“We choose what holds us back…
…and what moves us forward.”
WARNING: As the herd of Valentines weekend movie-goers eagerly prepare to contribute to what is sure to be jaw-dropping box-office numbers — the following point of view may be as controversial as the film itself…
The inevitable success of Fifty Shades of Grey is essentially a raised glass to the moral decline of values in the Western world.
BUT WAIT! Make no mistake… or better yet make mistakes: humanity is not perfect! And in a world where our experience is based on polarity and relativity, we never will be….AND THAT IS OKAY! Being perfect is not our purpose… nor is that point the purpose of this article.
The purpose is to use the latest of many points on our social trend line to reflect on the real threat our humanity faces: desensitization…. Evil needs to exist in order for “Good” to prevail… We will make mistakes, we will do evil… but will we recognize it?
The biggest obstacle which stands in our way of becoming a more loving and unified world is the blurred lines. Good and Bad used to be two opposing but clear perspectives, now its controversial. Right and wrong used to be Black and White, now it’s many shades of grey.
I admittedly have not read this book, so am not passing judgement on it — and CERTAINLY not on it’s readers or movie watchers. I wrestle with my own demons — and they would gain ground on me if I focused too much on the wrestling matches of others.
I am however using the controversial buzz as a springboard to remember that the single most important thing to do on the road to becoming a good person IS NOT to be flawless, but rather, to recognize your flaws. As long as we, as individuals and as a society, can be true to ourselves and discern what is making us weaker or stronger — then by simply recognizing our negatives becomes a positives…
There is NO greater strength than the recognition of one’s own weaknesses.
I HOPE ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! It’s okay to indulge in a drink, some not-so-healthy eats, or the guilty pleasure of your choice, but as you do, I challenge you to challenge yourself with some self-evaluation and ask yourself the question “why”? Our weakness is demonstrated in how we ‘chase those highs’ — we enjoy the junk food so eat more and more of it, we enjoy the drink so go from 1 to 5… We lose ourselves in the chase of those highs, and become prisoners of our own device. Our strength, however, is demonstrated in our ability to enjoy those guilty pleasures with the discipline to do so in moderation.
And if you’ve already chosen to see it, then…
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE SHOW! And as you do, I challenge you to challenge yourself to recognize how the message of it, or other creations, can change you and/or others around you. Then discern whether or not the change reflects the type of person you want to be and/or the type of world you want to live in.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR LIFE! It’s okay to make mistakes — we are not perfect, on purpose! Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. As you enjoy your life, I challenge you to challenge yourself to simply acknowledge them!
After all, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES... the best of us will work on them, the worst of us won’t recognize them.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
~Kevin Spacey, “The Usual Suspects”
There’s only two sides; from Day to Night, Dark to Light, and Death to Life…
But between the extremes we lose site of what once was Black and White.
So why would you and I use the grey-scale for weighing Wrong and Right?
Saying this prayer, OUT LOUD, (most) every night, is the single most important contributor to making me a (somewhat) better person than I used to be.
Lord, help me to be:
Courageous, Selfless, Loving,
Patient, Peaceful, Humble,
Hard working and Forgiving.
Help me to be a great husband,
a great father, and a great human being.
And help me to always remember.
Every small epiphany I have in life, I ‘assign’ to this prayer… Every time I say I’ll pray for someone, I assign it to “always remember”…. So every time I say it, in my heart, those folks share a piece of my prayer…
I also wear, thanks to my wife, a necklace with the word “REMEMBER” on it — so I remember to never forget ;).
Big and small; long and short…do you know what these words mean? However you may define them today, you will redefine them tomorrow. Our perspective and relative perception of these words changes as we go and grow — the trick is to avoid letting these words become part of your decision making process. A recent experience of mine reinforced just how relevant this ‘loophole’ is, as my close friend’s younger brother passed away. Here is the story, or the long and the short of it:
After hearing the news that his younger brother passed away unexpectedly at 23 years old, I attempted twice to speak to my friend without breaking down myself, to no avail.
Even if I had ‘words of wisdom’ at the time, which I did not, it was not the time for them. Sometimes it is just time to mourn. I couldn’t offer some profound advice that would change his perspective on the loss, and yet, I couldn’t merely be the friend that sends a fruit basket or some flowers.
As I contemplated what to do, I read his brother’s facebook wall… the messages were amazing. The amount of people that were inspired by his brother was inspiring itself. I decided my small contribution would be.
I compiled pictures from his wall, batched up the quotes, looked at his ‘musical likes’ and mixed an audio based on two Modest Mouse songs (as well as some covers which transitioned them together well). Since they have family in Mexico, I did my due diligence to try to translate some of those quotes so they were not overlooked — they were some of the most profound sentiments in the end.
