I started this whole thing as a response to something someone posted on Facebook in reaction to the recent shootings. As I typed, I became aware I had much more to say about this than should go into a Facebook comment.
Note: There is no negativity and no traditional call to arms in this post. If you’re looking to feed your fear monster through my words, you’ll find little satisfaction here.
The “news” about what appears to be happening to everyone (because it is all that we see on the web and TV) is never representative of the whole picture. America is never one thing. Generalizing how an entire country is doing at any given moment is a gross oversimplification that hurts us badly for several reasons.
Run to the hills. Burn the bridges. Our lizard brains take over and we find ourselves believing completely absurd ideas about the general sickness our whole society is feeling. When bad things happen, our lower, unevolved selves want to run back to the caves and get our spears and protect ourselves from imagined potential harm.
While it’s fair to call this urge natural, it doesn’t mean that is the way we should be living. Mainly because that way of thinking leaves out something very important. When you wake up (miracle) and find the Earth is still turning (miracle) and you can go out into the world and have just one person smile at you, then the world is in better shape than it is in bad shape.
The world, simply due to life’s continued existence, is always better than bad. Because if we’re still here, we still have a choice about the quality of our existence. Now, that in itself can mean that the world could still seem like a pretty bleak place. People could all be killing each other, but we’d still be alive and able to choose to stop.
But it’s never, ever that bad. People aren’t all killing each other. Most people are peaceful. Most people hold love, not hate, in their hearts. This is evidenced by the fact that all people are not trying to kill each other all the time. If you turn on the news and they are reporting about a shooting and riots and then the news announcers themselves turn on each other and everywhere you look someone is sneaking up on someone else to do them harm, that’s one thing. Except that’s never happened. That’s an idea. A string of words whose meaning has never been reflected in actual world events. Like, ever.
What we mistakenly accept as the truth of things is always based on a minority of people’s actions and beliefs. No large group of people could possibly hold and maintain the urge to self-destruct long enough to make it fully happen. World War 1 would still be raging if that were the case. It is impossible for large groups to stick to the mission of self destruction. While it’s true that individuals can certainly hold onto hate long enough to do great damage, big groups of humans cannot. Goodness cannot sustain a long-term attack against its nature. You can be filled with anger and hate for a little while, but it is unsustainable. Rest, peace, and love always come back to you. It is a universal, biological imperative.
Like I’m doing now. In the face of what’s happening in the news, what I’m doing now is treason against other peoples desire to be outraged and feel bad. People want to feel bad, angry, and hateful and I’m saying no, we shouldn’t. That just pisses them off even more, mainly because they know it’s true. Neither your mama, your preacher, nor your guru would approve.
The absurdity here is that this is obviously right, yet it doesn’t matter to people currently hell bent on viewing the world as going to shit and that only more bad stuff is going to happen. That nothing good is happening. That nothing can steer us from this course we think we’re on. And they’ll beat that drum till there’s a hole in it and it catches fire.
The course you think the world is on is often just someone else’s idea you are buying into right now. But you can’t lump the world into that fantasy because it’s never true. At any given moment, life is always beautiful. Miraculous and singular. And love is the glue that holds our existence together in the first place. At any given moment there are bad actors (tiny percentage of the population) and the rest of us who are moving in other directions from the bad actors.
We could heal wounds a lot faster after bad things happen if we’d just work to maintain perspective. Instead we wallow for a long time in things we cannot do anything about. They are done, today is a new day, yet we bring the old shit into our new days like it is real. Except the thing we’re worked up about is no longer happening. We’re now infatuated with a memory of something and we still want to pick a fight with it, over and over in our minds, like we’re going to “win” this time around.
We can not only heal wounds, but prevent a lot more wounding in our future with a new view of how things ought to, and really do, work.
Fear makes mountains out of mole hills. It takes a bad situation and magnifies it out of all proportion to the original issue. This leads to broad generalizations and actions that in no way match the initial hurt. I mean, social media is just dripping with ridiculous right now.
For example, when people get killed by a couple of bad actors, the entire country SEEMS to react with the same fear-based assertions and “solutions.” Except that’s not true. Most people are not voicing their opinions on the matter at all. It is only EVER just a handful of people and organizations who always speak up, report news, and even manufacture news who control the conversation that’s being had.
