I have the FREEDOM to…!

Freedom

The debates over the past weeks have been interesting and aggravating at the same time. While we all have our own individual values and belief, we have the freedom to choose how we’re going to live our lives. The thing about freedom though is that if you’re free to think one way, others are also free to think another. The biggest most contested views of our time seem to be around Abortion, Guns, LGBT rights, and certain Belief Structures. I myself tend to be a bit more logical in my thinking, it’s not that I don’t use emotional appeals, I just try not to base my entire arguments on them.

Logical reasoning is the process which uses arguments, statements, premises and axioms to define whether a statement is true or false, resulting in logical or illogical reasoning – as defined by www.fibonicci.com

In contrast here an Emotional appeal:

An emotional appeal is a method of persuasion that’s designed to create an emotional response… Emotional appeals are considered fallacies, or errors in reasoning, because they manipulate emotions in an audience – as defined by study.com

With logical reasoning there’s usually someting specific, where an outcome can be measured and tested. A simple example could be: when it rains, things outside gets wet, the street is outside, therefore when it rains the street gets wet. This can easily be tested, you’d just have to wait until it rains, and you can check for yourself, you don’t have to take my word for it. In contrast Emotional appeals are usually based on stories or anecdotes, and inferences. They usually try to elicit some kind of emotion. For example fashion magazines feature well fit people, with body types that aren’t like the general population, and they ask you to feel fit.

Every action has a Reaction!

It’s been some time since I’ve been in school, but everyone I’m sure remember’s Newton’s Law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. How does this apply to some of today’s debates? Those opposed to Abortion may argue that it is the killing of an innocent life, that it’s barbaric. While I do support their individual beliefs, doesn’t that mean that other people are also FREE to have other beliefs that might not be similar? What I don’t like about the proponents of Anti-Abortion is that they’re basically saying I don’t like Abortion so you shouldn’t do it. I agree that this could be problematic in that there are many things which society deems inhumane that we don’t support. For me it seems there’s still a broad swathe of opinions on this issue, so we also have to have room for varying views. Many argue that the 1st Amendment gives them the freedom to speak their views, yet they trample the views of others that disagree with them.

A war against Religion! 

One of the biggest arguments I seem to hear the most is that people’s Religious Freedoms are being infringed upon. This is always an interesting argument, it usually goes like this. My religion teaches me that ______ (insert cause) is wrong, therefore you shouldn’t do it. This makes me laugh because as those who say their freedoms are being infringed upon, they are actually trying to take away your freedom to choose how you feel. Many say that the Supreme Court’s decision to open up Marriage Equality to the LGBT community is a step towards damnation for our country. While I myself favor traditional marriage, if you favor another kind, then so be it. If I’m free to feel one way about marriage, you’re also free to feel another. The notion that marriage is a Religious Institution is preposterous, and here’s an example that illustrates that point: In order for a marriage to be legally recognized it takes only a marriage license from a State Organization. No longer is the day when you’d have to get approval from a religious leader. Taken a step further, if you were an upstanding citizen, and were married by your local priest, had family friends and the entire community present, but don’t have a marriage license. Your marriage isn’t legally recognized. It seems that marriage hasn’t been a Religious right for quite a long time. For me the Religious that oppose marriage equality lack this basic premise. They believe that marriage is rooted in a religious base, yet the legality of a marriage is more of a Government approval. If the Religious community wants to worry about something, it should be that our Government doesn’t seek a religious opinion when writing laws, and haven’t for a long time now. For me we can’t have it both ways, give up our opinion or input when laws are formed. Then after the fact if we don’t like it, say people are infringing on our religious freedoms. Which is an oxymoron anyway, because the reality of those arguments isn’t that other’s are infringing on their freedom. Rather they’re looking for a way to stifle other’s beliefs, and only theirs should have any kind of standing. Which of course is everything the 1st Amendment isn’t about, something to think about!

What would Jesus do!

By now if you’ve read many of my writings, you’ll know that I’m Christian. However I have to say most of the Christian Voices don’t represent my views. Take any specific issue, the response form Christian seem to be this: “You’re an abomination to god, you will die a slow and painful death, and will live in eternity like that, you should confess your sins, and be saved from eternal damnation” I jokingly say that they don’t even say “hello how are you!” The problem with that approach is that it might not be entirely rooted in the Gospel. Take Jesus for example, I understand that not everyone is a believer and that’s ok. In the stores in the bible Jesus’s interactions usually went something like this “Hi there how are you, here’s some interesting news, don’t know if you know about this… A conversation ensues, then at some point the person will ask, “wait do you know who I am?” My community has shunned me, are you sure you want to talk to me? While I’m paraphrasing here, here are some direct resources to check out. John 4: 1-29; Luke 5: 27-31; Luke 7: 36-50. My point is this for the Christian Community, Jesus is our example. Interestingly when he interacted with people who were labeled as “sinners” he never addressed their sin initially. In many cases it was other people who brought up the sin, and Jesus was happy to interact with the person with no regard for what their flaw was. It seems that many Christians miss this lesson.

3. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4. How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5. Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

It doesn’t matter the issue, people don’t like when you point out their flaws, especially when you don’t know anything about them, or what has lead them to where they are. For me what people lack is basic empathy, and in many cases don’t take the time to know others. To really find out the why behind why they feel so strongly about a cause, or what has lead them there. If you’re to change someone’s mind, it’s easier to do that by changing their heart or their core. We all have our core beliefs, and they don’t easily change.

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I thought 2014 was my year, maybe it’s 2015!

2015It’s the time of the year when most people make their New Years Resolutions, then just a few weeks later, they’re off the wagon already. Instead of doing that, last year I looked at things I was doing well at the end of the year, and worked on doing better in the new year. Looking back, 2014 was a good year, and I’ve come so much further today than I was last year. Word Press sent me the stats of my blogs this year, and showed me what you my readers were most interested in. I’m going to be a bit selfish and highlight a few of the post that inspired me the most. This was quite a long list, so I’ll try to keep it short.

Lessons from Criticisms! 

One of the posts that effected me the most was “Lessons I learnt from Criticism” While my feelings were hurt initially, this really made me stop and ask myself “How is my view of the world and myself different from what others see?” While criticism is mostly meant to hurt, I also asked myself if there was truth hidden in there too. Sometimes people are hurting, and whether it’s intentional or not, they want others to hurt too. I’m willing to recognize that you and I may not see things the same way, it’s not beneficial for me to prove you wrong. Instead of proving you wrong, I can spend the time finding out what’s driving your emotions, instead of sympathy, I can show empathy for you.

What’s your Mix-Tape!

While it may not have seemed like it, I had fun writing “What’s your MIx-Tape” All too often we get caught up with the daily rigors of life, whether it’s work, school, family, girlfriend/boyfriend, bills etc. Life is hard and sometimes getting a moment to collect our thoughts are rare. While you’re not actively thinking, your mind is still subconsciously feeding you messages. With so many medias these days, it’s easy to get caught up, and to not realize that you’re hearing subconscious messages. Lol and I’m not saying that you’re hearing voices, or that aliens are talking to you. I mean you’re always hearing about a new product to make you better, more beautiful, smarter, more money … If you’re not conscious you end up feeling like you’re not enough, and you need that NEW and IMPROVED THING that will make your life better! In addition to all those messages, if you’re telling yourself that you’re not smart, beautiful, or worthy. If you’re also having a lot of negative self-talk, that can be a lot on your confidence. Instead of your thought being held captive by whatever new thing is playing, why not be kind, loving and gracious to yourself. Make it a point to consciously feed your mind positive messages about yourself.

As one season Ends…!

The title “As one Season ends, so another Begins” mostly explains itself. Aside from changes in my own life, 2014 was a year of changes for many of the people around me, and it’s important to remember that life is for but a season. There are times when you’re in your Harvest Season, and other your Sowing season. You might not see the benefits of what you’re going through now (either good or bad) until another season. Advance warning, I’m going to get Biblical for a bit here.

And we know that God causes everything to work together  for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 – NLT

Time and time again, whether you’re a person of faith or not, you hear someone say “WHY God, why did this happen to ME?” This is just one example, but what this passage doesn’t say is that God only lets good things happen, it doesn’t even say anything about the BAD. It actually omits that word, and it does say that God causes everything to work together for the good… I’m probably going to make some people upset by saying this, but the world is full of good and bad, and while someone dying is a tragedy. That tragedy can cause a chain of events that work for good. Sometimes even in bad circumstances there could be opportunities for good. As we go through the seasons in our life, it’s important to remember that even in the worst of situations, there could be a opportunity for you to show, love, grace or kindness or comfort to someone who’s hurting.

My masculinity is a Gift!

Through a series of posts ending with “What does it mean to be a Strong Man?” I embarked on a journey to understand what it means to be a Man. As a man I’ve been lead to believe that:

  • Good men are strong and powerful.
  • REAL men don’t cry or show emotions.
  • The Man is supposed to be the provider.
  • The Man is supposed to be a hero, to come in on his white horse to save the damsel in distress.

