Eight Years….Has It Changed Us? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday September 11, 2009

Whatever anger rules anger destroys. Wherever love pervades, hope and possibility flourish.

Eight years ago today the world witnessed what happens when hatred and violence shape human actions. September 11, 2001 was the world’s first truly global terrorist event. The scale, the number of people from around the world gone in a moment, and the planetary TV audience brought us all closer together, if only for a moment.

In the days that followed, I wrote the following open letter. It was partly an attempt to come to terms with my own feelings and partly an attempt to sway anyone who might have been reading that we must find better ways to live together on this planet.

Here is the letter in its entirety from September 14, 2001.

This letter is dedicated to the victims, their families, the rescue workers, and everyone who is a voice or a pair of hands for a more peaceful world.

The events of this past week have shocked and saddened all well-meaning people the world over. As an American, my heart breaks for the people tragically victimized by this act. As a human being my heart hemorrhages, that we still live in a world that believes killing each other is a solution to our problems. How regrettable that we human beings still choose to address our grievances with each other in such destructive ways.

It is devastating to witness the results of such hatred, bigotry, and violence in action. No cause, no complaint against the United States can ever justify the actions taken by these fanatics. Their misguided interpretation of their beliefs and their unwillingness to see Americans as fellow human beings, worthy of life, caused them to conclude that any action against America was justified. The outpouring of human emotion and determination this week from around the world should let them know they have crossed a line drawn by all civilized societies and sane human beings.

In our effort to draw that line, we bring ourselves into danger. Not only the physical danger of responding to their actions, but the psychological and spiritual temptations to become like the terrorists to defeat them. If we allow our desire for revenge on groups of people to overcome our need for justice for the individuals responsible, we are in danger of becoming undifferentiated from them. If we succumb to the fear resulting from the terrorist’s actions and curtail the basic liberties we hold dear in our society, then the very thing that sets us apart and is worth defending becomes a victim of these acts. Ben Franklin, the wisest of our founding fathers, said, “Those who give up their liberty for a little temporary security, shall have neither liberty nor security.” Our leaders and our citizens would do well to recall these words as we address what measures should be taken to balance our freedoms with our security.

This week has been a time for grief over the deaths of many of our fellow-citizens as well as a significant number of foreign nationals representing more than 40 countries. By this measure, this was indeed an attack on the entire civilized world. As grief turns to anger and then to action, it is important for us to measure our actions and do what is right not just what would make us feel better. In the aftermath of these events, we might feel justified in doing almost anything. We may believe that retaliating against innocent people or attacking our fellow citizens who might look or share the same religion, in name, as the terrorists is acceptable. Such actions would only make us guilty of sinking to the same level as these criminals. As Americans it is our responsibility in the world to set a different example and show the world different and better ways to solve problems. Simply responding in kind will surely bring a cycle of violence, whose results we cannot predict, and leave us with the same long-term problems experienced elsewhere in this world when violence becomes the only means of communication.

There is plenty of suffering to go around. The victims and their families are suffering, our country is suffering, and the world is suffering as we relive these events on videotape over and over again. In this time of righteous anger, it is also important to contemplate the amount of self-inflicted suffering that must be necessary for any person to carry out this kind of terror. It is a time to reflect on the ways in which we all bring suffering into our lives and the lives of others. It can be a time when, in addition to justice, we seek new ways of relating to each other and working for a world where no one feels either the right or the impulse to inflict such things on others. Suffering was brought by these attacks. Killing more people in response will only increase suffering not bring solutions.

So from tragedy comes opportunity. We have seen this week the heroism of those working directly to help the victims, so there is opportunity to demonstrate our humanity one to another. There is opportunity to reflect on a world that we all create everyday with each thought, word, and action. There is opportunity for all sane and civilized peoples to work together to end the scourge of terrorist violence wherever it occurs. It is justice we must seek, though, not revenge.

Finally, we have the opportunity to start seeing the other people we share this planet with, even those different from ourselves, as human beings just like us. The temptation to divide the world into “us” and “them” is the thinking that created justification in the minds of these terrorists for their acts. To the extent we have all perpetuated this concept of the world, we have all created a fertile field for the conflicts we continue to endure here on planet earth. No religion teaches nor accepts acts like we saw this week. Every religion, however, does teach us to love our fellow human beings. To the extent we fail in the latter, we can all expect more of the former.

