When People Stand Up

Today on one of my other blogs I shared about how CNN and MSNBC are stepping up to host climate crisis town halls with some of the 2020 presidential candidates. If you follow the news at all you know that a lot of people are talking about climate and climate issues, how there’s tons of melting up at the poles, how temperatures are fluctuating and hitting extremes that they haven’t before and how there’s increased concern over the earth’s ability to host us for as many years as we want to stay here.

What impressed me about the town halls is that CNN and MSNBC stepped up when it had been made clear that the regular conventions weren’t willing to have any type of discussion about climate, despite thousands of people asking them to. CNN and MSNBC had to work to find a loophole in the rules that allowed them to have these conversations, but they did the work and now there is political and very public conversation happening about climate.

This has reminded me about the power of many individuals standing up for what’s important and how crucial it is to stand up for what’s important. If we don’t make the effort to decide what’s important and stand up for it we’ll never make progress on the big issues in our world, rather they’ll continue to compile. It also gives me hope that someone is hearing what the masses are saying and doing what it takes to step up and actually respond.

We don’t have any answers on the climate crisis nor has there been a revolution of politics, but for the first time in a long time it feels like finally there has been a victory for the people. On the heels of some tragic shootings over the summer and in the middle of a devastating hurricane, it’s encouraging to have a victory. It shows that the voices of thousands spoken together do have an impact, that if we keep going, keep up the pressure, keep speaking up, and get a little creative, maybe we can finally make changes in our world that give our kids a safer and happier place to live and make our world healthier too.

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The Many Sides of Disconnect

When was the last time you thought about the term ‘disconnect?’ It’s a popular term right now with regards to separating yourself from the internet and internet-connected devices. People talk about doing tech detoxes, scheduling (limiting) their device time, and some go so far as to unsubscribe from popular sites. I appreciate technology as much as the next person, but I’m not one to be on my phone all the time, I don’t use all the popular apps and I don’t spend hours of my personal time each week on social media. I do like being able to reach out for help at any time, getting typically accurate answers with a few pushes and having a selection of books available anytime day or night and anywhere I may be.

There’s also the type of disconnect that thankfully is not very common or frequent, and that’s a power disconnect. Hopefully you don’t experience them too frequently or extensively where you are, but I experienced one recently and it reminded me, first and foremost, how blessed we are. With a few notable (mother nature related) exceptions we’re so blessed to have reliable power which brings us internet and heat and electricity to our homes and places of employment. I can’t imagine what it was like back in the years before reliable electricity where when the sun wasn’t up you only had the light of candles or a fire to depend on. Not only is it not very safe, it’s also not very illuminating and has lots of limits compared to what we have today.

There’s one more disconnect I want to talk about today, and that’s a disconnect between you and yourself and/or you and the rest of the world. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what’s going on either in our lives or in the world around us that we get disconnected from the other. Other times we get so sidelined by stress that we’re disconnected from everything and we almost would be comparable to a cat chasing their tail endlessly. It’s frustrating to feel the disconnect and it’s frustrating to see someone in our lives disconnected. If you’re continually hitting a wall in your pursuit of victories or communicating with someone, it’s likely that there’s a disconnect somewhere that you’re missing and until you see it and fix it you’ll keep struggling.

Disconnects can be good and they can be bad. If you’re feeling overwhelmed maybe it’s the right time to do a bit of disconnecting, and get some things off your plate for a time. But keep your eyes open and watch for disconnects that you don’t want or need in your life, the sooner you address them, the healthier your relationships will be and easier it will be to reach your victories.

Stepping Up

It’s almost funny how we adults shy away from questions that kids sometimes ask. Yes, as adults we do know more answers than they do (for example about the birds and the bees), but there’s still a ton that we don’t know. For instance why don’t we ask or investigate when something doesn’t seem right with someone we love? Why aren’t we asking when something in our bodies doesn’t seem right or frustrates us? Why aren’t we talking with our partner before we get to the point of everything being a screaming match? Why are we still using products that are poisoning us and our world?

