Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Backdrop of Political, Social and Community Expectation

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I was lecturing again last night, with a Schlafly "Kolch" in my hand while Lucky Dan and Naked Mike played some really cool accoustic music in the Blackhawk room at Lone Wolf. Becky Haun's son was the victim. Btw, a good kid and very smart, an IT guy on his way up. What is really cool?--he knows who he is. If anyone has a job for him, he is the real deal, in school studying IT systems stuff. Let me know and I will make the connect.

I am so impressed when I discover "who" people are", especially the young ones. I ask this a lot of young people. Who "are" you? Never rhetorical, the question. When I ask I mean that I would like for them to tell me about themselves, give me some imagery of what it looks like to be them. Where do they see themselves on the canvass, a vinget of where they sit in life?--do they even have a canvass, for that matter? Can they visualize what the world looks like with them in it. Can they consider penciling in a stratagy or two in order to get to some bigger picture, a more colorful version, a "happily ever after theme" with life coming together just the way they think it should?

Once we describe our image of "now", it is easy to find out "who" we are, who anyone is, young or old. Sometimes it is too revealing.

And it can take a little prodding to get the information out of a young person. A lot of times they think they have no story, nothing at all unique to express in a conversation, especially to an adult. Sometimes kids can't relate to adults. Word, the onus is on the adult to find a way to connect, and keep trying, until you shed most of your conforming armor bullshit enough to let them to trust you.

I love talking about this stuff to younger people, because they often don't expect to hear the unconventional as it relates to their personal profile, their personal brand. Fact is, I was a late bloomer, so there ain't much of a disconnect for me in regard to young folks. My daughter coaches me a bit on being cool, then her boyfriend tries to keep up with me on a mountain bike.

So if I find prejudice (because that is what it is) in a kid towards an adult(s), I'll dig a little deeper in order to make the connection, shedding off layers of things like authority, critical opinion, warnings and old stories that they cannot relate to or find interest in. Usually I can find the pulp and get an opinion on a thing or two from their perspective; that logic and brinkmanship that every kid has in them. That is why I like speaking to college kids and high school kids on entrepreneurship. They want to be free to dream, use the wisdom of adults on thier terms. They also need to know what an entrepreneur looks like, talks like.

I usually ask kids if they have a Facebook account. 99% answer yes. Then I ask if they ever, on their own accord, have taken down or have been told by a parent to take down a picture from Facebook that suggests a less than acceptable display of their value system. About 90% answer yes. I leave it at that.

Now, they know why I ask, and the concept of being careful about what you post on Facebook: the sexting thing, those compromising images that the TV commercials talk about on public service announcements, the drunk pics, the sultriness....they know the consequences, probably as well as the parents who keep reminding them what "not" to do. Early on Facebook was an expression, a collection of images of free spirit. A counter slam to the conformists. Unfortunately, it has crept into mainstream enough that danger is immanent. Most adults now have Facebook and it looks to be a tool that we can use to provide strategic imagery to one another.

Nope, kids ain't stupid. But they are free spirited, and for the sake of our country, lets hope they stay that way. Wouldn't most of you like to be as free spirited as you once were?--able to live in the moment as you once did?--without all the heaviness of...everything, the job, the responsibilities, the bills, the image upkeep? It takes a lot of energy to express yourself as anything more than the status quo of an adult--that which the young folk classify and box us up. We are labeled that way because we threaten what they don't want to become--that which they most certainly will unless things change. Their free spirit will erode away, just like ours did.

It takes a lot of energy to connect with your free spirit, the attitude that you had when you were young. You have to run it by a mental clearance, making sure it fits within the confines, the social fencing of what is right and wrong. (How about that which your parents would have approved of, just sayin). You need to feel comfortable enough to release the shackles, the standards set forth by others in the same paradigm: work, church, community standard, keeping up with the Jones's etc. etc. etceteraaah.

Most adults see their younger years as nothing more than the past, a memory that says: "I used to be able to do that, have fun like that, laugh like that, feel free like that". Now I am trapped and forced to conform to the rules. "I am a conformist" said the plastic surgery addicted housewife....

The outlook that we once had as kids-- the care free open highway of letting go and living in the moment is gone. This?-- do to the fear that we have for being exposed to the others, the checklisters, the chronicler's, the gossipers. The belief system that we have acquired a long the way has eroded our spirit to the point of homogenization, our free spirit diluted to be that of everyone else. There are few examples of expression compared to the masses of conformity. How else could our political system get so out of whack? You gettin this yet?

I read recently the Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book came out recently after his first, The Four Agreements. Ruiz pretty well sum up why we are the way we are, why we struggle to feel free. He confirms what the problem is with our lack of fulfillment and the issues with our lack of personal expression. As referenced in the book, it is important to see the truth. To see reality clearly and unbiased, one must be free of belief systems. In order to grow and evolve, one must change the way they see themselves and the world.

Don Miguel Ruiz has made a life's work out of dissecting our cultures belief system in order to provide some insight as to why we find ourselves seeking the comfort of expression, why we yearn to be young again without the infection of what society doles out. Value systems handed down for generations, limited processes, limited dreams. A grey canvass.

So as far as I am concerned, we are all entitled to an epiphany and our kids are entitled to maintain their free spirit. So lets get to working on that! The new journey being that which challenges the standards a smidgen, gets a little different reaction from others and molds a different perspective in relation to "who you are". You can still have your spritual connection, your memories, your heritage, your values. I embarked on a journey to right some of the things that I conformed to and found a connection to my spirituality that I never knew existed. I was told certain things were important, that which I was supposed to conform to achieve, in a certain way, in a certain place...and it failed me. Now I continue to paint my canvass and tell the story and it is more about love and the concern for others than ever before. What a better way to be?

My personal brand has changed from the story telling of before my epiphany. My journey, my free spirit expression is to tell my story, to tell "who I am" in a different way than before. My brand is described on Facebook, my blog, my websites, the images I put out there, the storytelling, the authentically driven free spirit that has somehow provided me with an advantage, a gift, an expression. I don't really think I have an advantage, rather a connection to the areas of life that are more important; the "now" instead of "later". The doing things while I can vs. anything resonating standard belief systems, the backdrop of political, social and community expectation.

Thanks for reading.


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