Enlightened Conflict

all sins are attempts to fill voids

February 26th, 2017

dog bacon thoughts desires

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“I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”

 

—-

Sylvia Plath

 

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“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”

 

—-

Simone Weil

 

===============

 

 

Well.

stop trying to convince

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

Or maybe they always seem to be overcompensating for something.

Or even that they know they are ‘not as good as’ and spend far too much time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

We like these people because we like the overall sense that someone is dissatisfied with the present person and seeking a better person.

 

We don’t like these people because we don’t like the overall sense of desperation and the trappings that often come with it.

 

We look at these people and … well … we think about ourselves and the crazy shit we do.

 

Let’s face it … Life makes us do a lot of crazy shit.

 

Okay.

 

It doesn’t actually “make” us … just full-throatedly encourages us to do some crazy shit.

 

It does so because it makes us desire  a shitload of things that can chip away at the better version of ourselves. And by better version I don’t mean external stuff but internal stuff … soul, integrity & character. But life has a nasty habit of encouraging us to think more about external stuff than internal stuff.

 

The size of your bank account.braver he who overcomes own desire achievment soul how winning victory

 

How you look and what you wear and whether you sport Gap or Brooks Brothers.

 

The size of your house and whether you have gold drapes or Pier1 window hangings.

 

This kind of crap can screw you up let alone destroy you.

You can get so caught up in what Life is whispering in your ear as what is important … well … over time that is all you can hear and see.

 

Life becomes almost a parody of itself.

 

‘Less is more’ becomes the mantra of everything but you personally where ‘more’ just seems to look less & less. Life can twist you into a pretzel trying to match up with all the external trappings of what it suggests you should desire.

And as you get twisted all it really does is squeeze out character & integrity & principles drop by drop as Life twists harder and harder.

 

And as you get this squeezed out of you … you will naturally get thirsty. Therein lies the big Life choice … what do you drink?

 

What do I mean?

 

Remember that kid you knew growing up who was always the bully, always the exaggerator, always the one trying so hard to show everyone how great they were … at some point they realize that they are thirsty.

Either thirsty for more or thirsty for what is getting squeezed out of them.

And don’t think Life is standing by silently.  All the while Life will whisper sweet nothings in that kid’s ear telling them what to drink to stay on their path to a ‘better person’ <and it is most likely the sweetest, least healthy alternative>.

 

Look.

 

At some point we all get thirsty … even that young bully … and your Life gets energized by what you drink <and I could suggest you get addicted to what you drink at a fairly early age>.

 

 

always more and more life desireThat said.

 

What I do know is that almost all of us end up being constantly nudged to believe we neither have enough nor are we enough.

 

And it is within those ‘not enough’ spaces, the voids if you wish to call them, in which we commit our sins.

 

We commit our sins most often as we overreach.

 

Okay.

We are tempted to overreach … in our words, our resumes, our successes, even our recaps of our ‘what we did today’ lists.

 

Some overreach more than others. But we all get tempted. And, just as I noted above, it is explainable and understandable. When Life is trying to constantly tell you ‘not enough’ you will constantly be trying to showcase ‘more than enough.’

That is a natural response.

 

And this is where people separate themselves into two basic generalized groups … those who define how they matter <enough> by an internal balance sheet versus those who define how they matter <enough> by an external balance sheet.

I am not suggesting it has to be 100%, internal or external, because most of us figure out how to commit a few ‘sins’ as possible and try and manage what they desire in a way they don’t ultimately get destroyed by their desires. Most of us figure out our ‘best version’ is pretty good … maybe less than some but more than others.

 

=============

 

“And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.”

—–

John Green

============

not good enough trying

But some people truly do end up in the 100% column.

 

It is quite possible someone like the Pope is close to the internal 100% judgement … but I imagine a lot of people actually slide close to this Life self-framing. It comes with some external expenses but a shitload of people are willing to sacrifice those things because they know the gold curtains fade, the money can be lost and the houses can burn down. External trappings can only provide so much comfort.

