Tag Archives: balance

No Religion: What’s to Believe In?

As we continue to progress as a species, more of us human beings are stepping from the dark archaic belief systems of religion to the bright confidence of knowledge afforded us by science.   But the shift from religion to non begs some questions:  What do we do with ourselves?  Where do we put our energy?  What’s to believe in? What becomes our focus?

From my humble perspective, it kind of seems that a default focus would be nationalism; belief in one’s nation and attention to its politics and social/economic issues.  From my humble perspective, we could use a boost in national attention to politics and social/economic issues.   But there lies a danger of jingoism, unabashed love for one’s country without regard for other nations, fervent almost blind belief that ‘my country is the best’.  In a time when we face global challenges such as health epidemics and climate change, we can’t really allow ourselves the pleasure of arrogance.  We must be able to cooperate, to admit that maybe another nation is doing something right and we might consider adjusting our own perceptions.  We are bound together by this planet and its natural laws, we have to work with one another in order to keep our species viable.  While some of our new found energy can and should be focused on national issues, it is necessary to strike a balance with how much energy we invest in our country – there are bigger ideas to focus on as well.

I heartily contend that the biggest idea should be humanism – a focus on mankind and our path of past, present, and future, our connection with one another as dictated by nature’s laws.  If we think about it, we only, always, have each other; and though cultures vary we cannot deny our bloodline and the truth that we are all brothers and sisters.  I believe we owe a certain amount of attention to our race based on this sole premise, with the spirit that we are inherently obligated as human beings to look out for our siblings. As mentioned above, our modern age forces us to examine physical global issues and international cooperation is paramount to finding solutions to these issues.   A humanist focus allows us to set aside cultural prejudices and adopt cooperative attitudes based upon the assumption that we’re all in this together.

Science appears to be the common ground for us all and I’ll assert that the growth of humanism will include many elements of the discipline.   Two plus two will always equal four and no matter where we go in the world we can speak that language to anyone. I am not claiming that science has all the answers although I’m close to agreeing with many modern thinkers who believe it does.  It certainly answers our questions best and provides a universal language with which we can speak to one another, culture set aside.   Besides providing a common language science provides a foundation for finding common solutions to the challenges we face together.  The discipline is a perfect fit with the tenants of humanism.

I’ll even go out on a limb and demonstrate that we already have a vision for the melding of science and humanism and how they work together by invoking the genre of science fiction film and writings.  There are several examples where science fiction has remarkably portended the future as far as gadgets and inventions are concerned.   Even George Orwell was prescient enough to understand that an entirely new language would evolve under political pressures.   Using science fiction as a barometer for the way humanistic tendencies might emerge, one finds an astonishing body of work that illustrates how political and even personal decisions are made based upon available evidence and facts instead of mystical, archaic texts. Pay attention next time you tune into Star Trek, or Dr. Who, or The Fifth Element.

We’ve come a long ways since the days when science and religion walked the same path of curiosity together, searching for answers to the same questions.   At some point their paths split and one has gone on to answer those questions with solid evidence.   As we continue to progress as a species and more of us also leave the anachronistic beliefs behind, we are faced with the necessity of filling the void.   Humanism does so with a neat and comfortable fit.  Here’s to our future and the place that Humanism has within it.

Yours,

Frankie

Advertisements

Writer’s Resource

Here’s to a good start to everyone’s week.

I’ve been obviously occupied with current events lately and realized I need to balance my posts out a little better. The energy it takes to dig and find something new to create is being rerouted to edit a manuscript that I really hope is out by the end of the year, although I thought it’d be out by the beginning of summer…such is the life, right?  Current events however, provide plenty of thought provoking ideas which are not as difficult to filter through the keyboard.

In an effort to level out my own blog, I wanted to pass on a great blog site that’s quite resourceful for us writers:  Writing and Illustrating.   The authoress consistently features children’s book illustrators, agents who are seeking scripts, and useful writing tips.  I hope you find it as enriching as I do.

Go write something today!  And I challenge you to take a minute to see if there’s an imbalance somewhere in your writing choices.  As I’ve just discovered, sometimes we can focus on one thing too much without noticing.

Yours,

Frankie


On Water, Wolves, and Wind : Civilized Compromise

Human civilization is often forced to compromise with mother nature, there isn’t much choice in the matter.

I live in northern California where water is a serious issue right now and salmon are exacerbating the problem. Shasta Dam is the cornerstone of the Trinity Dam Project that supplies power and water to much of the region, but it comes at a high price:  dams block centuries old salmon runs in the San Joaquin delta.  As a compromise, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has long had water release rights to the Dam during spawning seasons in order to keep the runs viable. In years of severe drought however, releasing sacred water for ‘fish’ doesn’t seem like the brightest idea in the box and there have been some protests over the issue.

