Help, Don’t Hurt

October 15, 2018

There are so many times that people are passionate about an issue but their rantings only hurt the situation rather than helping it. We have a word in Jewish, Kvetching! And it is the equivalent of bitching, moaning and complaining consistently. So whenever we open our mouths to state our opinion, I’d like to suggest that we make constructive criticism meant to help rather than hurt all concerned.

In this article, I’d like to commend Queen Latifah for her recent commercial extolling the benefits of a good higher education. Apparently, as she explains, she’s achieved great success in life, but without the added benefit of a college education. From the sound of it, she feels and conveys in this ad, that with such advanced study, she may have had a better life, an easier time moving forward, or made more money earlier on. Now, of course, she’s well known as a prominent acting/singing personality and is making the big money as they say. But inwardly she still feels that a degree would be beneficial. To me, establishing all these benefits for her community and others at large is a great service to her listeners.helpful

I would also like to contrast her approach with the radio announcer typically on at the same morning slot. I listen to a morning radio show that caters to a predominantly black audience. The announcer of this show has a segment that he calls “a Racial Observation” during which time he refers to events of the day that point to the divide between the black vs. the white community. Perhaps a white policeman arrested a black kid and used force or a woman was assaulted and the perpetrator not prosecuted….in any case the situations are always where he is pointing to racial tensions in this country. During other parts of this show, people are making fun of multiple baby mammas and kids going home to empty houses, being raised by single Moms who don’t know where the father of their children are…. The point here is that neither accountability nor responsibility is discussed, rather just how awful things are and how unfair the system is to his group.

Well I’m a senior and there are a lot of things that are unfair to me too, but rather than kvetch, I’d rather give charity to help others and send positive energy to law makers to make it better for all concerned. In the end, I believe I will be taken care of by the powers to be because I live a heart centered life guided by my faith.

So back to Queen Latifah:. I salute her effort to extol the virtues of a higher education because it is the pathway to getting a good job and making something of one’s self. I had to work hard for my degree and in the end it has served me well throughout my career. So doing what it takes to go to school at night or by day if possible is a great way to be accountable and take responsibility for one’s life. So the next time you have something to say, keep it helpful and not hurtful. Comments are always welcome.

 


Yes Kiddies, there was communication before the INTERNET!

June 13, 2018

Ok, my apologies to all those readers who are old enough to remember life before the INTERNET. How did we ever do it? When I’m out and about and see people sitting next to one another and texting, streaming and listening to music non-stop I wonder if everyone has forgotten how to carry on a conversation. So have we progressed in our abilities to communicate with all this communications? There are so many viewpoints to tackle; I’ll just take one today.

InternetI not only remember the days before the Internet, but I was actively involved in the messaging industry that attempted to address the issues of connecting disparate companies around the globe. There was a huge technical problem at the time. Every telecom company operated with their own data format necessitating a data format conversion if any one company could send messages to any other company; thus much of message was intra-company. So there were lots of people using a single provider such as AOL, MCI, etc. and anyone within that company could send messages to each other. Wow, but sending a message to someone not using that carrier was tricky and once accomplished, expensive. There was a service fee to connect. If you had friends among several different carriers, you had to pay this fee for each different one. It would be like paying tolls for using all the different toll roads to reach the homes of friends living in different locales in the metropolitan DC area. This is the best example I can provide to understand how it was back then.

At the time, I was working for the US Government, in the branch called the General Services Administration or GSA for short. I participated in meetings with “standards bodies” both for US standards as well as travelling to Europe for the standards being developed there as well. The goal of both these regional bodies was to foster compliance to a common data format so that all this conversion would be a thing of the past. There was beginning to be some success of standards taking hold when I came into the picture around 1995 timeframe. It was then that I had the idea of asking industry to cooperate even further for a test. Why not move faster towards standards?

At one such standards meeting at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), I raised my hand and asked the question “why are companies still using the 1984 standard when there is a 1988 standard?” (since it was already almost 1996!). And the leader of the meeting replied, “Great question, so you can lead the working group to find out!” Although I protested indicating that I was a mere government worker and not a recognized leader of any industry group, I was non-the-less appointed to chairperson of a committee to investigate industry cooperation. I took my new position seriously and without going into all the details, the result was a Challenge to industry which took hold slowly but gathered cooperation as predicted. I had a vision of how I felt it should work, that included the messaging part, a directory to store the names/address data fields and eventually a security component to protect the sender/receiver relationship.

