Thursday, June 6, 2019

D Day Dreams

“D” day is quickly becoming a forgotten event.  If you ask anyone under 30 you will be hard pressed to get a clear understanding of the sacrifices that were endured by our fathers and grandfathers during this day June the 6rth 1944. 

Thousands died trying to establish a beachhead that would be the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany and their goal of world domination.  It took 350,000 troops landing on 5 beaches to establish the foundation in which the allied nations could forge an attack against the Germans.

The men who died all had dreams and lives that they gave up in order to fight for a greater cause.  For their lives lost I am grateful and will ever be grateful for their sacrifice.  There dreams were cut short because of what they chose to do, our dreams are often cut short for other reasons.

 I think it is understood that most of our expectations never see the level of clarity that initiated the dream.  Children and our youth have unfettered dreams that guide their paths toward adulthood.  Young adults may have started to see the stark reality that life very rarely follows our dreams or plans and as a we age; we are confident that whatever we thought we wanted will never take place.

The differences in perception vs reality may be part of the problem but when we delve into the randomness of life, we notice that those random acts may not be so random….

When we look at the word expectation, we learn that it is an “if” word.  If something happens than we can be happy.  But what if “if” never happens?  Are we then subject to the universal law of “never going to happen”?

I believe we all understand, to some degree that our lives are variable and changeable and when something doesn’t happen, we have options, other choices that can keep us going toward that often-elusive goal of happiness.

Perhaps we are thinking about our expectations all wrong.  An expectation is a final outcome and I think we have already established, or at least agreed to the premise that most of our expectations fall short of our dreams, meaning that either our dreams are wrong, or our process of perception is incorrect.  

What we need, from my perspective, is the realization that there is an approximation of expectation rather than the unbending dream that when left unfinished crushes our lives and future dreams.  This approximation allows the mind to continue forward without the devastation of the loss of a dream not fulfilled.

Let’s use marriage as an example:  When a young couple gets married, or whatever you want to call it, their dreams are both very different but were alike enough to bring them together.  Problems arise, like they always do that start to shed light on the darkness of exacting dreams without compromise, or approximation.  There is no perfect relationship.  The older you get the more important that concept becomes. 

A successful marriage is defined, by me, as one that can weather the loss of certain aspect of their personal dreams and continue to move forward because there are more important shared dreams between them. 

Marriages that falter are those that fail to understand that in the approximation principle, which is:  Never loose sight of the ultimate goals of life and never forget to put aside aspects of your life as needed to obtain those most important goals.

This is not a compromise; this is not giving up or laying down.  This is the process of staying true to what is right in front of us and realizing that what is most important is what should be pursued.  But that is also the biggest problem.  What is it that is most important?

That my friends is the 100,000-dollar question.  It is supposed to say 64,000 but with inflation and the value of the dollar …OK, I know, side tracked, I don’t really know what is most important, I mean I have my beliefs and my answers for me but you have to answer that question for yourself. 

Let’s put it this way, if you wanted a healthy and fulfilling marriage, then, what are you doing to make it that way?  What sacrifices are you willing to endure in order to get what you really want?

My only advice is that we start to modify the way we dream.  We develop the ability to be grateful for partial successes toward our dreams and learn to reshape our dreams and goals to fit our reality. We need to understand that when we have a focus outside of ourselves then and only then can our dreams be fulfilled.  Then we will have chosen our Normandy landing and we can be numbered with those that we call the Greatest Generation.

At least that’s what I think…

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Be grateful, be posative

Memorial Day 2019, is a perfect time to discuss the differences between having a positive attitude and having a negative attitude.  We have the choice to be grateful for their sacrifice or to be less than supportive of their efforts, regardless if you believe as they did or not.  They did die for what they thought was right and for that we should show them gratitude.

There are always up’s and down’s, periods of plenty and of famine.  Life is the process of developing skills and strategies to overcome these changes.  For the most part, Man has done a pretty good job of attempting to balance the unknowns, but we will never be able to eliminate those fluctuations, for in those variations is our life earned, our failures defined, and our successes realized.

Even when we work together and have the same goals and beliefs life throws curveballs that are difficult to hit, leaving all of us asking what went wrong?  Nothing went wrong, that is the nature of life, that is the process of living and the beauty of existence.  I’ll admit you may want to enhance your religious perspective a bit in order to understand this concept but that understanding will provide those who chose a view of the eternities and the true nature of life on earth.

