Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stand or Sit for the Anthem, and I Will Support You

This whole standing for the anthem thing has certainly snowballed. The protest started by Colin Kaepernick began to protest police brutality, and somehow along the way, it became twisted into a disrespect for the anthem, the flag and the military. It became about the morality of the protest, and how people disagree with how the protest is performed.

That's what I'd like to address today.

I come from a military family. My father served, as did both of my grandfathers. I grew up on bases my entire adolescent life. I have visited the Normandy beaches, and countless battle fields of history which turned the tide in the battle for Freedom, and what it represents. I am a Canadian, and I have tattoos of the Maple Leaf and the blood red Poppy which represents our Freedom on Remembrance Day.

And I say that, to say this:

Whatever you want to do, stand or sit for the national anthem, or the rising of the flag in my country, I will support your choice to do so.

I will support your choice whether or not I agree or disagree with it, and I do this because I Love that I live in a country where we have that choice to do so. My Love of that choice supersedes my opinion, and it certainly overrides my belief system.

To me, it is quite irrelevant as to what I believe. I'm deeply rooted as to what I believe in, and I'm crystal clear on that. And I know that I'm the only person in this world that shares all of my beliefs and morality. I don't need the world to agree with me, so what I do need is the unique ability to have people peacefully express their points of view, especially when they disagree with mine. So, protest peacefully. It's a right we have to protect us against tyrannical governments who repress the ability to have a free thinking society.

The thing about protests are, they're rarely ever about the cause or reason they are protesting. The Boston Tea Party had nothing to do with dumping tea into the harbour. Rosa Parks' protest to give up her seat had nothing to do with public transportation or buses, and kneeling for the playing of the national anthem has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, although that's the way some people want to take it.

Protests are about raising awareness because our society is an ever evolving world, and we have a long way to go before we live together with equity and equality.

So as the NFL supports and employs men who assault women, yet shames those who sit for the national anthem, I really have to ask myself, where is the logic there? If you are for equality, you choose Freedom for all, not just who you want it for. If you want to control what others believe in, or what you believe in, that's called tyranny, and it's the opposite of what you might be thinking it is. W
In fact, what that is, is about taste, and not freedom. As an American Supreme Court Justice once said, "It's useless to argue about taste, and even more useless to litigate it."

Plainly put, have your opinions. Express them if you feel the need. Then allow others to do the exact thing on a soapbox as big as yours, opposing your view at the top of their lungs for all to hear. Then listen. That sound you hear is called Freedom, and its a damn wonderful thing. It's cost millions of lives to grant it to you, so enjoy it, and allow others to do the same.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Life Isn't About the Destination, It's About the Journey

As the sun started to set on the Danube on the Budapest skyline, reality had set in. In an ideal situation, I would have been filled with a sense of happiness. Instead, I was filled with morose disappointment. I was twenty-six years old on the greatest quest of my life, having backpacked across Europe for the past thirty days. Now I stood in a park surrounded by homeless people, without a cent to my name. All I could ask myself was, how did this happen?

It's my guess that when the bottom falls out from under us and the unexpected happens, most of us ask that question, "how did this happen", before taking accountability for what's about to come. I suppose it's just human nature to feel a little self pity before the bomb drops, and I was certainly no exception to this. The feeling in my stomach could've been hunger pangs, since I hadn't eaten that entire day, but hunger was the least of my concerns. I stood there in that park with a sense of loneliness that I had never experienced in my life before, and haven't experienced since.

It was about ten o'clock when the sun set and the darkness set in. I had a roll mat and my backpack beside me, yet I didn't want to lay down. To me, laying down was surrendering to the inevitable reality that I was accepting my situation instead of resisting or negotiating my way out of the mess. As soon as I laid down, I would be left with all the time in the world to think about how I landed here. That's hard time. It's the kind of time you're left with when there are no more options, and the hamster wheel in your head keeps spinning, long after the hamster has died.

Before I went to sleep, I reasoned because I had no money. Anyone who wanted to rob me wouldn't get anything. Amongst the homeless people in the bushes in that park, I somehow fell asleep. That was one of the longest nights of my life and when I was awaken by the light of day, I couldn't ascertain if my predicament was a dream, or reality. However, I felt overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude that the sun had finally come.

I picked up my belongings, and walked to the train station. I passed cafe after cafe on a lazy Sunday morning just yearning for a coffee. One cup of coffee. I was in the least expensive country I'd traveled to in Hungary, and I couldn't even buy myself a simple cup of coffee. I think that's when a wall of shame hit me right between the eyes, and I broke down and cried for the first time.

