Jeans of the Fittest: Survival 2021

11 Jan

In the midst of Covid AND the Trump lunacy (and this was before January 6’s insurrection/coup), my thoughts focused on Darwin’s Survival guide as simple predator/prey competition.

I was focused on the USA’s political situation with Trump as predator. Predator (Trump) feeds on fear. Fear to NOT lose is emotion ‘fuel’. Emotion is absolutely the fuel for predatory competition in our human nature! When we are NOT our fittest best- emotion – FEAR not to lose – turn words and actions predatory.

Though I wondered: What does Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest REALLY mean? Turns out: FITTEST IS NOT JUST about competition. It’s rethinking what it means to come out on top.

Survival is about FIT. Fittest is Best Fit. Best fit for the situation; aka the right person in the right place at the right time. Like only one puzzle piece FITS in a spot.

In Mother Nature, each organism has a specific role and purpose (niche) to fit into. Here’s an analogy:

We don’t all fit in the same space/niche like we don’t fit into the same pair of jeans.

The FITTEST jeans today aren’t the most expensive or even most flattering – just the ones that are the best for this particular point in time. Just like in Mother Nature, the organism that survives is the fittest in the environment it is in, but not always the strongest or ‘best’. It’s the same in Human Nature:

Survival of the Fittest recognized the ‘right’ individual leads when their particular skills are FIT for the CURRENT situation. That’s why diversity is so important.

‘Fittest’ society/ecosystem is about DIVERSITY. Diversity embraces different skills, qualities, talents, viewpoints (aka niche) as well as race, age, religion, gender, etc.

Sure, Survival of the Fittest Darwin noted is also about the best adapted or evolved. In Human Nature we adapt our nature a bit more, sometimes too much… Think about it metaphorically: We can adapt to a: job, relationship, lifestyle, home, city and still breathe, and get through the day, BUT, it does NOT mean this situation is our FITTEST.

A friend told her husband she was done with the marriage and in a month she was in her own apartment. She had ‘adapted’ and was surviving – but truly the relationship wasn’t a good ‘FIT’ for her. She wasn’t surviving emotionally and being her best.

We can adapt to survival a situation and ‘win’ – but, ‘lose’ our identity or best ‘FITTEST’ self. Has that ever happened to you?

Currently, I’m in a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. I’m safe, (very) well fed, etc. I’ve adapted to survive here during the pandemic. BUT I don’t ‘FIT’ here – it’s not a place I can use my FITTEST qualities; be my best/fittest self. Emotionally, I’m ‘eating’ my fear in my ‘loss’. I know I’m not alone. Many of us, not in a good ‘FIT’ situation are also becoming emotional predators by overeating, drinking, shopping on line, becoming mean-spirited, etc. Compassion – we need compassion and understanding.

Here in the USA, there’s discussion about the rise of domestic terrorist groups. The reason: FIT: The need and desire to find a community to FIT is why people join gangs or terrorist groups like Proud Boys. We ALL want to fit and feel like we belong and can be heard. Compassion – we need compassion and understanding.

Here’s hoping in 2021 we can take the 2020 vision of human nature and create opportunities. Opportunities for each and every organism and being to be their absolute FITTEST. It’s the only way Human Nature will survive in this world. Time to adapt our ‘normal’, time to create a life that is the best FIT.

Look beyond the jeans and ask: What’s your ‘fittest’ look like?

Life Journey Map

30 Dec

All of nature moves – constantly. I’ve had lots of time to watch squirrels, birds, ants and spiders these past months and envy their ability to stay busy and get what they need regardless of weather or virus! If you’re like me, COVID has stuck in me one place and not very busy which feels very ‘unnatural’. I’m hypothesizing about all the possibilities to come: IF I… Then I’ll be…

I’m looking forward to this brand new year with my ‘2020’ vision in the rear-view mirror. In anticipation of something ‘new’ it’s time to think about what’s next: physically and emotionally. OBSERVING the NOW is a good next step. This is one more time the scientific method is a good guide.

