Experience is Key

Two days prior to hurricane Isaias making landfall along Florida’s east coast, the President of the United States issued a state of emergency and the Florida Governor began the proper procedures for evacuation possibilities and shelter arrangements. The Governor stood at the podium with a no-nonsense serious tone and a professional-in-control attitude. BRAVO!

Why the urgency? Why the serious tone? Both the president and the governor have experienced hurricanes before and are aware of what immediate actions are required. They were on top of it – two days before it hit – they were organized and precise. They followed precautionary protocol and previous mandates that would protect and possibly save Floridians from the hurricane.

Use this for an example as to why people with pandemic experience should be the ones to lead and the ones who decide what mandates and procedures are essential during a global pandemic. And why those with no pandemic experience should heed their advice.

Non-experienced officials should always follow the lead of the experienced experts. Period. It is vital that we trust those who actually experienced a pandemic before – they’ve been through it – they’ve stopped other crisis in the past – they know what to do.

Stepping in to a field where you have zero expertise and zero experience will only cause more problems. A true leader knows when to put his pride aside, step back and allow the professionals, who have the experience, to lead them out of a crisis.

Discernment. We need to pay attention. We need to be able to know the difference between some one who knows what they are doing vs someone who is just ‘winging it’ – look back at Florida’s governor as he stood at the podium warning of in-coming hurricane. Listen to his words. See his confidence. A leader, a commander, stood at the podium that day. Now look back during the Spring Break and the weeks that followed when businesses began to re-open in Florida – that was not a leader speaking to the press – that was someone who was winging it – he allowed his pride to get in his way. His focus was on the economy. He was not focused on protecting Floridians from the pandemic storm that was about to hit. He arrogantly ignored the warnings.

Pride is an impediment during a pandemic. The world needs to listen to the true leaders, commanders, and experts on viruses who have YOUR SAFETY in mind – but more importantly – the rest of the world needs to follow the experts’ recommendations.

Meeting Others’ Needs

Meeting the needs of others can be a difficult task. Every parent tries to provide their best for their children, but unfortunately not all family members are ever completely satisfied. Someone’s needs, (from the perspective of the one in need) are ignored. Let’s expand the needs of one to the needs of a particular family – they may approach their city official for assistance and nine times out of ten, they are redirected to unreachable contacts. From a Mayor’s perspective, more times than not, meeting an individual family’s needs is next to impossible.

Being a Mayor involves broad decisions that are not going to satisfy many individuals.

Being a Governor involves broad decisions that are not going to satisfy many Mayors.

Being the current President of the United States involves decisions that are not meant to satisfy anyone but himself because his needs are more important than yours.

His ‘tremendous’ need to make the pandemic go away was his ‘ingenious’ reasoning behind stopping the daily briefings from his Task Force. This is an interesting theory; let’s try ignoring it, and then maybe it will simply go away. Oops, nope. The virus continues to spread ‘the likes to which no one has ever seen before.’

With the virus spreading and the death tole climbing the President desperately needs to inspire everyone. He doesn’t want to be reminded of a dreadful thing that needs his attention. He’s interested in others things such as creating a new narrative ~ ‘Liberate your cities! Open your schools,’ [because it’s imperative to my re-election that we bring the economy back before November.]

But still, the virus spreads. Unable to hold rallies, missing his audience and needing their attention and praise, the President decides to start holding briefings again. Yeah. Wait, what, where is the Task Force? Where are the charts? The stats? The facts?

Shh, here he comes. Standing at the podium he rhymes off numbers boasting of how this is ‘more than any other country has ever done before’ and then whines and complains, ‘Why doesn’t anybody like me?’

Someone needs to explain what NEEDS are all about. During a crisis, such as a pandemic, his needs are to be set aside so he can focus on meeting his country’s needs – that is what a president is supposed to do ~ duh.

Think about it, people are dying. Grandparents are dying in nursing homes and hospitals. Fathers and Mothers are entering hospitals and not coming out. Doctors and medical staff are dying. Parents are burying their children. Millions have lost their jobs. Thousands have shut down their businesses. And while the great majority of Americans are in great need mourning the loss of their loved ones, You, Mr. President want them to put their grievances aside and announce that they like you!

Mr. President, America doesn’t want or need a needy man at the helm – they need a leader. With your needs not being met you feel neglected, ignored, and victimized. You are too busy feeling sorry for yourself to care about others. America needs a provider, someone who is going to meet their needs.

If you don’t want to do your job step down and put Mitt Romney’s name on the ticket.

