Saturday, December 31, 2011

It pays to have change

My mind seems full with material to write about. When loved ones and friends share that life is challenging them (as it should), I seem to encourage people to write about it. There is something about writing, and the release it brings, that allows the mind and spirit to ease the perceived stress of the challenge.

While home over the holidays I faced challenges that ordinarily may have been viewed (by me) as "bad." However, this year, this Christmas season, I finally grasped how the challenges were inherently "good." I came to the realization during the Thanksgiving season spent at home that,

those whom we love most challenge us in a similar light.

I appreciate that about those close to me. They do not necessarily intend to challenge me, but they do. Generally speaking, in my family, we easily allow our thoughts and feelings to flow free. If I share something that doesn't sit proper with a family member, chances are good that they will voice their view, their opinion. This usually leads to some sort of debate - however short or long - with the end result being an acknowledgement of differences and no real consensus. I admire that my family has strong opinions about how they think and feel. I think that is a good trait to have.

In a similar manner, what would of been different had we, as loving people interested in understanding and accepting each other at where we are in life, sought to not defend our views, but observe them instead of reacting?

It is not common practice in my family to observe necessarily, we are assertive pursuits and this makes for strong thoughts and feelings, often shared aloud. My wish is to not condemn this because I feel it is an interesting portrait of not only my family, but as Americans at-large. We portray to be such strong and opinionated people, and in that we discard the idea of change; especially internally - the easiest and hardest place to start.

*****

It pays to have change. This was apparent when, on my drive back to North Carolina, I pulled up to a toll both somewhere in West Virginia with the right amount of change. To my puzzlement, a large overload of cars were lined up in the Full Service line. My guess is because they didn't have the exact change, or even bills smaller than a 5 to pay the 40 cent toll. After pulling through the toll booth without wait or issue, I smiled and exclaimed out loud: "It pays to have change....and it changes to have pay." What an interesting and dichotomous thought!

In order to make sense of this seemingly shifting blog post, I'll share this: we generally seek with fervor a change in our external lives - money, job, house, material possessions, etc. We do not, generally speaking, seek internal change or reflection and when the "toll both" comes, we are scrambling to deal with the new challenge - reacting with potentially flawed adages and prior experiences instead of openness and humor for the unseen. Much like my family, if change was met with acceptance and not such predictably reactive comments, would we shift to understand and accept the various viewpoints of other loved ones; even if we didn't agree? Effectively transitioning through the challenge to a space of internal tranquility for the viewpoint that differs from our thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

The portrait of our past has been painted in America, and much like us as humans it is flawed; but, there is always a new canvas in which we can forge our expressions - no matter their flaws or inconsistencies; no matter our age or stage in life!


Put it ahead of you.  We can change. Though, we need be open to it before we can. 


Start with your family, your friends, or even your perceived enemies. If you can accomplish, regardless of the stumbling and greater desire to remain "right" in your own mind, the ability to transcend yourself to accept others, you will have explored an inner change in your life, and that pays! It pays beyond the material world in which we've created.


Seek life and growth, start small, and keep spiraling!
In love and growth,

Alan 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It takes a mistake to change... (Part 2)

Writing about this, finally exposing the mental havoc I subjected myself to after my motorcycle accident, is what brings release. In this, I seek to help others talk about their challenges, regardless of the seriousness, and to commit to a path of change and growth in life - not settling for excuses as to 'why not'.

*****
(continued from Part 1)

I had survived the physical altercation with the pavement and my body was going to heal fine. The mental battle, though, would be a long and seemingly infinite process - still in the later stages today - nearly 5 and a half years later. 

I recall bits and pieces of the month or so directly after my accident, where the downs were as low as they had ever been in my young life. I quickly deteriorated into a depressed and gloomy young man. My relationship with a girlfriend at the time, Ashley, had been on and off again at this point previous to the accident, and the terminal news that would break the camel's back arrived in a hand-written letter: we were done; over; finished. Given my current state of emotional delicateness, I was easily and silently crushed. 

I can recall sitting at the kitchen table reading the letter while my mother worked nearby. I had no words to express my hurt. My family loved me, but in this time and space, I was suffering and didn't know how to express my mental darkness and declining light.

Since it seemed that my fractured clavicle limited everything I did, I came to rely on my mother or father to help me shower and dress. Never before had I experienced such debilitation and reliance on others as a result of a broken bone. I could not exercise in any way that was meaningful to me besides walking - which in the early days - given my soreness, swelling, and road rash - was nearly impossible without pain and discomfort. I let this loss of physical expression consume me. I retreated even further into my light-less and selfish shell. I can recall going for drives in the little blue 1990 Honda hatchback 4-speed I drove. Relying solely on my left hand to reach across my body to shift and steer as I listened to music that soothed and stroked my dark mood. It was in the music, however, that sympathy and release transpired despite the hole I found myself in.  This was my outlet: driving on back county roads near home stumbling through a depressive disorder that had intentions of ending me. 

It was in this space that I became companions with misery. I surely was acting differently around my family but perhaps they did not notice. I do recall my sister Erica calling me one day while I was out driving alone. I was having a flared and very depressive afternoon in gloomy, western Pennsylvania. Thoughts of suicide were within my head and psyche, though not a method or plan to follow through with. It was 1 of a handful of times that I can recall being on the verge of wanting it to all be over, though Erica's call, in this instance is something that helped shine light in the seemingly vast darkness.

The conversation was nothing short of my sister being concerned about me. Perhaps, though, she could read from the distance of her home in Illinois that I was not myself. This care from afar gave me a nugget of advantage over my dark, depressed self. I now had something worth living for. (Granted I realize now how narrow and limited my scope was, but at the age of 21 I could not see my need to reconsider the unknown of life; to expand outside my selfish self). After that phone call, it was decided: 

I could not kill myself, no matter the psychological pain; I loved my family too much to put them through that.
This point onward is where I started to shift; but, perhaps I was not quite shifting, but recreating a new life and/or personality into which I could live-on through. In this I sought to push through the spots of darkness that still frequently visited me - without prior warning. I would wake up on any given day, and something unknown could trip me off into having a depressive, bi-polar day; even if my morning or afternoon had been happy and cheery initially. At this point I probably should have sought counseling, or even attempted to tell my family that I was struggling. I did not; I could not.  

