Archive for October, 2007

The Clinton Evolution

    I watched the Democrat Presidential debate last night and, like many people, was struck by the confrontational manner by which both John Edwards and Barak Obama accused Hilary Clinton of being dishonest and disingenuous. Both men seem to think that the country is hungry for change in the form of heightened honesty and integrity…and paint Mrs. Clinton as part of the “old way of doing business.”
    I have always been of the mind set that we get the leaders we deserve. If Edwards and Obama are correct about the desire for more honesty and greater integrity, and I think they are, then we must look not to what is wrong with Mrs. Clinton but rather to what is wrong with us that we have allowed things to get so far astray from that which is the best we can be.
    The standard to which we hold our elected officials, and the expectations we have for their veracity, reminds me of how the world sees the State of Israel. The expectation bar for that nation, in terms of moral and just behavior, is inordinately high. So, when the Israeli government, military or it’s citizens do something that routinely occurs elsewhere in the world, there is an outcry. We are shocked and disappointed. We are let down. We feel betrayed. 
    Our reaction has it’s seeds in our refusal to acknowledge and proceed from the rational starting point that we are all human and subject to human frailties. It’s the unrealistic expectation that we place upon others that 1) is the basis for that letdown and 2) gives us the “cause celeb” that distracts us from holding ourselves accountable for our own poor choices.
    We are angered and disgusted that our politicians have lied to us. But we lie to ourselves and one another all the time, in overt and subtle ways. We each have our own style of how we circumvent, manipulate or alter the truth under certain circumstances to achieve the outcome we desire. We have failed to hold ourselves accountable for this behavior. Our elected officials are not more spiritually or ethically or morally evolved than we. They are us. So our shock and dismay at their behavior, when it mirrors how we too often choose to behave, is unrighteous indignation.
    Given our potential for the highest good, it is only when we as individual members of society begin to live lives that reflect our understanding of what personal responsibility, accountability and integrity look like that the behavior and choices of our elected officials will also reflect that understanding. 
    Yesterday, I overheard a man ask, “Is it going to take a revolution in this country to wake the politicians up?”  As I listened, my internal answer was, “Not a revolution, evolution.”
    We must evolve ourselves by daily and repeatedly making the choice to honor the truth as we see it by speaking and living that truth. While truth may differ for each of us, it is in the commitment to truth as we see it, and the courage to stand up for that which we know to be true, that is the hallmark of an enlightened individual.
    It takes courage to speak truth, but it also takes courage to realize that the truth as you see it may not be all there is to see.
And while that requires yet another challenge, the willingness to change, personal integrity, and a willingness to change go a long way towards creating a meaningful life and a sustainable society.
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An Animal Lover's Woe

