Courtesy of PhotographProse.com, in honor of Thom Anderson’s new therapy space: “They grow, and they multiply. No longer satisfied and yet ultimately saved, humbled in light and bold in darkness, seeing the unseen and reveling in nothingness. The darkness calls, but damn it all to hell, expansiveness and light prevail as we look inward, celebrated by abundance and reminded of a tempting, incautious glance to the control and careless in the ether. to the befallen, to the endings, to the fear, we give more love. and more still. this is the truer capacity, the contrast of hope surviving its greatest fight, its most important challenge, its most gorgeous reach. a new space is born.” Prose Author: Will Pollock Photographer: Zed Boucher-Myers
(ATLANTA - original post date (link here): 27 May 2008 | updated on 4 May 2011) :: In many ways, we *are the people around us.
We are an amalgam of personalities, legacies, love, hatred, ambivalence, random acts of all kinds - wearing a reflection of those energies on our skin. And yet we wake up some days thinking the entire world tilts on our axis; that everyone is against us, life is hopeless and the sky is permanently falling.
When faced with the choice of more love or worry, we very often choose the latter without so much as a thought. Why do we do that?
The challenge for us is to find where authentic love lies - about where it breathes, how we contribute to its collective, where it compounds itself and how, and when it's likely to happen again. When we turn the right stones, or seek the right fortune, there it will be. And that's for those of us lucky enough to have found the romantic type of love more than once, in more than one person; who are brave enough to risk the fool after getting the shaft and going great guns to find it again.
Truthfully, we're all faced with many great challenges over the term of our lifetimes. Our resiliency during these periods often help shape the way we cherish ourselves, and equally important, each other.
Jimmy Roberts, sports reporter for NBC and commenting on Andre Agassi some time ago, shared this spontaneous, eloquent gem about a person's unspoken impact: "An old friend of mine used to say that there are people in this lifetime who leave footprints. In other words, there are these people, and we all know them, who have an impact. They aren’t necessarily the best at what they do; they might not always behave the way we wish they might, but they make an impact on all of us."
This thought is true for everyone - not just those like Andre, whom we might put on a pedestal. Consider Chris "Crusty" Haddle's fight against mucinous adenocarcinoma, which caused a dull ache he detected in his lower abdomen back in 2008 that felt like simple appendicitis, but turned out to be stage-two cancer that required radical surgery. He needed six months of chemotherapy and just had a second and less-disruptive surgery a few days ago.
Also consider Gene Rector, who was officially diagnosed with lymphoma, and who endured chemo *and radiation since it had spread to his spleen. He is cancer-free as of this writing.
So what or who is at work here? None of us can point to one thing. But the remaining residue - both in emotional and metaphysical terms - is that we should always know the fingerprints that our friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street, anyone, leave on us. They contribute to a better understanding of ourselves. They are the cherished gas in our engine, the great person we've yet to meet, the random waitress with whom you've just connected somehow - while on a road that would be much more boring and barren without them.
So, run to the windows, rush to the phone... tell your mother, your friend, even someone you're unsure about. Look in their eyes and tell them their impact. Crusty and Gene have both in their own ways changed me for the better, and for that I'll always be grateful.
Being good to each other, even when it might step on your own purpose or agenda, is tantamount to a peaceful coexistence. Think about it. If we use that mission in everything we do - from the politicians we choose down to the type of milk we buy - we'll see a spontaneously different world around us.
Because someday, someone will see your "footprints" in the sand, your fingerprints on something great, and admire the decisions you made. - WP
(BOSTON/ATLANTA :: 22 March 2009) Writing’s rocky road would be a hell of a lot easier to traverse if I had a clock to punch, regular hours to keep and a clearly defined path to the golden years.
It’d be boring as all hell, but at least I could fall back on the structure of it all.