Painting Portraits

Words form images. We all like to paint a picture of ourselves, and others, for everyone to see. We carefully guide each stroke and then blend the colours to a muddy perfection. We speak proudly of our accomplishments, exaggerating all the fine points and hide what we don’t want seen in the shadows. Though we take great strides to highlight others’ failures. How is it that we can’t seem to see that our desire to persuade everyone to see only the pretty picture tilts the frame to such a degree that it teeters on the edge of falling.

When we put ourselves up on pedestals there is no where to go but down. There is an old saying; those who put themselves first will be last, and those who put themselves last, will be first.

Congressman John Lewis has been raised up and placed on a pedestal. It’s a reward for his life-time effort to bring equality to the nations. His voice will echo in our minds. His beliefs will be written in our hearts. And his legacy will last forever. He was a man of action. He lived what he spoke. His life, and his message has inspired the world.

Actions speak louder than words. Mere words can promise you the world, they can threaten you, and they can deceive you. Painting pretty pictures with promising words only lasts as long as the image can be held in the mind of others.

Sitting high on a self-made pedestal boasting of greatness that has not been achieved is a false image that is slowly withering away from the minds of many.

John Lewis grew up being pushed and shoved to the back while Donald Trump pushed and shoved his way to the front. Some are busy trying to remove Trump from his self-made pedestal, but most of us have turned our backs to focus our attention on raising up a man of honour, a man of dignity, a man of substance, a man who worked for the people, a man who was raised to stay out of trouble but knew how to get into Good Trouble.

God rest your soul John Lewis. Your words will stay with me always and they will help me to try to do better.

Curve the Enthusiasm

To limit the spread of the Corona Virus, Canadians restricted their movements. ONE designated shopper was assigned by each household to go out ONLY for essentials. Hair and nail appointments are not essential. Gathering in bars is not essential. Political Rallies are only essential to one person; the candidate.

Yes, EVERYONE wants to get out and enjoy the summer – but wants and needs are two different things. What is needed in the states is for everyone to make small sacrifices and do their part by only going out if it is necessary.

Many Canadian Businesses were able to stay open by limiting the number of people in their stores. Stores designated an hour or two in the morning for Senior Citizens to shop alone. Most restaurants were able to stay open by offering take out only.

Many Canadian Businesses allowed their employees to work from home – and many are still working from home now.

As the curve slowly began to drop “bubbles” were allowed. Two households could meet outside but must keep their distance. You were not permitted to socialize outside your bubble. As the curve continued to drop “bubbles” were increased to 10 people and then 15. No one was supposed to have multiple bubbles. Those 10/15 people were it. As the curve dropped more, the number of people increased to 25 then a maximum of 50 outdoors – but not indoors. No indoor events were allowed. That’s just common sense.

This is a time to get creative with your business. Find new ways of ‘doing business’. The old way of opening your doors to the public is not wise in the middle of a pandemic. You can’t “Liberate your States” by allowing the virus to spread more easily. This will actually confine a lot of people to hospitals.

The economy will return – it always does – and what good is a healthy economy when everybody is sick and no one is able to work, or shop. Nothing will stop the virus from spreading other than everyone making an effort to actually stop the virus from spreading.

Rallies in February, [and June and July] and Florida’s Spring Break were cesspools for the virus to spread. I get it, priorities were key. The President wanted to get his campaign going – that was his only concern and Florida didn’t want to miss out on the HUGE tourist attraction that brings tons of money into Florida every year. But this is where individual WANTS overrode the public NEEDS. A responsible consideration should have been explored. One question should have been the priority; What is a pandemic and who does it affect? Knowing the answer to this question – would have saved a lot of businesses from shutting down, a lot of employees from losing their jobs, a lot of families from losing their homes, and many lives could have been saved.

Before schools are “liberated” and opened for business – consider what most teachers and parents of young children know – EVERY fall, multitudes of children bring home a cold from school, lice from school, or a flu bug from school and it travels throughout the entire household. No one knows how ‘immune’ children are to covid because children have been home all summer. Ask a simple question; How can we prevent the virus from spreading in the schools? Answer this question effectively before you open doors.

The main focus has to be stopping the virus before you can focus on re-starting the economy.

To every business struggling right now consider this – there are millions of unemployed people looking for work. Eager to find a job. Hook up with each other. You may not be able to pay them now – but be creative – work on consignment – if their ideas sell – pay them their fair share. Take pictures of your inventory, catalogue everything and post them online. Hire drivers to deliver your goods so customers don’t have to shop in-store. Ban together with other businesses and strategize – come up with a new business plan – many people would want to participate in the rebuilding of the economy.

