Photo by Giommarco Boscaro for Unsplash
Because of how humans work, focus is on our life, what’s going on around us, politically, socially, economically, culturally. Which is entirely appropriate. But, maybe there’s another perspective to take into account. That being we are a part of history. We are the precursors of what comes next. We are setting the stage. Our actions, beliefs and focus determine the next act of the play called human civilization. The world doesn’t stop with our leaving it. It continues built on the what we did during our time here.
Based on that, we need to understand that our actions and those around us matter more than just for now. We and they will have an impact on time we are no longer here. What do you want to leave as your legacy?
That leads me to the next questions about legacy.
What did you pass on to the world?
A successful business, accumulated wealth, many children and grandchildren? Something else? Something larger?
The concepts of integrity or of expediency?
The idea of worth based on assets or on personhood?
Respect for those different around you or judgment of those different?
The ability to disagree with someone without identifying that person as their belief and not really human?
Did fear silence you and dominate your decisions or did you speak for what you know to be true?
Did you make decision because they were easier than standing up to someone?
Teach those in your care how to think for themselves or how to follow rules you adopted?
Fear others or connect with them?
Use what you had to make others feel smaller and you more important?
It takes a lot to admit any of the above to ourselves. Yet, we’ve all done most or all of those things at one time or another. The great thing about being human is we can change our mind, our course, our behavior, our beliefs. As long as we are willing to do something better, to grow, to evolve beyond where we are, we can free ourselves from most of the behaviors on that list so we don’t pass them on or leave as a legacy.
To me it’s worth thinking about. Not just as we grow older, but as we make the big decisions in our life. To let go of expediency and instead use integrity as a guide. To ask ourselves the hard questions and to look at the naked truth of ourself and how we behave. To fearlessly oversee our actions so we pave the way for something better to follow us and to live something better while we are here.
All of that is in our power and control. We do not have to live out our childhood or upbringing, our schooling or things we know are not consistent with what we truly believe in our core. We each have inside us the failsafe that lets us know what is true and what is not. We can silence it for awhile, but ultimately the voice of clarity and truth within us is heard. We have the ability to use that as our compass through life.
Having said all that, we need to do the best we can, forgive ourselves and others and enjoy our time here and realize what a privilege life truly is and hope that what we leave behind is helpful and valuable to those who follow.
My best to you, fellow human,
Dianne J. Shaver
We all make them, all the time. They are fine as long as we know that’s what we’re doing and then are willing to shift or make a change as better data comes our way.
Assumptions are a starting point and when they are seen as such don’t create problems. We need to start from somewhere so we choose a point of view and proceed.
Where we get into trouble is when we cling to that point of view in the face of evidence to the contrary. When we identify with it so strongly that it becomes our selfhood. So much so that any challenge to it threatens our sense of self. Which is a lot of what’s going on right now and a great demonstration to all of us to see the difference between an idea or concept and who we are. We are not our beliefs, although they are what makes us act in certain ways when we think that’s all we are. We are so much more. The more our constructs reflect our greater self the more we behave in more humane ways and the more we make choices that are better for us and also better for all.
All science begins with a theory or proposition. A good scientist proceeds to look for evidence to support it. A great scientist looks for evidence for and also against it that leads to a much better and more solid and thoughtful conclusion knowing that at some point in time it may be overturned when new evidence is available.
It’s been said over and over again that the thing that sets humans apart from other animals is our ability to think. And, lately even that concept has been overturned. As a side note concerning the question do other animals think – one day I was walking my Great Dane on the beach and we came across the skeleton of a horseshoe crab. He sniffed at it and then we went on. Just a little further down the beach there was a Horseshoe crab still alive. My Great Dane looked it over, sniffed it then started back toward the other shell comparing them. He recognized their similarity. He demonstrated that he understood they were the same although in slightly different form. So, no we are not the only thinking animal. However, we do think and when we use that ability we come up with better and deeper understanding of everything. As we keep evolving and growing as individuals our insights also grow. We are then able to look at our past assumptions and see if they still hold up with our new insights. And, if not, we need to let them go and to move on to more solid ground in our thinking.
It is the process of constant examination of our beliefs that allows us to evolve as a species. It is our willingness to let go of assumptions, beliefs, even the most cherished ones that keeps us moving forward as a human race. When we give that up and stubbornly cling to a belief and refuse to examine it even in the face of clear evidence that’s when we get stuck and that’s when we defend a belief to the detriment of others and, eventually, ourselves.
As we look at our world today, we can see how mired in clinging to our assumptions we have become. The solution is simple – in the face of new evidence we need to entertain new thoughts and understandings and as we do, we let go of the old, outworn, unsubstantiated which allows us to move forward as a human race to being better, more enlightened and more willing to examine everything as we keep evolving.
Out with the old, in with the deeper and better for now, assumptions.
Dianne J. Shaver
Photo by Daniel Kuzelev for Unsplash
Thinking about being polarized. That can only happen when we cling to a belief even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Taking a position for the sake of having it stops us from learning and growing. And the other part is weighing what really matters in a particular instance. What things are most important in a particular situation? What takes precedence in evaluating everything?
Just because there are several factors involved doesn’t mean they all have equal weight. So, how do you know what is of paramount importance.? What is the best way to ferret out truth? That’s the funny thing. It’s a highly NON-technical skill. It doesn’t depend on the internet, artificial intelligence or sophisticated methods. It’s the oldest thing humans have. It is the most direct way of accessing information. It’s fool-proof. It’s always correct.
The sad thing is, we have been taught to mistrust it. We have been told that “experts” know better about everything than we do. Those in charge know best, or so the story goes. As time goes on we are beginning to see that “the emperor has no clothes.” The experts do not know best. Those in charge have an agenda and it is not for us.
People have forgotten that we are all connected and that what happens to one group will eventually happen to all. No one is exempt despite appearances to the contrary. Those that rely on power always have to watch their back because it’s only a matter of time.
But, going back to what’s important. How we know what the appropriate course of action is? How do we know what we think is best really is? It’s something we have to begin to develop again. Sometimes it’s called our “gut reaction.” But that’s a misnomer because it is not reactive. It is information that comes to us clearly without any emotion attached. If there is emotion then it is not accurate. It is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if it seems strange it is real.
It behooves us to spend time developing this fail-safe faculty we all have. It means choosing it over our rational mind or our emotions. Since we have disregarded it for so long it will take time to cultivate it again. So, we begin with small things. In a situation which doesn’t have great import, ask yourself what is the highest truth in that situation? Wait until it’s clear and free of any emotion or fear. Act on it and see what happens. Sometimes it takes time before we can see the consequences clearly, but we will see it play out to be truth.
Like any muscle it needs strengthening and to be worked constantly. It can become flabby as any muscle when it’s not used. But this is a time when we cannot be without it. When so much is being manipulated it’s the best and most powerful tool we have.
And, maybe that’s why things have gotten so out of hand and driving us back to this very early skill. If things were going smoothly we would just ignore that part of ourselves. There is always a gift in any situation if we look for it. And, that is the gift of this time. We are forced back on ourselves for that inner truth that does not depend on anyone else. Plus, when we act from that basis we can do harm to no one and no thing because it would not put anyone or anything at risk. It is life-enhancing.
Enjoy getting to know the wisest part of you again.
Dianne J. Shaver
Since I interviewed Jamie Margolin founder of Zero Hour on Transformations Podcast, I have been actively following the Youth Climate Strike. And last Sunday I listened to their update broadcast which included over 6,800 listeners from all over the US and Mexico. Most of the listeners were youth but many like me were far from that.
Things I came away with:
1) The strikers know what they are talking about
2) They are committed
3) They will not be moved
4) They care about climate more than their own comfort
5) Many of them are still in high school and have to give up free time over and over again to do this
6) They are worthy of our respect
7) They are doing what older generations failed to do
8) They are holding governments and corporations accountable
9) They are showing us how we can do better
10) They understand that whatever the cause climate change is real
“Millions of young people from across the globe walked out of school and jammed streets in major cities, from New York to New Delhi and Santiago to San Francisco, waving protest signs with slogans like: “Every disaster movie starts with a scientist being ignored”; and “I’m ditching school because you’re ditching the planet.”