 

On the end of the spectrum are the … well … hollow people. They look glitzy. They sound confident <if not arrogant or blowhards>. They have all the trappings of success. But their sacrifice is whatever internal compass that can guide goodness or true fairness as well as empathy & compassion.

They have sacrificed counting internal cues … because external cues are all that count.  All the while they are trying too hard, seem to be overcompensating for something and … well … spending a shitload of time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

All that said.

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

 

This is the person who desires the things which will destroy me in the end.trying human being

This is the person whose sins are attempts to fill voids.

 

This is the person we know … wish we could change … but is quite possibly the most unchangeable person we know.

 

We all have voids.

We just need to be very very careful that what we fill that void with doesn’t destroy us in the end.

communications, advertising & the battle for truth

December 6th, 2016

 

everybody needs what i am selling deserve life

————————–

 

“Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’

That will only confuse you.

 

Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”

 

=

David Ogilvy

 

———————

 

“If you try to comprehend air before breathing it, you will die.”

 

=

Mark Nepo

 

—————

 

“Seeking truth is a full time job.

Communicating truth is a purpose in Life.

Embrace that truth and your Life will be significantly more complicated, but significantly more rewarding.”

 

=

Bruce McTague

 

——————–

 

Well.

 

Communicating has always been a tough gig but in today’s world it has taken on liaran increased challenge.

 

I scan headlines in magazines and online and I cannot see one topic being discussed, one industry or any one group of influential type people that isn’t under attack by ‘lack of trust’ or, in other words, ‘liars.’

 

What that means is anything you are communicating isn’t starting from a commodity standpoint <all facts and truths are created equal> but rather you are already in a hole trying to climb out of ‘prove to me this is not a lie.’

 

Truth has never had a more difficult challenge than today. This may sound odd because common sense suggests truth is truth and, unvarnished, stands clear of any and all clutter as … well … truth.

Unfortunately that is not … well … true.

Truth, more often than not, is a wallflower and not the one breakdancing in the middle of the room. The schlub doing the crazy dance alone, being watched by everyone, is more likely a lie or a semi/partial truth. You have to coax truth to the dance floor. Someone has to bring it out into the audience and permit it to be seen.

 

Truth telling is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. Seeking truth is a full time job <which most people, frankly, just do not have the time to do as they do their paid full time job>.

And communicating truth has to be a purpose in one’s life in order to meet the onslaught of untruths, purposeful ignorance, unintended ignorance, semi-truths and … well … cynicism.

 

To be clear.

 

I do not believe we are in some ‘post truth world.’

Nor do I believe what someone said “there are no facts anymore.”

 

Facts are facts and truth is truth.

There may be some confusion around this but … of all industries … advertising and marketing communications people had sure as shit better be fucking clear on this … or they are in deep shit.

 

Anyone in the professional communications business had better be absolutely fucking clear that communicating today ain’t like communicating yesterday … or they are in deep shit.

 

While I believe business, in general, benefits if they start on day one embracing the thought they are in the decommoditization business <rather than in the ‘uniqueness business’> I believe communications would benefit by embracing the thought they are in the ‘establishing truths’ business.

 

Look <part 1>.

 

Advertising, marketing and all of professional communications is in a challenging position. Challenging in that businesses spend money on marketing & advertising most typically to sell shit. Therefore its main goal is to … well … sell nothing in boxes business selling stuff capitalismshit.

 

This means that if I represent a product and its main buying audience is white, male & blue collar <or pick any demographically based segment> … I am going to use imagery and words that will appeal to them <sometimes to the detriment to other audiences who are less likely to buy your shit>.

 

Now.

 

Of course you want to do it with style and substance and some sense of responsibility <not be stupid>. So any advertising person with any chops <any good> will figure out a way of not doing the stupid shit to sell shit.

Even then … your audience is your audience and while we would like to suggest everything is made to be created with a larger purpose of ‘bettering the world’ … to a business who only has maybe $1000 to market something <or some finite budget amount> that $1000 is spent on selling shit and not ‘bettering the world.’

 

Simplistically … you sell to the people who will buy or have bought.

 

Simplistically … you sell to those people who will buy in the most effective way so that they will actually buy.

