Marijuana is legal. Will it change your life?

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Live and let others live. Goethe

As my daughter left for work this morning I said, “Marijuana is legal today; pick some up on your way home.”

I’m joking, we don’t know where to go and get it if we wanted some today. I typed in pot is legal and what comes up? Pot is legal, but is it safe? We need to get back to the idea that your freedoms stop where they infringe on my freedoms. We need to quit taking all the joy out of life because there is some danger.

Society is not getting better because we don’t have merry-go-rounds in play grounds any more. I loved it as a kid when we found a play ground and got to play on a merry-go-round.

We love pushing the boundaries of our skill, endurance, athleticism and other things as well. This is who we are as people. Should kids smoke marijuana? It shouldn’t ruin their life if they do. It isn’t the marijuana that ruins their life it’s the entanglement in the legal system.

Someone on the radio asked the question would you be more worried about your fifteen year old and marijuana now as marijuana becomes legal. The only thing I ever worried about with marijuana and my kids was the legal system.

Is marijuana benign? It shouldn’t have to be benign to be legal. We want to protect people from themselves. Everyone has to fix themselves and if we could let them fix themselves without turning them into criminals while they do it the world would probably be a better place.

The older I get the more I understand that it’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. Unknown

Same goes for prostitution. If it is legal then it’s a legal choice and we can get rid of the predators out there. If someone wants to pay for sex, and someone wants to sell it why is the law part of the equation? Girls and women could leave prostitution at any time if it was legal. It would be just like going from working at McDonalds to working at the bank.

Live and let live, we don’t all have to make the same decisions. We don’t have to see life the same to get along. As long as someone is willing to buy something someone will fill that market. When we make it illegal we give it to the criminals. We make it harder for the people the criminals prey on to stay away from their clutches or get away from those clutches. We always do it in the name of making it better, but we don’t make it better.

The war on drugs has made nothing better. The war on prostitution has made nothing better. There are men out there who are likely only ever to get sex if they pay for it. Let them pay for it to women who willingly take money for it.

My kids could buy drugs when they were underage easier than they could buy liquor. If men went to a club for prostitutes they would be of legal age, we wouldn’t have predators pimping out our teenage girls.

We can be civilized about things. The first recorded laws dealing with prostitution in Canada were in Nova Scotia in 1759, although as early as August 19th 1675 the Sovereign Council of New France convicted Catherine Guichelin, one of the Kings daughters with leading a “life scandalous and dishonest to the public,” declaring her a prostitute and banished her from the walls of Quebec City under threat of the whip. Following Canadian Confederation the laws were consolidated in the Criminal Code.

From 1892 to 1972 the offence under 175(1)(c) was

A vagrant who: being a common prostitute or nightwalker is found in a public place and does not, when required, give a good account of herself.

In 1985 C-49 – made it illegal to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution.

In 1988 C-15 – made it an offence to obtain or attempt to obtain the sexual services of a minor, increasing the maximum penalty to 14 years for anyone convicted of living off the avails of a prostitute under the age of 18 years.

In 2014 C-36 – the protection of communities and exploited persons act came in.

The advocacy group POWER, an advocacy group for prostitutes argues that C-36 not only reintroduces laws deemed unconstitutional in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court – it actually makes them worse.

There are those who believe that when we try to make things better we often make them worse. I believe C-15 in 1988 makes sense and I support it. If adult women willingly get into the sex trade they have the right to make that decision.

If adult people want to smoke marijuana they have that right. We need to quit micromanaging people’s lives and let them make their own decisions, we can’t protect people from making mistakes. We can make society so you can get back up, after a mistake. Criminalizing drug use and prostitution does nothing for society, and does nothing for the people caught up in drug addiction or prostitution.

We are going in the right direction by making marijuana use legal. We can hope the justice system isn’t too punitive in how they react to marijuana in our systems long after that use affects us as drivers, workers, etc.

Oh how the world today needs such simple reminders: Be kind. Treat all people with respect. Let go of hate and let others live their lives in peace. Brendon Burchard

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Drugs Are NOT The Devil’s Tools: The History of Drugs: Discrimination, Greed, the War on Drugs and Why Medical Marijuana Is Creating A New Paradigm Paperback – April 7, 2017

Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs Second Edition, 2nd Edition

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Change is the only constant. Newlyweds back to reality. Living in peace and plenty.

