Sunday, November 23, 2014


BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY!!!  (actually, shopping on Thanksgiving, but...really???)

OK, so this week is “Thanksgiving Week.”  By now its also become something of a lead-up and introduction to “BLACK FRIDAY.”  (So named not because of the dread some people feel, but that it was the opportunity for many retailers to get “in the black” in their books due to the influx of shoppers.)  In the past few years, “Black Friday” has crept further and further into Thanksgiving Day itself.  Thanks to social media, people can now share not only their plans for the weekend, but their disgust that many retailers are  following this trend of “consumer demand” by opening earlier and earlier, requiring the work force to have to actually work on a day that was long considered (since 1863) as a real Federal Holiday.  Well, times have changed.  

I think if retailers choose to open that they should adequately reward their employees who help make it possible.  I fully understand that there are a lot of folks who do NOT like the idea of having to work on Thanksgiving Day.  I am not sure if they take into account the amount of WORK it is to actually PREPARE for the day (shopping for meal ingredients, cleaning, decorating, preparing, COOKING….) but I get it.  Through my college career and for over a decade after, I worked in some kind of service industry like food service and then resort and theme park operations for a MAJOR vacation destination (when you wish upon a ….. ) so when I say “I GET IT” I really mean it.  I have been one of the ones who worked their ass off making sure YOUR family was able to have a meal or spend time enjoying rides, shows, and attractions.  And thats where I find this whole “BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY” so difficult to understand.  If you are in a position of being ABLE to take the day/weekend off to spend with your family and/or friends, then you TRULY have something to be thankful for.  Not everyone has that luxury.  Before you allow your “fight for the rights of the workers” to extend to public shaming of the retailers who have chosen to meet the ever-growing demand of the consumer, consider how far this “boycott” should really extend.  

First of all, the obvious folks who should be expected to work on Thanksgiving Day; the EMT, the Police, Fire Department, and Hospital doctors and staff.  THEY are essential to our feeling of safety, so they really must sacrifice spending the day with THEIR families so that the rest of us can comfortably spend the day with ours.  This extends to Coast Guard, Highway Patrol etc, OBVIOUSLY.  And while we are at it, people in crucial travel and transportation industries, i.e. airline, rail, and cruise lines really help us create the necessary plans to be with our families, so really, they have to work as well.  And that should extend to all those who work to support vacation destinations; theme park, hotel and resort folks, their support staffs.  But hey, they figured that when they took the job, right?

What about those who choose to stay at home rather than travel?  Unless you are cooking your dinner by wood fired stoves, we kind of really need the gas, electricity and power industries to remain operational.  Again, thats a CRUCIAL part of our every day lives, so that is understood.  Lets include gas stations, convenience stores, and related businesses, just in case we need to run out and get some extra ice or maybe a gallon of milk, or a six pack.

And just in case, before we eat the meal being thankful for ALL of our blessings, what if we would like to watch the “Thanksgiving Day Parade?”  Certainly AFTER the meal we might want to watch a football game or two, so anyone who works in the Television and broadcast industry REALLY should be counted on to forgo spending their holidays at home with family.  I mean can you imagine spending the day of thanks with your family and NOT being able to watch TV?   This will necessarily extend  not just to the folks who help CREATE the parade and staff them for MILES of streets and routes, but also to those folks working at stadiums, for sports team support staff, etc.   And sometimes I really like to go out and see a movie, so personally, Id like those who work in a movie theater job finish their meal by late afternoon so that I can continue that tradition, but thats just me.  While we are at it, we may want to phone, post to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so cable, internet and phone access is pretty damned crucial, so lets add them to the list of industries we consider as those who MUST allocate personnel support for the rest of us to enjoy our holiday.

Then again, most of these folks knew going into it that their working lives would be more important than just ONE day set aside to “give thanks for our blessings.”  

