation?

I think it is the same as what you need to build a successful future for a business. You need to know why you want the changes that you do and you need to stand by them. Write out a vision of what you need and want. Live by that vision. There is also a reason for beliefs in tolerance and understanding and an intrinsic openness and transparency.

Maybe this is more about building a nation that will last in this age, the age of Wikileaks and NSA Surveillance. The people that want to ask you to dance are going to know everything about you already, so you may as well be honest about it.

If Putin had simply acknowledged and validated the changes that occurred in the Ukraine instead of having violently restrained outbursts about the changes that will happen, none of these problems would exist.

For a summary of the days events please visit Human Rights Watch for the storify timeline.  http://www.hrw.org/the-day-in-human-rights

I had and still have high hopes that Ukraine is able to become the country that it wants to be. I hope that the Russian government and more pointedly Vladimir Putin realize that times have changed. I hope that “The Western” nations that are helping Ukraine set up for the future do not trap her in the methods and practices that won’t lead to success.

It’s been a week, I said last week that the fight was just beginning, but this is not the fight I had in mind.

candles

Kiev : Get Happy!

Tonight on Fast Company I watched the video of Ukrainian revolutionaries dancing in their encampments at Independence Square to Pharrell’s Happy. I watched a bunch of people my age and younger celebrate the idealism that so many people hold dear.

We believe the world can be better if you just give us the opportunity to show you what you taught us before life and scarcity got to you.

We know that the world is a good place. We also know that power breeds corruption, so we know we have to be careful if we are given the chance.

No we don’t have all the answers, but we think we can fix what is broken.

Even if we can’t fix it we can replace it with something entirely different.

We want freedom.

I don’t know how closely you have been following the events in Kiev or if you have scrolled past them in an attempt to keep your blinders on, but something amazing and perhaps scary just happened.

The revolutionaries in Kiev won.

The dictator who was in charge was removed from office by the parliament and there is an opportunity for a new, freer society setting up in Ukraine.

To me this is amazing because we get the opportunity to see what they do with it.

However it is also terrifying because they must be careful how they proceed. Do you want to be like Egypt and have three new governments in almost as many years (They resigned today.) or do you want to form a new land of peace and freedom and show others how a revolution is done.

This is the problem with revolutions. Some people do it for the power. It remains to be seen if there are many in this group who are only in it for the power, but wouldn’t it be a testament to the revolution if this remained about freedom and liberty and less about a transfer of power from one party to another?

To highlight the key element in most elections from one side to another is that it’s the same ideals just with a new face, a new label, a new rhetoric, but the same end game. Power.

The end of the video shows that all Kiev wants is to be happy, but will they be?

I applaud and encourage you all to keep the correct goal in mind.

You’ve done the easy part and that is get the power, the hard part starts now…what will you do with that power??

Be happy, Kiev, you’ve earned it.

"What is happiness for you?"

“What is happiness for you?”

Jobless isn’t the end of the World – Right?

What do you do when you are faced with a problem?

Do you tuck tail and hide? (Because that’s what I feel like doing.)

Do you ignore the chatter and rise from the ashes? (Hope to do)

Eat pumpkin anything and gain 20 pounds? (As I type I am eating delicious pumpkin bread pudding…and it’s amazing!)

Here is the problem – and it’s not really a problem – just something else on the path to understanding. I am losing my job. I have been here since April 2012, and I have worked my tail off letting everything including this blog suffer and for what? To be told that since your boss was a bad boss we had to let him go and since we have a whole team assembled who can do your job in another city we are going to let them do it.

Sure, they have offered to move me to one of two locations – without an increase in pay – one is in the middle of desert surrounded by the pollution that I loathe and the other is deep in hickville away from proper civilization. I don’t require much, but for a girl who loves theater, symphony music, and museums…hickville’s not going to cut it.

So I am here…arriving at decision time with three months to decide my fate.

Pulled from Google Images - If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

Pulled from Google Images – If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

I guess it’s really not three months, more like two and a half, but it is also right at the holiday season when NO ONE wants to hire!

It would be perfect if I could leave here at the end of the year, take a week off, and start right up somewhere else, but to get them to even look at my resume. No actually it would be perfect if “they” could find a way to keep me for at least a few more years, or if they could pay me more, or if I didn’t have to be on the road 3 hours a day just commuting to and from work.