Why aren’t we asking for help? Are the potential answers and solutions so scary and unacceptable that we choose not to ask the questions? Or else why are we avoiding the questions, especially when asking them could do a lot of good in our lives and the world?

It’s easier than ever to find answers, even multiple answers. It’s easier than ever to connect with other people who have similar questions and experiences as you do. We could be celebrating more victories instead of dealing with more tragedies if we would just step up and ask some questions and do some research.

So go ahead and step into the coming season.  Choose to be brave and live your life to the fullest.  Choose to ask the questions that may be embarrassing or seem obvious if and when you have them.  Choose to be curious and explore what seems interesting to you.  Choose to make smarter decisions that will better support you and the world we all share.  Choose to take the best path, not (just) the fastest or easiest.  And encourage others to do the same so that we can all have more victories.

Victories for Now or Ever

How often do you think about the concept of forever? I was watching a show the other day and in it a character got to the point in her romantic relationship that she understood it wasn’t going to develop into anything more than it was at that point. She had to make a decision regarding whether she was going to accept the limits on the relationship and be OK with that, or if she wanted something more/different/deeper. Sometimes in a relationship you don’t want more, you’re happy with what you have, or it’s OK for the time being and there’s no real reason to push for more or make changes. Other times you’re kind of stuck and it will be a more “forever” relationship like family or the parent of your child(ren).

The same is true for victories. You don’t always have to make forever decisions, changes or moves. You can make a “for now” move or relationship to help you go in the direction of your current victory, and then move on and make changes once you’ve accomplished that victory. And of course some moves you make will result in permanent relationships and changes that will forever affect you, hopefully in a good way.

Victories are both forever victories and in-the-moment victories. It’s an in-the-moment victory to complete a project for work, but it’s more of a forever victory to become a partner or manager at your job. It’s an in-the-moment victory to make a new dish for your family, but it’s a forever victory to successfully plan a family reunion event. It’s an in-the-moment victory to run the vacuum through the house, but it’s a long-term victory to get the whole place deep cleaned and organized. It’s an in-the-moment victory to eat a healthy meal, but it’s a forever victory to daily make good food choices. It’s an in-the-moment victory to be polite to someone, but it’s a forever victory to choose a good relationship over one that causes harm.

Life is about the for-now moments and relationships as well as the forever ones. You don’t have to be on one side of the fence all the time or the other, and sometimes even forever victories are really only very memorable victories, not those that last forever. Are you placing the right amount of importance and effort into your victories?

In Everything A Victory?

Like many other people I’ve been reflecting on the horrible events over the past couple of days and weeks that resulted in the deaths of people in the US in 3 violent shootings. At least one of the incidents would have resulted in much more sorrow and lives lost if not for the quick actions of police. As I was watching one of my typical cop shows today and watched the wrap up on the screen indicating how many years people got for the murder they had committed the question popped into my mind ‘where’s the victory in this?’

No, I don’t think every single thing you do has to be about achieving a victory.  That said, if you really think about it you can attribute a victory to most things you do from showering to eating to reading to sleeping to working. But where’s the victory in shooting up a club or store or school? What do you really get from doing that? What’s the win? Is it just to show hatred? Is it to show how “powerful” someone is? Is it out of some sort of attempt at justice? I understand defending your home or hunting for food/animal population control, but where’s the sense in shooting up a place or bunch of random people?

As I said every action, every decision doesn’t have to be about a victory, but maybe if we did work on making more victories we’d be able to avoid some of these incidents. Maybe by focusing on creating victories we’d procrastinate less, make better and more thoughtful decisions, actually tackle our to-do list, and have healthier relationships.

Going back to what we talked about at the start of the post, yes, you could call it a victory that the person who committed the murder is dead or in jail for life.  But while that may fit with the definition of victory, it really isn’t a victory because victories in my mind have to be positive.  And there’s nothing positive about life lost or wasted.

