We don’t know what we don’t know; life should be a learning experience.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. Confucius

Visiting an art store gives us an array of items to experiment with, but there is usually a learning curve, and we have to be willing to be a novice before we master the skill we set out to learn.

This week I bought dip pens and ink. I’ve bought fine-tipped paintbrushes over the years but they never do what I want them to do, and I think I know why. A paintbrush is not the tool I’ve been looking for, the tool I’ve been looking for and didn’t know it is a dip pen that will give a sharp line. There is a huge variety of dip pens available for drawing and writing. I have purchased a few nibs and can’t wait to see how they work with acrylic paint.

We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s hard to believe it took me this long to figure this out. I have a book on painting with pen and ink, it has sat on my bookshelf for years.

Note about inserting nibs into nib holders. There are helpful videos explaining how to insert nibs into the holder. I mangled my first nib holder because I wasn’t inserting the nib into the correct place.

When I got my Speedball Sketching Pen Set home I found a broken nib, yesterday I replaced the broken nib and purchased a Calligraphy Pen set which includes what some reviewers suggest is one of the best writing nibs. These dip pens are going to make creating an Illustrated Journal more fun and creative, and I’m looking forward to enhancing my illustrations.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar

We all make mistakes and one of the biggest ones we make is trying to do something without the right tools. When we look at what someone else can do and think they just have more talent than us, sometimes they have better tools, and they know how to use them. If we can get those tools and learn how to use them our work will improve.

But often we think we are lacking and we don’t explore what is out there that would help us improve. We are our greatest critic; we are the one that holds ourselves back the most. We compare our worst to someone else’s best and find ourselves lacking. We think if we don’t have the proper credentials we can’t do something we want to do. There are many self-taught people that do great things.

One of the best attitudes in life is to be a willing student and learn from everyone we meet. If we accept we will never know everything and are willing to learn, it is amazing where we might pick up insights that improve our lives.

We may think, if we’d learned this earlier it would be better, but we’ve learned it now, and we can do with it what we can. There are early bloomers, late bloomers, and repeat bloomers in life. It isn’t true that it’s never too late, there comes a time when it is too late, life has run its course, but until that time comes, we can learn and do more things.

We have never had so much access to information; we need to pick and choose from what is out there. I’ve always thought I wasn’t interested in marriage advice from someone who wasn’t married, child-rearing advice from someone who doesn’t have children, or life advice from someone not living a good life. Sorting what is good from what is not good is a feat in itself. But, we’ve always been told, “You’ll know them by their fruit.” If we focus on the good and the beautiful, those who want to build instead of the ones who want to tear down and destroy, we can sort through the maze of those who want to instruct and inform.

Life is what we make it, is there something new we would like to learn how to do, change, or experience?

It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning. Claude Bernard

A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life. Chinese Proverb

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. Antisthenes

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Perseverance, if we can persevere, we can overcome.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Perseverance, secret of all triumphs. Victor Hugo      

Itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, along came the rain and washed the spider out. Along came the sun and dried up all the rain and itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

This little poem has been going around and around my brain. It must be about thirty-five years ago I saw a fellow Toastmaster give a speech about Itsy Bitsy Spider. She was a teacher who had just come back from a trip to Europe and a month later she died of cancer. There aren’t a lot of speeches I remember but I remember hers, is it because she died a month later?

Sometimes we pick up a book and it is precisely what we need to read, or watch a movie that is exactly what we need to see. We don’t even all agree on what was in the book or the film because we are each touched differently by what we read and see.

We are all impacted in our lives by people we meet, and we impact others. The impact we make counts. Most of us will never impact the world in any great way; no big or small invention will have our name on it.  We won’t impact people outside of our circle, but our circle impacts other circles, whether that circle is our family, community, or workplace. It is part of the whole as are we.

We all have our contribution to make and I know we sometimes look at the contribution some are making and ask ourselves, what kind of a contribution is that? We may see some people on their worst day and see some people on their best day and we might be totally wrong about who in the end makes the biggest contribution.

