A Bad News Day

A Bad News Day

— Opinion by Bass Manski —

It’s a bad news, sad news day today. First the Las Vegas mass murderer, and then Tom Petty’s way-too-soon passing.

What would make someone attempt to kill hundreds of people he doesn’t even know? I could see wanting to kill this shooter. In fact, if they sold raffle tickets where the winner gets to personally “off” this bastard, I’m totally sure MILLIONS would apply.

For lack of knowing, I begin to wonder if there isn’t a devaluation of human life of late. The aetheists, the anarchists, the radicals, the elite Satanists, the powerful sociopaths, the frightened people hell-bent of social acceptance, the shallow people who mock religion, the brainwashed masses of cultist movements, the war-mongering insane, the fanatic extremists.

News-days like today are a test for the rest of us; those who believe in GOOD. We must strenghten our resolve. We must believe that the GOOD are INDEED without-a-doubt the MAJORITY. The “bad”, those who devalue life, just happen to get 90% of the media time, and believe me folks, that’s by design.

Bad things will and have always happened in life since the beginning of time. Bad things and culturally depraved things are what we see and hear most about when we turn on our TV. DON’T JUDGE LIFE THROUGH THE WINDOW OF YOUR TV OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES.

Yesterday, for example, I worked a table at a very busy street fair. There were hundreds of people of all ages, races, cultural styles and gender identites. And you know, everyone was cool. When I turn on the news, I see life as 90% bad. When I venture out amongst the humans, I see life as 90% good. Always remember, life is mostly good. Go out and judge it for yourself, and most of all, keep the faith. We’re all being testing, and we shall now and forever prevail. Peace and love to you my friends.

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You Owe Yourself a Do-Over

 

You Owe Yourself a Do-Over

 

— Opinion by Bass Manski – SHARE if you agree —

To those of you who find yourselves in factions of society pitted against each other, because opposing labels have been assigned to you by persons unknown with motives unknown, I offer this simple advice from an old soul who’s been there and done that and has outlived any need or desire for worldly gains.

Judge not by appearances and labels, for you deny yourself the pleasure of discovery and, most importantly, the opportunity to restore your faith in each other.

Time and Faith: A Personal Memoir

Time and Faith:  A Personal Memoir

A year and a half ago, my daughter suffered a horrific car accident. My wife and I got the call from the ICU in the middle of the night on Tuesday, and we spent the next 16 hours driving thru the night and day to Madison, Wisconsin. My daughter spent 6 days in the round-the-clock-care ICU and another 3 weeks in the Trauma Care Unit. I remember the police officer who was first on the scene where my little girl was pinned in a crushed car, unconscious and bleeding with bones sticking out of her body. He told us, “As I walked to the bottom of that gully, I was certain that this was going to be a fatality.”

All of our lives changed that night. In the days that followed, we wondered if our daughter would ever return to a state where she did not require constant care. As for me, I traded in my retirement to become her dedicated care-giver, coach and transportation. There were trying days of ups and downs during the slow and painful periods of healing and rehabilitation. In those early months of darkness, surgeries, and constant rehabilitation, I used to tell my daughter “time and faith”. Though probably not from my coaching, she eventually found the faith and demonstrated strength that I never saw in her before. On the one-year anniversary of her accident, we all went out for sushi to commemorate how far she had come. During the dinner, she said, “I shouldn’t have survived that crash, but I did. God wanted me to live, because I believe he has a plan for me.”

Around this time, she had, amongst many doctors and specialists, been seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist for her double-vision. At this particular visit, she had been hoping that the doctor would tell her that her damaged optical-nerves were now stable enough for her to finally get the eye-surgery that could correct her double-vision. She needed a small victory. Unfortunately, the doctor said they are still in a state of flux. My daughter was very depressed after this visit, and I reminded her of “time and faith”. It did little to console her.

Yesterday, my daughter visited that same neuro-ophthalmologist. A few months ago, she finally had that corrective surgery, and yesterday the specialist told her that her eyes are “great”, and there is no need for her to see him again. Of course, I just had to remind her of that previous visit, when she was so depressed and wondered if she’d ever have normal eyesight again.

I view that earlier disappointing visit as “Point A” on a timeline, or a line-graph; a low point in your life, perhaps even a time of hopelessness. I viewed the happy visit yesterday as “Point B” on that same timeline; a point where things finally got better. I attempted to share this perspective with my daughter and reminded her of “time and faith”, because now, she can look back on her own timeline and hopefully realize that time and faith are real.

Today, while she is still unable to drive, my daughter works at a daycare center where in addition to her highly praised care of the children, she designs and teaches weekly music classes and pre-school computer classes that bring in additional revenue for the center, and the kids love them! She is also taking and excelling at college courses, as she looks forward to eventually earning her degree in childhood education. It may take her a little longer than the typical student, but I doubt a day goes by where she’s not grateful for the second chance she’s been given.

This morning, as I dragged myself out of bed as I do every day at 5:50 AM, I wondered sadly if I will ever get to enjoy my retirement years? But then, I thought, time and faith. In fact, I thought specifically about my daughter’s timeline with the neuro-ophthalmologist, because it wasn’t only her victory, it was mine too, because I had the privilege to witness in real life that which I preach about. And you know what? I relaxed and immediately felt better. I even went so far as to wonder, is this God’s plan for me? My second chance?

We all have multiple instances of Points A & B in our lives. Perhaps what we don’t do often enough, is to pause and remember them. On this Thanksgiving day, I plan to be thankful for the times in my life when I was at my lowest of lows; my Point-A’s. Because without those Point-A’s, I would never have known and appreciated my Point-B’s; the times when things actually did get better. These are the times that nourished my faith.

