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"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)

“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Think Kuji! Think! | Kujichagulia & Kwanzaa

Kujichagulia is Kwanzaa's second principle. It means self-determination. In order to determine for self you have to think for self.

I think most of us were taught and teach our kids to not follow the crowd. “Even if you're the only one,” we tell them, yet this is exactly what we start doing the older we get. I guess thinking for yourself is only a temporary teenage thing to try out and take with a grain of salt. I guess not thinking for yourself is proper in the land of the free and home of the brave. Being self-determined in many respects is anti-everything.

This brings us to the dangerous notion of ”political correctness”-- an oxymoron, misnomer and dichotomy all in one. Political correctness keeps us from speaking plainly while masquerading as politeness. It effectively keeps us afraid to speak what we think and adhere to a code of conduct that appeases the majority and thus only benefits the majority.

Any publicly pervasive notion, we trust, instead of our intuition. It's time to stop believing our individual thoughts, ideas, opinions, actions, abilities, resources and power don't matter. If what we think doesn't matter then why is so much time spent trying to methodically control and program what we think? Why is so much effort given to blackening anything that sheds light on injustice or upholds basic truths and rights? It's time to hold these truths to be self-evident in our thoughts and prevalent in our lives.

Truth is, in order to get you to do anything, they must have your buy-in to keep you buying whatever the pusher man has. You must think there is greater benefit to you to give someone else's thinking priority over your thoughts. You must think there is greater safety and security in sitting down and shutting up rather than standing up and speaking out.

Everything you do takes place in your thoughts first. Your actions and behavior are just the automatic results of what you think. If you think like someone else, let it be because you came to the final decision independently, willingly and knowing the ramifications of your actions that will follow and not from feeling afraid, powerless or not knowing your impact in the Universe.

The sad part is this: We think we're thinking for ourselves when we're not living the way we want to. Once we learn to think for ourselves and give the status quo the heave-ho, 4 out of 5 dentists won't be able to tell us what gum to chew and no one will be able to keep us buying stuff instead of substance, equating quality with publicity or convince us not to vote or vote differently because our candidate can't win. Think Kuji! Think!

Be determined to be yourself because you are what you think whether they're your thoughts or not.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Passion -- Let It Go

Passion is self-renewing energy that radiates from a deeply-held belief. It is not a thought. It is momentum that never goes away. Passion is the motivation that gives you the drive, determination, dedication and discipline to accomplish your goals. It cannot be faked, found, borrowed or manufactured. Passion comes naturally.

Natural passions usually surface during childhood, a time when money was not a motive and beliefs were uninhibited by the limiting logic of adulthood.

When you think, “I want to do that,” that is mindspeak. When you feel, “I can do that,” that is heartbeat. Passion changes things.

Each person has a purpose born, bred and breathed into their spirit without prejudice. Once we believe and trust this promise, we can finally let go and grab hold of whatever we imagine.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Big Break - Part I

Often when we learn about famous people, the stories talk about their big break. This usually means they were discovered, but don't get this twisted. They were “discovered” doing the thing they love. Before that they were rehearsing, immersing and sacrificing; not once in awhile, but all the while. They were discovered putting their resources where their beliefs were.

Here's an example of what it's like to simply just “get discovered.”

A publisher knocks on my door and says, ”I was just driving by looking for writers and since your door was the only one closed and the lights were off, I sensed you must be an all-around creative person.”
I'm so delighted that I must be living right, I quickly invite him in. He asks me to show him my best writing and I point to the closet. He smiles and says, “I know. That's where we always discover the good stuff. I'll find what I need and be out of your way in a minute.” While he's reading all my pride and joys and flashes of brilliance, I return to watching TV while notifying everyone that I'm about to be famous. The angel of knowing how good I am, appears again. He's somehow carrying nearly everything I've written and tells me I really am an amazing talent. “Sign here.” At last, confirmation! I sign off on my big break while still watching American Idol, because I'm a dreamer for life. He tells me it's a good thing I was at home and answered the door. “Some people are not where they should be and others won't open the door to strangers. Can you believe that?” The publisher leaves and says he'll take care of everything and send me my money. I smile and say, “I know. Just like I knew one day my big break would come.”

WAKE UP! The notion that my big break is an external event places my dreams and destiny into hands other than mine and my partner's.
My big break comes when I break away from my mindset and bad habits. My big break comes when I break ground on my dreams to lay the foundation for success and satisfaction not fame and fortune. My big break comes when I break a sweat and see daybreak after working all night long. My big break comes when I break some relationships and build others. My big break comes each time, my self, gets discovered, by me. These are the breaks. The rest is baloney.

Big Break Baloney!
(Sing using the Oscar Mayer Bologna tune)

My baloney has a first name, it's M-y-b-i-g
My baloney has a second name, it's B-r-e-a-k
Oh, I try to seek it every day
I believe it's the only way
Cause my big break is easier than
Working, h-a-r-d every day.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Understanding Art

Art is not merely skill or technical ability. Show me someone whose talent is technique and I'll show you clinical creativity, but not art. All creativity is not art. Art emerges from gifts and personal passions. Art is mainly the agility of thought and feeling that remains vibrant through ages despite the art form.

In order to understand art we must become involved beyond looking, hearing or reading. Being open to experience the thoughts and feelings at the heart of art awards us the privilege to receive greater appreciation and awareness. (By the way, open-mindedness is an active state of existence that requires seeking, weighing and trying to understand, not passively waiting and saying, “I'm open-minded. I listen when someone wants to tell me what they believe.”)

The involvement of our mental, spiritual and emotional selves with art leaves room for each individual to have a different experience, thus making art personally relevant and rewarding. This is the agility of art. It causes us to reach, tiptoe or get a stool if we have to. Likewise, it causes us to bend, uncover and discover its nuances.

Understanding is a beautiful thing. To him who engages art and does not wait to be entertained or always expect instantaneous or effortless understanding comes greater treasures, pleasures and insights. This reaffirms the necessity for art to remain individualized in its creation, appreciation and understanding.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chicago Drivers: City Slickers Stuck

Chicago drivers are city fed on pretty cozy conditions. In a land of multiple lanes and mostly flat, gently curving roads, the biggest hazards are each other. Yet, only one thing is certain. City drivers slow down for everything except construction workers. Whenever there's an accident, traffic stop or tire change, drivers become gawkers and traffic stoppers. Understandably you can't gawk and keep going at the same time.

When it comes to driver behavior in Chicagoland, I've learned to expect an overreaction during any single drop of rain or snow. These wet weather events instantly freeze dry motion. Today, there wasn't even enough snow to fill a Dixie cup; yet, Hell froze over right before my eyes. Seconds later, I added my request for bladder control to the growing number of prayers clogging the airwaves.

The only time traffic stopped in West Virginia was when rain raced through the mountainous funnel like bad news on a slow Samaritan day. Chicago drivers, could we at least go 10 mph? Pull over if you're petrified, other than that, keep moving people! If these same drivers found themselves in mountain country at the same time there's even a hint of inclement weather, they'd have nervous breakdowns.

Although it took 90 minutes and 10 gallons of gas to travel 5 miles, I wasn't completely stuck. I did a bit of writing.

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