There are many conflicting ideas about how society should be built, what we as a society should value, and how we should deal with the challenges of our time. I feel sure we’ll go up the water spout a few times while we are figuring this out. We hope people we elect have answers that we don’t have, and we hear people expound on theories they never have to put into practice so they can continue to expound on them. I was listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer in a podcast he said, “When I didn’t have children I had lots of theories about raising children, now I have children but no theories.”

In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world, all rests on perseverance. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A society based on principles we all believe in is a good place to start. One of the things many people believe is the rich are getting richer, some believe the poor are getting poorer, but others believe the poor are also getting richer. We become a victim of our success and I believe that is what a lot of our housing problem is. Everyone wants to live in a few places, the prices are being driven up, demand outstrips supply, and we are playing musical chairs for housing.

Is the antidote to this a less successful society? Who wants that? What if we are always somewhere on that water spout and life looks different to us depending on whether the sun is shining or the rain is falling? We might find it easy to be too optimistic when the sun is shining and too pessimistic when the rain is falling. What if we need to find balance knowing in every life a little rain will fall, what if all of us will face challenges in our lives, but we don’t know what part of life those challenges will come?

What if knowing we can keep on keeping on is the greatest attitude we can have, and we will live through it all the bitter, the sweet, the happy, and the sad? No one only gets a sweet life, and would it be a great life if we did, we wouldn’t even know how good we had it because we’d have nothing to compare it to.

It seems some of the greatest people have lived through the greatest challenges. Those challenges made them who they are. Should we really want soft and easy lives, or should we look for ways to take on a load in life, carry it with dignity, and make something better?

I’ve come to think of marriage and raising children as a load we carry, and sometimes the load is easy and gives us more than it asks of us, and sometimes it asks more than it gives, but if we give up in the hard times we will never get back to the easy fun times and we will forever have a fractured family. Sometimes a fractured family may be better than a chaotic broken one that stays together, and only the people in it may know for sure which is which, and even they might not be sure.

Imagine, it’s not just itsy bitsy spider going up the spout but the whole family. It might be easier to scramble up it by ourselves, but when we get to the top we are alone. If we can bring our family with us, it will be challenging, and the journey will be longer, but when we get to the top, and we are all together, how much more joyous will it be?

Don’t give up before the miracle happens. Fannie Flagg

Success seems to be connected with action Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. Conrad Hilton

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas A. Edison

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Journaling is whispering to ourselves and turning that whisper into reality.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You don’t have, because you don’t ask. Jordan Peterson

On Tuesday, my daughter asked, “Mom, what is your speech about?”

I said, “Creating an Illustrated Journal.”

“That sounds really boring,” she said. I think some people don’t have better lives because they think the things that will give them a better life are boring. She didn’t mean it maliciously, only trying to help me have an engaging speech. She hasn’t heard the speech, which is twenty minutes long, and tonight, I will find out if my audience thinks it is boring.

As my Distinguished Toastmasters project, I had planned a Story Time event for August 28th – the focus of a DTM project is to create a project or event that will help a community group. The community group for Story Time was going to be a local Children’s Aid Society; the event was scheduled for August 28th but was cancelled in July, because of scheduling conflicts.

About the time Story Time was cancelled I was contacted by another community group I’d put a proposal in to teach a workshop on Creating an Illustrated Journal. The workshop is scheduled for September 15th, and I will present the same workshop to my writer’s group on September 9th.

I would never have thought of creating a workshop on Illustrating Journaling if the head of the Mississauga Writers Group hadn’t asked me to come with her to a community group helping people with brain injuries and to present a proposal for a workshop.

I thought, “What do I have to offer as a workshop to anyone, let alone people with brain injuries? But, I thought of a conversation I’d had with someone recovering from a mild stroke. “They tell us to relearn, what we already know, it is not a time to learn new things.”