Why do things go wrong?  Why is it that nothing works out as planned or as expected?  All of life can be described as degrading from what it was into less than it is, meaning (at least to me) that all things degrade over time.  But that does not help in understanding the need for life’s variations and the ups and down that constantly occur. 

When we change our view of life from a temporal view to a more celestial perspective, we start to realize that this life on Earth is not all there is.  During this life, we are given those challenges, those ups and down’s, those curve balls that seem to come without rhyme or reason.  Of course, many of our challenges are self-induced but even with the most careful planning life never goes as planned.

A simplistic view would be that life is chaotic but as individuals, we have the right to think and feel whatever we choose.  Despite what occurs around us, to us or by us we can choose happiness, sadness, anger or fear, we have that right each day.  Again, you may not accept this simple truth and I am saddened to say that, that’s too bad for you but in the end, we are ultimately responsible for how we feel.

I am not discounting the horrors of life or the unrelenting depredation of abuse, life is not fair by any means, millions suffer needlessly over the callous acts of others and the stupidity of self-imposed trauma’s but how we accept the outcome of life is not up to anyone else but yourself.  We can be victimized, marginalized, we can rationalize, compromise or we can decide to move forward, it really is your choice.  Not an easy one, not by any stretch of the imagination but that choice is 100% within your power.

We can react and be angry, fearful, spiteful and mean or we can decide to be happy, fulfilled, fearless, and motivated.  If you had to choose which would you rather be?  I also understand that due to horrible events the only emotion one feels is negative, fear or disgust but think about your health, seriously think about the effects of hate on your life, what happens to your body when it’s always negative.  When you start to understand that we have a choice, the difficult road to self-assurance is possible.

Too often in today's hyper-politicized, media-driven world, all we see is negative and with it the perspective that is derived from that negativity, feeding the frenzy and bacterizing every conversation, every thought and every fiber of our minds toward that insatiable darkness. 

It’s time to let the light in and when you do you will be amazed at what you see and how clear your view. 

This life is meant to be filled with joy.  Joy does not mean without pain or sorrow, without fear or disappointment for that is what life is.  Joy is being able to see beyond this life and into the eternal possibilities.  Joy is living through the hardness of life but realizing that this life is only temporary.  This is not our home.  Despite the horrors of life that are imbued onto all of us we can be filled with joy, call it happiness if you want, but we do not have to suffer mentally the constant and unrelenting negativity of this life, we can choose to be different, live differently and understand that when this life is over our true lives begin.

Like I said you might want to brush up on your religious understanding, it is worth the effort.  But even if that is too much for you at this stage of your development think of this as a science experiment and look up the numerous articles and studies about the benefits of being positive….

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Good vs Evil

Image result for evil or goodIt has been said the Evil exists in all of us.  To some extent, I believe that statement to be true.  The difference between good and evil is in how an individual responds to psychosocial pressures that are evident in everyday life.

There is no class protection, no monetary buffer, nor is there a shield from religious beliefs.  The role of evil in our society transcends all and has no boundaries.  The same can be said of Good, it is also boundless and pervasive, but it does have its limitations but only within those who choose evil over good.

The psychology of Evil is steeped in the individual choices made and followed throughout one’s life.  There is no repository of good deeds nor of evil actions, both require a constant devotion in order to maintain their preeminence. 

For most of humanity, the balance between good and evil vacillates, ebbs and flows depending on situational or psychological perimeters that drive the psyche of the individual mind to act or react toward good or evil.  In other words, we are what we ultimately choose to do.

The subject of choice does have some variability and does not always present itself as a decisive option.  Consider the struggle of children growing up on the streets of any large city.  They are constantly surrounded by a barrage of choices, many evil and some good.  The ability to choose is often mitigated by the options available.  Choices need to be weighed and balanced in relation to those offered with the understanding that within those streets “good” options may not be available nor understood as “good”, leaving the individual with no clear path, or option than to choose the lesser of available evils provided.

To the other side of the spectrum, where the wealthy live and die choices are often subjugated by the constant allure of power, prestige, and money creating a similar scenario to those that are challenged with poverty.  The evil perpetrated by wealth and the pursuit of wealth and power encompasses the global evil that is often made manifest through governmental atrocities, political maneuvering and wealth acquisition.  It is amazing what choices our leaders make to maintain their positions of power!
Evil is a choice, but the choices for good are often shadowed by blind ambition or obscured because of previous choices made limiting the perspective of an individual to see the available good, leaving them choiceless in the face of an overwhelming evil. 

