Monthly Archives: March 2018

Toxic Environments

Toxic environments aren’t necessarily detectable to the senses. Time, relations, and motivations all get in the way of us seeing the things that choke us. It can never be personal, or you’ll end up spinning in the circles that make you dizzy.

It’s sort of like the three year old in the “Johnny Johnny” videos. That little bastard gets into everything and all he ever says after his dad asks him “telling lies” is “No Papa”. It’s humorous to us, but the little bastard is a liar.

Learning to look empathetic towards folks when they are deceitful like you would look at “Johnny Johnny” is an acquired skill. You have to put yourself in a place where you see past the deceit. You have to be above it!

Co dependence plagues our cultures to the point folks have even tried to establish truth as a subjective concept. I understand this progressive delusion, it’s necessary in the pursuit of justification. The field of behavior is wide open after this dysfunction is perpetrated.

Now you can hear folks justifying dysfunction based on others behavior. So I can take what belongs to others because I have needs. I can shoot another person because I have interests others are interfering with. I can stay in my addiction because no one cares. I can use people for my needs because they have too much anyway, or maybe the most damaging; I’ll tell a lie if it gets me what I desire, no one else is telling the truth. These are some of the root ills that folks use to justify their behavior, and the fault where co dependence sneaks in under the guise of love and caring.

These toxic environments replicate theirselves in millions of forms everyday across the world. Honesty becomes a liability and friendship becomes convenience. Even marriage or kinship become a bartering chip for individual needs. Nothing is off limits as long as “I” benefit and perpetuate my dysfunctional existence.

These relationships can be temporary or long term, depending on the folks involved. If you sense something wrong, it will probably turn out wrong. This is the point to bow out gracefully. Take the high ground and understand why it is you accepted this delusion. If you did it knowingly for the right reason, pat yourself on the back and move on. If you found yourself in the midst of it, walk on and reflect on how you got into the situation to begin with. If you didn’t have a clue do some soul searching and spend some time alone. Either way, create some respectful distance.

Constant drama, incessant focus on others problems, and lack of accountability are “Red Flags”! If you encounter this, or you’re perpetrating this, stop. Just real yourself in and call it for what it is. Be honest with yourself about yourself and others.

Many folks want to experience the best of the folks we come in contact with. We have these hopes and fantasies about our relationships that don’t always align with others and that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re “that guy or gal” who finds yourself in the midst of a toxic environment. Distance yourself and decontaminate your brain and heart. Stay too long and you’ll become one of the monsters disfigured by delusion.

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Silent truths

God is looking for that person who doesn’t know there’s a heaven but leads a truthful life. The one who does good for goodness sake unaware that He is watching.

You can’t aspire, seek, or desire without imperfection. The sentiments can be beautiful, but flawed non the less. This is humilities role, we can only try.

I used to listen to the attacks on truth today in wonder. I no longer wonder, but still shake my head in concern. The truth is folks don’t want to hear it. I’m not talking about the Gospel truth. We can’t get near that today for fear of human truth.

Today you’re supposed to ignore the truth for the perspective another espouses. So if you’re having a conversation and someone says something that isn’t quite true you’re supposed to ignore this lie for the benefit of the premise outlined. It’s ignorance, and a childish behavior.

So if I’m talking to a friend and they are telling me about the trouble in their life and all the misdeeds done to them, I’m supposed to ignore everything self inflicted to bolster the idea that they are the victim.

Never mind the fact that they drink too much, or self medicate, or use co dependent relationships to fill their lives with drama due to an absence of authentic relationships that are mutually affectionate and caring.

The examples are endless, but I have a couple favorites. Suppose you are the caring person for a moment. Unfortunately your “friend” isn’t so caring. So you take time to invite them to lunch. You want to make it special so you actually invite them to your home and prepare lunch. You spend hours on this labor of love making everything perfect.

Upon arrival your friend complains about travel and forgets to say hello. When you sit down to eat they excuse theirselves to the restroom for a lengthily stay. Upon return they list for you again their illnesses or troubles. When it’s time to eat your friend feigns decor and doesn’t complain, but associated illnesses and memories with each course you’ve prepared. All the while intermittently commenting on how they love the meal, but explaining its effect.

At the end of the meal your efforts just become another story in the repertoire of histories your friend uses against you. Never mind your efforts, your thoughts, or the care you’ve taken. Your “friend” has manipulated you into this pleasing state of bondage that becomes the basis of a co dependent existence you feel guilty about interrupting.

This is manipulative behavior. It’s how narcissist create victims. Beware of these “friends” and ensure that you’re always especially honest with them and call them out. Remind them of how their acting. I’m not saying they can’t be true friends, but you will have to be guarded with them.

One of my other favorite characters is the victim. Lord knows there’s enough bad, or evil, around to fill everyone’s life. Some folks make this a career. They ride bad situations like trail horse that just ain’t been ridden. They exaggerate the parts of the ride they avoided disaster, and lament the part where they couldn’t stay on the horse.

