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Democracy is Inconvenient

The process, practice and philosophy of democracy is painfully inconvenient.  We hold our breath hoping that decisions made by elected officials don’t cripple us individually and collectively. Anticipating an election, our hopes are that changes will bring about needed results. We are willing to pay for better results. An election happens and very little changes. Government swells to fill all the  imagined needs without actually meeting very many.

In elections and legislative voting, majority rules (or is supposed to ) but what does the majority know about the big issues facing our communities? How can we possibly understand the desires of minorities? Do we care or do we just get it over with?

The wheels slow down at 20% into the new term and by 40%, nothing is really happening. The wheels stop and we wait again. Slow, unrecognizable movement is swept away by a changing world.

Decisions that were easy during a campaign are now impossible. Re-election becomes the goal. The koolaid gets stronger and once energetic, passionate representatives become politicians.

Democracy is inconvenient. Winston Churchill had two famous quotes about democracy.

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried”

I don’t have THE ANSWER but would sure be excited to enter into a discussion or revolution that brought about something we haven’t tried.

Make Today Remarkable, by asking a difficult question,

B

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Time

Focus

What is the smallest change you can make right now  to improve your productivity? Move your chair closer, adjust your screen, drink some water? Do it? In the back of your mind ask the question again ” What is the smallest thing I can do to improve this situation?” In work, relationships, personal development there is daily room for small improvement. (Don’t I know it).

For me the smallest thing is almost always to focus on the moment. Keep focusing on the task at hand. Finish this sentence, this paragraph, this assignment.  Read deeply. Breathe deeply. Reflect.

My enemy is time – not that I have too little but that I never seem to rest in the moment. I have done all those tests to see if I live in time or through time and am not surprised that my preferred pattern is through time. This makes me on time for everything (because I leave the last discussion, task, place before it is finished (at least in my head)).

I am annoyed by people who are late for meetings with me. I feel they value their time more than mine but they likely are living in the moment and their presence in the last assignment, person or place was so complete that it ran long. I am also annoyed by those people who look over my shoulder in a conversation (I do it all the time) to see who is next to talk to. Those people who check their phone/watch and begin shuffling their notes and books into a neat pile have already moved away from the work, place, me. (I do it all the time)

The smallest thing I can do in every situation is apply focus to the moment (even for just a moment) and then try for another.

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Each Community is Different

Traditionally government departments have worked independently in providing services to children and families. Too often services are fragmented and too narrow in their focus. To achieve a broader, better quality of service, government departments need to work together and with community organizations, agencies, families and individuals. Community involvement is essential in this process. By working in partnership, government and communities are better able to identify problem areas and gaps in services, identify solutions and plan prevention strategies.

Collaborative, community-based planning brings together all the people and organizations who have responsibility for children. The work of communities in responding to child hunger is a good example of how well this functions. With government support, organizations and individuals have come together within communities to target resources – including buildings, volunteer help, equipment donations and money – and develop community-based responses to child hunger. In each community the approach used is different and reflects community needs, resources and expertise.

Although poverty is the largest single risk factor for children and youth, there are other factors to be addressed including injuries and conditions leading to hospitalization and deaths. Poverty and social dependence are complex issues, and result from many factors within society and an individual’s life. Effectively addressing these issues requires the partnership of communities, agencies, governments and individuals. Each member of our society plays a role in that society. Our efforts are strongest when we work together to address the serious issues facing children.

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Appreciation

Feeling blue this week, partly my mental illness and partly my selfishness, I realized that I won the lottery 60 years ago. I was born in a place where possibility, prosperity, passion and political certainty are present. I have enough of everything. ( when I get depressed, it is when I forget that). I can imagine and achieve nearly anything ( another sub 5 minute mile, the exception). My family is healthy, including my 87 year old mom and if it wasn’t there is fairly reliable treatment available. Roof over head (pretty fancy by world standards), food on the table (diverse, tasty, plentiful), daily learning and teaching opportunities (even when they are unwanted), a safe community, a community of faith ….

The abundance in my life, that is lavished upon me daily, is remarkable. And yet, I can wallow. How do you overcome the feelings of scarcity in so much abundance?

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Happy Valentine’s Day

I readily and happily admit that my life is so much better because of   my partner, my wife, my beloved.  I am indebted for her patience, amazed by her tolerance and blessed by her caring. She fills a lot of the holes in my life. I love her.

My kids and grandkids let me know that I am loved , in direct and indirect ways. A smile when I enter the room, a cuddle when we  need it, a kind word even when they aren’t feeling well are reminders of how I should behave. I love them.

Good friends have and meet high expectations. I am not always attentive or responsive to their needs and can be disappointed when they don’t meet my unspoken ones. I love them.

As a follower of God, in the way of Jesus I try to live a life he would please him. Every day when I don’t live that life I still feel I am forgiven and cared for. I love Jesus.

“Love Is A Many Splendored Thing”
(originally by The Four Aces)

Love is a many splendored thing
It’s the April rose
That only grows in the early spring
Love is nature’s way of giving
A reason to be living
The golden crown that makes a man a king

Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love’s
A many splendored thing

Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love’s
A many splendored thing

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Be the Author of Your Story

I have had times where I was being defined by others and accepting their depiction of who I was and what value I brought to my world. I didn’t like it. I didn’t even recognize it.

When I found myself in social, business or family situations that didn’t resonate with who I was, I began to understand that my story was being written by others. I don’t think any of the writers had malicious intent but they sure had a power. I began to wrestle back my story by interjecting edits, clarifications or retractions when a conversation or circumstance made me uneasy. This does take focus and courage. Rather than letting it slide, I needed to step up and own my story, state my case, and firmly hold my personal position.

I try to live my life holistically – in every situation, I am who you see and know. But pressure to conform to other’s expectations found me living in silos where my tone, persona, and choices were more a reflection of other’s than me. Worse if they saw me in a different silo, they might not recognize me.

Breaking out was/is a process of awareness of yourself, some form of articulation of yourself, public affirmation of yourself, and courage to resist the push/pull from peers and family. There are consequences, good and not so good. For me the good far outweighed the other.

Make Today Remarkable, by being the best you that you can be,

B

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Authenticity

Have you thought about what you value? What your values are? In the last week? month?

Are you winging it, making decisions without a personal code of responsibility and action?

Today, take thirty minutes (it is too important to delay) and reflect on the decisions you made, journal the decision tree ( how, why you arrived at that choice). Does the choice still represent you and what you believe? Are you being honest or justifying your decision post facto? Write one word that comes from the journalling activity that represents the value you used/constructed/recognized. Don’t take more than 30 minutes for this exercise because I am going to ask you to do it again tomorrow.

Build your value set and then use it to make easy and difficult choices.

Leave a comment here of the value you wrote down.

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Mayhem Ensues

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. ~ Robbie Burns

I am a great believer and fan of planning. I already have a plan for next year’s excursion to California and we are still ‘livin the life’ in Oceanside for this year.

When we toured Scotland a few years ago, my beloved said that her favorite spot was Sterling because I only had three things planned each day.

I fell into the Freedom 55 plan. The buy and hold dollar cost averaging plan was  our strategy on the advice of our advisor.

Our kids had their education plans. We planned for our own funerals.

Yet the unexpected reared its head and set the best plans astray.

Inflation, recession, illness, preferences, people, weather, … jumped up and bit my butt.

Appreciate the planning, play it out as best as possible, expect mayhem to ensue, embrace the chaos and adjust.

Now there’s a plan.