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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Spreading the love


I was reading a book about advertising. They said it was more important to have slow, steady growth, than huge bursts followed by dropoffs. And you got that slow, steady growth by spacing your ads out, not by having one humongous ad.

The book got me thinking about the actual meaning of "spreading the love." And I thought, what a cool idea, especially at this time of year. Just spreading love all over. Not just giving love to one person or one thing or one idea. And really the business analogy applies: when you pour everything into one thing/person/idea/business/etc and it leaves you, you're facing the huge dropoff, as well. Whereas, if you spread that love all around, you're going to be supported. You'll have slow, steady growth.

I've always been a non-spreader. I remember a movie a while back where two lovers talked about being a 'nation of two.' That sort of insularity always appealed to me. Maybe because people had disappointed me so many times I was unwilling to trust more than a select few. But I'm changing. Spreading the love is the way to go. It's safer. It's more fun. It's better.

The golfer Billy Casper recently passed away. Here's a photo of him.


He's beaten Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and won a slew of golf major championships. I recently read his last interview, and the interviewer asked him which golf victory he most wanted to be remembered for. Billy Casper answered that he didn't want to be remembered for his golfing achievements, he wanted to be remembered for his love of humanity.

Ultimately, there's nothing more important than the love we show each other. Spread the love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pseudo spirituality anyone?


There is such a craze today about spirituality. Yoga, meditation. Then in the arts: zombies, werewolves, shape shifters, Harry Potter. Everything but the real thing. Hmm. Wonder why.

I have a theory. People sense that there is spiritual power out there. There is. But they want power they can control. Not Power that can control them. Hence, they will go to any lengths to get that spirituality but stop just short of the line that has them surrendering control.

Like the term 'Lord.' People want to be Lords, not have a Lord.

So round and round people play with pseudo spirituality. Harmless enough, right? Like kids playing make-believe.

I'm not so sure. Because see, there is a real spirituality. With big time stakes. And I think the distraction pseudo spirituality provides keeps a lot of people away from the real thing.

I like pseudo spirituality stuff. It can be fun to think about humans having super powers or zombies or whatever. I'm just not losing track of the real thing, because that's where the real power is.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

If Donald Trump talked to Gandhi


"Whoa, I love the robe! You've got some style, Mahatma. You should consider branding it."

"Thank you, The Donald."

"Yeah, me, I've got the best brand in the world, Mahatma. Everybody loves me."

"Even here in India?"

"Especially in India. I'm telling you, Indians can't get enough of me."

"But you seem very aggresive. My philosophy is based on non-violence."

"Trust me, Mahatma, non-violence is old school. In today's world you got do the deed when you need to."

"Do people love you for this?"

"People especially love me for it. People love me for everything I do. Mahatma, I could stand naked in the Ganges and sing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and people would love me. I could kill a cow and they'd love me. I could kill all the cows!"

"You are worrisome to many people."

"Ah, only to the wimps."

"And the Muslims."

"Well."

"And Mexicans."

"They'll come around. There's a few good ones. I know them and they love me. Soon all the Mexicans will. Well, the ones I let stay here anyway."

"And women."

"Oh my God, Mahatma. Are you kidding me? Have you seen my wife? Women everywhere love me. Yeah, some are fat and, well, not too easy to look at, but they love me anyway. Everybody does."

"But you are making enemies."

"Everybody will come around in the end. They always do."

"Hillary Clinton too?"

"Oh, don't get me started on her."

"The Donald, I must go."

"Well, hey, it was good talking to you. I'm going to make sure to build some golf courses in India. And don't forget to encourage your Indian buddies to vote for me. They'll love me! I'm telling you! Everybody does!"















Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Do you ring true?


We think we're so clever. That we can put on a show, a front, an act, a veneer that will deceive. Like make-up for the soul. But can we?

I was thinking about the term "ring true." It comes from the idea of testing a metal, like silver, or glass, and the response the metal or glass makes establishes its authenticity. I believe the same process applies to us. That we give off a ring. And that most people can discern it. They can know who we are deep down. They can see through the bark, no matter how thick it may be.

And what makes for ringing true? It seems to me, in a word: sincerity.

