Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Visits at the end

I am a big believer in honoring people for who they are and what they have accomplished, no matter how small. I am not sentimental and I do not linger in relationships out of obligation or hopes of some magical result. The concept of karma, cause and effect, is not lost on me but I think we as a species worry too much about the quantity of acceptance of others and not enough about the quality.

My perspective does get me into awkward moments where I spend limited time nurturing family relationships that are not normally part of my life. I understand that for many they believe that it is "right" to visit with the aging and not leave them alone as their friends and family die.

I really struggle with the idea of visiting old people at the end of their lives. People seem to have a variety of rationals for doing it but I personally think that when someone reaches the health milestone or age where they know that they are leaving the living that we should respect their privacy.

To each his own, but I personally hope to come to my dieing moment alone knowing that I have helped my family and community to be out living, not holding my hand. 

I want to spend my last years quieting my mind, making piece with my thoughts and listening to the universe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why making the world a better place needs to be the developed world's responsibility

We all deserve what Bill and Melinda have found and we need to help the world live to it's full potential.

Helping achieve global goals that lift up everyone will give us more life satisfaction

Leadership is found in many, many places where people have a plan that does not sacrifice community for personal privilege, greed and the perception of personal safety.

Several organizations have set out goals and here are global perspectives to consider.


Social Progress Index

People's Report Card: Accountability on Global Goals

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas...... are you celebrating it?

There are two Christmas celebrations.

One, the consumerist celebration where we bribe each other in hopes that goodwill can be generated with money instead of time and fellowship. A celebration supported by business hoping to keep selling product.

Two, a religous celebration that takes a historical story of God coming in the form of a human to make the world right by showing us that there is a better way and ending that story with selfless sacrifice. (Perhaps an abbreviated version of the religious story.) A celebration supported by the religious institutions that struggle to exist in the increasing complex world and/or good intentioned humans.


Maybe you need not believe in the story of God coming to earth in human form to accept the reality that we need a celebration to remind ourself that being conscientious in our fellowship with others, selfless contributing to the common good and generally not being a selfish bad person.

Maybe, just maybe, we sadly need a celebration that brings us together because our smart phones, social media and "busy" lives have us focusing, dare I say obessing, on the wrong things in life leaving us feeling hopeless in a time where the world has fewer problems than ever before.

The Problem with "Wisdom"

The Problem with "Wisdom" when it comes from old text written long ago, is that the world was a horrible place long ago.

People did horrible things to each other, leaders manipulated people using lies stacked upon lies and death came far too quickly. This statement, is still far too simple compared to the the state of things in humanities past. Just study history.

Why then, would you look to a text written during a historical time where human rights were being trampled on to guide yourself in today's world? Why, when we actually have a chance at global peace?

How does a story, written hundreds of years ago, telling you to kill someone if they violate a rule not cause you to lose trust for that story or the book that it is contained within?

"Context", that is what I am told, "context" needs to be considered. NO, I would argue, its not about context. It's about setting out new stories that help us to consider the challenges of values and ethics in society for tomorrow.

We continue to have a large portion of the world's population that are vulnerable to manipulation and we must stop looking to historical texts as if they were written today. To study history in earnest is to learn from the mistakes and abuse of humankind's past. 

If you are educated and can study history for what it is, then you must write new stories to give humanity's future stories that are applicable to the future ahead. Stories without violence, but filled with collaboration and discussion. Stories without hatred, but filled with community and fellowship. Stories without greed, but filled with success in sharing the common good.

We can learn from historical texts but we must not chain ourselves to the same fates that those who  wrote them faced.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Real Life Satisfaction - My Thoughts on Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates are billionaires. Bill could easily disappear to a private Caribbean island and live out his life in complete luxury.  Perhaps he does enjoy that lifestyle more than I do but he also spends a great deal of time sharing his wealth with a lot of people who are not shareholders in his companies, not part of the elite 1% and not the movers and shakers who might ensure he stays wealthy.

Bill and Melinda share their money helping to lift people out of the bottom of society. They are the kind of role models that make me want to play the lottery so I can win, and then my wife and I could create our own foundation to give away money and help the poor. Bill and Melinda are the kind of wealthy people our world needs right now and I think they are starting to have an influence on other wealthy people in the world.

This positive role model and real action for change is the kind of leadership we truly need for a number of reasons.

First, Bill and Melinda are not bound to political cycles or boundaries, therefore avoiding the luke warm response from governments to helping outside their borders when it might negatively affect their results in the next election.

Second, Bill and Melinda are leaders who can make connections across governments, business and NGOs linked to actual objectives that they can deliver on without hoping that one of the partners doesn't back out for some selfish reason of their own. They are strong enough to deliver, leveraged with partners but not controlled by them.

Third and finally, Bill and Melinda can share their stories of work and success with change without being dependent on main stream media covering their story. The internet has changed everything for people like them. Broadcasting with web content or streaming video and viral sharing with social media are incredibly powerful.

So, how does this relate to the people of the world living in a developed nation? The answer lies in our search for meaning.

I truly believe that Bill and Melinda achieve real life satisfaction from their actions. They don't need to search for the meaning of life on our planet, they have found it.