The Death of Hollywood and the Echo of the Silence.

 

Silence of Hollywood“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”  Adrienne Rich

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  Plato

Hollywood has erupted with a number of actresses coming forward to speak out regarding the abuse they suffered at the hands of American Producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein and his brother founded Miramax which has been responsible for successful films such as Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting. He has received numerous awards for his work and has been active in issues such as AIDS and Juvenile Diabetes. He was, undoubtedly, a Hollywood powerhouse who had the connections to make or break careers.

Sexual assault is rampant around the world and I have long been an active voice speaking out against it as well as advocating for the victims. I am in no way minimizing what any woman suffers in my comments regarding this particular case but I have some serious concerns and I think they are concerns that should be shared.

Lately, there has been a whole stream of public figures who stand accused of various sexual assaults. Some people are hopeful that this signals a new willingness to expose these atrocities and that they represent our commitment to draw a line in the sand and say “No more.” We seem to circumvent the whole legal process meant to determine guilt and jump straight to judgement. Guilt appears to be amplified by the public lives of the accused. Is it easier for us to comment on a life that we already feel we have a right to because we see them in our own homes on our media devices and on the news? It appears to at least polarize the accusers as legitimate and the accused as guilty. No-one seems to worry about questioning what we read and hear. A trial and its outcome are irrelevant. As long as you have Gloria Allred on one side of the microphone, the truth is irrelevant.

The story never dies and the accused, even if innocent, will never completely recover. Continue reading

Shame on the Village.

village

One of the things I kept from my religious upbringing was a teaching that said “I give unto men correct principles that they may govern themselves.” Everything can work beautifully when we do not have to rely on others, the government, or laws to make us do the right thing. If each man was guided by a personal integrity that considered not only themselves but the whole of mankind, we would eliminate almost every problem we currently face.

But we don’t, and expecting every person to be evolved to that level is not practical and it has never happened, despite the awesome stories your grandparents tell about how much better everything was when they were a kid.

Throughout history, there has always been pretty much everything we see today. At times it was better hidden than today, but it was there. But our grandparents and to some extent my own generation did have something. We had the general consensus of “the village.” Continue reading

WORD'S WORTH“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.  You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.  To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”  Bill Watterson

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” Barbara De Angelis

The Manual For a Perfect Marriage.

ever after

I could write a book about how to have a great marriage. I could take full credit for the fact I married my best friend. I could talk about it in some way that convinces others that I know and that I am an expert because, look at my success. I could do that and gather up all the focus on me and get involved in people’s lives and tell them how to do it. What would I care, really? After I get past the point where I have dozens of people in my workshops or thousands attending my speaking engagements and buying my book, I don’t even see the cause and effect anymore. I have my reward for being able to put myself out there and gain “fame.”

The truth is I lucked out. I could just of easily have ended up with a psychopath. I could have ended up with an addict or just a ho hum guy who was as bored with life as I sometimes get and so we sat through the years and bored each other to death … literally.  I say “literally” because I see so many older couples who occupy time and space together, but share nothing.  They endure to the end in that state of emptiness. Continue reading

The Posion Pen Letter of Death I Just Received.

poison pen

I got a poison pen letter the other day.  Yes, an adult I barely know, took the time to write out a nasty letter full of what he thinks I was implying when I was speaking in front of my own family in my own home.  He was sure it was all about him.

He was not in attendance of the event.  I am not even sure how or why he secured a copy of an email not sent to him, outlining for others who had been unable to attend, the events of a very special day, that everyone in attendance enjoyed with love and compassion.  He had to type the letter he sent, print it, put it in an envelope, stamp it, take it to the mailbox  . . .all of those things took time.  Nothing in him suggested he was about to make a complete ass of himself and that perhaps he might reconsider. Continue reading

TFFT I Believe in You

I believe 1

I see the truth in you.  I see the beauty and all the possibilities.  Hidden behind the physical, the barriers or how you define yourself or what you do, I see you.  I see the light.

As children we only know ourselves as endlessly possible and we embrace life and people and situations with a complete willingness to learn about ourselves, others and the world.  As we grow up we often find ourselves caught in the dilemma of fighting for a vision of ourselves that has dimmed with each passing year and possibly standing alone, never to be understood, or joining everyone else and blending into the woodwork.  One is a lonely unknown and the other is a group activity with thousands before us and thousands behind.  We might be happy, right? Continue reading

Who Are You? Questions Every Human Being Should Ask Of Themselves.

integrity

As long as we judge people by what they do, how much money they have, how popular they are, their religious beliefs, their culture and what they look like, we are never going to get it right.  Ever.