I figure that’s just part of life living in one of the most spread out cities in the country.

I get excited at the idea of leaving…but where would I go? What will I do? Where will I live?

Do I move to get out of a city full of smog?

Do I find something that keeps the rest of my life as it is and just humbly soldier on?

Honestly, I do have responsibilities here.

I lead a Cub Scout den. I will start leading Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book club for the “South of Houston” area in January (I would have to give that up – and I don’t wanna.) I am a member of a church that I have grown to love and get excited to attend every week.

I would love to work locally though, heck – I’d love to work from home! Wouldn’t that be awesome! I could do a lot if I worked from home. I would save money and not be on the road so much. I don’t think it will happen, but it is fun to dream.

I feel stuck. I shouldn’t because I have time, experience, and options on my side.

I feel let down because something I thought would last is ending.

I feel nervous because of timing and possibilities. Fortunately some of those possibilities are out of my control and with a little prayer and meditation the nervousness can be tempered.

I also feel excited by those possibilities. What could happen if I just step out of this shell that I’ve encased myself in? What if I find exactly what I am looking for in a job and career?

What if something amazing happens because now I get to look for it out in the open without recourse by my employer because they told me to see what’s out there?

Now time to reread my post from last week…I think that line of thinking is key to my next step.

Until next time –

Just found on Raw for Beauty’s facebook page, by way of the Desire Map group. It’s long but so beautiful and appropriate for this post.

Why don’t you run for office?

In 1982, there was a film called, The Verdict, I had never heard of it until today. However, thanks to John Cusack’s Twitter feed, I saw the Courtroom summation scene.

This speech really sums up how many American’s feel this week.

The quiet desperation in Paul Newman’s voice, the hopeful ending, and the knowledge that the Jury was the law. They had legal books for guidance, but the jury really was the law. The people are the law.

America is at an impasse. Our democratic government is broken and there is only one way to fix it. We must remember that we are the government. The top only functions as well as the rest. The people are the law.

What is a democracy?

 A democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally – either directly or through elected representatives – in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic, and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

This means that our government is us…we elect people. We create the machine. We can now recreate the machine. The people are the law and the people are the law makers.

What are the requirements to becoming an elected official?

Depending on the office you have to be 21 to 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of the location you will represent. Also depending on state and location you must have lived there a certain number of years.

That is it. You do not need a fancy degree. You don’t need any degree. You don’t need to belong to some secret society. You just need to raise enough votes for the office you seek.

How do you get those votes?

You go door to door if you have to, but you also hold rallies, make public appearances, you get to know the people you are going to represent.

Better yet, be one of the people you represent.

I posed the question to my Facebook friends yesterday on what they think should be the requirements of getting elected.

The replies:

1)      Be from a lower income. – If you have never been poor you have no idea how hard it is and you can’t vote from that perspective. No amount of empathy can make you understand poverty. Why? We each have our own version of poverty. Some people see it as a single mom living in a slum, others see it as the people in foreign countries on Unicef commercials. If you are going to represent the people you should be part of the 99%.

2)      They don’t want to run for office. – People who crave power are a troublesome bunch. They could be anyone and they are everywhere. People who crave power should not be public servants. The key that politicians seem to keep forgetting is that they are in service to their districts, states, and country. If you crave power go do something else.

3)      They should never have held the office that they are seeking in the previous ten years. – As a resident of Texas whose politicians rarely change I agree with this thought wholeheartedly. It keeps the law from stagnation.

4)      They cannot have been employed by any organization that lobbies the position that they are seeking. – This one is harder to do because some people work in Oil and Gas for the pay check, but are quite against it just the same. It’s a hypocritical part of life, but it does happen.

5)      They should have been in Military Service – If you haven’t worn the uniform you shouldn’t be able to dictate to the uniform. These men and women are willing to selflessly die every day for our selfish society if you want to give them orders to walk into battle you better have tested yourself on the battlefield.

I would add that they need to be younger, they should advocate for our Constitutional Rights, believe in a truly free state, and not be scared to stand up for the Truth.

My candidate would also have made bad choices, but learned from the mistakes. If you never mess up you have never lived and I wouldn’t want that for the person that represents me. I mess up. Life is a messy, dirty, glorious event. My candidate would need to be anything but squeaky clean.

