Tomorrow is election day in the US and many are nervous about what the future will hold. Will it be the end of the world at the strike of midnight? Will it be the answers to all our hopes and dreams? The bigger question is what do you hope the future will be like and what are you doing to build that future? Our intent is to picture the future we want to live in. It is with intention that we plan to build something we’re proud of.
On calendars in the United States, today is a day dedicated to remembering, Memorial Day. We remember those service men and women who sacrificed everything for the sake of others and that is an important practice because it feels easier to forget difficult things. It makes sense to forget everything aside from the happy endings and the good news but there is something very important to remembering the journey as a whole.
Acknowledging the journey allows us to be gracious. It reminds us not to take our steps forward for granted and that time is limited. How we choose to spend it, whether it be in vain pursuit or for the betterment of ourselves will ultimately affect everyone. Remembering is important because it allows us to be informed as we start a new page today. Continue reading →
Here are some of the most iconic American cities, now bustling centers of commerce, entertainment, fashion, and media. They were important in these regards back in the day, too, but by the looks of these photos you’d never know it!
All of these images come from about the late 19th century, which you can tell by the horse-drawn carriages and old-fashioned clothing styles. We live in the 21st century, surrounded by all kinds of cultures and styles and immersed in contemporary issues and concerns. It’s important, though, to remember where we came from, and that we are part of a long line of individuals who have lived in, experienced, and help built this country we call home.
And what’s more, these photographs are just so darn precious. Take a look!
Boston – Newspaper Row, Washington Street
Philadelphia – Broad Street
San Francisco – Bay Bridge
New York – Grand Central Station and Hotel Manhattan
We’ve all been told it’s best to get present and live in the “now”, but often I find myself living in the 500-years-from-now. If life is a journey and not a destination, how do we get into the moment and out of our obsession with that golden nugget in the future we think will solve all of our problems? Here are a few of my thoughts on the plight of the over-planner (me.)
Many thanks, as always, to Stefani Twyford of Legacy Multimedia for filming my vlogs and for her continued support as I trudge the road of “putting myself out there.”For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
Who would have thought President Obama had such a witty and irreverent speechwriter?
Far from your typical political rhetorician, former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett is also far from the rote, uplifting commencement speaker most colleges opt for. This year’s graduating class at Pitzer College got a taste of real talk, mixed with testy humor, inspiring personal anecdotes, and even a few curse words just to keep it real.
Did Lovett leave anything out that you think college graduates need to hear? What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone right now who is graduating from higher education?
Today as you celebrate this major milestone in your life and commence a new stage of your life journey, I ask you to reflect on the gift of life itself. And life, in essence, is nothing but awareness. Furthermore human life, considered the pinnacle of biological evolution, is not just awareness, but self-awareness. Amongst creatures on this planet, we human beings are not only aware; we have the capacity to be aware that we are aware, to be conscious of our consciousness. In that self-awareness lies our potential and power to direct our own future evolution and the future evolution of civilization.
Biological evolution has been summed up in the phrase of “survival of the fittest,” but with overpopulation and over-consumption of resources, the future belongs to “survival of the wisest”. It is imperative for the future of humanity that wisdom becomes the new criterion for sustainable life on this planet. And wisdom is that knowledge that nurtures life in all its dimensions not only for us but also for the generations that follow us.
Today’s age is frequently referred to as the Information Age. The hallmarks of this age are the gifts of science and technology that have created the miracles of molecular medicine, real-time imaging of cellular function, instant accessibility of global knowledge, and social networks. Yet despite this emerging global brain, paradoxically we are beset with the same scourges of war and terrorism, radical poverty in 50% of the world’s population, irreversible climate change, along with deepening social and economic injustice! Furthermore, humanity suffers from massive malnutrition in which half the world suffers from hunger and the other half from obesity leading to inflammatory disorders, increasing the risk of chronic illnesses including many types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases while the hungry die from compromised immune function and infectious diseases. The information revolution has not led to the wisdom needed to solve our world crisis in health and well-being.
If ever humanity had the power of mass self-extinction on planet earth, it is today. And if it happens it will be because we allowed our emotional and spiritual evolution to be outpaced by the evolution of our science and technology. Nuclear proliferation, biological warfare, eco destruction, the extinction of species and the poisoning of our atmosphere, our rivers and waters and the very food that sustains our life and all life loom before us as imminent threats. But just as in other critical phases of transformation, while there is disaster looming on one hand, there is on the other hand the potential to create a radical reorganization into something much greater than was conceived of before.
Today, I ask you my young friends, you who are the future hope of humanity, you who are the future leaders of the world; today, I ask you what Mahatma Gandhi once asked, “Can you be the change you want to see in the world?”
In fact, there can be no social or world transformation unless there is your own inner transformation. Today, I ask you to face a fundamental truth. Today, I ask you to consider that there is no ‘you’ that is separate from the world. The gift of life, your own self-consciousness is your key to inner transformation and wisdom, and that in turn is how you will transform the world. Today, I ask you to acknowledge that you are the world and that your transformation of consciousness will be the future of the word. This self-transformation is the wisdom for our planet’s survival.
As I enter the autumn of my life and you the springtime of yours, I want to leave you with seven skills in self-awareness that I have learned and that I hope will serve you well no matter what profession you choose, or where your life and destiny take you.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in which I outline the seven skills of self-awareness!
I have written about this before, many times in fact, but still the story comes back and demands to be told. It is a good story.
