Real Power

Somebody posted a comment the other day about “power”.  It had me thinking about people who have real power. 

When I think about power, I consider people like Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey or someone like JK Rowling – there are others in different industries of course, like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates… we can go down the list of people, but the point is, I doubt these people ever walk around telling others how powerful they are…

That’s what I saw on this post on social media yesterday that got me thinking about what is real power

Simply, if you have to tell people how powerful you are, then you probably aren’t that powerful. 

People who have real power or authentic power are people who understand their influence and realize the responsibility that comes with being someone who can impact others so easily.   

I doubt very much that their goal was ever to be powerful.  I feel that being powerful is most likely a byproduct of who someone is in the world and can never be an actual goal.  People with REAL power tend to be people who inspire and uplift others. They know who THEY are, they know their strengths and most likely understand their weaknesses and therefore always open to learning something new.

To me, real power is a very elusive thing. It’s different from being a leader or wealthy. It actually has nothing to do with your title or standing.  Real power has everything to do with how others view YOU and nothing to do with what you can control. 

Hmmm. Just something I’ve been thinking about. Here’s the video I made before my run yesterday that got me thinking….

Carmen    

Getting It Done

I hate using the word “procrastination” because it has such a negative tone to it. Truth is, some of my best work is done when the tic-toc of the clock is closing in.  I know quite a few people who also function this way, successfully too! 

However, it’s not my favorite way to work. Not at all. I tend to be a very organized, “To Do List” kind of person. I love scratching off an item on my list and moving on to what’s next.  But sometimes there are items that just feel so big or torturous that I just don’t want to do them – that’s where procrastination plays a role. 

The things I don’t care about at all, are the things that get pushed aside in the wake of the things I love to do and want to do.  I’ve decided not to be too cruel to myself about it anymore and instead embrace the idea that I’ve mastered the art of procrastination.  That can be a new skill after-all. Why not?

Beating ourselves up for not always doing things the “right” way, tends to just make matters worse. Negativity isn’t going to make you work any faster or better! Instead, find a way to embrace what you may see as “faults” in your way of functioning and see if you can’t make what seems to be lemons, into lemonade! 

I procrastinate. It’s just the way I get some things I hate to do, done. Getting it done, is all that matters.

🙂

My Children, Our Children

When I see people treating children with such disdain, I wonder what these “people” think is going to happen when that particular child grows up?

If we look at our own experiences as children, whatever they might be, can’t we easily see how a child who is treated poorly, will inevitably grow up to be a broken adult?  Don’t we understand, logically, that a child who is nurtured, supported and loved – that he/she will most likely grow up to be a decent and productive person?

How are we missing this?

It’s logical, but also innate to our existence.  As human beings we tend to want to protect children – so how is it possible that sometimes, a lot of times, we don’t?

In my experience, it tends to be that we don’t value OTHER children as much as our “own” children. In a lot of ways, that makes sense.  But it’s also incredibly selfish and misguided.  Your child will someday affect my life when he/she grows up.  Your child will inevitably affect my child because they will work together, play together – who knows, maybe even marry each other.  Doesn’t it make sense then, that my concern for children should be more inclusive than just the ones that share my DNA? 

My heart breaks for the children currently at the border.  This “other-ism” – this ability to not care about a child in pain – anyone’s child – is more telling of who our society is, who we are as a people than anything else.  We don’t care because they’re not “my” child, it’s not even my friend’s child… but it’s more than that, isn’t it?

In America – in these United States – a country I love, the fact remains that a brown child is less valued than a white child.  It’s so much easier not to care when the child’s value is not as significant. Imagine for a moment, what the state of play would be if all of those kids at the border had been white, blonde-haired children from Poland or Ireland? I don’t think any of us – not anyone reading this anyways, doubts for one minute that the United States would be up-in-arms and taking to the streets to help those precious kids. The white ones.

It gives me no pleasure at all to admit this.  It kills me every day to see how “un-reactive” we are as a society to this horrible situation regarding “OUR” children, children of the world sitting in squalor because they need help.  And the United States, this grand country with so much wealth allowing it to happen is beyond comprehension. “Other-ism” is the justification for harming children.  I feel helpless most days. I tear every day knowing these kids will grow up one day and will remember how horribly they were treated, and those bruises and scars will not heal well if we continue to dismiss people as legit human beings deserving of love, kindness and support.

Because of my personal circumstances as a child, I was raised by so many different people – Black, White, Latino families. Regular people who didn’t see me as “other” but saw me as one of their own. A community that valued a child in distress. I was so blessed. It’s what my book CANELA is all about.  We need to find a way, to take care of all of our children – value them as they should be. Cure our hearts and our stupidity.

