Love Thy Neighbor

There is no ethical or moral code that ignores this basic principle. So many of the ills afflicting our minds and our society could be greatly mitigated by doing this one thing.

Certainly, there are many on the planet who believe this to be much harder than it actually is. They’ve seen the ugliness people are capable of up close. For many, their protection mechanism has become to blame the whole species.

There are a couple of simple mind shifts that can get us back on a more productive track.

  1. Stop blaming humanity for the faults of some humans. There are literally billions of good people out there trying to make their way in this crazy world just like you. Shift your focus to that fact.
  2. See people as individuals and each situation as unique. We have a tendency to generalize and categorize our way to a point where we don’t trust anyone or anything. Renew your commitment to see each person for the unique individual they are rather than grouping them into a label. See each situation as unique. The fact that you’ve been hurt in say a relationship, doesn’t mean that the best relationship you can imagine isn’t out there for you.

Love your neighbor. Give them the same chance you want and deserve. People will surprise you and you’ll find more joy and happiness in your interactions with others.

You know you’re amazing! Just reminding you.

Ray

Happy Star Trek Day – How Has Star Trek Positively Shaped Your Life?

TODAY’S QUESTION: WHAT POSITIVE IMPACT HAS STAR TREK HAD ON YOUR LIFE?

So, I know this question won’t resonate with everyone in the group. For those that it does resonate with, and you know who you are, what positive impact has Star Trek had on your life?

MY STAR TREK STORY

My story with Star Trek goes back to my earliest days back in the 1960s. I vaguely remember watching the last couple of seasons in the TOS original run. Then, fortunately, it went into reruns in Kansas City almost immediately on our UHF station.

That ran on late Saturday afternoons and I would stop what I was doing to go inside and watch Star Trek.

When Next Generation came along in the late 80s, it became and remains my all-time favorite television series. I hung on through DS9 & Voyager and then life intervened.

It was only years later that I doubled back and realized what a great series Enterprise actually was and have since consumed the newer series in real time.

For me, Star Trek has always been about Gene Roddenberry’s positive vision for humanity.

1) That there will be a time when humanity will set aside the worst in us and aspire to the highest in us.
2) That there will come a time, beyond our current economic models, where technology will abolish human need.
3) That there will come a time when humanity joins the family of advanced spacefaring cultures that likely populate the galaxy around us.

Roddenberry’s vision came about only after humanity self-destructed and rose again from those ashes. It has always been an remains my hope that we can reach these lofty goals without suffering through that fate.

More than anything, Star Trek taught me, from a very early age, to dream big both for myself and for our species. That vision has and continues to profoundly shape my world view. It has many times girded me against the impulse to turn cynical, give up on humanity.

We are a species with amazing potential and Star Trek is always there to remind us of that.

Happy Star Trek Day!

Ray

The Power of Looking People in the Eye

I’ve been on about a ten year mission to test an idea. I believe that when we take a moment to make eye contact with others, we see their humanity and remind them of ours.

It doesn’t work 100 percent of time. Some people will refuse or avoid making eye contact. Others will look away and then glance to see if you’re making eye contact.

In that moment when it happens, I often observe a breath and a smile from the other person. There’s something reassuring in knowing someone actually sees you. Ive seen it instantly change someone’s mood and shift conversation beyond surface pleasantries.

Many of us conduct five, 10, 50 interactions a day. There’s a tendency these exchanges to be mechanical an not very human. The checkout clerk at the grocery store and you put on your employee and customer role masks and conduct the transaction.

It’s enough to make us forget we’re engaged with another complex human being with a whole life beyond this transaction. It can allow us to see the line of customers as just a number or the checkout clerk as someone with the job to satisfy me and to let them have it if they don’t.

I take a different strategy. I ask them how their day’s going in a way that sounds like I care. I accept that the store, the restaurant, the bank can make errors and I’m prepared to give them the grace and the space to fix it.

Finally, I always close the transaction with a smile, eye contact, and a sincere thank you. Even if all they did is ring up two items. People aren’t thanked enough for what they do. They aren’t smiled at enough. They aren’t connected with the eyes enough.

We live in a world that seems to strip our humanity and steal the connections that make us all human.

This is one small way rehumanize each other in small doses throughout the day.

Wherever you are on your journey today, be proud of the progress you’re making.

Ray

Humanity Affirmation

Hello again, my friends. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe the affirmation below?

As I engage in the internet and in everyday life, I see – by their words and actions – that many, maybe most people don’t believe humanity has such lofty potential.

Let me ask you another question. If we don’t believe in it, then what are we doing? If we don’t believe things are or can get better, then what’s the point?

If we don’t believe it, we won’t make it happen. If we give it a chance, we have a chance.

I believe in humanity. I believe our best days are ahead of us. I believe a global, enlightened civilization is possible on the earth.

What if we flip the script? We start seeing the good in ourselves and each other and start using that as a foundation to build the kind of civilization we can believe in.

I mean if we humans won’t take our own side, who will?

Wherever you are on your journey today, know that you are awesome!

Ray

Some Days The Bear Gets You

The underrated philosopher Commander William T. Riker once said, “Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.”

Do you ever have days where it feels like there is some advanced consciousness working against you from the moment you roll out of bed?

I call them karma days. They’re days where you use up some of that bad karma you’ve stored up and the universe proves it has a sense of humor.

These days used to make me angry. Now, I find them kind of funny. I’ve learned they are necessary to the journey and they can be quite comical, if you allow it.

Overnight the the antibiotic I’m on for a bout of sinusitis began manifesting a rather unpleasant side effect.

This morning I went to log in to two systems at work. Both normally log you in automatically. Neither did today. I had to scramble around to find little-used passwords.

Then I ran some errands. I had big rig truck decide to stop right in front of me and conduct a three-point turn on a two lane road. I arrived at the bank ATM to find two vehicles in front of me. The first finished their business. The one right in front of me pulled up. The guy got out. Placed a couple cones between our vehicles and opened up the machine to work on it. These two incidents happened within five minutes.

I laughed, pulled around him to go find another bank, and noted to myself it’s one of those karma days. It seems I have about 10 of them a year. The lengths animate and inanimate things will go to to make things just a little more challenging than normal is amazing.

These days seem relatively immune to the power of our minds or our will. I think, instead, they are meant to teach us the valuable lessons of patience, compassion for the struggles of others, and the value in laughing at ourselves and not taking this big game as seriously as we sometimes do.

I’ve learned to ride the wave of insanity these days create and come out on the other side smiling.

I know I’m not alone in having these days. I know they can create stress, fear, and anger. I swear, though, if you’ll take a breath and a step back, you’ll find the humor and the value in them.

After all, the flower only grows when it receives the sunshine and the rain. So do we.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray