I Resolve . . .



Something Could Change

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Come 2009, I will commence on a new path. I will exercise regularly, smoke not at all.  A healthy diet will become my regime.  On Monday, January 5, my life mission will be realized in my work.  The opportunity to inaugurate again, to give birth to me at my best will inspire a rejuvenation.  Today, I resolve to . . . not make a single New Years resolution.  In truth, I never have committed to change.  Yet, the person you see before you is not the same being that might have appeared on any other day, of any other year.  I have evolved, and so do we all.

As the New Year approaches, I reflect on a reality I see and hear everywhere.  People far and wide seek a novel strategy, one that has never appealed to persons such as I.  Most everyone is ready for a new reality.  Individuals are intent.  Now is the time to begin anew.  Resolutions are rampant.  

No matter where an individual might reside, the calendar motivates people to review, reflect, and revise schedules that did not work as well as once envisioned.  Pages in an almanac pass, and people presume, surely, these sheets of paper were meant to show signs of progress.  Most ponder; twelve months of misery or mindless maneuvers.  It is time for a change.  Yet, the mantra few admit to on January 1st, is the one individuals maintain throughout their lives, ‘people do not change.’  Experts espouse there is evidence for this belief.  

Dr. Edward D. Miller, Dean of the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, refers to the more than 70 percent of coronary bypass patients who revert to unhealthy habits within two years of corrective surgery. Although two-thirds of Americans believe they weigh seventeen pounds more than their ideal weight, few are able to shed the pounds.  In a recent study, nutritional specialists at Duke University affirmed that two-thirds of dieters gain back any lost weight within a year.  

While more than seventy-four percent [74%] of the Americans who are willing to confess, they smoke express a desire to give up the habit, 67% of these say they are addicted to cigarettes.  Even the most sanguine studies state “20 to 40 percent of participants are able to quit smoking and stay off cigarettes for at least one year.”  For nearly everyone, a New Years Resolution is no more than a trial declaration.  People propose; “I will try.”  Rarely do individuals voice a determined decision to do.

As I said, I never did.  My fear of failure secured my silence.  Personally, while it appeared that I battled with unhealthy habits, these were not my genuine challenge.  My fear for the change I thought would never come, a career that fosters contentment, a close connection with a compassionate someone who would not suffocate me, a personal sense of fulfillment were the greater challenges.  

Severe trepidation told me I could not achieve as I believed best.  Even if I thought the impossible probable in time, I trusted that a resolution would not help me realize a transformation.  Some might have said I was resistant, resigned to life as it was.

Certainly, Marion Kramer Jacobs, a Clinical Psychologist in Laguna Beach, California could concur with such a conclusion.  Doctor Jacobs offers the decree, defeatist yearn to hear.  “We’re hard-wired not to change quickly.”  She declares; “Think of what chaos would ensue if you could snap your finger and change instantly tomorrow. You would be one person today, someone else tomorrow.”

The author of “Take-Charge Living: How to Recast Your Role in Life . . . One Scene at a Time,” is cited amongst those who contend the challenge to change may have evolutionary origins.  She and other experts in human behavior surmise, mankind is accustomed to hierarchies.  Rules, regulations, [even traditional resolutions] inform us.  Societal structures require us to know our roles and perform them dutifully.  Oh, how we do.

Governments guide us.  Policymakers pass laws.  People obey.  Entrepreneurs employ us.  Bosses bark of business strategies.  Supervisors boom orders to subordinates.  Laborers walk in lockstep.  Families flourish when parents lead the little ones.  Therefore, the accepted theory seems to be a person cannot change without assistance.  Community, career, and domestic counselors count on this conviction.

Constituents are elated change has come in the form of a new President, Barack Obama.  

Small business owners are advised  if they follow a profound plan, they too will be transformed.  “Clarify and Simplify,” create an action plan for your workforce, soon all will be well.  Certainly, a focused staff with will reap fiscal rewards.  

Experts also seek to assist employees.  Articles and airwaves are filled with plans,  Again Americans are presented with secrets for success.  Follow this strategy and realize your dreams; secure your resolution.  Persons accustomed to being told what to do read essays such as, What says ‘hire me!’ to employers.