As a people we get tired of the posturing that happens daily in each political body in our nation. We resign our fate to the hands of the ruling class. We either neglect or forget that each November we have the ability to make a revolution. We just have to get to the polls to vote. You not only need to register, but you need to show up to vote. In the last national election less than a third of the population voted, but I know at least two-thirds have complained about the decisions made ever since.

This week there have been a lot of opinions floating around the web, but I think this is clear – We have had it and we are angry.

Register to Vote at: Our Time

This from Upworthy via Our Time is amazing and says more than I could say about Americans and voting.

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-that-all-americans-could-do-to-make-their-lives-better-that-so-many-forget

Courtesy of Google Images - If it's yours - Let me know!

Courtesy of Google Images – If it’s yours – Let me know!

America – We missed the mark on Remembrance

Remembrance does strange things to people. It makes them intolerant. It makes them violent. It takes a day that is already bad enough and makes it worse.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that left America scattered and scared. The 12th anniversary of the deaths of thousands at the hands of 19 individuals whose moral compass had become so extreme that they were willing to die to make us pay for…I don’t know exactly.

I never understood the why’s of 9/11. I won’t share in the conspiracy theory there is tons of that online and in life. The point is that this was a tragedy that has become a religious and racist argument that will never be won.

The Devil has already won if we continue to fight about whose God is right.

We are all humans. We live on a planet we call Earth. We all bleed red. We all eat and drink and procreate. The things that set us apart from the animals are – murder and mind.

We have the ability to cognitively process everything that happens to us and around us. There are theories as to evolution, but we don’t know why we became so evolved. We just are.

So, why do we kill each other for any reason?

Is it humanity’s fatal flaw to be violent in the face of power, passion, or religion?

Is religion a fatal flaw?

We are all people after all and we all want to live long full lives, so it doesn’t make sense to take someone else’s life from them. At least it doesn’t to me. We live on a huge planet. Go live somewhere else if you can’t stand where you are and who you are with.

If you can’t stand someone ELSE’s religion then don’t practice it.

Yesterday there was a plan for a “Million Muslim March” on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It happened but more like a fraction of a percent of Muslims participated in the event. Reasoning being unclear as to why there were not more people. Perhaps they knew the backlash that could have resulted from this or perhaps it was the 2 million bikers that thought to show up and interrupt this event.

I’d be scared if 2 million bikers promised to end my march…as it was there was no violence just a bunch of bikers driving through DC. The police blocked them from doing anything else and wouldn’t give them a permit for a march of their own.

Yesterday should have been a day of Peace and Remembrance. We should have pondered those who lost their lives. We should have spent the day reaching out to our loved ones and friends telling them we love them and appreciate them.

A gathering of Muslims for Peace on a day that produced violence by Muslims seems like a way for that community to come full circle. It was meant to be an olive branch in the religious inconsistencies of our national character.

Want religious freedom? Well that doesn’t just mean your religion. Religious freedom is meant to be for everyone.

Want to be able to meet and assemble? That doesn’t mean just for causes you find worthy.

Want to be able to complain about it? Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Those are your first amendment rights. They are for everyone. Anyone on American soil has these freedoms. This is what the Revolutionary War was fought for and what our soldiers continue to believe as they fight for us. There are so many differing views on religion, politics, heredity, and social standing that these have become unimportant in light of someone’s character and interaction with the rest of the world.

What if starting today we lived without prejudice?

What if starting today we lived fully compassionate lives?

What if starting today we began to trust again?

What if starting today we showed respect for everyone?

What if starting today we chose to live as God intended?

To begin with you need to stop grouping a set of strangers together calling all of them bad people who want to kill us all without actually knowing anything about them. A sad state of American society is that we automatically classify people of the Muslim religion as extremists who want to murder us and take over the country.

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is profoundly untrue. The Muslim religion is not to blame, no more than the Christian religion is to blame for the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition. Those things happened because of the thoughts and actions of a small group of people, not because of their religion. Step one someone else’s religion is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is your faith, your path, your choice of religion.

As a Christian I believe that at the end of my life I will be placed before God and judged. He will not judge me on my works; He will judge me on my faith and my obedience in accepting Jesus Christ as my eternal Savior. What part does anything to do with someone else’s religion? Nada.