 

I say hat because someone on the outside looking in can take apart imagery & words and make some very valid points with regard to the kinds of messages they send … but marketing people & advertising people are under a lot of pressure to sell shit. And, remember, they are in the service business … they ultimately do not do anything but ‘strategically create persuasive creations’… and a business makes the decision on whether what they create will actually be produced and put in front of people.

 

And here is where the communications folk can get a little sideways. They focus on imagery & words & ‘attention’ with the intent to gain interest … not specifically sell shit. And they ignore truth as … well … too complicated & too complex. And it is quite possible we communications folk may have gotten away with that in the past, but in today’s world, sure as shit, you better be grounded in hard, clear truth or you are gonna get screwed.

 

Look <part 2>.

 

In the good ole days … truth was appreciated, but aspirational sold.

 

sell hope i canWell.

 

That was before we all got a good dose of cynicism and started drinking from the fountain of untruths.

Messages are everywhere and simply suggesting you were offering truth because “you’re too clever to fall for manipulation” gave people permission to at least think you were offering truth.

No more my friends.

While aspirational drives value, lack of truth suffocates value into nothingness.

This doesn’t mean there will not be a boatload of products and services who make a sale standing on the superficial surface of irrelevant, but appealing, value. But that will be the geography populated by the hacks.

This truth thing may not be a battle which some people want to fight. And that is okay. But someone has to or the entire industry will become … well … irrelevant. If no one tells the truth then why would I listen to anyone.

I, personally, am not suggesting ditching aspirational but I am suggesting that truth, communicating the truth in a away that people actually believe it is true, is the key to future success.

 

Look <part 3>

 

I have worked in and out of the marketing and advertising business for <yikes> over 30 years so I feel like I have some qualifications to comment on the industry.

 

Everyone on the outside of the advertising business looking in thinks those creating the advertising think about shit that … well … truthfully … advertising people actually never waste their time thinking about.

 

And everyone inside the advertising business thinks about more shit than people outside the advertising could ever imagine they think about.we all scream for the truth

 

Suffice it to say I could gather up examples of advertising using material over 20 years and make pretty much any point I want to make – good, bad, absurd, true, untrue, semitruthful, smart, insightful or blatantly uninsightful.

 

Anyway.

 

Here is a communications truth — perception is not reality.

 

The perception is that advertising makes shit up, makes stupid vapid shit and says nothing <as much as possible> and if they do say something it is a lie and, ultimately, they try and make people feel something <to sell>.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth <with the non hacks>.

 

The problem in advertising typically arises when the ad creators struggle to articulate the benefit <or convince themselves that it is ‘non differentiating’ and then seek to ‘differentiate’ in some form or fashion>.

 

It then can unravel from there because the ‘go-to’ phrase at this point in time is ‘do something brave’ … or ‘entertaining’ or ‘edgy’ <notice nowhere in there is “smart, insightful, thoughtful, truth”>.

 

Sure.

 

Great advertising messaging always is, and will be, imbued with some sense of courage.

 

Why?

 

Because if you want to be distinct you will not please everyone.

Because if you want to tell the truth you will not please everyone.

 

on-top-of-the-worldThe hack advertising people use the ‘do something brave’ phrase indiscriminately to justify bad advertising.

 

The good advertising people use this phrase to do something smart in order to not be different but stand ABOVE everyone else.

 

Yup.

 

Huge difference.

 

Hacks say ‘stand apart.’

 

Non hacks say ‘stand above.’

 

And this is where I imagine articles about advertising should focus their attention on.

 

Why doesn’t the advertising stand above <and not be below what is good & right & untrue>.

 

Advertising should be smart and not talk down to people but actually enable them to rise up to the occasion … and FEEL like they are rising up to engage with that brand or company.

 

Communications should be truthful, regardless whether it is simple or complex, and enable people to be able to FEEL truth in such a way that doubts about that brand or company are swept away.

few thinking and feeling

And it all has to be done with an eye toward ‘decommoditizing’ or being distinct in some meaningful way <because truth, in and of itself, is not a differentiator>.

 

Advertising cannot be dull and uninspired … and you cannot use a small budget as an excuse.