Photo of The poor side of Jamaica taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A photo from the other side of the resort. 

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I haven’t lost a daughter, I’ve gained a son.

Tonight we pick up the newlyweds from the airport and they start their new life together, in our basement – housing is crazy here so this will give them a jumping off point.

We don’t have the bathroom or kitchen finished in the basement so it is not a standalone apartment, yet. We will have to learn to share our space especially the kitchen.

I think we’ll have a barbecue on Sunday to celebrate our new family.

I don’t know if there’s a big difference from being your daughter’s mother to being your son in law’s mother in law. This is uncharted territory for me. The speech I wrote for the wedding was filled with advice. I didn’t give it. Instead I spoke off the cuff and didn’t give any advice. I’m going to try to practice this going forward.

I have tried to let my kids go and lead their own lives, make their own decisions.  It is easier when they are actually out of the house. I left home at seventeen; I never lived at home as an adult. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t have left so young, or gone so far, so quickly.

If I didn’t leave at seventeen I may never have ended up here and maybe I wouldn’t have met my husband and had these two wonderful kids. I read on facebook that a friend from home is leaving Florida to retire back in Saskatchewan, the reverse of what we expect. Home is where the heart is. It calls to us.

The funny thing I’ve noticed in my life is the men want to go “back home” more than the women do. My dad wanted to go back to Saskatchewan but my mom didn’t and doesn’t.

I love visiting Jamaica. I don’t think I would be comfortable living there. The contrast between the haves and the have not’s is too great. It creates an unsafe society. This is happening in Western Countries as well and we will become less safe as the disparities between rich and poor increase.

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tail

In a Ted Talk by Andrew Yang he talks about how our Capitalistic system must change because what capitalism prioritizes the world does more of. So the question becomes: In a system where capitalism is a prime determinant of value, how can we preserve what we truly value as humans, what matters to us beyond money?

In the US, and in much of the developed world, our current form of capitalism is failing to produce an increasing standard of living for most of its citizens. It’s time for an upgrade. Adam Smith, the Scottish economist who wrote The Wealth of Nations  in 1776, is often regarded as the father of modern capitalism. His ideas — that the “invisible hand” guides the market; that a division of labor exists and should exist; and that self-interest and competition lead to wealth creation — are so deeply internalized that most of us take them for granted.

Imagine a new type of capitalist economy that’s geared toward maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. These goals and GDP would sometimes go hand-in-hand, but there would be times when they wouldn’t be aligned. For example, an airline removing passengers who’d already boarded a plane in order to maximize its profitability would be good for capital but bad for people. The same goes for a drug company charging extortionate rates for a life-saving drug. Most Americans would agree that the airline should accept the lost revenue and the drug company accept a moderate profit margin. But what if this idea was repeated over and over again throughout the economy? Let’s call it human-centered capitalism — or human capitalism for short.

Human capitalism would have a few core tenets:
1. Humanity is more important than money.
2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.
3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

In business, there’s a saying that “what gets measured gets managed for,” so we need to start measuring different things. The concepts of GDP and economic progress didn’t exist until the Great Depression. However, when economist Simon Kuznets introduced it to Congress in 1934, he cautioned, “The welfare of a nation can … scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.” It’s almost like he saw income inequality and bad jobs coming.

Our economic system must shift to focus on bettering the lot of the average person. Instead of having our humanity subverted to serve the marketplace, capitalism has to be made to serve human ends and goals.

In addition to GDP and job statistics, the government could adopt measurements like:
Average physical fitness and mental health
Quality of infrastructure
Proportion of the elderly in quality care
Marriage rates and success
Deaths of despair; substance abuse
Global temperature variance and sea levels
Re-acclimation of incarcerated individuals and rates of criminality
Artistic and cultural vibrancy
Dynamism and mobility
Social and economic equity
Civic engagement
Cyber security
Responsiveness and evolution of government

It would be straightforward to establish measurements for each of these and update them periodically. It would be similar to what Steve Ballmer talk: (Our Nation in numbers) set up at USAFacts.org. Everyone could see how we’re doing and be galvanized around improvement.

