the better angels of our nature…

Being in opposition is easy, but stating what we believe in is often challenging.  We’re living in strange times, there’s way too much stress in the system.  It doesn’t matter what side (or center) of the American political spectrum you fall on—division and absolute certainty are not the products of a civil society.  I find myself longing for a time when we agreed on some basic truths and then engaged in respectful policy discussions about how to achieve those shared goals.

After having my coffee and reading the news, I wanted to write about things I believe in—not what I’m opposed to.

HERE GOES (this is actually harder than you think, try it):

EDUCATION: 

I believe our schools should teach rigorous courses in the following areas:

1. How to have healthy relationships: familial, personal, societal and self 

2. Financial literacy

3. Digital life/footprint realities & cyber security information

4. Personal health: nutrition, exercise & sexuality 

5. Stress management: I read in Psychology Today that the average high school student in America has the level of stress of the average psychiatric patient in 1950. Horrifying huh? 

6. Home Economics & Shop courses mandatory starting in 1st grade: If we taught kids how to cook, clean, mend/repair things, lots of hacks for living, it would be powerful and empowering.  The more we know, well, the more self esteem grows.  I know many believe these things should happen at home, however, my children listen better to others than me (or at least it seems that way).

I want to operate in reality, not the romanticized ideal.

____________________________________

LEADERSHIP: 

Congress should be filled with teachers, coaches, caregivers, engineers, small business owners, artists, writers, factory workers, farmers and so on.  We need to take dark money out of the system and let congress reflect “we the people”.  If the election cycle was much shorter and a defined amount of money is what could be spent, it would level the playing field considerably.

END CITIZEN UNITED!

“The Citizens United ruling, released in January 2010, tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.

In a nutshell, the high court’s 5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate.”

SOURCE: https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/10/18/11527/citizens-united-decision-and-why-it-matters

____________________________________

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: 

I believe we need to try to “MIND THE GAP” between our stated values and how we behave…and this is sooooooooo hard sometimes.

I know for me, when my values/behavior are out of step, I feel like crap and the people I love suffer.  This is a muscle to be exercised like any other. 

I started trying to pay more attention to when my values were out of alignment with my actions.  It sucked at first to do this because it’s quite painful.  We don’t want to see ourselves that way.  However, the more I started noticing, the more quickly I could correct the behavior (most of the time).  I’m hardly batting 1000%, but I’ve made slight improvements and that’s something to build upon.

____________________________________

I wholeheartedly believe in the Bohemian Creed made famous by Baz Luhrmann’s “MOULIN ROUGE”!

TRUTH • BEAUTY • FREEDOM & LOVE

truth beauty freedom and love lisa lillibridge

____________________________________

BETTER ANGELS (Abraham Lincoln):

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln‘s first inaugural address was delivered on Monday, March 4, 1861, as part of his taking of the oath of office for his first term as the sixteenth President of the United States.

 

Process calms me down. Thank you, Willa.

Last week I was sketching and I left out colored pencils, big paper and a cup of coffee with a paint brush.  I knew my daughter, Willa would be unable to resist the supplies and would have to make something.  This painting is what she created.

Her eyes are so sorrow filled—as we all are about the events in the last month in America.  This girl clearly has “Well, you know what kind of eyes she got…a girl with far away eyes”  You can thank The Rolling Stones for the lyrics.

IMG_8741

THE ROLLING STONES  •  Album/Some Girls  •  Song/Far Away Eyes

These are strange days indeed.  Sometimes the news, the violence, the same excuses over and over from politicians are simply too much.  I have to calm myself down and process is usually how I do that. My daughter helped me realize this.

I made this bag out of a friend’s stained leather from her Audi seat repair.   I know this bag (inspired by Frida Khalo and Calamity Jane) isn’t curing the ills of the world, sparking the necessary dialogue or starting a revolution.

However in my small way, it’s an act that represents taking the time to slow down, get thoughtful during this time of chaos and try to understand what my part might be in all that’s going on in the world.

IMG_8751    IMG_8755    IMG_8762

PS Chuck don’t show the post to Colleen.  It’s a gift. She can keep her auto paperwork in the stained seat reincarnated. 🙂

What we think about…grows.

Everywhere we look in the world we see things “going to hell in a hand basket” because it gets views, clicks, headlines, sells advertising and makes money.

It’s a bummer that things going well doesn’t generate nearly the BUZZ in our culture as distasteful deeds, disaster and destruction.  It also is a self-fulfilling thought cycle.

brain its the way it is lillibridge

OUR BRAIN SAYS: “I’ve been told things are very bad—so I will vigilantly look for ways to confirm this bias over and over.”

Whatever we choose to give the most attention to is what will grow and grow and dominate our thoughts.

Can you imagine if our news and political discussion every day/all day was filled with stories of remarkable acts of generosity, compromise and courage? 

Of course there are times in our lives when very challenging events and situations require a lot of thought and energy.  However, if we stay in that place when we things have settled down—it will no doubt adversely affect our health and our relationships.

So, why do it?  We all get addicted to ways of thinking…just like any other addiction.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for long practiced patterns of thought. However, if we start to notice we just might be able to self correct this negative pattern of thinking a little tiny bit at a time.  If we all try focusing on the good things in our a lives a tiny bit more—we might just start a thought revolution. 

Hey, it’s worth a shot, huh?

what we think about lisa lillibridge