Blog Post # 331 – Live! Without A Net!

What if people were always watching?

Last night, I listened to 2 attorneys argue legal issues surrounding President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration.

The court of appeals streamed the entire argument so that the whole world could hear.

On Sunday, millions and millions of people around the world watched as the Atlanta Falcons lost a very winnable game to one of the toughest, coolest team in NFL history, the New England Patriots.

Imagine if every job required such public exhibitions.

Modern day high-wire acts.

What if how we performed our jobs was played out on (inter)national television or streamed live over the interwebs?

I wonder if it would change how we do our jobs.

I enjoy creating content live and on the fly – YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.

But I usually have some editorial control before we release them.

When you are live, without a net, it changes the experience.

Both for us as the participant and for the listener/viewer.

What if we lived our lives as if the whole world were watching?

Or listening?

We would probably get a whole lot better at our job.

An interesting thought experiment? Yes.

But also an opportunity to examine how we go through our day and consider how we might act differently if we knew everyone was watching.

Not sure where that leads, but it does seem a clarifying question.

Part of me thinks this sounds like a horrible idea.

But we do spend a tremendous amount of time watching others – television, Facebook, etc.

We can share a lot of ourselves.

Even now.

Even with our safety net.

Blog Post # 330 – You’re Not Dead

You’re not dead.

Not yet anyway.

You’re still breathing.

Fill your lungs and run.

You still have legs.

Stand.

You still have a voice.

Speak out.

You still have arms.

Lift, point, fight.

No more excuses.

No more whining.

Get up and do something.

Do something.

Do something.

Keyboard warriors don’t amount to much.

What are you prepared to do?

Today.

Not next week. Today.

You’re not dead.

Time to make this life mean something.

For today.

For our collective future.

Stand. Again.

Blog Post # 329 – Logical Consequences

When the boys were little (and before our daughter was born), my mom taught me how to teach my kids about logical consequences.

Consequences that naturally flow from their misconduct.

They hit their brother, they go in time out.

They yelled about turning off the PlayStation, they lost the ability to play it the next day.

This was very effective, especially when the consequence was something that the boys really cared about.

You get the drift.

Fun fact.

Logical consequences work in the real world, too.

You break the law, you go to jail.

You tell a bunch of “alternative facts,” you don’t get invited onto the Sunday talk shows for a while.

You eat too much and don’t exercise, the pounds pile on.

You come down on the sideline to bask in the glory of your Falcons victory too soon, you look like a goat when Tom Brady leads the comeback of a lifetime.

Considering and remembering the possible, logical consequences can motivate us to make good choices.

Dan Sullivan has a mental hook that he uses whenever he is working on a project.

He spends a little time thinking about what a great outcome would look like.

But he spends a whole lot more time thinking about all of the bad things that could happen.

The worst case scenario.

The possible, logical consequences.

For today, let us think before we speak, ponder before we act and consider the logical consequences of our actions.

Might make for some better decision-making today.

Blog Post # 328 – A Time of Firsts

This is a time of “firsts.”

First time to join a march.

First time to call our Senator or member of Congress.

First time to write a letter to the editor.

Thank you to all of the people who are taking action.

Even small ones.

They make a big difference.

Not everyone has massive amounts of time to devote to civil engagement.

In fact, most folks don’t.

But whatever you can do, it helps a lot.

Engagement in the process is essential to fixing this country.

Fact is that less than 50% of American citizens cared enough about this election to simply show up and vote.

That has to change.

And it will change if we stay focused and engaged.

Remember, there is a fundamental difference between thinking about getting involved and actually getting involved.

It takes a shift in mindset.

And a willingness to take a risk.

Even prayers take risk.

But for now, we really need even more action.

Thanks and gratitude to everyone who is finding themselves getting involved.

Love you.

Blog Post # 327 – The Opportunities Are Endless

Everything is an opportunity.

Everything.

If we struggle with our weight, it is an opportunity to change our diet and to start exercising.

If we lose our job, the world presents us with an opportunity to grow into something new.

The things that may, at first glance, appear to be horrible, offer us an opportunity to stretch ourselves.

