12Oct

There is No Reason for any Young Person to Die because of War

We have the technology.  We can manage destruction through our technology, we can win battles and wars by pushing buttons and aiming war weapons.  So why is anyone still being killed?  Why is anyone still being maimed?  Why is anyone still engaged in actual violence, when we can control our environment and our relationships with technology?

We have enough nuclear weapons to turn the Earth into a lifeless lump of rock several times over.  Why?  We only have one Earth.

We keep on investing in one hundred million dollar aircraft that have no where to go and no one to fight.

We stockpile our weapons or we sell them to police stations all over the country, why?  Would we turn the tanks toward civilians?  Would we torpedo a yacht?

We have so much, that we are forgetting the concepts behind the purchase of the weapons.  We don’t need that much, we do not really need the majority of the weapons we are currently manufacturing.

Again, we have the technology.  We can shoot and/or bomb any enemy in a small space with a drone.  For larger threats such as Isis training camps, we have larger bombs and weapons.  Weapons that cannot be seen by our enemies.  We have weapons that bring no danger to those who steer them and shoot them.

War and Death

“A simple child, That lightly draws its breath…What should it know of death?”  William Wordsworth, We are Seven, as published by Time on 12/30/1991

The current world is not interested in waging war through military weaponry.  The current world is using software to win wars.  The stock market and its many versions and fluctuations give power to the countries that manage them.  But, much more power is wielded by those with wealth.  It is not the might of  military weaponry that controls the world anymore (if it ever was).

And yet SIPRI* reports:  “In late 2017 the US Senate approved a new military budget for 2018 of $700 billion, a substantial increase over the 2017 budget.”  The second largest spender is China and with the majority of the world’s population living in China, their budget is less than half of America’s budget.  SIPRI states: “China, the world’s second largest spender, allocated an estimated $228 billion to its military in 2017, an increase of 5.6 per cent compared with 2016.”  Even with an increase China is not getting within a fifty percent range of the U.S.

Who wants a larger military budget?  No one, except arms manufacturers.  They are the ones who benefit from this continued madness.  We know it, they know it and every single politician knows it.  There is great profit in the military madness and we Americans allow it to continue.  The arms manufacturers make billions in profits and have a lobbyist standing on every corner in Washington D.C.  They are h.u.g.e. contributors to politicians and the attendant political parties.

No matter who you are, know this: there is no reason for a young person to die or to be maimed in battle any more.  When it happens, know this: it is happening so that the military war machine can profit.  Our freedom is not threatened and has not been threatened since World War II.

It’s clear to all that the new battlefields are money and information.   Our software systems make everything in the world work.  Cybersecurity should be the next international defense investment that America makes.  Machine guns are archaic and outdated tools of a battle that we no longer need to fight.  We need talented and smart people to work for the people of America giving peace it’s proper place in human history.

We need to start a new conversation about power.  The latest dramatic scandal in Washington D.C. is a warning to everyone in America.  We must have a new conversation about money, power and success in America.  Not any of those things is worth one single human life.

*Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI): the independent resource on global security.

04Oct

My Mother’s Burden

Grampa Becky Gramma 1979 Grampa Me Boys 1979From my Dad’s Mom to my MomGramma and Grampa 1979 Gramma2:

Dear Pat,

We want to apologize for not showing up at Shannon’s.  Without parking places, John felt like giving it up, so that’s that.

I am very appreciative of the one evening, we were to see almost all the young ones.  I was also grateful to everyone being so kind and loving to me.

Hearing the young ones saying, I love you sounds so sweet and open, like an ordinary, glad to see you.

I guess I could have learned from them.  If I had practiced saying instead of that noble old saying “to love is to serve.  It might have helped a wee bit.

Then again, the older generation didn’t blurt out “I love you.”  It just seems like we were too shy and backwards.  This is all bologna.  I do feel a bit dumb.  They are all lovely and I wish we had seen more of them. 

Every good thing should come to you.

Love to every one

Ma

My mother, always in the midst of an emotional tornado.

