Sunday, January 31, 2010

time, energy, resources and patience

I am continuing on in Soul Cravings and find his discussions about humans' drive to acheive somewhat empty. He speaks of us just needing the drive to do something and then we will seek it but alas reality is not as easy as a concept in a book.

in real life we make many more mistakes than our master plan can account for. spend our money on many more things than our budget for our dream project can afford and get distracted for many more minutes than our timeline can absorb.

when we set small goals, we can accomplish them but in my opinion only a minority of the population can set large goals and hit them. only a small group of our billions are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their large goals.

what I find interesting is the human desire to "live in the moment" and not "save up" for the future, I think that is hard wired into us. consider the human life span and the real risks around us, there is no guarantee that I will even finish this sentence.

if we could have some reassurance, however, that we could live for the greater good and make contribution to the universe that would exist on into infinity then we would be perhaps more willing to give our time, energy and resources outwardly and spend less of them on self absorbed pursuits.

once again we know on the scale of a minority we have many people from decades and centuries before us we can thank for amazing lives we have today but what about the little guy. consider the wonderful power of language, I know of know "famous person" behind that wonderful invention yet without it where would we be today. was there just one guy that came up with it and what drove the people to press on and grow what they saw occuring? necessity doesn't exist without people taking the time to think about their situation and wonder about how it could be different.

exploring the unknown is something I think we do not do enough of. having spent some time in walt disney world recently I can honestly say that the early components of WDW that still remain were the kind of thing that was put their just to make you think and get your imagination excited. sadly too many of the new things are just idolizing the movies and mainstream fiction.

so, do we do anything these days except invent new things to entertain ourselves with? what should we be doing? is our consumer culture with high tech gagdetry taken us to a place where we can no longer expand our knowledge? is there no unknown?

what does a kid today want to be when they grow up? someone who gets a paycheque? how exciting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am reading Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus and he has some very interesting concepts about our need for love. One of the concepts in particular I found to be profound was related to community.

"...we are increasingly less self-aware. We're more self-absorbed but less self aware. We don't know who we are"

"When we don't know who we are, when we have no clue as to who we were meant to become, we try to become something we are not."

"We only truly come to know ourselves in the context of others. The more isolated and disconnected we are, the more shattered and distorted our self-identity"

I found this particularly interesting because I have reflected a lot over the past couple years about who I want to maintain connections with. Which connections that we are have with others, or where we are part of a group, are we truly in a community that is healthy for us? Do co-workers give us the feedback we need? How about if you are the boss, do you really get truth from staff? In our families, church groups, hobby groups, old school friends or other groups that are not regularly a part of our lives do we get to really to know ourselves in their midst?

If we are part of a group of people where the sharing of feelings, ideas, worries, etc is not shared (i.e. some people are hiding) is there a real connection within the group? I think this self absorbtion, self awareness inbalance is a vicious cycle. If you are self absorbed, and don't want to tamper with your view of yourself even in a group of "trusted" individuals you keep to yourself. Oh sure we can listen to others and share feedback to them but the trap here is that you can end up feeling superior becasue -they- need help and -you- don't.

I will keep reading but I suspect he, like many other authors I have read, will just continue to include the importance of community in his vision but still have no silver bullet for how to make it work in our world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

what if electricity stopped working?

bear with me here as I realize to most this sounds entirely like science fiction.....

what would happen if a harmless comet passed by us and the earth passed through a grand tail that seemed completely harmless. our atmosphere safely destroying what harmful objects might have attempted to fall to our planet.

but......lets just say as we began to pass through that tail we began to see a disruption of a different kind. not with physical impacts but with the loss of a technology that would lead to a grand impact.

let's say that in that comet tail we make a scientific discovery like never before. a discovery that matter can be changed by a cosmic force that we have yet to discover. so for instance water would change its freezing point from zero to plus 5 or something like that. or perhaps that matter that we know now to be part of our electrical grid no longer can carry an electric current? metal can no longer conduct electricity and as the tail "harmlessly" sweeps across our planet we go dark with all of our gadget and electronic capacities.

your car stops driving, airplanes fall helplessly out of the sky, boats set adrift, elevators stop, the list goes on and on. our entire way of life depends upon the presence and flow of electric charges we would very quickly see just how much. most, if not all, of the world's food supply depends on electricity, after all tractors, harvesters, processing, all require electric currents.

Imagine the hysteria. those people away from there homes where they would have easily driven home 50kms in time for supper will now be days away from home like the settlers of years gone by. no doubt people would figure out a means with tools (wood burning and other "technology" requiring electricity) but how long would we have clean water and food. Food would be the easier of two I would think since many of us keep far more food on hand than we need in a given time period. We would need to be careful not to let it spoil and to ration it. Our water, on the other hand is mostly provided to us courtest of our communities water system which requires power. Without electricity our future would be very grim indeed and one has to wonder whether anarachy would rule or whether the loss of vehicles would make it too dificult? weapons, sadly in this equation would continue to be a threat as they have always been for human civilizations.

