1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Become a Better American)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Become a Better American)

Although he made a questionable choice–to wear red boots with an ocean-blue leotard–Superman was very adamant in his mission statement.

He was determined to promote and protect “the American way.”

He also had his own definition for “the American way.” He believed that it was only brought into existence by justice, which was triggered by truth.

Truth, Justice…Then the American Way

So take a moment and roll up your flag. Save the Pledge of Allegiance and sit, walk or stand during the National Anthem. But comprehend that being an American begins with honoring the truth.

Yes, your one thing you can do this week is:

Tell the Truth

Begin with small things. Stop hiding behind partial revelations. Take the risk. Be honest. Go against the common flow in our country, which insists that a little bit of lying is necessary to provide cover.

Just take seven days and tell the truth. Here’s how to get yourself started:

1.Don’t wait until someone asks you to be forthcoming.

Waiting makes it so much easier to lie.

2. When you tell the truth, make sure it’s what you have seen and heard

Not what you’ve read or had whispered in your ear.

3. Make your confession brief

Don’t offer explanation unless someone asks for it.

If you take those three things as the power of telling the truth, see where your respect level, authenticity and acceptance from others will be at the end of the seven days.

Because once truth is established, the desire, energy and climate for justice is suddenly thrust to the forefront.

Then we can tout the American way.

After all, we may laugh, applaud or even cheer people who lie–as long as it’s not to us.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: I read your note four times. The first two times, I did so to understand what you were saying to me and to let it sink in. But I read it two more times just because I was afraid there was going to be a quiz.

For you see, as much as you hate being treated as a weakling, I despise the fact that you think I’m dumb.

I understand you hear it from everywhere: “Women are smarter than men.”

I’m not dumb. It bothers me.

So I suppose when I get defensive, I start looking for ways to overpower you to compensate for my alleged stupidity.

Then I watch “Law and Order: SVU” and it tells me that women are constantly raped and killed. Word has it from “Fifty Shades of Grey” that you ladies enjoy being dominated. And then the religious system out there proclaims that I’m supposed to be the “king of my household.”

I’m so damn confused.

So here’s what I want you to know: I’m just like you. It’s about my heart, not my penis.

Don’t you understand? I’m a man, but I’m just as emotional as the next human. Hell, I cry when my football team loses the championship. Is that any different from weeping over lost kittens?

But I just can’t tolerate being treated as dumb, so I strike out at you by acting like you’re the weaker sex.

So you feel treated as “weaker” and I feel treated as “dumber.”

Let me tell you this: I can love you but I can’t change the world. I’m not Superman, and if that’s what you need, then you probably should become Supergirl.

I want to be able to tell you where I’m weak without you thinking I’m less.

I want to have an idea without it being dismissed as ridiculous.

And then it will be easier for me to stop treating you like you’re an underling.

The reason we can’t negotiate a deal is that our egos get in the way. I keep waiting for you to treat me like I’m smart, and you want me to treat you like you’re strong. And all the time, society tells us that we’re “weak” and “dumb.”

The only thing I can promise at this stage is to inform you that I’m not going to listen to what our culture tells me I should be.

I don’t think you’re weak.

Please don’t think I’m dumb.

Yours,

Man

 

 

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Three Ways to Conquer Despair… December 11, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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big sad little boy

Despair comes into our lives when the pile of what we need seems to be bigger than the pile of what we have.

It’s an issue of perception.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small child in India or the Son of God, struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane, suddenly overwhelmed by the task ahead. You still want to screech, “Take this away from me!”

Despair is hard to escape. The classic remedies of prayer, counseling, positive thinking or even medication are all limited in their scope, based on faithfulness to the process.

Let’s be honest. It is very difficult to be faithful when you’re scared.

If you’ll allow me, here are three ways to set in motion a process to conquer despair by not allowing it to wash over you in the first place:

1. Don’t ignore your moods.

You are an emotional person and merely quoting scripture, uttering your mantra, finding your yoga position or trying to ignore the problem is not going to make it go away. Our moods are powerful to us because they project the symptoms of a condition existing in our soul, which requires our attention.

Stop perceiving yourself as “moody,” and realize that you are actually symptomatic. There is a tendency in our society to try to douse the emotions and limit their value. This is the worst thing we can do.

Deal with your emotions–they are telling you something important coming from deep within your soul.

2. Find a human mirror.

You will consider yourself irreparable until you realize there are other people in your same situation, and you can see your problem or apprehension in the face of another human being. This is why rehab surrounds you with addicts instead of people who have never taken drugs sharing their insights on self-control.

