The Way I Was Ain’t the Way I Am Now

People, Change

Stuart Richards

We grow up, at least some of us do anyway. Yet, we try to keep that childhood sense of wonder and curiosity alive and kickin’. This helps us to grow, to love, and embrace life abundantly and with passion.

Change, though we try to sometimes resist it, will still happen. We open our arms to the good but vehemently reject the not-so-good. If I’m not better than I was and didn’t grow as I learned from my mistakes, I somehow wasted my opportunities to be a viable contributor to life, to others, and to living.

People who haven’t seen you in a while may comment that you haven’t changed a bit, but au contraire, you have. They are probably referring to your good nature, conduct, and compassion. That is a positive attribute. On the flip side they could be seeing a darker, more notorious side of your well-known nefarious temperament. This is not quite the crowd-pleaser depending on who you talk to. Nowadays we see instances where some find and are drawn to that defiant appeal. Change is still imminent nevertheless. 

So when we do a self-evaluation of ourselves, we shouldn’t base or limit our growth on how much money we have or on our massive material possessions. At the end of the day it’s about our conversation, our conduct, our consciousness, our character, and our contributions. The bad didn’t break us, although at the time it sure as hell felt like it.

I am truly different even if I repeatedly do the same thing every day. I am not the same as I was 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago. Hopefully throughout my transformation I have become a much better version of who I was yesterday, a better child of God.  When you look at yourself as you examine who you have become, are you pleased by what you see, and the positive impact you’ve made to show greater love and compassion throughout humanity? Until you’ve taken your last breath, there is always room for improvement. 🙂

Divided Against Itself

Looking over the broken castle wall towards the church in the village of Corfe

Image Credit: Lilla Frerichs

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” – Matthew 12:25b (KJV)

Since COVID-19 has intensified in all of its furor, we’ve seen the best and the worst in people. Fortunately, we’ve seen more of the best than the worst. We’ve seen people come together to build, support, and unite. Then there’s that defiant portion of the population who seem to have lost their minds and in turn, weaken and destabilize the organized structure of unity.

Such division is destructive, leaving the entire body vulnerable and quite often deadly. Thank God for the compassionate souls who have the tenacity and strength to come together as one and try to make the best out of a tough situation. Together, we can accomplish practically anything.

Value in the Strength of Leadership: Learning How to Play Together

Leadership

Image Credit: zcool.com.cn

Years ago I read a detailed and incredible presentation delivered by Retired General Colin Powell on leadership. “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.” Powell attributes his success to hard work, straight talk, respect for others, and thoughtful analysis. Click here to read this detailed Slideshare presentation.

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been subordinates at some point, and many of us have held some type of leadership position at some time or another. Many times supervisors, managers, team leaders, or executives tend to get so wrapped up in the status of their position instead of the health, contributions, and welfare of their members.

Last week, I read an article by Steve Goodier, from Life Support System Pubishing, Inc. listing the following black marks against bosses, conducted by a research organization who surveyed several thousand people:

15% Bias and letting emotions rule.
15% Indecision.
21% Miscellaneous; including lack of courtesy, sarcasm, jealousy, nervousness, and loss of temper.
17% Failure to delegate authority.
17% Arrogance.
17% Arbitrariness.
19% Lack of frankness and sincerity.
24% Lack of leadership.
34% Failure to size up employees correctly.
36% Failure to show appreciation or give credit.
68% Failure to see the other person’s point of view.

The ability to understand, to be heard, and to be understood are emotional needs that can unite or divide an organization, family, or country. Can you connect to any of the above responses on a local, state, national or global level?

Justice’s Journal: I’m No Longer Blind

Justice, Blind Justice, Law

Image: Hans

She sat on her bench, fountain pen in hand, and a journal containing parchment paper next to the dust-laden gavel. She was in pain as she wiped tears from her eyes and began writing down the following thoughts. She doesn’t remember when it happened, she just knew those who were supposed to protect her actually abused her.

“What happened to my blindfold,” she asked. “Who broke my scales and decapitated the handle from my sword to compromise the integrity of equity and morality that should not be swayed by special interests, politics, payoffs, or social status?”

“I have been stripped of respect for who I am and what I stand for. I’ve been robbed of my power to fairly and equally administer the law without favor, greed, corruption, or prejudice. How could so many turn a blind eye as I was being abused, stripped of my character, and my decency for the truth?” How could they just ignore what was happening, allowing it to happen?”

“I can’t understand how some have stood before me, looking me square in the eyes, swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God, as they blatantly lied through smiling lips, fain with the affection of bold defiance, dripping with blood from their hands.”

“Who will stand with me, to help stitch the rips in my robe, to solder the handle on my sword, to repair the broken chains on my scale, and to blindfold me once again so that my impartiality will reign supreme with liberty and justice for all? Anybody? Or am I a thing of the past, a goddess one lusts after but is not committed to?”

She looked up and through the large Palladian window, flanked by large Corinthian columns. Justice placed her pen across her journal and felt the sunrays of hope pulsating through shadows of brokenness, as she waited.

A Spelunking We Will Go

Caving, Spelunking

Image Credit: Rajesh Misra

Space, vast, dark and deep
weathering rock underground
cave of adventure.

Ahhhh the great outdoors, or should I say the great underground doors? How brave are you to engage in the exploration of spelunking? If you are claustrophobic then this adventure may not be for you.

Spelunking is not for the faint of heart. Caving, also known as spelunking in the United States and Canada is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems. It’s amazing to scan the raw texture of the natural underground formations, natural artistry suspended in the construction of electrifying unorchestrated mutations.

Caving, spelunking

Image Credit: Linnaea Mallette

Like an underground artist studio, these wild cavernous wonders draw us into an amazing quest into some incredible jaw-dropping sculptures.

Gibraltar Limestone Caves

Image Credit: Linnaea Mallette

Cave Of The Mounds

Image Credit: Yinan Chen

caves

Image Credit: Reddit

Happy Spelunking!

Fazed by the Phases of Life?

Life, Compassion

Image source: gillnisha

Are you disturbed by the abnormalities of normality? When life throws you lemons, do you throw it back because you don’t like lemons? Or do you find a way to make something creative and functional with those lemons that will work for you?

If you have experienced a spectrum of ups and downs, heartaches, heartthrobs, and heartbreaks, trials and tribulations, successes, failures, and victories throughout your life, then you clearly have an understanding of the multiple phases of life one goes through. Such phases can lead us to a hard-knock type of strength that we may not fathom, whether we were prepared to acknowledge and embrace it or not.

Clearly every able-minded adult understands that life can sometimes throw you one hell of a curve-ball that you didn’t see coming. Sometimes those curve-balls can hit you so hard that they may immobilize you indefinitely. We question the actions and language of so many who seem to project their privileged statuses by appearing to speak for the unfortunate or underserved only for selfish or maleficent reasons.

Care, Compassion

Image source: geralt

There are some things that are simply foolish, unimportant or trivial that we are unfazed about, and rightfully so. Yet when we stop and look at the impact critical, life-threatening issues and injustice can have on people who are victimized and suffering from on so many levels, then it behooves us to be fazed by such life-altering phases. Perhaps one day, if it has or hasn’t already happened, you will need someone to be fazed by the challenging phase you may be dealing with and in turn you will need to do the very same thing.

Care, compassion, and love are the instruments of power that we need to have in our humanity toolbox, to help repair broken spirits and hearts. We can either decide to benefit from or be bitter about our adversities, whether we are fazed by them or not.