Maybe you smile in disbelief at the concept of “social credits,” but it’s based on a system currently in use in about 200 communities around the United States: Time Banking. In Time Banking, people trade time and build credits within their communities by performing various helpful tasks — transporting an item, walking a dog, cleaning up a yard, cooking a meal, providing a ride to the doctor, etc. The idea was championed in the US by Edgar Cahn, a law professor and anti-poverty activist in the mid-1990s as a way to strengthen communities.

Despite the success of Time Banks in some communities, they haven’t caught hold that widely in the US in part because they require a certain level of administration and resources to operate. But imagine a supercharged version of Time Banking backed by the federal government where in addition to providing social value, there’s real monetary value underlying it.

The most socially detached would likely ignore all of this, of course. But many people love rewards and feeling valued. I get obsessed with completing the 10-punch card for a free sandwich at my deli. We could spur unprecedented levels of social activity without spending that much. DSCs could become cooler than dollars, because you could advertise how much you have and it would be socially acceptable.

The power of this new marketplace and currency can’t be overstated. Most of the entrepreneurs, technologists and young people I know are champing at the bit to work on our problems. We can harness the country’s ingenuity and energy to improve millions of lives if we could just create a way to monetize and measure these goals.

I’m no fan of big government. The larger an organization is, the more cumbersome and ridiculous it often gets. I’ve also spent time with people at the highest levels of government, and it’s striking how stuck most of them feel. One Congressperson said to me, “I’m just trying to get one big thing done here so I can go home.” He’d been in Congress for 7 years at that point. Another joked that being in DC was like being in Rome, with the marble there to remind you that nothing will change.

But I’ve concluded there’s no other way to make these changes than to have the federal government reorganize the economy. Even the richest and most ambitious philanthropists and companies either operate at the wrong scale or have multiple stakeholders that make big, long-term commitments difficult to sustain. We’re staring at trillion-dollar problems, and we need commensurate solutions. We’re in a slow-moving crisis that is about to speed up.

Excerpted from the new book The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

 

Does he have the answer or even part of the answer? We get more of what we focus on so focusing on answers to our problems is probably the way forward. Human ingenuity has brought us to where we are. Human ingenuity will solve the problems we focus on. Change is the only constant, we must grow and develop as individuals and countries where what is good for me is good for you. If not, we will lose what we love most, being able to live in peace and plenty.

Pierre Trudeau – “We know we have a very fortunate country, fortunate almost beyond belief. We have problems, but we know that they are not great compared with the problems of other peoples. But we need to solve them before they become great, and before someone comes to solve them for us.” – speech, Renfrew, Ont., June 24, 1968

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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

Apr 3, 2018

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The kindness of strangers. Bonding over towing and toblerone.

Sailing on smooth water Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, a line from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Yesterday, my daughter and I were picking up hair accessories. As soon as she got home from work we drove to the little shop we’d seen the hair accessories in. We were worried the store closed at 5:00. They didn’t close at 5:00, they closed at 4:30. We walked in the door, “we’re closed,” the lady said.

“We know what we want,” I said.

“Okay.” We grabbed the hair ornaments, cashed out and on our way home the car overheated. My daughter called her dad, “pull over,” he said. We pulled into a closed restaurant. I’m not used to the car, I couldn’t get the hood open. We walked to a Tim Horton’s. My daughter called her fiancé, he came, bringing coolant. When he opened the hood the coolant level seemed fine, the hoses seemed fine. The car was cooler so we continued home.

We got about five minutes down the road, the car was overheating again. We pulled into a small residential street. The lady whose house we were in front of, gave us water bottles, lawn chairs and offered us dinner as we waited for CAA to come and tow the car to the mechanic.

We were assured CAA would be there between 7:30 and 9:00 but it was around 10:00 before they showed up. We bonded over garlic toast, chips and a Toblerone chocolate bar as we waited for our tow.

While my daughter’s fiancé went to pick up the CAA cards, a gentleman stopped and gave us a diagnostic on the car. “I’m not a mechanic, “ he said as he checked the radiator, oil, looked for leaks, etc. “The fan isn’t working,” he stated. We’ll find out today if his diagnosis is correct.

I have heard of people making their way across the world relying on the kindness of strangers. I’m not sure what I feel about that.

