Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King


We're through the looking glass. People who represent everything the grand legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands against have today made vain attempts to twist his words to show that their own ideas are good or noble. They debate that Dr. King would have been on their side in their mad quest to turn the US back to the 1800s. And you wonder how they can even fix their mouths to speak such blasphemy.

I don't profess to know all the words preached by Dr. King, but I do know that while he preached for peace and moved in terms of non-violence, he understood that his actions were but part of a greater scheme, one that did include a more militant side. Good protest has always done that - give options to the both the oppressed and the oppressor. Because people are not one-dimensional creatures. And because one hopes the oppressor sees the two possible ways of going forward and chooses to try to work through the peaceful means.

On this day we give thanks for his words and his actions. I only wish that we didn't have more on his path to travel, and that we'd already reached the promised land. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

What I learned 2017

When I was younger, the first few days of January was spent trying to make sure I started the new year off right. This would mean taking pains to make sure the first iteration of everything was positive, from my first meal, the first time I drove, my first brunch, the first TV show I watched, the first store I went into, etc. These little steps, I assured myself, would get the year kicked off on an upward trend upon which I could build. But as I've grown older, I've found that life doesn't work quite like that. In reality they were more like that that annual resolution to go the gym...until at least mid February this time, for sure.

What I've learned it is that good things can happen at any time, not just at some magic moment. Although it doesn't look like it now, a few years ago I started on a program that got me back to within ten pounds of my high school weight. I started it on an odd weekend in July, because that's when I started it. But it worked because I was committed to it. I dutifully ate what I was supposed to eat, did what I was supposed to do and applied myself. I didn't work because I started off the year with healthy meal and wore that shirt that made me look like a movie star (I have one, seriously.)

So in 2018, what my plans are for Commitment to the Idea. The idea itself doesn't really matter, be it start a business, go to Paris, run a marathon, whatever, as long as I'm taking the steps to seriously pursue it, not just dreaming about it and doing things when there is an odd moment. It means doing the research, planning and getting your shit together. This does not necessarily mean it becomes an all consuming drive which reduces all else to nothing, that's not healthy. When I committed to losing that weight it became something I'm always mindful of, like a constant background noise, that guided my conscious choices. Not that I didn't occasionally falter. But a misstep doesn't mean you stop. It means you learn from it and keep going.

It's about getting your mind right. Not because of a deadline. Not because of outside forces. But because you had a choice and you chose to do that thing that would help you get you where you wanted to go. It means making that active choice to do something that might be boring or even unpleasant now so that you can reap the rewards later. And doing it over and over again. It's a value judgement, the choice to commit to getting something done long term even when you perceive what you think of as your short detriment. In my case, it was I can lose the weight, provided I don't eat that hotdog. And I wanted that hotdog. One or two times I even had that hotdog. But the next morning I got back on the path to where I wanted to go. 

So, this year: Get your mind right. Pick a goal. Make a plan to get to that goal. Start. Stick to it until you get to that goal. 
  
Ask yourself if the argument AND the aftermath is worth it. A lot of folks forget that second part.  

Sometimes they just don't like you. And you don't get to know why. So you suck it up and move on. 

People aren't always as grown as they think they are. 

True love never really dies. It might get put to the side for a while, but when you dust it off it still shines as bright as if brand new. 

Intelligence matters. 

Concentrate on your own shit and let karma deal with the rest. 

More people are interested in change in their favor that equality.

Sometimes your best just isn't good enough.