Keep Climbing the Hill

” Consistency is what shapes you” ~ (Thanks, Massey Campos, I’m trying!)

Real Life Entry: It’s Thursday afternoon, and I have hours of work yet ahead of me. I am behind – on so many levels. So much is on my mind, and I am headed into a very busy weekend of double shifts. I want to write about what it looks like to really take responsibility, but I don’t even know where to begin with how that looks in my life.

This year I have learned that I have not aged as graciously as I might have liked. My patience for 20-something, self absorbed drama queens in the workplace, has waned. I’m over it. This is probably highlighted for me by the fact that my last team of coworkers was absolutely incredible, and my boss, the best I ever had. The transition to here and now, glaringly stands out from that. But, I don’t want to sit at a desk all day + OT. My lower spine says; “screw you, lady!” There is the rub. Well, that and Tennessee!

Judging from what my self employed friends say, self employment is a taxation nightmare – but I don’t care. I am looking into every way possible of getting off this merry-go-round. This has involved a lot of consideration of what function social media has played for me, how I transition that, what other kind of sacrifices I might have to make, and so on. Why now? I ask myself that. All I can answer is that I have finally gotten desperate enough. I’m turning 42 this year, I have goals I would like to reach, I have people and places I would like to visit and interview in order to highlight on my blog – something has gotta give.

I have just started getting into some affiliate marketing things, listened to every Tom Woods podcast there is on entrepreneurs and the like, and various other things of that nature. In the meantime, I am playing catch up, my free time is dwindling, the chiropractor should just move in, and I need a personal trainer (hellooo accountability)!

By some miracle of God – I totally believe it is – I at least feel very optimistic. Maybe not every second of the day, but enough to get by. Of course, there are those moments when I feel like I am climbing up a rock wall without a harness – don’t look down!

So I guess; anything can happen. A year ago I was in Spokane, feeling like it just wasn’t home anymore, wondering what might be next, or if I was stuck. Optimism was more fleeting. Today, here I sit in my Nashville townhouse, with my roommate’s chocolate lab trying to lick me to death, writing this blog post while I think about how much I can accomplish this week – even though it will be hard. It’s so different, in so many ways. I would be amiss not to mention the crazy amount of prayer that has gone into my decision making process. But here I am, climbing the hill. Who knows what might be on the other side, eh? 😉

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Peterson

I have often considered the differences in telling people a hard truth, vs. telling them a comfy lie, or just not confronting anything at all. I truly believe that we do people a disservice by not telling hard truths – obviously time, place, and relationship all have to do with how this plays out – however, by not doing so we are taking it into our own hands, whether or not that person should have the opportunity to grow by tackling difficulty. By telling the truth, we at least give them a choice in how they are going to respond. Our culture at large is so obsessed with “sensitivity,” and “trigger warnings,” etc., that we are attempting to over-protect people to death. This is simply not representative of the state of nature and the real world. We are reducing these people into beasts who need someone to rule over them. Many of us know that ends badly – not in a pillow laden room with puppies.

I am eternally grateful for people in my life who have told me true words that I needed – but at times didn’t want – to hear. I have had to make a lot of hard choices – especially in my younger years – to break free of mindsets passed on to me, and to change bad habits. I am not perfect by any means, but I can look myself in the mirror in large part because of the things I chose to face. The battles I have won have given me a self respect that cannot be taken away, and as I continue to struggle, I only gain more.

This, I believe, is one reason why Jordan Peterson has such a following. People want to be told to do hard things, not because they like being bossed around, but because it is an acknowledgment that they can do it. What the over-protectors see as criticism that makes them want to create a safe space, is, in fact, the word of encouragement that so many are looking for. Yes, life is hard. Yes, you are a bit of a mess. Yes, this is probably going to hurt like hell, but YOU CAN DO IT. Oh! How liberating is that! Rather than wasting years of my life in hiding, I can actually confront my fears and overcome what holds me back.

On the broader spectrum of society and its ills, it is time to wake up and smell the rotten cabbage. Peterson calls out a lot of very concerning things, which is what really rocketed him more into the public eye over the last eighteen months or so. He isn’t wrong. The above sentiments are everywhere, and they are not producing a brave, hard working group of future citizenry. Funny how we are told that it’s all about “equality” and leveling out the playing field. No way it is. Any thinking person who really considers the situation, should be able to see that we are creating an easily subdued and subservient populace, which will only tend to give more power to the few, since the former need to be led around by falsehoods… because they can’t face truth.

Why does Peterson stand out so much? I mean yes, he is brilliant, but clearly he is not the only one who thinks this way. Maybe his unapologetic bravery at defying popular opinion is more rare than I think. In any case, there are a ton of great videos out there, and he is worth checking out, if you haven’t done so.

 

Amen for the Truth Tellers

Several years ago I had the opportunity to meet Ben Swann at an event he spoke at in Idaho. I’m linking the wiki page on him, because his career is incredibly noteworthy, though I am both amused and annoyed at their portrayal of him as a conspiracy theorist – simply because he questions official narratives. But, isn’t it actually amazing to have independent reporters that are not tooting the horn of mass media (Don’t look behind the curtain)! I am a huge fan of this guy, and I have been since he came on the radar of many friends and I back in 2012. This was when his segment; Reality Check, started questioning some of the shady goings on at county Republican conventions across the country, and doing honest reporting on the Ron Paul Campaign. Many believe that this was the time in Ben’s personal journal where he began to ‘go down the rabbit hole,’ as it were.