Addicts use this tactic. Understand that there are probably more addicts out there not diagnosed than there are celebrating recovery. Functioning addicts and non functioning addicts being supported by co dependent family and friends do more damage to society than the ones that overdose or end up in prison. They capture entire families in a web of dysfunction. Everyone in the game hides from the truth to further their own insecurities in a comfortable manner. “At least I’m not……..

I may be self medicating, but I’m not on the streets. I may take a lot of OxyContin or Adderall, but I’m not shooting heroin or smoking meth. The real popular one is pot. I just smoke enough to calm me down or help me sleep. It matters not to these folks that an altered consciousness creates an altered reality, that’s an innocent truth.

The list of truths we hide from are endless. Bad boys or girls who make us victims to be felt sorry for. Drugs that stigmatize over drugs that are prescribed. Hiding truths of psychological manipulation to feel needed or loved. Even denying the truth for living a lie.

I’m not afraid of truth anymore. I don’t wonder about why folks choose to portray truth as subjective. Truth is hard. The person delivering and receiving have to be ready to experience it. To deliver truth if one or the other isn’t ready is traumatic, and dramatic folks thrive on this mistake.

In the end we have to acknowledge truth and understand that in some relationships it’s so difficult that the alternative seems the only safe choice. The sad truth is we can’t all decide today to let go and just tell the truth because the world would be turnt on its head. This maybe why God is so silent. Sometimes silence is the clearest mirror to reality.

Not gone, but forgotten

The popular perception of the Viet Nam veteran is incomplete. The most important character in contemporary American history is missing. I’ll try real hard to focus, and not stray into reasons, my aim is to target heroes who will make you question everything you thought you knew about war, hero’s, and the home front.

This is sort of a fleshing out for a book. I’m writing a blurb now due to the overwhelming efforts of folks trying to portray the Viet Nam veteran as a victim, or some vest wearing patch junky on a motorcycle letting their steel hair blow in the breeze.

There is a group of Viet Nam Veterans that never came home. They remain lost in popular narratives about victimization or heroism. They didn’t die, they didn’t return home, and weren’t prisoners of war. These are the “vets” who re enlisted time and again until they completed a career.

Some did single tours, others multiple tours. They went on to create the most professional military the world had seen. They trained soldiers with the lessons they learned tactically and politically creating leaders who embraced a volunteer military concept.

I won’t give away all their secrets in this article. I will say they created a military that was feared. All those nations out there were afraid to cross paths with the American military. The Viet Nam era leader developed, trained, and evaluated their respected branches to excellence based on lessons learned.

One real personal reminder for me is General Powell. During his tenure the “Mogadishu” incident occurred. After this action General Powell was adamant about not going into a mission without an exit plan and ROE was something to be evaluated as to how it would hinder the units ability to accomplish their mission. Hanging service members out to dry was not acceptable.

This is just one example of the immense changes the Viet Nam Leaders implemented to create a professional volunteer military. I’m certain they had their share of negative situations returning to their home bases. PTSD was “shellshocked” and they took care of each other within the structure of the military. Politics plagued them for a time. In the end leaders rose as did confidence and trust was established.

The Viet Nam service member who stayed for the long haul and collectively created a professional, feared, volunteer military is an American character lost in the current climate of the glory seeking compartmentalized veteran mentality seeking to start an organization for every facet of service. The commercialization and politicization of military service has little to gain from service members who are “ok” and so “ok” they created a volunteer military the world could only dream of creating.

These service members are in living rooms and on front porches around the country. They rest easy, or hard, on the knowledge they persevered with dignity. They went back to hometowns or created hometowns and are sitting around watching the world they helped create.

I hope more folks will highlight these hero’s. They are the real examples that will keep our nation free. They know how to persevere with diligence and dignity. We need to hear more about how they transitioned and trained an all volunteer force and created peace for decades.

Hate

Blue lights flash over red in the grease licked water rainbows making waves along the sidewalk. Somber faces bow slightly under crisp caps and hoodies. Heads shake slightly at the bodies sprawled out in chalk waiting for the gurney.

It was a terrible day for many and a triumph for fate. Two hearts beat towards each other in a collision predetermined. Only still with the reflection of a badge in the streetlight, the other splayed out with blood running down over his neck partially blotting out the 4 and the 8 on his “1488” tattoo making it look like 1108, the time resting on my watch as I looked once more in disbelief.

Fate brought these two together. Family tradition and culture being the wheels that turnt them in their respective directions. No one would guess at their insignificance, both were loved and supported in their endeavors by family and friends with strong convictions. Both for justice, heritage, and the belief that their lifestyle was under attack, and they would take a stand or take the fall.

Life has value and it’s beyond family, culture, or nationality. It’s humanity. How life unfolds is not our concern, that it does unfold is our duty as fellow humans. There are bad people who do good things and good people who do bad things. In the end we need people doing things to make the world complete. God new this and free will is our reminder.