>    I will match my love of animals against anyone else’s…any time… anywhere. Mine is borderline irrational (to which my husband and daughter will attest). So it comes as a surprise, to no one more than me, that I would be making a suggestion that advises a nation to lower the status of a particular breed of animal, yet that’s what I am about to do none-the-less.
  It is estimated that somewhere between 60 to 115 million children are working as slaves India. That was million. This fact and the difficulty of how to deal with it was brought to light today when it was reported that Gap, the largest clothing manufacturer in the world (also owner of Old Navy and Lands End) had been guilty of using child slave labor in India to manufacturer some of it’s upcoming Christmas clothing.
    In all fairness to Gap, it’s President Marka Hansen said that the garments had been made by a subcontractor whose general contractor had violated Gap Compliance Rules by hiring the sub.  Ms. Hansen also went on to say that no clothing made in a sweat shop in New Delhi would be sold. In fact, the clothing in question has been destroyed, according to Ms. Hansen.
    This is not an article about the pros and cons of outsourcing or corporate responsibility. Not that these aren’t worthy avenues to pursue in this matter. This is my personal anguish over a nation…it’s government and parents alike, who would literally bow down and honor a Brahman bull while turning a blind eye to the selling of it’s children into slavery.
    I am not about to tell anyone else how to worship Creator or what the path to an enlightened consciousness should be. But I do feel the need to address a perverse system of prioritization that would value a cow more than a child. At the very least, let’s equate them.
  Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. Almost 900 million of its one billion adherents live in the Republic of India.Under Hinduism all animals, including livestock (cattle
and buffaloes), are sacred and must not be killed because this results in
ill health or bad luck for individuals and is an offense to the community.
    Since we are talking about a religion here, I think it would be wise to focus on what might be an offense to God.
  Children sold into salve labor might be a good start.
    The problem in India is many faceted, I am certain…the least of which is not the governments refusal to enforce the national and international laws that prohibit child labor. However, with most change, it will not come from organizations but rather from individuals.
    Parents and adults in whose care these children originate are responsible for changing the way things are in India. There is no justification for selling any human being…let alone a child…for any reason. Humans are not property. They are created in the image and likeness of God. To claim religion while violating the rights and demeaning the value of any individual is hypocrisy at its worst. One cannot invoke Creator and in the same breath devalue that which It has created.
    Many religious practices, of various religions, have long ago lost their way and been misused to control and breed, if not fear, compliance in the minds and behavior of believers.
    I feel comfortable in saying that a nation, be it of the East or the West, that can in the name of God honor it’s livestock and torture it’s children is a nation in peril.
    Those who do not actively participate in injustice, but who instead turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, are in peril as well. The children of India belong to humankind and are, therefore, our children as well. They are in our care as surely as they are in the care of their parents.
    All life is sacred regardless of species. May those in India who are closest to this tragedy remember that fact the next time they step aside for a bull on the way to sell a child.

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Physician Heal Thyself

>    As a writer, I am taken with words. Always have been. As a mystic, I never miss an opportunity to find meaning in the many synchronicities of life. So it’s no wonder that when I passed a storefront on my way home last evening and the neon sign had some of it’s lights out, I had all at once my wordplay, my mystical occurrence, and my blog for today.
    The store I passed sells products and furniture for people with back aliments. It’s called “Healthy Back”…but the last three letters of the first word had the lights blown out so it read Heal *** Back. As I stared at it, what I realized immediately was how the word “healthy” is really two words…”heal” and “thy” so with just a little spacing and punctuation it would read “Heal Thy Back” store.
    There it was. Healthy is all about heal(ing) thy(self)…or yourself. But you get the point, whichever way you read it. Now this makes perfect sense in light of everything else I believe in and write about routinely in my blog.
    We are all responsible for our thoughts. Our thoughts are the foundation we lay for the things we create both within our minds and by our actions. As sentient beings, we feel everything we think whether or not we are aware that we do. So, when we have thoughts that are negative about ourselves, others or the world…those thoughts generate feelings within our physical bodies. Both the thoughts, and the feelings they generate, vibrate at a certain frequency. When the thoughts are negative, they vibrate at a frequency that is incompatible with the basic life force frequency, which is positive energy that fosters wellness and growth. An incompatible vibratory rate interferes with and has a negative impact upon the optimal functioning of the physical body that houses and transmits that energy. The physical body, unable to integrate the incompatible energy, manifests a less than optimal state of being…commonly known as illness or dis-ease.
    Want to feel better? Think better thoughts.
    In most cases, what ALL disease needs at it’s inception is a quick dose of positive thought with a little joy and gratitude thrown in to ward off the harmful effects of negative thinking (which is usually followed by, and reinforced with, negative acts).
    Most of the drugs that are touted by the pharmaceutical companies making obscene amounts of money off of our fears and our refusal to take responsibility for our own states of health are unnecessary. At best, they address only the symptom, not the root cause.  Without changing the pattern inherent in the root cause, the symptom may be relieved but the negativity, the illness, the dis-ease cannot be affected. To treat the root cause, it is necessary to understand and have faith in the connection of our minds to our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. (I’d throw in etheric bodies as well, but I’d likely lose all of the readers I haven’t lost up until now so I’ll save that one for another day).
    We humans are so much more than what we see and are capable of so much more than we are given credit for by either the marketers of all those things and products we “have to have”in order to be happy and healthy…or by ourselves.
    I told you at the outset how much I love words. I can always find a hidden meaning in them to widen the vista of what life is about.  If you take the word humans (as in “we humans” in the above paragraph) and move the letters around…humans becomes “shuman.” Now shuman is not a word that has meaning…but if YOU take out the letter “U” and double the “A” you get “shaman.” 
    Now there’s a word with a whole lot of meaning.
    A shaman was (and is) the healer, the medicine man or woman found within many cultures past and present, who healed through innate knowledge, using the gifts of nature.
    So, it’s just a matter of “U” getting out of your own way…putting the ego and the logical mind aside…to access the deeper knowledge of how disease originates and what we as individual shamans can do about it. We are all physicians of the highest order and more than capable of healing ourselves.
    Sorry, Merck.