Dieters are delivered dictums.  The plump are given programs to eliminate the excess pounds;  5 small changes to help you lose weight.  Yes, fat persons, just as those fit to be tied by debt, an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, or other penchants, are ready to follow the steps anyone might present.   The hope is they might avoid another year of harrowing habits.

“Most of us think that we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try even harder this time around,” said Alan Deutschman, the former Executive Director of Unboundary, a firm that counsels corporations on how to alter business agendas.  Mister Deutschman, author of “Change or Die,” declares in his diary, while most people have the ability to alter behaviors and attitudes, they rarely do.  “It’s exceptionally hard to make life changes and our efforts are usually doomed to failure when we try to do it on our own.”  

Perchance that is why most turn to friends or more frequently family for moral support.  Authorities who admit a personal life is not as predictable as supposed facts, figures, and formulas might pretend it to be, give parents recommendations that provide greater flexibility.  As 2008 exits, and 2009 enters, Moms and Dads are invited to resolve that they cannot solve every problem. This is the truth most people believe.  Good intentions, while admirable, do not achieve results.  Yet, men, women, and children never stop trying to transform others or themselves.

Perchance, rather than accept the rituals, adopt our roles, or obligate our selves to rules that dictate a future of failure, we might resolve to recognize that change comes slowly.  Transformation travels from within.  Growth is a process.  Dreams are not realized in an instant.  

As infants, we did not walk or talk.  Toddlers have few tales to tell and narrate none exceptionally well.  Children can make choices; however, by the time they are teens the decision to run out into the street, against traffic, may not seem wise.  Little humans change constantly, as do bigger-in-mind-and body beings.

Young adults will assess all they knew again and again.  What a woman or man, in her or his twenties, thinks is best may not be what the same individual at thirty would advise.  Resolve, as I have, no matter the day or eve, New Year, or old, that rather than bemoan the research that elucidates why eighty percent [80%] of people will not successfully embark on self-renewal projects, embrace that you are, just as I am, not as we were.  Tomorrow, we will not be as we are.

I resolve to remember change is a constant.  My path is well traveled.  At times, I tripped.  I fell from the healthier course and then I picked myself up.  Harmful habits went by the wayside with help from me.  Friends, family, and experts may have lent a hand.  However, they could not do what only I could achieve for myself.  On this, the First day of January, I resolve to recall that I have evolved.

Resources for Resolutions . . .

From Abomination to Obamanation




To view the original art, please travel to From Abomination to Obamanation

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

With overwhelming voice, Americans have voted to move beyond the dark times of the past eight years. “Yes We Did” (Archive No. 0838). Now, if the nation can just survive the next two months, 17 days, 19 hours, 59 minutes and 42 seconds.

Quick note: I’ll be out of town so no new cartoon next week. Back November 19.

Till then,

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com

Strength Sought on September 11; Where is the Love



Black Eyed Peas – Where’s the love

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

On the eve of September 11, I was haunted by the heartache I have felt for seven very long years.  On the night, before the anniversary of the horrendous attacks, I was reminded of the people gone and not forgotten.  I also thought of those who survived.  Time has not healed the wound inflicted on that infamous day, now commonly called 9/11.  Indeed, with each passing minute and hour the hurt I feel intensifies.  

Minutes ago, as I prepared for the day of remembrance, I heard a broadcaster ask how to the loved ones of those who perished go on.  This Journalist wondered aloud, “Where do these people find the strength get up in the morning?”  The man on television screen touched me as he mused.  The newscaster tried to imagine what life must be like for the thousands who experience a greater sense of loss than those of us who did not have a friend, or a relative, in the region we now think of as Ground Zero.

Today, in memorial to the lives lost and in memory of those who survived, services were held.  The current Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg said September 11, “began like any other [day] and ended like no other.”  Indeed, the attacks on the Twin Towers brought about a beginning and ending that was distinctive.  People, throughout America found strength.  The vigor realized did not materialize in a manner that is reminiscent of the Irish proverb Mayor Bloomberg went on to recite.  “Death leaves a heartache that nothing can heal.  Love leaves a memory that no one can steal.”

In the United States, thousands of fatalities did not serve to remind us that love lives on.  The horrific incident instead informed millions of what it means to hate.