What do we already know? We know how to write, and we know how to make marks on paper. This speech I am giving tonight is to be a professional 20-22 minute speech. The speech will be a shorter version of the workshop I will deliver in September, and each presentation will be geared to a different audience.

Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out. Lee Wise

I believe keeping a journal which I have done since I was fifteen is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I have shelves full of journals I’ve written over the years, sketchbooks I’ve kept over the years, and some that cross over into Illustrated Journals.

We can’t always articulate our thoughts into words, which is why an illustrated journal is superior to only a written one. A picture can tell a thousand words, an eloquent scribble might be as cathartic as pages and pages of writing. I believe if there is anything I can encourage people to do that will improve their lives, keeping a journal is one of the biggest.

In a journal we explore our dreams, some we will articulate, some we won’t, and some we will never breathe to another person. In my journal entry on Sunday, February 2, 1975. I wrote about wanting to be an artist and a writer but I wanted a career as a backup in case I failed in my other two endeavors. I found that entry a few years ago when I was writing a speech and reading some of the things I’d written.

A mindful, meditative practice will help us improve our lives, a written journal and especially an illustrated journal can be that practice. Keeping a journal is a profoundly powerful practice we can have in our lives. I think I started keeping a journal because my grandmother, I never had the privilege of knowing, kept one. All but one of her journals was ruined by squirrels, she documented her days, and the little things are our life. In the end, they are the important things. We think the big things are more important than the little things, but the little things add up to be the big things.

Jordan Peterson tells us if we can get the small things in order, we can improve our lives incrementally. Let’s say we get meal times in order – that will look after our health. If we get an exercise routine in order – that looks after our fitness. If we can get our relationships in order – make time for our spouse – time for our children, time for friends, and time for ourselves. That would look after a big part of our life. Documenting this in a journal can help us tweak areas of our lives until we have the life we want.

If we articulate what we want we will be on our way to making it happen. We want to travel, when, where, for how long, and how much will it cost? Then we can start planning, maybe a big trip is too expensive, maybe we can go on a smaller trip and plan for the big trip. When we journal we whisper to ourselves and hear those whispers. Living is turning those whispers into dreams and goals.

Writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw. Keeping a journal of our thoughts, experiences, insights, and learnings promotes mental clarity, exactness, and context. Stephen Covey

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind. Natalie Goldberg

Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.

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In times of crisis do we see who we really are?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The secret of crisis management is not good versus bad; it’s preventing the bad from getting worse. Andy Gilman

For those of us that woke up in our bed, in our own house, we are blessed. Those that had to evacuate because of fires are blessed too because we have the resources to help people to get out of danger. Hopefully when the danger is past people will be able to go back to a home and community that is still standing, and if not they can rebuild.

As my sister who lives in Yellowknife said, “We’ll deal with what we have to.” Is there anything else we can do but deal with what we have to? We may think we shouldn’t have to deal with forest fires, but if we have forests, we’ll have forest fires. We may think things should be different than they are, maybe they should be, and maybe, we can do things a little differently so they are, and sometimes I wonder if we are trying to bend nature to our will instead of learning to live with it.

 For every action, there is a reaction. One of the things we tell ourselves is, “It will be different this time.” But perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is why would it be different, whatever “It” is? We build houses on flood plains and are surprised when they flood. We bring more people into Canada than we have housing for and wonder why we have a housing crisis and house prices are out of reach for most people.

We need houses, and we need farmland, but do we need to build homes on farmland? We have planners for these things, but what forces come to bear on how decisions are made? Chances are no matter what decisions get made, everyone will not be happy. That is pretty much a given no matter what the decision is about, or where the decision is being made.

I don’t envy the people that have to make the big decisions, but I get to criticize them fairly or unfairly. We need a country that works, and for the most part, even though we grumble, we have a country that works, and we see how well it works when we see action taken in emergencies. During emergencies, we see what can be done, how we can work together, how we can look after immediate needs, how we can take care of everyone and meet the needs of displaced people and help them to get through a terrible ordeal.

