Poking my head up

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Little stories. Introduction

Everyone has a story, a life that is hidden or not so much from your view.

External and internal universes that are carried around surreptitiously, packed in an average human body. Most often than not buried six feet under at the end of the bodily life with minimal acknowledgement from the outside world.

I’m constantly curious about those stories, as they almost always surprising and extraordinary. So many supposedly average people, each unique and remarkable but unsung.

My hat is off to humanity on a daily basis even though we’re collectively having some big global issues.

The individual is what inspires me and gives me hope for next transition of the human species.

The funny thing about Mets is….

A few months ago I broke down and talked to my new doctor about my spouse’s melanoma.

He was diagnosed a month after the twins were born and given a poor prognosis. Fifty percent chance of survival at five years with treatment.

He had the original mole/tumor removed, and never went back.

Fast forward 2.5 years and I still have a lot of questions. He has more strange looking moles becoming more apparent.

My assumption is that it’s spread. I brought it up to the doctor, told him the timeline, and prognosis.

He was immediately concerned.

His first words we’re, “The funny thing about Mets is, they start off small and depending on where they are they can take a very long time to grow.”

I like this doctor… I think He should be a professor for how well explains medical stuff to me.

We discussed the locations and likelihood of growth in his lungs, internal organs and brain.

Even in the brain, there are many outcomes of growth of a metastasis.

So I watch and wait. I really don’t know what for. For illness I suppose, for unusual weight loss or behavior changes, or coordination issues.

I question his bleeding. He bleeds a lot in his sleep due to being a construction worker. Blood on the floor in the bathroom or toilet. I wonder an abnormal amount.

I’ve developed a back up plan of his behavior changes more than to be expected considering everything.

If he gets violent. Because that can happen… And we have kids.

I’ve tried to start looking at career options and due to being an almost 40 year old, and a stay at home parent, my chances of a normal career are slim.

I’m past being terrified, I’m just holding onto hope that maybe it’s a bad dream until the day comes that it’s just a terrible fact.

Cancer hides and so do some cancer sufferers.

And on a related note: check your skin once a month. Especially if you have a freckle or mole that is unusual. Don’t put off going to the doctor. Early detection and treatment increases survival by a lot.

Beauty

There’s a constant flow of talk about looks.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty is only skin deep

Too fat, too thin, too tall, too short

Is it media? Commercialism?

We’re all barraged daily in regards to beauty, its definition, its value and the consequences of not fitting that ideal.

Eating disorders, clothing hoarding, personal hygiene products, ointments galore, plastic surgery from face to genitals, and financial hardship all to chase an ideal.

But the concept of ideal beauty shifts with the wind, differs between cultures, and varies through the ages for men and women alike.

And 99 percent of us never make the cut.

How many relationships with good People are damaged on a daily basis from our skewed value upon the looks of people?

How many housewives are torn down daily by their husbands offhand remarks of how this woman (who looks nothing like her) is hot and all the rest are disgusting… how many little girls question themselves for It?

How many men beat themselves up because they’re never going to be the next Brad Pitt? And how many think that is what women want in a man?

Our view of beauty is ugly, how we treat ourselves and other who aren’t and will never be a “10/10” is ugly. Our value in the superficial aspects of humanity, the stuff that never really lasts is ugly.

Very few him and can make a living with their looks. Looks may help in the short term, but, it’s the beauty of the mind, the sheer will, hard work and integrity of people that gives us our community, and our ability to move forward.

Its the beauty of countless people sacrificing their time, their careers, their ideals to help others, to rear children, to give back to their communities which is beautiful.

It’s the creators and builders and dreamers, the counselors and hope givers that give a sense of belonging and richness, merging purpose and hope, and the thought of more in life which is beautiful.

It’s the mundane that we love about each other. The mundane stuff in our loved ones lives that due to the nature of intimacy, that is truly beautiful. How our children sleep or have tiny gestures that are their own, how our spouse hums while washing the dishes, or how a parent or grandparent spins a tale or leaves an item of care. Just in case.

Those things, are vulnerability and earnestness and compassion and empathy, they are representations of someone allowing you into the deepest most untouched parts of themselves. And each person is different.

And truly beautiful.