We often ask, why did they do something so despicable?  Why is that allowed to occur and why is that evil not stopped?  Simply answered, God has a choice as well.  He could stop it all, remove our ability to choose and establish a regulated world where we are told what to do, forced to do what we are told and punished for not doing what we are told to do.  In so doing we would become nothing more than when we were born.  Forced to obey, forced to live a life without risk, no choices, no chance to fail or succeed.  We would exist and then we would die without gaining any experiences of failure or success. 

There would be no love because there would be no hate.  No passion due to passionless life upon us.  No joy and no sorrow, we would have gained nothing from this life, making life worthless and endless.

Despite the evil that surrounds us and infects us and manipulates us we are better people because of it.  No Pain, No Gain is an apt motto for life in general.  We need to move through the sorrows of life in order to understand the beautiful and miraculous events that also surround us.  We need pain in order to comprehend the pleasures and joys of our existence. 

Evil is a choice, a choice that has devastating consequences on those who fail to see or can see how good changes lives upward.  Good choices expand our lives and the lives of those around us.  Evil limits our existence and reduces our life choices. 

The Psychology of Evil is in the choices we make, it’s all about choices.  Even if those choices are limited our ability to choose the best path will expand our choices and will eventually lead us toward the light of possibility and promise. 

The first step is yours, choose well my friend.


Friday, March 1, 2019

Fish out of Water

Image result for flopping fish out of water cartoonI am in Alaska.  That simple statement means so much to those who have shared this experience but to those who have never visited there is no shared communal understanding.  That sounds presumptuous but simply visiting Alaska is an unusual event in relation to most Americans, most don’t want to come, many cannot come and some barely know the State exists, nor do they understand the extremes just below and above the Arctic Circle. 

This is my first visit, my first experience and my first exposure to the Alaskan experience.  Even from my limited introduction, I am flabbergasted by the splendor and majesty of these northern lands.  The people that live and work there, or visit often, may take for granted the excesses of weather and the challenge of simple everyday survival, they live, work and play every day amidst the extreme cold and often thrive by living on the edge but at the same time fully engaged in the patterns that the rest of us indulge. 

My entrance into this club (an honorary member, bestowed by me, upon me, just because I stayed a few days) allows me to share in the experience, knowing that everyone who is a member shares in a slightly different way.  Some who belong are life long members and live in the outreaches of humanity, maybe not knowing the differences that I claim to think I understand.  Most live in the populated areas of Anchorage or Fairbanks or Juno and have emulated the semi-urbanized way of life as most of the world, albeit within the extremes of winter cold and the risks of nature just minutes away. 

Just visiting Alaska gives a person a new outlook, or in my case an attitude of superiority, “I’ve been to Alaska, and you have not” kind of outlook that makes me feel superior or at least privileged to have seen some of the grandeur of the interior, the majestic mountain and never-ending spaces between the cities where no one lives, no one has ever lived or perhaps even seen  except like I did in a two prop jumper, my sight obscured by the pontoon like engine compartments and landing gear.
Alaska is humbling.  Not simply by its sheer size and mystery but because of the risks that affect everyone who exists there, especially if they forget to follow the simple rules of survival.  That probably applies more to me than most who have come.  So far, the winter clothes bought and borrowed have worked well and the instructions received have served me well, but it is easy to see how the conditions could turn deadly and torturous if those simple rules are not followed.

We can all agree that some of the rule’s society imposes do not always ensure our safety or are convenient but most, it seems, try to establish some order for the collective safety of us all.  Traffic rules for example:  Can you imagine trying to get to work or even to the local park if there were no rules.  I’m not sure of the wisdom of letting drivers of any age, drive wherever they wanted, going speeds of their choosing, turning or stopping as they pleased?  Rules are important, following the rules is also important.  Like driving in the snow and on the ice.  I’ve done both and could navigate the roads, albeit very slowly and carefully at first, but the need for rules and understanding must be considered if one is to embark down that road of free will.

Obeying the rules of society may seem inconvenient and illogical but when taken from the wider perspective of populations and society their logic begins to unfold.  At least most seem to have some purpose or reason.