Courage is not having the strength to go on; it’s going on when you don’t have the strength. Theodore Roosevelt

Do we need a crisis to see the best in people? Not everyone acts the best in a crisis, we hear of looters, and arsonists taking advantage of situations but for the most part, people work together in a crisis and do the best they can for the greatest amount of good.

We think our housing crisis is a big deal, but it will be nothing like a food crisis if we build on the farmland of Canada and end up not being a country that is food sufficient. Counties that can’t feed themselves are OK until someone else needs what they want or they don’t have the resources to purchase the food, or their inhabitants can’t afford the cost of food brought into the country. Some people believe we can get more production per acre but how much, and at what cost?

Am I having these thoughts because I am getting older? Am I thinking growth is not sustainable because I have no vision?

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

You never let a serious crisis to go waste. And what I mean by that; it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. Rahm Emanuel

The best people know that there are two phases in every crisis: the one where you manage it and the other where you learn from it. To succeed you have to do both. Mark McCormack

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Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or is every story ultimately a work of fiction with a bit of truth inside?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain

How true do we think it is when we watch a movie based on a true story? Do we think embellishments weren’t made to make the story a little better? The dialogue is made up, how could it be anything else? I watched Frida on the weekend based on the life of Frida Kahlo a Mexican Painter. I liked the movie, it was recommended to me by a friend, but would Frida like the movie? Would she feel she was portrayed how she was, how she saw herself, or how most people who knew her thought she was?

I ask this because Michael Oher the football player The Blind Side movie is written about did not like the movie, and did not like how he was portrayed. Did the author Michel Lewis take artistic license, or is it impossible to write a story about a living person and get everything right?

There is fact in every fiction and truth in every lie. Krisi Keley

I remember bringing home a book when I was a teenager, I can’t remember the name of the book or the author but it was written about the author’s life. If I remember correctly some people didn’t agree with her portrayal of her life. Dad said to me, “It’s how she saw it.” We can’t argue with someone about how they see things, but we know we don’t necessarily see things the same way. Every person involved would have their point of view, and where do embellishments and outright lies begin?

One of the reasons I love writing fiction is in fiction we can tell the truth, and perhaps tell deeper truths than if we are constrained by facts and feelings of real characters and actual circumstances. One of the things we learn when writing fiction is fiction has to make sense, but we all know real life does not. The character has to be motivated to do something, and the motivation drives the story. The reader needs to know the character’s motivation whereas in real life we often don’t know what motivates someone.

As someone who has kept a journal since I was fifteen, I know we don’t always see ourselves or circumstances looking back like we see them now. We think we’ve always been who we are now, and seen things how we see them, but we’ve changed along the way. We might not like to be reminded of the struggles once we’ve overcome them. We might have looked at things in a way that would embarrass us now. How many parents would like their kids to know about every stupid thing they ever said, did, or talked someone else into doing?

The reason that truth is stranger than fiction is that fiction has to have a rational thread running through it in order to be believable, whereas reality may be totally irrational Sydney J. Harris

Fiction is the lie that helps us understand the truth. Tim O’Brien

Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction. Slavoj Zizek

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What we know but don’t want to know. Acknowledging what is and dealing with it.

Painted by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. Jack Canfield

We sometimes know something we don’t want to acknowledge and so we don’t check what we can check, we don’t monitor, and we don’t make subtle changes that can make our life better.

We also live in a time when there isn’t agreement on what might make our life better. Should we be eating plant-based meals, low-carb meals, low-fat meals, or just stick with real food but not too much?

Sometimes we know our clothes aren’t fitting right, we haven’t been to the gym, and we can’t remember the last time we got on the scale. We know we won’t like the number when we see it on the scale but better to see it sooner when we are five pounds up than when we are twenty-five pounds up or even more. Facing our demons is a life-long battle.