 

In fact … the truth is that a limited budget is typically what drives innovative advertising.

Yup.

Inspired smart creativity tends to make each dollar be more effective <hence you can live with a smaller budget>.

 

In other words … a smart, insightful, relevant, entertaining ad will be more memorable than a typical ‘category using sacred cow imagery’ ad therefore it needs to be seen less for the same effect.

 

Oh.

And if you add in ‘truth’ <in a way in which you aren’t just communicating it but people actually BELIEVE it>, your communications is more memorable, more believable, can be seen less for the same effect … and is, of course, of higher value.

 

By the way … smart means not any obvious photoshopping or any exaggerated ridiculous claims or just plain inaccurate information or anything fluffed up or untrue.

 

By the way … smart means avoiding stereotypes, typecasting and idiotic generalizations and lies.

 

Note to advertising people:

We can see through those slimy tactics. Realize consumers are people … people who are smart and informed.

Make me aware of a product.

Educate me.

Relate to me.

Tell me the Truth.

 

Regardless.

 

 ===

 

“A dull truth will not be looked at.

An exciting lie will.

 

That is what good, sincere people must understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead.”

 

==

Bill Bernbach

 

——-

 

Truth is truth.

 

Lies are lies.

 

Responsibility is responsibility.

 

And if you do not accept your responsibility to tell the truth as excitingly and politics lies and truth and repeatingconvincingly as you possibly can … lies will win.

 

If you choose to vulgarize the society or brutalize it … or even ignore it <all under the guise of ‘understanding what the consumer wants’> … society will lose.

 

I honestly do not despair when I look at business in today’s world … or even marketing & advertising behavior.

 

I get aggravated.

 

No.

 

I get angry.

I get angry that we are not accepting the responsibility.

I get angry that we are not strong enough to accept the burden.

I get angry that many do not even presume the responsibility is within their purview.

 

Business, whether you like it or not, shapes society. Business, whether you like it or not, shapes truth.

 

What we do matters.

 

Selling stuff doesn’t matter.

It only matters as a means to an end.

 

What really matters is the shaping of attitudes <which ultimately shapes behavior>.

 

Far too often by simply focusing on ‘selling stuff’ the byproduct of our ignoring the larger responsibility is that we brutalizing society in some form or fashion – in this case and in this time and place … it would be truth we are brutalizing.

 

Am I suggesting that selling stuff or being profitable isn’t important? Of course not.

 

All I am suggesting is that HOW you sell stuff and be profitable matters.

And that you have a responsibility in HOW you do what you do.

 

Because HOW you do things impacts society.

It shapes society. It can vulgarize or brutalize … or invigorate or instill good.

 

HOW you do things has a power way beyond simply you or what you do in that moment.

 

HOW you do things is a pebble dropping into a pond.

 

In the end.

 

I will not argue that all advertising is good.

I will not argue that all professional communications is good.

A lot of it is shit.

 

But I will argue that good communications & advertising people, not hacks, are smart and tend to create smart insightful educating communication pieces that avoid the trite and stereotyping imagery and focus on telling the truth, if not A real truth, rather than lie or some semi truth.

 

I would also argue that good communications & advertising people, not hacks, have the opportunity to save truth in today’s society.

telling-truth-piss-you-off

I think many of the world’s institutions are embattled but the one that concerns me the most is Truth.

The institution of truth is under siege.

I can honestly say I don’t think most who are attacking truth are trying to facilitate its downfall … most are simply unclear what is truth and what is not. I believe anyone in any position of influence should be proactively assuming the burdensome responsibility of telling and protecting truth <that will come at an expense> but today … I think the professional communications industry should be at the forefront of the battle.

 

Why?

 

They get paid to communicate. If they cannot figure out how to effectively communicate truth, who can?

 

They must … must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead. Uhm. And lies will win.

seek_truth

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About the author:

I am a 50something who believes my generation hollowed out Truth by simplistically suggesting truth was best told through simplicity.

Truth is neither simple nor hollow.

I have had one framed picture in my office since maybe 2000: Seek Truth.

 

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016

 like-the-seasons-things-change-fall-spring-winter-time

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“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

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“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

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Well <part 1>.