Years ago I created these 5 steps in preparation of a life journey post Peace Corps South Africa. I thought through what VARIABLES I could and wanted to change. Now, I get to look at a whole new set of possibilities – what is and what to change! Forget the luck – I need JOY these days, so here goes:

  1. DECIDE: Simple – just make the decision it’s time to ‘go’ someplace new metaphorically or literally!
  2. PREPARE: Purge what you don’t need: ideas, beliefs, stuff – everything keeping you stuck.
  3. CHOOSE: Your path to take you where you need to go. Hey, all paths take you somewhere!
  4. PACK: Take only what you need, can carry, and will use from stuff to beliefs.
  5. ACTION: Hit the road (physically only when it’s safer than traveling now…)
    • Focus on safety – starting with masks AND staying on a path that works for you.
    • Take snacks and stop often to stretch and use the bathroom.
    • Check out the sites – even if it slows you down.
    • Talk to strangers – especially talk to strangers and share ideas and experiences!
    • CREATIVITY– always good to play around with my plan along the way for the perfect solution!

Oh, and remember even a dead end can be backed out of! And,

Packing for a life journey the right jeans are more important then your genes!

Here’s to journeys we’ll all take post-pandemic in the coming year!

The Plastic Pandemic

16 Dec

I know – we’re all weary of pandemic talk: the masks, the sanitizing, the distance, the lockdowns, the frustrations. But I think we should all look at this as good practice for the next pandemic. No, not literally plastic – but it’s likely plastic will be the instigator. Or rather, what plastic is doing to us – and our environment. My newsfeed reminds me of this:

What have you received lately?

Happy Holiday Shopping Season! And Happy Holidays! It’s the 7th night of Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights celebrating hope that a one night’s portion of oil (for the eternal lamp) will last till more arrives – and it does for 8 miraculous nights. The true holiday that less is really more and may be enough? Or perhaps you’re preparing for Christmas, Kwanza, celebrated Diwali, or the Chinese New Year? Each of these light-filled celebrations (ironically?) feeds the plastic pandemic we’re facing. But this isn’t about despair – it’s about hope and the promise of leaving behind this stressful, depressing year and thinking of what/how we can do better. And we can. We have to!

I don’t often buy from Amazon – only because I have no need, no money, and, no room to store anything I buy. Well, except for the silk pillowcase I needed for all the time I’m spending sleeping. But I look – a lot – at wonderful things I WANT to make my life better; to add light to these crazy and dark days of covid and winter.

My pillowcase came in a plastic bag that went straight into rubbish:

If pharmaceutical companies could come up with a vaccine for a ‘new’ coronavirus in six months – surely there are scientists and engineers who can come up with a vaccine for the waste and plastic that is killing us – and will ultimately release more deadly viruses, right?

But we can’t wait for the scientists and engineers or even the companies that are making the money that is killing the planet and ultimately us – we have to take action and responsibility. We’ve learned some people will mask up and (not breathe on others) – and many feel immune to responsibility and disease. Pandemics, challenges, and life doesn’t work that way.

Surely Amazon can come up with a solution, right? But honestly, if we buy from them we can’t vilify them too much. BUT we can demand better of them!

Here’s the thing: dealing with plastic pollution, like covid, is not a competitionnot a win/lose – as we’re seeing if you get covid and I don’t – we both still lose – I’m STILL on lockdown! Addressing the pandemic of coronavirus and micro plastics in water/food/our bodies, lost oxygen supplies, green spaces, etc. must be an act of mutualism – it HAS to be viewed as a WIN-WIN. We all win or we all lose. So we have to work together in our houses, communities, and internationally.

Blah, blah, right? Most of us have heard this before. Who am I to write about this and make a plea, a call for action? I’m like you – a concerned and passionate woman who loves life, breathing, eating, and quite honestly – stuff. I think we all have to start making the changes we can while waiting for companies and scientists to meet us on our quest. And they will, because:

Spending money has POWER! What we buy and how we spend has tremendous power in forcing global corporations to act. But we have to act first – and hope politicians do their thing.

Getting to a WIN-WIN is all about getting needs met:

Irony? Important need of air, water, food destroyed by need for recognition…

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist and spokeswoman’s speech at the United Nations:

As Greta says- it’s about action. Just like we can’t wait for the Covid vaccine for the ‘new normal’ to return, we have to wear masks, and follow social distancing guidelines NOW. Yes, it all sucks. It also WORKS.