From Me to My Mom

To ease her pain because I was 3000 miles away:

Tears for you because you will always fight too and because you must watch us – stumble through journeys you have already made and you know you cannot help us and yet you are bound by some invisible magic and mystery that once made you our lifelines.

 

03Oct

Women Have to be Meaner  

Do Power Differently

Do Power Differently

How else can I say it?  Not in a male way, but in a female way.  We must tap into our own way of being and bring our power to bear to win this fight.  In order to do this, we must put away our all-forgiving nature and call a crime, a crime.  We must stop giving in and allowing our own discomfort to be put aside.

We don’t need weapons to win this war, we are smarter than that.  We don’t need male configurations for an argument, we are smarter than that also.  Women have powerful tools at their disposal, tools that only need to be used to be effective.

Number one, women, we need each other.  Going in to testify against a boss in a sexual harassment case, or a stranger in a rape case, is hard work.  We need each other to gain the support to get this kind of work done.

Let’s face it!  Our cultural training is a lie!  No one is going to help us with this.  Men are not going to allow the loss of their own advantage without a fight.  This is where we women will have to be mean.  I don’t say women need to be strong or tough, and I’ll tell you why: Women are the strongest and toughest humans I’ve met, they don’t need more of that.  Women need to stop forgiving and stop changing perceptions to fit the white male power structure.

We can do this.  We can do this by refusing to sign off on the lies that men in power try to perpetrate.  Think about the Catholic church, is it over?  Is it all okay now because the priests say so?  Of course not!  There is still hell to pay, and I mean that literally.  The church must pay for the sins of their leaders, and they must pay well!  At least as well as they themselves take for their own use.

Think about the half million rape kits that were never processed here in America.  While a male TV producer reassures all of America’s women that rapists are caught by the SVU (Special Victims Unit).  The facts don’t bear any of that TV story out.  Not only are rapists not caught, in a half million cases, rapists are not even pursued.  How did this happen?  Women, are we asleep at the wheel, are we buying this rapist culture and (pardon the  pun) lying down and taking it?

What is keeping us from stopping this pervasive abuse that lives in the American culture?  We have not done enough to stop this from going on.

We can stop this power hungry, elitist, white male, rapist culture by seeing ourselves clearly and consciously.  We must do this.  We must stop this culture that disempowers us and tries to keep us down.

The first thing that we must do is to ban together.  Any woman who is being attacked or hurt by men or by male institutions deserves the support of other women.  We must do everything in our power to put women into power.  We must count on each other to make predominately male institutions better and kinder for both men and women.  We should be supporting each other in the here and now.  We all (each and every one of us) knows what it is like to be pushed around by male power.  So let’s defend each other, right here and right now.

We aren’t out to “get men”.  That is not what this is about.  We are out to take our own power back.  We don’t have to punish our own family members to demonstrate our own power, we just have to tell the truth about what is happening at any point in time.

The last thing on the list is this: think long and hard about your decisions as it relates to your own power and to the power of other women.  Don’t try to hurt other women who are smarter, prettier, luckier, kinder than you.  Stand back and let them have their power.  Think about your own power, do you give it away?  Do you hand your power over on a silver platter?  If you aren’t wired to be powerful, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t take from others to justify yourself.

We have the power.  Let’s do what needs to be done and turn this world into a kinder, gentler place.  Let’s make sure that this new world is not threatened by destruction from our male counterparts. We can do this, we do have the power.

14Sep

Why Do We Blame Our Mothers for Everything?

I didn’t realize this myself until I was around 19 years old in one of those personal growth trainings where you discuss your true feelings for your parents.  I was angry with my mother and I couldn’t fathom why.  My father was this lazy genius who just would not get a paying job.  My mother worked two jobs constantly.  My parents had seven children and they needed every dime possible.  It was my dad’s lack of valuable employment that kept us poor.  If you have ever been poor in America, you know that it can be brutal, and it was.  People / Americans treat humans who are poor differently than the middle class or the wealthy.