If you are unemployed and are looking for work – NOW IS YOUR TIME! Get excited about your future. Prospects may look grim right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t pave your own road ahead. You have a natural talent – everybody does – what comes easy to you? Create HOW TO videos and upload them on Youtube. Are you able to sing, draw, build, design, do machine work, home-care, cook, write? You have something that others don’t. You could be their inspiration. Are you willing to share your talent? You are capable of something – what is it? BUILD ON IT. Ask yourself “How would I want to spend my days? If I had the ultimate job, what would it be?” Don’t stop there. Keep asking yourself questions. “What could I start doing right this second that would put my natural talents and abilities to use?” You don’t need money. You don’t need an office. All you need is a little courage to OFFER YOUR SERVICES to someone.

Good luck – wear a mask and I’ll keep praying for ya

Pollyanna’s World

Oh to live in a world where beauty, peace and harmony surrounds me every day. To awaken in a place where the sun is always shining and the birds are always singing. What a wonderful world that would be.

This dreamy-hope filled-wish for a wonderful life makes me and many others turn a blind eye to the happenings going on around us. Another power bill ~ don’t open it. Turn the channel that’s depressing ~ these things bring feelings of dread and conflict with our desire to feel content.

Ignoring what is happening in our lives is not aiming to live a happy life, it’s avoiding life. Merely wanting a fantastical life to suddenly appear all wrapped up with a beautiful bow is unrealistic ~ even Amazon can’t deliver that!

Oh, but what if I had a magic wand that could sprinkle pixie dust of pleasantries and joyfulness all over the earth. What a wonderful world that would be.

No, I think it’s time I and many others have to realize that Pollyanna’s World doesn’t exit. It’s only a dream. A fantastic wish that let’s us escape from reality.

We all wish for great things to happen in our lives. But wishing isn’t doing. Wanting isn’t getting. Change doesn’t happen until we decide to take that first step.

Step one; Avoid avoidance; open your bills – pay what you can and contact those you can’t. A sense of relieve will wash over you – this is one added pressure that will be lifted the moment you hang up the phone.

Step two; Don’t flip the channel; mute it and listen to your thoughts. Find out why you don’t want to see what’s happening on the news. Who knows, you may have a solution to the world’s problems ~ stillness and silence has provided sound advice to thousands of people around the world.

Step three; Acceptance; you are not as content as you would like to be. No one is. Find one thing you can change within your daily routine ~ start walking; clean out a closet; start a new hobbie – something you always wanted to do. These little things will re-awaken enthusiasm; the inherent spark that allows energy to pour into our veins and birth new life, and new purpose within us.

Step four; Step outside your comfort zone; go outside your circle; join a group; let yourself be interested in other people and cultures rather than trying to be interesting. You will soon realize the world outside your circle can be ‘comfortable’ once you allow yourself to be familiar with it.

Experiencing something new is magnificently revealing. It’s learning through living. We aren’t simply seeing something on tv or hearing something on the radio, we are tuned in and completely involved. All of our senses are awake while something new is happening all around us. Experience is our greatest teacher – it changes our view and helps us to see things differently. It alters our narrow-minded opinion into a much broader perspective that is based on knowledge and wisdom. Experience builds character and improves our lives. Mere opinions keep us sheltered in a world of constant complaints and non-factual criticisms. Remember the old saying; You will never truly know … until you try it. Listen to complaints – are the views based on a story from an actual experience or are they based in the fear of the unknown?

Step five; Find your passion; you had a vision of Pollyanna’s World – that’s your ideal – so how would you [if you could] create this world for everyone to experience? What makes it impossible? What is stopping you? What or who is in the way? Corona virus? Racial tension? If you were to pick one of these as your cause for social betterment, what natural talents and abilities do you have that could help eradicate one of these or both? What solution could you possibly imagine?

Betterment for all should always be our ideal wish, but we tend to get wrapped up in our own issues. Most of us feel helpless. Most of us wish all the bad stuff would go away. Few people feel they have anything to offer. But together we can change the world.

Whatever choice you make, what ever path you choose, you will naturally [seemingly magically] meet others with the same mind set, wish, and goals. This is our spirit who is magnetically connected to others who have the same hopes and dreams in mind. We are drawn to each other like magnets. We are never alone when we step out intending to help heal the world.

You and I are not worlds apart in our thoughts. Collectively we have all wished for a better world. Few realize that our wish has been granted. The universe has presented us with a gift “Here ya go, this is what you all wished for.” But the box was not presented in a beautiful package. It was split at the seams and has busted wide open before any of us were able to peak inside. It may not be what was expected and it certainly is messy. It’s in a trillions pieces scattered all across the world and there was no instruction manual enclosed.