In choosing to fight the mental battle alone, I set in motion a commitment to change unbeknownst to me at that time, to overcome the mental angst that had engulfed and shaded my life away from light and fullness in life. 

I easily recall the mental battles where I was balancing the greater will to live with the lesser will to perish. I can recall txting my friend Ryan Halliwell with tears forming in my eyes, telling him I was struggling, and that I thought about killing myself. It had come to a head multiple times, but I still did not seek help or counseling because I had the desire to live; the desire to push on and not end the struggle.

*****

This is where I reconsider the past through the present lens. I struggled, and still do occasionally; though, now I understand where I have come from and why life will present moments of difficulty. I do not wish to revisit the dark spots, and in many ways I couldn't if I tried. I have never been so low as I was that month or so back in 2006. 

I think about my mother who fought through not one, but 2 major surgeries to remove tumors: one back and spinal tumor, one brain tumor. If she could fight through and not lose the will for life, then certainly I could too. I am my mother's son, and I possess the will for life to its fullest expression!

I still am making sense of my life from 5 and half years ago, though I am in no rush. Much has been revealed to me in spaces where I am patient to receive. I do not wish that I had sought counseling, though I do wish I would have been more caring and responsible and less selfish with the relationships I found myself in...and out of. I feel much of my searching for the next thing (whether that was relationships, or self-development) is a result of my accident and the psychological shift that followed. The intermix of being young and in need of development with a traumatic event has brought me to this time and space - full of mistakes - with scars to show and share. Lessons have been learned and oft I must revisit why I needed to learn. The hard way was not the smart way. I admit now that it was the path I choose by default when I decided to take risks in life. 

I hope, in all the passiveness that that word encompasses, that you find the relation between my life and struggles with the point(s) in your life that have challenged you. We will continually be tested to see if we are worthy of staying on this Earthly plane. Seek to grow outside yourself as I do now. While we have many issues within ourselves, we also have a lot of commonality to share about those struggles that can and will help us to address the larger, worldly issues. 

We, and our struggles, are but a small fracticle among the larger challenging pieces circulating the conscious minds of humans. Seek the battle within to become who you intend to be, so that you may share your light with the world! We all need more people like this.  

Love in life and thankfulness in mistakes to guide us,
Alan 




"Spiral out, keep going!"

It takes a mistake to change... (Part 1)

I've neglected for so long to actually write about the motorcycle accident that caused a change in my life. It was April 13, 2006 and friends and I were being young males on a spring day in western Pennsylvania. After leaving a park out in the country to head into town, one of my friends began roof-surfing on top of another friend's car as I was riding behind on my motorcycle, a 2003 Suzuki GSXR-750.

I don't recall the exact feeling, but a loss of intelligent control occurred and I found myself twisting the throttle of the motorcycle, cranking out as much sheer speed as I could, to pass my car-surfing friends on a back-road straightaway. As I topped 2nd gear (good for a little more than 100+ mph on that bike) I mistakenly realized that the curve ahead was quickly approaching. I had gained too much speed and not enough experience with handling acute stress and effective decision-making skills. I found myself target-fixating on the side of the road, the spot where I dreaded meeting my demise. Given that I could not look through the turn (which in hind-sight was not terribly sharp, less than a 60 degree angle and possible to ride through with that bike), I played exactly into the side of the road, first running the bike off the road and then suddenly back on in what I assume, from memory, was a last-effort jerk reaction to save myself.

What happened next was something terribly violent. I can only recall being off the road, back on and then the snow globe world I was living in was violently shaken to a color of blackness. My friends in the car behind me, with smiles no longer on their previously-joyous faces, watched in horror as what they describe to be one of the most terrible scenes in their lives to that point. In their recollection days after the accident, and still to this day, they recall seeing me tumble down the road like a rag doll as my bike slide and flipped beside me.
I was fortunate enough to be unconscious and have no memory associated with the 60-70 yards of sliding, skidding, and rag-dolling down the pavement.

My bike, on the other hand, came to rest violently against a telephone pole with enough force upon impact  to crack and bend the front wheel and frame. According to my friends, I kept on skidding past that pole, within a few feet or so, and projected off a 10-12 foot embankment down into a railroad bed.

I awoke an uncertain amount of minutes later to my friend Fred yelling my name.

"Alan, Jesus,....ALAN!"

They had certainly thought I was dead and seeing me awake as a groggy, confused, and concussed individual was the best thing they had seen in the last 5 minutes. I can recall being worried about my bike after I realized I had trashed it. Then came the blur of pain. My body and brain were in shock at this point. I do recall checking for my chapstick, which had gone missing from my jeans pocket, and for my cell phone to call my girlfriend at the time, Ashley, to tell her I loved her.

The impact of my landing off the embankment was the most damage physically that I received that day (though the psychological damage would later reel its ugly head in the weeks after). I do barely recall waking up very discombobulated; my body twisted in ways that I'm sure it had never been. My right side was the downside in this discombobulation, and therefore the first point of impact. This easily snapped my right clavicle bone (collar bone). I can recall a man stopping on the road above to see if my friends needed help; it was my good friend Joe Kretchman - a personal mentor and great family friend.

I wonder what it was like for him to see me there like that? I wonder if he was meant to be there on that day?

Because of my concussed brain and disoriented thinking process, I do not recall how long it took for the ambulance, State Police, or Medi-vac helicopter to arrive. My memory only preserved bits and pieces. I can recall in or near the ambulance, the medics trying to stick me with an IV and missing a few times before they hit what they sought in my right arm. I can recall them cutting my jeans from the bottom up to expose my bleeding, road-rashed and leaking fluid right knee (the jeans I have saved to this day, along with the helmet that most likely helped save my life).

I recall a glimpse of the short ride in the ambulance to a spot where the helicopter could land and load me in its belly. I have a memory of crying in the back of the helicopter, with the roof of the thrashing machine within a foot of my face. With my neck locked into a stabilization collar I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of trees and buildings as we neared Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. I needed brain scans because of impact brain trauma; the medics worried about swelling and bleeding in my brain that couldn't be assessed at the hospital in my hometown.

I was later released that night with no signs of brain damage or cranial bleeding to some of my awaiting family members. I had road rash on my back, elbows, shoulders, and especially knees - some of the scars and discoloration remaining today, and a memory that I never forget. I can recall the pain associated when the nurses cleaned the road rash wounds, and the point finally when a hospital staff member helped me out of the wheelchair and into the car with my dad. Much of the recovery process that evening I do not recall; perhaps due to the pain medication.