The issue of releasing wolves back into the Yellowstone Park environment caused a lot more protests, most from area farmers who were concerned about their livestock.  Wolves were hunted to near extinction early in the twentieth century to protect valuable farm animals. But that also meant that wild grazing animals were protected as well and before the century’s end bison and deer were overpopulated to the point of devastating the park.  Creeks and rivers were unable to form banks because the trees and shrubs required to do so were being eaten or trampled.  As a compromise, wolves were brought back to the Park to hunt grazing animals.  The grazer population returned to a more balanced number which in turn created healthier water banks and greenery.

Healthy air is the motivation behind wind turbines.   In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and take advantage of a morewind sustainable energy source, turbines are proving to be excellent generators of electricity.  But there’s a significant backlash to their presence:  people complain about wind turbines ruining the visual landscape of an area.  I can understand the argument to some degree, but we currently have miles of wire running through older neighborhoods with big wooden poles every hundred feet to keep them elevated so we are quite accustomed to a skyline full of man made objects.  In the long run, wind turbines save our planet and air quality. So even if they do take some enjoyment out of our horizon gazing, implementing wind energy is a compromise we must make as civilized human beings interested in keeping our atmosphere clean.

Each day I am amazed at the way we homo sapiens can manipulate nature and make it work for us. But in our advancement, in our quest to create a high-functioning society we managed to strangle nature at some very serious junctions. We’ve had to learn to give a little along the way as a matter of consequence.  That is as it should be.  We are the conscious party after all, we have a certain accountability to  other living beings on the planet.   So while water gets released during drought years, and the first wolves have recently made their way to California, and wind turbines continue to provide clean energy, we ourselves must make adjustments to our perceptions by understanding that the cost of civilization comes at the price of compromise with mother nature.

Yours,

Frankie


In Absentia

Dark is the absence of Light

               Evil the absence of Good

Cold is the absence of Heat

                   Laziness the absence of Will

Still is the absence of Motion

                                     Selfishness the absence of Compassion

Empty is the absence of Matter

                                 Ignorance the absence of Knowledge

Black is the absence of Color

                      Timidity the absence of Living

Death is the absence of Life

                                      Nothingness the absence of Awareness


Okay

I cannot sit in a cubicle

Is that Okay?

Four walls confine my body

Four walls constrict my creativity


I don’t fit into the corporate world

Is that Okay?

Competition instead of cooperation

Competition for only money


I don’t buy into the vanity

Is that Okay?

Fake nails and hair

Fake pleasantries and friendships


I am different than most

Is that Okay?

My work is of the soul

My work is to capture what cannot be seen


I’m unable to work a 9 to 5

Is that Okay?

Nature sets my schedule

Nature alone defines my days


I am an artist

Is that Okay?

favedahliaAnd if I don’t fit in

It is because

Freedom is required

In order to create

And that is

Most certainly

Okay.


A Human……ist Moment

I work as a front desk manager at a local hotel and the most favorite part of my job is the people I meet each day from all parts of the world and in all kinds of predicaments. Sometimes I the opportunity arises when I can make a difference in someone’s day with a kind word or a hug.  Today for example, a woman came in to check out her parents’ room.  The family had spent much of the previous night in the local E.R., where they discovered that their father’s cancer had come back and days were numbered, moments mattered. Big tears welled up as she updated me and since I know the gig (lost my own dear father to cancer) my immediate response was to walk around the counter and give her a hug.  She was truly grateful.  We chatted a few more minutes, she shared how wonderful everybody has been (I had the privilege of relaying to her that one of the E.R. doctors came in and took care of their bill) and I gave her my card with a command to come by if she needed a shoulder.  

On my ‘About’ page I claim myself to be a humanist because, well, I am a human.  Moments such as this morning are a testimony to our cooperative, compassionate nature and our ability to band together and help one another in difficult, painful predicaments.  I am at a loss to think of a better example of what being a humanist means to me.

Be Well,

Frankie

 

 


Workin’ Hard or Hardly Workin’

For me, the answer is always the former:  I work hard.  I’ve worked three jobs at one time and even now I ‘work’ two jobs since I have my hourly day job and then my moonlighting night job of writing. I take pride in my work and I make sure my employers get every cent’s worth of work out of me.   I strive obsessively to be sure that any one who reads any thing I write is challenged and entertained.  Often my husband and I will remind my children of our mantra:  “It doesn’t take much to shine.” In other words, just the smallest bit of ‘extra’ attention and effort goes a long ways, and I’ve always made sure to live up to my words.  It’s paid off.  Recently I was asked to step up as second in command at the hotel I work at.  I accepted the offer without hesitation (regular hours dude) and I am off and running into a new adventure.