Just because a conversation is being had, and it appears everyone is having it, of course doesn’t mean it is true, meaningful, or productive. It’s just a conversation some people want to have. And it seems only more powerful if we delude ourselves into thinking it is THE conversation and THE thing that’s on everyone’s mind. And it never, ever is.
My post, right here, is an example of depriving the fear-based conversation going on on social media of the fuel it needs to grow.
We’ll never eradicate violent behavior if we answer it with violent behavior. Even then, we’ll probably never completely eradicate violent behavior, but a severe reduction of it would be nice. We’ll never eradicate hatred and fear by doubling down with more fear and hatred. Anyone who argues against this is always being guided completely by fear in the moment. Of course it makes no sense to argue about this obvious fact. But someone in pain and fear will argue until they lose consciousness that retaliation with equal or greater measure of fear-based action is the only obvious choice. And that anyone against it is weak, stupid, asleep, or otherwise incapable of seeing their “truth.”
Conversations can be started by anyone. Topics can be chosen by anyone. If you don’t like the conversation others want you to have with them, start your own, like I’m doing right now. What we focus on and how much we allow fear to rule our existence is totally on us. If you don’t like what’s happening, you aren’t allowed to just react to it all the time. If you want to stay sane and balanced, you must re-balance yourself with perspective and manage your fear by going back to your initial factory setting of Love. Then spread it. Start your own damned conversation and tell the story of life that YOU want to tell. Tell your own truth.
You don’t have to write a manifesto on the importance of choosing one side over another. We each do our part in balancing or unbalancing the good/bad ratio in our society simply by the thoughts and actions we choose. If everyone were to think, all at once, that the world was going to shit, guess what? That’s exactly what seems to happen. What people don’t know is which came first; the events or the thoughts.
Imagine then what would happen if everyone had the exact opposite thought. That the world is a breeding ground for love, fairness, and joy. It’s all just in the words and thoughts we choose to have. People seem to be waiting for the evidence that the world can be a better place before they let themselves believe it can. They want the world to improve first and THEN they’ll believe it’s possible. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. As Wayne Dyer said “You’ll see it when you believe it.”
When news channels make it their prime mission to play on our fear, then more and more people get roped into believing the lie that there is nothing but fear and danger in the world. It’s not true, but lots of people are believing it is right now. And so events transpire to prove their point.
Even if events happen that would seem to prove the assertion that we’re past a point of no return, there will always be a sizeable chunk of people who will disagree. It’s not something beyond our control. It’s a CHOICE. If too many people choose fear, it wins. Could life feel better to us if things were more balanced right now? Yes. But things already are more balanced than the news or your fearful friends would lead you to believe.
19 billion good things happened yesterday. Starting with the fact that every sentient being who was still alive woke up to be alive for another day. Even the people who died and all the other bad things that happened the same day have to be weighed against the good. It’s a lie to focus on just one part of the story and say the world is just bad and only getting worse. The absurdity of it all is that we do this to ourselves and we can just as easily stop doing it with the flip of a thought.
No need for a 126-point plan. No need for long-term, agonizing solutions. No need for more or less laws and drawn-out battles in state houses or on battlefields.
To start a revolution, go outside and shake hands with a cop. Hug a person who is different from you. Hold love as the overriding and paramount guide to your entire life. It might not seem like anything in the face of the monsters we’ve created, but it actually is the most powerful and the only real solution to what vexes society today. It is the only thing that ever has or ever will work against hate and fear.
During bad times you’ll inevitably hear people say things like “Here we go again.” “When are we ever going to fix this?” History has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, with countless tests, that the way we’ve tried to deal with problems in the world such as violence, war, aggression and the like haven’t worked. It is very safe to say that every solution we’ve come up with so far that hasn’t worked is, then, never going to work. Applying the same faulty solutions to the problem the next time it comes up will yield the exact same result as before.
In other words the same problem has popped up again, and people are saying the same things need to be done about it as the last time. It’s obvious what we’ve tried so far has not and will not work.
So what is the harm in trying something completely different this time? The only other options are giving up or doing what we’ve always done. I am positive that a new approach to our problems can come out of the fertile ground of the ideas above. Espousing no political or cultural affiliations whatsoever, it is a pure, human way of thinking about life and the world around us and only good can come of it. I’m not advocating for new institutions, laws, or propping up any old dogma. It is utterly agnostic other than the fact that it adheres only to what it is to be human. I’m only advocating for us to become more so. Who could have an issue with that?