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Raging Bull

>     Doesn’t it seem that for quite some time now there is always someone, or something, “raging” at us? Whether it’s the wildfires in California, the terrorist in the Middle East, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, or some angry motorist in rush hour, we appear to be surrounded and inundated with rage. And it’s closing in. What’s a person to do?
    For the most part, it will be a good thing if you can find your peace and direction from within. We are in times of great chaos and change…not necessarily a bad thing…but change, especially change for the highest good of all concerned…is always accompanied by stress. Stress is the natural by-product of a structure expanding. The old limits and parameters are “tested” as they attempt to adapt and accommodate new dimensions.
    It’s of little value to look outside yourself to try and find the answers for the answers are within. Each of us was designed, created, with an internal reference library to access for locating all that we need to know in any given situation. The key to accessing the information stored within the library is an ability to listen…to receive.
    We are not taught about receiving. We are taught about giving and we are taught about doing, but rarely do we find guidance around the Art of Receiving. There is a very good reason for this age-old, deliberate omission…for if you know how to access internal guidance that provides you everything you need to know, there would be no need for the “experts” and organizations outside of us to which we all flock and financially compensate for their “special” knowledge.
    When you lack the ability to receive and proceed from internal guidance, you are at the mercy of, and are reliant upon, those people and institutions that appear to have what it is you lack. Appear is the key word here. Believing that someone else has more knowledge than you do about how to BE YOU is an illusion created by others and perpetuated by you. One of the ways this illusion is perpetuated by self and others is through fear and chaos. These mechanisms may take many forms, but they’re all of the same origin and for the same purpose. Control.
    Chaos in the form of rage is the current form of choice.
    The best way to deal with chaos and rage is to learn how to be “in it but not of it.” (Now where have I heard that advice before?).
    When in the midst of chaos, or when in the presence of rage, what you want to do is perfect going within yourself to access the reference library of infinite information with which you are equipped to obtain what it is YOU need to know to transcend the situation. Transcending the situation means being able to witness the chaos without becoming a part of it…without contributing to it…without helping it grow.  
    I have heard multiple stories in the past three days of people who did not evacuate their homes in California as the raging wildfires approached, even though they were ordered to do so by local government, but instead chose to stay and use their brains and their resources to fight the fire. In each of those cases, they saved their homes although every evacuated and abandoned home around theirs burnt to the ground.
   Fear and rage are powerful behavioral control mechanisms.
    Inner guidance is the override.
    When chaos comes, and others warn you about what to do and how to handle it, don’t abandon yourself. Go within, use your intuition and internal reference library to adapt and expand new dimensions…and, oh yes, survive.   

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Compassion: California Style

>     There are probably almost as many jokes about California as there are about lawyers. As a former practicing attorney, I can tell you that many of the one’s about my profession are earned, or at least warranted.
    As for California…we may have to reassess.
    The devastating wildfires ravaging the State this week bring to light a new perspective on what is characteristically seen as the “flakiness” and “Kumbaya” spirit of people who are born or choose to move there. And while it may be true that personal relationships are typically not of the same depth as those formed elsewhere in the country, it is also true that there is something rather remarkable to be learned from Californians as well.
    Qaulcomm Stadium in Southern California has been turned into a refuge for individuals and families displaced by the danger and destruction of the wildfires. It has also, apparently, become a shining example of what compassion and caring look like. It is vintage California and deserves a second look.
    I had my own experience with compassion California style many years ago and the memory has never left me. I had moved to Los Angeles to start law school. The week of my move was also the week of my birthday. I literally knew no one in the city. On the third day, which also happened to be my birthday, I went shopping for some things I needed for my apartment. While in a furniture store, I happened to mention to the person I was speaking with that I had just arrived and it was my birthday. What occurred next defies the imagination, but it happened to me…so I can tell you that it’s true.
    Within minutes, the owners of the store closed the store, ordered pizza, went out a bought a cake, and threw me a birthday party! Now it may not have been sound business practice, but I can tell you in their single act of caring those strangers made a transplanted, lonely young woman feel important, and yes, loved.
    When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the world watched as civil services and public officials failed to fulfill their intended purpose, chaos and looting broke out, and the stadium where people were housed was both unsanitary and unsafe.
    In California, civil services and civil servants alike have been visible and hard at their jobs since the fires began. At Qualcomm Stadium, there are stilt walkers and massage therapists and cooks and suppliers and every possible category of volunteerism imaginable. There is compassion…California style…on display for all to see.
    There is also a woman at Qualcomm who lost her home to bank foreclosure a month ago who is greeting every new arrival at the stadium with a hug. She says she knows the trauma of losing everything you have and she just wants to give back what she can.   
    I recently read that human beings need 8-12 hugs a day for emotional and physical health. I don’ know where you live or if you’ll get your requisite 8-12 hugs today. But just in case your short, I know where you can get one.
    Perhaps we need a few less jokes about Californians and a few more lessons learned.

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A Better Way

>    On Monday, as Californians struggled with the horror of their State in flames, talk radio show host Glenn Beck made light of the tragedy expressing less-than-compassionate Conservatism for the plight of “Hollywood Liberals” and the acting community in general.  As I listened to his rant, I was momentarily taken aback by his apparent insensitivity…until I remembered his show’s motto: “The Fusion of Entertainment and Enlightenment.” Clearly, Mr. Beck was “performing” and bringing his brand of humor to a group of people, and a State, that he regularly pans.
    I got it. However, many bloggers did not.
    On Tuesday, Mr. Beck felt the need to clear up the many attempts by “liberal bloggers” to paint him as both villainous and callous for mocking Californians in the throes of a nightmare and taking joy in the loss of their homes. He clearly and adamantly denied any such thoughts and feelings and explained what I had figured out…that he was joking.
    On Wednesday (today), I would like to comment on both Mr. Beck’s original statements and the subsequent and retaliatory statements by liberal bloggers.
    Actually, I want to comment on what unites us, rather than what divides us.
    Glenn Beck has very specific political, religious and social views. I admire him for his courage in standing up, and by, those people and things he believes in. I didn’t say I agree with him. I said I admire his courage. And while some of his views appear to me to be fear-based, I have heard enough to know that in his heart he would suffer for anyone else’s suffering. He is a compassionate man.
    He is also, in his words, “a rodeo clown” who, despite his efforts at humility, has an ego that sometimes gets in his way. He’s human, like all of us. When he “joked” about the California wildfires as they were burning down homes, causing death and destruction, he was over the line. Mass suffering is not a funny subject.
    The bloggers who retaliated and sought to castigate Mr. Beck for his insensitivity had really been laying in wait to jump on him for any reason. They are his political and philosophical enemies. If they had the slightest intention of mirroring the truth, they would have had to admit that he had just gone over the “enlightenment” line and entered the “entertainment” zone. Tasteless, yes…but malevolent, no. But had they done that, they would not have been able to attack him personally on their blogs.
     Both Mr. Beck and the bloggers could have used their “bully pulpits” more wisely. 
     On Monday, Mr. Beck could have dropped his radio persona momentarily and asked his audience, the “third most listened to talk radio show in America”, to stop what they were doing and literally pray for the inhabitants of California. He is, after all, a devout Mormon who “gets on his knees every day” seeking guidance from God.
    I think it’s a safe guess to say God would not tell him to mock a tragedy in the making wherein His children were suffering.
    The bloggers need to use their space and time to uplift others, not to daily troll the media for opportunities to attack individuals who are politically or philosophically different than they.
    We all must learn two vital lessons of this century:

    1.  United we stand, divided we fall.  This does not mean we agree on everything. It means we honor the diversity and differences among us toward the common end of Oneness.
    2.  When one of us suffers, we all suffer.  This does not mean that we need to take on the suffering of others. But it does mean that we must open our hearts, and use our minds, to support them in the way out of their suffering.
    Personally, I’d like to thank both Glenn Beck and the liberal bloggers for this opportunity to give voice to something we can all rally behind.


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If Truth Be Told

>    Yesterday I read a short “tip” in a magazine which advised that while journal writing can be cathartic, blog writing is less helpful in that regard. Blog writing, it said, was really a method of social networking and not conducive to “truth telling.”
    The article went on to say that when we are writing privately, as in a journal, we are more likely to plumb the depths of our Soul and be honest with ourselves than when we are writing for others. When writing for others, it continued, we are more inclined to say what we think we ought to say and what is socially acceptable.
    Now I’ll agree if we’re talking about writing fiction…but in all other matters, what is the purpose of writing anything other than the truth?
    I write to my blog 5 days a week with one unwavering goal. The goal is to use the gift of words to inspire, enlighten or educate whenever possible. I don’t believe I can do that if I am less than honest with myself or the reader. It’s in the willingness to see and share the world as we perceive it that we have the greatest opportunity for helping one another grow…both by experience and by example.  If there is no greater teacher than experience…how about the experience of watching someone else step up and stand behind their truth?
    Notice I’ve said “their” truth.
    I am an advocate of the position that what is true for me may or may not be true for you. Reality is as each of us perceives it. However, because my truth may differ from yours is not a reason for me to alter or obscure it in order that it be more “socially acceptable” to you. You are always free to accept or reject my version of reality and pursue your own…all the while allowing me the pursuit of mine. But we will be of little value to ourselves, or one another, if what we do is present a false front for whatever reason.
    Whatever way you cut it deception, in any of it’s forms, is a bar to healthy, productive, and life-affirming relationships. Deception, like everything else, exists in a state of potentiality, awaiting it’s manifestation. And when you think about it, that potentiality doesn’t really exist anywhere else in Nature except in we humans. It’s sort of an “extra option” that comes with the model…to be optioned or not.
    Like everything else, the choice is ours.
    I remember being a freshman at Villanova University at the age of 23. I took an elective titled “Deviant Social Behavior” (because the professor was really cute). I was the oldest person in my class. Midway through the first semester he taught a unit about suicide. On the last day of the unit, he opened the last class up for discussion and a young man about age 19 raised his hand and said, “I don’t know why they just don’t let people die who try to commit suicide…it’s obviously what they want.”
    I hesitated for a moment pondering whether or not to speak, then raised my hand and when called on said, “I tried to commit suicide last year and you’re wrong. People who try to commit suicide don’t want to die. They have simply misplaced their capacity to hope and cannot see how whatever is going on in their life will change. They are in pain and they think the pain will never stop. All they really want is a little love and a little encouragement.”  There were about 10 more minutes left in the class but when I finished speaking, the professor said, “I can’t top that. Class dismissed.”
    I could have kept that information to myself and avoided the “social stigma” that can accompany the revelation of such behavior. But who could I have helped with my silence? 
    The truth is the most powerful teacher. We are not here to mislead one another…we’re here to light the way for one another. In so doing, we must care less about being socially acceptable and more about being personally responsible to what is true for us while having the courage and determination to share it.
    My “tip” is quite different than the one I read yesterday.
    It happens to be my truth.