Those who knit will know the saying, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Another saying, “We need to nip this in the bud“, means dealing with the problem early instead of when it is almost too big to manage. Overlooking minor details can have disastrous effects on our life.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

How many things happen in our lives because of something else we didn’t look after well enough? What heartbreak and hardship could we prevent if we looked after the details and mundane things in life better?

Sometimes we have areas in our life that flourish because we are looking after them very well, but in other areas, we are neglecting them. I had a friend whose garden I admired until I realized she spent all her time in her garden because her marriage was disintegrating. Could a little less attention in the garden and a little more attention to her husband have changed things, or was she coping as best she could?

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us. Socrates

To excel in one part of our life does another part have to be neglected? Our health we neglect at our peril because health is the first wealth. Not everyone is blessed with robust health, but some of us who are, take our robust health for granted until we are no longer healthy. It is why those who are still fit and healthy at sixty-five might not be those who looked the best at eighteen. How we looked at eighteen was the blessing of good genes, but by sixty-five it is good genes and what we’ve done with them, and the older we get the more our choices will matter.

I expect in the end it is not extreme diets, or extreme exercise routines that lead to good health, but moderation in diet and exercise and continuing to be active throughout our lives. What if active living is better than going to the gym? What if eating a healthy diet without dieting is best? What if the health and fitness industry is not good for our health? What if trying too hard to stay young, ages us, and aging gracefully will keep us more youthful and healthier longer?

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so. Mark Twain

Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom. Charlie Munger

Accept what is. Let go of what was. And have faith in what will be. Sonia Ricotti

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The circle of life comes full circle whether we are prepared for it or not.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain

If we know but don’t acknowledge we don’t accept the inevitability of what is coming, but it is still coming.

Tuesday morning my husband got a video call from his cousins in England. Their mother, his aunt at age 84 is not expected to live she’s had dementia for thirteen years. When I called Mom she didn’t sound right and other’s noticed it too, has she had a minor stroke, and if she has what do you do for her at age 98?

Everyone has to face the loss of their parents unless it is the parent that faces the loss of the child, which of course is worse. Loss is part of life and thinking we won’t face loss, hardship, disappointment, setbacks, and failures is perhaps why some people have so much trouble dealing with the realities of life. They don’t think they should have to deal with those realities.

We deal with them a lot less now than in years gone by when almost every family would have suffered the loss of a child. Many men suffered the loss of their wives in childbirth, and many women suffered the loss of their husbands in war, accidents, and misadventures.

I called my sister and she ran over to check on Mom, she said, “Mom looks fine.” Later she confided in me that Mom is declining which we all understand and so does Mom

  Mom said, “Did I say something wrong?”

“Did I say something wrong,” has been rolling over in my mind. I think it means, she was trying to hide her decline and it’s been noticed. How do we let Mom live out her life the way she wants to without too much of an intrusion but also without looking like or actually being neglected?

I’ve spoken to an agency called Nurse Next Door and they may be able to fill in the gaps that the family can’t so Mom can live in her home for as long as she wants. Perhaps right till the end. We all fear losing autonomy and decisions over our life being taken from us. Her friend was moved into a nursing home when she was still quite capable and only lived a couple of months. Mom thought she died of a broken heart more than anything else. She had to sell her home and give away all her treasured items.

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one. Epicurus

I have an aunt that has chosen to go into a home and she is happy and even says the food is good. Choice has a lot to do with this, choosing to go into a home is one thing, and being forced into one is another.

The end of life for some like Dad was swift, he died of a massive heart attack, the first day he couldn’t get dressed by himself. It was hard on Mom who was there when it happened and my brother who came over soon after and tried to resuscitate him, but for Dad, it was what he wanted, swift and he died all at once.

We hope Mom can have as much good life as she can, and that she still has good life ahead of her. We also hope she will have very little time when she is incapacitated or almost so. When we visited her in July her walking was much slower than last year, little declines are adding up.

