28 January 2010

Death, Taxes, and Change

Well, I'm sure you probably get the reference from the today's blog title: Most of us have heard the Benjamin Franklin quote, or at least its ending: "...nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Change is another thing of which we can be certain; will we or nil we, life changes all about us. There seem to be so many who sit and whine about the changes they see, as if somehow their dislike of the change will keep it from occurring. Unfortunately, life doesn't seem to work that way. In my work, there have been some major changes lately, including the implementation of some new software that, while it is troubling in the present, as we all get used to it and work out the quirks, will result in a lessening of effort and workload--and definitely save a few trees. But, there are those among us who simply can't stand to give up writing their reports with pen and paper, and so, stand firm in their dislike.

I've long thought of myself as a positive person. As with anyone, I've had my days where I've been anything but positive. In the long run, though, I've realized (again and again) that looking at things optimistically works much better for me. I've really tried to start instilling that same type of attitude in both of my sons, encouraging them to think positively and believe in their hearts that they are capable of whatever they attempt, because I believe that belief is half of the battle. If I think I can't, well, then, usually I can't. It's been rather interesting to me to see all this...well, I'll call it confirmation--of my belief in a positive attitude. The workshop that Andy and I attended last Saturday seemed very much to reinforce that. I can't say that I really know much about the metaphysical and I don't know if the Universe really operates through the Law of Attraction. But, I do know that even if I can't just attract the things I want into my life simply by thinking about them, I certainly will never be worse off if I can remain positive and grateful and appreciative about all that which is already present in my existence. And there is always so much to be grateful for and appreciative of. One of the suggestions in the workshop was to write a gratitude/appreciation list each day of at least 10 things. Andy Dooley mentioned that sometimes we tend to write the same things over and over each day, so he suggested that we choose a different letter of the alphabet for each day. On the way home, Andy and I went even further, talking about body parts, household appliances, people, etc. As I've done this, I've tried to not only name the thing or idea I appreciate or am grateful for, but also include a reason why I appreciate it or am grateful for it. It's been interesting and I feel that it's a worthwhile practice. After all, I'm certainly not going to be able to attract any new "good" stuff into my life if I'm not grateful for what I already have.

Something else that has changed recently for me has resulted from a couple of movies that I watched within the last couple of months. The Zeitgeist Movie and Zeitgeist: Addendum (both available for free online) are very intriguing and give an open-minded person quite a bit to think about and consider. If you haven't seen them and you consider yourself religious, you might want to consider watching Addendum first and then The Zeitgeist Movie. Those two movies confirmed some things I've felt for some time and introduced me to some new thoughts and ideas. Some of these thoughts and ideas, I'll admit, are difficult to come to terms with, but ultimately, they have challenged me to challenge my own thoughts and preconceived notions. I would highly encourage you to watch them, especially if you are in any way disillusioned by recent "current events," including the financial crisis and anything in the political arena. Give yourself plenty of time, as each movie is about 2 hours long. If you do give these movies a look, please let me know what you think.

Through watching the movies and viewing the related websites for The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project, I've also begun working my way through a reading list recommended by Jacque Fresco. The list includes over 50 books and DVDs, so it will take me some time to get through. The first books I ordered included short stories by Mark Twain (specifically Letters from the Earth and The Mysterious Stranger); Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer; The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan; The Best That Money Can't Buy by Jacque Fresco; and The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase. I was about halfway through the Tyranny of Words when my car was broken into this past Sunday and unfortunately, that book was in my purse which was stolen. It's very interesting, however, and introduced me to the topic of general semantics. I'm almost finished with Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and though I'll admit I have to break out a dictionary every now and then during my reading, it, too, is a very interesting book. The author does not seem to be out to bash those who "believe in weird things," in fact, he often remarks in the pages of the book that the subjects to which he refers are very smart and likable people. Instead, he lays out a framework to explain why we all are capable of believing some pretty strange things and explains how we can analyze claims and beliefs for veracity and possibility.

I'm not a scientific kind of person in most cases. I think sciences are fascinating subjects, but I know that I have a history of thinking a lot more with my heart than with my head. Critical thinking is not something that comes easily to me. But, I will keep trying.

Death is coming. That is certain. No matter how uncomfortable the idea of it is to me, some day it will arrive. I am living the remainder of my life so that when death shows up for me, I will be happy and grateful for a life filled with love, happiness, and serving others. Taxes, unfortunately, are coming, too. But perhaps if enough of us humans being come around to the possibilities of a resource based society and get rid of this monetary system, taxes will be a thing of the past. Change. Our universe, our planet, every living creature on this rock hurtling in orbit around our sun has been changing for millenia. I appreciate our ability to change and adapt.

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