The one tangible asset I had was the open ended train Eurail pass I bought at the beginning of summer, which allowed me to get on and off any train in all of Europe. When I boarded the train heading west to Germany, I fell fast asleep in my empty booth, completely exhausted. I awoke about five hours later approaching Munich.

Of course, I had no idea that everything that happened to me in Budapest, the homelessness, the lack of money, no food or water for 2 days happened to put me in that seat at the time when the train pulled into the high station in Munich so that I would look out my window and meet the man that would unknowingly change my life. It took a large saving hand to rescue me from myself, and to Lovingly guide me back to where I needed to be, and not where I wanted to be. This phenomenon happens over and over until we learn the lesson we are here to master.

The rest of that story is a journey in itself. But I can tell you I haven't been the same person since July 31, 1998. Looking back on it all now, I am filled with a tremendous feeling of gratitude for how it all happened, and I obviously wouldn't have changed a thing. It was the worst time of my life, which ended up being the greatest time of my life.

Things happen in our lives. Significant things happen as all the moving parts of our lives interact with others who we knowingly and unknowingly connect with. I suspect that we all have a story like this in our own lives. Faces, dates and the telling of the story may change, but the lesson is still the same. It made us all into the person we are today.

Because of happenstances like this, I have shifted my belief that I live inside of a kind Universe, and it has my back. Even when life is oddly disguised in a facade I don't recognize, I choose to flow and accept it as where I am supposed to be because I truly believe that it's all happening for me, and not TO me. It's my job to believe that, and move forward to do my best.

I believe it was Charles Darwin who said something like, Its not the strongest that survives, nor the fittest. It is the most adaptable to change that survives. Life changes constantly. Being ahead of the change with the least amount of resistance will get you to your destination more efficiently. When you arrive at your destination, take it all in, but don't remain there.

After all, life isn't about the destination, it's about the Journey...

Friday, February 17, 2017

We All Want Equality, or Do We?

It seems that in the past year, the US Presidential election has opened some deep wounds found in the American populace. With the aid of social media, the expansion of various forms of news media, "fake" and otherwise, the experiences of people around the world are abundant with inequality and inequity.

Black people are saying, "Black Lives Matter" whilst the gay, and transgender communities still cry out for equality. Jews and Muslims are being discriminated against, as are Women, and yet the only thing that occurs to me is that these groups are only willing to support their own groups, and not support other inequalities.

That makes absolutely NO sense, whatsoever.

If you want equality for your tribe, then you want it for others too. Standing up for your tribe exclusively doesn't make the world a better place, it makes your own life a better place. And the only person who cares about your life is you. But if you are truly committed to the equality of all people, take a stand for that, and then watch others start to care about yours. When you start to empathize with others, acknowledging their struggles and plight as similiar to your own, you connect through each and every story of inequality. Bigotry has the same pattern, differing in the various stories and endings. 

The establishment who holds power over all of us wants us to be fighting as individuals, for our own identity, tribe, race, religion, sexual preference, gender ect. This still divides us as humans, which is what they want. They don't want a united force of equality for all, regardless of classification. They want to keep humans divided because they know we are less connected and powerful that way.

I am a white, straight, male. I have certain privileges that are not afforded to others because of the way I was born. I didn't choose my skin colour, my gender or my sexual orientation. I think the greatest gift I can do for humanity is to use my privileges in a way which raises awareness that not everyone has them, instead of guarding them so nobody else can have them.

But I think part of the larger problem is that human beings have bought into their identity. Meaning, the identify with their race, religion and body. I think if people saw that they weren't a body with a soul, but a soul with a body, their perceptions would be remarkably different. Perhaps then, they wouldn't be so defensive of their body, race, or religion because they would know its simply the avatar and vehicle being used by the soul which inhabits the body the exist in. Just like you aren't the car you drive, you aren't the body you exist in. Insult my body all you want, because I know I am not the body I live in. It's simply my clown suit so my soul can experience what it's like to be human. After all, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spirit beings, having a human experience.

If equity and equality for all makes sense for cause, then it makes sense for ALL causes. So start standing for all equality, and not simply your own.

As always I welcome your thoughts...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why We Need Donald Trump to Heal the Human Divide

Brilliance is very rarely recognized in its time. Preceding Lincoln, the US had 4 "failure" Presidents, who could not solve the slavery issue. They appeased, instead of taking a stand like Lincoln did. Lincoln was a man ahead of his time, but I think today, he would still be called a racist, even if his proposed 13th amendment did free the slaves.To Lincoln, this vote preserved the union, which was his ultimate goal. The proposed 13th amendment was a long shot to pass, and it barely did. Seems most white people didn't want to share their seat at the table with Black folk, and there is still that sentiment today.