Navigating the next months or years will be a balance between what Mom needs and what she wants. It is still her life, and she gets to make the choices she is still capable of making as long as she can. We need to support her and make the best of the time we still have with her.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. Kahlil Gibran

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. Emily Dickinson

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. Norman Cousins

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Thank you to everyone that reads my books, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Goodreads, and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the purchase price through the Amazon affiliate program.

Celebrate Emancipation Month and Simcoe Day. A worthy fight was won.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves. Abraham Lincoln

We might feel ashamed that slaves were ever owned in Canada and that is something to be ashamed of, but slaves were owned everywhere or almost everywhere in the world so why wouldn’t they be owned in Canada?

On August 1, 1834, “The Slavery Abolition Act” came into effect across the British Empire, (and from my research) this freed about fifty enslaved people in Canada. Why were only fifty slaves freed in Canada? Because forty years earlier John Graves Simcoe the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada brought in his “Act against Slavery” in July 1793.

This law did not abolish slavery, but it made it so no new slaves could be brought into Upper Canada (Ontario), or bought and sold. Children at the age of 25 were free.  This meant forty years later when the “Slavery Abolition Act” took effect across the British Empire only around fifty people were still enslaved and had the “Slavery Abolition Act” not occurred, slavery would still have ended in Upper Canada (Ontario).

About 4000 people were owned as slaves in Upper and Lower Canada between 1629 and 1834 (from my research.) Between 1800 and 1865 it is estimated up to 100,000 people came to Canada on the Underground Railroad escaping slavery from the United States.

Even though slavery existed in Canada the amount of slaves that escaped to freedom in Canada is far more than were enslaved in Canada.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King

It may seem too little too late when so many people were suffering under slavery, but slavery wasn’t new, it didn’t start with the Atlantic slave trade bringing people to North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Slavery had been a scourge in society since recorded history and still is a scourge in some parts of the world.

The question I ask is; if slavery existed for so long almost everywhere in the world why was it able to be ended in the 1700s and 1800s? People took up the fight to end it, and even though it went on too long, it was ended. Was everything done ideally and everyone treated equally and are we all feeling good about our past history? No, we are not, but we are not fighting to end slavery because that hard fight has already been won.

Slavery is in the bible, and we can point to street names in some of our cities, named after people who once owned slaves. We need to own our history, the good, the bad, what we are proud of, and what we are not proud of. I for one am proud to be part of a country and a commonwealth on the right side of history. Even though it took longer to end slavery in America, it ended.

People of courage, fortitude, and perseverance ended slavery. It was not easy, it changed everything, and people on both sides of the Atlantic fought to have it continue.

We should all celebrate emancipation month because the hard fight was done, and slavery was ended. Perfection is the enemy of the good, we may look at how things were ended and think it should have been done better, and perhaps it could have been. Here we are with the remnants of our past to deal with. It may seem there should be no remnants left, but not even two hundred years have passed since the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect.

We may think where is the perfect society we were promised? What perfect society? Where in the world has a perfect society existed? Where does everyone have as much as they want, and not be able to look at others with envy because they have more power, prestige, or money?

Are we focusing on past injustices? Are we missing what we could have now by focusing on what we didn’t have in the past? I am grateful the fight to end slavery is over, there is always injustice to overcome, and I am not convinced history could not have taken a different turn, and the slavery question still be with us to fight. Two hundred years is a small drop in the ocean of history. Thank you to those with the fortitude, courage, and perseverance who fought the scourge of slavery and ended it, and made the world better for everyone.

We have issues we still need to fight, we need to work together to make society better. Will we fight the issues, and not each other?

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and sheroes! Maya Angelou

Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. James A. Baldwin

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Unintended consequences, things we meant to make our society better don’t always make it better.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. Steve Jobs

I’m reading, “The 11 Laws of Likability” by Michelle Tillis Lederman. We may say I don’t care what someone thinks of us but deep down and often not very deeply being liked is very high on our list.