Ditto on dealing with the Plastic Pandemic which might be even more difficult. After all, some of the ‘action items’ for eliminating plastic are also current coping mechanisms. In lockdown, we might be shopping more, and not using reusables (like when we go for a cup of coffee and have to take a throw-away cup).

So let’s just DO something and not let things get so bad we’re in permanent lockdown. Here’s 10 plastic pandemic prevention steps to think about and take action. It’s also thinking about WIIFM – what needs are being fulfilled now in lockdown – what steps are filling those needs? What action will ensure our most basic need of clean water and air are met next holiday season?

  1. Don’t use wrapping paper for the holidays this year – or any year. We don’t have control over using our own reusable cups right now, but we can cut down on wrapping paper as beautiful as it is. Why? It goes straight to the trash/rubbish/garbage. Re-use any paper, old fabric, colorful newspapers, etc. It will get ripped off just as quickly. And no worries, manufacturers will find other things to make and focus on more sustainable products.
  2. Buy clothes, etc. that will last longer than a few months. OUCH – right? Even if around the world we’re wearing the same things over and over in lockdown, we’re likely drooling over new, beautiful clothes and buying on-line. If you’re like me it may not be as beautiful at home – and worse, not last past a few washings. I know I have to remind myself to buy ‘better’ even if it’s fewer. If you can go, put on a mask and carry your hand sanitizer to a used clothing store/charity-type shop and check out what lasts and still looks good. I’m big on used clothing and it’s better for my wallet and the environment. A real win-win when I find a cashmere sweater for 10USD.
  3. Not a real action item, but going to a used clothing store provides a chance to compare the quality of things made of natural fibers like cotton or wool with nylon or polyester items. Call me an environmental snob, but feel the difference and buy what looks better (and it’s probably the natural fiber ‘stuff’).
  4. Only buy what you love and what looks good on you rather than this year’s trend. JEANS should be a category in and of itself – I think it’s the universal product people of all ages, nationalities, sizes buy and wear. Yet how ut how many new pairs of jeans do each of us need considering all the water that is wasted to make one pair! Easier said for someone like me who doesn’t follow trends – but really think about things in your home that was the ‘it’ product that you didn’t use more than once – whether it’s an item of clothing or a gadget or a face mask! How many cell phone cases do each of us really need?
  5. Swap stuff for FREE – with friends, neighbors, etc. There are lots of places and sites to swap stuff for free – get rid of what you don’t want or get what you want or need. Some include: TradeMade, Freecycle, LetGo, and of course, Craigslist, which is also international. This way you also don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t use the product more than a few times – you can just get rid of it.
  6. The usual reusable bags: carry your own bags as much as you can right now. If you’re ‘lucky’ and can go to the supermarket you can use/reuse plastic bags for fruit and vegetables or buy produce bags. I like reusing heavy plastic that apples come in (just be careful not to rescan it!) and the mesh bags for citrus. It’s a little thing but if each of us saves 5 bags every time we shop that’s HUGE.
  7. Personal care product packaging! As a woman – and I know men use products also! – I’m horrified by the amount of plastic and packaging all my skin care products come in – and end up in land fills. I admit I’m going to buy the products – sunscreen for starters – and I do try to buy products that don’t have any extra box and or plastic, etc – but not always. Can’t we do better beauty companies? Come up with packaging in real recyclable plastics?
  8. Recyclable plastic that can’t be recycled. Crazy, right? Too many products with that wonderful triangle of re-use, reduce, recycle can go anywhere other than the rubbish bin. At this time of technology and environmental know- companies can make better products to be decomposed or re-used. It’s about the money: It may be more expensive now but in the future will be a money maker! Another WIN-WIN!
  9. Fewer synthetic fibers and more natural fibers: Another OUCH since natural fibers are costly to make: cotton takes tons of water and then there are the sheep and energy and manpower to make wool stuff. (Also a possible new job market and opportunity here!) It would take more money for us to buy a product, but we would also have it a year or two – imagine! Also, synthetic stuff NEVER degrades, also takes resources to make and at least newer synthetics don’t wear well…. I always wonder about ‘faux leather’ – no animal was killed, but environmentally, is it really better or is it a break even? And then I think it’s important to think about what will last and look good in 10 years: probably the leather, right?
  10. See the note above on Jeans/denim – so much water! So much cotton and SO HARD to find a pair of good fitting jeans that look good months and years after they’ve been bought. Levi’s used to be the jeans that would last decades and always look good but I know not all their products are as well made – or should I say as long lasting as they used to be. Interestingly? Sadly? I definitely have a woman’s body yet still find men’s Levi’s/jeans to be better made and sometimes even better fitting. I may not follow trends, but I want to look fab in my jeans. Here’s where shopping second hand/used helps to find the type of jeans you actually look best in. This is a personal action item too. The search is on for a few good jeans and NOT those 5 or 6 pairs in our closet never getting worn – a genderless issue! Companies need to make long-lasting jeans and also find new manufacturing techniques. And we need to buy fewer pairs!