A decision has been placed before us. We could avoid the task of trying to put this puzzle together, or we could attempt to stuff everything back in the box [even though we know it will never go back in the same way] and put it away so we can deal with it ‘later’.

How badly do we want a better world? How much effort are we willing to put in? My uncle always told me, “The amount of effort you put in will show in the result ~ effort in = result. No effort ~ no result. And a ‘good enough’ attitude just isn’t good enough.”

So here is my platform and this is my effort to assist [hopefully] and partake in the Black Lives Matter movement.

We’ve heard a lot of talk about “Privilege” lately. A term many people feel offended by or possibly don’t understand. Privilege to me is having so much money you don’t have to worry about paying bills. Privilege is not having to work for a living. Privilege is not having to do housework because someone else does it for you. Privilege is being able to board an air plane and travel at your leisure. The only “privileged” people I know of are those of the rich and famous. When 90% of the world is struggling to pay bills and are living paycheck to paycheck feeling “privileged” doesn’t come to mind.

I think what is meant by the term ‘privileged’ is; the ability to walk out your door and not feel threatened by society or immediately labelled with the assumption of being bad; a potential problem; or an endangerment to others, and; the ability to apply for a job and the chance of you getting that job is greater if you are white, and; applying for a loan at a bank to buy a house or a car for your family and not be rejected on the suspicion that you won’t pay back the loan. I see an automatic distrust as a common theme and that is racist.

It certainly is a privilege to be assumed or labelled as being trustworthy and thereby able to do these things without fear or concern. Although I know a lot of white people who I don’t trust as far as I could throw them – and Trump is at the top of that list.

Living worlds apart we have created our own social circles and have lost touch with reality. We don’t see how people outside our circles live and what they struggle with. Every household has a different struggle. The Hendersons have money issues, the Jacobsons have business issues, the Smiths are dealing with divorce and somebody has to do something with the Coles, those kids have no respect for other peoples’ property…

But what if every family on the block had the same issue? What if every member of every family were all sick from contaminated water? Someone would have to come in and fix it immediately.

Let’s extend past one city block and look at the entire black society.

What if every black family had to deal with; the inability to walk out their door without feeling threatened by society; or immediately labelled with the assumption of being bad; a potential problem; or an endangerment to others, and; what if every black family was unable to apply for a job because they were rejected the minute they asked to fill out an application, and; who were rejected by multiple banks on the suspicion that the loan wouldn’t be repaid? Here we have a blatant and unapologetic distrust aimed at one group of people which in any dictionary is labelled as, Racism.

Welcome to the real world. Is this how you dreamed your world would turn out?

Oh, but if you were living in Pollyanna’s World, you wouldn’t want to acknowledge these problems exit. Oh what a wonderful world that must be.

Cut to the Chase

Experience is the one and only true teacher of our belief system. We may have an idea about certain things – but until we experience these things first hand, our idea of what we believe is true remains our belief.

Any attempt to change another person’s beliefs will be met with resistance, reason being, most people identify with their beliefs; their beliefs are who they are at their core. And right vs. wrong sparks a competitive tug of war. To be proven wrong is devastating to some. They will fight tooth and nail just to be right. And they will justify anything to help their cause. They know what they know and no one can change their mind.

If a man, any man, claims to have been chased by police, the first thought most white people have is, “Well, he must have done something wrong if the police were chasing him.” This belief is based on a presumed thought, not a personal experience.

Let’s ‘cut to the chase,’ if core beliefs were to motivate our actions, we all could be unknowingly re-playing on-going dramas. For example; An innocent black man standing outside a store may turn and see the police heading his way. His experience alerts his fight or flight instinct. Not wanting to be questioned and degraded for doing absolutely nothing, he undoubtedly will turn and walk away to avoid a situation. Simultaneously, police instincts are also triggered when the man began walking away. The police see the behaviour as suspicious and take chase.

News stories of a police chase, immediately and unconsciously re-confirms a core belief [logic, not experience] ‘He must have done something wrong if the police were chasing him.’

Philosophy is needed in our school system. Both rational thought and experience are based in knowledge. But they come from two different perspectives. An idea can bring the comfort of knowing something after you have kicked it around and rationalized it to suit your needs. But experience just is – experience is the wisdom behind the knowing.