I finally had the words, through others, to put together a message… Nothing that has not been done before in one capacity or another, but something I thought was a good summation of his life and impact.
Long story short – my friend greatly appreciated the gesture… That is all I hoped for, giving my friend just a small bit of peace in a very tough time — by providing a him something he could reference to remember how his little bro left his mark on this world and in others.
Then — a week later, 2 days before mothers day, it was me who was touched.
I received a call from my friend, who said his mother would like to talk to me. I had not seen her for over a decade, since we’ve lived states apart ever since college. I immediately expressed my condolences. And then his soft-spoken mom said to me words that I will never forget:
“I just wanted to thank you very much for the video. It makes me sad then happy, and it was the only thing that has given me peace. It helped me to believe in God again”.
Once again I cannot speak on this topic without shedding a tear – but this time, because it was amazing to me how something I almost considered NOT doing because I didn’t know how it would be received, could be the one thing to give a brokenhearted mother a bit of peace.
My friend told me his family watched the video together on Mothers day, and his mothers day gift to his mom was a tablet with a link to the youtube video, so she could watch it any time…
My lesson learned is to never assume that any gesture is too small if your heart is in the right place… Just as my friend’s little bro had a long lasting effect in a short life — sometimes even the smallest decisions can have the biggest impacts.
Throughout our peaks and valleys, we kept calling it our prime;
But all the evolution we saw in writing was really in our eyes.
So I could get better for you today, but it’d make me worse in time;
Since living for other standards would take sacrificing mine.
Why cater to the valleys, when you can wait for them to climb?
My response to a debate thread on a board regarding “Why God Exists”…
Because life is a fractal relationship between infinite micro and macrocosms; as above, so below; the good and bad we see in others is also in ourselves, and that inter-connectivity is also a reflection of what is more and what is less.
And that inter-connectivity manifests onward and upward, inward and outward, at an exponential rate and fractal shape.
The fractal is all encompassing, “we were created in His image” – and thus, we create in our image. Whether through genetics – or whether through innovative feats of exceeding our own brain processing power and storage.
Neither good nor bad – He is wholly holy and holy wholly; as we continue to perceive ourselves as finite pieces and not perceiving the infinite puzzle we are apart of.
The yin and the yang of infinite and finite create the infinite decimals between 0 and 1 — the gray area between “yes” and “no” — which enables us to experience… it sets the stage for polarity — and relativity, both scientifically and emotionally.
…it also sets the stage for making us perceive ourselves as ‘separate bodies’ from the greater body.
…we are afraid of the unknown, and yet, the unknown is only known by overcoming that very FEAR!
Alas, the inter-connectivity of all things across infinite microcosms, macrocosms, and ALL TIME echoes the same truth ‘time and time again’ — but we deafen our ears to these timeless truths because of FEAR – and our NEED to hang on to our individual puzzle piece… the need to validate our ego.
YET even that FEAR itself, which prevents us from seeing the truth that is quite literally in us (et al.), nonetheless REFLECTS the same TRUTH! Fear itself is made of the same structure all things are made of — it too is a series of micro and macrocosms. And for human beings, one of the most recognizable ‘macrocosms of fear’ to overcome — the overarching fear from which all our mortal fears stem from — is our FEAR OF DEATH! Our need, once again, to ‘hang on to our ego’ — the concept of what we are today — because we cannot perceive the world without us… We are afraid of the unknown….
Face your fear of death, and unveil the face of God.
…we are afraid of the unknown, and yet, the unknown is only known by overcoming that very FEAR! Overcome this chicken-and-egg circumstance by finding peace. Find peace through love. TRULY confront this fear and relinquish your individual puzzle piece to be one with the puzzle itself – and you will not only believe in God. You will know Him as you know yourself.
This particular fear binds together all fears in the worlds of time and timelessness. Face your fear of death, and unveil the face of God.
We are parts; we are connected; He is whole; We are one. Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
If you only have 3 minutes today, listen to this song and consider what it means to you. If you have 5 minutes – listen to the song, and then read on.
It’s not about the song – or even ‘their’ message – it’s about the message behind the message, which is both abundantly clear and logical… IF ‘we think’ about it.
If your goal was to “rule the modern world” — how would you go about it?
In age of globalization and technology enables near real-time communication across the masses — if you’re goal was to rule the world, how would you do so?
Do you believe that “empires” do not exist today? Do you believe that at some point, folks “in control” stopped caring about securing MORE CONTROL?
While technological advancements ‘appear’ to have fundamentally changed the world around us — it merely changes how we ‘execute’ certain things, but it does NOT fundamentally change what motivates us — what drives us as human beings.