I’ve noticed this with everybody and everything; we love our mothers, but our mothers are at fault for everything that is wrong with us.  I see people saying this and I know why.  We spend the majority of our young lives in our mother’s company.  When we run afoul because our personality is not quite right, it is our mother’s fault.  She is the one who teaches us about everything so of course, our lacks are due to our mother’s inadequacy.

I saw my father as somewhat fun, sometimes not.  But I never saw him as responsible, because he was irresponsible, he wasn’t to be held accountable.  While this makes sense to my childish brain, it doesn’t make sense in the adult world.  Those irresponsible like him, should be held accountable for the suffering he put his children through. 

When you compare the two people, the dynamic energetic woman who was my mother and the lounging and laid-back beer drinking man who was my father, you could see that you wouldn’t get any results with my father, so why try?  It was my mother who had to run things, she had to manage it all.  She took care of 7 children, went to work, came home and fixed food.  On her day off, we cleaned the entire house.

The part of this equation that is really frustrating is that we are so used to blaming our mothers, that even adults will blame their moms.  Popular society devalues the mother’s job and yet, as a country, we need mothers more than ever.  It is precisely because we have devalued this role for so long in this country that we are currently facing a dearth of human values. 

Mothers (and fathers) fall helplessly in love with their offspring, they will sacrifice and give away anything for the benefit of their children.  They spend hours teaching and talking to their child.  Over a lifetime it costs as much as half a million dollars to raise one child.  It is a total life investment, one that is incomparable to any other life project.

Our culture should be celebrating this kind of love, commitment and self sacrifice.  It is the derision of these values that has us disintegrating as a society.  Any society that worships selfishness and promulgates wealth for the few at the cost of the many is a society that will soon break.

So why do we blame our mothers for everything?  It’s not just my unusual parenting mix, it’s an entire society.  As far back as the sixties, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was thought to be caused by a certain type of mother who behaved in a certain type of way.

I think there are two causes: the win/lose belief system of our culture and our white male patriarchy.  The white male patriarchy simply wants supremacy and using the win/lose model, matriarchy must lose.  This singular way of thinking has gotten us into every war that humankind has suffered through.  This belief structure insidiously infiltrates everything we do in America.  Female professions are undervalued and underpaid.  Childcare is a ten dollar an hour job. It is no wonder we are at the point that we are in America.

What do we do?  We have all of the answers and we need to apply them.  We need an inclusive culture that values the matriarchy as well as the patriarchy.  We need a culture that reflects the value that we benefit our next generation.  We need a culture that will not sacrifice the many for the one, even if that one is Jeff Bezos.

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

03Sep

The American Myth of Success

In America, we teach that everything, at every point in our lives is a choice.  This translates to an idea that if you are facing hardship now, you must have made a bad choice then.  After all, the world is so perfect, only a bad person is not successful.  We reinforce this myth in a thousand different ways.  We place the athlete on TV and listen carefully while he describes a life of struggle until he made the choice to work hard and become a star athlete.  These stories always end with the familiar refrain “If I can do it, anybody can.”  Indeed, there is some truth to this saying, however, it is, in no way, a universal truth.

“You can do it, just do what I did.”  First, have you ever been subject to a parent’s or a friend’s helpful advice about you correcting yourself?  Perhaps you are over-weight and your friends are full of recommendations for you about how you can lose all of the weight.  They are disappointed that you don’t follow their plan and may even suggest that familiar refrain “I did it, why can’t you?”  Why do people believe that their own experience is the norm?  Why do people believe that if they have done something that is very hard and been successful that anyone can follow in their footsteps of success?  Not only is it a falsehood, but, it is egocentric to think that your personal experience is generally applicable to anyone and everyone.

“If you can’t do it, there is something wrong with you.”  The next concept worth examining is this idea that the American definition of success is easily identifiable and doable as a matter of what is normal.  Out of this concept comes the idea that if you do not follow, or you are not successful on the American path, there must be something wrong with you.  You are the fault in all such cases.  Everyone will remind you of this idea, by asking you “what happened?” and before you can put your story into words, the other is already launching into advice about what you could have done better (as if you have not really tried) and telling you stories about their own such success.  The most interesting part of this, is that it is fabrication and a myth. 