 

I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.

 

 

and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes

 

summer and i

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Well <part 2>.

 

I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.

 

Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.

 

This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:

 

====

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

====

 

While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain

 

I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.

 

But death itself?

 

While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.

 

And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.

 

It is not death. And it is not decay.

 

It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.

 

It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.

 

I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’

 

I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’

 

.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.

 

And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.

 

You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.

 

I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.

 

Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.

 

And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.

 

When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’

 

Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:

 

 

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.

time-seasons-change

 

 

What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.

 

This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.

 

 

for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.

 

Summer & i

======

 

 

We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.

 

Well.

 

If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.

 

Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.

 

Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.

 

Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.

 

And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’

 

Look.

 

Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.

 

Yeah.

If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.

 

And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.

 

winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.

 

Death begets life.

 

This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.

 

Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.

 

This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.

 

I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.

 

Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So

 

Look.

reflect brain things

 

I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.

 

Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.

 

As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?

 

I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:

 

“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

believing in your own gravity

November 2nd, 2016

  gravity-falls-breaks-sound-life

=============

 

“She believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping it.

 

 The world isn’t improved by reading the personal tragedy that unfolded afterwards, but there’s also no fighting it—the power that lies in hearing her words is in the totality of its acceptance.”

 

—-

Spencer Kornhaber

<slightly edited quote>

 

=============

 

“As long as I know what I’ve done, I’m not gonna worry about what other people say or think I did.”

 

 

because only I know the truth

=====

 

… believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping gravity-is-in-my-bonesit may be one of the strongest lines I have read.

 

 

Understanding yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Accepting yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Which, inevitably, makes believing in yourself extremely difficult.

 

Accepting less than perfection … or accepting the fact you have imperfections … is difficult.

Knowing you have flaws … and even some destructive flaws … is difficult.

 

If you bundle all of those up … well … that is your gravity.

 

For some reasons, some good and some bad, we always seem to want to fix or change our gravity <which seems … well … as I type that … kind of impossible and somewhat silly objective>.

 

Some people dislike their gravity and fight it … try and escape it … and some even suggest they want to “fly” as a version of showing their dislike for their own gravity.

 

To be clear <part 1>.

 

This gravity discussion is different than a “come to the edge and fly” Life discussion. That is about risk and trying to see what you are capable of.

This gravity discussion is about who and what you are. What grounds you day in and day out as part of what makes you … well … you.fear-of-gravity-fall

 

To be clear <part 2>.

 

Gravity can be defied.

 

Well.

Let’s just say that you can learn to jump, fly or elevate <but you will inevitably get pulled back at some point>. So you can defy your gravity for moments in time.

 

But gravity is … well … gravity, i.e., it remains no matter what as part of Life.

And, while everyone faces gravity, your version of gravity is different than someone else’s.

 

You may like someone else’s gravity. Shit. You may dislike gravity. It doesn’t really matter. You either believe in your own gravity or you end up fighting gravity your entire Life.

 

And that is where that opening quote is so powerful … such a strong Life idea.

 

If you believe in your gravity, flaws and destructive qualities included, and do not try and escape it … you use what you have to the bet of your ability rather than fight it.

 

You believe in your gravity, the good and bad, as part of what can create some space in the world for you and no one else.

 

genaertional attitudes powerlessYou believe in your gravity, and understand it, and accept it, and believe it is what inevitably guides your feet down some path in Life.

 

By the way, this does not mean you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself … you may actually even find yourself slightly uncomfortable with your gravity … you just accept it … and believe it inevitably makes you who you are.

 

 

And, in the end, I imagine if you do not try and escape your gravity you stop looking at other’s gravity, you stop listening to people telling you to try and change your gravity and … well … you decide to use your gravity to become the hero in your own story.

 

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She needed a hero so she became one.

 

—–

Unknown

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the reality of overcoming shit

October 13th, 2016

 tattoo-overcome

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“You can overcome anything … short of death.”

 

Abi Ketner

 

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I tend to believe most of us are pleasantly surprised by how well we overcome shit.