Admittedly, I’m obsessed with stuff – because I both love it and also know it’s unleashing environmental problems making life on earth a living hell. Dramatic? Read this!! More than a little scary!

  • If this makes you want to purge your stuff, remember you can swap, donate, share, etc. Perhaps even get someone’s purged treasures!
  • A special reminder for us here in the USA (and other economic powerhouse countries): Go small-er: here in the USA, bigger is usually considered better whether it’s a house, car, or beverage! Big cars use more gas – unless you’ve joined van-life and live in your car! Big houses need more heating/cooling mean higher utility bills. I think it goes back to recognition and WIIFM: recognition vs. clean air and water….

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of pandemic living – I want sustainability in my future! If we all do a few small things and show companies and politicians what we’ll pay for (less plastic in our food, water, air, bodies) change will happen. Let’s make it so.

Happy Holidays!!!

6 small actions with big results: for climate health and equality

22 Sep

Forest wildfires raged up and down the West Coast. Here in Portland, Oregon skies turned an iridescent grey and for a time boasted the worst air quality in the WORLD. Western wild fire smoke traveled to the midwest and east coast with far greater ease than I could at the moment.

That’s not all of course: Coronavirus has locked us in physically, sickened us, and already decimated the global economy in so many ways. Somehow we think the economy is everything. When there’s a natural disaster like this fire it reminds us how vulnerable we are – in so many ways – again.

Burning trees was the ‘face’ of the wild fires. All trees are money trees with all they provide. Homes and businesses turned to ash – money trees burned. No money to pluck off charcoaled trees. People were hurting before – this raging fire burned through so many people’s last reserves of peace, safety, and money. It’s not like people can crowd together and commiserate over a cup of coffee anymore – not with Covid.

I'm starting to wonder about burned trees and that loss of oxygen. Trees that have sucked our carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere...

We can THINK we humans are king of the universe – but we SHOULD know better now. A tiny invisible virus has taken the world prisoner. One virus.

A virus is killing people. A fire killed trees. Both ‘kill’ the economy. Maybe we need to focus on what we really need to live.live and strive!

This year’s burned forests will make it harder to breathe. AND quite possibly unleash long-buried viruses from permafrost; a result of warmer temperatures. Everything’s connected: a changing climate and the coronavirus; shopping on line and racial inequality; education and racial inequality. Sorry, I’m getting too over-connected here. But…

It’s personal – if it’s NOT personal, it’s not a problem, right? Don’t think this is a problem for you? Well, many here in the US thought it wasn’t a problem either and the death toll is now over 200,000 in this country alone. So many people have lost jobs. It’s time for all us to ACT:

  1. Think before buying on-line – think of the packaging each product comes in that ends up in a landfill.
  2. Love fashion? Opt for resale treasures rather than poorly made fast fashion that will look crappy after a few wears and end up in the trash.
  3. Find ways to walk or bike and in the future to take public transport over a private car – cheaper and less air pollution.
  4. Buying on-line, having products shipped is also a BLM issue: large trucks are more likely to drive through black and brown poor neighborhoods, causing pollution and increasing asthma and other health problems . Don’t contribute to the trucks that are shipping stuff you could buy down the block – don’t contribute to environmental racism.
  5. Think small in size when it comes to living quarters and cars (if you have to buy): for a house it means less to heat/cool, furnish, and fill with stuff. Imagine all the money you’ll save and all the dinners you can enjoy when you are able to go out again. Last,
  6. Gift trees – most of us don’t need more stuff – but we need oxygen, we need fruit trees, shade, and roots to prevent land slides. Wild fires burned thousands of acres in the west this year and now we need to replace them – you can make a difference. Call your city and find out how you can make your city more livable. Because ALL trees really are money trees. Trees enrich lives in so many ways. Add value to your life, to all our lives – plant trees.