Let’s not permit this horrendous tragedy to occur and these deaths to be meaningless. Let us commit, even as we seek justice for these crimes, to create a world where such acts are unthinkable ways of making a statement, even for the most radical among us. An event like this should fill us with hard questions, not easy answers. Let us rally around our flag to seek justice, not as means of supporting a response yet more fierce and destructive in nature. Blood for blood has never brought people anything but more blood. May these events lead us to a greater self-awareness and a more reflective, just world. In that way, we can honor the memory of those lost in New York and Washington D.C, and Pennsylvania.

Some may believe this to be an unattainable goal. One thing is for sure, as long as we believe it to be impossible it will be. Despite our best efforts, crazy people may persist, but as a civilization and as individuals we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek that kind of world. May those who have suffered loss, find solace in their faith and the people around them. May those who are responsible be brought to a civilized justice. May we all find peace in our hearts and greater peace in our world!

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I Have A Dream – The Affirmation Spot for Monday January 19, 2009

Today’s Affirmation:

“I believe in the future of humanity. I believe our species’ most prosperous, peaceful, and enlightened times are ahead. I am living my life in a way that turns that belief into reality.”
(Click the affirmation to hear the mp3 version)

Today I am recognizing the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday. As has become tradition on this blog, I am doing so by posting the video of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech delivered August 28, 1963.

This week – regardless of your political point of view – an historic step towards Dr. King’s dream becomes a reality with the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of The United States. It’s unlikely that even Dr. King anticipated such a big step so soon.

While Dr. King’s speech was aimed at the specific circumstances in The United State in the early 1960s, it’s message is timeless and transcendent. It is a message that needs to be heard in Israel and Gaza, Pakistan and India, Iraq and Afghanistan, and, yes, in the halls of power in Washington, London, Moscow, and elsewhere.

In too many places, man’s inhumanity to man is the rule of the day. Let us – all six billion of us – heed Dr. King’s wise words. Let us create a new dream where Israeli and Palestinian children walk arm in arm. Let us create a world where we work together to bring about justice.

Then, we too, can say, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty. We’re fee at last.”


Runtime is 17:57

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be.”
MP3 version of this affirmation

Five Principles of Gratitude

 


little girl and teddy bearIn The United States, we are entering the Thanksgiving season. It’s a moment to stop and reflect on how much to be thankful for – your spouse, children, grandchildren, your health, your job, or even food on the table. Even if you have none of those things, you have life and the opportunity to grow and to change. That is a the greatest blessing of all and everyone has that.

Here are five simple principles of gratitude that help you achieve it.

  1. Acceptance – we may not always like the way things are. We may want to change them. Acceptance is not acquiesence. However, to feel gratitude, we must learn to accept what is in this moment. It does not mean giving up on the change we hope to create, but rather surrendering to what is at this moment.
  2. Appreciation – we experience more gratitude when we take the time to more fully appreciate the people around us and the many blessings that come into our lives. If you feel a lack of gratitude, things to be thankful for are right there for the remembering. (58 Things to be Thankful For)
  3. Giving Back – we often feel gratitude when we receive. However, the reciprocal nature of giving and receiving promises that the more we give the more we will receive. By giving, we are setting ourselves up for more opportunities for gratitude in our lives.
  4. Honesty – gratitude is definitely one of the most sincere, authentic emotions we can experience. There is nothing phony or contrived about true gratitude. It is a feeling of connection and genuine love for our time here on Earth.
  5. Happiness – Happiness and gratitude are inseparable twins. It’s almost impossible to be happy without a sense of gratitude and certainly gratitude breeds happiness. If you want to feel more gratitude, be more happy. If you want to be happier, try a little more gratitude.

I recently wrote and recorded three gratitude affirmations and posted them to my website.These affirmations are written to help you remember to be thankful for the wonderful things in your life.

Click Gratitude Affirmations to view the text of these affirmations, hear excerpts, or download them in mp3 format.

Stay inspired and be thankful!

Ray

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAuthor Graham Hancock has called humanity, “a species with amenisia.”

Ray’s speculative fiction novel, Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation delves into the mysteries of the human past and speculates on humanity’s possible future. The book is the first in a trilogy and follows White House Correspondent Maria Love as she uncovers an age-old deception holding humanity back. The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance.

Order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com.

We All Make A Difference – The Affirmation Spot for Monday November 17, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

“Blessings fill my life and I am thankful for each and every one.” (click the affirmation to hear it in mp3)

Today’s blog feaures a song I discovered on YouTube over the weekend. The song has a great message and will definitely give you some things to think about this Monday morning. Runtime is 5:59.

