Thursday, April 21, 2016

Generation Prince

He was Generation X's Elvis, and so much more. Flaunting a new look, a new sound, and a lifestyle that was too sexy and edgy for the mainstream masses. Which is exactly how legends are made – by bursting through safety barriers to open minds and hearts to something new, and in the process, creating a deeper creative-awareness in the world than was there before.

At age 14, I screamed and cried for him at the Purple Rain concert, just like an Elvis fangirl would have done back in her day. Larger than life, Prince epitomized love, sex, romance, racial harmony, philosophy, musical genius, fashion forwardness and free-thinking. He had psychedelic ideas and he conveyed them in beautifully honest ways. I imagine that he created many of his dream worlds to escape his harsh and boring reality. There was no one and nothing like him in the world, and there never will be.

I don't even know how to process Prince's unexpected death, right after losing David Bowie — I feel like part of me, part of my generation is crumbling back into the earth. It's time to let go and make way for new legends, and to understand that they all get their own time.

Goodbye from this generation, from this time, Prince. Thank you for everything you gave us, which was nothing less than your entire self. 


Friday, April 8, 2016

embrace the opposition


Politics. Religion. Science. Fashion. Art. Entertainment. Food. Is there really any facet of our lives that doesn’t spark controversial conversation sometimes? Even angry conversation that leads to arguments and worse, wars? I’ve seen some pretty harsh stuff on social media lately (primary colors oh, my!) and my first instinct is to ignore it or hide it so that I don’t have to give energy to the negativity. My second instinct is to comment and get involved, though it’s a rarity if I do because social media is not just social, it’s also professional. 

I’ve got my reputation to keep palatable. It can be dangerous to be open about controversial topics. It can also be frustrating if you, like me, don’t enjoy angry conflict. Seen another way, though, all the "stupid crap" you see out there is a beautiful thing. Debate is integral to the high ideals of democracy. Our right to spew our opinions all over the place is a privilege that too many people have paid for with their lives. We all know this. The beauty I think we tend to miss goes deeper.

Our freedom of speech is representative of our freedom to be what we truly are, and to live peacefully within a mix of different ideologies, philosophies and personal ethics. It is a balance that creates the country we live in and systems we rely on. So the next time you you feel angry towards a politician or person for having a passionate opinion that differs from yours; the next time you shirk away from sound bites and information that makes you want to throw up, instead of recoiling or lashing out, try embracing it. Listen and appreciate it.

I am not suggesting you agree with it. I’m not suggesting you change your mind at all. What I suggest is being open and tolerant with everyone who would run the world differently than you would. Be grateful that we aren’t all the same! If everyone thought and behaved like I do, we’d be in some socialist, anarchist, artsy commune and I’m guessing things would fall apart. If everyone thought and behaved in any ONE particular fashion, I’m guessing things would head straight towards a dictatorship or a corrupt, highly limited society. Instead, embrace the balance that is created by living in a mix. Be vigilant against corruption and lies, yes! But opinions that are different than yours? Debate them healthily, and thank your God that someone is out there to do the jobs you can’t do, that someone is looking out for people who you don’t even think about, that someone is watching out for our safety from dangers we don’t even know exist.

The worst thing we could do is have one party win out in politics, or shut out people who we think are “different” than us. One of my favorite people lives right here in Ocala — I haven’t met him, and I often disagree with his politics, but he’s awesome! This guy hand-paints signs that he posts on his property and carries around town. He’s a shining example of democracy, it’s absolutely a beauty to behold his signs, my agreement doesn’t matter at all. I respect the way he engages in the system and gets his points across peacefully. 



Listen, learn, and above all, protect the freedom of speech that allows people to say things you despise.  We have such an amazing system when it’s used properly. We must shed light on corruption, abuse of power and crime… and we must encourage everyone to engage in debate and in the systems we have in place, ESPECIALLY if they don’t agree with us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Words to live by — manifestos eternally inspire and guide.

Life is no small thing, we would do well to center ourselves and take it seriously more often. Do the right thing, live by our rightest compass. A strong manifesto is important. We need words to live by. When you read the ones that connect with you, they change your life forever. A good manifesto will not only change your life the first time you read it, but it will continue to center you throughout life's twists and turns. It might come in the form of a personal or corporate mission statement, a political speech, a document that carries the change it speaks lawfully with it, or even a song or advertisement.

These are a few manifestos that continue to inspire me.

Apple's "Here's to the crazy ones," ad-turned-manifesto —
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

The Holstee manifesto —

Erin Van Vuren, poet, has many manifesto-type writings — (more here)


Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a dream" speech, a call to action manifesto — (exerpt):

I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brother- hood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. 

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream . . . I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. 

I have a dream today . . . I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

 

Declaration of Independence, probably number one as a way to live — (excerpts):


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. 
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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