Enter the Caught On Tape era. A shock wave has rippled across the hemispheres. It has stunned our minds and punctured a hole in our core beliefs. Seeing is believing! Millions of people around the world have vicariously experienced something only a few could ever imagine and are now marching in protest in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Seeing is believing. [Don’t forget to wear your masks]

So where do we go from here? First, let’s take a look at the natural course of society. The gap between generations has always been an awkward balancing act for everybody. With each new generation comes new beliefs! Contention at the dinner table has always put the Generation Gap on full display. Just consider a few examples; the introduction to rock and roll music in the 50’s; the civil rights movement in the 60’s; the free-loving hippies of the 70’s; punk rock, spiked hair and rap music in the 80’s; These are the generational rebels of yester-years who can be guided by today’s generation who seek equality and justice for all.

Knowing right from wrong is necessary in a civilized society. Control by authorities and conformity by society seemed to be the accepted rule until the 60’s. The nightly news showed the unnecessary brutality protesters experienced from police batons, attack dogs and fire hoses. It was sickening. As scary as it was, control quickly regained it’s footing. ‘Be quiet, everything is back to normal. Don’t rock the boat.’ Young children of the 60’s were conflicted. It’s like having a dirty little secret. You know what you saw. You know what you felt. You know it was wrong but you’re not allowed to speak of it. You have to follow the rules, listen to authority and shut up. Shame creeps in. You’re damned if you speak, and damned if you don’t.

Shame is a dirty little secret. For centuries it has held the key to the hidden diaries of our hearts. We think the content on those pages are too unbearable to admit. We believe the exposure would be devastating. ‘You knew and you did nothing!’ Our subconscious mind and our conditioning urges us to draw our shields and remain silent. It leaves us standing alone and guarded.

Alone and guarded in our thoughts is the invisible wall that separates us all.

We all know inequality exists. But participating in a conversation from a guarded position leads to confrontations that quickly turn into power struggles. Yet freedom from secrets is what most people desire. The suppression is self-inflicted. We allowed ourselves to believe it is better to remain silent.

We have been holding our breath and walking on eggshells for centuries. We have pretended to make ourselves feel comfortable by ignoring or denying what we clearly see as being wrong. We all know wrong needs to be made right. But shame seems to over-ride wrong. Shame’s instinct is to hide and the older we get the deeper it resides. Shame makes us turn a blind eye; swept it under a rug; brush it aside, and; pass it to on like a hot potato. Wrong is easy to see. But shame is more difficult to uncover when it’s been buried for so long.

The veil of secrecy has been lifted. George Floyd’s death has removed the blinders. Many white people are attempting to cleanse themselves from the shame by approaching black people and asking, ‘what can I do?’ Good for you – now follow through with the advice you have been given. But please, white people, don’t play dumb “I didn’t know…” and look for sympathy or forgiveness for your lack of concern. If you feel ‘bad’ then let that reside in you for a while. Hold that awful feeling and experience it. And while you experience it – believe it exits. Wear it for a while so you can fully understand what the majority of people of colour experience every day.

The desire to release the shame is the key to opening the door to a conversation that has been centuries in the making. The call to conversation involves exploring theses same pages of our diaries we worked so hard to keep hidden. Today’s generation is applying pressure by demanding change. Everyone’s freedom is on the line. Freedom for those who have been suppressing their shame, but more importantly, freedom for those who have been oppressed for far too long.

Suppressing shame shows there is some level of consciousness – that’s a good thing. It’s the shameless people we should all fear. Shamelessness was exposed on May 27th, 2020, when we all witnessed George Floyd take his last breath.

And shamelessness was exposed again on June 1st, 2020, when Trump ordered the streets in Washington to be cleared of peaceful protesters so he could cross through Lafayette Square to stand in front of St. John’s Church with a forced scowl and hold up a bible for a photo opportunity. A gimmick. Every time you see that image remember the countless innocent people who were ploughed over, pepper-sprayed and fired upon with rubber bullets just so he could have an image taken to portray himself as … God only knows.

We gotta get this right. No quick fix will do. The restructure needs room for growth and future amendments. Don’t confine it, define it and later refine it. The new world wasn’t built in a day and it was never designed for people to have power over others – that idea was only in the mind of the greedy. The new world was conceived to empower people and she has never lost sight of her dream. The constitution was not meant to be mere words printed on parchment – but for every citizen to believe the words and hold them in their heart and when necessary, to take action – to reach for and maintain the civil liberties for All People.

We are all running from ghosts and we are all chasing a dream; the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is being content with where we are in this very moment. Not in the past, that’s a memory, not in the future, that’s a hope – happiness is felt in the present. It’s being satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. And it’s feeling secure and comfortable allowing those who reach it to bask in its glory. Happiness is a journey that can take a life time to achieve. We have to believe it is obtainable, we should spend our days purposely pursuing the opportunity to experience Joy, Hope, Peace, Love, Unity, Compassion, and Understanding. But first, we need to explore Humility. We need to admit to ourselves that we are not as great as we thought. We are not as whole as we thought. And we are not as united as we thought. With this new BELIEF we can turn the page and start a new chapter where we all have an opportunity to experience a whole new world.