Looks come and go, but the person inside is there, the impact they have on us is there, and lasting. Even if their name is lost in the sands of time, their impact will always move forward.

That is beautiful.

And you.. you are beautiful ❤

For anyone who follows such things that involve the future of technology in civilization, they have most likely heard of Ray Kurzweil.

He’s mentioned and written about a very real probability that humanity will merge with tech treating it as a natural step in the progression of human evolution. He calls it The Singularity.

There are many questions that can be raised while doing thought experiments on the concept in itself.

  • First: Would all of humanity be welcome in the digital paradigm shift? How many people would join permanently, how many would be intermittent, and how many would resist?
  • Second: What would come of the psychological human condition? Individually as well as in groups?
  • Would technological advancement continue on the same curve, or would the addition of humans that may have never been involved in development outside of the singularity change the course and aspects of how technology is developed?
  • The Singularity may also arrive at around the same time that many jobs and careers are automated. Will civilization be prepared for the eventual financial bottom to drop?
  • Is this becoming reminiscent of Star Trek’s Borg concept? Possibly.

I have many other questions, but these seem to be rolling around my head most often as of late.

Feel free to respond if you want, I would love some feedback and discussion.

The big shift

There is a local first nations leader, Chief Clarence Louis. He leads the Osoyoos nation and he’s a business man, he’s funny, and he’s a hard ass.

The Osoyoos band though, has shifted remarkably into capitalizing on the resources of the reservation in a modern fashion, adapting to the tourism industry that the Okanagan is known for, and employing it’s people in the process.

The industries they chose are reasonably sustainable, and aren’t founded on mining, logging or removal of the resources There, and as tourism in the Okanagan goes, the industries are adaptable and are open to complimentary business.

Back to Chief Louis though.

As I said before, he’s a hard ass, he’s pushing for all first nations people to work. And for the young men to pull up their boot straps. And I think that he has many lessons to offer society in general.

For all of the hard working men and women out there, regardless of whether they are on a traditional career path, blazing trails, or at home rearing children (quite often with part time work), there are many people of all ages that aren’t working.

There are a myriad of reasons people don’t or can’t work, and I’m not writing to pass judgement, but to question how we view work in an economy that is changing rapidly.

If the estimates are remotely accurate, 25 percent of the workforce by 2025 will be replaced via automation. Add to that, the baby boomers that are marching towards retirement – a whopping 29 percent of the population of Canada alone, we are looking at almost 50 percent of the nation’s adult population unemployed and or unemployable at the same time.

That means government income tax revenue is going to take an incredible hit, yet will still be expected to provide the same level of social welfare programs.

The people working for the federal government have known about the pension shortfall coming with the baby boomers retiring en masse for at least 25 years, and yet are still ill prepared for it, and with the addition of the wild card that is automation, we are staring point blank at a very real fiscal crisis.

Not to mention the social implications of having half of the population with little to do to fill their lives and give them a sense of purpose and belonging.

Most himans thrive on feeling needed and wanted in their community on some level. They wish to contribute and derive dignity, purpose and varying types of relationships through work, and community service, and a livable income.

How do we ensure that people aren’t going to be left behind in this futuristic world that we’re building?

Shanty towns of impoverished people build along side the most advanced technological society that humanity can conceive at the moment seems like an absolutely ridiculous notion.

The concept has been explored for more than half a century, with varying outcomes in many fictional universes, it’s a reality in some cities around the world already.

As a person that sees the value in humanity, and the potential in individuals, I wonder what kind of solution could be created to move all of civilization forward, not just a select few (That will all likely become obsolete once full automation becomes a reality)

The Venus Project is a great concept, and as we begin to merge ourselves with technology, it could be better adapted to al people’s needs.

But the construct of money needs to be looked at, consumerism in itself is going to be a thing of the past if so many people aren’t going to be working.

A basic income is a great stop gap and it’s being tested, a town in Albert a has guaranteed housing for all people, and on a socioeconomic level it’s apparently going well.

But it all goes back to human contributions to this new society that is emerging. We need to do stuff, have something to wake up for, or we degrade.

Chief Louis is right, people need to work, we need to adapt, and have purpose. We also need a kick in the rear, because we are sitting on the pot with our pants down, and the door is unlocked.