Which is why you haven’t heard anything from me for a couple of weeks!  I’ve been adjusting to new hours (was working swing, now I am days, beginning at seven)  and learning to cope with the responsibility of being the buffer between co-workers/guests and management.  Consequently I’ve not been writing as per my usual habit.   I just want to take a very long nap when I get home and then zone out on NBA finals.  Yet as I sit at me keyboard now, typing away, trying to frame just the right thought with just the right words, I remember what my passion is and where my heart lies….always as a writer.

Now a new challenge awaits me as I forge ahead to reach my goal of quitting my job to write full time.  It means struggling with the challenge of sleep deprivation, a more strict schedule, and far less wasted time on the internet.    It means a helluva lot more work, but I know I am up for it.

You’ll see the efforts of rising to my new challenge in the form of a few new updates on this site.  I’ll be categorizing articles for better navigation, for instance.   You’ll even notice I’ve included my mission statement on this page, just below the ‘Quote of the Week.’  I’ll also be starting a new web page which will be wholly devoted to education and information concerning the Financialization Revolution.   As near as I can tell, the slow erosion of our once prosperous middle class (which not-so-co-incidentally also coincides with the erosion of our once touted democracy) is the single most important event to occur in my lifetime…..  yet we fail to realize it as is evident by the way many mainstream pundits deride the poor as ‘takers’ and utterly ignore the players of Wall Street and the Financial sector who have manipulated interest rates and tax loopholes to their infinite advantage.  Since I strive to maintain a balance in my writings so as not to alienate anyone, I thought a separate website for this information was a plausible solution…keep an eye out for its launch!

In the meantime, you’ll be getting from me an article addressing  the impact of ‘Grace’ on humanity, a story of ‘Two Stevens’ whose separate paths illuminate the struggles of many of our brothers and sisters in modern times, and a fun short story meant for purely entertainment purposes.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE writing?

I am patiently (well, not-so-patiently really) waiting for my book cover and then my first work (Maslow’s Triangle:  Short Tales of a Homeless Chick)  will be available on Kindle, Nook, and other i-readers…should be able to launch that gig in a couple weeks, according to my graphic artist. I am also waiting to hear back from The Atlantic on the two articles I’ve sent to them.

Working hard?  Why yes I am!  Here’s to reaching goals, new adventures, and making the necessary adjustments to change.

Be well! dear readers, and please enjoy your journey!

Frankie


a new year….

i am not one for resolutions, but new years does somehow offer the promise of a fresh start –  or at least a reminder to get back on track after the holiday melee.

the one thing i choose  to return my focus  to, as always, is to keep balanced:   in mind, body, and soul.

it is a difficult thing to achieve in our current civilization.  seems that the more sophisticated we’ve gotten, the more conscious we need to be to keep our lives balanced.  here’s what i mean:

the recent election here in the u.s. caused a frenzy of passion and emotions in which i myself participated.  it was difficult not to, there was so much at stake.   i wrote, i researched, i made videos and posted them to youtube as a way to channel my energy and passion.

while i was happy with the outcome i found myself depressed almost immediately afterwards. still we are in a political deadlock and still because of human greed.

but as the new year settles in i realize i need to focus once more on keeping a balance.  i don’t apologize for being passionate about our nation and its future. i do realize though, that it’s not healthy to focus on just one part of life.

in effort to stay focused on writing this year, i plan to write a short story a week to publish on my  tumbler account frankiewallace.tumblr.   my intention is twofold:  keep my imagination working since the book i am writing is very factual based, thus bringing balance to my writing by forcing my creativity somewhat. and it forces me to be consistent.

here’s to  a new year.  here’s to balance.  here’s to a healthy life!

 

 

 


The Best Part of Gardening: The Things it Teaches Me

For the first time in a few years I’ve grown a garden this summer.  It’s not much, an old table set  with some herbs, lettuces, and cosmos,  and two half barrels on either side of it, one containing summer squash and one with tomatoes, all tucked in one corner of the backyard.  I also planted some new flowers to add to the few plants and lone miniature rose bush on the patio. Add an eclectic group of chairs and I have a quite nice sitting area for all my efforts. It’s autumn and I’m sitting amongst my plants and flowers now, reflecting on the lessons my little garden has gently brought back to my conscious, and I am grateful for them.