There’s so much more of course – but all of us can start here – one small thing. We can do this.

START BY VOTING FOR HEALTH AND WELL BEING IN NOVEMBER: Vote Biden-Harris!

Most of all VOTE this November – Trump has overturned environmental regulations that will make our air and land polluted and less livable. If you have kids, like kids, ever want kids, vote Trump out of office for the future of your children. Choose life. Choose peace.

Environmental Health leads to Economic Wealth

26 Aug

Truth: EVERY tree is a money tree. Trees provide food, shade, healthy soil, and of course oxygen. Trees provide calm and a sense of peace, reasons why walking in parks and forests is soothing and healthy.

But here’s the thing: like trees, all of nature is THE source of MONEY.

All money comes from the environment – no environment – no money!

True, Money is the food of the economy – a key driver of society. Money is a cruel dictator though, killing off nature and in a sense, HUMAN nature. Is it worth it? Donald Trump would say it is…

The Trump Administration is rolling back environmental regulations – regulations put in place to keep PEOPLE healthy and safe. Regulations to ensure safe and clean air, water and food. Trump is destroying the environment even further, pretending it’s to feed the economy – HIS economy. BUT, at what price?

The economy may sacrifice trees for its health – but what about human health? We CAN survive without new stuff, bigger houses and cars.

Time for US citizens to decide what is more important: BREATHING or BUYING.

Would you rather you and/or your kids had oxygen or new clothes? What do you think? What makes for a good life?

Joe Biden would push for breathing.

Donald Trump for buying – and environmental destruction.

This is about survival – and racial equality: it’s important to know that Black and Brown neighborhoods suffer from more environmental insult than wealthier and whiter neighborhoods.

Vote for Environmental Health – the only way to build a strong economy too! Vote on November 3!

Got Conflict? Ask what would Joe do – not what Donald would…

18 Aug

I’m always both curious and obsessed with conflict. Partly it’s because as they say we teach what we most need to learn – and yes, I’ve learned a lot about myself and others from years as a conflict management coach/trainer, AND, because I think conflict is so key in nature and Human Nature. Focusing on the symbiotic relationships – and particularly parasitism these past weeks I can’t help but look at USA politics and Trump vs. Biden. The post below also appears on my blog: communicationessentials.wordpress.com. Enjoy! And remember to vote!

Since the beginning of the Trump presidency, I’ve thought about how his ‘communication style’ is all about ‘my way or the highway’ and creating win-lose situations: with him winning all the time btw.

Trump is a bully, turning everything into a competition so as not to lose. Fear, the fear NOT to lose is a big-time motivation to ‘attack’. Like all bullies, Trump calls those who disagree names and puts them down: he may not say ‘U suck’, but he calls people losers. Why??? It gets us no-where.

Biden on the other hand is one to say: Life’s NOT a competition – everyone can win. AND the big thing now is the USA MUST win. As Kamala Harris said ‘we are fighting for the soul of our country’. Creating WIN’s is the way to save a soul for us as individuals – and as a country.

A conflict is like being on a seesaw with the bully holding his ‘opponent’ or ‘prey’ in the air. Below you can see a bully as a parasite/virus – attacking with words. ESPECIALLY against the truth.

Creating a win-win, in nature is called mutualism. In our Human Nature world a win-win is simple IF we LISTEN, ask question, respect. That’s the Joe Biden way.