It takes some humbling to believe this, and I’m still on this journey. I fiercely believe in protecting my loved ones, but I’m learning I can do that in many ways. I’m learning that we’re told not to judge because it creates hostility, rather than understanding. I’m learning that forgiveness is freedom. I’m learning this from within, because without it I’m just another hypocrite.

Jorge Louis Borges

Jorge Borges. “I have read many books about aesthetics and felt that I was reading books by astronomers who never looked at the stars”!

This guy! I was amazed by Borges from the moment I read a collection of his essays. It’s hard to focus or remember the content of his writing. His style and structures are flawless, in more than one language. It struck me as strange that he could write in English so perfectly and fluently not being a native English speaker, I believe he learnt from a grandmother.

Recently I listened to some of his lectures in America. He was older at this time, and had become blind. One lecture was almost an hour long in English. Now he’s visiting from his native country, Argentina. He can’t read a script or note cards and he consistently makes coherent points to support his objectives. He even throws humor in there with the ease of a comedian.

I admire Jorge Louis Borges for his dedication to words. His mastery of a number of languages, and his perseverance through troubled times. What he was made of was good. It was a discipline of the need to communicate past physical and psychological boundaries to demonstrate the value of communicating.

We need folks like Jose Louis Borges in the world today. The rigors of his work can’t be duplicated today. He worked by hand on paper and in libraries for decades and still found time to experience life. His passion however, can become contagious and inspire others to discipline theirselves to the dedication of words and speech. This is a noble gesture and the foundation of understanding.

Me-llenials

The 70’s dude! A decade of confusion. A transition to dysfunction on a societal level that speaks to so much confusion today. The origin of the “me-llenial”! We just can’t seem to slow the train down long enough to see clearly, life is a blur.

I ain’t blaming women, You can’t really ever blame one group for a societies developmental dysfunctions, it takes a village. Woman however, changed the American family to a degree that no other facet of American life could. They went to work and had careers.

Woman in the 70’s responded to divorce rates, family structure, and economic autonomy by leaving the home and going to work. Prior to this time women as a whole stayed at home and maintained o home (which is not the same as a house) and raised children. Kindergarten was not yet a norm so children were at home until 6 years old learning in their homes and communities.

“Play dates” were an everyday thing. Cars with fathers pulled out of the driveway at 7am and the streets were filled with kids playing and Mothers talking. Naps were a necessity and at 4 or 5pm cars with fathers returned for dinner. This was the norm for most families.

I want to be clear that I’m not blaming woman. The economy was such that it became a necessity. Fathers either couldn’t make enough to maintain the middle class stature or just opted out and left for a loaf of bread never to return. Either way women had to step up and step out of the house for additional income.

There was no such thing as daycare, preschool, or head start. Most women relied on friends who used the babysitting money to supplement their own families income. A few daycares sprang up, but all you needed to be certified were a toy box, fire extinguisher, and a emergency services sticker next to your phone. This was not a great time for many children. In America.

These kids grew up to birth the “90 Babies” just around the technology boom. This generation of parents never were handed down the traditional parenting skills their parents experienced. Preschool, head start, and kindergarten became a norm and the main source of information for parenting.

These early childhood educators blurred the lines between children and students, even in some cases the authority over the child. Then the school starts to share the role of educator with raising children. So then we had parents educating their children while schools focused on their well being. Hell, everyone was confused.

So now we have the “me-llenials” and these babies are all confused. They can’t decipher whose role is what. The television and computer fill in the gaps with vulgarity and innuendo to the point sarcasm is viewed as a positive trait. Entertaining yourself through other folks pain is humorous, and drama within families is expected.

These babies are having babies and seem to be responding by wanting to do better than their parents or grandparents did. They track pregnancy from conception. They communicate at a level that’s painful for many older folks. They seem to see through the bullshit in a “this has been going on long enough” manner. On the front side of family life though, they are way out there.

These folks create genders, races, and cultures like apps on a smart phone. They experiment with all facets of life to an uncomfortable degree for many. This is what makes social media so entertaining and dangerous. Socially, politically, and culturally there are no safeguards to protect us from the degradation we see. Truth becomes subjective, reality is what you make it, and authority is viewed as a negative facet of life.

We can’t fix this overnight. This is gonna take a minute. There are many uncomfortable moments ahead. Now is the time for candor, not to be confused with being blunt. It’s a time for a leader, but they’re rare. It’s a time for honesty. Most importantly it’s a time for families to retreat to the dinner table and say “hold up”, we need to take a step back and evaluate what we’re doing. We need to reaffirm our roles as parents, children, and siblings. Before we go out that door again and step out into this dysfunction. We need to tighten up and reestablish and reaffirm what we stand for. No more co dependent relationships built on cultural fantasies.

It’s not over, but that rolls both ways. Americans are families. We are independent and proud. We are philanthropic at the lowest socio economic strata. We believe life is bigger than us. We need to start acting like that or the America that our grandparents rocked will be rolled right into a ditch.