Calm, peaceful people are like white blood cells around panicky, scared people. It does make a difference when we rub elbows (but don’t get down in the mud with) people are are acting out of fear. Everyone seeks out leaders, voices of reason, for calm in a tense situation. No act of Congress needs to be initiated for you to become one of those leaders starting right now. Just change your mind. Follow your heart. And breathe. It will have an effect and it will spread.
So I’ve always had this fascination with creating a round website.
“Why does everything have to be square on the web?” I’d ask. (Always to myself because I can sense the stupid dripping off the question the minute I open my mouth to ask it.)
Sometimes we can be way off in our thinking when it comes to the future of web publishing. Sometimes we can be dead-on too.
In the early 2000’s I thought about how nice it would be to be able to develop sites live, and edit them right on the front of the site instead of with an editor. And later the same thing, when WordPress started to take over, without having to be in the post or page editor and “imagining” what the page was going to look like when I hit “Preview.”
Well, the day has come, first as a gimmick (see Wix.com for an impotent view of live editing**), and now as a reality for real websites built on WordPress.
If you could combine the power of WordPress to build a real, functional, optimized and capable website, with visual editing on the very front of the site, you’d have what developers all over the world are working on right now.
I just got a glimpse of some very powerful features in a WordPress theme that combines visual editing with some other very cool plugins and features that literally took my breath away. For the first time I could see anyone sitting down with very little instruction and setting up a page exactly the way they want it without a smidgen of geek training.
I’ll have more on the theme later, but I just wanted to report from the Edge of the Internet that the future is coming FAST for web developers and normal, regular folk who want to just make effective, powerful pages and sites without anything or anyone getting in the way of their vision.
Stay tuned! Maybe I’ll be the first to video the visual development and editing of a round website! 🙂
**The actual site you end up with, using services like Wix, is nothing more than a digital brochure. Not a marketing machine capable of ranking and engaging.
My little family unit was able to get away for Easter weekend. It was also The Boy’s birthday weekend. Directions University clients Dale and Kay, of Cabins of Birch Hollow, found us some space in one of their 10 cabins in a wild, awesome piece of Kentucky.
I was long overdue for some peace and quiet. (And to rediscover what it’s like to have little to no cell service. I believe that’s becoming a very rare thing these days.)
Cabins of Birch Hollow is surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest and very close to Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge. In short, beautiful country and geology. And a very hot spot for rock climbers.
The Mane Stay is a horse-themed cabin with decks wrapping around half of the structure. Very spacious, very clean and warm. The cabin has all the stuff you need to have a great time including charcoal grill, hot tub, full kitchen, 2 baths and 2 bedrooms. More than enough for a family of 3. Actually enough to sleep 6 people.
On Saturday, my son’s birthday, we were greeted with a birthday cake and a brand new bunny, now lovingly named Bun Bun. All arranged by the staff and owners. They really made the trip special, and Sammy’s birthday one to remember.
We took a tour of the area and there is much more to see and do than a family can conquer in a long weekend. From rock climbing to hiking to zip lining, canoeing, and seeing sites like the Natural Bridge rock formation, it would be good to spend a full week to get into everything.
Spring is just getting started in earnest this time of year. It was nice to be able to see through the trees and really get a feel for the landscape without foliage blocking the view. Most people surely only see the Hollow when it’s leafed out – and they miss a lot!
I recorded an orchestra of birds on two mornings in different places around the Hollow with my phone (the best use of a phone in such situations). A sample of what could be heard from our deck at breakfast time, and near a stream talking with a Pileated Woodpecker, is below…
Are we going back?
Oh yeah! Now that the area has been properly scouted, we’ll be going back to Birch Hollow and staying nowhere else but in this quiet, special place. Special thanks to Dale and Kay, as well as Mary and Judy, for great service, accommodations, and very special touches that made this a trip to remember!
To make a reservation and “meet” the super kind folks running Cabins of Birch Hollow, check out the Cabins of Birch Hollow website. There are tons of resources for planning a trip in a spectacular part of America that’s an absolute must-see.
Ellen found a firecracker of an octogenarian in Austin Texas who called in to the show, and well, the rest is history…