Hey what About Me!

Most of us at one time or another are going to face the job of taking care of elderly parents. And most of us feel guilty for dreading it. It’s not a fun job but these are our parents. We owe them, don’t we? My answer is no. We think of all they’ve done for us. Some parents have even made a point of telling their children what they’ve sacrificed and expect gratitude, like it’s owed. Crock. People have children when they are young, sexual and looking forward to life. We (the baby boomers) can’t even claim our kids weren’t planned. We had birth control. No it was drugs sex, rock & roll for most of us. Children were the result of a good time (usually) and until we’re sure about reincarnation we’ve gotta say, they don’t ask to be born.  

Our children owe us no more than they owe every other human being on earth. Respect and mutual consideration. Folks don’t seem to have mastered that yet. 

If you want to relationship with your adult children, you’ve got 18 years to earn one. 
Get busy..

Baptists, Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses

I don’t see much difference between the message of Buddha and Jesus but there’s night and day difference in the delivery. I’ve always been intensely curious about religion. Fortunately, my parents were Agnostics. They allowed me to make up my own mind and I’ll be eternally grateful. (perhaps eternally damned but the pun still works)
My best friend’s family were deeply devoted Baptists. They weren’t Sunday Christians. They attended church 3-5 nights a week. Even as teenagers, the kid’s social life centered around the church. As good Christians, they were always interested in saving stray souls when they found them. Naturally, they couldn’t help noticing a religiously unattached child. They often invited me to attend church and I was happy to go. My own family had no social life. No road trips, no overnight vacations. My mother didn’t join clubs or have friends. My father belonged to a barbershop quartet which held Monday night meetings but we weren’t invited. So when my neighbor invited me to church, I was glad to go. The only time I ever went to summer camp was with my friend to the Baptist Bible camp. It didn’t stick for me but it’s hard to criticize something that has worked so well for them. To this day, my friend, her siblings and their spouses, (who they met through church) remain deeply involved with their religion. I can’t help but believe it works for them is that they are rare people who believe what they say they believe and so really live by it. I don’t understand how folks can believe the bible, literally but I have to respect anyone who says what they mean and means what they say. I love integrity.

Then there was my Uncle, my mother’s brother, who married a Catholic girl and agreed to raise his children (my cousins) as Catholic. It drove my grandfather nuts. I was curious enough to attend church with them too. I went more than a few times but it didn’t take long to figure out why it bothered my grandfather for his son to be Catholic but it wasn’t until I grew older that I understood the whole story. My grandfather had been raised in the Catholic Church. A natural skeptic, he had nonetheless been dutiful and raised his family in the church. They worked hard and have a little to show for it except for his 12 children. This same uncle had been a twin and they were the pride of my grandfathers life. When the boys were about seven, scarlet fever took my Uncle’s twin brother. My grandfather was distraught. He sought help from the priest told him it was God’s punishment but the child could be released from purgatory for a sum. Now this was during the great depression when even a small sum was an impossible feat. My grandfather felt betrayed and out raged by the extortion. As often happens with people who’ve reformed, it’s hard to see loved ones who haven’t seen the light. 

When I was about seven, I came home from school to find a nice lady sitting at the dining room table. My mother introduced her saying “This is Miss Lear. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness and she’s going to come every week to study with you.” Turns out, Miss Lear had knocked on the door and my mother, uncomfortable saying no, pawned her off on me. She came weekly for seven years. It wasn’t all bad. jehovah’s Witnesses have annual conventions and she took me on my first trip to New York where I learned to use the automat. A few years later the convention was in Alantic city where I ate my first hoagie.

I think I’m more objective than most when it comes to religion. I know there’s something more than what we know but I don’t for the life of me understand how people can be sure they know exactly what. Seems to me, when we die we will know everything or nothing so why waste all our time arguing over who’s guess is right. Since we can’t prove it, we have no choice but to wait and see so why not try being nice to each other?   

OK, Here’s what I want to know – 

  1. Why did Christianity allow the church to wedge itself between Jesus’ message and the people it was meant for? 
  2. How has Buddhism been able to (more so than Christianity) prevent that? 
  3. Is it a cultural thing? 
  4. If so, what part of the cultural difference is it ?

By Anita Moorjani – Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HTJTZMO/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_api_GxEyxb…

Be as Unique as everyone else

Do we love unique, really?  Seems like we need to be special AND we need to belong. Maybe what we really want is to belong to a group that’s “special”.  It’s probably why everybody thinks they want to be a rockstar. We see them as special but we know they belong too. 

We want to be seen and appreciated for who we truly are “our authentic self” (as Opera says) but we want appreciation so much, we forget about the “for who we are” part. We try to fit in.
We want to be special like the stars on TV who say “be yourself”. Nobody we know is interested in that. Poor us. We’re special too. How did she get so lucky? We forget about the years that “star” we love was alone, ridiculed and rejected for being “different. That was before she was the new thing. After all, we have to wait to embrace unique artists until the media tells us to. If they’re not on TV or radio they must not be special.


We’re standing in the forest.

Where are the darn trees?

Bees

Everybody says to be the change
But they don’t mean it
I have seen it
Only if it is convenient
Like posting a meme
Not making a scene
Cuz they don’t really give a dam
Makes me mad
Makes me sad

And i find it rather strange,
That they don’t care
Live unaware
Designer T-shirts (what they wear)
Blast noble causes
for applauses
Cuz they don’t really give a dam

Makes me mad
Makes me sad

wont you help to save the bees?
Someone, somewhere, won’t you please?
help to save the bees.