It’s just a matter of time before inevitability strolls through the door and has a good laugh at our expense.

It’s time for the movers and shakers to pull up their boot straps, for the average Joe to prepare for a starkly different reality.

My wish for today

A conversation came up today about a woman that invented a self cleaning house. Her name was Frances Gabe, and she was a person that didn’t fit with the status quo.

She didn’t just design the house, she patented it, and 68 devices within the house were patented as well.

Most ideas get lost, as patenting is neither cheap or simple, marketing ideas is challenging because it’s all about getting people to part with hard earned money. Development never happens for the sake of it outside people’s garages or homes.

How many diseases cured, how many social problems, inventions, even just life simplifiers that would take some of the stress and anxiety away, haven’t happened due to lack of education to that person working minimum wage or manual labor in a developing nation with the right potential?

They may dream big, or not. Walking around day to day completely unaware that if given the right opportunity, they could help society move that tiny bit forward.

How many house wives, have ideas every day, even on a smaller scale like Frances did?

There’s a little toy wheelbarrow thong that you roll around and it picks up blocks. It’s just a matter of time someone combines it with a roomba and makes it able to pick up toys, clothes and dirt and holds it in a hopper for easy sorting, instead of bending over hundreds of times a day.

If I was smart, rich and had time I’d invent and build such a thing.

But, I’m in the majority. So because I hate bending over all day, and figure it’s a huge waste of spine and maybe I’m lazy, I sweep it in a pile and sort it in one spot once a day.

The industrial revolution and consumerism got us pretty far in advancements, but it’s all stalling now. Politicians are doing everything they can to help the rich squeeze the last bit out of a failing market that it becoming increasingly automated.

People are aware that job security is scarce, and mist, feel unfulfilled and lost in it all.

There needs to be an immediate fundamental shift in society if we wish to move forward, money, wealth need to become a thing of the past.

Reconnection to community, via use of skills, ideas and potential, acceptance of the eccentric for what they truly offer, opportunity to develop ideas and test them, develop them more. Just for the sake of it.

Give humanity the chance to flourish and see that individuals if they so choose a chance to explore their full potential.

How many brilliant minds have you met in your life, wasted via addiction and diseases of despair, just because they had so much to offer, but just weren’t shiny, cool, rich or connected enough?

I know at least six off the top of my head. Maybe more if I think for a while. It’s sad…

How many more before society sees value in doing fulfilling things for the sake of personal growth, curiosity, simplicity, or to help others?

This is my wish for today.

To see a fundamental shift in social values, and to negate the need for money as we know it.

Potential

My greatest vulnerability is potential.

Potential in others, in humanity at large, and potential in individuals. 

Potential has caused me the most joy and pain. But pain mostly.

I see the potential in everyone I meet, the wonderous things they are capable of, and somehow blind myself to their incapability and the undercurrent of imperfection that flows through every human vein.

Believe me when I say if you and I were to meet I would be a cheerleader for you, ìn whatever it is you do. Not because I feel like I’ll get something out of it more than just seeing you become a whole human. 

The problem is, a cheerleader is only as good as the team theyre cheering for. And although there are many many teams that will succeed in one way or another, or even move to greatness, there are many many other teams that maybe need better coaches and better tools, or even the will to play. Potential or not. 

I look into my kids eyes and blindly see their potential and wonder who they’re going to be, and stop myself. I weep. It really doesn’t matter who they will be… it matters who they are now.

This is my pain. Many relationships that I’ve allowed to become toxic because I just want to help people in some way move forward and be the best they can. 

That’s not my job.

My job is to be there and encourage or save space. Counsel if requested. Nothing more. 

Potential is heaven and hell, merging together in a first burning chaotic mess. 

And it’s not my place to look into the future, even my own. 

 Potential is what I’m wired for, and I need to somehow remove that programming before my heart breaks further.

The power of secrets

A couple of days ago I was watching a snippet of news and the anchor had brought up the current media storms revolving around Hollywood’s #metoo movement, and the several political leaders currently being examined by law enforcement and the media alike for sexual misconduct.

This anchor, a lovely middle aged woman, well seasoned in the spotlight and journalism, always appropriately sober faced in her role remained in character for her speech.

She talked about the power of secrets.

