A New Day, America
I'm so excited! We're only about ten days into the new year, and the adventure ride that is the American experience these days continues to roll. It's a mixture of excitement and bewilderment on almost a daily basis. I liken what is happening to a massive upgrade to our collective reality. We're all aboard this ride together. However, the experience is varied and deeply personal.
Some folks, recognizing the changes that are taking place have already reset themselves and are embracing the new possibilities of life. Others are attempting to hold on to old ways of being and doing things. Still, others are afraid and unsure of what is happening.
In today's world, we are used to certain types of change. Most notably upgrades to our technology. Think of this period as if we were operating an old iPhone 4. The sexy new features advertised for the iPhone X would be great, but they just will not work on a 4. In truth, the older system barely functions as it is. Every day more people are waking up to the fact that America, as it used to be, much like the old phone is obsolete. At some point (I'm speaking to the holdouts) it will become apparent, painfully so, that now's the time to upgrade. And, although it seems as if we are operating in a way that is chaotic and to a certain degree uncharted, we are on the correct path.
Things feel a little unstable because people are emerging from the bubble. Inside of which many aspects of life were scripted for you, just like Truman. During that time of isolation, unaffected by the outside world, the mass majority of people followed the rules and the established order, often without questioning it. But the system as we used to know it has degraded to the point where fewer folks are satisfied with the status quo. There are more (and louder) voices expressing their desire for a new way; one that is more equitable and inclusive of their point of view, lifestyle, desires, and so forth.
All of us feeling internal prompts and prodded by external factors must reimagine our society, how each of us thinks and engages with one another. That does not mean we all want the country to function the same way, which is the messy bit. So, get comfortable questioning reality, being challenged by new concepts, and with constant change. The next few years (yes, years) will bring a lot more plot twists. Some of the best, weirdest, and most thought-provoking events have yet come!
It isn't a blue versus red thing nor is it a liberal versus conservative agenda. There are no teams, camps or us versus them scenarios being played out. Frankly, that’s part of the warped reality that has driven us to this point and made 2017 so bizarre. America v. 2.0 surpasses political leanings, race, gender, and any other label we identify with or have slapped onto other people. It's about recognizing the value we all bring to this life experience. Crazy I know, but the longer I live, the more I realize that creating a world in which our differences take center stage (as a negative) is harmful to us all. Working toward a more inclusive society may just be our moonshot endeavor, defining the type of nation we want to be for generations to come.
The tragedy is that the vast majority of us are pursuing old paradigms, like dollars and euros. Meanwhile, the financial system, the epitome of the establishment is transforming before our very eyes. The disruptive force that is cryptocurrency is redefining the entire system: paper currency, banking institutions, transparency, taxes and transaction fees are evolving as I write this blog. But, it's not only money we pursue. We long for status, conform to false hierarchies of importance, claim exclusive rights to a nation built on the backs of stolen peoples and immigrants. These concepts and positions are all antiquated. Regardless of our pursuits, foolish or otherwise, time continues to march on. But few of us are building upon this knowledge and making the best use of our allotment of years, days, hours or minutes.
I propose that instead of focusing on new year’s resolutions - most fall by the wayside anyway- every day set aside time just for you. Turn off the television, put down the book or magazine, no devices or people to distract you. Look within to discover your happiness, meaning, and purpose. Now, you may wonder what does this have to do with the country? The answer is everything!
America is the macrocosm; you and I are the microcosms that make up the whole. If we are not operating as we should, our families, communities and our entire nation suffers. And I believe all three are hurting right now. Collectively, we the people are off course. Externalizing our power, seeking leaders and gurus to show us the way, interacting predominantly with like-minded thinkers, and projecting the beliefs, norms, and feelings we have co-opted as our own onto others. And in our desire to share (or impose) our positions we are altering someone else's path. As a result, we are creating an environment for conflict and stalemates to flourish.
I caution you to rethink the conventional approach of outsourcing your evolution, imagination, approach to challenges, and beliefs to family or friends, institutions, political figures, and social groups. History shows the real danger of operating from a cookie-cutter template and a nation full of like-minded individuals. Vigorously resist the conformist's path for one that welcomes unique voices, compassion, and ingenuity. The opportunity to expand our understanding of the world and those that live in it is ever present. Explore this space.
My Fellow Americans
America represents a place where you can pursue your best life. However, personal gratification should not trample upon the ideals of community or empathy for your fellow man. These are hallmarks of an advanced society. Let us expand our lives further than we ever have to include, in a meaningful way, individuals that are outside of our circle of family, friends, and associates. The real question is, can you and I open up our hearts to a greater extent and make room for others? People that see things differently, and are just as passionate about their opinions.
The country is big enough for us all, and it always will be. I hope we awaken to that truth and begin to operate from a place of caring because without it the beacon of light (that this country is known for) will further dim, and eventually die out. I'm not comfortable with that reality. So, this year my goal is to be more mindful of my thoughts and actions toward others. Judge less and listen more closely to new perspectives and different opinions. I'm stretching even further, and I hope you will too, to actively pursue answers to the most severe challenges facing our society and laboring to fix them by offering my time and talents to worthwhile causes in 2018.
Inaction Just Will Not Do
The things that are worth pursuing can be inconvenient, challenging, frustrating, and painful. Nevertheless, they are worth it. I hope that in this new version of ourselves and our nation we keep the best aspects of who we are, let go of ego, and gain incredible benefits that we did not previously see as such. On the horizon is a bigger, better, and brighter future. Let's do our part to usher it in.