Minnesota Burning

A knee to the neck was not the match that started the fires in Minnesota. Embers from injustice have been steadily sparking-up since the 1960’s and going as far back as the 1690’s. But a foot in the mouth during a press conference certainly fuelled the flame.

We all need to stop – take a step back – and take a deep breath for George FLoyd.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., believed in peaceful protests. He had an incredible gift. He was able to speak the language of the soul. His message was clear. His words were easily understood. They still resonate with us because he succeeded in his mission which was intended to provide knowledge to those who didn’t understand. He was an educator. He provoked the world. He broadened our perspective. This is what we need now. Words.

Words matter. The world needs to hear words that will alter the perspectives of the people who don’t understand. There is a comprehension disconnection preventing some people from grasping the social issues of the black culture.

Only affluent speakers should step up to the mic. Only positive role models should step into the situation. And only poignant words should be tweeted right now.

We all comprehend, understand, get, or grasp concepts and ideas in different ways. Some people have to experience it to believe it. Some people need to verify it from a higher source. Some people have no beliefs of their own and rely on what they were taught by their parents, their peers, or people in their community.

Pictures don’t require words. Images of a city burning distracts from the message and further justifies those who are comfortable with having racist beliefs.

If your thoughts regarding Minnesota’s Burning makes you feel uncomfortable, then take a moment and simply accept that. Accept that you feel some resistance, whether it is based in the fear of the unknown, or the fear of change. Acceptance is the first step to a greater understanding.

Resistance keeps us from moving forward. Resistance causes us to avoid, or dismiss something as not being important or valuable. Our resistance can cause us to conclude that this is not worth our consideration. Or perhaps our resistance is too uncomfortable to acknowledge.

If we don’t acknowledge what makes us uncomfortable ~ we can’t change it. But change is gonna come ~ it’s already here ~ it’s been swept under every rug around the world. Small dust particles are released every time someone crosses the threshold.

Regardless of the situation, if an injustice occurs we all take part. We all make a choice. We either turn away and ignore it [dismissive],
watch from afar and do nothing [dis-concerned / disconnected],
step in and take control [authoritative] or
feel obliged and motivated to promote change [righteousness = doing what’s right]

Where do you stand? What do you believe? Where do we go from here?

Robbing the stores robbed Minnesota from a moment in history where change was on the brink of coming. But the fires have changed the conversation.

To the citizens of Minnesota. Get back on topic. Stand up for George Floyd. Line the streets with wreaths for every victim who has faced injustice. Gather [six feet apart] in peace. Revive and recite the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so you can spread the message to all corners of the world. Create visuals that will gives others a better understanding. Find your words and let your voices be heard.

Will History Repeat Itself

Claims of ‘incredible’ dishonesty, ‘unbelievable’ voter fraud, ‘ridiculous’ scams and … the list goes on and on. These ideas [made up claims] are being spewed by a man who is the supposed leader of the free world. He sees himself as the ‘ultimate’ victim. Too bad he couldn’t see himself as a leader – after all, he claims weakness is bad; and portraying himself as a victim is ‘tremendously’ weak.

We all speak of the ideas that circulate in our own mind. We use experience as our frame of reference. So, to speak of all these ‘tremendously’ bad things indicates knowledge of them and perhaps even personal experience.

If you are an optimistic person, you fear little and speak of enjoyable experiences in your future. If you are a fearful person, you avoid anything that frightens you and come up with a multitude of criticisms and supposedly rational reasons why something is a bad idea, and who in the past is to blame. But if you are a risk-taker who has scraped and clawed your way to the top by mowing over ‘incredible’ people and jumping through ‘tremendous’ loop holes – you may try to, once again, manipulate [or threaten] other people into thinking what you want, or rather, need them to think, in order to get what you want.

Recent history showed that; having Bannon as one of the masterminds of ‘how to get to the heart of America by stirring primal fear and pitting everyone against one another so Trump can swoop in to the rescue’. And having Manafort as the pole guy, who distributed data off to the underground to target innocent Americans who’s minds were being polluted with ‘fake news’ causing riots intended to distract everyone from the truth and increase the great divide. And having Jarred as the back-door guy making deals before the inauguration. And having Cohen who could easily set up a false company to funnel money ‘legally’ and force women to remain silent by bribing them with hush money. And having a cable channel, and several podcast radio shows willing and able to spread conspiracy theories to promote more hatred focused on generating an even larger divide. And being able to partner with a tabloid to feed them ‘fake news’ on your opponent and shelf incriminating stories about yourself – all adds up to a sneaky, crooked campaign focused NOT on what is good for American, but only, what is good for one man to win an election – no matter what.