Another part of my walk as a Christian is more of a universal rule that I live by and would appreciate others to do as well. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I know I didn’t quote the scripture or verse, but you know what I mean. This fully encapsulates how to live compassionately. If you see someone who is hungry try to feed him. If you see someone that needs a home, show him where to get the help to get a home.

Living compassionately is not a life in the mission field, it should simply be life.

If you claim to be Christian the rule we are taught is to live a “Christ-like Life.” Who was Christ? Jesus. How did he live? He was self-sacrificing and lived to make the lives of those around him better than his own. We cannot save the world, but we can show each other mercy.

What do you think the world would be like if more Christians lived that way?

I think it would be easier to trust if you knew that the people who claimed to be good, peace-loving, wholesome individuals really were. There is nothing more troubling than believing in others and having them shatter that belief. Perhaps my trust in others is my fatal flaw, because I trust everyone until they’ve given me a reason not to and that is dangerous. Because you can’t actually trust anyone these days until they have proven their worth.

If you can’t trust simply try to respect others. Everyone.

All trust starts with respect. If someone can’t respect other people they can’t be trusted. Of all the definitions of respect I think the one most closely resembling what we view as respect is thoughtfulness or consideration. By being considerate of others we can earn their trust and compassion, which could bring them to a non-judgmental state regardless of your chosen lifestyle or religion…which are none of their business anyway.

I for one like my rights as an American and I would hate to see them further sullied because of some extreme belief in the supremacy of one religion over another.

Every time you act and react is a characteristic of yourself, not your religion, not your hometown, not even your family. We are all on this planet. We won’t all agree. We won’t all get along.

Tolerance isn’t about conformity it’s about life.

Pulled from a Facebook Share

Pulled from a Facebook Share

“Being In Service to Something Larger Than Yourself”

Every day we are told to do what is best for our own self-interests.

Do whatever you need to do to give yourself the best life possible, who cares what happens to everyone else. They are not your problem.

I can’t get over how wrong I think this idea of life is…I am not the only one.

I personally think that nature is the best teacher for this and it’s in nature that you can see how interdependent we are meant to be.  We are not meant to be islands unto ourselves. It may be a dog eat dog world, but it wasn’t supposed to be.

I envision a world where we are each dependent upon each other. No one has to go without because there is plenty to go around. I don’t think it’s socialist to change and equate the systems. There is no reason for poverty and homelessness. There is no reason for greed and persecution. There should be no place for these things in our world.

Yet they are everywhere.

What do you suppose would happen if we chose to live a different way?

What do you suppose would happen if you reached out and helped those around you?

Watch this video. I am not the only one who has a new vision for our planet.

We are not individuals. We are all one. We have to grow beyond that thinking.

 

“Bow into service.”

Become “the more beautiful world your heart knows is possible.”blog

Governed through Consent

You and I are governed through consent.

This is a given in a world of question marks that I don’t have all the answers, but a world in which I try to exist. What happens when you no longer agree with how you are governed? Who is it that will inevitably control your consent?

Last Friday, The Guardian published an article on PRISM. An NSA program targeting all of the data processed on every cell phone number Verizon provided. When we say all of the data, we mean all.

Every tweet.

Every status update.

Every nonsensical thought.

They want to predetermine subversives and terrorists.

They want to know all of this information to prevent mass bombings and solve criminal behavior.

Why do we use the term “They”?

“They” are the organizations that prevent the behavior?

It’s my theory that “They” are not middle income government employees, but let’s not go there. That is dangerous territory in this day and age.

I am often asked, “What is my political affiliation?”

For many reasons I am pretty conservative in my actions. For many more I am liberal in my views.

Basically I feel we each have the right to private property, life built on our own terms and the ability to express ourselves without recourse.

It was pointed out to me yesterday that I am Libertarian.

Now, I have looked that up and largely agree with their views, but I don’t believe that I am.

Then in that same conversation I was asked if I am an anarchist.

This led me down a train of thought that you can only imagine.

While I am not happy with how we are governed I do believe we need to be governed. I believe there needs to be systems and processes in place to provide the infrastructure we have come to enjoy.

Without an entity worrying about the details we would not have reached the diversity in thought and availability of information.