*****

What I do recall to this day is the mistake that I made, and how it changed my life. While no visible brain damage was diagnosed, something about that traumatic event changed the direction my life was to head.

...Continued here: Part 2...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Learn to love life, and to thirst for learning...


"He disciplines his mind so that his ordinary perceptions are more in line with a love of life and thirst for learning, and less inhibited or tainted by past experiences and fear" (Ilgner, p. 98). 


Focusing my attention more and more on life around me, I have noticed a shift in my 27 years. Granted, though, 22 of those years were majorly spent in a selfish world where I didn't take much notice; but, reflection has led me back to places, spaces in my past, where I diverged from the established path I had been treading. These spots recalled now in the present illicit a space of cognitive dissonance. According to the General Experimental Psychology Cognitive Dissonance Lab at Ithaca College:
"People hold a multitude of cognitions simultaneously, and these cognitions form irrelevant, consonant or dissonant relationships with one another.

Cognitive Irrelevance probably describes the bulk of the relationships among a person's cognitions. Irrelevance simply means that the two cognitions have nothing to do with each other. Two cognitions are consonant if one cognition follows from, or fits with, the other. People like consonance among their cognitions. 
Two cognitions are said to be dissonant if one cognition follows from the opposite of another. What happens to people when they discover dissonant cognitions?
The answer to this question forms the basic postulate of Festinger's theory. A person who has dissonant or discrepant cognitions is said to be in a state of psychological dissonance, which is experienced as unpleasant psychological tension.
 
This tension state has drivelike properties that are much like those of hunger and thirst. Reducing the psychological sate of dissonance is not as simple as eating or drinking however" (citation).
Refracting through a historical lens on the past opportunities that I missed or disregarded to be a better person - a person more in line with love for life and thirst for learning - brings me to revisit, to analyze, and ultimately seek growth and development. I am afforded a rare opportunity. I have no children, I am not married, and for the better part of a day, I spend my time as I please. In all this, I have the ability to rummage over and through things others have possibly long forgot. Perhaps my visions the other night (read this blog entry) sought to remind me that there are continual opportunities to learn and grow from.

All I need do is be open and accepting to the thoughts that may enter my consciousnesses; taking along with me a neutral position of emotion (i.e., not pre-registering a feeling or emotion based on the outcomes of the past).

Often times, discussing the past with a close friend and spiritual being interested in bettering themselves aids me in understanding my own life and things I've done. This, again, is an opportunity to discover, to understand the happenings of my past with a different posturing. I no longer am feeling the emotions associated with this event and therefore a different position presents in the absence of tainted-ness. Emotions to me, seem distant when reconsidering past occurrences. We may recall that we felt a certain way, but generally unless the event was traumatic (i.e., the feelings live-on through memory and resurface without clear distinction between event and emotion), we cannot truly feel again how we had felt in that moment.

For example, you decide today that you are going to go for a run. As you prepare yourself, dress yourself, and begin slipping on your foot attire of choice, you recall the last time you wore these shoes, or went running. Let's say hypothetically, that last time you pulled a muscle in your lower leg and so now you have this preconceived notion of what running may feel like: pain. Perhaps pain illicits anger then  disappointment, and so on. Emotion has this way of snowballing if we do not control the only thing we can truly control - ourselves, our actions, and our emotions, and not the things outside this environment (though we try!). Where I am separating the memory of emotions is here. We recall through our tainted experience and our fears what it was like last time (i.e. memory), but we do not truly recall what the options of emotion could have been (if there is tainted or fearful emotions; perhaps, it was happy so therefore we would register positivity instead). Maybe next time you think of running you'll register the idea of pain, but you won't play into it - being open to the option that this time, you will experience something different.

With time having separated our memories from this emotion, we now have the ability to depict the stiction points: the spots that, despite our best efforts, remain ingrained in the folds of our memory for later reconsideration and learning. There are more colors than the black or white I recall.

Within these folds I can wander, realizing that time is on my side. As I've shared with others, there is no rush to process the elements of our lives that we wish to try again upon. If it takes you to your death bed to finally admit, grow, and learn that something you did was wrong and you are sorry, then you have made it!

Accept that you, I, or anyone else, is flawed and that upon accepting this, we free ourselves to the opportunity of growth. Only when we ignore or dismiss the dissonance in our consciousness do we shuck off the yoke of learning and love for life in all its occurrences there within.

*****

I'll end on this note. It is not always intuitive to reconsider the past that stays with us despite our best efforts to move forward; nor is this intuitiveness timely. If you do find you have something staying with you, don't simply discard it. Find a time to stay with the thought. Talk about it with a close acquaintance or loved one; write about; or, go for a walk in the wilderness and permit your mind to rummage. If you accept to understand that thought, that memory, you will be replenished with a learned moment that never will be forgotten.

Memory, and the learning gained from it, are like riding a bike: once you learn, you hardly ever forget. 

Love in life,
Alan

'It is not learning that is uncomfortable, but the elements recalled in the process!' 

Friday, November 18, 2011

2 pennies and a quarter: What do the occurrences, the coincidences mean?

Last night was one of the  most interesting evenings I have had in a long while. I was sharing with my friend Molly a few days ago about how my day changed from the norm because I exited the building via a different door. Since that day, I have found occurrences to be shifting in ways that are predictable, yet surprising. I feel some of this revolves around a quote I read out of the Rock Warrior's Way (by Arno Ilgner):
"Develop your receptivity to intuition. When you receive an apparently random thought, don't simply discard it. Stay curious and follow it. See where it leads. Intuition whispers to you between your conscious thoughts. Listen to those subtle thoughts and feelings just below the level of your consciousness (p. 96)."