The song is titled “We All Make A Difference”

A Veterans’ Day Thought – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday November 11, 2008

Today’s quote:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

~ John F. Kennedy

amflag_rsToday we are commemorating Veterans’ Day. The history of this day is an interesting one. For 36 years the day was celebrated in The United States as Armistice Day. November 11 marked the day in 1918 when World War I ended. Ironically, The Armistice – the agreement that ended fighting – was signed “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

The day was officially recognized as a holiday beginning in 1938. The bill that made Armistice Day a holiday stated that it should be, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

After World War II, some people suggested the holiday should be expanded to include all veterans. The bill establishing Veterans’ Day was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954.

Today we remember the Veterans who risked or lost their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. The impulse to sacrifice for others is a noble one. For that sacrifice, the veterans of wars past and present deserve our respect and our thanks.

Our responsibility, as citizens, however, is to ensure that we hold our leaders to a tough definition of what constitutes legitimate uses for our armed forces. That standard has become dangerously low in an era when these decisions are made on emotion rather than reason. It has been muddied by interests whose main driver is neither the defense of the nation nor the interest of the troops, but profit pure and simple.

Our soldiers have a right to insist that we are clear on who the foe is and why they are the foe BEFORE we commit them to sacrifice. They won’t ask. They are committed to their task and to the command structure. Their love of nation compels them to act even when we have not done our job for them.

We must insist that our leaders not call for these sacrifices unnecessarily. Holding leaders accountable is our responsibility and our soldiers rely on us to do that for them.

One of the best things we can do for veterans is to do our part to create fewer of them in the future. This is our charge as citizens in a free society. The soldiers’ job is to follow orders. Our job is to make sure politicians respond to our core values.

To every veteran who reads these words, “THANK YOU”. We honor the fact that you stand ready to protect us. We must do a better job of honoring you by limiting the sacrifices we ask you to make.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Obama Won, But Now What? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday November 7, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

(click to hear it)
“Recession proof…I have the skills and the confidence to compete in a tough economy.”


Today I am looking for some feedback from you. The United States elected Barack Obama as its next president on Tuesday. Now What?

Leave a comment to share your hopes and concerns about the new administration. What do you think are the potential positives about the new administration? What gives you concern? What would you like to see the new president address in his first term?

Most importantly, how do we use this moment to re-empower ourselves as citizens and human beings?

Stay inspired!

Ray

Obama Wins: Long Election Ends on a Positive Note – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 5, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

“I believe in the future of humanity. I believe our species’ most prosperous, peaceful, and enlightened times are ahead. I am living my life in a way that turns that belief into reality.” (click the affirmation to hear it)

“Yes we can!” After last night, who can honestly argue? If nothing else, Barack Obama’s rise from unknown to the presidency proves that all is possible in The United States of America.

Whatever your political leanings, last night was a breakthrough night that will be remembered by all Americans for generations. For a large segment of the population, the night was the realization of a seemingly unattainable dream. This is proof again that dreams do not rely on reason, but on our willingness to continue to pursue them.

After more than 20 months and nearly $1 billion spent, the U.S. presidential election came to an historic end last night. Senator Barack Obama who inspired America’s youngest voters and many others in a way not seen in decades, won an overwhelming victory over Senator John McCain.

Current Results

Electoral Results

  • Barack Obama 338 (349 from new outlets projecting Indiana for Obama)
  • John McCain 161

Popular vote

  • Barack Obama 62,531,378 (52%)
  • John McCain 55,446,011 (46%)

Support him or not, Mr. Obama’s victory offers the hope of a new start for The United States. There is a chance to heal old wounds and move forward to something bigger and better for this country. There is a chance to restore American leadership on this planet in the positive way that can move it forward.

It is a moment for celebration for new possibilities. How the President-elect will govern remains to be seen. Clearly, the challenges facing the nation are such that he cannot be granted the kind of blind support George W. Bush’s followers granted the outgoing president.

The country’s needs demand that he really be a president of the people and not simply a new package for the same old top-down control. We have elected him, but the question remains who is Barack Obama?

The expectations and the promise are as high as the challenges.

This election is not about Barack Obama or John McCain. It is about the American people reasserting their will over a bipartisan government that has too often failed to heed the will of the people. It is up to all of us to ensure that is the ultimate outcome.

Last night Mr. Obama began with an inspiring victory speech and Senator McCain gave a generous and gracious concession speech. Mr. McCain’s speech did not douse the social fires intensified by the rhetoric of this campaign, but it was a strong and principled call for the nation to do so. The speech gave the nation a glimpse of the John McCain many Americans from all sides respect.

The two speeches are below. Stay inspired!

Ray

John McCain’s Concession Speech from Phoenix.

Barack Obama’s Victory Speech from Grant Park in Chicago.

Obama Victory Speech (two parts)