Let’s create a win-win for us as individuals and the country. Let’s communicate like Joe. Here are a few simple steps to try in our own lives:

  • SMILE! Easily the simplest thing to do – well, currently challenging in our masked for safety world. Even smiling at someone behind your mask changes the way you think though. As customer service workers know since a mirror is there for them to smile into. Besides, you want to practice smiling for when we can finally unmask again. Notice Biden and Harris smile – a lot – and are sincere!
  • LISTEN: what is the other person saying? Is there truth there?
  • DECIDE: what do you want? Do you want to win at any cost? Do you want to attack? Or do you just want your own needs met while also protecting the other person? It’s a hard decision.
  • LISTEN: yup, it’s that important I’m saying it twice. Listen to the words in your own head and if YOU are ready to pounce back. Don’t.
  • LISTEN: listen again! another time to what the other person is saying: are THEY attacking you? Realize it’s about them – not about you. Let them vent since again, it’s NOT about you.
  • STAY SILENT: this is so, so hard! If you go on the attack the bully LOVES this. It’s fuel for them. So DON’T fuel a bully!
  • ASK: what do YOU want from this ‘interaction’ – to yourself since a bully in the throes of an attack probably can’t listen.
  • CHOOSE: an action that will allow you to get what you need which may be walking away. Reminding both of you that you can both win.
  • OPEN: communication and ask the ‘insulter’ what they want, what will make them happy.
  • APOLOGIZE: saying ‘I’m sorry’ is one of the most powerful things you can say to someone. ‘I’m sorry’ when you’ve made mistakes (which we all have). ‘I’m Sorry you’re feeling that way’ when someone else accuses. It may feel strange to say ‘I’m sorry’ when the mistake is not yours – remember it is about how the other person is feeling.
  • REALIZE: that just by asking you may change the conflict into a conversation – or NOT.
  • ACCEPT: that bullies have a deep rooted fear inside that will drive them into conflict.
  • CREATE: relationships YOU feel are healthy. Surround yourself with mutualism, with those who support you and want you to win.

The USA has become a partisan playground where everyone is vying for position on the seesaw. Time to get off it and decide what is the healthiest way to address disagreements: Like Trump? OR like Biden? How do you want your kids to communicate? What kind of world do you want to live in.

Create win-wins! Over then next few weeks it’ll be good for all to watch, listen, learn from how the future potential leaders of the USA communicate. And for each of us to decide if we want the White House occupied by a bully (Trump) OR filled with the promise of win-wins (Biden).

Most of all VOTE! And wear a mask when you’re around others!

VOTE! As Michelle Obama said, ‘Vote like your life depends on it!’. It does in oh so many ways.

Fear is Funky

10 Aug

My FEAR BOILS and makes me BULLY; As a predator, I act quite cruelly. I eye myself and stand real tall – And position my shield to prevent a fall!

Fear of what? Doesn’t matter! – What matters is the fear NOT TO LOSE. Sadly, that’s the key! Once a bully becomes afraid not to lose (respect, ‘face’, feeling smart or successful or ‘in control’), then BAM that fear becomes a competition:

A competition: where bully wins – you LOSE.

The real reality, as opposed to reality show: LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION!!!

No-one will lose by wearing masks, being kind, and, generous. Let’s MASK-UP, talk AND LISTEN. Let’s work together to create a WIN!

I admit: I’ve become obsessed thinking about conflict, fear, parasites/Covid-19, and the Trump, the US President, AND, I should say, recognizing the power of FEAR in creating and ‘growing conflicts large and small. REGISTER TO VOTE AND VOTE THIS NOVEMBER: VOTE OUT FEAR AND PARASITES IN THE US WHITE HOUSE!

Parasitism is a Human Trait and there is a vaccine…

2 Aug

I wrote about how bullies are parasites, that suck us dry. We know Covid-19 is a parasite, but are human parasites the same? We CAN protect ourselves.

Though there are bullies who insult and make us feel like crap… It can be a comment, an omission on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Even though it’s their fear, it makes us lose faith.

Bullies take all the bad stuff inside them and try to plant it in us – so we feel as bad as they do.

Like invasive species: killing off our natural instincts and confidence.

And then… Another very dangerous type of ‘human parasitism’:

A human parasite lives off of your kindness and compassion – takes without giving. It doesn’t kill, but may kill your friendship – and both of your souls. There IS a vaccine though – keep reading…

In ‘these’ times, let’s remember to listen as well as talk. Be the vaccine we desperately need! ASK:

“Tell me more about you; what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, what it’s like for you” Then:

LISTEN! Really LISTEN and encourage more with, “Tell Me More” about that!

Be THE vaccine: Choose NOT to be a parasite, to ASK, to LISTEN. You can be the CURE and help build immunity from loneliness, hopelessness, and boredom.