We would not have moved beyond the Industrial age to the Information age.

We would have halted our theoretical evolution.

OR perhaps not, but we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Many of the arguments I have read refer to our Founding Fathers. They contain great quotes by great men who were themselves subjected to a tyrant. Benjamin Franklin is HUGE right now.

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

That is the one that circulates and recirculates until your head spins. But what was his context?

I haven’t actually had time to read the entire book I found involving this, so we will just have to believe that he was referring to the standard practices of the British who ran the Colonies at the time.

Franklin also believed that in order for the republic that would be formed the peoples had to be virtuous for it to survive.

His parents were pious Puritans. Puritan values include devotion to egalitarianism, education, industry, thrift, honesty, temperance, charity, and community spirit.

These values have become so integrated with the American spirit that you can feel Franklin’s impact daily.

Franklin also believed in the “Divine Providence” of this endeavor. This nation built on freedom and self-reliant responsibility. He felt God was in command of our every action.

To me he was correct.

God’s divine providence created a whole new world of governmental possibilities.

However, Franklin also believed that in order for the Republic to survive it had to be run by good, virtuous men.

Nearly 100 years later Lord Acton provided a memorable thought.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What the Founding Fathers built and believed in was a system of small federal government that kept the states in control of their destinies. No, not all the representatives agreed to that ideology, but their history proved that only the local governments could understand the needs of the local population.

The foundation was set for freedom and liberty and due process.

(Due Process 2013 style is another post entirely)

Now nearly 250 years from the Continental Congress we are met with a growing dissidence to the actions of the government that has constantly been handed more and more power.

We give them power for our safety.

We write the rules of social responsibility with the government providing the keys to the piggy bank that will provide prosperity to the nation.

We provide our consent to security beyond anything our forefathers ever imagined.

I can remember when I was a child we had some freedom to explore. We could wander within a range of our home and experience the liberty of our own choices. Nothing was more liberating than walking to the corner store with a dollar and buying a candy bar and then eating it in the woods with my friends.

I was 8 years old and felt like I had some control of my existence.

Today, my son is 7 years old and when I think of letting him walk to the building next door to our apartment to buy a candy bar alone I cringe.

Why is that?

Because our world is incredibly different.

We live in a world where it seems the majority of the population has forgotten that to be a part of a free society they have to have a certain level of virtue and decorum. The unwritten rules of life and propriety that are scoffed at in the modern world are the precise rules that let us be free.

So when we are faced with the choice to put up surveillance cameras to monitor the actions of others to place blame when something bad happens, we let them.

We allow the monitoring of ourselves to protect ourselves from thieves, murderers, vagrants, and child abusers.

We trade our privacy to protect. We began doing this while I was a child.

Monitors in that store where I bought the candy bar would blink and the VHS tapes would record and if something bad were to every have happened to me there I would have been seen.

When my mother and grandmother were children they had the ability to have that same freedom I felt, but the monitoring of their actions didn’t exist. That was when community meant something. That was when if you miss behaved your mother received a phone call from the store clerk telling her that you had pinched a piece of chocolate and she could pay for it next time she was there.

We have replaced this line of thinking.

We now do what we want and leave it to a prosecutor to catch us. We have allowed the disintegration of the community that the founding fathers had wanted to create.

We now have “Big Brother.”

Where your actual blood brothers should be we have a video camera, a satellite link and digital relations watching out for us.

As technology has developed during my lifetime, I’ve watched the preventative measures to unseen dangers develop as well.

For every milestone made in technology there is a milestone in government bureaucracy. We give more power and the government willingly and joyously accepts.

All in the name of security and jobs.

I think back to Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I think back to Ben Franklin’s belief that for the republic to prosper we need virtuous leaders.

I’m of the opinion that the bureaucratic power we have provided the government lends itself to absolute corruption. If we are governed by consent we have given the powers in charge the ability to do whatever where ever they want.

My freedoms dwindle while they remain unchecked.

But

There is another piece to this puzzle.

Education

We were given an education that caused us to think for ourselves, grasp theories and explore possibilities, write our own opinions and develop the tools to think for ourselves.

Whether we were introverted or extroverted we were taught to develop ideals that would have a positive impact on the world.