But that’s not what I’m up to. At least not in this lifetime. As I’ve told many of my readers/friends/family members/stalking victims in the past - and to borrow a baseball metaphor - I’ve been slapping sharp singles to the outfield, with a few gappers, when what I really want is to blast a home run. Not just one that clears the fence, mind you... the type of bellowing bomb that shatters the windshield of the champagne-colored Town & Country in the baseball park’s parking lot. (Soccer mom, sorry... you deserve it for driving that bulbous mobile living room.)
This forthcoming homer, the first of many solid ideas, is my book on emotional intelligence for men, and it’s more than just to prove to myself that, Yes I can... it’s about the impact I know I can have, and to make the “cliched difference” in people’s lives that, let’s face it, won’t be a cliche if it actually sticks to the wall. When I download my idea from the ether and morph it into turnable pages, digestible prose and impeccably sourced, supported theory (the latter, hi, is for sure the slippery eel in an otherwise viewable zoo), I’ll be able to look back on my 9-to-5 days and chuckle. “When,” not “if.” When.
So on I trudge. I recently had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Dennis Palumbo, psychotherapist to Hollywood’s writing royalty (as well as “paupers,” I guess you could say, staying with the metaphor) as their impassioned cheerleader; he’s a comfy suede recliner in a sea of Ikea chairs. He has the gusto, insight and inspiration that we writers, often impatiently, seek within ourselves, and which he delivers with an accessible, impish demeanor that perfectly embodies our erstwhile pursuit.
I shook his hand after his session at the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, an event I have promised to myself I’ll attend every year. I’ve also had the pleasure of starting his book, “Writing from the Inside Out,” which might as well be titled, “Living from the Inside Out,” as we writers are always sharing some glimpse of ourselves in the words we craft. Even the most mundane local news story contains a thread of who we are, or more accurately, how our identity shapes our stories.
I write the latter thought knowing the pitfalls (more like rancid catcalls) of bias in journalism; that all media has a left-leaning perspective... yadda yadda. But we tell our best stories when entrusted with the duty, the call, that our own experiences are to merely propel the truth upward rather than somehow manufacture a truth we seek to propel. Conflating liberalism with fairness and sound judgment is an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole. Don’t go there.
So... back to the ballgame. I’m digging in at the plate, doing my practice swings... winking to Brandon in the stands, wiggling like Chuck Knoblach with one foot out of the batter’s box, staring down the opposition like Don Mattingly, waiting for the closer to bring the heat. It’s a balmy afternoon. The sun is beating down on the brim of my cap, illuminating a preview in my heart and mind of the next morning’s sports report highlighting the results:
“Veteran player does the purposeful home-run trot around the bases after the big swing goes yard.”
- "...President Jeb Bush is running for a third term as U.S. President." Yeah, not so much. We've had enough Bush for 8 years.
- "...Ivan has been employed at a large Danish abattoir for 26 years." No idea what this means. But I like it better than the previous result.
- "...and mankind has been annihilated, hunted to extinction by a century's worth of alien attacks." Nah, Palin should probably be in retirement by then. Oops! Just a video game teaser.
- "...The workplace has evolved into the 'dynamic and wise workplace.' This has demanded that business and information professionals manage information from a myriad of sources in a myriad of formats, and consolidate it into a tapestry of intelligence." Dig it. A "tapestry" of anything has GOT to be good.
- "...and the United States has elected its first woman as well as the first Jewish president, Susan Goldfarb." Hmmm... maybe someday. Remember how close Lieberman was to VP? Oy.
- "...and the world is changing, perhaps permanently, for the worst. In the rapidly moving city of New York, the problem blossoms and threatens to unfold." Seriously? I know NYC is full of wingnuts, but really... Now that we have all of that disintegrated negativity out of the way, here's the true vision to hold. Thanks again to Gini for passing this along: The Vision: Seeing Obama in Office
The year is 2016. We glance at the television one morning and see Obama having another of his many press conferences. He has now been in office for almost 8 years. It hasn't been perfect, but things are completely different than when he took office in January of 2009. It is almost hard to remember how lost we were in the country at that time and how the world community had lost its faith in the United States.