The supply chain of our planet is dependant upon and save for those subsistance farmers and mixed farms with sufficient manual tools on hand most of us would die of starvation or dehydration when our supplies ran out.

the earthquake in Haiti, while not nearly as extreme, has reminded me of our dependance on modern wonders such as electricity. the spaceship earth ride at Disney World's Epcot Centre also reminded me of where our latest knowledge has been stored as well. When the world lost the Ancient Library of Alexandria we lost a great storehouse of information, but imagine now if we lost the internet and all of the electronic documents stored on computers?

so here is my question that I am stuck on, do we have a personal obligation to prepare our families, our family history and our personal knowledge in the event of a disaster? do we depend entirely to much on "the government" to protect that information? do we have any clue or are we doomed to suffer and disappear like other peons who came before us?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

fast forward

I have been browsing several blogs and authors posting their top 10 predictions for the new year and I decided I would post my top list of things I think we should be looking at:

- algae diesel
- bicycles with electric assist (affordable for the masses)
- seperate action plans for summer and winter in city planning.
- alternative work arrangements like teleworking
- get environmental damage and overconsumption back on the front burner and put climate change on the back
- find new innovative ways to put green roofs over open concrete spaces
- find new innovative ways to give property owners options in the cold winters
- track repeat offenders who abuse common space, urban and green
- alternate energy fiction
- under 40s should have an environmental plan

this is draft but I wanted to get it out there....

Tonight.......The world is in for a climate war as the worlds super powers argue over carbon credits

pollution no more, climate change and global warming are far sexier....

I really don't like fads.
I like the fads even less if they take a good purpose for a needed cause and turn it into a political, corporate, global fad.

human induced climate change or global warming has become just that.

I am sick of it. with all of the hype I feel we are quickly losing the point. it has been called the climate change debate, and we like a good argument, but then the argument was over (I missed the time traveller appearance apperently) and so off they went to solve the big picture climate change problem.

Sadly, we continue to have pollution problems with air, water and the planet. We continue to have health issues linked to the pollution and the chemicals being used. We continue to see over consumption consume our limited resources and make our selfish desires number one. But heh, our politicians (who need buzz word votes), corporations (who need good PR about giving back and change for the good), scientists (who need grants), NGOs (who need grants) they are all happily working away on the action and adventure on the climate change battle.

so what is the answer? stop with the hype, cut the red tape and implement what we know we need to do to reduce our consumption, green the planet, save the species, find the alternates and in future we will see a better benefit than politicians making grand plans.

rant end.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The unhelpables

They are those people who don't ask for help because they either don't want any help or your kind of help. Maybe they don't want to seem needy or they don't trust the quality of your help. Maybe they don't want to return the favour someday or they worry your help will require socializing that means they will spend more time. Have we become scared to ask for help? Do we fear losing our independance? Are we too proud to ask? Have we always been this way?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

easy for the whole family

surrounded by a sea of junk thoughts I navigate each day and each moment only somewhat connected to the other moments and days. those things that have connections in the structure of my life are interwoven without a great deal of thought on my part but rather more of a routine. where then does meaning in life come into the daily navigation of my time? is it sufficient to suggest that my meaning comes in my roles in this life as a father, husband, friend, worker and so on? is my meaning in the tasks that I carry out for each of these roles and my thoughts only have meaning when tied to those task actions?

where then does writing to an unknown audience come into play? it is a selfish thing inside of me, my ego, hoping that I would get recognition? part of me hopes that in addition to the influence on my children that I leave a legacy of documenting my thoughts and sharing them that they might contribute to someone else's journey and lead to either further discovery or perhaps a conclusion. with our universe as complex as it is, and our human nature so very evil on far too many occasions, I think there is so much more to the story then we realize. I think if only we could find more efficient ways to work together to communicate, share and reduce our negative impact we would continue to discover innovations in our thoughts and minds like those we have seen in the past. sadly, I think our current society is enjoying the pleasure ride a little too much and so cooperation and conversation takes a back seat.

I have been leading a full day workshop on coaching in the workplace over the past months on 5 occasions. Let me be clear, I am not an expert but rather playing a facilitation role in a safe environment to learn about practices for how we work together. I have a craving to turn it into a non-work workshop on compassionate co-operation, conversations and coaching and replace some of the rigid structures that are within it with spiritual structures that help us better tap into our inner being that is connected to a whole lot more. The craving is partially driven by my desire to be in such a workshop.

I went back to school to get a university degree from 2002-2006 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the classroom discussions and the learning that took place there. In 2006 I attended the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair in Custer Wisconsin and once again the workshops were my highlight. Since that time I can't recall when I took in a good workshop that I could get myself full immersed into. I hear the occasional speaker who gets the thoughts going, and the pastor at our church is fantastic at doing just that as well, but I have a craving for being part of something more again.

The reality is though once you fill up your life with family events, work overload, renovations, repairs and entertainment it is no longer easy for the whole family to find a space where they can learn. The one exception, in our case is when we escape the city and head to the lake with the RV. That time in the green space exploring the land and water is such a profound learning experience. When the time after the kids go to bed is filled with adult conversations that just puts icing on the cake.

Somehow sitting around after a day hiking, exploring, boating, fishing, whatever opens us up to a conversation that is fun and often times deep and rich.

A wonderful event to share the beauty and richness of our planet with my family and friends and then end the day off with the beauty and richness of our minds. I feel so lucky.