Only a crazy thought or two

Bird Droppings November 18, 2011
Only a crazy thought or two

Occasionally I will get a crazy thought; my students will say occasionally I have a normal thought that would be more like it. They would be insinuating most of my thoughts are crazy. However Today I was driving to school being lazy I slept in till about four I did go out much earlier to see the stars and half moon or what was left of it as it snuck behind the pines. But I sat down in my chair and thought what if when we were born the hospital tattooed on your left foot made in whatever country and a hospital code for example and then underneath an expiration date. The expiration date being the exact moment and day and year you will die or expire. If I knew this information I started thinking at what point would I change how I lived.
My students were arguing with me about living it up since a few weeks back it was my birthday and I was getting old sixty two to them is a lifetime away which is true. They wanted me to have a, you only live once and rock and roll party etc. So I was wondering knowing exactly how many days you have to do whatever it is you will do would you change anything. I am sure back in years gone by there have been people I have hurt and things perhaps I regret as I distance myself but would I be who I am without those moments and pieces to my puzzle.

“There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect, from event to event, is often carried on by secret steps, which our foresight cannot divine, and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good; and good may bring forth evil, both equally unexpected.” Joseph Addison

It has been some time since I first used the concept of a puzzle to explain my own life. A constant display of pieces falling into place each interconnected to the next. As I speak with people I use this comparison, often showing how each aspect of our lives ties to the next. I look at how a consequence comes from even the smallest of things. Knowing we have a limited amount of time to finish our puzzle I find amazing as I think of what if we still had no directions and were floundering in trying to get done.

“There are no rewards or punishments — only consequences.” Dean William R. Inge

“Whatever our creed, we feel that no good deed can by any possibility go unrewarded, no evil deed unpunished.” Orison Swett Marden

We have to take each piece as it comes and try and build upon it. Each element leads to the next, a building block of sorts, as we travel through life, a deed leads to a consequence and then to another and another, each beyond the next.

“Men must try and try again. They must suffer the consequences of their own mistakes and learn by their own failures and their own successes.” Lawson Purdy

“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” Sir Joseph Stamp

As I wonder about my words and events that yet will play out today, I daily use the term ABC, Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence. In life, everything we do involves these three elements. Each aspect of our existence is preceded by an event, a happening that causes the behavior, no matter how subtle that event is. The behavior in turn leads to a consequence this is so simple, so clean and it can be cold. Perhaps why I enjoy Carl Jung over Sigmund Freud. We respond and soon cover up, ABC. What if we could analyze all events so simply and plan our day. I do this, then that, this, then that all day long however, conversely we tend to do this with students as well, if we see an event about to happen we can change the antecedent and alter behavior and of course the consequence. Managers in business do this. Retailers are doing it as we sit and read, altering our buying for this holiday season sales, specials and Black Friday etc. In reality through consequence the world is controlled. How do we keep our heads up and still be unique, independent?

“Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.” Mary Wollstonecraft

It was a many months back I was introduced to Mary Wollstonecraft, a person who was ahead of her time, the ultimate feminist. Mary was writing about issues under her name and pen names, often a man’s name to get her point out. Her fire and zeal were passed on to her daughter Mary Shelly who penned the novel Frankenstein. How do we maintain within the struggle, to be who we are.

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

“Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.” Carl Schurz

How do we? I was thinking yesterday about my own direction in life one day going here and there and a slight bump and left turn and heading elsewhere. Do we have focal points to guide us stars as Schurz states? Can we find our way home when we get lost in life? I wonder at times even as pieces of the great puzzle fall into place maybe the pieces are wrong, maybe this is not where I am to be. But as events slow down and the fog clears we can see even the most confusing of life’s events seems to work out. I was reading yesterday a new book, Spirits of The Earth by Bobby Lake Thom. He starts the book with a prayer that I would like to end with today especially going into the Thanksgiving season.