The Kindness Diaries is a movie telling the story of a man with a mission. He counts solely on strangers for food, shelter and fuel as he travels around the world on a vintage motorcycle.

Warren Buffet, “we never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow’s obligations.

It is great to know that strangers are kind, but to count on them to make our way through life seems exploitive. We are using them and their generosity, which should not be exploited. It should be appreciated and passed on.

Am I alone in this thinking? I doubt it. If it gets too expensive for strangers to be kind, they will no longer be able to be kind. If more people go to places in the world and live off the kindness of strangers it will give tourists a bad rap.

People are generous and kind until too many people rely on that kindness and generosity. We live in a tit for tat world. When we encounter the users of the world I think it turns off our generous nature. We feel being generous becomes part of the problem as the users don’t do for themselves what they believe someone else will do for them.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t usually give to people who beg for money. I was brought up with, “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.” I appreciate the kindness and generosity we encountered yesterday. I hope I will be as kind and generous. I don’t like it when I meet people who are living off of other people’s kindness and generosity. We need balance, too much of a good think can become negative.

Some people think, it’s all good and well to say you will teach us to fish, but where’s the fish? Some people always seem to be able to see the opportunity and choices before them, others only see want and need. How do we change this? Some people wouldn’t see opportunity if it hit them in the face.

One of the ways I think we could help young people spot and look for opportunities is to find a way to link them with a mentor. A mentor that has achieved what they want to achieve can show them how to achieve it too.

Too often we give up before we start. We don’t make the effort because we become convinced it is no use, we will never achieve what we want. Where do we get the resilience that allows some people to grab hold of a dream and suffer setback after setback and forge on?

Is it only attitude and aptitude? Do we need to start moving in a positive direction to build on our successes? We all need to ask questions such as: Why? Why is it this way? Does it have to be this way? What if it were different?

If we ask questions will we be guaranteed we get the right answers? No! If we don’t ask the questions, we are guaranteed we won’t get the answers. Be willing to ask the questions.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire

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The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life Hardcover – Apr 24 2018

 



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The joy of life seen through a child’s eyes. Can we make our world safe for our children?

Living Fully Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Our beliefs create the kind of world we believe in. We project our feelings, thoughts and attitudes onto the world. I can create a different world by changing my belief about the world. Our inner state creates the outer and not vice versa. John Bradshaw

Yesterday was lovely filled with joy, I took my niece and my sister to a water park and watched my niece play. She quickly found some kids to play with.

As we were leaving I was waiting for my sister and my niece while they were changing. A mother of three with a stroller left the other change room. A toddler was behind her, heading for the open change room door which would have closed behind him. She scooped him up and walked over to his family who may or may not have noticed where he was headed.

It takes so little time for something to go from fun to danger. As the mother was walking past me, I said, “good thing you saw him.”

“I have eyes in the back of my head because of my three,” she said. I’ve lost that skill. I used to have it too. When you no longer have to be ever vigilant you relax.

Some people never relax they are always vigilant. We often call them nosy. They are the people who notice that everything isn’t all right at “the Jones’s.” We might not like someone minding our business until we need them. Someone needs to notice the older gentleman in 1B hasn’t been seen lately.

A pizza company had an order from a customer every day. When the order didn’t come in they called the police. The customer was incapacitated, that call probably saved a life. There is an upside to minding your own business. There is a down side as well.

We are hearing about people who are being over vigilant in asking if people belong to their housing community. We need to find the balance between being a nuisance and bringing danger to innocent people and being a blessing when we notice something awry. Like all things in life finding the balance is hard.

Hillary Clinton said, “it takes a village to raise a child.” She was right, where would we be without all the people who had a hand in our children’s growing up. Teachers, soccer coaches, dance instructors, restaurant staff, cinema staff, store attendants, police officers, fire fighters, postal workers – who would deliver the letter from grandma? Is it the same when it’s an email?

We build safe and happy communities and we live in peace and plenty. We are very lucky; it is not this way everywhere in the world. Shouldn’t everywhere be safe and happy, with peace and plenty is not the question. How to make it so? That’s the question. No one yet has an answer.

Citizens cooperate and build a safe and happy community. Then why aren’t all communities safe and happy? What needs to change? Is it just money? Greater minds than mine are wrestling with this problem.