Empires still exist. And behind EVERY empire, there is a desire to expand it. Whether in politics or in business, it is a natural inclination — it is human. The goals have not changed — but what HAS changed is how ‘borders’ are defined, and how empires expand.
Conquering another country via “brute force” just does not fly these days, in the traditional sense. As much ‘bad’ as there in the world today, there is still something within most of us, which makes up the overwhelming majority — which DOES PREFER RIGHT OVER WRONG.
We are not perfect all the time, perhaps we are not even ‘good’ most of the time. But at the core, we want the world to be better — and if anything, hope that our ‘leaders’ are more altruistic than we are on a day-to-day basis.
To expand and maintain an empire, while ‘brute force’ may have been efficient back in the day — the most effective plan is by ‘training the minds you’re leading to put value in the things within your control as a leader’… as a royal.
Empires are being expanded, and controlled, TODAY – far beyond the boundaries of those we learned about in History class. The technology is in place to grow them bigger than the Ming Dynasty and faster than the Roman Empire… and the systems are in place to maintain them.
The “ruling class” does so today through age-old tactics which are more effective than ever — a tactic well studied and executed by one of the cruelest and ‘brute force’ examples, in Nazi Germany…. SOCIAL MANIPULATION.
The TV shows we watch…. The songs we listen to — over, and over, and OVER again. They shape the minds of the populous, slowly, but exponentially, and ever so surely. The minds of those ruled are shaped to align in favor of those ruling. If we are exposed to “money, money, money” on a consistent basis – eventually even the most humble of us will be hard-pressed to NOT have ‘money on our minds’… That is not ‘conspiracy theory’, my friends, that is frickin’ logic!!!
And yes, even those of us acutely aware of this tactic for mass-control, are at risk. In fact, those of us “truly” aware of it, understand that there is no reason to “fear” — it is, again, a logical means to an age old end. This does not mean we need to avoid all ‘pop-culture’ songs which do not have a positive message — and it does not mean we cannot enjoy a particular show which is somewhat violent — it just means that we SHOULD be aware, and remember “all things in moderation”….
So how did a mere song in pop-culture today pique my interest? BECAUSE, using the same medium used to shape our minds — this song “Royals” STRIKES BACK with a different message.
“Royals” by Lordes: THE MESSAGE BEHIND THE MESSAGE
This song is a strong counter to the steady stream of “money, drugs, & violence” we are exposed to today.
If one were set to the rule the world, cough, royals, it would be logical to shape the minds of those you’re ruling via pop-culture. After all, if one controlled the ‘financial system’, they’d like to increase the value of it – and the best way to increase the value of a dollar is to increase our love of money.
All things in moderation – but if you’re going to listen to one song on “repeat” for a minute – choose wisely — because no matter how strong willed you are, or how cognatively disciplined you are — all things in our environment eventually “get through to us”, and once it gets through, it eventually shapes who we are today and who we will be in the future!
Celebrating 1 year of friendship and of course, Loopholes! Sincere thanks to frequent readers – and special thanks to frequent contributors like Brian, Kara, Avril (http://cherrypositive.wordpress.com/), and Bert (http://whoisbert.wordpress.com/)!
Someone who I had not spoken too in months instant messaged with a compelling question the other day, and an equally compelling dialogue followed!
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
This letter came to you from the place you’ll soon find timelessness;
We hope you get the message… before there’s a need for writing it.
Hope… a redeeming quality which you had deemed too childish;
We were born to bring revival, but grown to be survivalists.
Saw you playing “Simon Says”; so we did as Simon did…
Only shown how to rock a boat, never how to right the ship.
Since innocence seemed ignorant, we sought our bliss from sciences;
Our character’s best measured by the depth of our one-sidedness.
Taught to win at any cost…. But when we lost, our fight would end.
So this time when you teach us, can you please try “try again”?
We have the drive of motorized rides equipped with nitrogen;
While working just as tireless as the hovercrafts we’re flying in.
And we were taught to dream, but not to sleep until retirement…
There’s no peace in counting sheep, while lyin in a lion’s den!
A pill for that, a pill for this; a pill so both will strike more quick;
A pill to help us swallow all the truth of our reliances…
Now we’re living even longer – thanks to stronger vitamins;
Our ignorance was thinking it’d bring incremental life with it!
A device for that, a device for this; a device to make devices quick;
So desensitized by devices, we don’t even see the vice in it…
Now we’re obnoxiously robotic, a product of our environment…
Great at catching breaks we’ll never make the time to fix.
A fight for that, a fight for this; a fight so that the fight exists;
Standing by our right for peace, we’ll never cease the fight for it!
What goes around comes around; we found the reason spite exists.