Here's a little brush-up on symbiosis, relationships the 'scientific' way! I'm always amazed how nature on the outside gives guidance to our 'human nature' on the inside!

A little more on relationships through Mother Nature’s lens so to speak – the ‘science way. The three types of symbiotic relationships. (check out parasitism!)

Here’s a way of thinking about symbiosis in ‘human nature’ terms!

Bullies are Parasites

29 Jul

Parasites, like Covid-19 are out to survive – to win. They need ‘live’ prey to survive and ‘suck dry’ (which is why it’s so important to wear a mask).

Bullies are human parasites: they need prey (who react) to pick on. A bully needs to win – for you to lose – they ‘suck you dry’ by calling you names and picking on you.

Bullies on playground see-saws, set that fulcrum to keep you in the air and losing. It’s not fun, it’s not play.

Bullies are hungry to NOT lose. It’s a FEAR. A fear not to lose respect, love, control, oh so many things…

Covid-19, spreads through the air we breathe out, invades our bodies and attacks our heart and lungs making it hard to breathe.

Bullies, human parasites, attack with words and insults they breathe out. Those words and insults attack and attach to our minds, slowly destroying us.

Mask up – don’t take in their words.

Don’t let the parasite Covid-19 win – mask up. It’s the only way we’ll all win.

Don’t let bullies win – whether in your school, office, home, or in the White House (or other ‘leader’) – mask up and don’t let their words in.

Stay healthy – physically and emotionally – it’s time for us to thrive!

Naked Identity

23 Apr

Trees have flowered and are slowly ‘leafing’ as spring brews its magic bringing color and texture back into our world – an especially welcome site this year as we peer through windows for glimmers of hope and light.

Naked Identity is like a tree without adornment: it’s time to focus and celebrate what’s inside, remembering that ‘inside’ is what makes the outside so beautiful and valuable.

I love gnarly winter trees. Awkward limbs covered with scratchy twigs stretching out from knotty limbs; trunks covered with scars from past ailments. Completely naked without their summer/spring adornment, they are both stark and beautiful – I would say unabashedly secure in their identity. I aspire to be as confident and brazen in showing my imperfections. Trees’ winter nakedness is a well-deserved time to rest; their’introvert’ time so to speak after months of feeding, delighting, and, decorating the world around them.

The beauty we see in spring and summer is because the tree has found its right habitat: right place, right time and able to share the gifts it holds deep inside.

Our ‘Naked Identities’ are expressed and ‘bloom’ in the right conditions. NOW is the time to discover them.

We humans rarely have time to ‘shed our leaves’ and show the world our gnarly limbs and trunk. Especially on social media, there’s need to mask our scars while demonstrating and sharing our beauty/status as often as possible. It’s a way to feel recognized and acknowledged. Because of that, I think it’s easy to forget, harder to identify, our naked identity: who we are at our core that makes us exactly who we’re meant to be, and, what we have to share with the world.

Naked figuratively, not literally – please, keep the sweats on!

Wherever you are in the world, likely you’re home. Relatively isolated, in sweats and comfy clothes, and staring your naked identity in the mirror at least once a day. As the world rapidly changes through slow moving days, NOW is the perfect time to become reacquainted with our best, ‘naked’ selves/identities.

Someone once told me the happiness in our lives was defined by 3 factors: work; love/partner; and home/living space. To be happy, two of the three had to be ‘good’. Ideally that’s true: but true happiness, I think, is based on securely expressing our ‘Naked Identity’. Those of us who are 0/3 can attest to this!

Identity is fortified by four key relationships: Self, Others, Economy, and the Environment.

Most important is our relationship with ourselves. Our ‘self’ relationship impacts and guides all our action and relationships!

‘Naked Identity’ is about being happy from within. Work, ‘where’ you are, and, what you’re surrounded by is less important than acknowledging all the good inside you even when everything around you sucks. Even without a job or the love of your life, or…

‘Naked Identity is our ‘self’ – and most important – relationship!

Our ‘Naked Identity’ is based on DNA/Genotype, Phenotype aka how we look and express who we are; and our internal personal qualities, passions, and, talents that motivate us – whether we’re paid for them or not.