I don’t know if this was everywhere, but I know this is what I was taught by the leadership in my school.

Think for myself.

Share your theory and have an open discussion.

Build the idea alone and then put it into action as a community.

Whether that community was a few students or a whole organization.

It is with this line of thinking that we have developed the tools that allow for the wealth of human knowledge and history to be available at a moment’s notice. By developing a theory alone and putting it into practice within a group humanity has developed the internet, the computer, the personal computer, cell phones, GPS, and on and on.

We embraced all of these technologies that we have built because of the knowledge that exists within them.

Humans are curious. Humans crave connection. Humans crave community.

So here we are. 2013.

Our curiosity, our connection, our community exists online and through the internet. We share knowledge, opinions, news, and need to innovate.

We share one with another in hopes of creating breakthroughs in our own human, temporary, existence so that all of society can improve.

Our education provided the tools to make this possible.

I graduated high school in 1999, having completed courses in Physics and Calculus, advanced placement in History and Government. I don’t know if we were an exceptional class, or the norm for the country of the time, but I was normal for my peer set.

I look back with interest as I discuss education today with my peers who have become teachers.

Nothing is taught in the same light as before.

Where once teachers shared their idealism and need to get the children to think for themselves. There is now a need to conform and teach to the prescribed curriculum.

A curriculum that has been dumbed down.

In a world whose lifeblood is knowledge we are hindering our children who attend public schools.

We are teaching to the base line instead of setting our expectations higher.

Why?

Through my research I have found several reasons…none of them are good.

First, it is not easy to control someone who has the ability to think for themselves.

Second, we are a resource based planet. We can never create more of any of our finite resources and it has been suggested that more educated people require higher incomes and therefore will consume more resources with these higher incomes. So it’s actually a threat to our sustainability.

Finally, those in power like to feel superior to the norm. If you price education out of their range and remove the tools to assist in the payment of that education; and then tax and fee the student to death they will never meet their potential. By never meeting their potential that makes room for those with the money, no matter their common sense and reasoning, to become the societal elite.

My children are being raised at a time when math isn’t thought to be of much importance. Reading words and comprehension are vastly different topics. Science isn’t really about innovation, but about repetition. Recycle, reduce, reuse the same theories until they learn more at home than in the school that is supposed to be teaching them the keys to the world.

The state that I live in, love and pay taxes to has rewritten our public school curriculum to their political affiliation, rewriting history and adopting books that change the very foundation of knowledge.

I could go on and on about the travesty that is our educational system, but really what does this have to do with the problem at hand?

By being taught to only do as the authority tells you and to be punished for thinking otherwise we are predisposing our kids to a life of surveillance. By not educating them to think for themselves they will never cause dissidence or create polarizing arguments.

They will never feel the passion of knowing something isn’t right at the very core of their being.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Right now we are at an impasse.

Society, government, virtue, and education are all being forced to reexamine themselves.

I have more questions now than when I began my research for this topic.

Questions that go to the very core of who we are as Americans, who we are as Humans, and who we want to become.

Do we want to continue down this path of centralized, political subservience?

Do we need to reboot the system?

Do we know who is dependable enough to not seek selfish gains to correct the problems?

Is it possible to create the world we want while hurting no one?

The undercurrents of society are not sure about the last one, but I feel as others feel that in order to change the future you have to do it differently than in the past.

War in any form is not an option because it would take from the very premise of the changes needed to improve society.

So, to you dear reader, how can we make this country, a country we can be proud of once again?

Some thoughts on tragedy and grief

Tragedy strikes us all. As an individual or as a family…even as a nation.

1997

There was a drought in the Texas Hill Country, the lake was low, and winter was ending. Every day people would walk past our pier and look out across the cove and pray for water to fill it up.
Pray for rain, our respite from the drought, our savior from the brutal heat of the summer to come.
Water to irrigate gardens and fill wells, water to quench the thirst of our neighborhoods that depended on the health of the lake.
Eventually the water came. It rained for days, storms to usher in the bloom of spring. There is nothing like the Texas Hill Country in the spring. Should you ever get the opportunity you should visit in mid-April. It is just gorgeous.
The lake was regaining its vigor and the drought was ending.
Eventually the clouds parted. The water appealed to two fishermen that I loved more than anything.
They trolled out in a fishing boat on a bright, sunny afternoon, off to catch a few fish for dinner or maybe to add to the freezer. They kept our fridges stocked with fresh fish, and were just going to play.
Before the end of my day at school a storm blew through and made everything glisten as the sun came back out. I stayed for choir practice and went home a little later than usual with a friend.
I knew something was wrong when there was a police car outside our house when we got home, but no one knew anything. They just knew the storm had blown through and the men hadn’t returned home.
Surely they were just on the wrong side of the lake waiting it out on a beach.
One hour past, then four, then it was morning, and then it was 10 am.
We heard nothing except the boats going back and forth on the lake and the occasional shutter of helicopters overhead.
They never came home.

