Believe.

What should determine your behavior? How you feel at the moment? What you think of those around you? What those around you think?

All of those things do have an effect, even if we don’t think they should. But my current favorite film focuses on a different answer, and it’s got me thinking.

The way you behave should be largely shaped by what you believe in. And if it isn’t, it’s time to take a hard look at either your behavior, or your beliefs.

I can give you a long list of things I do not believe in, and an even longer list of kind-ofs to which I can add many qualifiers. But today, I’m forcing myself to make a short list of simple virtues in which I firmly believe. Virtues that can shape my everyday actions, you know, Wonder Woman style.

This should be easy. I have plenty of beliefs. I’ll pick one.

I believe in tolerance. That means letting me be me and letting you be you. Yes, I can hear the qualifiers creeping already. No one should tolerate one human harming another. Okay, I agree. But what do we do on the fringes? The barely harming that some say isn’t harming at all?

Image result for confederate flagI live in North Carolina and the confederate flag is a great example. I cringe when I see it. I have neighbors who find that intolerant. I find the flag itself intolerant. We are at an impasse, my neighbors and I, each unwilling to tolerate each other’s intolerance. What a mess.

So let me try another word. I believe in inclusion. Young, old, all races, religions, sexual orientations and body types. We are all beautiful. Except, of course, for the people who think we are not. They’re ugly.

Try again. I believe that we all need to accept each other as equally valid expressions of what it means to be human. No one gets excluded from anything based on the bodies they were born into, the cultures that raised them, or the personal preferences they now have.

Hey, I think that works.

That does not mean we have to tolerate each other’s bad behavior. In fact, at some point we have to act to stop it. And no, I don’t know exactly where that point is but I am sure it exists.

I believe in tolerance. I do. Tolerance means you’re beautiful, because you are a miracle and  I’m beautiful because I am one too.

We both need to act like it, and that is my belief for the day.

(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Top Requirement for a Superhero,  It’s About What You Believe, I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them, and Believe in Tomorrow.)

 

May 2014 bring peace, joy and hope to all!

Please enjoy this collage of my favorite images of hope from the past year.

best of hopeThanks and credit to (from upper left, clockwise) 1. Facebook page for the Dalai Lama 2. www.fearbuster.com 3. blog.richmond.edu/heroes 4. Facebook page for the Dalai Lama 5. Inspire21 6. Alternate Economy 7. iHope

For a look at my favorite images of peace from 2013, please visit my x0 blog here.

For a look at my favorite images of joy from 2013, please visit my y1 blog here.

Change is good?

Though I heartily oppose the idea of treating corporations as people under the law, I do have to admit that in someways a corporation can behave like a sentient life form. It can easily be selfish and self-serving, and has a much more difficult time being compassionate. Sounds sort of human, doesn’t it?

rulerBack when I spent more time immersed in the ways of the corporate world, I got a kick out of the various slogans that would come and go to serve the needs of the corporation.  “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter” wins as my least favorite of all time, but there is so much to say about that one that it needs to be the subject of whole ‘nother blog post.

changeOne of others I had the most argument with was about the very subject matter of z2. Change. A corporate reorganization was in the works, and the slogan “change is good” began to appear everywhere.

“No,” I said. “Change is different. Change, at least slow change, is inevitable.  But whether the change is good or not depends entirely on what the change is.” Most of my co-workers looked at me and shook their heads. They realized, perhaps well before I did, that I wasn’t as good a fit for middle management as I ought to have been.

So I will state my case again. You and I may have very different views on life, but surely we could agree that a new law mandating the death penalty for going more than two miles an hour over the speed limit would not be a change for the better. In that vein, I do not doubt that you can come up with twenty or so clear changes for the worse in less than a minute. If anyone sends me such a list, I will happily include the most outrageous in a second post on this subject.

Costa Rica 2parkingMeanwhile, here is a picture from last week on the left, where I was enjoying an amazing vacation. Here is a picture leaving work this week on the right. Ah, the parking garage after almost everyone else has gone home.

Is change good? Sometimes. Not this week. But the good news is that change keeps happening.

The look of hope ….

I planned on z2 being a novel about time and about change, but when I began writing it I did not realize the extent to which it would become, for me at least, a novel about hope. With my first two books, x0 and y1, I’ve enjoyed finding ways on my blogs to visualize the theme of each novel. However, while artwork and photography about peace and joy abound, I’ve discovered that the very concept of hope is harder to convey visually.

What does hope look like?

Is it this?

Hope 2Or this?

hope 5

Does it help to add words? I think it might.

Please visit inspire21

Please click to visit inspire21

Hope is a such a simple and universal concept, and yet so hard to capture in a single image.

Click to visit cvxegypt.com

Click to visit cvxegypt.com

I’ll keep trying however. There’s always hope. 🙂

 

For images of joy shown on my y1 blog click here. For images of peace shown on my x0 blog click here.

Time and hate

Z2 JH3 - CopyAfter you finish writing a book, you find yourself spending an amazing amount of time writing about what the book is about. This place wants a 500 word description.  That ad must be 80 words or less.  Nope, only 200 characters allowed here and spaces count.  It is an annoying process that results in sub-optimum word choices and bad phrasing.

But it has forced me to distill down to few words what each of my books truly concerns, and that is a worthwhile exercise. Just today a friend helped me realize that z2 is, more than anything, about time and hate, and about what time does to hate. (You can read her review of the book on Amazon.com here.)

Time can funnel hatred into a concentrate that is far more lethal than the original emotion, or time can allow hatred to evaporate into the vapor that it always was.  The first process is scary, the second is uplifting. Case in point.  According to PoliceOne.com, the police chief from Montgomery Alabama recently apologized to U.S. Representative John Lewis who was among the freedom riders in 1961 who were beaten during the civil rights movement while police did nothing to help them.

light clockUnlike the recent scandal in British Columbia wherein BC Premier Christy Clark’s staff cynically suggested that she could get some political quick wins by apologizing to previously wronged ethnic groups, presumably Police Chief Kevin Murphy had nothing to gain from his apology other than, in his own words, doing the the right thing.

z2 is also about hope. Hope that Kevin Murphy was sincere.  Hope that leaders in BC might one day apologize for past wrongs because it is the right thing to do.  Hope that we all will be a little better, with time.