You can’t turn on your TV or computer without being impacted by the stunning images of catastrophic damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week.
There are a few important things to look at in the aftermath of such a tragedy. With a big election next week, maybe it’s the right time to reconsider the kind of country we want to live in.
Government: doesn’t it make you feel a little better to see those images of President Obama together with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie? That’s what government is supposed to do – work together to create solutions no matter what party, red or blue. Consider that as you go to the voting booth next week. (I already voted earlier this week.)
The “I won’t talk with you, I won’t deal with you” attitude toward governance the last few years has resulted in more problems and a sluggish response to the challenges we face as a nation. I’m tired of the vitriole and the bickering, aren’t you?
When we work together – even if we have strong differences of opinion - good things happen, Obama and Christie have taken the lead here. I give both credit for putting aside their differences and working together to help the thousands impacted by Sandy.
A few years ago crossing the aisle was considered the preferred norm, not a reason to get your shorts in a twist. You don’t get a doggone thing done if you don’t find workable ways to get along with others.
I blame marketing. Yep, it’s what I’ve been doing my entire career. But I lay the responsibility for a lot of our sniggering small-mindedness on marketing. If we couldn’t tell the difference between one candidate or another and where they stood on issues in the past – we sure can now. Politicians have made certain of it by distancing themselves from each other so much we look ridiculous.
The “have it my way” culture that sprung up in the 1980s and the “me generation” has led to the expectation that’s how it should be all the time, every minute with everything. That everyone should get things exactly as they want them and no one’s feelings should ever be hurt along the way. A little unrealistic, don’t you think?
Infrastructure: Let’s start getting honest here. If you haven’t travelled around the world there’s probably a chance you feel America has the most advanced systems in the world. Not even close. We’re seriously behind the eight-ball when it comes to mass transit, bridges, education, energy development of renewables, delivery of medical care and much more. As a matter of fact we’re currently rated 20 in the world. Not even in the top ten. We’re at 20. Sheesh!
New York subway officials have said this is the worst damage to the system in its 108 year history. They’ll get it patched back up and running again with duct tape and chewing gum. Thank goodness for our weather satellites that provided enough lead time to get all the trains and all the machines moved to safe places, saving billions of dollars in further damages.
The people of New York, New Jersey and other states are still waiting to get back their subways and power back. Mayor Bloomberg has issued a rule you must have three people in a car to get into NY City. Right now just walking down the street without slogging through a few feet of water, debri, sewage, petroleum and more is a challenge. Anyone who knows me knows I love walking, and, walking in New York City has always been an empowering experience in such a vibrant, exciting city. Well, especially if I can sneak in a little shopping – but I digress.
Global warming: whether it’s due to man-made activities or not we have to deal with the fact killer storms and hurricanes happen more often. Let’s stop politicizing what’s obviously happening, kicking the can down the road. Can you believe some turkeys see weather as a Democratic or Republican issue? Weather? Really?
These once-every-century storms and floods now happen about once every two years. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Scientists, the most apolitical people on the planet, say that our artic ice is melting more and more every year. The result is crazy weather systems like mega hurricanes, flooding and massive snowfalls in winter.
Is it due to our “carbon footprint” or something else? I don’t know. Who cares? Do we really want to keep acting shocked when these events happen,, plunking our heads in the sand? Really?
Our natural tendency is to reach out and help someone who is in worse shape than we are. We selflessly give what we can when our fellow man or woman is hurting, and, we sure as heck don’t ask if they’re Republican or Democrat first.
In a tragedy we see people coming together in ways that show we understand the Golden Rule. Living with meaning and purpose for most of us means finding ways to help others whenever we can.
Here’s something funny in an ironic way:
People in the affected areas without power are running around trying to find power to recharge their cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc. Wouldn’t it be funny in a good way if as a result of this tragedy people actually look at each other and say “hi” rather than endlessly staring at the screen on their phone?
When I ask people what’s most important they almost always reply “helping others” and “making a difference.” Its a more powerful core value than anything else. If so, why do some folks get in a snit when two people with a difference of opinion AND the power to make a difference actually get along? Why do we cross our arms refusing to acknowledge what’s clearly happening and act like we can stuff the toothpaste back in the tube? Why do we posture and act like arch enemies when people clearly care and want the best for each other?
I like Mondays. It’s a fresh, opportunity to start another week where I can start anew and create what I want. Call me an eternal optimist but I always look forward to the endless possibilities Monday promises. This morning Ernie and I will attend our regular Monday networking group, called Enlightened Entrepreneurs.
It’s a growing group of small business owners who come together each week to help and support each other. We do business with each other – but EE is also about learning and connecting in a uplifted way that provides a great way to start our week.