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Humans have unique power in expressing our identity vs. in Nature. In Nature, other living things DNA/genotype pretty much determines everything about them: from how they look/phenotype to their personal qualities, talents, strengths/niche in their environment/community. We Humans can easily change our phenotype based on how we want to be seen by self and others. Humans take roles outside of their personal quality, talent niche for money, status, and other needs. ‘Naked Identity’ is a way to look into that ‘natural’ self, especially with respect to personal qualities and talents.

Phenotype: how we look, or more specifically how we look based on our DNA is the easiest thing to change. I think of how we change our ‘look’ based on where we are and who we’re with, and how it’s like Russian nesting dolls: Matryoshka dolls! Our inner most ‘doll’ is likely our ‘Naked Identity’ – when we express our most true ‘self’ for us – not for social media or to impress others. Like the heart of an artichoke, that inner doll is the truest, sweetest, and, best part.

Pop a bowl of popcorn and get ready to think about – and uncover – your own ‘Naked Identity’!

Find a comfy spot. Get a pad, notebook, computer, or whatever you like to write with; I like to use colored pens, as you can see.

Start writing out EVERYTHING you like about yourself.

Find a comfy place to sit…

Everything means just that: everything! Include: personal qualities, talents, strengths, characteristics: how you act when you feel most ‘you’, when you’re not trying to please anyone but yourself or concerned by what others may say (or judge). This is about you without your ‘mask’ so to speak! My list includes strengths that have shown themselves in the best and worst of times; actions of accomplishment and notably emotion/relationship; as well as how I dress when I’m ‘ME’ (with lipstick.. ah, another ‘loss’ to coronavirus and facemasks). I included what makes me smile and share smiles with others, and other ways I contribute to the world.

More important (than lipstick): uncovering your personal qualities and talents, and having specific examples is your selling point to identify your true niche. In this changing world, building on strengths is a sure way to find success as job markets and social interactions wobble about.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”, a powerful and true quote to live by. Naked Identity allows each of us to be part of that change, using our skills and talents, taking action through these difficult times.

‘Naked Identity’ can change our actions and interactions because of less stress to be someone we’re not. Perhaps this is a good time to redefine success: focusing on personal rather than material rewards.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ is not filled with negativity: Identify all those voices that have told you “Nope, you can’t do it”, the naysayers, the little/loud voices that dig at you making you question yourself, including those on social media. Don’t let others ‘crap’ make you feel crappy about yourself anymore.

I wrote about how other’s ‘Doubts’ invade and kill off your own natural talents and optimism.

Now is the time to silence those negative doubts. Weed them from your mind.

Listen to your voice – block out the invasive doubts from others.
Ask – then answer – what’s most important to you1

What’s important to you likely goes far beyond Environmental issues (hopefully it’s somewhere on the list though).

Write what makes your heart sing in every aspect of your life.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ leaves you balanced to keep you ‘going’ and breathing!

Identify what keeps you ‘in balance’; where you get what you need from what you give.

Balance in what you need, what keeps you alive!

This is a good time to ask: Are you in balance with what you give and what you get?

Here’s the Cliff Note Version of Uncovering ‘Naked Identity’:

  • Write/record/draw your personal qualities, strengths, and, talents.
  • Include aspects of your DNA/genotype and especially your Phenotype (physical appearance including dress, tatts, etc.) and how they impact your ‘Naked Identity’.
  • Listen and put a name to whose voice(s) you hear about your identity/strengths – both positive and negative. Throw the negative away and work to unroot them!
  • List what’s most important to you to have balance in your life.
  • Honestly think/write where you are balanced and where you feel unbalanced in your life.
  • Plan for ways you can change your life to become balanced and focus on what’s important to you; actions and life that enhance and promote your strengths, talents, and, personal qualities.

It’s these challenging times that strip us naked of our usual life accoutrements: clothes, work, friends, going out, entertainment, and, all the other dressings of life. (I first learned this as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa – talk about seeing the best and worst of myself – often within a 60 minute window!) Good and bad stuff will come out – embrace it – and most of all embrace and celebrate what makes you ‘YOU’. Our ‘Naked Identity’ is our individual superpower. We just have to figure out how to use it.

Life may be crazy – and it would be even crazier NOT to share our ‘Naked Identity’ with the world which needs your talents now. In sweats though, please!

Stay safe, sanitized, masked, and isolated only by physical distance!

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