After struggling mentally and emotionally with a precarious situation involving my RAs, I read an email from a man I had met briefly at Appalachian State. He produced the video for Project Big Green Tree. In the email he shared thoughts about how...
"your words stuck with me. I and my 3 year old daughter walk our dogs everyday, and while we are out, we pick up trash along the 2 miles that we walk...everyday. While we are doing this I try and teach my daughter the importance of not littering in the first place and why we should be responsible and pick up other peoples litter too. It makes me feel good to see a clean stretch of road or to pick up a piece of litter off of a sidewalk that others simply ignore and step over."
These words stuck with me. I, in many ways, could not even begin to comprehend the impact of what this man had written. His thoughts were so sincere, and I feel like I barely had gotten to know him for more than a few hours. But, in that short span of time, this man harbored something that I envisioned and cherished and decided to pass it on back:
"So thank you for your influence on me. I hope it spreads to more people in the future. I know am trying to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. That is one reason I am not there anymore, trying to take care of a problem that was not suppose to be known. But when something tries to put you down, keep on keeping on...especially when you are doing the right thing like you doing. Take care of yourself Al and I hope we meet again one day."
Reading that, I had no clue what to do. The hour was getting late but I had no desire for sleep. My girlfriend Maura had told me of a meteor shower going on in another hour or two at 12 midnight so I decided to venture outward, outside my comfortable apartment.

My walk took me up and around Boone, into the quieter parts of town. I passed a few college students going the same direction as I down the dark street, and in not knowing what to say, told them there was a meteor shower happening from 12p till 5am. They thanked me as I continued past them, bundled against the cold wind on a cloudless night. I eventually came to one of my favorite spots in Boone, Junaluska Neighborhood Park. In this space so close to town, I sought release from the woes of my mind, my day.

As I walked through the parking lot barefoot, having removed my shoes and socks on a passing whim, the blaring yellow of the bright street lights pinned a reflection off a metallic, copper looking object. It was indeed a penny that I had happened across, cold and solid in its perch upon the concrete. My friend Luke would have been stoked! Now, this is where the story takes on some crazy, unexplainable things, but perhaps it relates back to what Arno was saying about receptivity to intuition...

As I picked up the penny a thought popped into my head with the date 2007 (I always am interested in the date of a coin, because I imagine it as a tiny fractile of someone's life that I am picking up, and that I have a duty to be responsible with it). Sure enough as I turned the coin over in my gloved palm, "2007" was the date! What?? How could this be....?

I shrugged it off as luck and paid little attention to the premonition I had in my head about the date. A few steps later, the street light again cast a glimpse off a familiar object: another penny! Again, a date appeared in my head before I even picked up the penny: "2010." Indeed, the date confirmed 2010! What was it that led to this? After the 2nd occurrence of a penny, I realized I had observed an intuitive thought - and in my reflecting and reading this morning - indeed the thought was generated below the level of my consciousness, something that intuition whispered to me, begging curiosity to follow.

Now, if you feel the story has reached its climax, you may be right - as I, too, initially thought. However, this was not the case. I went on to practice rail walking the square wooden fence that lines the park. This fence, maybe 2-3 feet of the ground, is as wide as a 2x4 and as thick as a human thigh - enough to support my weight plus some. In this period of forced concentration, intentional breathing, and bodily balance, I observed the instability of my mind, perhaps my Ego, as I sought to move along the fence line without falling. Many times I took the short stumble to the ground, landing on my feet, but that was only the half of it. I witnessed, as I have in the past on the same fence, the distraction of the higher mind. This cerebral space culled me to be focused in reflection and abstract to the events passed, and away from the 'here and now.' After continually observing the distracting thoughts as I took in the night sky above and felt the chilly air of the evening,  I decided to lay down - hoping to see some meteors as Maura had mentioned.

In that open, face-up position on the ground nothing came that could be attributed to things of interest. I enjoyed the quiet space my mind and body found together for a number of minutes and decided that it was too early for the meteor shower. I stood up and proceeded through the far side of the park back towards downtown. Along my way was another smaller park that I often frequent for solitude and reflection. This park had no trees above its square, green play space, and so therefore sightlines yielded to the open sky above. It was here that I lay down along the edge of the mulching to take in the view overhead.

"Stronger my concentration grew while faster and faster my eyeballs in rapid movements moved as thoughts spun and spun."


As I gazed above into the vast void, face-up, my eyes quickly distorted focus and the stars in sky above began to quiver and disappear. Gone into my mind my thoughts and vision went. I became a passenger on a whirl ride of visions. Many of these visions were reflections of my life to date: my sister Stephanie and I having a snow ball fight from 15 years ago, a fight we had over the vacuum cleaner that resulted in upset; the spot where I lost my virginity - the details about the scene never noticed before; to name a few that I can recall. As the VCR-like fast-forward continued in reverse, I found the images to be dizzying, yet I wasn't loosing focus. Stronger my concentration grew while faster and faster my eyeballs in rapid movements moved as thoughts spun and spun. No longer was my mind engaged in my body, but solely in the inner space near the body's 3rd eye. Eventually there was an apex: my thoughts settled into numbers and then onto one number: 33. This was where the spinning and swirling of thoughts ceased. In this clairvoyance, I once again felt stability in my mind, and feeling in my physical self as my eyes slowly blinked open.
My body had become quiet cold as I had shunted all attention to my mind, completely relaxing my body - as we practice in yoga class at the end (corpse pose). I rolled over, sat-up and proceeded in silence down the narrow path towards a large parking lot with silence registering in my consciousness. In each intentional direction I looked, I saw instances of the number 3. The few parked cars that were there had almost all, in some form, an iteration of the number 3. I saw a few North Carolina plates, but nothing that surprised me outright. In the next moment I observed the thought of an Illinois plate in the low light only to realize it was a Georgia plate (my oldest sister lives in Illinois). I kept following curiosity and eventually came to a parking spot numbered 33. At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Nothing at all. Then, similar to how Arno writes in the Rock Warrior's way, I had an intuitive moment to continue following curiosity and commit to less thinking - giving way to a lower, perceptive brain center to lead me. I found myself moving to observe the empty parking space from a different angle; to perceive it in a light I hadn't upon first glance. As I stepped backwards and again to the left, my curiosity led me to the spot beside it, number 32. There on the ground at my feet was a shiny quarter, an Illinois quarter to be exact! To many people, finding change isn't unusual, but in many occurrences before this, I had pursued loose change in this same parking lot with intentional thought and mind, only to come away empty. This time, however, I had found a rarity in the change-finding world: a quarter! and one that connected a loved one with my thoughts.
The pennies and quarter discovered!


*****

As I lay  down to bed, I slept with no recollection of any dreams I may have had. I barely even remember laying down. I awoke the next morning to the thoughts of the evening and events that had transpired. I had to write, to cast out what it is that I had experienced the evening before. 