Since the morning of the attack on the World Trade Center, it seems almost every American harbors a deep-seated detestation of strangers.  We do not much like those we know if they dare to differ from us.  A wrong word, an unseemly choice of wardrobe, the way one walks, or talks, all are sources of worry to a public now petrified of what might be.  The incidents that took place on September 11, 2001 gave birth to a fear so extreme, it seems as though the ability to love was stolen from Americans.

Today, and every evening after the World Trade Towers first fell, fear has flourished.  People ponder the persons they once thought of as friends and wonder.  Might the man or woman be a foe.  Countless in this country have faith only in self.  Collectively, United States citizens commit to Country First.  

Apprehension for any action thought un-American is expressed through abhorrence.  The stench of disdain is strong in this nation and has been for seven years.  

Perchance, the force of hatred endows Americans with the stamina needed to rise each morning.  A want for retribution may be the power that drives many residents in this, their homeland  Nationally, a  profound sense of patriotism can be persuasive.  Certainly, jingoism is pervasive in the United states today.  It has been for the last several years.  

Perhaps, the deep desire for revenge motivates many to make it through the day.  Surely, love has not survived.

Few trust their neighbors as they once did.  The population loathes a person of Islamic descent or anyone who looks as though they might be of such a heritage.  The depth of disdain is far greater than it had been.  Perchance, only those born on foreign soil cause extreme trepidation.  A person whose complexion is dark is suspected of being a terrorist, a Muslim, or a radical Jihadist.  Even those everyday average American citizens who peacefully practice this tranquil religion are thought to be evil.  Surely, “their” scripture are not as “ours,” so says the Christian community.

Some argue, the poor are a problem.  If the impoverished are unhappy, they might rebel.  Conventional wisdom calls upon Americans to beware; insurgent cells are easily born out of strife.  

Those identified as less than loyal are truly a concern.  If these individuals are  citizens, certainly they are not good Americans.  People ponder; why does he not wear a flag on his lapel.  Why does she not stand in support of a war.  From the time of the first attack, Americans have been on a rampage.  Almost all have found a reason for contempt.  

Whatever the rational may be, for numerous throughout the nation odium for the “other” has become the raison d’être, the purpose for living.  Love in modern America seems unattainable.  

Was the ability to have affection for all of mankind stolen on September 11, 2001?  Fondness does not seem to give Americans the strength to awaken or stay true to what once was the course of compassion.

As of the afternoon of September 11, 2001, the demoralized feel more sure the affluent have taken advantage of the average American.  People on the political Left, do not trust any individuals on the Right.  Those in Congress can no longer compromise; they can barely speak to each other.  Individuals in local communities cannot come together and create stable neighborhoods.  On the street it is each man, woman, or child for him or herself.

Worldwide the controversies play out.  People in one country do not appreciate those elsewhere.  World leaders tell us, there is an axis of adversaries.  The presumption is, these people or those do not like the United States.  Any from outside of America are fanatics.  None are “our” allies.  Inhabitants of the United States  have become extremely suspicious.  We are wary, leery, chary, and cautiously on guard, always.

The accepted wisdom is that an unknown force awaits in the shadows.  This antagonist will do us harm.  “Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased, or negotiated with.  It can only be destroyed, and that’s the business at hand.”

Since that September morning, in 2001 Americans have been on edge, engaged in war, physically and emotionally.  It is “us” against “them.”  Allied forces and adversaries are easily identified, dependent on your views, and everyone has an opinion.  As of 9/11, people are ready, willing, and able to fight for what they believe.  The operative word is “fight.”

It seems wherever we turn today, a battle ensues.  People are on edge.  All are ready to pounce.  Given the slightest provocation, people will engage in a war of words, or one with weapons.  Justifications are explained as self-defense.  Reprehensions rule.  

People intent on resentment will find rationale for umbrage.  There is always an us and a them to be found.

Throughout this era I read articles that spoke to conspiracy theories.  Last evening, in yet one more missive, I read the planes did not crash into the Twin Towers.  Missiles completed a mission.  The latter essay stated that some believe the aircraft that supposedly crashed into buildings still fly today.  

Last evening, as I contemplated the possibility of a sinister plot, I could not help but think of the people who perished, the men, women, and children who choked on fumes as they fell from the sky.  I wonder; where are they now.  Where is the love that once existed in America.  Was fondness indeed stolen or was it replaced with fear expressed as revulsion?  I know not the answer.  I am only aware of what is and has been for so many years now.