The effort was picked up by the Electronic Messaging Association first in the US and then the European version of this same organization with what I would call great success having 14 countries and over 100 people involved. I have some great stories of both challenges and comradery that occurred over the 18 months that we all worked together to conduct testing with a standards-based data format which different companies would send back and forth. By the time that we were into testing, I moved from my government position to a telecom company – British Telecom that had a local office very close to me. It was lovely that their North American office was only 3 miles away, but I also spent a fair amount of time at their office just outside of London.

The point of this story is that real cooperation was required and real communication. We had many emails, conference calls and meetings all over the US and at different places in Europe. As the leader of the group, I did my best to foster teamwork, give recognition and appreciation and to plan group activities such as special dinners at wonderful local restaurants (with everyone paying their own way, but organizing was more than half the battle when one wants to eat in a lovely place in the outskirts of Brussels).

In the end, we were successful at moving international standards forward, but the Internet made it all a moot point. Like the wind, the Internet came blowing in with little security and me worrying how it would all play out. I was not an initial supporter nor an early adopter, but now I text, stream and play music off my phone like everyone else. I enjoy all the benefits that the Internet has, but I also have had my fair share of the issues that not having good security built in has brought to us all. But for this article, the emphasis is on cooperation and communication.

So when I see families sitting at the dinner table and are all texting and not talking, I smile at myself and mumble – yes, it’s nice that we’re all so interconnected now. But let’s do remember to talk to one another, take our friendships and relationships seriously and cherish the real times that we have together. Even while working to connect our world, my rag tag group of volunteers from the telecom industry would probably tell you that their days on our working group, as hard as they worked, was one of the best in their life. Why? Because of the comradery, the cooperation and the communication!

 


Reaping What You Sow

August 9, 2016

A very long time ago a great man once said, that as you sow seeds, you reap what you’ve sown! There are many ways one can interpret this expression. The first is, of course, literally. Whatever seeds you put in the ground, you can pretty much expect that plant or vegetable to grow. But as most such sayings go, they are meant to be allegorical; that is, represent more to us than the literal meaning. So here’s where it starts to get interesting.

seedsFrom the esoteric perspective, reaping what you sow also means that as we treat others, we can expect to be treated ourselves. I look at this expression in a more karmic way; that is, if we are positive in our interactions then we bring positive energy to us; whereas, if we act in a careless fashion we could very well bring negative energy our way. This is also called the Law of Cause and Effect and is applicable to our three dimensional world whether we believe in it or not. This is a really important point. Just because you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t negate the effects of gravity! The same holds true for the Law of Karma (Cause and Effect). So how does Karma impact our lives?

It’s pretty simple really, as you want others to treat you, treat them. If you want to be respected, loved, nurtured, trusted, etc. then you need to be and act that way with others. Or, if you are harsh, mean, hateful, aggressively antagonistic, etc. then at some point in this life or the next, the Law of Karma will catch up with you. As Einstein figured out, energy is neither created nor destroyed. So the negative energy we create stays in the universe until it comes back to us somehow and some way. Sometimes we wonder why there’s a person in our lives that just doesn’t seem to fit – perhaps it’s because they are here to finish a karmic debt from another place and time. Or, if it’s you that’s dishing out the junk, then maybe in the future, you can have a person come into your life to do the same to you. In any case, it’s a lot better to just be nice, considerate and caring as if everything we do really matter. Since, in the long run, it does!

 


Heart Energy Eases Relationship Bad News

July 28, 2016

It’s important to understand the uses of heart energy vs. head energy in inter-personal communications. When I use the term, head energy, I mean data, facts – like “it’s hot today” or “let’s go to the movies”. Conversely, heart energy is about the emotions; such as, “when you come late, it makes me feel unimportant” or “I don’t like playing soccer”.

 brokenheart

Why should we care about when to use each type of energy? When communicating with another person hence, “interpersonal”, we can include facts (head energy), but should also include emotion (heart energy) for more of an impact. Take this situation, for example: your boyfriend decides he no longer wants to date you. If he calls and says, “We’re done, bye”. That’s pretty hurtful. Rather, if he says, “we’ve enjoyed each other for these past months but I don’t feel it’s working out so it’s best if we end things.” You might still be upset but the blow is reduced. An even better approach is to meet over a beverage, chat and offer what went well and what didn’t go so well – like completing a circle so both people can come to closure. Being sensitive to the feelings of others is always the best approach when delivering any news – particularly when it’s negative.