Knowing all of this crookedness is actually possible, you would easily be suspicious of what other people are doing. But this crooked way of plotting, planning and scheming only happens in HIS world – in HIS mind – in HIS corrupt circle of friends-for-now-until-he-no-longer-needs-them. The majority of America doesn’t think the crooked, sneaky, conniving, manipulative way he does. Every accusation he places on others – he has experienced himself. This blaming others for his own thinking is a very perverted thought process. This is the old; ‘I feel bad so I blame you for how I feel.’

So who will be the fall guys this fall? Who will line up to do Trump’s bidding? Who will navigate the system to create more doubt and fear? Will any of these new-comers look back on history and recognize the ‘tremendous’ jeopardy being placed on their status and reputation? Are they willing to take on a role that could possibly put them in jail – who is willing to destroy their reputation for the success of another person?

Where are Trump’s tax returns? He promised to provide them before the last election. Instead of simply handing them over, he has gone through great lengths, ‘tremendous’ lengths tying up the courts to prevent you from seeing them. Why aren’t the costs of his visits to Mar-A-Largo not going to be released until after the election? There are many questions – and America deserves better answers than … ‘many people said,’ – ‘it’s tremendous, unbelievable, really.’ – ‘the likes to which you have never seen before,’ – ‘that’s fake news, you’re fake news,’ – ‘it’s not for me to say,’ – ‘I’ve never heard of him, I don’t know what you are talking about,’ – ‘oh, it’s gonna happen, we have great people working on it, you’ll hear more about it later, it’s going to be great,’ – ‘I will make an announcement about that next week,’ – ‘you just wait, all will be revealed,’ – ‘it’s incredible how far we have come,’ – ‘we are making big strides,’ – ‘no one has ever done this before,’ – ‘I call it a super-duper … ‘

America deserves specific details not fluffy propaganda. America’s founding fathers had a dream and at it’s core was democracy voted on by the people and for the people. They created a set of Laws, rules and regulations that form the constitution which was designed to maintain the freedom they worked so hard to create. But Trump is trying to erase the constitution one paragraph at a time.

And speaking of rules and regulations, this is something that needs to be addressed, everyday people have everyday issues, [equality, health, education, roads, rent, insurance, the list goes on] these issues are conveyed to their local representatives, who in-turn brings these issues to the House, where all the representatives will have an opportunity to discuss the issue(s) in great detail.

After several House debates the formal complaint, proposition, or issue, is fine-tuned and written up as an official Bill. The Bill is then presented in the House and voted on. If the Bill is passed it moves on to the Senate, where the Bill has an opportunity to become Law.

These new Laws-in-waiting, so to speak are piling up. What are they waiting for? The President’s signature. There are over 300 Bills waiting to become a Law that are gathering dust on the leader of the Senate’s desk, Mitch McConnell. He won’t take them to the President to sign for two reasons. 1. The President doesn’t want the House of Representatives to look good [it’s better for the President to call the House “Do-Nothings” which is ‘fake news’ because they have bi-partisan-ly done a lot – over 300 to be precise] and 2. Mitch knows the President won’t sign them! So if the government is for the people – why aren’t they passing the Peoples’ Laws? The President and the Leader of the Senate are putting their own personal preferences above The Peoples’ concerns. This is very concerning. And while the Bills are being ignored, the People continue to struggle and their fears continue to increase.

And fear is what is at the core of the Great Divide. And this divisiveness has so many intangible mechanisms holding everyone at odds. It’s difficult to pinpoint and even harder to fix when what is broken is an invisible thread that used to hold everyone together like a blanket of decency woven to unite the fabric of America. It may sound corny, but it’s true.

The divide has spread into the homes and hearts of everyone – the fear of not being right – the fear of losing your way of life – the fear of fearing the fear of fear. Fear makes everyone feel threatened. And fear has resurrected our primal instinct to fight back – to attack ‘them’ before ‘they’ attack me. The ‘we’ vs. ‘they,’ the ‘us’ vs. ‘them.’ Trump has taught the world how to play the victim. It’s time to be practical and not paranoid. It’s time to listen before suspiciously resisting and over-reacting.