What is it that I am to learn from all of this?  The events that transpired in the detailed story above serve to demonstrate something in my life. Perhaps you the reader extract something different, but to me, I have new renewal in my life. To follow my curiosity, to continue the non-violent fight for preserving what it is that I am passionate about: the wild spaces. And, to find a way to communicate the message about our responsibilities as humans on this Earth.

As I sit here and finish these final thoughts, I recall a moment earlier during my writing when I looked out my apartment window and saw 2 University employees smoking cigarettes, only to see them (sadly) discard their finished butts on the ground...

...and that is why I am alive, here on this Earth!
If you wish to join the non-violent fight, I would love to connect with you.

Much love to those that harbor thoughts towards a future different than the today. To those that have not seen the possibilities yet, I also have love for you because I know somewhere inside you is a bit of compassion for something you love; and, in turn, life will seek to extract that out. Be patient, stay the course of possibilities...always.

Much appreciation to all that have helped me in my path; and to those I have yet to meet, grow, and learn with.

Alan

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Defiance

"Half-assed for most his life, piss poor little ham"
I have found myself to be highly defiant lately. I don't jive with the decisions that my superiors freely hand out to be implemented.

A more correct answer would be to not challenge those I perceive to be "wrong". I sit for a moment and observe the dialogue in my head, challenge is inevitable in life, the time and place is not. There may be no opportunity for me to ever share my feedback or how I perceive things with those that challenge me. There will be, however, an opportunity to do something right when it is my turn to lead, my turn to be on the other side and understand that smaller person's position. That I look forward to. I hope to learn and grow from this. There is a better balance.

If I had to take one thing that I feel this blog is about, it would be a lesson in life. The lesson I extract today is that as a leader, we should never hand down decisions without allowing those it affects to have some say in what that decision ultimately looks like. It's a group process...enjoy the noise!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Facebook? I think not...


Hi Al,

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Thanks,
The Facebook Team

Dear Facebook Team,

Thank you for confirming my freedom. I am glad to be free from your net of falsities. If I can ever provide you with some feedback as to why you are not right in the world of wrongs, I'd love to do such.

Have a good day,
Al

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ramblings on a Tuesday eve

I am interested in learning. It stimulates my senses to the point of resisting sleep and stagnation. You could say that is tied to some hormonal response in my brain, effecting my physical body with energy and activity. Question: What is it about a chance for thinking and learning that affects a person in said way?

The simple gesture of asking a question is curiosity at play. We see and interact in the physical world but often become lost. When those physical senses fail to detect what perplexes us, we turn to our minds; the think-tanks of our lives; but, should we be turning to our hearts as well? To understand what both spaces are telling, we must seek to be open, to love.

I cannot speak for others because this is my interpretation, my lens, on how I see myself and my interaction with the world around me. When I enter thinking space, it is like a departure from the here and now. I miss the opportunities for things in front of me that represent love. Love is encompassing of our lives, ever-present in many ways, to the point that we take it for granted. Question: Why is something so simple a schism between our heads and its true source, our hearts?

* * * * *

To pinpoint the indicator in time when I discovered and committed to love is exactly difficult. Partly because sometimes it found me and, exactly difficult in that I can see and feel the people that gave such. To acknowledge exactly when it has happened over the course of my lifetime is a lengthy testament to memories gone by; lost. Some of those people have given me their light, and given it freely in many different forms beyond just physically and mentally. I cannot know for whom I owe what. However, for me to repay the deed, the chance that someone else took on me, I must be open to share my light and love with others - continually throughout my time here in this plane.

So often we are presented with opportunities to love, to help another, but our own self gets in the way. We often put ourselves 1st. With too many people in the me first mode, we forgo the opportunities to help others. But, what can be said about the times when we help another and they are genuinely affected by it? This was the point that we were waiting to effect. If we were to realize that we are capable of much more than what we give ourselves credit for, we would of and could have overcame the issues of our me first society already.

Question: What is the last item of clothing you bought? Was it used or new? Honest answers may sting the skin that these items cloth but, that is the process of learning. A sting to me reminds me that I'm alive and that I have choices to make. Some of those aren't necessarily based on what my first, me first, choice would be. So, besides offering low-earning families affordable clothing options and college students fun costumes and outfits, what will happen to all those clothes that remain in thrift stores unpurchased and unloved? Will they eventually make it back into the system at large? To their original elements?

My guess is that the simple short-term answer is "no." Over thousands, perhaps millions of years, the earth will eventually reclaim what it has lost to us, and reform a new space to be occupied by someone not us; not humans. This sounds quite possibly "out there," but staying in the here and now limits us to seeing and fathoming the options ahead. By speaking in the long-term about us in the short-term, we realize that we, too, are an endangered species. We may never be on the list because we haven't learned to look past ourselves yet. Kid yourselves not though, we will be if more change and love doesn't come to occupy our lives in some way.

We can make this change. Start by simplifying. Take something that is complex, like your daily routine, and simplify it. Find how to bring back love into the solution. Seek one, permanent change to be made, and commit to it. Hopefully it will be for the benefit of another as much as it is for yourself. Seek always to elevate others along with yourself. Love more than you would want to be loved. These are things...


...we are capable of.


Ask of yourself more openness, for the benefit of others.
In Love and Thanks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Call To Caring!

(*If you are easily offended, please chew on your thoughts and read through to the bottom. We need all of your help so grin and grow as we all learn.*)


The cars obey the commands of their masters as they travel the road home from work. Their windows are up and the air conditioning is on full-blast. They are not the problem here.

Boy, this 80 degree weather sure seems hot. Didn't 80 degrees seem cooler a few years ago? Ahead on the same side of the road a man is walking wearing funny colored shorts and a straw hat. He looks disjointed from the world around him. I wonder what his thoughts are of...

Look at this trash. Every piece I walk by adds circumstantial evidence to the growing pile. We humans are pretty much doomed; aka fucked. Sure, oil will one day be a commodity of the past - a tribute to a world of privileged people, leaning towards their self-focused center - but maybe it won't be the only tribute we imprint...

The small things, often literally, we pass-by now will come around again to condemn us to our doom.

Many would laugh at the notion that negating trash along our public highways and by-ways will be our society's undoing, but what messages are we sending by leaving it where it lays? If it is a struggle to pick up a simple item such as a gum wrapper or a fast food restaurant cup off the sidewalk or road, then how can individuals of this privileged, first-world society be expected "to come together" to fix the shit they let go awry? It is a bold yet negative question, but it is being asked aloud; in print; in front of your eyes as you read this.