Jordan Peterson says the question isn’t why some communities aren’t safe and happy. The question is why any communities at all are safe and happy. How did any group of individuals decide to cooperate to the extent they could build happy, safe communities, in safe and mostly happy countries?

Is that part of our problem? We aren’t asking the right questions. Canada was founded on the principles of peace, order and good government. It doesn’t sound romantic, it sounds doable. Canada is a good country which is good to most of its citizens most of the time.

Perfection is enemy of the good. We have to live with good enough. We can keep good, and I worry by trying for perfection we may spoil good. There will be accidents; there will even be preventable accidents. I don’t want to live in such a safe cocoon that all fun and excitement is taken out of life.

It’s terrible when someone who can’t swim or someone who can swim drowns. When I went boating in B.C. quite a few years ago, my kids and I were the only ones wearing life jackets. I had life jackets on my two because how could I come back to their dad and say, “I thought they’d be safe,” when I could make them safe. When I was pregnant with my son I had the opportunity to go horseback riding. I declined, even though horseback riding is one of my great loves. How could I come back to my husband and say, “I thought it would be okay?”

We need to minimize risk where we can. My dad was one of the most safety conscious people I know. He still lost most of his right hand in a farm accident. Things happen. We can do the best we can and things still happen. There are no guarantees in life. We go forward and we take our chances, hopefully not stupid ones.

We need to deal with what is. Not what could be, not what should be, not even what will be. Byron Katie author of “Loving What Is” gives us questions to ask.

Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought?

Then we are to turn it around. Questioning thoughts we believe to be true – thoughts that even feel like part of our identity – takes courage. Katy Byron has found joy in acceptance of life how it is now, not how she thinks it should be. She says everything is how it should be because it is how it is. She believes we change things by accepting what is, not by fighting what is. There is no power in – life shouldn’t be like this. There is power in saying this is it, what am I going to do about it?

You can live with it and love it, you can live with it and hate it, or you can change it.

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

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No life without stress. Be your own detective. Make it work for you.

We Are What We Eat - Stock photo of fruit and vegetables.

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One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well-Virginia Woolf

My life is full of stress right now. There is drama between my daughter and some of her bridesmaids. A flare up of food sensitivities in my life, and a huge learning curve on some new software we purchased for our business.

Stress is all around us. If we have relationships, jobs, family members, health problems, travel we have stress. Everything we do gives us stress. A certain amount of stress is good. Too much stress can leave us overwhelmed. Talking and writing come up again and again as ways to relieve stress.

I have always found once I put things on the page I can see them, and deal with them. Sometimes there are things we can do, other times we are bystanders watching.

This is when we need to learn to deal with what is. You can’t change everything. Aging is one of the things we cannot change. I’ve always taken the view we are lucky if we get to be old. So many people don’t get that opportunity.

I was talking to someone not long ago about not being happy in our own skin. Not feeling that how we are is how we should be. I said, “I’ve felt that way for twenty years.” When I see a photograph of myself, that isn’t how I’m supposed to look. Nora Ephron wrote a book entitled I Feel Bad About My Neck. I just watched the second My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the women were getting a picture taken they say to each other “pinch the back of my neck.”

We have to find ways of going forward with humor. I can’t go anywhere these days without reading glasses. Two weeks ago I went to a Writers Group for the first time and somehow the reading glasses I always keep in my purse weren’t there.

For my daughter’s wedding I’ve had to buy bags for every occasion so I can carry my reading glasses. I am thankful we have reading glasses. Years ago reading would be over for many of us. We are so blessed to live in a time when we have access to things which improve our lives and enable us to continue to live as we want.

We can’t stop aging but maybe we can stop some of the things that come with it through diet and exercise. Of course some people follow rigorous diets and exercise and are still cut down by disease. There are no guarantees in life. There are choices. Just because we don’t get a guarantee if we watch our diet doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

What is the best diet? I don’t know. I’m reading about people having very good results with The Starch Solution and The Ketogenic Diet two completely opposing diets. Are they opposing though? The Starch Solution focuses on rice, potatoes, sweet potato, corn, grains, beans and legumes, vegetables and fruit with small amounts of olive oil.