We. Are. Better. Than. This.

Julie & Nathan

We Have Lost Our Way

It’s so easy to go along with the crowd. CarmBench03.04.07

It’s easy to be cruel, to think less of someone else.

It’s hard to go against the crowd.

To be an individual.

To be compassionate and kind when there is no reason to be.

People love to call out a bully, but rarely find the bully in themselves.

(Glass houses and all…come to mind)

We have lost our way.  People justify their actions by reacting, not by thinking.

“Other-ism” is a thing. “Whatabout-ism” is a thing.

Not looking at our own behavior, our own actions – no longer a thing.

Who are you for real?  Not who would you like to be or think you are. But when a crisis happens, when something out of the ordinary occurs for real, WHO. ARE. YOU?

Just something to think about this day.

~Carmen

Bagel Boss Incident – Oh Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter having conversations with people about this whole “Bagel Boss” incident. If you don’t know what it is, simply, a man had a complete freak breakdown in a bagel shop, someone recorded it and posted it on Twitter and the Twitter-verse did it’s thing and mocked him, bullied him further and… well it just went down the rabbit hole from there… 

Now, in all fairness, he did freak out in a public place. Regardless of how it started, he screamed about how he had a difficult time dating because he’s short and he seemed hell-bent on saying how “all women” were the same and mean. He thought the women there were secretly hating on him, though they did seem to be just going about their business. 

I watched it and winced the entire time. At one point, someone – maybe a manager – tackled him to the ground.  I’m no lawyer or law enforcement, but it seemed appropriate. He was full of rage and pretty explosive.  But what happened next, is difficult to wrap my head around.

Someone recorded it, of course, and posted it on Twitter. And then Twitter went to town mocking him, bullying him – making fun of him.  I called a few people out  – people I actually respect on Twitter for reposting the recording and they diligently justified, without skipping a beat, why they thought it was fine to repost it, mock and bully him. 

Ugghhh. 

Here’s the point I’ve been making all night:   when someone gets a bunch of guns and walks into a school and kills people — we’re all stunned. We’re saddened and “tweeting” for something more than “thoughts and prayers” to be done.  By then though, it’s too late.

Mental Illness always comes up.

“Why didn’t anyone help him?”

“How could no-one have noticed he was so upset?”

The Twitter-verse is then filled with all the compassionate people who would have known if it was their neighbor, their family member, if their friend was in trouble. 

But, here in this moment, in full display is clearly a man in pain. He’s suffering.  And what do all the people in the store and everyone online do?  Bully him further.

Surely, he was out-of-line and absolutely inappropriate.  He did get kicked out of the store and rightfully so.  But what happens when this man, clearly distraught goes home and sees he’s being mocked on Twitter? What happens when a fragile human being who clearly hasn’t dealt with some issues notices his own outburst on his Twitter feed and reads what everyone is saying?

We’ve lost our ability to be compassionate.  More importantly, we’ve lost our ability to connect the dots.  Someone in that much pain, is about to burst.  Clearly he’s calling out for help.  Instead of instigating the situation, wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone had offered him some help instead? A bit of kindness. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone who has an outburst is going to go grab a gun and kill people – but that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it? I mean we don’t really ever understand why people do these things – but regardless, shouldn’t we be better people?  Shouldn’t our humanity keep us from harming someone else even further?  Is there really some sort of joy in watching someone in so much pain? 

I think what I’m most upset about this evening, is all the people who replied to me being upset that I called them out on their own behavior.  Instead of just admitting they might have made a mistake, they then tried to make it about how he deserved to be mocked for acting so badly.  They found ways to justify their bullying.  It was sad actually. 

I believe that our true character, the true test of who we are is not measured when things are going perfectly well.  It doesn’t matter that you have compassion AFTER a massacre – that’s expected. In tragedy, it is expected that people will come together and help each other. That’s how most humans behave, that’s how most humans survive. But the true test of who we are is really measured when things are hard.  How do we behave when it’s not easy?  Do we show courage when no one is looking?  Can we see pain and react accordingly even when everyone else is bullying?  Can we stop being part of the mob-mentality?  Can we even see it happening? 

I hope that guy figures it out. My prayer, my wish for him tonight is that he has a loving family or great friends that saw what happened online and intervened to walk him through.

I just hope he’s not alone. 

And for people on Twitter and social media in general – I pray that we do better – and that we err on the side of compassion. That we find a way to be better than we used to be.