The sincere person doesn't even have to talk. You can just sense that they're sincere. When they do talk, their speech is straightforward and clear. There's no attempt to impress or dazzle. Accordingly there's no need to ask for clarification.

Little kids and pets are masters at discerning who rings true. They aren't drawn or fooled by looks or eloquence or wealth or fancy clothes. They see right through all that to a person's insides. 

A lot of adults aren't fooled either.

I have spent most of my life living from an image. I was my athletic trophies. I was my girlfriend. I was my car. I was my job. I was my partying reputation. I was anything but who I really was deep down.

Hopefully I've gotten to ring more true as I've gotten older.

How about you? Do you ring true?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Does God hate your creativity?



Think about it. What's another name for God? Creator. So if you're creating, are you infringing on God's territory? Is creativity best left in His hands? Does He become jealous when you create? The Bible says:

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

In Rollo May's book The Courage to Create he writes:

...creativity provokes the jealousy of the gods. This is why authentic creativity takes so much courage: an active battle with the gods is occurring.
Do you believe it?

I don't. Although I certainly think that it is a major challenge to be creative, I don't think in our struggle to create that God is against us. Quite the opposite, in fact, I think God helps us create. He leads us to people, books, opportunities that we would never be able to find on our own. And the timing of finding such things is usually perfect.

Not to be irreligious, but when you create, you are being God-like. Because again, God is the Creator, so when we create we're being like Him. And I think He enjoys watching our attempts and encourages us along the way.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Could you be a genius?

Genius. It's a term admired, wondered about and endlessly debated as to its meaning. But could it apply to everybody?

Most people think of genius in terms of being some rare gift that only the exceptionally lucky are born with. No use trying to get it because you either have it or you don't.

That's the easy way out. A cop-out. That way you don't have to try. Why, if only the Mozarts and Einsteins and Michaelangelos of the world have it, should you try?

The fact of the matter is that Mozart and Einstein and Michaelangelo—although certainly not dim-witted or bereft of talent—all worked their butts off to achieve the things they did.

When Einstein died his brain was preserved and it turned out to be smaller than average. He famously once said: "It's not that I'm so smart; I just stay with problems longer."

Mozart, who everyone loves to think of as having been born with genius, truly of course was talented, but his early childhood compositions were rudimentary. And he was a tireless worker and a lifelong learner. When he came across the work of fellow composer J.S. Bach he said:  "At last, someone from whom one can learn!"

And, Michaelangelo, painter of the Sistine Chapel, sculptor of "Pieta" and designer of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, said: "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."

You can see that what led to that statement was people endlessly telling him how wonderful it must be to be born and blessed with the talent and genius he possessed. Michaelangelo set them straight that was definitely not the case.

So could you be a genius?

Undoubtedly, it takes a certain level of intelligence and talent to begin with, but beyond that, if you're willing to go after it with everything you've got, you may end up being the next Mozart.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Has entertainment become our God?


Hey, I like entertainment. But I've been amazed at how obsessed our culture has become with it.

The average American household spends nearly $3,000 a year on it. Look at the tabloids, the Oscars. Actors become major celebrities, even sometimes authorities. Reality TV show stars become presidential candidates. A Justin Bieber YouTube video was watched over a billion times. Netflix, streaming movies and TV shows on smart phones. People can't seem to get enough.

But are we missing anything in all the frenzy? Have we maybe replaced more important things with entertainment?

I remember reading an article about parents taking their young family to Yellowstone National Park for a vacation. The kids complained. They didn't want to go.

"But we'll get to camp out in the wilderness, see buffaloes and sunsets," the father said.

"Sunsets are boring," his daughter replied.

I grew up near a park. During the summer we played baseball there and wore out a major patch of the lawn for the home plate area and pitcher's mound, and smaller areas for the bases. In the fall we wore out the whole center of the park grass playing football. Everybody played. It didn't matter how good you were. It was the thing to do.

Today, years later, that lawn is in perfect shape. And it's been ages since I've even seen a single person in the park. 

Because today everything is online. It's video games. Movies. Twitter. Whatever. I'm not knocking it. I'm a part of it all. I enjoy technology.  But aren't there more important things than entertainment? Aren't we somehow missing out by being glued to glowing screens?