The ketogenic diet I’ve heard good results with is beef and greens. The similarities of the two diets are no dairy, no processed foods, low sugar. I believe this is how we need to sort out diets. What are the similarities? Meat or no meat is probably not the question.  After hearing about the results Jordan Peterson and his daughter are having with the ketogenic diet of beef and greens, I’m evaluationg what I’ve been doing. I was eating very little meat. I’ve added back some beef.

For years I followed Suzanne Somers food combining eating plan. She divides meals into two types carbohydrate/low fat and protein/low carbohydrate. Fruit is eaten alone on an empty stomach. She allowed dairy and I think this is one of the things that doesn’t work for me.

Her plan loosely is a Ketogenic plan and the Starch Solution eaten at different meals. The recipe for weight gain (for me) is high fat/high carbohydrate. Everything is not figured out yet. I get flare ups when I eat something I am sensitive to. I can’t always figure out what that was. We all have to be detectives in finding what works for us. My mother ate only cream of wheat porridge while she figured out what bothered her. She found out it was fat. It is better than feeling we have no control, no choice.

If we aren’t dealing with stress we aren’t living. Who has the answers? We all have to find what works for us. If we learn what worked for other people we can take a short cut. There isn’t enough time to figure everything out for our self.

 

Afformations, find the why, find the how, make it happen.

Miracles painted by Belynda Wilson Thomas

In Noah St. John’s book Afformations; he says the most basic human fear is the fear of rejection. Why is this the most basic fear? He says, centuries ago we lived in tribes. If we did something bad it was considered a crime against the tribe. The worst punishment was not death, but banishment, because there was virtually no way we could make it on our own.

How can we develop the habit of taking action in the face of fear? We need to understand almost everyone has the same fear. One of the best things to do is imagine you are rejected for what you want to do. Really feel what it would be like.  Guess what, when we accept that we may be rejected we can deal with it.

Everyone is not going to love the painting you spent three months completing. Many times we aren’t as happy with it ourselves as we hoped. Noah St. John doesn’t tell us to tell ourselves we are great, we are powerful, we are going to become rich and famous. He teaches us to ask why. Why are we great, why are we powerful, why will we become rich and famous. They we have to come up with the how.

Nothing happens until we do something. The problem with positive self talk is it often doesn’t lead anywhere. We leave out the how. If you want to build a house, first you have a why. You need a place to live, or you know other people need a place to live and if you build it, they will buy it. Once you have your why, you figure out the how. First you will hire an architect or draw up the plans yourself. Get all the paper work done to submit for your building permit. You don’t buy the windows before you have your plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I say this as I write my tenth blog post. Do I have a plan? I’m promoting an unpublished novel. Am I putting the cart before the horse? I don’t know and as we go forward in life we never know where something will take us. If we waited until we knew where it would take us we would never do anything. I know more than one person has read my blog. I know most people will never read my blog or my book. I’m okay with that.

When I wrote my first novel; the one that’s in a binder behind my desk, I became a writer. The one, no one has seen but me. It is still one of my proudest achievements? It is writing that convoluted mess of 311 pages that made me believe; I could be a writer, because I wrote. By any standard of literature it is a failure. We have to be willing to fail bigger, fail better if we want success.

If you want to write, paint, quilt, publish a cook book, record your song, build your house. What’s stopping you? There are a lot of dreams that never reach fruition. It’s a risk we take. I would rather be the dreamer with a dream that fails, or doesn’t reach its potential than die with my dream inside me.

You don’t and often can’t know where something will lead. You start, and starting is half done. Take the step, and hope the bridge will be there. What’s the alternative? Don’t take the step and spend your life wondering what if? What if I tried to get that song published? What if I’d published that book? What if I started that business? What if I asked that guy or girl for a date?

What if we say yes to life? What’s the worst that can happen? He or she rejects us, we’ve been rejected before. What if no one reads your book? What if they do? If you don’t write it you know for sure no one will read it, not even you. You don’t know what you can do, until you do it. I didn’t know what I would write this morning until I wrote it. We have to get out of our own way and let what is in us come out so we can see it.

Very few of us have original thoughts, or will do original things. There is nothing new under the sun. You won’t paint an original painting, but your painting is original, the subject won’t be. The words aren’t original, if they were, you wouldn’t understand me. Everything has been said before, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write. Words resonate with us because they are a truth we already know. That is part of their power.