Perps using financial influence, authority and power to do as they will to others, depending on fear of the receiver of their mongering, advances or assaults to keep quiet.

Depending also on a biased social justice system that ensures that a victim must have somehow been responsible for the actions of the perpetrator.

They depend on the shaming and intense scrutiny, that comes along with making serious allegations such as sexual assault. They depend on the guilt and shame ridden emotional load to continually overwhelm their targets, and keep quiet.

Because secrets have power.

But what they are learning now, what anyone who has been paying attention is learning now… how powerful secrets are, and what can happen if secrets are used against the very people who created them.

Wikileaks was shocking, but not surprising, we all know the government hides stuff. Good and bad. But it’s not tangible to most people. At most it’s a surreal thing that gets talked about on the news by serious elderly anchors after the evening national.

But, as the hashtagged #metoo movement barreled across our world, the dialogues, the derailment and even outright shaming and abuse that came of this raw, festering and open global wound became apparent.

Not just women. Men came forward as well, some welcomed with open arms and others told off for trying to take the spotlight.

Sexual assault is terribly common, and knows no gender, age, race, or social bracket.

It does however know power, shame and secrets. And the people that commit assault use every tool possible to ensure they can carry on.

But those secrets are the Achilles heel. And we are certainly coming into and awakening where people are beginning to see that if they are keeping the secrets it is They, not the perps who actually have power.

Living with Purpose (1)

As a misfit, I’ve spent most of my 38 years on earth looking for my purpose in life.

I was raised Lutheran, and although I had a few moments of feeling like part of the church community, I always pushed for change. The church was very antiquated, had no youth programs outside of Sunday school, had an ageing congregation that spent more time preparing for their passage to heaven, or playing politics than really doing anything in the community at large.

Lutherans aren’t evangelical, they’re generally moderate protestant and follow a more apostolic doctrine th and what is shown with other Christian denominations on the media. 

I wasn’t evangelical, but I was thoroughly convinced that the reason I couldn’t engage and being is because there was nothing there for me. 

So I made a proposal to the church pastor for a youth group. He wasn’t keen. He also wasn’t a nice man. But I persisted, I asked I bugged, and badgered. For almost a year every Sunday I asked, I mentioned the idea to elders and was generally a thorn in the side of the church hierarchy. 

Along came the youth group leader. He was and probably still is fantastic, families started coming on more often, his youthful vibrance was contagious, there was youth performances in music and reverence renewed. 

Then the pastor had a falling out with an elder who’s daughter had a child out of wedlock. He refused to baptize the infant. There was uproar people leaving and so on. Then his wife showed up one day to church with a fist sized bruise on her cheek. 

I saw it. I saw the angry swollen skin that she must have painstaking caked makeup over while choking back tears. I was horrified, I felt so bad for her, and so angry at the pastor. 

A lot changed after that. The youth leader knew a young pastor with a young family, and many things changed. 

Including me.

I had questions, and even with a whole new church, there were never answers and I still never quite fit in. 

This was the first social change I’d made, and it’s been a continual trend.

What does this all have to do with purpose you might ask. 

I’m apostate at this point in my life, but I see that church even for the faithless has an important role in some people’s lives. The sense of community and belonging, the predictability and routine all can offer a sense of security. Community service and programs can help with the need for a sense of purpose in individuals.
I’ve always envied the people that I meet that knew what they were going to be early on in life, and somehow remained steadfast in that drive, and have accomplished their goals.

I envy it, because nothing ever clicked for long, and it’s taken years of personality tests and forums to compare experiences to understand that, by nature I’m not actually inclined for a singular Purpose, and it’s okay. 

So what does this mean? It means looking at the long term consistent activities in my life, even if there are lengthy stints and breaks.

Looking at things that may have seemed trivial or irrelevant (such as the above situation) and seeing my role in what happened in it objectively. 

That little fight to create change, and my persistence and fearlessness is a key to my purpose. Maybe my purpose is to find small things in life that could use improvement, persist until that thing is complete hand it off to the doers and people with the sense of purpose that fits, and then move to another thing. 

This is of course anecdotal, and each person is different. But for anyone sitting at home in their late thirties still wondering what they should be when they grow up, or what their purpose is, maybe it’s hiding in your earliest passions.