Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Search of...three coins in the fountain

Well, since I last touched base with you, the Huffington Post published my Weinergate blog, the Catholic League took offense to it and quoted me everywhere on line that they possibly could, the Congressman succumbed to the pressure of his party and resigned via another press conference, and I ran out of hope that any elected official whose politics I agree with will not get themselves into some sort of sex scandal. (Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony get the idea.)

And so I began longing for a time when life did not seem so complex, or at least when all that seemed wrong with the world could easily be righted. In as much as things could be categorized as right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, life seemed doable, manageable, okay. Without gray areas, the world made sense. But these are the viewpoints of a child, or maybe more importantly, of a bygone era.

My five year old niece asked her mother for a coin to toss in the fountain when they were out one day. After tossing the coin, she looked up at her mother and announced her wish: "I want more toys." On the surface, that sounds perfectly normal and age appropriate. The only problem is that we as a species have not gotten past the wish of a five year old. Oh, our definition of toys is different. We want a bigger house, nicer cars, wall-mounted flat screens, iPads, iPhones, iPods and every other kind of gadget and gizmo ever invented.

As countries, we want bigger missiles, more drones, and a free pass to ravage the earth in order to get our way. Maybe it's not exactly the five year old that's being juvenile here. When do our individual desires become that of an adult who would sacrifice convenience for the future of our planet and the survival of our species? In other words, when are we going to grow up?

We have infinite ways to distract ourselves from the very real calamities we face. But face them we must one day. I love pop culture, but I don't delude myself into thinking that who wins American Idol will make any difference to anyone but his or her family. And I don't really care who thinks they can dance. On the other hand, I would tune in to see who's got an idea for saving the planet. People could compete each week to see who has the better idea for reversing global warming, salvaging our water supply, regenerating our own healthy organ tissue to heal our bodies. I'd watch that show, even if they didn't hand out roses or deem the contestants pretty. I'd call them beautiful.

So I've been thinking about my wishes for when I next have the opportunity to toss three coins in a fountain, and these are the three I have for now:

May I fully realize every bit of my potential.
May I live in the moment every moment.
May I enjoy my journey while leaving something better for having been here.

I hope on this Father's Day weekend that you take a minute to contemplate your own wishes. I hope you dare to wish them. And I hope that once said aloud, you and I find the courage within us to make them come true.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Search Weiner blog

Once, just once I would like a public servant who gets caught in an affair, or a flirtation, or in any kind of compromising but not illegal situation to look us straight in the eye right from the get go and say, "Yup, I did it." Oh, I know, it's not going to happen. But it would be so refreshing if it did.

I am, of course, referring to the press conference held today by Congressman Anthony Weiner that came ten days late and a few denials short of that blatant admission of guilt.

Do I care if he's flirting with women other than his wife? No. Do I care that he fights for my best interests in congress? Yes.

I know, I know, I heard this argument when I was defending Bill Clinton years ago. It's not the affair, it's the lying about the affair. Well, duh. If a guy cheats, he's not going to come clean until he has no choice, and by that time, there's probably already been an investigative committee set up.

I believe I have already stated in previous blogs that Congressman Weiner was my favorite congressperson still in office. So yes, I am rocking back and forth, holding my head in anguish, exclaiming aloud to an absent congressman, "You're killing me!" But exclamations aside, I honestly don't care.

I care that he can shout down the likes of John Boehner, and so only in as much as this impacts his ability to do that, does it matter to me at all. Yes, I would have preferred he not lie. And sure, I wish he were a stand up guy to his wife. But I'm not married to him, so maybe that's why I can see this as being a case of momentary, monumental stupidity.

There is a distinction between one's behavior in his or her personal life and what they can do for the good of the country as a public servant. Lyndon Johnson was doing women other than Lady Bird on the White House couch, and he still managed to pass civil rights legislation. Do I condone it? No. All I'm saying is let's not be naive about what does and does not impact our everyday lives as citizens.

I've said it before: there is a certain kind of arrogance that you have to have in order to run for public office...and then actually do it and win. And this kind of arrogance, in my opinion, is the same kind that makes a man think he can be unfaithful and not get caught. We've seen it time and time again. And it never ceases to amaze me that people don't learn from even immediate history.