If you’ve been struggling with your to-do list, goals, or victories, do I encourage you to try making everything about accomplishing a victory.   But what I really hope happens as a result of these tragedies is that more people choose to make a positive impact on the world in the time that they have.   Putting more good into the world can only do good things for each of us and the world we all share.

A Different Victory

Lately I’ve been struggling to figure out how to make victories in some areas. It’s frustrating when you’re doing what you think works or what has worked in the past and it’s just not working. Do you try harder? Do you keep pushing through and hope there’s a breakthrough? Do you just give up? What do you do?

As I was thinking about this I was reminded about something my partner and I talked about doing this year, and that was trying new and different things, which got me thinking about doing things differently when it comes to victories. How sometimes what it takes to get to victories is changing the plan, doing something new, doing something different, or bringing into the conversation someone new or different. Sometimes ‘different’ is a small tweak, but other times it’s a completely different something, something you haven’t thought of or tried yet.

The challenge with thinking about doing something different is knowing what you don’t want to do or what you can’t do and trying to find something that does work at the same time. For example if someone was having trouble with one of their kids and they’ve tried all of the typical techniques, getting rid of the kid isn’t a viable option, they would have to do something different other than that.

If you’re feeling stuck I would encourage you to do what I’m going to do, and that’s sit down with pen and paper and do some brainstorming on what you could do different. Maybe you need to open the conversation up to someone else or several other people and get together to talk about any and all options you can both/all come up with. Having the conversation with others increases the likelihood of coming up with a viable different option. If you’re not comfortable having the conversation with someone else yet, go ahead and just do the brainstorming on your own for now. Get creative and don’t reject any ideas, just write them all down. Once you’ve got them all on paper you can go through them and think about how well they might work for you, if they feel right, and which would be easy to give a try to sooner rather than later. If none of them strike your fancy, then come back to them another day and review the list then, and keep adding to it until you hit on something or several somethings different that work for you.

Waste Not Want Not

I don’t know about you but I don’t like to be wasteful. Sure, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, we get something we think we’ll like and that ends up not being the case and we can’t return it, sometimes we forget about something, or on the other side of things on rare occasions we may intentionally choose to pamper ourselves and go all out and splurge which to some would be wasteful. As far as splurging/pampering goes, I know plenty of people who have gone ahead and splurged in one way or another and felt it was an excellent use of resources. No, it wouldn’t be something they do on a regular basis, but every so often it’s nice to do something special. And when it comes to waste, we’re all human and these things happen.

But I think there’s an important distinction to be made between habitual waste, an accident, and a mistake. A mistake is something that we really did have plans for and really did want/need, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out that way and it was an oops (not something we’ll do again or do often). An accident would be when the power goes out and you lose all the food in your fridge and freezer. You didn’t intentionally cut the power to your house so you could waste food, something totally out of your control happened. Habitual waste for example is when you go to the grocery store and buy more food than you can eat before your next trip, large quantities of foods you’re not sure you would like (and don’t end up liking), or just buying new and not making use of what you have in your closets on a regular basis.

I always try to be conscious of the resources I consume, how much I hold on to, the ways I live my life and how that’s impacting my productivity and victories, and how much I’m spending vs. earning. But I think we can all do (a little) better, and that’s one thing I’ve been working on lately, and so has my partner. It’s also a movement in the food world to accept not-so-pretty produce and be more conscious of where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. It’s also a movement in the world to consider the packaging things come in and how well we’re recycling things and caring for the earth.

If you want to make a difference even in a very small way this week you can choose to use what you have, to maximize your resources, to pay attention to how you’re living, and make smart decisions and actions that would have a positive impact on your life and bottom line as well as the lives of others and this planet that we all share.

Are you being wasteful of what you’ve been blessed with, purchased, contributed to, or been given?  If we all were a little more careful about our usage, we’d be better off at the end of the month, better off when the next climate report comes out, and better off when it comes to being accountable for our treatment of the planet and each other.