“I ask that you bless our elders and children, families and friends, and the brothers and sisters that are in prison. I pray for the ones sick on drugs and alcohol, and for those who are homeless and forlorn. I pray for peace among the four races of mankind. May there be good healing for this earth. May there be beauty above me. May there be beauty below me. May there be beauty in me. May there be beauty all around me. I ask that our world be filled with peace, love and beauty.” Medicine Grizzly Bear, 1990

So easy to sit and write, yet around us, so much going on would we change anything if we knew our expiration date, I wonder? Please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts.

Searching for ideals

Bird Droppings August 19, 2011
Searching for ideals

So often in life we are faced with choices which determine how we can face the day and or how we interact with the events surrounding us. On the news a phone cam videoed a man being shot by police. The video was grainy and what was explained to be a gun was a weapon. Officers interviewed on camera alleged they were aware the man was mentally disabled but they used all caution at their discretion. I am not sure what that meant and they did shoot the man and kill him. In schools we can be trained to subdue the physical developments of disturbed children without killing them. Interesting it seems officers with weapons seem to forget to use non-killing means first. But who can say that at a moment when seemingly a possibility of death an assailant with a supposed gun is coming at you what we would do.

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

This morning the moon has dwindled away and is gone. The clear sky is still a sight to see and experience early in the morning as I walked out taking our oldest dog out. One aspect of my own personality that has helped me in life has been trusting people. I will trust till literally until forced not to. I faced a dilemma several years ago and most every year it seems with students who I work with that are trying to get kicked out of school. Various discipline issues are tried, talking back to teachers, leaving classes, leaving the building, skipping classes and one of my favorites as I think of a particular students smoking on campus. I still liked him and still will try to help him even though he was deliberately forcing the issue. Perhaps getting caught in the same bathroom at the same time four times is a bit much however and by the same administrator.

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, and I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realize them!” Anne Frank

It has been a number of years since I first saw the movie about Anne Frank and read her book. When I get frustrated with simple things of life I recall such individuals as this marvelous teenager who courageously kept her idealism midst the tumult of Nazi Germany. I have friends who in various discussions are comparing the radical Muslim ideology of today to Nazi Germany. One point is Germany was constantly albeit primarily focused on warfare still researching and improving technology. Most of the radical segments of Islam want to revert to a more primitive state.

“Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.” Carl Schurz

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.” Oscar Wilde

Is it because we want Utopia or is it a fear of that same utopia that drives us away from it. As I thought it dawned on me that establishing ideals requires a considerable amount of trust, a belief in something that is often called faith in many circles. Over the years I have read many aspects and variations of what faith is and how it is developed.

“Stage 6 is exceedingly rare. The persons best described by it have generated faith compositions in which their felt sense of an ultimate environment is inclusive of all being. They have become incarnators and actualizers of the spirit of an inclusive and fulfilled human community. They are “contagious” in the sense that they create zones of liberation from the social, political, economic and ideological shackles we place and endure on human futurity.” Dr. James Fowler, The Stages of Faith

Several years ago I became interested in the concept of how faith develops and its parallel word trust interestingly enough they within the definitions of each other. Reading this section of Fowler’s stage six in the last line, when we trust or have faith to that ultimate level we are “contagious” and the parameters of society and politics are insignificant. Fowler goes on to say in all of history very few have ever reached that stage most remain fixated on the lower levels of the humanity faith scale.

“Today we see symptoms of our blindness to limits in cancer and AIDS, which are still beyond our reach. We also see them in modern terrorism, in which there is no human compassion to set limits on killing. The anonymity in modern warfare-smart bombs and high-flying war machines-is another example of hubris and the absence of humane limits.” Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

I am wandering a bit but so much of we are revolves around the concept and ability of trust building and setting ideals to grow from. “No limits to human killing” this is a parameter of world terrorism and sometimes I wonder if we and our own government do not adhere to a similar policy as we seem to have a difficulty with peace. I wonder what Anne Frank would think of our crazy world now in our government head quarters we will argue or debate depending on from which perception and view you take and one side will lose and one will win. It has been an interesting week with my broad band service up and down due to the thunder storms and some new construction. I would think cutting an inch thick fiber optic cable would cause some concern. As I ask every day and do again today please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts.