I really tried to create more space in my new place before I moved by getting rid of stuff. Inventories from military moves, instructions for appliances I no longer own, playbills from plays and other performances…clothes from when I first retired and worked full time…stuff that needed to go.
It took longer to pack up but I’m reaping the benefits of additional space…physically and mentally.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” ~ Albert Einstein
My TL around Veteran’s day was full of posts from Vets, some of whom I didn’t know had served, and families of vets honoring loved ones. Included was a post from a woman I respect, discouraging people of color from joining the military to serve this country, which does not always honor us.
And while I get the sentiment, it also made me sad. Because there are many ways to effect change in America to include changing its institutions from the inside. Because since integration in 1948, the American military has often been at the forefront of social innovation. Because now is not the time to separate, now is the time to take a stand, to look America in the eye and declare… “It’s my America.”
“What one does realize is that when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here … you have attacked the entire power structure of the Western world.” ~ James Baldwin
Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Cynicism… Inhale Stand Up, Exhale Separation… Inhale Involvement, Exhale Absence… Just Breathe
A young activist recently thanked me for publically recognizing the service of those who protest America. I believe there is nothing more American than protest; after all, going back to the Original American Protest, the Boston Tea Party, protest has been the means through which Americans have demanded change.
Protesters, like Colin Kaepernick, serve America by reminding us to live up to our ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice. They too are patriots.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel
Inhale Resistance, Exhale Status Quo… Inhale Activism, Exhale Complacency… Inhale Protest, Exhale Powerlessness… Just Breathe
I write a lot about the grand experiment that is America. It was and is a great idea that was flawed from inception. We keep working on it, we keep trying to reach perfection, we get closer and sometimes, some of us believe we have arrived.
Then we have a 2016 election.
And those who thought we were close to realizing the ideals written in our foundational documents realized we were not. And those who knew we still had a ways to go recognized the relentlessness of the racism, sexism and violence rooted at our foundation.
Yet we persist in resisting complacency and accepting the unacceptable. And in 2017 elections, Americans who believe in what America stands for are fully engaged.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” ~ Edward Abbey
I participated in a lovely Veteran’s Appreciation ceremony hosted by VISION Outreach afterschool program. The elementary school age children choose the ceremony as their November project, they did most of the speaking and their enthusiasm was contagious.
They were excited to recognize the service of the veterans on hand and we were appreciative of the appreciation.
I reminded them that they too can serve our country in ways that allow them to use their talents. I encouraged them to take their citizenship seriously and learn about the things that they can do to make our country more inclusive, more compassionate and more welcoming to all Americans.
I’ve now lived in Chicago longer than any place since I started my military career. I thought after 27 years of moving every two to three years, it might be difficult to stay in the same city. But not only have I been in the same city, I’ve spent these last nine (!) years in the same building.
So this last month as summer has lingered and I prepared to move into my own place, I’ve spent my mornings on the roof, enjoying the amazing view and being grateful for having a place to call home.
Everyday we receive guidance about what we’re supposed to be doing.
If we’re still enough to pay attention, we can hear it.
If we’re paying attention, we can recognize what it is.
If we recognize it, we can choose to be obedient.
If we’re obedient, we will act on the guidance we’re given.
And our actions can impact the world…or at least OUR world.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;don’t try to figure out everything on your own.Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3: 5-6 MSG
Staying in the precious, present moment is a topic I write about and speak about …and this week it’s been a topic I’ve struggled hard to BE about. And so I’m grateful for people in my life like Coach April, who was obedient to her God voice urging her to remind me to be here, now.
“God deals out joy in the present, the now.” Ecclesiastes 5: 19b MSG
If we lived up to what we say we believed…if we treated others the way we would like to be treated…if we could fully comprehend the internal impact of our behavior toward others on our own humanity, we would behave differently.
Of course, we can’t or don’t and so sometimes understanding the overt consequences of our behavior is enough to keep our egos in check.
But when there are no consistent consequences that deter us from ignoring morals and mores and manners, when there are no consistent consequences for deviant behavior, chaos ensues…
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~ Lord John Dalberg Acton