We do not always fail because of our own efforts (and this is important), secondly, often the one who gives advice is the one who needs it.  Who has not received advice from someone who has no business giving it?  I know someone who has never successfully looked for a job and actually gotten one in a timely manner, nor at the rate of pay that she felt was acceptable.  This person was often giving advice about getting a job because she had so much experience searching for a job.  Searching for a job is quite a different thing than actually getting a job.  Yet she felt that she should and could give valuable advice to other job seekers about attaining a job.

“Your shame keeps you from seeing that the system is rigged against you.”  Once you have failed in any way, you may see yourself as less than.  You believe that you are less than capable, less than acceptable.  You will blame yourself and in many cases blame others.  Because you believe the myth: the system is perfect and therefore a lack of success on your part must be either your own or someone else’s fault.  This is where it all breaks down.  The fact of the matter is that the American system is rigged against you, but your shame and anger keeps you from seeing and recognizing it.

From beginning to end, there is no limit to the manipulation and tricks that are placed in your path to keep you from earning and keeping enough money to have anything more than just enough cash to get by.

Coins

From birth, all financial truths in America are stacked against you, unless you are already wealthy ~ in that case such truths are stacked in your favor.

You are born in a hospital, that charges astronomical prices at its whim.  Your birth is paid by an insurance company that profits greatly for its shareholders rather than taking care of the sick.  There is no profit in caring for the sick, as a result, health insurance companies have become expert at NOT paying for health care.  Hopefully, you will not be sick, nor have any disabilities, because either of these can and will bankrupt your family.  Refer to the fact that hospitals are for profit and health insurance companies only answer to shareholders and you will understand why your family will be bankrupt if you are sick or disabled.

Next, you will need an education.  Since the government is riddled with bureaucracy and the educational system must pay a cadre of MBAs just to stay in business, you parents will be forced to purchase everything the child needs for school and more to supply the classroom.  If you want to earn more than minimum wage (below poverty level) after high school, you must go to college.  Good Luck, you will need lots of money and lots of information about how to attain that money and how to manage the loans.

While you are planning and doing, life is happening.  You got a speeding ticket, it cost you $583.00.  Your mother got sick, you had to fly home, purchasing tickets at the last minute $794.00 (for that price, no leg room and no luggage).  Your apartment complex had a flood and all of your books and electronics were destroyed, you had insurance, but it wasn’t good enough (recall that insurance is for profit).

So now you are 23 years old and you have a college degree and $66,000.00 in debt to pay off.  You’re not sure if you have made the right decision about school and you don’t understand why you’re still broke.

You can’t find a job and you are angry.  You need someone, something to be angry with.  You listen to the news, you watch TV and you decide that immigrants are to blame for lack of jobs in America.

And this is the breakdown.  You haven’t done anything wrong and you haven’t done anything bad.  You made the right decisions, but America didn’t keep it’s promise.  It’s not because of immigrants, it’s not because of any single politicized source.  Instead it is because of corporate greed and the fact that our political system has bowed down to the greed and has become an instrument for that greed.  There is no reason that our minimum wage has stagnated for almost 30 years, no reason at all, except that Walmart has made sure that politicians do not raise the minimum wage by paying them off with cash.  The cash that Walmart uses to pay off the politicians is cash that they steal from their own workers.  They do this by keeping them from earning a living and by keeping them from having any workplace benefits (such as healthcare).

If you need to blame someone, blame the system and then jump in and let’s do something about it.

 

24Aug

A Worst Person

I recently heard in the radio that a study revealed that people who watched the Kardashian show became “worst people”.  The reasons included the wealthy disdain for the poor and the casual attitude about wealth and its advantages.  Of course it included exposure to all of the luxury items along with price tags and winning smiles.  Apparently, the more you watch these shows, the more “anti-welfare” you become.  As if, by being exposed to this world you become disdainful of the more ordinary world of the poverty stricken.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians can make you less sympathetic to the plight of the poor. 

