Privileged, lazy, and live

Privileged, lazy, and live

By way of information and insight, I have nothing new to add to this week’s torrent of sad, angry and even shocking events that occurred across our country. All I have are my own somewhat examined thoughts, which are, as always, a work in progress.

Like everyone else, I am trouble.  I am troubled by the continually developing racial divide in our country. I am also troubled by the perceptions and realities in our police force. I am deeply troubled by the lack of integrity within the media. And I am especially troubled by the laziness and attention span of We-The-People (myself included).

I spent the better part of the morning writing in great detail of my troubles only to grow tired of my own thoughts. However, some things still managed to linger as I gave up writing on the topic.

First, the three most newsworthy incidents from this week resulted in GoFundMe accounts for survivors:

  • Close to $700,000 has been raised for a college fund for Alton Sterling’s children.
  • Well over $250,000 has been raised for Philando Castile’s family, primarily for his mother.
  • Just over $12,00 has been raised to be divided between the 12 officers and their families impacted by the Dallas shooting.

I am glad that the children of Mr. Sterling children and the mother of Mr. Castile have a chunk of  security to ease their certain financial troubles right now. However, I am trying to understand how so little money has been raised for twelve of the Dallas Officers (of which, five also died) who no doubt had and have loved ones who will struggle financially during this time and in the years to come. I hope that there is some piece of information that I am missing and that over time those numbers will be more closely aligned.

Also churning uneasily in my mind is our immediate response to the Facebook live video that Lavish Diamond Reynolds broadcasted. From the moment this story broke, her after-the-fact version became the gospel truth and people latched onto it without even a shred of critical examination. Perhaps her version is the gospel truth…but still, should we not have reserved some judgement until Officer Yanez’s account had been disclosed and examined?

After the initial wave of emotional reaction to both of the shootings (Castile and Sterling) and the Facebook video, more information about the events did become available. By this time, though, the media outlets had their preferred narrative and they didn’t seem to want to refresh the details. When I first read that Mr. Castile had been pulled over as a result of being a “person of interest” in regards to a robbery (as opposed to a busted taillight) AND that he had his gun in his lap and there was some degree of noncompliance on his part, I waited for my Facebook feed and newsstand aps to explode with chatter and articles that would continue  to examine this. One friend shared the same article I had read, but nothing more came.  This alarmed me as the realization set in that a critical examination of the details was not necessary in forming a public opinion. It seemed, to me, the consensus would mostly stand at the point that Mr. Castile was murdered in cold blood by an officer who took the opportunity to kill him for simply being black.

The issue of police over reach and even brutality becomes more complicated each and every day. I know it exists. I accept (without condoning), that depending on who you are, what you are, where you live, or who you know…your experience with the police may be very different from someone else’s. Personally, I have, more often than not, been treated with condescension and rudeness from my local police, and in times when I was not even “in trouble”. I can only imagine what others have experienced. With that said, I have also known a few officers, locally and outside my hometown, who were proud to serve their communities with integrity and kindness, sacrificing a great deal to do so. I can only imagine what they go through in a day. I often struggle to reconcile the two extremes in my own heart and mind.

Another disturbing piece to this week’s events…we sent a bomb carrying robot into a space with the intention of killing a person. This is a weapon of war that we have brought into our cities and it’s use will have far reaching implications, perhaps changing how we handle these types of situations forever. I am making no judgement as to whether it was appropriate to use it in Dallas, only as to where it might lead and if we as a people are ready for that. I simply don’t know, myself.

Lastly, I continue to loathe words like “white privilege” and “black lives matter”. Yes, I have read the little antidotes explaining why they are relevant and I understand the message that underlies the words. Still, I find they do more to divide people than to bring people together. This does not make me racist and it does not validate my so called privilege.

There will be many things to contend with on the upcoming weeks, months and years in regards to the unsettled state of our country. Sadly, there seems no hope on the immediate horizon for a true leader to bring us through these darkening days. The truly privileged will sit over us all and continue in business-as-usual-politics while we fight with each other. And somewhere, someone will livestream it all on Facebook. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe not.

Shaming Monica Lewinsky

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Shame is one of the cruelest emotions a person can endure. Monica shares how the “fame” of her mistake as a 22 year old young woman, in the new dawn of the digital age, impacted her young life. What she endured then would now easily be classified as cyber bullying and most would not have endured it.

Who hasn’t made a grievously embarrassing mistake? Only those who haven’t been fortunate enough (or brave enough) to have had the opportunity. These mistakes should never be what defines us as a person.

We have replaced the public stockade with the internet, reality shows, digital hacking, gotcha photos, and instant viral video. Compassion and perspective have been replaced with inhumane detachment and financial profit. Click. Click. Click. Share. Share. Share.

There are those, like Monica, who found the courage to step outside of the public humiliation and take control of their stories. Others, tragically, are overcome by the humiliation, the jokes, and the shaming and either live in misery or end their lives altogether.

For anyone that has made a mistake and was grateful that it wasn’t shared globally to a jeering crowd ready to humiliate you for as long as a laugh could be had. For anyone willing to smother shame with empathy, these 22 minutes are worth a listen.

Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame
http://go.ted.com/omE

Kite Festival

If your in Huntsville today, come by the Kite Festival and say hello! I’ll be at the SMART Recovery Huntsville booth spreading the good word about our FREE self managed addiction  meetings.

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Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

“This book is about moments, about being present in the moments that most challenge us and it’s about trusting that those moments build upon themselves…these moments can change our lives.”

-Amy Cuddy
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy at Amazon.com

Our bodies betray us.  People continually, often unknowingly, read our body language and make instantaneous judgements about who we are and what we can (or cannot do). These judgements are communicated back to us in many ways, sometimes reinforcing a variety of negative beliefs.

We can learn to adjust our body language, sending out only the specific messages that we want others to hear about us, but this book is not about that.  It is not about posturing or positioning yourself to be powerful or how to influence others into submitting to your real or perceived alpha dominance. It is not a guide to impacting other people.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges is about how we can connect our body to our mind, sending and reinforcing the messages that we are not powerless and that we are not imposters. Explaining the vital difference between having power over and having power to, this book is about how we communicate with our self and how our body plays a major role in that dialogue.

Exploring social power and personal power, Amy Cuddy clearly shows how we can harness our most immediate resource (the body) and begin to cultivate being present in our own lives. Examining her own research and the detailed research of others, you discover the how personality can be changed, the ways that the body retains trauma, the dynamics of body stance in everyday life,  how today’s technology impacts our physical presence  and much more.

While, change is often not an easy task, the concepts in Amy Cuddy’s book are relatively easy to immediately incorporate into your life and, over time, can produce life changing results. From a homeless man to children and workers in a variety of roles, you will be introduced to individuals who became physically present with themselves and the somewhat surprising life changes that followed.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges made it clear that making small (sometimes silly feeling) changes you can discover your most authentic self.