This weekend was filled with activities that made me feel like a part of the community I live in rather than my online community. Different from sitting in my office chair and facebooking for the weekend.
On Saturday I went to the Warrior Dash as you see from my post yesterday. Afterward, I took my friend Val to lunch at the Lake Las Vegas Westin (yes, the mud was gone by then).
Yesterday I had a meeting with a client at Barnes & Noble. She has been with me for well over a year now and the amazing strides her business has made during that time is nothing short of remarkable. She’s always upbeat and positive and looks forward to our meetings.
One of the things I told her is that she needs to be a follow-up warrior with her business. She can be a force of nature when she wants to be – but other times she lets things fall through the cracks. We all do that at times as small business owners and closing those gaps by following up and can make a huge difference.
I attended my husband Ernie Martin’s Spiritual Circles of the Vegas Valley discussion held at “The Spirit Within U” owned by the lovely Karen Campbell. For years Ernie’s passion has been to lead a group in spiritual conversations. No rights or wrongs here – it’s all about what your experience is and what matters to you.
We had a wonderful conversation for about 90 minutes exploring the question, “Is prayer/meditation effective for you?” (The picture on the right is from a wedding we attended a couple months ago in San Francisco.)
In the evening I attended a candlelight vigil for a young woman, Anne-Monique Lippitt (pictured left with her mom) who was in a near-fatal car accident a little over a week ago and has been in a medically-induced coma since at University Medical Center. Annie, age 20, is a college student working two part-time jobs. She has a ready smile for every one and is all about bringing people together. She graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2010 where she was president of the student body all four years. If you’d like to support her and her family click here now.
As I was driving home from the candlelight vigil with my friend, Stacey Hall, I felt like I really was a part of my community this weekend. I contributed in the best ways I know how to support others and connect in meaningful ways.
My head exploded with confusion, frustration and disgust. Digging through the trash next to a dumpster wearing plastic gloves (What does THAT say about my state of consciousness?) thinking, “This is CRAZY!” Rivulets of sweat trickled down the small of my back in the 104 degree heat.
Where did my car keys go?
In a moment of Zen, I observed my reaction, going ballistic, ready to burst into tears. I kept thinking the situation was stupid. Not that I was stupid. Bent out of shape over mis-placed keys? Why? Because replacing ‘em cost almost $300 dammit. Those cool, little clickers to unlock the car door don’t come cheap.
Ernie loves politics. Honestly, I don’t.
So, it was with deep reservations I agreed to attend an event this evening encompassing the cultural, spiritual and political rolled into one.
Ernie found out about this event taking place at a local Buddhist center. The community includes mostly people from Sri Lanka, an island nation of 20 million people off the southern tip of India. Congresswoman Dina Titus was making a campaign swing through Vegas and was coming to speak.
The Nevada Buddhist Vidara is located in what was formerly a modest home. Except for the large, golden Buddha statue surrounded by flowers on the altar, it was a simple room with folding chairs that looked like it could use a fresh coat of paint.
The people were amazingly gracious and kind. Women wore traditional saris in tissue-light cotton and silk, embellished with beautiful embroidery. Men wore standard-issue Indian-style Nehru shirts and lungi. Say “loon-geeys.” Think of a wrap skirt in lightweight cotton sweeping down to the ankles. Several Buddhist monks wore bright orange and deep gold robes.
This was a big occasion for the temple. A dignitary announced the temple was founded in 1996. Tonight was the first time ever an elected official has visited. A colorful fresh flower garland was draped around the Congresswoman’s neck. A high honor. She lit candles while three high school girls in white saris sang traditional songs in Sinhala, the Sri Lankan language. Titus laid a tray of flowers at the feet of the large Buddha on the altar. A monk tied an orange string around her wrist and chanted a mantra wishing her victory in the election this November.
There was no air conditioning. It was 102 degrees outside and every chair was filled. Halfway through the event the girls quietly walked around with trays filled with cold water bottles and icy cans of soda to help everyone be more comfortable in the stuffy room during the ceremony. The pop, pop, pop of opening soda cans punctuated the air for a few minutes.
Congresswoman Dina Titus finally took the tiny platform and spoke for ten minutes about issues of importance to Sri Lankan Americans. Terrorism that formerly gripped the tiny island nation for 26 years has recently ended supported by a vote she made in Washington. She also spoke about improving education and other concerns.
A bountiful potluck of Sri Lankan cuisine was served afterward.
As we strolled to our car I thought how I didn’t want to come earlier. I ran around all afternoon in the heat and a quiet evening at home sounded ideal. I’m glad I let Ernie twist my arm, opening my eyes to the gentle, kind people of Sri Lanka and their interest in making America and their homeland a better place. We have so much more in common then we often believe.