Overcoming Negative Energies

May 6, 2015

Energy

Life would be so easy if we only had to deal with ourselves since it would eliminate not being able to get along with another. But by definition, this cancels out being in relationships, which are one reason that we are in the earth plane. So, no dice! Unless we are hermits, we must deal with other individuals outside of ourselves and in the process learn from them. If we are fortunate, we can overcome the negative energy we encounter buried within these challenges/lessons and open more to the light in the process. So how does this process of overcoming negative energies work?

If we take a look at nature, we can get some clues at how beings are supposed to be together normally. I use the word “normal” to mean when conditions are good, ok, or even average. Take my cat for example. If I’m nice to my cat by providing food, shelter, and morning kisses, he gives me love back; in fact, even if I put nasty medicine in his mouth, since he trusts me, he allows me to do this and still loves me back. Just to show that he has a real personality, if I don’t sit with him at night and watch TV together (which he really enjoys), he won’t come upstairs to sleep on the bed with me (which I really miss). Somehow he knows this. So when I don’t do something that he wants me to do, he doesn’t give me what I want in return. He’s a loving creature and expects love back just like I do. So he’s not stupid. If I ignore him, he will go in the other room and put his back towards me ignoring me. He’s even gone so far as to leave poopy by my bed to indicate that he’s really mad at me. I’m sure you can figure out what this translates to in human language! Anyone that has a pet is probably laughing in agreement with me right now, and for those of you that can hardly believe what I’m writing… well guess you have to be there.

So what’s the take-a-way? If an animal responds to love with love, then why don’t people do the same? The answer is that possibly it’s because we’re more complicated, but it shouldn’t be that way. It should just work like Newton postulated – each action has an equal but opposite reaction – if I love you then you should love me back. Well, why not? Why are people so full of anger, hate, commitment phobias, past hurts and unwillingness to be loved in the first place? It’s really a shame that we can love, nurture, care about, help, be present for others and then not get anywhere near this type of reaction in return.

According to Kabbalah and the more spiritual traditions, the reason that we do not receive love when we give love, is there is some challenge or lesson to learn. That is, there is a negative energy to overcome. In continuing to love even in the face of this negativity, we are maintaining our standing in the light and so furthering our own soul development. We are also helping to heal the person with the negative energy at a soul level. This is not easy to do; that said, once we feel that we have to get out for our own safety, then we are freed from any further obligation to do so, since our own welfare always comes first. In the end, each soul must be allowed to move forward in their own way, and in their own time. We can only hope that their negative energy can be overcome so that they can also move into the light. And so it is!


Why be nice?

August 7, 2013

I just had the most unpleasant experience dealing with a buyer on EBay. I’ve been buying on EBay for several years now but have only recently started selling. I decided to clean out my closets and thus make room for new things and in so doing, found opportunities to offer my gently used things to others. I am only selling the nicest of the things that I can do without, while the other no longer needed ones will be given to various charity bins. My philosophy is to be as honest as possible showing any marks, scraps or signs of wear and in some cases, make the decision not to even sell an item if there is any serious usage. Thus, the items I’m selling are in very good to excellent condition. So the stage is set.

P1040029I decided to sell a pair of beautiful red leather and suede shearling-lined boots for a fraction of their original cost. After several tries, a woman from one of the northern states bid and won the auction. I was happy to see the email notification of the sale come in. Then I waited for the payment. In my excitement, I prepared the package, being careful to include a packing slip and even buying the postage. Oh my, I realized that I was doing all this and she hadn’t paid yet so I waited until the morning. Surely, she’d pay by then. I sent an invoice according to what I learned from the EBay selling tutorial. No response. A couple days went by and still no response from her and no payment.