 

shit creek survivorThe reality is … well … 99.9% of the time we overcome anything thrown our way.

 

Well.

 

That is if you assess success as “short of death.” If you do not then overcoming gets judged on a variety of fairly creative measurements.

 

But if you strip away everything but ‘death’ as the only failure measurement … well … that means if you recognize you cannot be destroyed, you actually recognize you can overcome just about any and every thing.

 

That affects how you make choices & decisions.

 

 

That affects how you feel about yourself.

 

That all sounds good … and relatively simple … but it is relatively difficult to embrace as a thought and attitude.

 

I actually do not believe this is a Life lesson.

 

I believe it is something we simply struggle with throughout Life.

 

We gain & accumulate things as we grow older. Life experiences, titles, professional experience, money, things and acquisitions … oh … and family.

 

That is reality.

 

And reality hates … absolutely frickin’ hates to be destroyed.

 

We face shit everyday … some big shit and some small shit … and as we face it we view it through bifocals — what reality will be destroyed and how do I protect against it and … well … what do I really want to do.

 

If you focus solely on the latter you will feel really really good about yourself <in Bad 27 7 doing shita semi selfish way> but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some reality in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

If you focus solely on the former you will most likely have a fairly comfortable reality but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some moral relativity <sense of self stuff> in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

That is why I said this is a constant struggle for us in life.

 

We know most of the decisions and choices we make will not kill us … but we have to weigh what that choice & decision will kill in our reality.

 

On this one topic I can actually share some personal experience.

 

I have shed the former stuff at some point in my Life & career. I dropped the titles, the compensation, the career, the responsibilities <I do not have a family> and all the past stuff <as well as I could>.

 

Now.

That doesn’t mean that simply destroying it all meant it went away mentally.

Just because destroying everything you feel like you have earned <not deserved> doesn’t translate into some personal ‘slotting’ from that point on – I had that salary so anything less is bad, I had that title so anything less is bad, I had that type of home so anything less than that is bad, etc.

 

That mental aspect takes some time <at least it did for me>.

 

But once I reached a point where I recognized that the only way I could actually be destroyed was death itself … well … doing the right thing and doing what I wanted to do became a shitload easier when trying to overcome shit.

 

I admit.

While not a luxurious life … it is a luxury not many people have.

 

But to attain this luxury I almost had to destroy reality. That sounds kind of extreme. I imagine there is another way to do it <one would hope, wouldn’t one?>.

 

Ok. Look.

 

That isn’t really the point.  It isn’t because I am certainly not suggesting people ditch their reality just so they can always make their decisions based on what would make them feel good as a person. Reality comes with some responsibilities which deserve to be acknowledged.

 

 

I imagine my real point is that more of us should recognize everything is overcomeable. Your worst day, your worst decision, your worst choice, your worst anything … if it doesn’t kill you, can be overcome.

 

I say that because far too often in the moment where the worst is occurring most of us aren’t thinking about the fact we cannot be destroyed … we are worrying about being destroyed. That in and of itself most likely puts us in a position in which we are much more likely to make the worst worse <and, at best, make the worst as palatable as possible>.

 

do what you must by YoshiteruShit happens. That is a given.

 

But not all shit is created equal and not all shit outcomes are created equal.

And while all shit can be overcome … if you are a little more fearless when the shit hits the fan, a little more inclined to believe “what the hell, I am not going to die,” I would argue you may actually be more likely to come through the shit not only alive & well … but not as stinky.

 

And even better? Whew … you will sleep well that night knowing you had destroyed what may have destroyed you without destroying your soul & character.

 

unapologetically comfortable with yourself

October 2nd, 2016

 reminder-unapologetic

 

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when youre unapologetically comfortable with yourself, people really dont know what to do with you.

 

—-

 

from monochromaticblack

====================

 

people get mad when they don’t understand the source of someone else’s confidence. lol thats wild.

 

 

from monochromaticblack

===============

 

 

Well.

 

projects-complete-finish-progress-businessI loved both of these thoughts written by a young African <Nigeria I believe> woman on her tumblr site.