The researchers found that even 60 seconds of exposure to materialistic media ― content that “glamorizes fame, luxury, and wealth” ― was enough to significantly increase anti-welfare beliefs.”

(From L) Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Corey Gamble attend the Off-white 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show, on September 29, 2016 in Paris. / AFP / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

(From L) Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Corey Gamble attend the Off-white 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show, on September 29, 2016 in Paris. / AFP / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/keeping-up-with-the-kardashians-may-make-you-a-worse-person_us_5b7b38d2e4b018b93e96bbbc

This concern with the poor is new.  This is a significant change in our cultural belief systems.  I survived the 80s and the 90s when cash was king.  It didn’t matter how you got the cash, those who had cash were revered and admired.  You may have been an officer in a drug cartel, your drugs may have caused thousands of deaths, yet still, you were admired because of your access to cash.

This is not a subtle change.  This is a huge change.  Perhaps, though it is a huge change, it has not been embraced by the mainstream yet?

Why isn’t anyone noticing that we are finally getting to what is important for humanity?  The care and concern for others?  Having disdain and negative beliefs for those that have less is nothing more than an attempt to justify one’s own position in the world.  There is NO reason that some people should have none and some people should have all.  There is just no justifiable reason for America to be this way: loving the rich while abusing the poor.

This is an important moment for America.  The moment we begin understanding what it is that makes us a “bad person” that is a moment when we are better.  That is a moment when America can move forward and become a humane world leader.

19Aug

Complexity of Work Relationships and other Power Inequity Encounters

There is so much complexity in the work encounter.  Part of it has to do with our social roles, be it woman, man, wife, husband, parent or sibling.  Part of it has to do with that which is not social, but individual instead, such as our place in Maslow’s hierarchy.  Another portion of that complexity has to do with our place in the work hierarchy: secretary, janitor, chief operating officer?

The psychological factors are myriad and cannot be denied ~ although we may wish to deny them:  Am I attracted to you?  Do you remind me of my mother, my father, my Uncle Joe who molested me, my Aunt Jan who took me to the playground?  How badly do I need to be approved of?  How badly do I need to be dominant?

How do I see my belief system?  What do I think about my role in this work encounter?  Are my beliefs about proper protocol unyielding?  Do I believe that men and women should act differently?  When I see a woman tell a subordinate what to do, does she become a bitch and when a man displays the same behavior, he is commanding?

Are my beliefs set in stone?  Do I believe that I have the right to my beliefs because I am the supervisor and therefore everyone must abide by my beliefs?  Do I believe myself to be the expert?  No other person can tell me what is correct in my field.  I know it all.

In Maslow’s hierarchy, do I fit on the very bottom tier, struggling so that I can feed my family and one paycheck away from homelessness?    Do I feel panicked about my work because I work with hostility and others who threaten my well-being?  Have I accomplished these minimum American standards (food, shelter and safety) and I am only looking for friendship and alliances?  Am I working on career accomplishments, or is this a paycheck until I can go somewhere else or do something else, or finally make my dreams come true?

What we think about someone or something based on our workplace encounters have so little chance of being accurate because of these reasons outlined above.  We have very little chance of understanding what a person is doing or feeling or attempting to accomplish, unless we are willing to have a conversation with that person.  Part of the conversation will include the person’s perspective and the other part of the conversation is understanding where the person’s experience is.  But this kind of understanding needs hard listening, not a casual in the hallway, or 10 minute “I’m in a hurry” listen.

So many managers are dismissive, hardly caring what the subordinate is experiencing or dealing with.  Often managers have a hidden philosophy, that says “I’ll fire you and hire another better than you.”  The view of the manager can be entirely focused on the product and the making of the product. 

Managers often do not believe in the importance of avoiding staff turnover, if there is difficulty in dealing with a relationship, they will often choose to end the relationship rather than learn from the encounter.  Why not?  No one is quite monitoring the supervisor.  Nor is anyone quite believing the subordinate.  For this reason supervisors can be extraordinarily egomaniacal.  It is a position that is hard to resist.  When you can act as you wish with very little consequence, why not turn everything to your own favor?  You can find any number of reasons to dismiss the needs of others when you are the boss, and you have the power.