Ben branched out on his own, through the help of crowd sourcing, with a project called Truth in Media. Then, for a year, he disappeared. There was various speculation about what had happened to him, and what forces may have come against him to shut up his search for truth. Fortunately for all of us who value journalistic integrity, Dash crypto currency came along as a financial backer for Truth in Media, so that Ben could return to his great investigative journalism without the pressure of connected people trying to end his career.

Okay, so most of the people who have thus far read this blog, already know this story. They are, generally speaking, folks who have listened to Ben Swann. Other friends of mine, however, and many random people this blog will (hopefully, eventually) reach, might not have ever heard of Ben before. And, I think Ben is a guy worth knowing about, and listening to. He put a lot on the line to do some of the investigative pieces he has done while working with local affiliates.

I don’t remember a lot of Ben’s speech from the dinner I attended in Idaho, because that was more than five years ago. But, I do remember that he mentioned a rather well known verse from the book of Esther;

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

This reminds me that life is going to happen, no matter what choices we make. Pain and suffering come to us all, but will we rise above that and do something that could potentially save/help/enlighten others. I think Ben stuck to the point that you never really know but that you may have been put here for a reason. In fairness, it seems to me that he has made sacrifices in order to bring the truth to others – and that he continues to do so. He could have chosen to stay happy with his local affiliate, and cave to the pressure put upon him. But, (and this is what encourages me) he didn’t. And that, my friends, is worth a shout-out, a highlight, a thank you. Thanks for speaking the truth, Ben Swann.

 

Exploring the Power of Community

Last year for a period of time I was thinking quite a lot about Detroit, and some of the possibilities I imagined could be there for a group of dedicated people who could afford to invest. So, I thought it was really interesting – and fantastic – to read about Cooperative Capital, who have a vision for just that sort of thing. It isn’t exactly the way I imagined it, but nevertheless seems to be a potentially great way to do some rebuilding there. Essentially, people would be able to invest a small amount of money, vote on where the collective investment is allocated, and hopefully make a return (Yay for returns!).

It seems to me, an ideal expression of community, when a group of individuals can come together, despite their differences, to accomplish something great. We don’t always have to agree on politics, or believe all of the same stuff, to collaborate on things that are beneficial to us, and our communities. There is a great article at Fast Company, that goes into more detail on how this particular venture works.

I am always amazed by the brilliant things the market comes up with – and no need for the government. Rather, government is so often just a stumbling block to what might be, with all of it’s red tape and bureaucracy. It is so much of the reason for Detroit’s woes in the first place. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and where else the idea might pop up. Really it has some similarities to things like community gardens; although probably less profit potential in such cases. Nevertheless, the community is strengthened, and because people have invested they take more pride and ownership.

I’d love to see this branch into some of the privatized security that I have read/heard about, which has had some terrific success. More on that in a later post!

There are such great ideas out there, and one of my goals is to highlight some in the weeks to come. I hope this brings hope to other people, the way it does for me! Also, I can always use more brilliant ideas for my own life, where I might want to invest, and how I can live out this thing called freedom in a way that inspires others and makes them want to do the same.

 

The Quiet Witness of Following Your Convictions

I’ve been in Tennessee for five months now. I came from Washington state before that, and one thing they do not have yet in eastern Washington, is Chick-fil-A. And let me just say, I am a big fan.

I work right next to a mall. Recently I had a long lunch break while working on a Sunday, so I decided to walk to the food court, where there happens to be a Chick-fil-A. Now, loving them as I do, I have of course had those Sunday cravings, where it is like my body just wants to have that thing it knows it can’t get. Because, of course, due to their Christian convictions, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Momentary frustration! But somehow, seeing the closed building is so much different than seeing the closed store in the food court.

There I am, standing in the food court, plenty of bustle all around me – and there is the solo dark counter-front of the Chick-fil-A. In the mall, this stands out. You can’t not notice it. And it isn’t because it is doing anything. Nope. It’s just sitting there. Dark and silent. This really struck me that day. I kind of just stood there and pathetically stared at it for a moment, impressed by the convictions that caused it to be so. Of course, there are other days where Chick-fil-A is having a media frenzy, or coming out to feed people stranded in the Atlanta airport…but this is the thing they do every week. They just take a day off. Isn’t it crazy how just taking a day off can stand out so much in our culture?

I wondered how many people have thought to themselves; “why the heck isn’t Chick-fil-A open?!” I’m sure they have, because not everyone is informed about these things. And maybe if people ask that question and get an answer, it will lead to another question. It made me thoughtful, so I have to assume it has done the same for others. It seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it? I bet it’s not as small to the people that work for Chick-fil-A. I’m glad that – at this point in time – businesses still have the right to follow some of their convictions.

I wonder how many things there are in my own life – maybe just things I choose not to participate in – that have an effect on the people around me. I don’t really try to figure that out, I just try to be better about following my convictions, and I hope that I can embolden other people to follow theirs. I know too many people who have lost their voice – and they have important things to say. How about you?

“be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9 (NRSV)