We all need a mirror.

I can’t change my life if I’m looking at people who have never had a life-changing experience. Look in the eyes of someone who suffers from the same despair that you do and draw strength from his or her struggle.

If you surround yourself with people who appear not only to be stronger than you, but also let you know how much stronger they are, you will only deepen your anguish.

3. Find a friend to note your progress.

Yes, you will need to be honest with someone. For a moment you will have to stop trying to be Superman or Superwoman, and admit you’re Clark Kent or Diana.

You will make progress. You’ll have a tendency not to ignore it because your expectations are too high. Get someone who understands your pursuit and can tell you how many steps you’ve made from where you started.

There are those who want to make depression and despair an illness, and perhaps in a handful of souls, it is.

But most of us become trapped in a cave of misunderstanding and worry, and soon find ourselves nearly immobilized–unable to function.

At that point, if you will simply give place to your moods, find other human beings who reflect your need, and get a friend to encourage you in your steps of progress, you can actually win the day and bring despair under your control instead of allowing it to make you an inmate to its prison.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 29–(October 28th, 1966) Soaping… August 30, 2014

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(Transcript)

Halloween always brought out the “ween” in me.

I was never particularly fond of monsters, and dressing up like Superman, with my chubby physique, was inevitably comical.

On top of that, my hometown called trick or treat “Beggars Night.” It made me feel like I was running through the streets of Calcutta with my gunny sack, bringing provision home to my family of untouchables.

I think the worst experience was when I was seven years old, decided I wanted to be Casper the Friendly Ghost, and my mother discovered they didn’t make the costume of the gregarious apparition in any size except medium. Needless to say, I wasn’t a size medium, and the manufacturers never envisioned a 142-pound seven-year-old. Yet I was insistent, so my mother took scissors and trimmed it up so I could slide it on, but as I walked from house to house, it continued to rip where the scissors began, transforming me from a friendly ghost into a “holey ghost.”

I was grateful when I outgrew the experience.

That is, until my friends decided they wanted to go out for Halloween–soaping. It was a common practice of the time. Bored teenagers took bars of soap, snuck around town smearing messages on the windows of cars and homes, giggling and feeling rebellious to their Midwestern in-house imprisonment.

Four of my friends decided to go on such an escapade and invited me, so we bicycled to a deserted garage just outside of town to practice before we went out on the actual adventure. We bought bars of Ivory Soap (simply because it was 99.44 % pure).

I was so nervous that I pushed too hard on the window pane at the warehouse and it broke. This concerned my fellow Musketeers, so they decided to uninvite me so as not to be deemed vandals in their pursuit of cautious rebellion.

So I sat at home on Halloween pouting. Not even seven Milky Way bars could alleviate my suffering.

The next morning I discovered that my friends got caught on their ninth house, and the constable levied a punishment by placing their pictures in the newspaper, and made them wash all the windows they had desecrated.

Honestly, I didn’t know whether I felt grateful for getting out of the retribution or a little sad because I wasn’t one of the cool guys who had a story to tell.

So I guess I need to close this off with some sort of moral. And that would be, there are just some things that go together:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Love and marriage
  • Congress and confusion
  • And soap and water.

So be prepared–if you’re going to use your bar of Ivory, you might want to be aware that you’ll probably end up … washing.

 

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One Per Customer … September 11, 2012

(1,635)

It’s Superman’s fault.

I mean, if we have to blame somebody (which we surely must), he, after all, was a great promoter of the dual existence. Feeling that his Superman persona would not fit into every social situation, he created Clark Kent. And likewise understanding that Clark Kent was incapable of outrunning a bullet, he kept Superman around.

It taught us, even as little children, that we would need many characters to function in a complex society, which often demands more than we can provide with our singular, puny personality.

So we bought into it. No one talks about it very much. It’s a general understanding– similar to the unwritten law that underwear shouldn’t be worn for more than one day.

So we pick a profile to use when we’re with our families, another one on the job; some people even select an identity to don while driving their car. Don’t forget the pious face we keep in the jar to use for more spiritual occasions. And then, when it’s time to vote, we pull out our donkey or elephant costumes and try to stay within party lines. At the end of the day, ready to go to sleep, we’re not quite sure who is in bed with us.

After all, who are we? We wonder why we’re a little sad, preoccupied, uncertain of the future and unwilling to be as generous as we once thought we were going to be. Superman should have made up his mind–be Superman or be Clark Kent, who just had some really neat abilities, like helping his friends lift boxes on moving day.