This strike is all over the world. On September 21 the youth leaders, including Greta Thunberg held high level talks at the UN.
"Even UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres sat and listened” to a panel of young people who were not only at the frontlines of the climate emergency, but also coming up with innovative ways to combat the crisis.
Fijian climate change action advocate Komal Kumar said her homeland was suffering greatly from the impact of a climate crisis it had contributed very little to creating. But people from her generation worldwide were “living in constant fear and climate anxiety … Fearing the future.” Things are black and white for us: We are not insurance policies, we are human beings, we are communities. Is it too much to ask you to walk the talk, are we really looking forward to false hope?” she asked. Stop wasting time. Stop hindering the work [towards a sustainable future] for short term profits.
Ms. Kumar, who warned: “We will hold you accountable. And if you do not remember, we will mobilize to vote you out.”
It seems that the young are doing what we did not want to do. They are standing up for what they know is true. They aren’t afraid to be uncomfortable because what they know is more compelling than personal comfort.
They are holding corporations and governments accountable when the older generations have not. They are showing us the way and now it is up to us, the older ones, to do something. To vote. To call. To write and to not go away. To let those who have been controlling our lives to know things have to and will change.
It is also becoming clear that the global emergency is impacting the poor and those non-white even more severely. That is something I think has been buried under everything else. But as we read more and listen more we will see that it is so.
One of the best things we can do is support those standing up and leading. We can inform ourselves, not just from Facebook and social media outlets. We can listen to PBS and NPR and other balanced news sources. We can research. But then we have to act. Just knowing something does nothing to change it. Action is required. Join a local group, support a candidate who isn’t afraid to take action and then hold them accountable so they do what they say. Do whatever you can but find something.
This is the time to find out who we are as a human race. To see what it is we value and what is of importance. To ask ourselves the difficult questions and be brave enough to answer truthfully.
The mask is off.
Wishing you courage and hope,
Dianne J. Shaver
Transformations, Interviewing People Changing Our World
Listen to people who are taking action and be inspired!
One Person, One Decision, One Commitment = World Changer
We’ve all heard the expressions, “It’s all about you!” as a derogatory statement when it seems someone is focused on themselves. But my question is, who should we be focus on? We all come into this life with our body, personality, spirit that is ours to care for and make the best of. Our goal is to grow and learn to be the best “us” we can be. Second question: if we aren’t taking care of ourselves that who is doing that?
Long way around saying, that focusing on ourselves is of prime importance. Paying attention to what works for us and what doesn’t helps us to live a better life. When we do that we naturally give back from the overflow. People who don’t take care of themselves have to get nurture from somewhere so they will take it indirectly from others but giving but then manipulating those given to. It’s not that those are bad people it simply points to the fact that we all need care and attention and nurture and we will get it one way or another, consciously or unconsciously.
My point of view is take care of yourself first. The only difference would be if there is an infant or a puppy or someone who is critically ill. Then their needs are of paramount importance but even there to keep going there has to be breaks where you take care of yourself.
So, how do you take care of you? What do you need to feel good and to function at your best? Is a certain amount of alone time? Is it so many hours of sleep and/or rest? Is it eating well and having a good exercise routine? Is it spending time with people you love and have a good time with? Is it being out in nature? Or a combination of the above? Only you can answer that. And, you know how you feel when you give yourself what you need.
At those times when you are full, the natural outcome is to share that good feeling with others and to give what is yours to give back.
When you feel deprived and you feel maxed out, there is very little to give to others. Like most of life, this is a marriage of opposites- take care of yourself first you have a lot to give. Take care of others first , you have to get nourishment from them or others.
Maybe this is a good time to stop and take inventory of what makes you happy? What makes you feel good? What helps you to function at your very best?
It turns out that taking care of yourself first is the most unselfish thing you can do because when you are feeling full your first desire is to share the feeling with others and you don’t need to get anything back from them because you already have what you need. What do you need?
Watch others who have discovered the secret to feeling alive and on purpose: www.transformationspodcast.com/ Interviews with World Changers. Be inspired!
My best to you
Dianne J. Shaver