So here's what I would say to anyone doing anything they don't want landing in the public eye: Don't do it. The truth always comes out eventually. We want it to, even if we don't think we do. No one inherently wants to live a lie. It is just not how we are wired.

So to Anthony Weiner and his wife, I wish you both healing and forgiveness. Now let's get on with it. There is too much at stake in our country and in the world to spend one more minute on this foolishness. So good luck and Godspeed, Congressman.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Search of...enough already!

Every so often, I get a survey from one of the major television networks. It usually focuses on a few specific shows, asking me if I watch them and how often, and if not, why not. This time it was about some reality shows involving housewives and chefs, and I said that I caught a little bit of them and didn't care to watch them again. They asked me why not, and I pondered that momentarily before responding that they neither entertained nor uplifted me in any way, so I looked at them as a waste of my time.

This got me thinking. What is it we busy ourselves with that has no discernible value? What else could we be doing? What else should we be doing? And if it's true that you get out of something what you put into it, then what does that say about us? If we are incessantly filling our minds and souls with drivel, what can we expect to get out of ourselves?

One could argue that watching Snookie's drunken fender bender with the Italian police might serve as a lesson in what not to do. But wouldn't a good dose of common sense tell you the same thing? And really, what do I get from watching Donald Trump and Sarah Palin eating pizza together in Times Square? I get annoyed, actually. For two millionaires, I would have been more bedazzled if they'd bought the pizza for some regular folks in the city and then sat down with them to eat it. Come on you patriots, put your money where your pizza-loving mouths are, that's what I say! But I digress.

I love being entertained, amused, even tickled. However, I know that that alone will not in any way help me be my best self. There's a lot to be learned from other people's lives, but I can pretty much guarantee that those lessons will not be found by watching the housewives of any county, city, or state - at least not the ones on TV.

So I've turned off the television altogether and said, "Enough already!" I've begun doing something profoundly different - reading. I'll grant you that I've come to this decision after we've crowned our Dancing with the Stars champion, our new American Idol, and now that Oprah has bid us farewell. So really, what is left to watch? But still, it's the intent I'm going for here.

What else is there that I can say "Enough already!" about? How different would my life be if I was mindful of what and whom I welcomed into it? What if I carefully chose to surround myself with people and activities that enhanced my joy and enriched my life? What would it be like to be the kind of person who would be invited into such a circle?

We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with negative words, thoughts, and images. We are at the same time the collective people who feel the need to stop and stare at the horrific car accident, as well as the ones honking our horns, annoyed that the devastation before us has interrupted our schedule and made us late. Empathy and compassion have become tantamount to weakness, and strength seems only to be defined by our ability to obliterate our opponent. We seldom agree to disagree. We just plain disagree in any darn way we choose. We don't walk a mile in anyone else's shoes, let alone those without shoes at all.

And so I say, "Enough already!" It's time for those of us who are not used to raising our timid voices, to make ourselves known and heard. It's time to stop cowering in the corner and pretending that love isn't the answer. Or that the truth doesn't matter. Or that violence does not beget violence. In reality, true courage can only be exercised when we are willing to be vulnerable, speak honestly, and give a damn about both those we know and those whom we don't. It is nothing short of bravery to ignore a world that would mock us. Oh, but just wait until you're stranded on the side of the road and your AAA has expired. That's when you would just love a kind stranger to "love thy neighbor."

Ah yes. We find our way to God when the going gets tough. And we find our way to compassion when we have nothing. And if we're lucky, we remember to whisper a "thank you" when good fortune finds us. I say lets do it now. Let's say "Enough already!" to mindless insensitivity, blatant greed, and the reckless endangerment of our lives and the planet. Let's declare, "Enough already!" to those words that are used to promote fear, incite violence, and control the masses by threats, both veiled and overt. Let's decide together that it is better to swim against the tide than to go with the flow of oil-filled waters and polluted souls.

Let's agree that there will come a day when we will manifest an abundance of goodness so overwhelming and heretofore unseen, that we will finally understand that we were always and already enough. Let's act like we know it now.

Thank you for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

Peace and blessings to you,