2009
My sister had finally agreed to go to a rock in roll bar with me that I sort of adored to see a band that I had loved since I was a kid. We had friends who were going to meet us and plans for dinner and drinks.
A night of fun.
As the hour drew nearer to our fun evening people cancelled.
I hate when people cancel last minute, but they did, so it was just going to be my sister and me.
We were determined to have a good time. We went to the restaurant upstairs and ordered some food. We watch people tottering in 5 inch stilettos. We laughed at how we were the only two out of I don’t even remember how many that made it to the show.
I don’t even remember who was playing.
We had never had a sisters night out, so we hung out and talked for a while.
Our drinks arrived and so did our food. We talked about our kids and jobs and life.
Then the phones started ringing.
Her husband had been trying to get ahold of her, but she didn’t answer, so he called my phone and I picked up right away.
“Where are you?”
“Scout. Why?”
“Dennis was in an accident. You need to go to Austin.”
“Okay, we will be there as fast as we can.”
We left our food uneaten and rushed from the building. We didn’t know what we were going to see when we got to the hospital, but we knew we had to go.
My sister’s neighbor kept the kids while we were gone.
We drove. A drive that normally took 4 to 5 hours took 3.
Again we waited for a man we loved; only this time his body was with us. It was his soul that was missing.
The life force that made him our father even though we were grown when our parents met.
We waited the night and a day. We waited until the tests were run that said he was coming back to us. We prayed for his soul to find its way home. We held hands and rested our heads on the cold tile of a hospital waiting room floor.
My mother waited in his room. Talked to him. Tried to coax him back. Tried to feel the warmth of his hand in hers for as long as she could.
He never found his way back.

2013
The last two days have brought great grief to the cities of Boston and West. Gut wrenching losses for families who had been having nice normal days. They were out for a run. Home watching TV. Sitting watching the world. They were participating in life.
Some of them were accomplishing dreams. Others were at work.
I was at work Tuesday. I followed the story all afternoon and late into the night. Pausing only while at home and holding my kids just a little tighter. I let them fall asleep in the living room snuggled up that night. There was nothing I wanted more than to hold them and make them safe.
Last night after I put the boys in bed I logged into Facebook and immediately I saw photos of a fire at a plant in Waco. Then I turned on the news and it had exploded.
Not just exploded but ripped a town apart. It will take years for them to come back from that.

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I only have a few words of wisdom when it comes to loss of those you love and rebuilding the life that you know. I don’t know if anyone who has lost in these tragedies will read it, but maybe the people who are reading need to hear it as well.
It takes time to cry. It takes time to feel the loss. It takes time to really understand that they’re gone and never coming back. It takes years, sometimes decades, to move on.
I don’t think we move on really.
I know that in my life the losses just became dull aches that resonate with how I try to appreciate each breath I take.
The losses have taught me to see the effects of my life on others. How one decision can cause a ripple effect that goes on and on and on.
It is easy to get mad and take your grief out on the world, but don’t. I got mad when I was so young and my grandfather got taken from me. I got so mad that I eventually rebelled to the point where nothing mattered but how I felt. I took my grief out on everyone, but no one ever understood that or forced me to deal with it. Don’t do that.
Don’t bottle it up and bury it thinking that everything is okay. You’re here, you’re safe, you’re moving along. You will crumble from the inside and become immobile.
Grieve. Heal. Cry. Get angry, but don’t get mad.
Most importantly love. Love is the most healing of emotions. It creates strength were there may have been none and warmth that lasts through the cold.
I pray that love surround you and that God bless your life with many years of happiness that far overshadow this dark time.