Fear is the opposite of trust.
Without trust, it’s difficult to love.
Without love, there is only hate.
And peace cannot be found as long as hatred resides in our hearts.

If each of us resorts to anger, name-calling and threats when trying to make a statement – we are not involved in an intellectual conversation – we are spewing more hatred and widening the divide. We are responding personally not professionally.

The election is approaching – don’t fall for foolishness – stand up for your fore-fathers, and let their voices be heard as you vote for your future.

Lying to Myself

“So much to do, with so little time.” A phrase I’ve heard many people say, including myself. But now I wonder if I said it as an excuse for not doing something I should have done.

Eight weeks of isolation gave me plenty of time to start several projects that had been waiting on the back burner – but I was busy doing other things. Or was I? Am I lying to myself when I say that?

If I had to prepare an official report of my accomplishments in the last eight weeks the list would contain mundane tasks that no one else would ever consider worthy of reporting. So, there it is. I have nothing tangible to report. But I did have an awakening, or rather, an “Ah-ha!” Oprah moment, while searching my brain for something I could claim as an accomplishment.

I realized my brain was the problem. Like a good friend, my brain was always there, cheering me on, pointing out errors, giving excuses, and suggesting other [more entertaining] things I could be doing with my time. It was behaving like a dog playing in the yard one minute, then, when a squirrel appeared, it suddenly took off after it. I think this stay-at-home-isolation-thing activated my brain to go on auto-pilot, which in-turn, allowed it to chase one squirrel after another. It’s amazing how it constantly came up with ideas; observed things; analyzed things; and distracted me from accomplishing anything. I was exhausted – and yet, I had done nothing. I didn’t exert one ounce of energy so how could I possibly be exhausted? I had to pull the auto-pilot plug and take control of the wheel.

Simply placing all of my attention on one of my projects was all it took. As I purposely focused with intent, my brain wasn’t able to interject random thoughts because it was too busy working for me. I was no longer on auto-pilot. I was in control and flying high. I planned, organized, and strategized. And now, I am proud to report, I am in the process of editing and illustrating a second children’s story I started years ago. And as I write this, no word of a lie, a squirrel is on my deck. I won’t look. Oh, the little rat is at my plant. I gotta go chase the squirrel. [At least this one is real !]

~ I hope this inspires you

Nova Scotia Strong

How does one begin to fathom such a tragic event?

If you listen to Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton, you can hear the deep pain of losing a loved one. The agony she expresses is undeniable – but it’s just a song.

This was an event that will never be forgotten.

Like the morning fog that rolls in off the Atlantic, shock has crept in and covered the province with a blanket of pause. Shock helps to numb the pain, cloud the mind and tune out the noise – temporarily. Once the fog lifts, reality slowly seeps in. Clarity of the new now, the new normal, will force many to carry on without their loved ones. How does one begin to plan their future without their loved ones?

It is difficult to truly understand what anyone feels or is going through. Unless we experienced it first-hand, we are disconnected from their personal pain. We can feel a glimpse of their pain if we pause to recall our own. Anyone who has personally experienced a tremendous loss, has compassion. Compassion is a loving understanding; a remembrance of what it feels like to suffer deeply.

This Covid virus, has added another dimension to the families’ grief. Alone is the last place anyone should be while suffering. Community support has pieces of Nova Scotia tartan tied to mailboxes and trees. Others have started Fund Me sites for the families affected by this tragic event. The province may be physically separated, but all Nova Scotian hearts are together in sorrow, praying for better days ahead with more peaceful tomorrows. Stay strong Nova Scotia.

As a footnote; In this age of social media and cyberspace an irony is noticeable. Globally, we are closer than ever. But personally, our relations with family and friends have in many ways grown apart. Don’t get me wrong, there is always contact – a quick call – an email – a snap chat or text, but rarely do our busy schedules include time for a lengthy, in-depth conversation. Later. I’ll do that later.

We are connected to the whole world but are disconnected from the actual ‘relating’ part of our relationships. We need to take the time to express and share our thoughts and feelings, and we need to listen to others in order to understand each other better. That’s what relationships are all about. Communication comes in many forms these days – but unless we get to the heart of any matter – we are not relating with anyone – we are simply greeting each other with idle chatter.

The pain of a tragedy takes years to unfold, and a victim’s story is often retold. The world will move on. New headlines will replace the old, but a victim’s story never grows old. Everyone copes in their own way. Grief has no timeline. If a victim needs to share their grief – let them speak. Put every ounce of compassion you have into focusing on them and listen to their pain. Their story is not for you to compare or share, it’s only said for you to hear.

~ Love and compassion can heal a broken heart