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Ode To Joy

>  Lately I’ve been very stressed out. It’s been one of those times when Life just hands you a bit more than you’d prefer to deal with…which is where the expression comes from “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it.”
    I’ve been dealing with it poorly. Which is what has me thinking about joy. It’s been sorely missing from my life during all this stress, which is where that other expression comes from, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
    So, this is my Ode to Joy.
    A long time ago I dated a man who laughed so infrequently I can still recall, after 30 years, the few times he really laughed. I mean that kind of deep from the belly laugh that goes on so long you think you’ll run out of breath. I was always trying to get him to be more playful, but to no avail. I think that’s why I left him.
    It’s no fun living without joy so lately, if you ask my family, they’d probably tell you it’s been no fun living with me. They’d be right. It’s been no fun living with me, either…and I’m Me.
    We live in challenging times…but Life is challenging no matter what “time” you live in. No one has ever been born that wasn’t forced to face difficulties and challenges they’d have preferred to skip. But that’s why we’re born to begin with, isn’t it? We’re born to overcome the darkness and become the Light.
    The dark is dense, hard to maneuver around in and easy to get lost in as well. It’s just plain heavy.
    Light is…well…light! It’s airy and weightless and easy to see through and clears the way for exactly where it is you want to go.
    I’ve noticed that when I’m sad or angry or depressed (yes, I get depressed) Life takes on a heaviness and time seems to slow to a near crawl. This leads me to conclude that those emotions…and the energy, or frequency, that sustains them…is heavy…like darkness.
    To the contrary, when I’m happy or joyful or excited (yes, I get excited) Life is open and filled with wonder and time flies.
    So, then, it’s really about choice.
    We live in a “free-will zone” where we get to choose our thoughts and where we want to place our attention. It’s like the radio in your car. If the station you’re listening to isn’t playing music you like…or talking about something you want to hear…you change the station.  Well, if you’re mind is repeatedly telling you all that’s wrong with your life, change “the station.”
    Change frequencies.
    Literally…lighten up.
    Tune out that which isn’t uplifting or joyful and tune in that which is. It’s done by changing the frequency of your thought waves from those that are dense to those that are light. It’s done by thinking about all that is good or possible or joyful in your life, instead of what’s wrong.
    This is really good advice. I think I’ll take it.
    Who’s there?
    Orange who?
    Orange you even gonna try it?

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Things Worth Dying For

>  Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, returned to her country yesterday after 8 years of self-imposed exile. Although warned to delay the return based upon intelligence that indicated her life was in jeopardy, Ms. Bhutto proceeded as planned. The arrival brought the anticipated attempt on her life and, although she was not harmed, over 100 of her supporters were killed and hundreds more wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the throngs that greeted her motorcade.
    The ire directed towards the former Prime Minister has to do with who her perceived friends are. She is seen as a friend of the West, and, therefore, an enemy of those forces in the Middle East and Europe who are bent on imposing world-wide, terrorist-based Islamic rule.
    While much can be said for Ms. Bhutto, it is her followers and supporters that deserve our attention and respect. Every person who publicly turned out to greet her knew, with certainty, they were risking their life to do so. But like Ms. Bhutto, they refused to be intimidated or cowered into denying who they chose as “friend.”
    Bullies are as old as humankind. It’s one of our less attractive qualities.  They exist and are evident as early as kindergarten. Some children will try, by sheer force of will or body, to make another child do or say or be the way they want them to be. And too often, this approach works. The practice doesn’t stop as we get older…it just becomes more subtle…more socially acceptable. In middle school, high school and college it can most often be seen as the will of the “clique” or the hierarchy of peers or the criteria for acceptance into a sorority or fraternity. Whatever the means, the message is clear: conform or be rejected and ostracized.
    The potential for the acting out of this less than admirable human quality, in it’s extreme, is seen in acts of war. Children growing up with the quality unchecked and lacking conscience, who gain access to either political or military power, have the opportunity to escalate, exponentially, the force by which they try and impose their will upon others.   
    Threat of death is a powerful motivator.
    We are not so surprised when a former Head of State such as Benazir Bhutto faces down the threat of death and proceeds based upon her beliefs. What is amazing, and needs to be lauded, is the determination and courage exhibited by her followers who faced the threat of death to support what and who they believe in.
    The bullies are among us. They have a committed, albeit perverted, determination to impose their will upon us. They think they can tell us what to believe and around whom to rally. They think the threat of harm and the specter of death is all they need to cower us into submission.
    There is no darkness that is not extinguished by light. The way to battle the bullies is not with might. It is not to meet them on the battlefield of their choosing and, by so doing, become them.
  The bullies hide their identity and cloak themselves in darkness. The way to beat the bullies is to give energy to the Light. The way to prevail is to, at every opportunity, stand up for what is the best that humankind is capable of achieving. The way to prevail is to understand that when you feed anything you give it power.
    Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize recipient Eli Wiesel said the thing he learned in the Concentration camps was that “you do not give evil energy.” By keeping your thoughts, words and actions behind that which elevates the human condition you will be nurturing and powering the best of us.
    If you’re wondering what that looks like, it was the scene in Pakistan yesterday.
    While the terrorists and the media would have us distracted by the mayhem, blood and destruction there, I saw only the Light.
    Some things, you see, are worth dying for.