I told the city ” got a nest”
They put me on hold
But I was bold
Said “save the world?”
but they said “no…
We’ll kill them though.”
Cuz they don’t really give a dam

Makes me mad
Makes me sad

Please help to save the bees
Someone somewhere won’t you please
help to save the bees

Shirley Hanna-King

Shirley Hanna-King

Everybody says to be the change
But they don’t mean it
I have seen it
Only if it is convenient
Like posting a meme
Not making a scene

Cuz they don’t really give a dam
Makes me mad
Makes me sad

And i find it rather strange,
That they don’t care
Live unaware
Designer T-shirts – what they wear
Blast a noble cause
Just for applause

Cuz they don’t really give a dam
Makes me mad
Makes me sad

Please help me save the bees
Someone somewhere won’t you please
Just help me save the bees

I told the city ” got a nest”
They put me on hold
But I was bold
Said “save the world?”
They said no
We’ll kill them though.

Cuz they don’t really give a dam
Makes me mad
Makes me sad

Please help me save the bees
Someone somewhere won’t you please
Just help…

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Change one thing and change the world

We have evolved into a society that not only wants but expects instant gratification. Fair enough. It’s understandable. Mass media has changed the way we think and feel. It’s changed how we react to society and each other.

Before electricity, for as long as we (human beings) have been aware of (and cared about) life beyond our immediate existence, we have received our news days, weeks, even months or years after the fact. Today we know what’s happening within moments. That’s huge. News after the fact, is just that – fact. No matter how compelling, it’s history and we know innately that we can’t change history. When we get the same news in real time – we feel differently, more emotional. Survival mode kicks in. This isn’t history. This isn’t fact – yet. Survival mode tells us to act. Maybe if we do something NOW while it’s happening, we can change the out come. No longer is an earthquake on the other side of the world too distant to affect us. If it’s happening NOW we can DO something.

News from last week is history, a done deal. We skip right over “doing” and head straight to “feeling”. We have a different emotional response because now it’s something that happened to other people. We didn’t life through it. We didn’t experience it. We don’t connect with it in the same way as people who have lived through any shared emotional experience (siblings, war buddies, hostage victims). Ask someone where they were on 9/11 and you have an instant connection (assuming you were conscious on 9/11). News we did not live through is a whole different thing. It might affect us emotionally and some people will stay there, even try to make a difference after the fact. Most move on to the next immediate problem. That’s human nature. That’s survival.

My friend, well known author and financial wiz Mark O. Haroldsen talks in his very first book “Goals, Guts and Greatness” about recognizing the difference between what is “urgent” and what is “important” in our lives. People he says, often don’t achieve their goals because their time and energy is spent dealing with things that seem “urgent” but in fact are not important. It’s human nature to deal with what is in our face. That’s why the squeaky wheel does get the oil and one of the most important rules of success is persistence. It works. We give our attention to what is in front of us.

So, what does any of this have to do with changing the world? It does because before we can change things we have to be honest. We have to admit that while we’d all like to make the world a better place, we’re going to pay the mortgage before we donate to charity. We’d like to help the environment but we are going to grab that plastic bottle of water when it’s the only way we can get to work on time. We are going to deal with the immediate problems in our lives first. That’s not a bad thing. It’s being human but knowing that, let’s work with it.

Since we want instant gratification, let’s get some with this environment thing. Let’s flip a switch in our mind from “new things are hipper and make me feel cool” to “quality is hip and makes me feel cool”. That’s it. Don’t go for the “latest” go for the “best”. Go for things that will last, not throwaway crap. Rich people have always known this but now that the marketplace caters to the mass middle class, we need to know it too.
A great leather bag looks better with time. So why are folks clamoring to buy expensive, new ones? It all started when people got the idea they could buy class. They can’t. An expensive designer bag is supposed to say “look at me, I must have done something interesting, made my mark, be somebody interesting to be able to afford this bag. It doesn’t. Nothing you can wear or carry says anything about you any more. We all know too much. All your business is probably on the internet anyway.

If you buy a can of cookies, save the darn can and re use it instead of going to a container store and buying a plastic version of the same thing. Use strong cardboard boxes in drawers for odds and ends instead of buying drawer dividers. REUSE and REPURPOSE things you already have. My local Thai food delivery comes in reusable plastic containers but I have seen people throw them out and buy tupperware. Some ice cream comes in round plastic 1 gallon tubs with a lid but I have seen people throw them out instead of using them as buckets in the laundry room or to store odds and ends. Keeps some goo-gone under the sink and use it when there is writing on the containers.

Start small but start. Schools and nursing homes often need plastic containers for projects and cleanup. Those ice cream tubs can be used in the summertime for everything from taking food to the beach to storing extra potato chips outside by the pool. If you lose or break one, who cares. We should all write to manufacturers and tell them to stop using plastic but we’re not going to do that. What we can do is simply stop automatically throwing out anything that could be used again, by anybody.

Hiding in Shadows

We are not so much afraid we’re not enough as we are that we’re too much. If we use all we’ve got, will we be too much? Will the world be able to take it? Will we be loved?
That fear is so great, we unconsciously let it drive us.
We look outward for acceptance so long and hard, we lose sight of the glow within us that’s meant to light the way.

But it’s there. We have no power to put it out. It illuminates us even when we stand in the shadows and the universe sees exactly who we are, even if we don’t.

That’s when love becomes more than a word. When someone loves us enough to point us toward our own light, we begin to see it too. When they help us see what our gifts are, they give us the greatest gift of all. Proof that we can be who we were born to be and we will still be loved.

When we we stand in our own light, we not only make ourselves easier to see, we light up the world.
The brighter we shine, the more we light the way for others.

– Shirley Hanna-King