Such a small, simple item...such a large, complex impact. Think about it; as you do, more trash continues to fall discarded. Will you care...?

Even the simple message of a single item of trash, to me, communicates an inability to comprehend the large impact that this habit of 'just throw it away' has on the place we call home: Mother Earth.

Puzzle me this: if we throw away an organic (definition: characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from a living organism) item, where does it go?
The most generally accepted answer would be the landfill.
Now, what are landfills designed to do?
Contain the "trash" regardless of it's derivative nature (inorganic or organic).
So, if our organic materials are contained within these landfills, how do you suppose they will reintegrate back into the environment, the life cycle at large?

Hmm, what a question this man poses. Perhaps the commanders of these cars, these beasts of the road running on a decaying element are unaware of this observation as they go about their short drive home. Home to what? A place of residence made originally, in its most basic form, from organic materials. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Time to wake up folks; no snooze button on this alarm clock.

OK, time-out with the soapbox. Are you turned off by my words? I apologize if you are but perhaps it is because you actually do care. Permit me to be truthful, I do use a gasoline car and throw trash out too, just like you. I am still human and not some ranting robot. Though, how often I do such is what I choose to scrutinize and question in my life.
How can I reduce my impact; how can I choose to better accommodate my lifestyle to fit in with the big picture? To be in more one-ness with a) those around me, and most importantly b) the orb blob we call HOME. We only get one chance at this and the fractures are forming.

Suffice to say, I am quite bothered by the goings-on. I am angry, disappointed, disbelieving, negative, and hopeless about our future. I could cry. There needs to come about a wake-up call. The borrowed time we are skimming by on is indicating a call to caring!

We need to shift outside of ourselves. You really don't matter as much that you should come first. I am sorry. Seek a manner to change your perspective - if that is difficult, then walk in another's shoes for a comprehend-able moment. You might be surprised to discover the things outside of the me first mentality.

The borrowed time is looming closer to the tipping point. We must change.

It can't be just a few people who care and love; we need the large majority. Only with that can we begin to shift, to grow, to love, and to care!! It's possible, but the way things are going currently, unlikely. The negative thoughts in me, evidenced by what I see day-to-day, says enjoy what semblance of normality you have now. We always seem to tune-out into our selfish worlds with little notice or mind for the problems at our feet anyways.

Do yourself and others a favor though, look in the mirror, hold your stare and tell yourself that you don't care. Then take a moment of thought and commit to something necessary and outside of your one-self focus. The cliche says: The day is now, not tomorrow or next week. Once this is done, you, or someone you love, will be glad you did.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What do the good ole days mean to me?

The good ole days were days when cell phones didn't exist in the popularity that they do now. You knew where your friends were because we didn't travel that far from the things we liked to do, nor the people we enjoyed most. Nowadays, with the presence of Facebook, Twitter, what-have-you, we constantly want to tune into where people are, or what they are doing. While this technology is grand because it allows us to instantly connect with others, the quality of the connection (despite what our 4G service says) isn't near the quality like it truly used to be.


The good ole days used to be a time when children and teenagers went outside to exert their energy and creative nature of play. Nowadays, children, teenagers, and college-students spend a majority of their time inside. Gone are the days when we humans remembered the sheer joy that the outdoors brought to our physical bodies, our minds, and our souls. The good ole days to me are stored in the collective memory of many, waiting to be unlocked and reapplied into daily life. If only we would remember and learn to put down the devices that entertain and similarly corrode our brains.


To mentally reminisce what the good ole days were like, imagine walking down the street in your favorite section of city or town. You feel the warm summer breeze on your face, and you feel light on your feet as you make your way along the sidewalk. You see other people walking around as well with similar smiles of summer on their faces. The key difference is that when you walk near someone there is no cell phones, no iPods - the things that we place in our lives to entertain our already creative and intelligent brains. The people you pass say hello or perhaps they smile as you both go about your daily business. Think of all the smiles and/or people you might notice if you had your attention and gaze upward, instead of down in some device telling you about what somebody just watched, or what they ate for lunch. You notice the way the flowers soak up the sun. What a beautiful day to be alive! Ahh, where have the good ole days, circa the 1990s gone?

I’d say I miss the good ole days but that would make me a nostalgic stickler for the past; and remaining in the past doesn’t help the present, nor the future. I will say we have a challenge ahead of us: to remember what life and it’s likeness were like. Find time to put away your devices…you won’t be missing much if you leave it in the car, or at home for an hour. It’s a big step, but I feel you’ll find greater reward in the direct community around you. Embrace the love we all can share. This world is what we make of it and it starts in our local communities.


To the start of summer! May it warm our faces as well as our soul as we figure a way to be one with where we came from.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life without happy; Happy without substances

By Wallace Krumpledorf

We Americans as a commonwealth rely on uppers, downers, lefties and the occasional right; day in and day out. The larger body of substances ingested hourly, daily and weekly is broader than just physical ones. Look straight ahead; now behind and over each shoulder. Who do you see? Now find a reflecting surface. Did you detect the similar nature of life’s fellow occupants with your own? As hard as it is to admit our interdependence with these substances, the truth is cold and real. To sit there passively and say that what you read isn’t true is to deny on the most basic level: yourself. Honest thoughts try to admit that you have never ingested any substance orally, intravenously, or otherwise but your ears tune-in to the unspoken falsity and wire to your brain a collective realization. Turning the pointed finger back on yourself is humiliating, but good news is, others will love you if you love yourself for who you are – regardless of your chosen poison.

I intend to bring about positive awareness. I see different walks of life colliding over substance semantics. My medicament and your medicament may look, smell, taste and do different things, but, one thing in common is the altered effects. Much like differing personalities amongst friends and enemies, we cannot consciously permit allowing ourselves to lump and label others because they play their cards differently. Homosexuals, African-Americans, individuals with disabilities and unlisted others all strive for this freedom of choice. I start to see the world how it is. I comprehend that we will always fight with one another, disagree, double-cross and abuse our talents to socialize and relate likeness. We as humans are all different; but not entirely. At times the living link bares correlation and substances are assuredly a shared experience. I may not speak Spanish well, know jack-squat about the history of Central Asia; but, I do know that marijuana is an enlightening medicine – much like my brethren from another state or country would. In no way is a substance like marijuana physically addicting like heroin, but psychologically, you’re glued-in; some way, somehow. At worst, it elicits euphoric emotions; much like coffee provokes alertness. Life without substances seems odd: if for the past few days, you’ve been high or caffed-up and now find yourself not.