Now... the sense of promise and pride that has always defined the vision of America has been restored, deepened, and expanded, and we live in a world marked by collaboration, partnership, and respect--largely due to the extraordinary leadership of perhaps our greatest President. You notice that his hair has whitened a bit and that he still has that winning smile and that take-charge/positive energy that he had when he was campaigning way back in 2008. You remember back to how concerned you were about whether or not he would win in 2008 and you feel deeply contented that he has been safely in office for such a long time.
He and Congress have done remarkable and historic work to address and create new economic opportunities, bring into existence the whole world of green collar jobs and a whole new energy matrix for our country and the world. Fossil fuels are no longer dominating our lives and our economic system and the new and clean energy industry has been born and is viably and reliably serving and meeting our needs.
We have completely redefined national security, and halted global warming, health care is available to all for the first time ever, quality education is back at the center of our national agenda, and our schools and teachers are producing results we have always dreamed of for the next generation of leaders. Terrorism is part of history and is no longer a threat. We care for and collaborate with other nations and where people are desperate and in need, they no longer need to resort to desperate tactics because the world community is organized to hold them and help them find their place and their contribution.
In many other areas, what was previous unthinkable is now the reality of our time. We have challenges, yes, and we also have the courage and the resolve and the confidence in ourselves and our world to meet them. We are awake, clear, and our leadership and our nation is inspired, has integrity is trustworthy and trusted.
When you stop and think about the magnitude of the transformation, you feeldeep gratitude for the past eight years and how things have unfolded.
See it... Feel it... Breathe it.... Pass it on.
THE CHALLENGE: Take 30 seconds right now. Close your eyes and imagine exactly what our country will feel like with President Obama. Imagine how good it will feel. Imagine whatever it is about him that you desire. Imagine the pride. Imagine the diplomacy. Imagine the peace. Imagine the wind mills and the clean cars. Imagine the citizen groups. Imagine the earth being healed and revitalized. Imagine being very proud of your country and its leader. Imagine whatever it is that draws you to support Obama. Imagine what your life will look like.
Stop worrying and start visualizing. 30 seconds. Do it several times a day. We can shift and change the vibration of this country with positive visions just like this. It's only 30 seconds.
(ATLANTA :: 13 October 2008) Do we really want to continue with the "Boot In The Ass" politics of the past? Do we *actually* want W's policies to live on past their 20 January 2009 dying day? Take a look at this clip, and then some comment excerpts following:
All the below comments, included without editing, come from the blog Macsmind. I normally don't give air time to festering wingnuts, but I want you to see and read firsthand how people have reacted to this video (courtesy of Anita sharing on Facebook):
Warden writes: "If Obama is elected you will no longer be living in a free nation."
Phipps writes: "Obama would have us show up for the gun fight at the OK corral with bare hands to negotiate! In his own words, Obama has declared this country open territory for every nut job in the world to do as they please."
Smith writes: "He IS someone to fear, and we Americans are the sheep going to slaughter if we don’t stop him."
Barber writes: "What every conservative christian in America should be doing is praying for God to have mercy on America one more time. If Obama gets this important possition, we have no hope in the values our fore-Fathers built this fine nation on."
Anonymous writes: "O’bama is a Muslim !! Anyone that will sit there and tell you that he will disarm our America definitely isn’t an American.We weren’t disarmed when our New York City exploded..We weren’t disarmed when our ships took on dynamite..Concerned,Very much so if we are lead by a Muslim.You “white” O’Bama nuts are only voting for this man because you hate george Bush so very much! He and his wife Hates White folks!!! The Blacks,what can I say more?They’re voting for him Because he is black..I don’t like the way GB has run our country either but I’m be damned if I’ll give a Muslim my vote!!!"
Assuming that many of these posters were transformed by 9/11, as we all were, fear is the guiding principle of their opposition to Obama. Fear of being left unprotected; that if we aren't always on offense we are pussies, wimps, losers, un-Christian and un-American. Fear of the great unknown.
That is a steaming pile of horse shit.