So you can pay the piper, and in time we’ll pay the piper’s kid….
Pride for that, pride for this; pride for pride we might omit;
Pride which is tightly clinched in a fist too mighty to be pried of it.
With a sense of entitlement stemming from senseless mindfulness;
You could find us in the darkest age, describing it as enlightenment.
Until one day: a device ended the fight, a pill killed off the viruses.
Loved winning; but having won – we didn’t take much pride in it.
Then suddenly, we were blinded by a liquid leaking out our irises!
Perplexed, we entered the question in our engine: “Why is this?”
Across every generation, the gap is bridged by righteousness.
It was the first message off the presses when Gutenberg provided his.
The trend reflects the plight of men, who rise then fall to rise again;
But the cycle can recycle; there’s no wound that time won’t mend.
SO TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Too few were too concerned…
But there’s still time to change your lesson plan, before our lesson’s learned.
GENERATION ALPHA, EST 2010
Your future is our present, help us change it today.
“First question first: what’s the meaning of life?”
For you to keep on asking until you get it right.
“Gee, great insight… what on earth does it mean??”
What it means on earth is the same as in your dreams.
“Um, elaborate please! Where do I find what I seek?
You’ll find it in the hiding place which only you perceive.
“That’s three questions for you – still no answers for me?”
Or maybe just not the ones that you think you need?
“Why answer with more questions?” To show you what they mean.
“How am I to interpret that??” That’ll be the key.
“Clearly understanding’s key, yet I’m trapped in ambiguity!”
The key’s to find yourself; the truth’s to set you free.
“Can you spell it out for me?” In no language that you read.
“Just lay it out there please!” It won’t matter ‘til ya see.
“I know less than when I started.” You’ll know more once you cease.
“How long can I ask the same question?” Until you answer it for me.
“HERE WE GO AGAIN!!” Here you go again.
“Why would ‘I’ go here again?” To hear it all again.
“Well this time, can you say it clear?” That depends on how you hear.
“You’re confusing with your words!” You confuse them with your ears.
“This is all one big cycle.” I’m glad you’re seeing it show.
“I think we’re digressing.” I think you’re beginning to grow.
“I think ya don’t know what I think.” You think you think all that you know.
“Your answers breed more questions” Your questions breed both.
“AND HERE WE GO AGAIN‼” And here you go again.
“I don’t see where this is going,” you don’t see where this has been.
“I’ve become a better person, and I never looked back…
But I looked forward for the answers”…And you never looked back.
“How many questions do I have?” Since you ask, you’re down to nine.
“You even counted that!” Those with less often use it all more wise.
“Where will this end??” That would be the start.
“I’m getting lost again…” Try following your heart.
“Just enlighten me; please, all I need’s a little spark!”
If you want to see the light, you need to start out in the dark.
“Can’t you just point me to the grail or philosophers stone?”
I can, and I have, by simply pointing you back home.
“I don’t see how you’re helping!” That doesn’t mean you won’t.
“I just REALLY wanna know!” Are you really sure you don’t?
“Well if you’re the source of truth, why do you keep me guessin?”
Because it isn’t learned until discerned by the source of the question.
“I turn to you once more, and get turned away again!”
You turned to me, and as before, I’m turning you within.
“So why does he who helps himself even need you in the end?”
The conclusion can’t be reached until he sees where to begin.
Before then he’d only seek externally for conquering his doubt.
The outward helped him inward, now going in will help him out.
With no thoughts but their own, one can hear what’s never heard.
You will find the key alone… and then see you never were.
“So discernment is the truth?” No, that’ll be the key
“and with the key, I’ll see the truth?” You’ll perceive the tree.
“and what’s the tree lead to?” Truth. Revealed in all you see & do.
From the creative root, branching through all you’ve created too.
“Why didn’t you just say so?” It’s the cost of being free.
Those who don’t find it for themselves, find it harder to believe.
“Well, that’s 19! I got more than I could ask in a 20 question game,
so for my final question: how can I help those who seek it get the same?”
JUST GIVE THEM 20 QUESTIONS! Then listen to them speak!
How you learned how to learn is how I’d teach you how to teach.
Because every soul speaks different, their language is unique.
But each one has a key; customized for them, tailor-made by me.
If you gave them the key — then that is NOT what it would be!
Why would it be given when they’ve got it within reach?
They’ll care little what you know, ‘til they perceive it on their own;
They’ll ignore how big you are, but they’ll respond to how you’ve grown.
So for those so focused on the finish they begin straying off the road,
Share with them where ya been, and it may show them where to go.
For while there are many different paths, there is only one summit.
The key to life is love…
…but that’s not what it’d be if I took the choice from it.
Completely truthful and truthfully complete.