Just Sayin’ 2.0.1
Happy New Year!
Amazingly, 2019 has arrived. As many do on New Years, I’m reflecting on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m also 65, which is another big milestone in life. I plan a number of personal changes, some of which I will share here. And my Just Sayin’ 2.0 blog is setting forth on a fresh purpose and vision.
I want this blog, my website, other social media, my work, and my life overall, to reflect positivity. There’s a lot stress and negativity out there. It’s not without cause, we all realize, but day to day life doesn’t need to be this rough.
We all have a full roster of problems: personal, professional and global. But there are solutions if we open ourselves up. In cases where there is not a solution, per se — maybe serious illness or loss of a loved one — there can still be acceptance and peace. It’s possible to live without suffering.
To one degree or another, most people live in a perpetual state of anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, fear, sadness or other negative emotion. Usually the source of our distress isn’t connected to whatever is happening in the moment. Instead our mind is caught up ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Very seldom are we present — right here, right now — fully attentive, engaged and undistracted in this moment. Our minds are occupied elsewhere.
The masthead on this blog reads “Life happens whether you worry about it or not.” Precisely! So why worry? I’ve never once looked back and said to myself “Boy, I sure am glad I worried about that! Fretting made all the difference!” We can expend far more time and energy worrying about something than it takes to actually deal with that something and move on.
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. – Leo F. Buscaglia
There’s an expression that says you teach what you need to learn. So it is here. I’m putting this into practice today as I open a new section on my website — Life 2.0 — featuring videos and information looking at meditation, mindfulness and “surrender” (that is, accepting the reality of the moment even as we might act to change it). It’s a section about being calm, at peace and happy — without being passive and resigned. The power of the martial arts comes from a clear undistracted mind.
Getting to this clear space of calm and presence can be challenging, and might even seem impossible. It’s not what we do naturally. Our brains are wired from ages past to protect and defend against predators and danger. Calm mindfulness takes practice. And patience.
The feeling of the quiet mind is very near to the feeling of being entranced by a mesmerizing sunset. As the sun goes down and you are ever-present in the moment, you may feel as if time is suspended. – Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
I have definitely not achieved this yet but I’m on my way. This is a personal journey for me that I invite you to join. A lot of people have already started! The U.S. National Institutes of Health reports that about 8% of the U.S. population meditates on a regular basis. That’s about 25 million people.
I’ll be supplementing my Life 2.0 section with new material here on the blog. To find these posts easily, look for “Life 2.0” under Categories in the right sidebar.
Politics & Diversity
I’ve discussed politics here and will continue, but there won’t be much talk about Trump, per se. For that I refer you to CNN, MSNBC or Facebook. Lord knows the man offers up something new each day to talk about, but all this endless focus on Trump leads to a political dead end. As captivating as he is, he’s the symptom not the core problem.
Although I fully admit I get sucked in — “Hello. I’m Bob and I’m a Trumpaholic.” — you can’t build a better world based on what you’re against. It you drive down the road focused on the rearview mirror, you’ll crash.
In keeping with a focus on positivity, I’m interested in political discussion that clarifies issues and points a way forward out of the mess we’re in. I’ll start right off tomorrow by republishing an article that a close friend posted on Facebook last month.
I value diversity and encourage different perspectives. Life is pretty bland and one-dimensional when we’re all identical and all think the same. If fact I don’t think human growth and progress is possible without differences and diversity. I think strength and positive change require a spirited struggle of ideas and perspectives — but the discourse needs to be conducted in good faith with civility. It’s OK if we have to agree to disagree. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll find consensus. Or perhaps not. It’s fine either way.
So much of public discourse these days is shrill, angry and intolerant. We’ve staked out positions and walled ourselves off from each other. Those with opposing views get shouted down, unfriended on Facebook and sometimes worse. It seems we don’t talk with each other but rather at each other. That won’t happen here.
Gay Video of the Week
Issues affecting the LGBT community are close to my heart and will get frequent attention here. And in tune with this, I’d like to revive an old project here.
Back in January 2015 I started a series on Facebook which I later moved to my website. Gay Video of the Week featured videos that were topical that week or entertaining. Soon I spun off a companion series I called Snapshots of Gay History as Told Thru Video. I thought I’d run history-oriented videos for a few weeks — but it ended up going for 18 months! I started in the 1950s and spent several months covering each decade.
Each week I culled through YouTube searching, selecting and organizing otherwise random videos into coherent historical presentations together with narrative for background and context. I had a blast and learned so much! I made it up to the 1980s but then last February had to suspend both projects. My professional work commitments have grown too heavy and I had to stop. Being a wage slave is so inconvenient!
I fully intend to resume both series in a couple years when I retire. Until then, when time and inspiration converge, I’ll post intermittent content here befitting the two projects. To find them, look for “Gay Video of the Week” and “Gay History Snapshots” under Categories in the right sidebar.
These are just a few of the main areas I’ll be focusing on here at Just Sayin’ 2.0. There will be more. I invite you to stop by from time to time. If we’re friends on Facebook I’ll be announcing new posts there with links to here. You can also subscribe and get email alerts. Look for the form in the right sidebar.
I wish you all a Great 2019!
A Request to my Facebook Friends: If you have a comment I encourage you to enter it below instead of on Facebook. This way everyone can participate in the conversation!