It happened when I sat in a club, a rock club to be precise, all by myself at a table, with a beer for company. I waited for friends to arrive. I was thinking.
How did I come to think about this surrounded by lights filtered through cigarette smoke, deafened by blaring rock and poked now and them by somebody’s studs or army boots, I do not remember. I thought about the way. The right way. The only way.
“It is straight and narrow, they say,” I thought, “so how do I find it? How do I know I walk it? How do I know I don’t?” I pondered and the questions faded away and melted into the smoky shadows.
“There is no way. There is no one way.”
In the absence of questions the answer became quite clear: there is no one way, neither narrow nor wide, neither right nor wrong. There is me, and I choose.
That was a significant thing for me to know right there, in that club, at that time. I was about to finish college, I was about to go out into the world and make a life for myself and it was very important for me to know that whatever I choose, whichever direction I’ll walk, it will be the right direction, it will be the right choice.
My youngest daughter graduated from college this week. With a head full of memories, I watched the baby of the family march proudly across the stage to publicly receive her degree. Smart kid. Focused kid. Her steps across the large stage were the metaphor for moving forward with life.
This is the process of life. We take the first 20 or so years to discover who we are, what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. We use this time to discover our world – to see how great, grand and large it is. Then we’re tasked with using the rest of our days to find or create opportunities that allow us to connect the true us, with places in our world that need what we do best. We find our fit, our way, to make our personal impact in our world. This how we own our lives. This is how we build our world.
All this ran through my head as my daughter donned her cap and gown and lined up with many other graduating seniors. I thought of the following five things we did to help her be at this very moment: successfully completing her degree, 2,500 miles away from home, blazing her own trail.
Start early to help your kids discover what they are great at. Our unique abilities and preferences are hardwired in us early in our lives. As we help our kids try things, they start to see what they rock at and what they stink at. It’s especially important for us, as parents, to remember that no one is great at everything. But, we are each amazing at some things. Helping our kids find these things early in life allows them to align themselves to events and roles that need what they do best. We help our kids become successful by guiding them early to discover their unique abilities.
Introduce your kids to everything you know about your world. Every event in life is an introduction to a great and large world. Take the time to explain things to your kids at every age. They remember the events and the information and, as a result, become more aware of the opportunities and possibilities. At some point, they will be required to find their place in this world and knowing more than less about their world prepares them to choose more wisely. Take vacations, develop hobbies, talk about world events, share articles and stories. Each of these expands their view of all that is available to them in their world.
Hold kids accountable and responsible for their decisions. All decisions have consequences. We all must learn not only to own the results of our decisions, but to realize that our lives are ours to invent. Owning their decisions earlier in life helps them learn to make better decisions earlier in life. They respond more wisely when choices and opportunities, both good and bad, present themselves each day.
Support them in becoming authentic, true, and happy. We have our definition of a great life; they have theirs. As they become aware of their unique abilities, their world and become more accountable, they start making decisions that are right for them. Support their decisions. Realize their lives are not our lives. What matters for them may have no connection to what matters to us, or what we think matters to them. After all, it is their responsibility to wake up happy each day, and only they can determine what that is. This is where we move from parent to coach to mentor.
Be part of everything they do. When we help our kids find their true selves, and let them show up fully present to the events in their lives, we are welcomed in. We share their roads with them. We get to see another remarkable human being discover his or her place and live life on his or her terms. And to share this, just like being at the graduation, is powerful for us. We get to spend time with people we adore.
Kate’s graduation, for me, was an opportunity to watch her boldly take her place as the next generation into a life ownership role. Her work will change the world. Her life will change the world. It will change her immediate world, and who knows, it could even change the larger world.
A quote I often use that seems so appropriate here is by Winston Churchill.
To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.
We spend our early lives discovering what makes us great, and then spend the rest of our lives sharing what makes us great with our world. Help your kids soar. Their soaring helps our world soar.
We’ve been hearing it for some time now: 30 is the new 20. The 20’s are a throwaway decade. They don’t count. Well, erase everything you’ve heard about being a 20-something because this TED talk is going to rock your world.
Clinical psychologist Meg Jay discusses her experience working with 20-somethings over the years and makes a case for why the 20’s is the defining decade in people’s lives. Before you baulk, take a few minutes to listen to her talk and see if you are inspired to pass the video along to every 20-something you know!
Jay’s 3 biggest tips every 20-something needs to hear:
Get some “identity capital.” Do something to invest in who you are and in the person you might want to become. Take a risk, learn a new skill, make a big move, pursue a challenging new job or internship.
The urban tribe is overrated. Best friends are great and in some situations invaluable. But by limiting your community to a tight-knit peer group with identical beliefs and values, you will rob yourself of new experiences, ideas, and opportunities. New things come out of our weak ties, Jay says, so pay attention to those friends of friends of friends.
The time to start picking your family is now. Even if you don’t “settle down” until you’re 30, the pressure to do it all at once may lead you to make less than optimal decisions. The time to work on your marriage is beforeyou’re married. Be as intentional with love, Jay urges, as you are with work!
This doesn’t mean everyone has to settle on a career in their 20’s or that everyone needs to someday get married and have kids. And fun should not be written out of the equation, either! But as Jay’s final words seem to convey, 20-somethings’ decisions and actions are worth something, and that should be treated as an inspiration, and not a threat.
“30 is not the new 20. So claim your adulthood…Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”
So 20-somethings out there, are you feeling inspired? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.