Dare to dream, dare to do. Fail bigger, fail better. You have to risk failure to risk success.

Afformations: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk

Aug 19, 2014

by Noah St. John and John Assaraf

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Be a late bloomer. Life is all about choice. We regret what we don’t do more than what we do.

Choose Happiness - Pink Roses photographed by Belynda Wilson Thomas

life is all about choice. Yesterday I went to a writers group. It was inspirational and informative.  I have a lot to learn and there are people willing to share their experiences. Why haven’t I gone before? I’ve been meaning to, but one month turns into ten. I’ll put it on my calendar and go. Any excuse will do if you’re looking for one.

This isn’t a group that critiques each other’s work and I like that. I find evaluations at Toastmaster helpful. Toastmasters are very careful about evaluations with two positives for every suggestion for improvement. In Toastmasters we don’t evaluate the content of the speech, only the delivery.

Content is trickier to evaluate and critique. We don’t know how hard it was for someone to read the poem, short story or exert from their novel. As writers we are baring our souls. We take baby steps and we can get critiques from editors and chosen readers. At the writers group a supportive non judgmental audience allows us to take our first hesitant steps. I like that at the end of the session they have an open mic and I’ve decided next meeting to do a reading from my novel.

One of the participants said authors need to get used to giving readings. It is a necessary part of self promotion. Becoming a writer with no readers is not our goal. We want people to stumble upon our writing and find the golden nugget they were looking for. The highest praise we get is “your words speak to me.” If our words will have an impact for somebody we have achieved our goal. In truth those words already impacted someone, us, and self expression is the gift, the reward. When I write something I can understand what I’m feeling.

It is easy to get published; self publishing is no longer frowned upon. Just because you can get your work out there doesn’t mean people know how to find it. I’m not sure if being read is as important as people think. It gives us validation, but those of us who keep a journal do not share it. Yet, keeping a journal enriches our lives in immeasurable ways.

Maybe as I continue my journey I will understand where readers come into play. What if I learn that one of the reasons so many artists are starving is when you bring money into the mix we start to censor our self. Our art is not as true, free flowing, or honest. What if that is the choice? We will toil, sweat, and put endless hours into our paintings, carvings, quilting, and writing when it is for the love of it. When we start doing it for money and put a dollar value on those hours of blood, sweat and tears it doesn’t seem worth it.

I never thought about it until right now. If I monetize this blog and learn in six months I have $10.00 coming from Amazon will that put the worth of my blog at $10.00? When it’s free, it’s priceless. Somehow in my own mind, priceless is a lot more than $10.00.

My daughter is away this weekend, having her bachelorette with her bridesmaids. It is a year of my daughter being the star. All eyes are on her and everyone is giving her and her fiance a lot of support.

Why then are so many young people not bothering with the wedding? If they don’t get married, they don’t get their time in the spotlight. They make a big deal for their friends, but don’t let their friends do the same for them.

I encouraged my daughter to make a decision, go forward and build a life. Not to fall into what I think has become the living together trap. You haven’t made a decision and the wedding isn’t behind you, so what are your goals? Many weddings are extravagant but they don’t need to be. I wonder how many couples who live together after a few years wish they’d just done the wedding and moved on? A question I’m not brave enough to ask them?

One of the things I’ve tried to do in my life is live a life with few regrets. There are always ways to feel dissatisfied with your life especially if you compare the worst of your life with the best of someone else’s.

Yesterday after the Writers Group I was talking with another newcomer. We were talking about being late bloomers. Would we like to be established authors? What in our lives would we give up to be established authors? I’ve learned you can’t have it “all”, all at the same time. Something has to give. This morning I came into the den to write, leaving my husband with his coffee at the kitchen table. I made a decision, coffee with my husband, or write this blog. Choosing writing too often won’t be good. Always choosing him won’t be good for my writing. Life is all about choice. We don’t know where our choices will take us going forward, only looking back.

In one of John Gray’s books he talks about people having love tanks they need to fill. He said, if you have a love tank that is empty because children no longer need you. You can fill that tank by getting a pet. What you can’t do is keep getting pets to fill other love tanks. I don’t know if creativity counts as a love tank, but I do know creativity feeds my soul. This makes everything in my life better.