People are all the same.  Everyone has darkness and everyone has light.  Everyone is capable of the most horrendous or best actions, given the right circumstances.  Everyone is beautiful to someone and ugly to others.  That includes you.  No group can ever be painted with a sweeping brush of all good or all bad.

People excuse the crimes of people of the same faith as they are.  They tend not to report suspected child abuse if the family is wealthy . . . I mean what could be wrong when the child has nice clothes, a great house, and spending money?  They don’t question the CEO like they do the janitor.  Police don’t stop as many people driving nicer cars, unless they happen to be coloured, then of course you want to suspect the car is stolen.  Kids from “nice families” aren’t kicked out of school quite as quickly and are often given breaks in court.  WHY?  Because we value the image of happiness and success and what we deem acceptable, over substance.  WHO are we as human beings?

The questions I would ask are:

If we were all blind, is there anything about you worth noticing or knowing?

What do you do when you aren’t on stage or no-one is looking?

How many people have you used to get where you wanted to be?  How damaged are they?

Who are you to your kids, your spouse, the janitor at your office, the sales clerk, or the bum on the street?

Have you ever spoke up in defense of another human being who was being bullied or harmed?

What do you stand for?

Are you truthful to yourself?

Who are you when you are not at church?

Do you have any limits concerning your own conduct?

Do your parents know you love them?

How do spend most of your time?

Who do you spend most of your time with?

If someone were to accuse you of being a Christian/Muslim/Hindu (insert your religion here) would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Under the worst of circumstances, what were you willing to do?

In the best of circumstances, what did you do with those opportunities?

Do your neighbours know your name?

When is the last time you thanked anyone for the things they do for you?

When you stand in front of a mirror naked, in your own skin, void of make-up and fancy clothes and jewels, does anyone know how beautiful you are?  Do you know?

When is the last time you told anyone that you loved them, and meant it?

How many people have you  deeply hurt or offended because you are insecure, hanging on to hate, or unable to forgive?  What would you do if people could actually see all those things you have done on purpose, just to “get even?”

When is the last time you learned something new?  How often does that happen?

If you found out today there absolutely was no afterlife, no God, no religious anything, what would you do differently?

What do you know about love or compassion?  What role do they play in your life, if any?

When is the last time you apologized for something you said or did, and meant it?

What have you learned about other people that has inspired you?

Who inspires you?

What have you learned about life?

What one word describes your life?

Do you have any regrets?

What do you still hope to accomplish?

These are the things that tell me who a person is and whether or not they are someone of integrity, or not.  Not many of these things are easily visible and none of them come in one clear package.  Our bodies are the violins we have all been given to play.  They come in different sizes and shapes and conditions.  Our life experiences impact on our instruments.  We cover them with cases, or cloths, or even paint them … but every instrument holds within it, music.  Whether we ever hear that music depends on whether we invite one another to play.  I have heard the most perfect violin offer nothing more than strained squawks and squeaks of some unrecognizable song … and I have heard the most battered and dirty violin produce music that has made me weep.  When we leave this world we leave behind everything we now value, our money, our looks, our possessions, our status, our pew at church, our ethnicity  . . . and all we take is the substance of who we are.  Who are we?  What lessons have we learned from our experiences?  How did we act in life’s situations?  How have we learned to love, ourselves and others … that is it.

Maybe one day we will find parents fretting over qualities for their children instead of what kind of designer clothes they are wearing, or whether the school they are attending sounds more prestigious than their neighbour’s kid.  Maybe one day it will matter more that people actually do “Love One Another,” instead of worrying about their Sunday Clothes and how many bible verses they can recite.  Maybe one day we will elect good men, instead of just someone that the morally bankrupt, socially elite, present to us as someone they have groomed for the job.

But …

As long as we value/judge one another based on  superficial things rather than real substance … that can never happen.  How strange that we constantly ask, “What difference can one person make?”  when everything comes down to each one person making the change within themselves.   If each single person simply took responsibility for themselves, changed themselves, the world would be transformed.  Could it be that simple??