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A Show of Inspiration

>    Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of an event that captured the world’s attention and it’s heart. A 3-year-old toddler, Jessica McClure, fell into and remained wedged in an 8 inch hole in the back yard of her home for two and a half days while the world held it’s breath and sent it’s prayers awaiting her rescue. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that only coverage of the Princess of Wales’ death exceeded the worldwide coverage Baby Jessica’s ordeal received.
    As a matter of course, the media tries to engage and captivate us by daily marketing negative or frightening news. It’s not that they don’t also provide some good news…but if I had to guess I’d say the proportion is 90/10, at best.
    In 2001, I had a talk-radio show in Pennsylvania called “Higher Ground” on which I looked at news, current events, and personal stories from the perspective of the highest and most inspiring meaning that could be found in them.  No matter how awful the facts of any story, it is always possible to take from it a message and meaning that can uplift and teach us something important about ourselves and others.  
    One of the reasons I alway hear as to why the coverage is so negative is that it sells. It’s what people want to hear. And while that may have been true at a point in time, it’s no longer true. Just talk with people and they will tell you that they are daily tuning out and turning off negative news and talk shows because they just can’t stand it anymore. The challenge is where else to go? What are the alternatives and how to do we make the shift to seeing the world more positively?
    Some people might say that the worldwide coverage of Diana’s accident and funeral was an example of how the viewing and listening public really do like bad news and morbidity.
    They would be missing the point.
    What both Diana and Baby Jessica had in common is that their “stories” tugged at the human heart. Both were forced to publicly struggle with extraordinary circumstances and both fought to survive those circumstances. It is what each of us goes through daily in our lives, in the microcosm, and something with which each of us must contend.  Diana’s resilience in coming back from rejection and embarrassment time and time again…Baby Jessica’s holding onto life in defiance of the odds…these are stories that touch and inspire us to be the best we can be.
    I still believe in the premise of “Higher Ground.” I believe that until we change the way we look at the world, we will not succeed in actually changing the world. The change must begin with each of us as individuals before it can spread to us as a society. We must see the good…the possibility for growth…in everything that happens to us and around us. We must speak to those observations and share the positive message. We must demand of those who market to us that they too, step up and change the way they present to us…or we will turn off and tune out in far greater numbers.
    We do not vote every 4 years. We vote daily with the remote control, with subscriptions, with cable and internet providers, and we vote each time we purchase a ticket to a movie or buy a magazine.
    Cast your votes wisely. Your life depends on it.
    And thank you Jessica and Diana.
    You inspire me.

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