Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Knowledge is Power - Blog Action Day 2013

Today is Blog Action Day for 2013. The topic this year is Human Rights. I've chosen Education, as the topic to discuss because I feel that it is just an important topic.

Malala Yousafzai has recently been all over the news. She is the young woman who was growing up in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, advocating for women's educational rights. She was shot in the head by the Taliban and left for dead. Only, she did not die. She got up and shared her story. With the world. Check out her book. This is a great example of how important education is. And when you have complete access to it, how much you may take for granted, what someone else only wish they had a glimpse.

Education is important for a countless number of reasons. Knowledge really is power. When you don't know anything, you don't know that there is something that you are missing. It's like if you are lost in a country where you don't know the language and can't even read the map. You would probably trust the first friendly face that offered to take you somewhere, just because you figure that your options alone are probably worse. Because you don't know; rather, you are uneducated in the area and language; you are at the mercy of this 'nice' stranger. They could take you wherever they wanted and you really couldn't do anything about it. And so you follow them, hour after hour, day after day, until the days become years. And sure, maybe you will run away one day and get somewhere familiar, but if you haven't learned anything while you were there, it would be very difficult to figure out a way out, and find people you could trust.

The example illustrates an extreme. But the point that is hopefully demonstrated is that  a lack of knowledge leaves one in a more vulnerable state. We have our problems with the educational system in developed countries, but the point is that education is a choice. Droppng out of school is  a choice. To some, like Malala, it is probably inconceivable why one would forfeit their right to an education. But the point is that there are people out there who do not get to make that choice. The choice is made for them, and without the knowledge that other options exist, the cycle remains very suppressive. The right to an education is very much a Human Rights issue that eventually will impact the whole world as we live with the decisions the children who turn into adults, will make.

There are tons of instances where people are oppressed by limiting, if not cutting off, their access to education and knowledge. It is important for the people that have access to the education and knowledge fight for those who don't have a voice. Those who are just blindly doing what they are told because they do not know of any other options. Those who do not have the authority on their own to make changes. I love this quote:

"First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me."

-Martin Niemoller

It's not about  money or who is right or wrong. It's about everyone having the knowledge to make choices and decisions that impact their life and world. Knowledge is the power to improve the world in ways you could never have imagined. Let's help others reach their potential. Advocate for education around the world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reinventing Oneself

In a world of billions, it's sometimes easy to lose yourself. It is so simple to get caught up in the every day mundane activities, and the glamour of the sparkling lights and all the days has to offer. And sometimes you just need a minute away from it all - away from the ringing phone, and the noise of the doorbell, away from crying children, away from traffic and tv and decisions and adult choices. Sometimes you just need to be. And then when you have had your silent moment, you emerge back to the world, renewed and refreshed . . . . you could say, reinvented.

It's time to think about what really matters. What is important to you? What are the things you stand by? What are your deal breakers? What are you passionate about? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are you doing to help progress along that path? What do you need to make yourself and your family happy?

It. Is. Time . . . .Out with the old and In with the new!

Time to get motivated and do the things that really matter!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Never Have I Ever

Blank       Space.  Cursor blinking. Wondering what should fill this void. Thoughts running by and stopping, some pausing for reflection. What is the message that I choose to convey? Do I even have a message?

Have you ever let your walls down so that the words just trickle out, so that you stop thinking about what to think so that the thoughts just flow like melted butter?

Have you ever met a person who makes you want to continually speak and be heard? You want to pour out everything you know into their ears so they can know every crevice and corner of your soul?

Have you ever?

Or are we so bent out of shape, that our own inhibitions cement brick after brick, until a shield, not even a wall, is up, up and away? So far up and so far away that even our reflection has a hard time attempting to knock.

Have you ever laid down with nature and just listened, not wondering what your next move was going to be or what that sound was, but just purely enjoyed what life was bestowing unto you?

Have you ever looked into someone's eyes while they were speaking and purely stared at their pupils, past the point of uncomfortableness, to the point of synchronization, where an alarm clock or cell phone or car horn could not distract your attention away?

Have you ever completely forgiven yourself for that thing you did 10 years ago when no one was looking? The thing that you will take to your grave and never get caught, but that haunts you like a 14th century plague?

Have you ever just let go so much that the sentences were just coming out like fire and words begin to blur meanings collide and all punctuation is lost as the continuation of one thought steps into another and its a magical time where you can just be and not worry about right or wrong not be judged but just be yourself a time where you can let your fingers do all the walking and completely expose yourself with walls down a new frame of mind a new outlook on line a new way to look at the very same blank page that just a minute ago you had no idea you would fill

If you have never, then consider now. Consider putting aside the technology and the mind games; of traveling back to a purer time where there was you, the grass, and a tree.

Sit by the tree

And just be.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Be Yourself!!

I am exactly who I am. Sure, we could all do a little more work to make ourselves better, but our personalities, and the inherent characteristics that make us us, are simply that. They are engrained in our DNA. Ok, Ok, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but my point is, that it takes years (30 years sometimes!) for us to figure out that the only rule we need to follow is be ourselves and the rest will follow. In high school we struggle to "find ourselves" and then we get to college and that self that we thought we were when we were a minor is earth shatteringly incorrect. We keep investigating and researching who it is that we are. We make friends based on who we are. We hang out with people that share the same interests as us. We make poor choices when we do things we know that deep down we really didn't want to do. We are influenced by peer pressure and the need to feel cool or accepted by our peers, our friends, and our family. And then there is that "ah ha" moment when you realize that you don't have time for these games, for these stupid rules that we made up to feel accepted by the world.