To grow.

To adapt.

To learn how strong that we really are.

Some of my greatest challenges have resulted in real growth.

Right now, we face a harsh new world with an imperialist President.

This too is an opportunity.

Our job is to find the opportunity.

And in doing so, we will find ourselves.

Will we rise to the challenge?

No matter how bad things are, we have the opportunity to rise.

For today, let us find the opportunity in all of our challenges.

Big and small.

And thereby find what we are really all about.

Blog Post # 326 – The Wisdom of Willie

When I was 12, my father took me to the World Series.

Game 2. Brewers vs. Cardinals.

Our starting centerfielder was a rookie named Willie McGee.

#51.

Willie made some amazing plays in that Series, including an amazing stretch to steal a home run ball from Milwaukee’s Gordan Thomas on the road at County Stadium.

Willie is the Cardinal player that I love the most.

I have one uniform that I wear regularly and it is Mr. McGee’s.

Once, Willie was asked how he stayed so positive and always seemed to be happy.

Willie replied, “some people … when they walk in the room …. the room lights up.”

“Other people … when they leave the room … the room lights up.”

Willie said he always wanted to be the first type of person.

I thought of this yesterday when I was working out at the gym.

I’m doing this routine where I lift weights and then jump on an elliptical or treadmill between sets.

When I got on the elliptical for the first time, I could overhear a conversation between a man and a woman.

The woman was complaining about how her sister was treating her unfairly.

I tried not to listen, but the woman was cussing, badmouthing and criticizing her sister for the entire two minutes.

I finished my cardio and went back to the weights.

Next time that I came back, the woman was complaining about her neighbor.

I went away and came back.

Now she was pontificating about how terrible her job was.

The man nodded dutifully while she went on and on.

For me, I choose not to go through life like that.

Bitching about everything. Mad all of the time.

I’m sure this woman had things to be upset about.

But that is just not how I want to live.

I’d rather be like Willie.

Lighting up a room.

Being a light for other people.

And spreading joy and love instead of anger and discord.

Peace, y’all.

Blog Post # 325 – Down Time

More down time.

We need more down time.

TV talking heads muted.

Telephone off while charging.

Twitter and Facebook feeds ignored.

A lot going on in the world, obviously.

But we cannot live and breathe it for 24/7.

It cannot consume us.

We need more head space.

Time to chill.

Time to laugh.

Time to play.

This is true now, in the most disruptive of times, more than ever.

When we are organizing, advocating, protesting, posting, reading or educating, we should be all in.

Giving complete focus to the important work at hand.

But we have to – have to – give ourselves the mental space to refresh and recharge.

My friend Marwan looked at me the other day and said, “you look tired.”

I was.

I knew that I needed some mental space.

So when I got home, I turned everything off and chilled.

Came back ready to fight again the next day.

Take care of yourself. Don’t give that away too.

Blog Post # 324 – Freeze Frame

Sometimes, we eat dinner in the kitchen nook as opposed to the dining room.

I like this as all 6 of us sit in nice and tight.

But it is not without its risks.

Punching periodically occurs.

For the most part, however, it works out just fine.

Last evening, all six of us sat around the table and Amany asked everyone to talk about their day.

Yusuf told us how he was enjoying learning about the Cold War.

Ismail, as he often does, talked about some new Adidas tennis shoes that were coming out.

Noor mentioned how much fun she had in P.E. as they were practicing for indoor Olympics.

Ibrahim told a silly story about his friends.

At one point, all five of them were talking.

At the same time.

It got pretty loud in our little kitchen nook.

I paused.

And soaked it all in.

In the not too distant future, Ismail will head off to college.

Yusuf will leave one year later.

Eventually, Ibrahim and Noor will head off into the world as well.

I took a screenshot of that moment and focused on it very deeply.

A freeze frame.

God willing, one day, it will just be Amany and I in the house.

The house will seem very quiet.

And I’ll remember the ruckus, the energy, the yelling and the punching.

I suspect that, at that moment, I would trade an awful lot to have one more dinner in our kitchen nook.

Savor everything.