Oh, how I had hoped that on the morning of September 11, 2008, when I awoke, the strength to love would again be observed in America.  However, as I opened the newspaper I realized hours did not heal wounds so deep.  Scars did not disappear in the night.  

I scanned the pages of a prominent periodical and saw  Bush Said to Give Orders Allowing Raids in yet another foreign nation.  The Border Fence while delayed will be built.  Reflections on terrorism affirmed that people still believed others were the enemy.  

Yes, morning has broken.  Sadly, my spirit still is not strong.  Love may have been stolen from many Americans hearts.  However, sincere affection for my fellow man is secure within me.  My hope is that some day will begin and end with love.  I yearn for mornings and evenings without the hate realized on September 11, 2001.  My desire is for the strength of fondness.  May we each find peace, serenity, and brotherly love in every moment.

September 11 Sources . . .

Reality or Rumor, Jeb In White House! ©

Papa Bush thinks it is a wonderful idea.  Big Brother Bush believes it would be wise.  Today, King George II stated aloud, Jeb Bush “would be a great President.”  The father said this a year ago, or more.  Many say Jeb is polished; he has finesse, financing, and in Florida, he is popular.  An amazing 55 percent of Florida voters surveyed in April 2006 thought, “Jeb was doing a good job.”

Jeb reluctantly says he will not run for President in 2008.  However, we all recall, initially, he was his Mama’s and Papa’s first choice for the job.  He was groomed for the position.  Brother George had long been seen as the black sheep, a failure.

Then he was re-born; he could relate to the Christian Coalition, the common-man, his party’s base.  With the help of an architect, Karl Rove, the eldest of the babies Bush found his way to the White House.  Mom and Dad were proud, but patterns from the past seem to be haunting this Bush.  George Walker Bush is no longer a popular President.  Polls place his approval at about 36 percent.

Brother Jeb might fare better.  Though the younger Bush professes he has no intention of running, his family encourages him.  This Wednesday, Big-Bro Georgie, in an interview with Florida reporters, declared “I would like to see Jeb run at some point in time, but I have no idea if that’s his intention or not.”

Jeb Bush, 53, will end his second term as governor of Florida in January 2007.  King George II will end his term in January 2009.  Neither can seek re-election to the offices they now hold.  However, they can campaign for other positions.  A two-year period is considered perfect for priming a Presidential pump and Jeb knows how to do this.

The man born into a powerful political family, and oil dynasty, could prepare and present his campaign well.  Jeb Bush has savvy and name recognition.  He is slick and has lots of black gold.  Jeb says he is not interested, [for now]; he is busy doing his job.  At a conference in Fort Lauderdale, Governor Jeb explained, “I’m not running for president.  I’m not running for United States Senate.”  He continued, “I’m trying to be a good governor.”  His smile might have said more than his words.

His own father, George Herbert Walker Bush, forty-first President of the United States says no one believes Jeb when he says he’s not interested in the prominent post.  A year ago, when interviewed on CNN’s Larry King Live, Former President Bush posed ??he would like Jeb to run one day’ and that the son would be “awfully good” as president.

Before May 10, 2006, it was a thought often expressed.  As of today, it seems the stage is set.  Polls have been taken.  Presidents from the past, and the present endorse the younger Bush Boy Wonder.  Now, America waits.  Will Jeb walk down that runway?  Will our next President possibly be another Bush?  Please, say it ain’t so!  Is it a rumor or a reality; could Bush after Bush be America’s fate?

References for your review . . .
Jeb Would Make a ‘Great President,’ Bush Says, By Bill Brubaker. Washington Post Thursday, May 11, 2006
A 3rd President Bush? First 2 All for It ABC News
Pollster Suggests Bush Moves Might Be Too Little, Too Late By Eric Pianin and Chris Cillizza. Washington Post. Sunday, May 7, 2006
Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low CBS News February 27, 2006
Another Bush in the White House? By Nedra Pickler
New documents obtained by CNN suggest coordination between religious group, Bush campaign By Brooks Jackson. CNN
Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential By James Moore, Wayne Slater
Historians vs. George W. Bush, By Robert S. McElvaine. History News Network
Senior Bush plugs Jeb for president ‘someday’ CNN News Wednesday, June 1, 2005