 

I love them because they do not mean you don’t want to improve <in fact most of these people acknowledge they are work in progress which actually is the foundation for their confidence and comfort with self> but rather espouse a strong belief in self – or being comfortable in your own skin.

 

I say that, yet, most people see these things as cocky or not willing to listen or be accepting constructive criticism.

 

They are wrong.

 

It is just a reflection of a strong self-awareness. And an awareness of what is going on around them. And a willingness to adapt to the situation at hand <therefore each situation aligns with the appropriate confidence rather than trying to stay a square peg and face a round hole on occasion>.

 

To me … this type of discussion around self awareness driven confidence is almost like discussing the difference between the actually appropriate “I couldn’t care less” versus the more common less appropriate phrase “I could care less.”

 

They clearly mean different things and, yet, misused so often they are misheard and misinterpreted.

 

But … about the self awareness the quotes suggest.like-thought-bubble

 

 

I like the stubborn kind of love of thyself.

 

I like the semi-unconditional love of who and what you are.

 

I like the persistency and acceptance of the undeniable compass that resides within.

 

I like the understanding and almost commanding hold this belief has on someone’s character and behavior and attitudes.

 

I like the fact it leaves someone nowhere to go and, yet, at the same time enables the ability to embrace some type of expanded self.

 

 

I like the sense that this is a different type of self love which one can never escape no matter how hard you may try <because Life suggests you should ‘escape it’>.

 

I like the thought that it remains a version of a good friend to rely on regardless of the time of day, situation or crisis.

 

I like the fact it suggests a version of ‘home’ regardless of how far you may be tempted to stray.

 

I like it represents a source of healing from which one can replenish who and what you are … no matter what happens.

 

I like the sense of true companionship strength <thru thick or thin>.

unapologetic-false-world-real-person-pain-life

 

I like the unapologetic faith in head, heart & humanity.

 

 

I like the … well … consistency … and the flexibility. I call it a consistent flexible personality.

 

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.

If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche

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I like the idea someone can change innumerable times, yet in each iteration, will remain fundamentally the same.

 

I like the idea that the personality & character doesn’t change for, basically, functional reasons.

 

 

I like the idea it maintains the attitude of ‘the self’ and continuing to change, constantly aligning itself to changing world and what it learns.

 

And, I imagine, what I like most is that this type of self-confidence and belief in self insures that no matter how often Life and the shit it throws at you tries to put an end to its existence … you exist.unapologetic-power-go-on-scared-life

 

The dictionary tells us you cannot ‘put an end to the existence of something’ more than a single time. I would argue with the dictionary <which is surprising because I like unequivocal truths>. Life can, and does, put an end to the existence of lots of ‘self’ things. Sometimes for good but more often for the bad.

 

All I would say is that if you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself you are more likely to insure the existence of what matters and put an end to the existence of that which does not matter … when it matters.

 

People may not know what to do with you but you will always know what you can do.

 

ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium

July 13th, 2016

how to be an explorer

 

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“There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before.

 

‘If I have seen further than other men,’ said Isaac Newton, ‘it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

 

Isaac Asimov

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Ok.

 

 

More often than not we talk about the important new ideas and discoveries as “disruption” or “innovative.”

 

disrupt disruptor

The implication is that this type of important idea, which supposedly will change the world <but, more often than not, is just a nice idea which will make an impact in its own little universe … assuming it doesn’t die a quick death>, is the only type of idea we should pay attention to.

 

In other words … the implication is … If it’s not disruptive its crap.

 

Well.

 

That’s bullshit.

 

Many, if not most, of the most foundational ‘innovative’ ideas & discoveries the world has ever seen tend to be the most overlooked, unseen to the naked eye, unobtrusive ‘disruptors’ we have ever interacted with.

 

And I can even point out some examples why it is bullshit.

 

ununtrium ununpentium ununseptium and ununoctium

 

 

These are elements.

 

 

Yeah.periodic table

 

 

New elements which will now be placed in to that amazing thing called “The periodic Table of Elements.” <here is a link to The Los Alamos National Library interactive elements Table.

 

 

“IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118).”

 

New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.

The four new elements, all of which are man-made, were discovered by slamming lighter ­nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive superheavy elements.