That was over 150 years ago. Oddly, Lincoln was not even considered a great President during his time. Even most of his own party thought he was a Neanderthal, a failure in marriage, business and life. He was homely, had a "crazy" wife, and was too soft on his generals. He was constantly compared to George Washington, and couldn't possibly live up to the challenge. But Lincoln knew it was the first step; that others behind him would use as a stepping stone to propel the union forward "with malice toward none, with charity for all"

Nothing is ever perfect. Not even success in the time of "change" because progress is never ending. Equity and equality is never ending. As long as there are weak leaders, and people in power who lead from fear, not Love, to oppress others, there will always be work to do.

We have been sitting on a great volcano, and some of us have been enjoying the sunshine. Now that volcano is erupting, and those people are wondering where the divide is coming from, who is bringing it forward, and how can we can make it go away peacefully. Well, the divide has always been there, and the class systems of equality are going through the same revolutions that created our countries the way we now know them to be. It won't go away peacefully, because the ones who hold the power don't wish to share it. Therefore, this revolt is just beginning.

Trump will be the catalyst for the beginning of this awakening. It will get worse, before it gets better. History shows this pattern time and time again, and human beings Love to follow patterns. So be aware of the signs, and surround yourself with people who wish to embrace change, tear down old paradigms, and include everyone in a stand for humanity at its greatest hour.

We are all one, we are all connected, and we will all someday die. Yet that connection has a significant impact, even in death.So choose to live with a dignified purpose! Include all of those who simply want to be heard, understood, respected, accepted and Love with all their hearts.

With malice toward none, with charity toward all...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump and Inauguration Day

Donald Trump is being inaugurated today, January 20, 2017. Wow. I honestly never thought, and hoped this this day would arrive. I clung to the hopes that the electoral college would recast their votes in mid December, almost as a perverse joke they were playing on all of us watching from the world stage as a reality TV star who is only known for being wealthy and controversial, takes office of the President of the United States of America.

But here we stand, ready to welcome Donald Trump as the next President into office.

I'm not going to go on about Trump's road to the White House. He won the election, and he won it because the Divided States of America had enough of the bullshit establishment that Clinton brought to the table, sending a big Fuck You, and reclaiming their country back.

But here's what I wonder. I wonder if the novelty of being POTUS will last with Donald Trump. I think we can all agree Trump has no interest in serving the American people. If he did, he would've served in ANY other capacity at any time in his life. No, Trump has always been about making money. He is geared for billions. And having the kind of power that the POTUS will open up is worth TRILLIONS.

For the first time in history, Trump will become the first POTUS to become impeachable the second he takes office. He has not consolidated his vast businesses into a blind trust, which is a conflict of interest as President. He has declared himself above the law and distinct from this law. He has also not disclosed any tax return information, so we the public are completely unclear as to what he says is his net worth, and if he pays his taxes at all. Those are two very concerning pieces of information that I need the leader of my country to disclose. If Trump isn't stepping into this position from a place of trust, how can he expect the American people to trust him?

Anyway, I have to say my prediction is, this is going to end in a disaster for Trump. He is simply in WAY over his head. Trump has neither the patience, compassion, empathy or will to serve the American people. I don't he makes it a year in office before the wheels invariably fall off, and America gets to see its office disgraced for the first time since Nixon resigned in the early 1970's.

Perhaps Trump resigns because he simply doesn't want to be POTUS. He simply likes the idea of it, and the power it affords his frail ego. But I imagine that will inevitably end with the massive responsibility and accountability that he hasn't prepared himself for. Just the same as how I would not be prepared stepping into his real estate billionaire club and would be completely out of place in his world, so is he going to be out of place in the realm of POTUS. And that isn't something you can cram for, like a test the night before. When you add his mental illness and narcissism, it's a recipe for a catastrophe.

It's simply a mathematical equation until disaster strikes his administration. I think Trump's worst fear was disguised in his greatest triumph. He thinks he proved everyone wrong, when he's really about to run the gauntlet, and have it implode on himself in a most terrifying way in manner I fear he will not recover from.

We in Toronto, witnessed this first hand with the election of the late Rob Ford as mayor. As unprepared as Ford was for facing the issues in his personal life, it just added to the fire storm when the media and his critics piled on. His demons became a landslide of health issues which ultimately took his life in a very sad manner that nobody wants to see or go through. We hoped Ford would get better, but it simply was insurmountable for him.

And similarly, although I wish Trump well, and hope he will prove all of his critics wrong, hope is a really poor business plan.