I began to check her feedback ratings and there were several negative ratings over the last year. In addition, I found that several people had not paid for her things as she had an EBay store herself. Wow, it hit me. Could it be possible that she just wanted to give me a hard time because she was frustrated that others had done the same to her? How nasty can one be? Doesn’t she know about the Law of Attraction? What one does sends out energy and attracts the same into their own lives. By being nasty, she was attracting buyers that were nasty. Now I understood. She liked being paid on-time but didn’t get it that it wasn’t ok to not pay others on time. “Pay me on time, but I can do what I want to you”. What thinking!

So I had to open an unpaid item case. Several days went by. I wondered what would happen. Luckily, the money for the boots was inconsequential to my lifestyle or to me paying my bills. It just hurt me that someone would be so nasty when I go out of my way to do the right thing for others. I had to void the postage and just wait.

After just short of a week, I received a notice that the case was being closed because she finally paid for the item. Apparently, she really wanted the boots, didn’t want the bad mark that an unpaid item would eventually mar her EBay record, but I still don’t know what she’ll do once she gets the boots. I have a 14 day money back policy in effect on this item. I’m convinced that she was “playing me”. What a shame. I only sent her an invoice and no nasty grams. I hope that this is the end of the story for the universe will take care of her; there is nothing else for me to do. She will bring her own reprisal. It’s such a shame really. Meanwhile, I redid the postage, took the package to the post office to make sure I had proper tracking and now I wait. We’ll see how it goes from here. Let’s all put positive energy on it! Meanwhile, be nice since the energy of being nice will come back to you!


Sometimes Community Finds Us

March 25, 2013

There are times to be alone and times to be with others and we all have our tolerances of both ends of this spectrum of need to be or not to be with others. That said, being social has been shown to be a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle and those that are part of a social network, e.g. community tend to live longer. OK  so much for the technicalities of the thought. If you are divorced and lose your network in the process as I did, finding a new one at middle age can be a challenge. And, if your family lives on the other side of the country or retires and moves away, the situation can be even more challenging.

FriendsThus establishing community is something that one must go after. Like many things, unless you work in a place where you can make friends that you see outside of work, and thus have a built in community, you have to consciously want to open yourself up to the opportunity to engage. As I’ve just mentioned, the workplace is one environment conducive for establishing relationships but it can be fraught with difficulties if “friends” becomes more than just friends. But that’s a different discussion.

Another good environment is one’s place of worship or natural locations of social interchange such as church, synagogue groups, or local Meetups.

A couple weeks ago I decided to attend a gathering at a local church even though I’m not Christian. The program included a potluck dinner, time for social interchange but also focused on seeing a movie about wild horses followed by a discussion session.  I found the location easily and joined a table that wasn’t yet full. As it turned out, the group at this particular table was mostly from Peru, Bolivia and Columbia as well as a few regulars from the U.S. Having been to Peru, I had some small talk to offer to the conversation although I did feel a little awkward not knowing anyone. They were, however, very welcoming and did their best to be inclusive. I found their attitude quite impressive. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised, after all, it was a church group and by its very nature, their perspective is to offer “love” to all. It was a nice experience for me after having gone to some other more secular groups that were more catty where I felt left out. Age, background, etc. weren’t important to these people. It was quite refreshing.

Then I had a really big surprise. When one said her birthday was coming up on March 25, I said that it was my birthday also! Next, one of the ladies said they (those that knew each other) were planning to gather at a local restaurant to celebrate the birthday and I was invited. I was overwhelmed! I barely knew these people and here they were inviting me to a party!

Well, true to form, I got a call a few days later from Rosie inviting me to a gathering on Sat. March 23 at 6:30 pm. The timing was good since I was attending an ARE Program on Soul Growth at the Unity Church which was finished at 4:30. By the time I left the program and ran a few errands I was able to go to the restaurant right on time and meet the group for dinner. All in all there were 14 people with 3 birthday people including myself. I came to learn that this group tried to get together monthly and used birthdays as a way to do it. It was a lovely evening including having “Happy Birthday” sung to me both in English and in Spanish.

I wish I could say that my own family did as much for me when I went to visit the week before. Yes, we did go out to dinner once while I was there but it lasted an hour (family drama was involved). So without dwelling on the details, I’ll just say that the old adage that we can’t pick our families (unless you’re talking at the soul level) but we can pick our friends certainly applies. And in this situation, community certainly found me!


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