What makes me a man, is it because of what society tells me? Am I a man because of the ‘THINGS’ I’ve amassed. Do I just live by my carnal desires, and allow myself to be controlled by my sexual desires? We get bombarded my so many messages, and sometimes it’s hard to understand what’s real or not. In many cases we’re not thought healthy ways to deal with stress or our emotions. Through this post I was thought to stop and recognize that I have male energy, and how to behave around female energy, and some healthy strategies to handle stress and life. I’m learning to live with intention, I certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m however learning to ask questions, and to recognize my short comings, and most importantly to deal with them in healthy ways.

The Meaning of Life Quotes:

One of my all-time favorite comedians is Jim Carrey, it wasn’t until I heard a commencement speech he gave to a group of College graduates did I realize how smart he also was. For the full post check out “The Meaning of Living-According to Jim Carrey” Here are a few of my favorite quotes from that speech:

  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you Love
  • Live your life asking how can I have an effect on the world while I’m here?
  • Ask how can my gift change the world, not what can the world do for me.
  • What if people see me without my mask! 
  • To find peace you first have to let the Armour go. 
  • Our need for acceptance, can also make you invisible. 
  • To find Peace we must let our Light shine through, and take the risk to let ourselves be seen.
  • Don’t let Wealth, Fame, Prestige … distract you from your true purpose in life, which is to let your Light shine through!!
  • There should be nothing more important in this world than you. 
  • Don’t let your EGO(the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough)fool you, know that you already possess everything you want, believe it and it will come to pass.
  • Stop worrying about how your dreams will come through, just believe, and don’t get caught up on what the vessel looks like. If you miss your chance, the Universe will find a way to bring it back around again.

I’m an Extroverted Introvert!

While I didn’t cover it in any specific post, I learnt quite a bit more about being Introverted. I’m learning to embrace myself in a more loving way, to be kind to my emotions and quirks. There are times when I don’t mind being social, but at some point I’ll need to be alone, that’s how I re-energize myself. I’m learning how to be unapologetic about needing quiet time for myself. I also learnt that in my quiet times, that’s when I’m actually much more creative, I need time to process my thoughts

When it’s all said and done, while these are the things that mean a lot to me. What I’m learning to do is to not put my stock in things such as money, possessions, or things that are temporary. There are things in life that despite our best efforts, we don’t have control over them, and life itself could be gone in but a moment. Instead of focusing on things that are fleeting, I’m going to spend this year focusing on things that are eternal, such as love, grace and kindness. I’m going to spend my time trying to make an impact on the world in a way that can make my story last for eternity. The reality is that one day I too will pass on, and how the world remembers me is far more important than money, or THINGS!

New Year Resolution. Not the Best Idea?

Happy New Year

Ahh it’s 2014 and the New Year is here, time to start with the New Year’s Resolutions. This year I’m not starting it out on that foot. Ask yourself, how much of your Resolutions have you actually followed through with? If you’re like me and your a young 30’s something, you’ve done this for the past 10 years. At the beginning of each year you sit down and reflect on your life the past year, you make a list of a few things you’d like to change about yourself. But if you’re like me 3 months later that list is no where to be found, or it’s still on your desk from when you drafted it. I’d like 2014 to be better than 2013, and I believe that it’s my year for triumph. But for the love of all things sane, why should I make a list of things I’m never going to get to. My suggestion is this, instead of starting something you’re never going to finish, instead Finish something you started. I’ve made a lot of great progress this past year, so why not continue that. It’s been said that it takes about 3 months or 90 days to form a habit. As for behavior, well that’s much harder to change. If you spent all last year not doing the things on your New Years Resolution list, why are you going to do them in 2014? It sounds like you’re destined to get back on that hedonic treadmill, each year you start a list of things you’ll just stop in a few months. Seems I’m not the only one thinking abut this, I read this post on The Daily Love yesterday “Don’t make Resolutions, Do this instead!

After reading that post, I wasn’t sure if I should still write this one, but hey what the heck. Writing has been a kind of savior for me this year, it’s helped me to better express my thoughts, and sometimes it looks much better on paper. So here are a few key things I’ve learnt in 2013 that I want to continue. To set the stage, I think it’s important to reiterate that I’m on a path to be more Loving, and kind. It’s also important to me to be authentic, to show my true self, and then let the rest happen naturally.