I’m like everyone else.  When I am the only driver at a red light and there is no traffic, no other cars, no pedestrians, I ask myself, “why do I need to stop”?  Why should I obey that rule, why should I be inconvenienced when there is no one else involved? 

I don’t have an answer except to say that the rules established are for everyone and if one decides to disobey is not the entire premise of that society put at risk?  I know, it’s a bit of a stretch but take it the logical conclusion.  Not just one guy running a red light but everyone deciding it’s ok to disobey the rules of their own accord.

Let’s take this into a religious context.  Same principle, different condition.  Not a traffic light but a simple commandment, it doesn’t matter what the commandment is nor the importance of that commandment but when a rule is imposed, when a commandment is given, how do we respond?
I am not advocating for blind obedience but if we believe in a God then we must accept Him as our supreme Lord.  How you justify God’s familial relationship is up to you but God as our creator is a fundamental and important concept to understand, that is if you even believe in God, a god, the creator or any name or idea you wish to use.

Believing in God is foundational and within that foundational premise is the acceptance of God establishing rules for all mankind.  Rules or commandments that when followed will provide a glimpse into the mind of God and his designs for not only his creations but for all of us.  The non-believer must find their own way to establish the necessary patterns of life.  Whether through the study of human behavior or the belief in a societal, evolutional theory the need for rules is the same.  The difference is who we believe is worthy of our faith, Man or God?

If the answer to that question is God then the next question, is there a church and if there is a church is one church more suited than others to assist in our pursuit of those divine truths?  Do you believe that a church is even necessary for your search?  The questions of how to worship, what to worship are all on the spectrum within the continuum toward understanding the “truth”. 

My definition of the truth is not a variable, not changeable nor is it conditional.  We can discover partial truths toward the ultimate truths of God but knowing the whole truth and nothing but the truth from the Celestial perspective, in my opinion, is not within our abilities.  We can discern truthful components in a variety of areas and we have the duty to expand our minds and our understanding in all areas for the ultimate goal of discovering the “truth”.  But even now, after tremendous innovative strides in all areas of human existence can we truly say how close we are to knowing what God knows? 

The truth may not change but our relationship to those truths do, especially in connection to our variable efforts toward ultimate conclusions.  Of course, we are better now, more knowledgeable, we have a better understanding of virtually everything but how much closer are we to the truth of all things?  How often has science, medicine, philosophy or any subject that comes to mind changed due to the advent of new information or discoveries?  How often will our perspectives of the truth change in future?

Every year we gain in understanding, we expand our knowledge and move inexorably closer to the truth, but our efforts are far from over.  We may have some science that we believe is settled and those thinkers and philosophers may understandably believe what they think but history has shown us quite definitively that whenever we think we know and become satisfied with what we know, great changes will ensue, demanding a retooling of our efforts toward that unknown but real and complete understanding of what God knows. 

I am not in any way advocating we not search, not research or not engage in deep and serious learning.  What I am asking is that we learn within the context of our belief in an all-knowing God, obeying him first, having faith in His words and let Him guide our search for knowledge based on His designs for all of us.  But you must believe in God first.  Without God, man flounders like a fish out of water.  Each flip or flop of his mind may seem like an epiphany creating the hope that the next flip or flop will land him back into the water and back to his “perfect” life,  life wrought with danger, uncertainty, and risk of being caught by that hook that threatens us all, not so perfect after all. 

Man has been searching for the “truth” since the first synopsis of the mind awakened him to consciousness and from that time man has searched and failed, almost in a vain attempt toward that eternal goal.  There are truths but I suspect (my opinion only) the only way to understand truthful things is to live in a truthful way.  We must all acknowledge God, have faith in his wisdom for us.  Be forever vigilant in our desire to learn and expand our understanding of all things temporal and spiritual. 

Our discoveries toward the truth may be questionable and fleeting but the process of working toward understanding the ways of God through science, mathematics, history, medicine and in all areas of study relay to our Creator our desire to want to learn.  But when we learn without God, we are nothing more than a fish out of the water, flipping, and flopping, never really understanding the purpose of our lives. 

There is a God, there are truths to follow, and we all have the capacity to learn.  Learning with the understanding of God enhances our efforts and focuses our efforts toward the truth of all things.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people and text

White babies lives matter
Babies lives matter
All lives matter…..
Does your life matter?