Friday, July 3, 2015

Are you rich?

It's amazing to me how so many people measure wealth. Do you own your house? How many cars to you have? What about jewelry? Stocks? Money? Do you consider yourself rich?

Okay, that might be an odd question to ask, but I want you to think about it for a moment.  Are material things important to you? Are you waiting for that big break? Do you dream of marrying a wealthy spouse? Are thoughts of a huge inheritance frequently in your thoughts?

I wanted you to think about this for a moment because if material wealth is always on your mind, perhaps its time to rethink.  Maybe you already are rich, but just in another way.  The everyday heroes we talk about here, are heroes because the put more importance on the everyday. Perhaps rich is really a state of mind. Take a closer look at the blessings already in your life, and you will discover riches of a more important kind.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

desired things

The 1927 poem, Desiderata (Latin for desired things) by American writer Max Ehrmann, has long been a favorite of mine. I've mentioned it here before. Since I desire happiness for everyone and I desire that everyone realize his or her importance, it seemed fitting and proper to mention this wonderful prose once again. It being in the public domain, I'd actually just like to print it here for you all to ponder and enjoy:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

-Max Ehrmann

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Read any good books lately?

Have you read any good books lately? Seriously. That might sound like an odd question here, but books can be powerful tools! It might be a book you read that will inspire you to change the world. If you don't read much, you should try it. You will find amazing things!

I book can bring you a lot of information too. If you love cooking or building or designing or any number of hobbies, books can be of great help. They can show you how to do things and even give you ideas of things you might never have thought of.

How about a nice adventure story or trashy romance novel or a suspenseful murder mystery? The fiction on your bookshelves can transport you to just about anywhere. Want to learn a new hobby or explore history? There are all kinds of non-fiction options. Having a tense day? Perhaps a book of poetry can help soothe things. How about a volume of jokes and riddles? Maybe what you need is just a nice coffee table book filled with great photographs.

If your home is without much of a literary selection, surely there is a library not too far away. If you're lucky, there might even be a nice little bookstore with selections that not only might bring you joy, some titles you might bring home for others too. After all, the joy of books is good to share.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

WE DO

Yesterday, history was made, and it continues today. This morning's San Francisco Chronicle had a two word banner headline: WE DO. Below it was a picture (not this one, but similar) from inside San Francisco City Hall. We do can refer to the agreement that to people make, each to the other, at a wedding, but it can also refer to acceptance. We do finally accept you as a complete and equal part of society. Well, at least that's how I would like to look at it.

So now that same-sex couples can wed in North American and in much of Europe and in some other parts of the world, let's stop saying marriage equality and let's stop saying gay marriage. Let's just call it marriage.

How wonderful that such a landmark decision came on the weekend that LGBT Pride Celebrations take place in so many cities. Talk about perfect timing! That will make the events today and tomorrow that much more special. These Pride events are held toward the end of June annually throughout the world to mark the Stonewall riots which happened in New York City on June 28th of 1969. Equality has marched forward ever since with the biggest victory coming yesterday. The military ban is gone. In many states there is housing and job protection. Things have gotten better. Before we do much more celebrating though we need to work on equality for all.

Our transgender sisters and brothers are still facing a huge amount of hate and discrimination. A White House event this week drew attention to that and a courageous transgender woman who spoke up and interrupted the President, should be applauded and joined in her struggle, instead of scolded for breaking the rules of a social engagement.  It's NOT about me.  It's about all of us.  Her struggle is my struggle.

We make history every time we stand up for justice and fairness and equality. We make history every time we do good and every time we speak the truth and every time we say we want a better world. We do want to change the world! We do!

Friday, June 26, 2015

HISTORY IS MADE!

This morning I have been up for hours - actually that has happened several times lately, in anticipation of the historic decision by the US Supreme Court. Just over an hour ago they issued an opinion that will effect the entire nation. They affirmed equality. They said that gay people can marry too. Years from now you will remember where you were on the morning of June 26, 2015. Today, history is made.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy said these words, which will likely end up on posters:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In the forming of a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.

I have just seen tweets from California Lt Gov Gavin Newsom (the former mayor of San Francisco), who had the courage to start the whole same-sex marriage ball rolling, eleven years ago. I have seen tweets from other policiticans and from celebrities and from the many activists who have worked so hard for this day, like Stuart Gaffney and Molly McKay Williams. President Barack Obama even went before the cameras with a celebration message.
 
I won't pretend that the whole world just changed.  I won't pretend that there is not still a lot of work to do.  I won't pretend that everyone is happy about this and is celebrating.  We do have reason for joy though.  We do have reason to hope for brighter tomorrows.  Things just got a little better.  History was made!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

He said what?

Some folks say that any word should be allowed to be said. Isn't that partly what Freedom of Speech is all about? Does a vulgar vocabulary have a place in polite society, or should some words simply never be spoken? What about using just letters? Is WTF alright or saying "the F word," or even "the N word" when we all know what words are being referred to?

Pejorative words about individuals is not the same thing as cursing or talking graphically about sex acts, but both are types of language that have been discussed a lot lately. Are decency and respect linked to the way we talk to each other and about each other?

President Barack Obama uttered the N word in making a point yesterday, during an interview. The President was talking about racism and some outlets that carried the conversation bleeped the word, while others broadcast it exactly as Mr Obama said it. There has been a lot of discussion since.  Let's carry it a little farther - was the President wrong in using the word?  Is there ever a case when that word can be uttered?  Should folks be allowed to say anything they like?
 
What do YOU think?  I'd really like to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below, but please be respectful as you do so.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody

You know this story already, or at least you should. It's a pretty simple one about getting involved. It's a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

Now it seems there was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody.

Get the picture? Get involved. Ask some others to get involved too. Don't just assume that everybody else is going to take care of things.  If we ALL pitch in, just think of the great things we can do!