We've tried George Bush's America, his OK Corral, his anti-compassionate conservatism, and it hasn't worked. Time for something new.
But I'll go a step further: don't wave a loaded gun in my face and tell me your a peacekeeper. Fear makes everyone a gun-toting trailblazer - when you think you're protecting yourself from the angry mob in your neighborhood or if you're in the armed services. Guns, missile defenses, threats of war and phony posturing are all tools of a disintegrated masculine tirade, and it's all a bunch of crap.
If you believe radical Islam is out to get you, you should equally be fearful of radical Christianity, or radical anything. The McCain campaign has tried to instill fear in the American electorate by insinuations and wonderings aloud:
There are "leaders" who bait and switch because they don't have the chops, and there are leaders who... LEAD. There is sensible protection that doesn't inflame our friends, and then there is aggression for the sake of being a badass. We have failed on that point, and many others, over the past seven years.
If we continually operate from a place of fear, we will never, repeat NEVER, advance or learn from what happened on 9/11, as referenced in the above comments.
So, here the final thought: no more chest thumping, no more brow beating, no more "this town ain't big enough...", no more my dick is bigger than yours.
Peace will lead to prosperity and understanding. Sensible protectionism and normalized military mobilization is our best chance for freedom and world leadership.
(ATLANTA :: 5 October 2008) Step out of the shadows.
That's the message from Deepak Chopra, writing a piece called "Obama and The Palin Effect," for the HuffPost. Chopra argues that Sarah Palin represents the shadow self, tantalizing and luring us into embracing fear and suspicions rather than engaging our more integrated, enlightened and higher self.
"She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses," he writes. "In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of 'the other.' For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them." Chopra's piece is a masterstroke in sensible reality creation and understanding where, either subliminally or directly, one can attempt to darken an otherwise bright and optimistic horizon. To turn the fear on its ear, think instead of "the other" as possibly "the one" for which we could be looking. You are not subverting yourself to believe in a single agent of change. In fact, it's the very leadership we need in the face of the three "Es": energy, the environment and our pummeled economy, to name a few.
So, because I believe so strongly in Barack Obama as a catalyst for change in this country, I ask you to stop and look forward:
...It's Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. It's mid morning and you're into your third cup of coffee. One full month after our general election has passed; we are gearing up for the holiday season - but also, the next administration is conducting transition plans for January 20, 2009. These plans include choosing people for cabinet positions; setting critical policy direction and decisions; and ramping up other important political machinations that will shape our future.
On this day, would you prefer to be anticipating a McCain-Palin administration to take over, with much of the same philosophies and strategies and shortcomings of our current administration? Or, while in the transition, would you prefer to be anticipating a more dramatic change, with confidence that, no matter how scary the unknown may actually be, that by our own action and decisions, our country is going to fundamentally shift to a new tone, direction and priority system?
If you envision yourself on that day, awaiting the transition... which scenario fits with our collective needs as a country?
And in the broadest of terms: would you prefer to install the oldest president ever chosen, an outwardly bitter and angry person, who chose a profoundly unqualified running mate; or would you want instead to be a witness to history - led by a clearly more integrated, connected, reasoned, decent human being, the first African American ever elected? Does that last idea bring up a pang of fear or a feeling of pride?
If you answer "both," you're not alone. No change comes without preceding chaos, and Palin is sure tryin' hard to instill that in us - with a shameful accusation that Obama is "paling around with terrorists." Seriously?
Do not give in to fear. Chopra writes:
"Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted?" I believe the latter.
So... your future self is sitting in the presidential transition, on that fateful Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, with the hope that we step out of the shadows as a powerful statement against the sad, manipulative pandering of both the Bush administration and what the McCain-Palin ticket has thus far stood for.
Neither party is perfect. But this year we have a clear choice. Step out of the shadows and embrace progress.
# # #
(graphic courtesy of geeksugar; chopra picture: intent.com)
Update: McCain gestures to Obama during debate last night (7 Oct. 2008) and says "that one," intending to be ironically and heroically dismissive and yet ending up looking like an ignoramus.