The next time I’m frustrated, sad, or angry, whether it’s road rage or political angst or feeling crushed by some weight on my shoulders, I hope I can remember that I have a choice. I can invite myself to my own pity party and lash out in a way that does nobody any good, or I can think about my daughter’s courage, and I can remember Time and Faith. Happy Thanksgiving homies.

Hollow

She is a heart breaker, and his heart has been broken so many times, that it feels like the stone of ancient ruins. He is hollow inside. His love for her is so vast, yet he dare not go there. It is the ocean beneath the ice upon which he skates; always vigilant of the cracks, lest he fall through and be drowned.

She is a heart breaker, yet she has no malice. She is dying slowly, and has been for as long as he can remember. He cannot save her, even though he has become Superman, and his heart… kryptonite. He has tried to get close, but his pores begin to bleed and his insides melt in a hemorhagic fever, and he quickly backs away and wants to cry, but his tear ducts lay there too… obsolete amongst the ruins, long since dried.

Lying in bed at night in those half-awake moments, he vaguely recalls an evolution of loving to hurting to surviving. The hollow man is a foot soldier, exhausted but marching forever forward, for he can sense the evolution begin to stir again; this time pulling him from surviving to believing; believing that if he continues to march for as long as there is breath in his lungs, he will one day discover the path home to his heart. Peace, love, dove homies.

When All Seems Lost

To be strong, to be resilient during a time of weakening resolve; how do we do that? What do we turn on, and what do we turn off? What dies inside, and what comes alive? Do we shed our skin and grow a coat of armor? Or do we double-down on numbing agents in the hopes we can still function until the sun comes out the next morning. How do we go on, when the next round of pain will surely be fiercer than the first? How do we find comfort when we are all alone?

Well, for starters, we ditch this melancholy crap, and we grow a set of balls. BIG BALLS. That goes for you ladies, too! Next, we scream at the top of our lungs, “Fuck you! You ain’t gonna bring me down! I am stronger than you!” And finally, we vow to get a good, or crappy, night’s sleep, and in the morning, we make a plan for moving forward. Yep, we write a good old-fashioned to-do list on a piece of paper, and we revise it every day if we have to; but we make a plan we believe in, and we stick to it. And last of all, if your world is truly crumbling around you, and you are totally devoid of control, you say, “So be it”, and you go watch a black-and-white, nineteen-fifties, grade-B sci-fi movie. May I recommend The Claw, or The Thing From Another World. Peace, love, dove homies.

Liquid Life

Life is fluid, always changing. If you hold on to expectations, you will be forever disappointed… forever sad.

“Sanity” is the sun in a structure contrived by man. Time was invented as a gravitational force to keep us tethered to that sanity.

In my opinion, there is NO time, other than our belief in its existence. There is only NOW and perpetual motion. The moment in which you stood as a child is the same moment you stand in now. So what has changed? You… you have changed via the perpetual motion of the matter that constitutes you, and the perpetual motion of the universe around you, and perpetual change of the wiring in your head.

So then… if life is truly a river of constant change, it would seem we have two choices: fight the current, or go with the flow.

I like to retell a story Alan Watts relayed in one of his lectures a long time ago. It went something like this…

An old Chinese farmer quietly worked his acre of land, day in and day out. One day, a beautiful stallion wandered onto his farm and into his corral. All the villagers came to visit and said, “How wonderful.”

“We’ll see.” said the farmer. The next day, the stallion broke out of his corral and ran away.

Again the villagers came and said, “How sad.”

“We’ll see.” said the farmer. A few days later, the stallion returned. Trailing behind him was a majestic wild bronco. Both horses trotted into the corral.

Once again the villagers proclaimed, “How fortunate for you.”

“We’ll see.” said the farmer. In the days ahead, the farmer’s son attempted to tame the wild bronco. In the process, he was thrown from the horse and broke his leg.

The villagers came to visit and said, “How terrible!”

“We’ll see.” said the farmer. A week later, the military recruitment officers came through the village to draft all the young men to go to war. Because of his broken leg, the farmer’s son was deferred from military combat.

Moral of the story? We don’t know if an event that occurs today will be a good thing or a bad thing tomorrow. Go with the flow homies. Peace, love, dove.

Anxiety

Suppose you just stepped back and didn’t worry about the outcome.

Suppose instead of controlling events, you calmly and coolly initiated the events; setting them in motion.

Suppose instead of tying yourself in knots over something you cannot influence, you just relaxed and surrendered yourself to FATE, a higher power that will ultimately produce the end result.

Suppose that whether the outcome appears to be good or bad, you accept that appearances are almost always deceiving, and you probably won’t know if it’s good or bad until sometime in the near or distant future, when FATE once again reveals itself to you.

And finally, suppose you now have the confidence, serenity and courage to realize that the process you just applied can be repeated throughout your life. You no longer erode yourself with anxiety, because now you don’t worry about the outcome, because now you have a process to respond to any outcome. Now, you can unload your back-breaking burden of anxiety, worry, fear and panic, and let FATE carry it for a while. Can you feel it? Can you feel yourself beginning to relax?

For me, personally, I believe wholeheartedly in a higher power that rewards good and thwarts evil; a higher power that exacts itself through FATE in a manner that we will never understand during this “lifetime”. I look at our current life as a single rung on an infinite ladder, which we will continue to climb for eternity. Perhaps we who are good will realize our reward during this rung, or perhaps on another rung somewhere up the ladder. Peace, love, dove homies.