16Aug

An Old Prayer for Our Kids

I want you to have love, success and happiness.

These things come from you, to you.  It assumes a grounding of stability.

Stability is created from Discipline. 

Discipline is a result of saying no to yourself when you look at consequences that will be negative.

Growth is a result of all of these things.

Please choose growth.

 

The Paradox of Parenting

It doesn’t matter how perfect you are as a parent – what your child takes from you is uniquely your child’s.  This does not mean to be lazy or sloppy as a parent — because what you do matters.  Yet, your children must travel their own unique journeys.

12Aug

Being Disliked

So, the thing with being disliked is that we wish to dislike back.  And we think it does not matter and we can ignore being disliked and we can pretend that it does not matter in any way.  Yet it does.  All emotions and thoughts have a peculiar energy and that energy is part of the world that surrounds us.  While we pretend that “so & so” disliking me is irrelevant, the energy of that dislike permeates all of the interaction that we engage in with “so & so”.
Say YesOf course, we want to dislike in return.  We will list all of the faults of this person who dares to dislike us.  We will point out all that is wrong with this person, and certainly you may see that the judgment is impaired.  If “so & so” had good judgment, I would be liked by this person instead of disliked.

This dislike may remind you of your secret anguish of being unloved and unwanted.  Feeling these fears can bring much passion to your need to dislike this person who injures you with dislike.  It’s important to resist the need to strike out with your own dislike or passionate anger.

These energies of dislike being pushed in full force between the two of you are energy draining and character maiming.  There is no way to escape such negative energies without some form of damage attaching itself to you.  The hurt, the anger, the need to lash out, they all harm and hurt your psyche.  Even if you are one who can ignore such insults, you will find that the dislike hurts. 

There is only one way to manage such dislike and that is to love the person who dislikes you.  You must put away all that your brain tells you to do.  You must turn away thoughts of anguish, or revenge.  You must turn to this person and love this person and love harder, if your love stumbles.

You are giving to yourself and to the world when you do such a thing as loving in the face of such dislike.  You are allowing this person to claim their own feelings without judgment on your part.  You are owning the energy and by loving the energy, you convert it from hurt to healing.  You are taking what is wrong with the world and making it right.  This is what you do when you return love for hate.

You need not do anything or say anything.  You simply love.  You will see that your thoughts change, and you will see that the energy transforms.  This is the way to having goodness in your world.

 

 

29Jul

Finding My Faults

Why must you always identify my faults?

Your position gives you the power to keep me silent while you rage about all that I am lacking in.

Because you have that power doesn’t mean that you are correct in any way.  You only use your status and power to make yourself right.  I’m not understanding what you gain with your superiority complex.

You do what’s called “Monday Morning quarterbacking”: Retrospectively reviewing events so that you can make a better decision sometime in the future, about my past decisions.

I have to tell you that there are others who are experts at finding my faults.  I’ve had a sibling, a supervisor and a husband who were always ready to explain to me how wrong and mistaken I am.

You are not even the best at pointing out my flaws and second guessing my past decisions.  You are not the best at telling me how mistaken and wrong I am.

You are the same in one way as the others, you have come into my life and you will go away from my life.  I cannot have an enduring relationship with one who has no use in listening to me.  I cannot have a long term relationship with one who cannot and will not validate me.  I cannot have a relationship with you.

https://medium.com/personal-growth/annie-duke-how-to-make-decisions-like-a-professional-poker-player-24686d4442ac

“Having skin in the game changes everything. It’s easy to make decisions when you’re not the one affected. It’s even easier to have opinions and let everyone know about them. But when the stakes are high — when something is on the line — that forces you to make sure you get things right.”

“You don’t always get the outcome you want even when you make the best decision. Even if you get a positive outcome, it’s difficult to tell if you deserve credit. There’s a double layer of complexity.

In many ways, life is one long poker game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. All we can do is learn to be comfortable with uncertainty and keep making good bets.

Do that, and we’ll come out ahead in the long run.”