BUT, if Macy’s, Target, BestBuy or K-Mart, or the local malls decide to be open for part or all of the day, BOYCOTT THEM!!!!  Forget the fact that if you do not want to shop that you DO NOT HAVE TO, lets demonstrate our (selective) MORAL OUTRAGE to share our DISGUST that they try and satisfy our OUT OF CONTROL demand for MORE things.  They should just wait until (early) FRIDAY for us to behave like animals and treat each other like crap.   

After all, THAT is the  tradition.

and when you DO shop this holiday season....

Sunday, November 2, 2014

We Are NOT Broken

We are not broken.

Think about a diamond.  If a diamond was spherical, even if highly polished, it would be beautiful, but less "magical."  It is the facets, the many different cuts and angles, the tiny, sharp corners, that allow it to refract and reflect the light that shines through it.  Whatever we have been through, no matter the difficulty or challenge, that has helped create a space in our being that will add to the brilliance and magnificence of the light we shine back, the light that shines through us, magnified and made glorious.  We are not broken, we are faceted.

When we are in moments of crisis it can be very hard not to try and label it as "bad" or "awful" or even "devastating."  We choose descriptives like "the WORST thing that could ever happen," or "this day was ABSOLUTELY RUINED" for whatever reason.  We set it up as an impossibility that we may actually GROW and become more enlightened by such experiences.  And that cannot be the case or we would all stop living and trying at a very early age.

No one would say that its easy to embrace a challenge when we are in the middle of it.  Its not.  But be open to what its telling us, where our heart tells us where we should be going and what we should be doing, to allow the circumstance to create that extra facet that would turn us into the precious, priceless gems that would gratefully reflect the light, the love of the Universe,  that shines through us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

on the passing of Robin Williams

If you have never personally been challenged with major depression, or had someone you love battle such demons, the taking of one’s own life may seem beyond your understanding.  Suicide as a plot point is portrayed often enough in pop culture, but the real desperation felt by those who actually attempt such a painful exercise cannot be easily shared in a conversation.

In my own life, there were times, especially as a teenager, when I would pray fervently, over and over, that I could just go to sleep and not wake up.  I really think the only reason I did not attempt taking my own life in my early years, was because I knew the pain such an act would cause my parents.  Yet, I would pray to God to please, please, please, just take me in my sleep.  I didn’t want to kill myself, I just didn’t want to live anymore.

Later in life, although I didn’t say those prayers as much, nor as often, I still had long periods of self destructive behavior. Drugs, drinking, inappropriate social activity, and you name it.  It wasn’t until my life was literally on a precipice that I somehow met my true self for the first time and although I have no desire to debate religious beliefs, I felt that if I was not dead, then there was a purpose that I was supposed to fulfill.  In the past few years, I have learned more about myself, become more authentic, opened up to the drive and talent that I feel are genuine, and with the help of more than one doctor and concerned friend, and my parents, I really am grateful for my life.

I never met Robin Williams personally, but those I know who either worked with him, or spent time with him, all remark on the generous nature of his spirit.  It wasn’t just the manic energy and boundless talent he displayed, they all say he was a really NICE person.  He was singularly gifted in a way that no other performer has been, nor probably ever will be.  How can someone like that, someone who could go almost ANYWHERE in the world and walk into ANY ROOM, and cognitively KNOW that everyone in that room LOVED you, allow such a gut wrenching pain to not allow that love to heal you?  If someone like Robin Williams can be taken in by depression, self doubt, and anxiety, then what hope do the rest of us have?  I can only guess as to what really drove him to his final act, but the reports about his depression have come from his inner circle.  I am a normally sensitive and emotional person, but it surprised even me when I kept choking up at the thought of the torment that drove Robin Williams to end his life.  I feel for his children, his family, and the friends he surely had.  And I feel for us.  I know he was beloved, respected, admired, and adored.  But he also showed us that the sadness and pain that sometimes fuels our greatest artists to touch us so deeply, cannot easily be shared.  Grateful for the laughter, and heartbroken by the tears.