 

 

ABOUT THE PERIODIC TABLE

 

Dmitri Mendeleev published in 1869 the first widely recognized periodic table. He developed his table to illustrate periodic trends in the properties of the then-known elements. Mendeleev also predicted some properties of then-unknown elements that would be expected to fill gaps in this table. Most of his predictions were proved correct when the elements in question were subsequently discovered. Mendeleev’s periodic table has since been expanded and refined with the discovery or synthesis of further new elements and the development of new theoretical models to explain chemical behavior.

 

All elements from atomic numbers 1 (hydrogen) to 118 (ununoctium) have been discovered or synthesized, with the most recent additions (elements 113, 115, 117, and 118) being confirmed by the IUPAC on December 30, 2015.[1]

 

===

 

Look.

 

This particular element discovery may seem fairly dry or insignificant but apparently they could be considered key discoveries which will ultimately enable future technology innovations.

 

Anyway.

 

 

In my mind … things like the elements are innovations which I like to call ‘portals to discovery.” They are the incredibly small discoveries which enable key to life doorhuge discoveries.

 

 

Just think about it.

 

 

Sure.

Maybe this discovery itself is not the most useful … maybe it’s not the most disruptive … nor the most innovative <in the traditional sense> and, yet, the smaller ‘whole’ inevitably leads to a larger more ‘life intrusive’ type improvement in our lives.

 

How do I view this?

 

As a nonscientist, non-chemist, non-whatever you need to be to actually use an element directly … I honestly could give a rat’s ass if someone has discovered some individual atoms which affects the overall relationship with other atoms it hangs out with.

 

But I do know … and I know this for sure as I can be sure … out of the process to identify a unique atom … and maybe even now that someone understands the properties of this atom … someone somewhere will have a light bulb go off in their heads and trundle out of the house with some new idea the rest of us haven’t thought of yet.

 

Yet.

 

As I type this … even though I most likely knew every element on the periodic table when I was in grade school … I doubt I could name … well … I would guess I could name maybe 75% of the elements <by looking at their signs>.

 

I would also guess anyone reading this had no frickin’ clue what this crazy enlightened conflict site post today was going to be about when “ununtrium ununpentium ununseptium and ununoctium” popped up.

 

I would also guess that this is most likely the first time 99% of my readers have thought about an element in decades.

 

That seems kind of crazy when you really think about it.

 

Most likely some of the most important things which make up how we live, eat and breathe … and live our lives … and the majority of us don’t know diddleyshit about them.

 

Why?

 

I would guess it is because they are too little. I would imagine we view them as too insignificant compared to more seemingly significant glamorized ideas and ‘innovations.’

 

Why do I guess this?

 

Most likely because … well … if you go online you will find over 3.2 million articles <in less than one second> on finding joy in the little discoveries in Life.

something missing round here

And while I didn’t read each and every one of them … the ones I did sample didn’t say shit about real discovery.

 

They were all about paying attention to the little things in Life around you.

 

Well.

 

WTF.

 

If there are over 3.2 million articles on that shit why aren’t they mentioning taking a moment and paying attention to the truly meaningful little things which have an inordinately big impact on everyone’s Life.

 

And by ‘big impact’ … maybe you should think about it this way … if today’s innovators have been successful … have seen farther than others before … it is because they have stood on the shoulders of giants … well … maybe stood on the shoulders of some element in the periodic table.

 

Regardless.

 

Take a moment in the near future.

 

Click on the link to The Los Alamos National Library interactive elements Table above.

 

Refresh your memory on the elements you learned about when you were young and maybe become acquainted with the ones which have been discovered since you learned the elements.

 

If you have a child? Maybe talk about the elements a little bit.

standing on shoulders elements ideas

In a world where some seemingly meaningless shit reaches into the headlines on a daily basis … where flashy discovery is defined by new technology and some new widget … some real meaningful shit, like the elements, couldn’t make a headline even if they paid for it.

 

Give them a moment in your spotlight.

 

Remind yourself that almost everything that is meaningful in our daily lives stands on the shoulders of some element in the Periodic Table.

Enlightened Conflict