The first lesson I was reminded of is that timing is everything.  My grandma and mom religiously planted their garden by the moon signs (the Farmer’s Almanac was a staple in my home as a child) and judging by the jars of tomatoes and green beans I had to help ‘put up’, they were very successful.  There is a time to plant and we must be ready when it comes.  We must have our beds all made and soil prepared, after all, you can’t just throw seeds into some dirt and expect a bountiful harvest. If I want my business to grow, I must make sure I am prepared with knowledge and watch for opportunities to use it. If I want my children to succeed, I must prepare them for the ups and downs of life and I must know when to allow them more freedom.  Timing and preparation are imperative if I want my garden to succeed, and equally imperative if I want my life to succeed.

Gardening requires diligent watering.   I live in a very hot climate so missing one day of watering could be the end of a seedling.  Even if I missed a day with full grown plants, I could see the stress it caused them.  They could not produce fruit at their best with haphazard watering.  I learned to love the discipline of it.  One of the benefits of gardening is that we get immediate gratification.  Almost daily we can see our little sprouts reaching out with new growth.  I was reminded that some areas of our lives require daily “watering” as well.  Exercise for one thing.  Our muscles lose strength if we miss even a day of a workout.  Our mental health requires some sort of meditation on a daily basis so that the new seeds of thought or creativity can break free of the soil and grow to bear fruit.  But we learn to love the discipline of it.  I like the strength my body has, I like the way my clothes fit as a result of keeping myself physically healthy.  I enjoy the new ideas that come to me as a result of meditating – watering my soul.  I definitely cherish the enlightenment and personal growth that comes with it.  And if I don’t, if I miss a day or week or so, then I find I am stressed, not receiving any new enlightenment.  I am not growing, and any fruit I bear is puny.

As our seedlings grow and plants mature, one of the crucial elements of gardening comes into play: thinning and pruning.  Those little sprouts, so perky and promising must be thinned.  I know it is logistically impossible for my half barrel to sustain twelve squash plants, three or four at the most.  So I must pluck from them the weakest, the smallest, and the ones less promising.  Ideas are like this I’ve noticed.  I do not possibly have room in my life for every idea that comes across the wire. I must choose which one will benefit me most, which one is most promising, which one will grow to bear the most fruit.  But it is not just in the thinning of the sprouts that pruning takes place, we must also prune as the plant grows.   My tomato plants remind me of “Little Shop of Horrors,” they know no bounds and would take over half the yard I swear if I didn’t cut them back.  By doing so, the plant is allowed to focus its energy on the developing fruit it has.  Otherwise, it would become overtaxed by trying to feed all the tomatoes and they would end up puny.  It is good to bear fruit.  It is not so good to overtax ourselves trying to feed too many projects; they will suffer in their success.  I was reminded that we must be careful to understand that we cannot do it all. We must remember to scale back those areas of our lives that would inhibit the best harvest, even if they are healthy, even if they have the potential to bear fruit.  The simple reason is that we only have so many resources available in this life, we must be sure to channel them carefully for maximum yield.

We must enjoy our harvest!  There is no better feeling than being able to go out, grab a couple of summer squash and a handful of basil and cook it immediately, food straight from my back yard and into the mouths of my family; or picking a few tomatoes to dice and throw into a salad, bright red, sweet and juicy – best taste in the world.  Neither is there a better feeling than when an idea has come to fruition:  an article was published, a contract gone through, a child earning an award. It is important to savor success; much work, effort and discipline goes into its creation.  Besides what happens if we do not eat the fruit?  It spoils.  We might as well enjoy it.  I was also reminded by my proliferous squash plants that it is important to harvest consistently or else there’s no room for the new squash to grow.  As a writer, this particular reminder hit home.  If I have two or three ideas for articles to write, then I must get them out, I must harvest them in order for new material to come to bear.  What happens to squash (ideas) that are not picked?  They grow to be absurdly big and too tough for consumption.  They spoil – and they rob the plant of the ability to focus its energy on new squash since it has to feed this old dying useless thing.  Likewise, consistent harvesting of our ideas means more creativity.

Finally, gardening gently reminds me of the cycle of things.  As I said, the growing season is coming to an end.  Already I’ve pulled up my squash plants. I’ve got another month left of tomatoes, basil, and oregano before the first frost.  It seems that we have a similar cycle of creativity.  A project begins as a seed and before you know it it’s run its course.  Game over.  While we feel pressure to move on right away to the very next thing, gardening reminds us of a different path.  We need a moment to rest, just as the soil needs a moment to rest, just as an apple tree needs a moment to rest.  We need a rest to recuperate after a harvest and build up the energy for another growth and bearing cycle.

So happy hibernating!  Enjoy the fruits of your labor this winter if you’ve ‘put up’ some of your harvest – I will be enjoying some homegrown, homemade sundried tomatoes.  And as I do, I will be thankful of the lessons I’ve been reminded of this summer, keeping them in mind for when I’ll need them later, like tomorrow.

Be Well,

Frankie