It’s good Being Me

As part of being more authentic, I’m learning to love and appreciate me, call it self-love if you will. I’ve got a unique gift and perspective on life. Although there are billions of people on our home planet, why am I where I am? My faith is strong so I choose to believe that God has put me here for a reason, my world has more meaning for me that way. There are things I can’t begin to understand, but I’m beginning to see that each aspect of my life has a purpose. I was thinking last night, not to worry no brain cells were lost in this process, but I believe I’m living the life that best serves my purpose. Things like money, status, and prestige are good to some extent, but it’s more important to me to live a life that is fulfilling. Having nice things aren’t as important to me as it is to know I’ve done something to make someone else’s life better. What about you, what things are unique about you? What’s your gift you offer to the world? Find those things and work on those, it will make your life more fulfilling. Without getting into too much detail about it, what I’m getting at involved Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that we have a set of needs that we try to fulfill as we navigate our lives. Going from least important to most important they are: Physiological, Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. My goal is to focus on at least the bottom four.

I’m the key to my Success

To a certain extent I’m in control of my destiny. I can choose to let my ego cloud my judgement, and tell me that there are things I can and can’t do. Or I can choose to do things and see where it leads me. I chose to join The Marines because I knew it was going to be very challenging. I also felt that it would change my life, and it did all of that and more. If I had listened to all the people who said I wasn’t going to make it, many of them who now tell me how proud they are that I did it; I would never have joined. Even while going through the training, there were many reason’s to quit. Looking at my stature, I don’t exemplify what a “Marine” should look like. Although I may not look the part, if you’ve spent any time with me you’ll see many of those aspects come out in my personality. I may smile virtually ALL the time, but that smile will quickly go away if you’ve overstepped a boundary. My future is uncertain, but I’ve learnt that I will always have people and resources around me to help me. At each stage of my life, no matter the challenges, I’ve always had what I needed at each stage. When the time is right, things seem to fall into place perfectly. For me I choose to believe that God played a large part in that. What about you, what are you stopping yourself from doing? Do you thing of yourself in terms of I’m too… I’m can’t… I will never… Those are called Limiting Beliefs, we place barriers on ourselves. In many cases the things we claim we’re not, aren’t usually true. It’s instead part of the lie we tell ourselves, we try to protect ourselves, but instead do more harm.

What’s Important to me

To know where you’re going, it’s important to know who you are. After reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, I’ve incorporated four pillars in my daily life. 1. Be Impeccable with my word: Speak the truth, and don’t use my words to hurt other, but rather to build them up. 2. Don’t take anything Personally: When I interact with others, understand that it’s through the lens of their life. 3. Don’t make assumptions: It’s important to ask questions, especially when communicating with others, remember they see life through their lens. 4. Always do my Best: give only as much as I can each day, if there’s more I can give tomorrow, well I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes. As for what’s most important in my life: 1. God 2. People (family, spouse, friends) 3. Stuff (cars, money, job etc). What about you what’s important to you, and what are your guiding principles to your life.

Trust my Instincts

Since going on the path to be more loving and kind to others, and to be more authentic about who I am. I’ve seen a remarkable change in my instincts. Aside from understanding myself better this year, I’ve also come to understand the role my faith plays in my life. It’s actually through a course I took at my church D.E.S.I.G.N that I came to understand what my gift and purpose is. It’s remarkable because many of the personality inventories that I took during that course, I had taken previously in my Undergraduate studies. I guess I was not quite ready to put it all together until I had taken that class. By learning to listen to the still small voice, I found that I was able to pick up on others emotions. To some extent I’m able to discern the intimate details of other’s circumstances without being told, let’s just say it made for some interesting conversations. Over and over I’ve felt certain things, and my instincts were spot on. So this year I’m going to trust them more, they haven’t lead me astray so far, so why not depend on them more. What about you, what is your instincts telling you about a certain situation? Do you feel like they’re warning signs going off about someone or a situation? Or perhaps there is something that you feel compelled to do. Life is short, if we don’t take risks, we won’t reap the benefits.

Align your Heart and Mind

For the most part we make decisions from two places, the logical evidence based Mind, or our instincts/heart. It’s important to make sure that both of them are aligned. Have you ever tried walking with both your arms swinging the same direction? Or what happens if your legs want to go right and your arms left, well you can imagine what happens! As uncomfortable as that feels, think of it this way, each body part does it’s own thing, but they work together to move you in One direction. Consequently if your heart is taking you one direction and your mind is going another, well I’m sure you can imagine the result. Learning how to align these two can be difficult, but I’ve found it easier in my quest to be more authentic. By being Love and speaking the truth, I’ve found that my mind will find facts to support what my heart wants.

These are just a few aspects of my life that I’ve managed to actively work on daily, then why not do better in 2014. Why try to re-invent the wheel? I’m already making progress in those areas, why start a whole new list, especially if I’m just going to stop in a few months. What about you, will you join me and Finishing something you started, rather than starting something you’re never going to finish? Let’s all do better in 2014, continue to do the things that work for us.