Recommended song to listen to while you read the rest: Bluebird by Sara bareilles

You realize that you are a circle and they are a square peg; and you are perfectly fine with that.

Wow, finally, you can unleash your creative and artsy side. You can try all those things you've always wanted to try. You can become the expert in the field of your choice. If you are lucky you have enough time to do all those things your inner self has been screaming about for so long. But, sometimes real life gets in the way and you realize this all too late. Perhaps you have kids now and it's not just about you, or you are sharing your life in marriage and you have to consider their dreams as well. Circumstances will dictate the extent to which you can pursue your dream, but There is no time like the present.

Well, in case you are still on your way to realizing some of these things, I've made a couple observations that I wish I had figured out years ago. And sure, people may have told me these exact things, but it's not until it impacts you or you have had a related experience where you really understand what it means.
  1. If a person wanted to make time for you they would have.
  2. Do you. Stop worrying so much and just live.
  3. Like attract likes. You attract the type of people based on the energy you give out
  4. Don't invest more than your rate of return
  5. Hold your tongue and listen
 I think these are pretty self explanatory. #4 and #1 are tied at the hip. Let's stop living in a world where we play stupid games with eachother instead of being direct and talking about how we feel. Until that happens, just realize ladies (and for some of the men) that when a guy tells you he is busy over and over he is too much of a coward to say he doesn't want to see you. Yeah, yeah sense my bittereness in that comment, lol. but it's true. People are too scared to say no that they just say nothing, thinking that's the same thing. It's not.

And when what you are giving is not matching what the other person is giving, stop giving as much. And soon you will see who you should be investing your time in. I've had to cut some friendships when I realized I was bending over backwards and doing backflips and I was just their backup friend. Ouch, talk about being blindsided. Oh well, you live and learn and you realize not to make the same mistake again.

Happy March!! Here's to learning what you do and do not have time for!!

As always comments are welcome (you do not have to sign in to leave a comment!)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stranger than Fiction

This is a true story. It's so true, that I almost wish it was made up. Who would have ever thought things like this happen in real life? It's one of those things that once it happens you realize how much of the world you DON'T know about, and that realization is AWESOME.

Everyday, we have the possibility of crossing hundreds of strangers - at the supermarket, passing people on the highway, the hallways of work, a movie theater, a mall, you name it. But it's in those spaces that have close proximity where we have the opportunity to turn a stranger into something more. To make contact with one of the 7 billion people whom we would not have otherwise met. I think the best opportunity of meeting someone from all walks of life is in the airport. With so many flights and connections and airplanes going to different, and even the same, destinations, there are tons of combinations that the people who are traveling can take.

I was flying home after New Year's and I had a connection in Charlotte. As I got to my gate, I learned that my flight was delayed. I had nothing to do once I got home, so I wasn't all that worried about it. I decided to roam around the gift shops and enjoy the extra time. Closer to the non-delayed boarding time, I headed back to my gate and sat down to read my book. Annoyingly loud headphones were playing so I got up and moved to a quieter area.

There was a guy on a crutch walking to talk to the flight attendants. I'm sure it had something to do with his mobility and maybe being able to board first or last on the plane. When he turned around and began walking towards me (his seat was behind where I was standing) I just felt the urge to talk to this stranger. I simply asked "Are you ok?" as he painfully limped by and he said "No, but I'll be ok." I asked him what had happened and he told me he twisted his ankle. I told him if he needed any help to just ask, because I could imagine how I would feel traveling on a plane by myself with a cast. We both smirked and he went to his seat and I went back to my book.

The plane that was delaying us finally arrived and the passengers started coming off. It would be a couple of minutes for the staff to clean up after the last passenger was on, and start boarding us. I decided I would sit, and there was an empty chair near to Mr. Limping. I don't know why I kept talking to him, or him to me. I'm sure we can guess why, but truthfully, what connects two strangers? How do you know that you won't be rejected? I guess you just take a big leap of faith. So I sat down, hoping he was in a talkative mood, and if not, I still had my book in my hands. We ended up chatting for a good 20 minutes while we waited to board. Then, as "luck" would have it, our seats were 1 row away from each other on the plane. When we got to our arrival city we walked toward baggage claim together and engaged in another 20 minutes of conversation. It was really a great moment of connecting with a complete stranger.

And the inevitable end always happens. We both had our bags, and it was time to go. And as it goes with strangers, you part ways, not necessarily exchanging information. Sometimes it's not about getting a number or an email (in hindsight that would have been nice), but sometimes it's simply about enjoying another human beings company just because. Just because we were in the airport together, or just because you happen to catch the same elevator, or just because you were put in the same space together.

Remember that there are 7 billion people in the world, but we all have similar stories, similar backgrounds, and when put in proximity of eachother, it's amazing how small a world this can actually be. And that my friends, is Stranger than any Fiction I could have made up, and I love it that way!