Look for the learning

In Stephen King’s novel, “Revival,” his main character describes “those people that pop up in your life like the Joker in a deck of cards,” the ones who end up being “change agents” in your life. That is to say; people who end up being catalysts for change in your life. That’s the way you have to look at it, really, when one of these jokers pops up.

Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around us – more effectively. Look for the learning.

Louisa May Alcott

She’s right. It’s tough to mine gold from ’emotional events’ though, because they don’t always present as opportunities for learning. Anyone who has seen the news, heard about senseless tragedies over and over just ends up getting really angry eventually. On Facebook, the act of Liking a thought provoking and outrageous anger inducing status doesn’t make everything all better. Maybe it starts a chain of awareness however. I believe that we choose the lives we’re in, so we can have the experiences we need to have for our souls to learn the lessons it needs to learn. Nevertheless, sometimes you find yourself thinking, “Enough learning already!”

Change agents are everywhere. On small levels, and nationally. There’s this newscaster who you’ve probably read about (Karl Stefanovic) who wore the same suit on air for a year as a social experiment to protest sexism (because after all if a woman wore the same thing just two days in a row— everyone would be on her case). Just as he suspected would happen,

no one noticed.

I didn’t watch that particular news station but I keep wondering, if I did, would I have noticed his lack of apparel variety? I did notice the following tidbit: I think it’s interesting that his name is spelled wrong in the link to his story. See below, where there are too many o‘s.


          I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything to you, or even to me, but it probably meant something to Karl. Did you know that the computer “mouse” was originally called the “Position Indicator Control?” Somebody decided that ‘mouse’ made more sense. What’s in a name? (Shakespeare quote…Incidentally I don’t think I would have liked the man much in person, had I known him. I mean the man makes references to ‘hanging dogs’ five times in his plays. No animal lover; him. But I digress.)

I read a beautiful article about a parent who had a very unique birth announcement retraction clarification posted in a local newspaper. It went like this:


Pretty cool, eh? Her child was born the same year as my own trans child. My child is definitely one of the change agents who’ve come up in MY life!

Sometimes change comes about because of meditation, visualization, imagination, inner imaginings. Without the ability to imagine why we exist in the world, we would be animals because animals don’t question, “What is my life for?” But people do. Einstein used to imagine himself as part of the cosmos. He used to envision riding on comet tails. Salk pictured himself as a virus. As a cancer cell. As the immune system itself.

      “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” -Einstein

and this:    “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security”-Einstein

From Pathos to Bathos; such is an ordinary day in my life. I was at a local KFC recently when I glanced over to the dry erase whiteboard which hung on a wall next to an oven. Number one in ‘how to serve customers’ was this: Make eye contact. Scary stuff, that.

Speaking of feeling uncomfortable, earlier in this blog I mentioned “liking” Facebook news items. It’s infuriating when distasteful videos start playing in your Newsfeed; when images of graphic violence pop up. There’s a no holds barred attitude that the media has these days. It gets worse and worse. Everyone wants to put the baddest of the bad out there, and be the first ones to do it.

This mentality always brings me back to the days of FDR (I’ve read about the era, I didn’t live to experience it), who had Polio and was confined to a wheelchair. You probably know the story. FDR didn’t want to be photographed in the wheelchair, or when he walked with assistive support, to the podium. His reasoning was that he wanted to be perceived as ”a strong president.” But his reasons aren’t important really, the point here, is that he asked the media NOT to photograph him in his wheelchair. And they DIDN’T. They respected his wishes. That era is gone, my friends.

You know that old military poster that states, “We’re looking for a few good men?” I’m looking for a few good human beings. Sometimes I succeed. Have you heard about the guy who spent seven thousand dollars on cardboard “homeless” signs? Willie Baronet started his collection of signs in 1993.


He gives the person holding the sign about ten dollars (that’s okay, they can easily make a new one) and his collection has amassed what’s become an art display.

“Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes”-Jimmy Buffet:
I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
wonderin’ where they all disappeared.
I didn’t ponder the question too long;
I was hungry and went out for a bite.
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum,
and we wound up drinkin’ all night.

It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

This is me in 30 years: 10420024_791226410949677_7667666776815575385_n

I gotta go now, but remember to look for the learning, okay?

photo of older lady painting courtesy https://www.facebook.com/artpeople1

transgender announcement story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/mom-birth-announcement-transgender-son_n_6254446.html

Cardboard homeless sign art: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/willie-baronet-homeless-signs_n_5332592.html

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