*****

Grandma doesn’t look so good today. The doctor says she isn’t taking her meds as directed but hey, I guess I can’t blame her. Those Percocet’s I got from my wisdom teeth removal were pretty potent…

…Hell who am I kidding? I had a blast with Josh and Donny on those downers. Man, I got biggity-bombed! Wonder where the pictures from that night went to?

Grandma should know better though; she should learn to listen to what the doc says if she expects to make it through to Christmas. If I was in her shoes, I wouldn’t argue, no matter how bad she feels sometimes. Her medicine is supposed to be for pain only and she is taking them recreationally...I can’t believe her impudence. I never thought of popping a pill just because it felt good…

…Well… I only did them that one time…the 2nd time it wasn’t Percs…so it’s not the same. I couldn’t just sell them or leave them to waste in the cabinet. Whatever. I don’t have a problem. They felt good but I was younger and stupid then…I’m in control now!

Are you? Your little cousin’s remote control car screaming around your feet at the 4th of July celebration is telling you different.

*****

Life has a way of extracting the happiness out of you. Liken it to a bee extracting nectar from a flower, but the twist is the reality and necessity of it. Many people choose to medicate with “happy” drugs –living in a false reality created by chemical messengers communicating to their bodies how they should think and feel. Happy drugs, that express constant emotion without much flux; effectively making the user a smiling zombie of sorts. You ought to laugh because you know that those drugs desensitize the taker to what really eclipses them: sadness; often cohabiting inside other emotions. Though, you hold your stones back because you admit you are a swimmer in the ocean of users.

Illicit drug users are cast in a dim light but ragers, dopers and rock users are absent of light: achromatic. Applied labels are apparent and often warranted. Unfortunately, actions do speak louder than words; words that are conveniently forgotten after their flurry predominates the short term – preventing storage into the long term of memory’s mind. Where does it leave us though as a supposed sophisticated society?

Creatively canvas this: Shaggy Rogers from Scooby-Do Where Are You! Moving in a lackadaisical fashion towards you; hair askew; mind preoccupied with life around him. What are your honest thoughts of his soul presence occupying the same space as yours? Would his parents be disconcerted to see their son as he is now? Your ambitious thoughts decree they’d be proud of him for something he did. His lively erupting baking soda and vinegar volcano from the 4th grade science fair was on-par with Timmy Tankerton’s mock steam engine…right? Perhaps the haze of smoke eluding his lips as he passes sways what you momentarily think and feel about him. Flash forward 3 years, your computer takes a shit and he is the same free-spirited soul at your local geek shop fixing you back up. Do you still harbor those initial impressionable thoughts about him?

The THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content in pot from the 60s and 70s was much less than the levels of today. Doesn’t make it that much altered though. Pot isn’t a drug to some; just like coffee, cold medicine and Ritalin. It’s a recreational activity with none of the physical exercise-related benefits, but seemingly some of the mental ones. If you haven’t partaken of its complicated beauty yet, question yourself. If you have zero desire to take that trip, find comfort in the thousands of others like yourself. Just like bungee-jumping or rock climbing, marijuana isn’t a substance for everyone; though, the actuality of it and other substances in our culture is more real than ever.

You may think that the substance stigma doesn’t rest on your shoulders. Don’t contradict yourself. Bottom line: be honest with your desires – real or imagined. The manner in which substances make us feel varies widely. Some find happiness only within that sweet leaf, righteous rock, or Iced Vanilla Latte; sugar-free, no whipped cream. Others find happiness without substances, yet enjoy partaking in them because our intelligence admits what our cautious, anti-substance sources won’t: the feeling is unparalleled; barring of course the adventuresome hard-core drugs that claim lives upon overdosing. Next time you find yourself purchasing coffee or medical prescriptions, think of the pot-smoking college kids down the street; or even the doping professional athlete you admire. I’m sure they aren’t judging you for making Starbucks or Walgreens a necessary actuality. One day we will wake up, do our daily thing, and at some point in the day light up, drink down or swallow whole as we sit in the park with the cop rolling by; caring not to bat an eyelid at our activity – legal or “illegal.” We are being judged for our actions regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of social acceptance. My coffee is his China White; his China White is your weed; your weed is society’s shunned step-child – looming in the closet, waiting to be accepted and taken at its face-value. Let’s not cover the healing wound from society; for coincidently, it was mutually inflicted and heals best in the open, clean air.

*****

The high of sobriety is often a trip itself. Distinction amongst the blur of a high is ambiguous. Some stimuli are front and center; commanding your attention. Others fleet right and left of your mental cockpit, initiating oversight on the stimulus at hand. Good thing Ritalin was invented. Now you can find the hours of the day ticking by and your attention still rambling on-course, with minimal mental interference. Be cautious though about crushing and snorting those little guys because cocaine-like dependence can be established. Methylphenidates like Ritalin, Concerta and Methylin are drugs of abuse. Yet, they are locked and stocked at your local pharmacy; waiting for little Timmy Tankerton’s medication to run low; hopefully because he’s the only one dosing as prescribed as he works on his mock steam engine project for the 4th grade science fair.

While I do not suggest you go out and start using-up on what others are getting down-with, I do recommend however, that you take a look around and acknowledge. Both seen and unseen “users” are all around you. Are they lurking in shadow waiting to abduct your kid and sell him into sexual slavery in Hong Kong? No. They are the people you talk with at the bank, grocery store and public service/government offices. Now, before you go pulling Salem-esque Witch Hunt-stunts, breathe for a second. People are people and thus we do things just because we do; no intense or detailed explanation is needed. Basic human desires for plants, powders or liquids to alter their perception because of pain, grogginess, social reasons or other obscurities is inherent. We should strive to deal better with such things when we witness them in others. Turn the mirrors of your eyes back on yourself; then you’ll see it isn’t me…it’s you; it’s all of us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ramblings on a Thursday

Greetings readers, I found a piece I wrote in November of 2009. Hopefully it'll spur some fun thoughts while I'm brewing and chewing on a new piece.