We don’t like hearing criticism – even if it is warranted, but when it is not warranted we feel picked on and unfairly treated. It is easy in life to take offense, and it is easy to give offense, but if we are to live together in harmony we can’t pick apart everything someone does to look for an offense. Looking for micro-aggressions is not a good way to live.

Things have been done in the past that were terrible and should never have happened, but they did happen and no one no matter how badly they treat someone in the present can make up for what was done in the past.

If we had a relationship with someone that treated us badly and then every relationship after that we treat people badly we haven’t made anything better, in fact, we’ve made it worse. Instead of going forward in a new wonderful relationship and life, we’ve carried the old hurt and brought it with us to the new relationship and created our own hell.

Forgiveness is a powerful force and if we are strong enough to use it, it is our life that gets better, not the person we’ve forgiven. If we hold onto old hurts and mistreatments then we carry them with us where ever we go and they color our world day and night. If we expect the worst from people we often get it, and everyone but us sees the chip on our shoulder we are unwilling to put down.

The law of unintended consequences is the only real law of history. Niall Ferguson

We are fortunate to live in a time when we can leave a relationship that doesn’t work for us. We can leave a job. We can have many careers in our lifetime searching for the one that fits us best. What we can’t do, what no one has ever been able to do is make other people act the way we want them to.

We can live with them or work with them and like it, we can live with them or work with them and hate it, or we can leave. Those are our choices and we haven’t always had those choices, we couldn’t always leave but in this day and age we can. What we may not be able to do is find circumstances that never make us feel bad, disrespected, overlooked, judged, unappreciated, or wrongfully accused of things we haven’t done.

In many ways, we have come so far with people having rights that they are weaponizing their rights. Men choose not to get married because they are worried women will marry them for what they have and then take half, and that they only married them for this reason, not that they entered into the relationship in good faith and things didn’t work out.

Proverbs 21: 9-19 says “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.”

I don’t believe this is reserved only for men, or only for marriage. Dealing with contentious people is difficult and what if everyone that has choice leaves and only the contentious are left to deal with each other?

In many ways, society has gotten better, but one of the things we are doing that is not good is we are rewarding bad behavior and we are reaping a bitter harvest. This happens in the divorce court, the workplace, and our schools.

There are people who will never be given enough. Some men and women do their best to make their unhappy spouses happy, but we can’t make someone else happy. We can’t fix someone else’s insecurities; we can only work on our own. There are people who will never think their piece of the pie is big enough. They will never get enough unless they figure out what will fill the hole in their heart and life.

Jim Rohn tells us, “Don’t ask for life to be easy, ask to be better.” We need to be careful that in our zeal to make things better, we aren’t looking for problems where they aren’t, or making small ones worse.

The sum of all of us is the sum of our society. We all count; we all are responsible in some way for the progression or deterioration of our society. Perfection is the enemy of the good; we will never have a perfect society where everyone treats everyone else exactly like they’d like to be treated. Everyone will not always make the best choice so they do the best they can in life. We will make mistakes and people will take advantage of programs we put in to help make things better.

It’s fair that a spouse should get half of what a couple has worked a lifetime for, but marriage shouldn’t be a way to get half of what someone else worked for. My husband and I tell each other if something happens to either of us, “Don’t you dare bring someone in to get half of what we worked a lifetime for.” Whoever is left needs to build something with the new person, if they find a new person, but we want what we built, our half, to go to our kids, but not until our spouse is finished with it. Of course, no one controls things from the grave.

Wherever we go, there we are, and how we look at life colors the life we look at. Wayne Dyer tells us, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Are there some things we need to look at differently? Do we have unintended consequences working in our society? Things we meant for good are backfiring? What can we do to fix things, which will undoubtedly bring about more unintended consequences?

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. Milton Friedman

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. Margaret J Wheatley

Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of. Victor E. Frankl

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, and see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to those that read my books, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.