The only true pressure in life is trying to be more than one person. You have to find your philosophy. It’s one per customer.

A philosophy is easy to recognize: it has one moving part, one concept, one function, one energy, one idea, one piece of holiness. Universally, it extends this particular motion throughout all the facets of our lives. Ten commandments are nine too many. The seven virtues of a successful person is a half a dozen over. Whenever we try to multiply our approaches, we divide our effectiveness. You have to find your philosophy and its one moving part, and remain faithful to it. Therein you find the key to fulfilling human life.

The average person has five philosophies at work at all times. No wonder we are busy, exhausted and cantankerous. Here are the five:

  1. It’s all about family.
  2. It’s all about financial security.
  3. It’s all about health.
  4. It’s all about God.
  5. It’s all about freedom.

You can see–these five are not going to peacefully co-exist within the skin of our human kin. They battle. When you think about family, security becomes upset because everything is too expensive. When you think about God, you feel that your freedom has been impinged by religious imprisoning. When you think about your health, you worry about your family, insurance, God–AND a loss of freedom. So these colliding ideas become the “five stooges” within us–running into each other, knocking each other over and popping to their feet, ready to fight. It’s just too much.

You have to develop a singular philosophy of life that covers family, finances, health, God, and freedom. Otherwise, you’ll get up in the morning, look in the mirror and wonder why that growth has suddenly appeared on your neck as you stumble down the stairs to breakfast to be bombarded by some family member who has also found a growth on her neck and wants to talk about it. Over breakfast, you’ll read the newspaper about the financial collapse, making you wonder if you should withdraw all your money, stick it in a sock and bury it underneath the dog house. Lying on a table nearby is the morning devotional you promised your church you would read everyday before work, which on this particular morning, has lost out to a second helping of bacon, which worries you because of its high cholesterol. Part of you enjoys the morning activity with your family, while another portion of you is eager to get off to work, to have that twenty-three-minute drive, with complete freedom of the use of the radio before you arrive at your cubicle, to be told what to do by someone else who is also worried about his family, security, health, God and freedom.

I discovered this dilemma in stages, but I finally came to the conclusion that if I was going to change hats every time a new situation came up, it was only going to make me look ridiculous, with constantly messed-up hair.

I have a philosophy. It has one moving part. It used to be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But I found a weakness in that statement, dubbed The Golden Rule.  When I felt bad about myself, or was angry with the world, I would project that anger onto others and justify it by saying, “All humans are angry.” By no means am I criticizing the Golden Rule, but I am saying that everything spiritual matures and grows.

This year I have taken a step of faith and innocence, to make the only moving part of my singular philosophy to be, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

It is liberating. I don’t have to try to be top dog, nor do I have to look to find out if there IS one. I don’t have to wait to be saluted, nor is it necessary for me to provide the salute. We are all the same in the mind of our Creator, and from that status of equality, we either improve or deteriorate our possibilities. If you run across people who have improved, you should leave them alone or give them applause. Don’t deter them. If you run across people who have deteriorated their equality to become the “poor lost pups” of our kennel, look for an opportunity to scratch them in the right places and give them a bone. They will usually let you know they’re interested in getting off of their leashes by wagging their tails.

During this election year, my heart is heavy as I watch normally intelligent and even caring people turn into political maniacs, trying to prove their point about issues that no one completely understands.

So do I love my family? I sure do, but NoOne is better than anyone else. I also believe in the family of man.

Do I need financial security? Absolutely–but NoOne is better than anyone else. I will need to work for what I get, just like my neighbor.

Do I have concerns about health? Of course, but NoOne is better than anyone else. Broccoli works in my body just like it does in yours.

How about my feelings towards God? That’s easy. He’s the One that came up with the idea that NoOne is better than anyone else, because we are told that He is no respecter of persons.

But what about my freedom? Again, NoOne is better than anyone else. If I am willing to grant freedom to other people, I can anticipate the same.

I do not know if you will take this essay seriously or not. (Perhaps it’s a bit optimistic for me to believe you’ve even gotten this far in reading it.) But you can improve your life one hundred per cent simply by abandoning your “Clark Kent costuming.” Bring your life down to one moving part–one philosophy–one idea. You can pick what it is. You don’t have to follow mine. But each one of us is granted a single unit.

Yes–one per customer.

It not only makes our lives sensible, but it frees us of the responsibility of learning a new script … every time the scene changes.

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