Cheers,

Al

I've always imagined one day that I'll write a book and share stories from my epic [surpassing the ordinary] life. Is my goal to tout my past around like a prize-winning horse, or perhaps am I just merely trying to demonstrate the lessons learned? I'd ere on the later but not everyone who might read it would think likewise.

Being adept at interpreting written word is a time-honored art [
a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation]. Some writers make it very easy to understand what tone or attitude they are trying to convey; others, not so much. With the current state of books becoming more and more technologically advanced, I would not be surprised to find that books of the future will be read on devices such as Amazon's Kindle - very book-like but on a screen no larger than twice the size of current cell phones. Ahh technology...

...welcome to the death [
end: a final state] of clear communication and widespread interpersonal skills in the young. With txting [read: texting] becoming increasingly popular and practical all across the age spectrum, it would come of no surprise that many people will lose practice of old-fashioned face to face communication skills [the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both]. If you are able to read this and say with blunt honesty [the value of speaking truth and creating trust in minds of others. This includes all varieties of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Honesty implies a lack of deceit] that you have never encountered a miscommunication from technological devices; i.e. txting, email, etc., then keep up whatever you are doing. If you find yourself, however, being open and honest to the fact that technology has hindered [to obstruct: hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of] communication then pat yourself on the back because you've entered the first unofficial stage of self-help.

The longer I type on this subject, the more I find myself expressing freely on the matter. Perhaps random nights of conversation with friends has spurred this thought; or, perhaps current articles in news sources across the country have enlightened [
to make free from confusion or ambiguity; make clear] my gradual acceptance of technological communication. I'd be a stone-cold liar if I said that I don't email, txt, etc.; moreover, I'd redeem myself though, by identifying my need to take an active role in technological communication discernment[discretion: the trait of judging wisely and objectively].

Sending the I had a good time txt after a date is not the same as calling the person and telling them with your tonal inflections and genuine [
not fake or counterfeit] attitude. Perhaps it is here that we kick the tech crutch and rely on old-fashioned interpersonal [being, relating to, or involving relations between persons] communication [the activity of conveying information] like it's been done for years since Alexander Graham Bell's invention, or since cavemen turned grunts into sentences about feelings, emotions, and the latest town gossip.

Am I being to verbose [
long-winded: using or containing too many words] to a population that already understands this dilemma [state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options]? (Unfavorable in the sense that we can and cannot live without technology). If so, how do we reach the target audience, and what do they look like, dress like, and who are their parents? Question [challenge the accuracy of] the statement. Answer [be liable or accountable for] the statement. To all would-be or current parents out there: keep the I and U in communication; especially when my "I's" are on "U". Teach your children to communicate without their techy devices. Once a generation of great communicators dies, what lays in store for the remaining mortals? Food [anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking] for thought [the process of using your mind to consider something carefully]. Have a good day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lemonade!


There's a saying, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Sometimes though, you can't help but eat the lemon as is. Fuck the lemonade man! What is it that leads us to such drastic measures?

Perhaps it's the way the lemon looks. You know it's gonna be a sour mouthful; it's gonna make you wish you had the patience for lemonade concocting, but awww who cares!

Those moments stoke the fire in my life - the heat spreading out from my periphery.

Just this morning, I woke up feeling a little so-so. The sick bug has been makin' its rounds round town. I thought perhaps I had flirted with it and brought something back, then I drank some coffee and sat down to my drum-set. Forty minutes later and 12 tracks into Axis: Bold As Love and I was lost in rhythmic synchronization and free expression! Wowser; what a mind/body relief to just play your mood and desires out in musical articulation. I gotta thank my residents above me (if they were home) for putting up with my boisterous sound.

Lemons....lemonade...okay. Right.

It's been said, mostly in my developmental theories classes, that impulse control strengthens as we age. I'd agree with such, though sometimes it's just too restrictive to hold back against such an opposing force. If you proceed with diligence - all the while reevaluating yourself along the way, you'll be on your way to goldenness!

Such can be said about many experiences in life; yours or mine. Often it's okay to play into your desires. With a quick survey into the possible results for good measure, you're off to explore away the day. Young and old, female and male, do what feels right. Your previous thoughts on the matter, positive and negative, will serve to guide you along the experience.

Life IS dynamic.

We all make decisions on the fly. The wrong turns have brought us (hopefully) back to the right track. Be tactful, but not overly circumspect. Basically, enjoy the free things in life. We are a tiny speck in the spectrum of existence and there are plenty of other tiny specks laying in wait to be motivated.

So about that lemon, it's gonna be bitting in bitterness but perhaps you only desire to use it as a zest. In which case, the impulse to forgo making lemonade was justified and the results were as delish as you could have hoped for. Pat yourself on the back, you made the right turn.

Till next time, Bon App├ętit.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our Society's Sad Situation






We live in a society of taboos and double-standards. Words spilling from just one mouth find their way to harm and mal-intended use. Many find it second-nature to utter a word or phrase with a laugh and smile, not realizing the depth or breadth of their comments; or who they might affect.
People in any sort of elevated position have a responsibility to bar ignorance from their societal presence, but excuses speak louder than honest admittance. A word of caution for all of us: we look terrible talking down on one subject and conversely living up another in personal and private spaces!

What possibly could I be speaking of? Let's start with drugs and alcohol. We expect college students, or those under the legal age to be drug and alcohol-free, yet we are on the flip side of this - getting smashed, twisted, or otherwise every weekend with pictures to prove it all on facebook. Though this is done in a guilt-free space, we imagine that those words or phrases we tell others don't apply to us.

Does anyone realize the hypocritical nature of this?

If society was more exposed to the reality of situations, the what really goes on, would we be so quick to pass the same advice and judgement? The optimist in me hopes not, but reason tells me otherwise. Shamefully, the echoes and reflections cast back upon us as a society further the divide between the ignorant and those wishing to see positive change.

Change your perspective like you would a pair of socks. Listen to what you are saying!! Before you slander another, think for a second of what that might mean. Who are we to play God, judge and jury? We are entitled to no more rights than the ants residing in your cabinets. We just think we do because someone somewhere told us we were important and that our ass was more special than another's. It's all very laughable, but yet very sad.

As the snow falls and melts to return again to earth, so will this vicious cycle of ignorance. Please be part of the solution and not the problem.