I Am. You Are. We Are…All Connected

Yesterday was tragic, and we can make it worse if we’re not smart.

The Boston Marathon is special, in that it’s a local event into which the community invites the entire world to take part. Those whom attend usually do so for very personal reasons; the lifetime runner who competes for a place in history, the man who finally conquered his struggle with weight loss, the person who started running as a distraction from an abusive relationship, the woman running to raise funds for her relative’s medical expenses, the father pushing his disabled child in their wheelchair so they can share in the spirit of the event…they’re all there.

English: Richard Whitehead (to the left) at th...
English: Richard Whitehead (to the left) at the Boston marathon 2009. Heartbreak hill, boston marathon 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Boston Marathon, mile 25, Beacon St., 2005
Boston Marathon, mile 25, Beacon St., 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These persons likely woke up yesterday with a positive outlook on the day that would unfold. They went through their particular morning preparations as they have done many times before. Maybe they reflected on the journey that led them to this day, going over all the difficult things that have taken place in their life and how they successfully overcame them. For some, just a few years ago the thought of running the Boston Marathon was just a dream, and now they’ll be able to realize that dream.

Culturally, the Boston Marathon is incredibly important. It fosters and enhances our sense of global community, encourages a healthy lifestyle and is one of the few sporting events we have in the world which is all about one thing…cheering. There are no boos at the Boston Marathon. People come together to cheer on strangers in the street, and show them that while they are running alone, we’re all in this together.

And then suddenly, two bombs go off. Three people die; hundreds injured; lives altered forever in less than two seconds.

Now what??

After seeing and hearing so much speculation and rhetoric, it’s obvious that the country is very confused. We are just as confused now as we were last December with Newtown, last July with Denver, with 9/11, OKC, Waco…the list goes on and on. Most of us can agree that we want the person or persons who orchestrated these events to be apprehended and brought to justice. However, the way many of us are communicating those feelings is very upsetting.

Yes, we are angry; we are VERY angry. But so was the person who caused this tragedy; and long before the bombs were planted, before the decision to get the materials to make them, before they started down a path of destruction — something happened. We don’t understand how another human being gets to the point where they decide that ending human lives is appropriate or justified, and when we take to social media to post our feelings on that subject, we expose our ignorance for everyone to see.

Let me say that again: we expose our ignorance for EVERYONE to see.

In your personal life, “everyone” includes your parents, siblings, grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins, your boss and everyone at work, your friends from high school, your boyfriend or girlfriend, wife or husband, your fans, your clients and prospective clients, and so on.

In your digital life, “everyone” means every corporation’s page you’ve “liked”; they gather everyone’s posts and look for commonalities so they can focus their advertising campaigns around your lifestyle. It means the government and the politicians and the lobbyists who mine data to create successful political campaigns based on the current culture and sentiment across the country. “Everyone” also means anyone else in the world…including those who want to hurt and harm us.

When we display and defend our ignorance as a virtue of patriotism to our country, we send a message to the corporations, our government and the rest of the world that America is an ignorant country. Would you help a country mired in ignorance, or just take advantage of it as best you can while it is still possible??

Bottom line, the perpetrators need to be found and they need to lose freedoms — their freedom ends where ours begins. Let’s just try to love everybody in the process, and not let hate blind us to the truth…

I am. You are. We are…all connected.

Thanks for reading. Much love.

:-J

Dreams & Nightmares: Ignore At Your Peril

Someone’s dream is going to come true tonight — and so is someone’s nightmare.

There’s a Gatorade® commercial on TV featuring Kevin Durant, a small forward on the Oklahoma City Thunder and one of the top players in the NBA.  The commercial opens showing the last moments of a game in which Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade blocks a dunk from Durant, and Durant immediately rises from his bed as if waking up from a nightmare.  It then goes on to show Durant running at dawn, exercising and jumping rope in the gym, riding a stationary bike and doing clapping push-ups, lifting a 45-pound weight up and down and up and down, and then dunking emphatically in the Thunder’s arena; he does all of this alone and unsupervised.

The next scene recalls the game from his dreams.  The announcer says “…two minutes left in the fourth, Miami leads by two…”, and Durant is bringing the ball up the court, just like before.  He drives to the hoop and goes for the slam, all the same.  This time, Wade can’t block the dunk.  The commercial then ends with Wade immediately rising from his bed…as if waking from a nightmare.

Durant saw his blocked-dunk nightmare as a warning of what could happen in life, and altered his behaviors to make sure that when the situation arose in a game, he’d be completely ready.

Have you heard the phrase “we become what we think about”?  Kevin Durant likely thought about becoming a professional basketball player since he was a child.  According to bestselling author Robert Greene in his recent book Mastery, you possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your “Life’s Task” — what you are meant to accomplish in the time you have to live.  Once discovered and born to fruition, the instructions for fulfilling your Life’s Task are planted in your dreams.  Those of the Christian faith may now be reminded of Job 33:15-16 — “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumbering upon the bed, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”

This may sound weird, but I pretty much have the same dream every night.  The setting itself changes, but the pattern is always the same.  The dream ultimately ends with me having to do a show on drums, and for some reason I’m unable to do so.  I’m there, ready to go, but  maybe one of my drums is missing, or I’m using a shared drum kit and it doesn’t do what I need it to, or my stands keep falling down, or I’m late for the gig, etc.  Bottom line, something goes wrong and I can’t fix it.  I sometimes wake up like Durant or Wade, terrified that I was the reason that the show couldn’t go on.  In an effort to make sure that never happens, I take very seriously my preparation and rehearsal for everything I do professionally.  When show day arrives and the audience is waiting, I know I’m ready even though I’m nervous.

The NCAA National Championship game takes place tonight between Louisiana and Michigan, and for some of the players on the winning team (GO BLUE!!), winning this game will stand as the pinnacle of their achievements as a human being.  These athletes likely began pursuing their basketball careers at a very early age: getting up earlier than their classmates to run or attend morning practice; saying “no” to distractions from basketball; staying later at evening practices to work on personal performance; watching their diet and exercising regularly; years of game experience and lessons on and off the court; the list goes on.  They’ve dedicated 3/4 of their life to doing one thing incredibly well, and they are going to put it on display for the world.

Each winning team member is going to take the court tonight and be able to experience the night they’ve been dreaming of for as long as they can remember.  They are going to realize that all of their hard work did pay off, just like their parents and coaches said it would.  They will etch their names into history as the best in their sport for the year of 2013.  Tonight, one team is going to have the game of their dreams (and the other is going to live out their worst nightmare *coughCardscough.)  But the only way that will become a reality is if they respected their dreams enough to pay attention to the lessons therein, and altered their behaviors accordingly.

So, what do you dream about..?

Thanks for reading.

:-J

What Dreams May Come
What Dreams May Come (Photo credit: eric_malette)