Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Diversity’

A Life of Meaning

‘We are gathered here together to get through this thing called life.’ This line from the musical icon Prince says it all. We have chosen this time to learn our life lessons and celebrate along the way. Prince showed us the power in diversity, acceptance and love. His message of unity is perfectly juxtaposed in a world of discord and division. He stood for social justice and lending a hand to those in need. The timing of his death seems to serve as a signal to all of us…to think, do and love. 
Prince challenged us to feel something bigger, deeper within ourselves. You could feel the Universal light force in him. He did not allow himself to be bound by time, race, gender or profit. He was beyond, above all of that, and pushed us to celebrate the importance and magic of life.
What causes a performer to be able to reach audiences spanning from their 20’s to their 80’s – beyond genres and generations? Simply, the universal values of truth, caring, acceptance and love – the ultimate wins in life. His songs, a true inspiration in themselves, were paired with a quiet philanthropy that only a few of his closest friends were even aware of – ‘just quietly do from your heart’ could have been his tag line. 
His spiritualism was evident from his famous 3 lens sun glasses (the middle lens designed to emphasize his third eye – the eye of enlightenment and higher consciousness) to the famous lyric, ‘I never wanted to cause you no trouble, no pain, only wanted to see you laughing in the Purple Rain.’ When we think of the words in that hit song we can imagine the rain as a cleansing element. When paired with the color purple which represents imagination, strength and integrity it signifies the union of body and soul in spiritual fulfillment. Faith in something bigger than himself gave him the personal power to carry on and on and on to produce 39 albums in 35 years – an unheard of accomplishment. 
Prince literally had his name taken from him (at birth he was named Prince Rogers Nelson by his mother) early in his life as both his music and name were hijacked by the music industry – all in the name of profit. He was also challenged by personal choices of escape. Yet through it all he continued to work to show us that no matter how grim things appear, we must never give up seeking truth to become a better person. 
The mark he made on our world was evident. Last night the entire New Orleans Super Dome was awash in purple light, the streets closing in Brooklyn so people could dance to his music and the emotional tributes offered by so many including the President. Kind just takes your breath away.
It’s not just his music but his message of inclusion, acceptance and celebration of the life force within us that will help us survive, thrive and evolve as we face tomorrow.
I visualize Jimmie Hendrix, Michael Jackson and David Bowie, among others, extending their hands to him as he passed on and with a nod and smile simply saying, ‘Welcome home brother, thank you for a life well-lived.’
Have a meaningful few days.

We Are All One

On September 28th, 2013 I wrote a blog entitled, ‘Barilla Out/Bertolli in. It was in reference to a statement from the CEO of the Barilla company saying basically that he did not support gay rights and, in fact, as far as he was concerned they (gays) could buy another brand of pasta if they didn’t like his comment. (You can read the entire blog by going to the archive section of my web site)

Then the power of social media kicked in and with it the possible negative financial effect to his company was realized and within two days his public relations team – wait for it – had him apologize for his comment which even included a weak invitation to gays to come on board and enjoy their pasta. Tongue in cheek, I thought to myself, “What an amazing change of heart and so quickly! I’m not buying it.” I need to see more than a mere 2 sentence apology to believe a deeper understanding of human rights happened. Consequently, I’m still buying only Bertolli pasta.

On the other hand there is a change worth supporting! Today an article was published regarding the Chick-fil-A company and its about turn on the same topic. About two years ago another CEO, Dan Cathy, came out in support of the “traditional family” and condemning gay marriage by saying when questioned by a reporter about his position on the topic, “guilty as charged”. Someone(s) in the company also realized the long term damage that could result from his comment especially in the future when the company plans to expand well beyond its Southern strong hold. So today we read that when Dan Cathy was again interviewed about gay marriage he said, “All of us become wise as time goes by …we sincerely care about all people.”

The company has done its research on the Millennial generation who want local sourcing, product quality (getting rid of those antibiotic filled chickens) and worker rights which include a higher sense of social consciousness (we are all made from the light of the Universal Energy).

The company with its 1800 stores plans to add 180 more restaurants this year creating an ever expanding footprint in the fast food market. When I read that Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of the gay rights advocacy group, Campus Pride, once a critic and now a fan of the company said, “Dan (Cathy) and I have an ongoing friendship…I am appreciative for the common ground we have established in treating all people with dignity and respect.” I decided I’m in! Although I have never tried their food due to their previously limited social consciousness it seems the time has come. It may be the result of the the public relations advice, the financial bottom line but maybe …just maybe…the real change happened due to the friendship that developed between these two men. When we get to know others who may have a slightly different life perspective than our own, understanding and truth develops and we look past any differences and into their hearts.

Congratulations to Dan Cathy, Shane Windmeyer and everyone at Chick-fil-A. You are doing the right thing!

Please send this blog on to anyone who cares about human rights. One person at a time we can make a difference!

Have a great few days!

Are You Inclusive or Exclusive?

How comfortable are you with diversity? When we think about the Universal Energy of which we are all apart how can the diversity in others cause us fear or concern? Are we not all on a journey to learn our own unique lessons in life? Are we not all wanting the same thing? I believe each of us is wishing and hoping for others to look favorably upon us regardless of who we are and the struggles we are involved with while living on planet earth. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves viewing the habits of others and we think to ourselves, ‘well that’s rather strange.’ Let’s think again about the last time we felt uncomfortable because someone didn’t fit neatly into our own definition of comfort zone. I’ll bet a situation can immediately come to mind.

There are so many types of diversity: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic, status, age, physical abilities, mental capacity, religious beliefs, political beliefs the list could go on and on. The differences are so great that it is sometimes a real challenge – maybe even impossible – to find others that view life through a similar lens. What if the Universe designed the differences as a test to teach us something about acceptance?

Seems to me that we can look upon differences in one of two ways. The first is with acceptance and a level of respect that causes us to move beyond tolerance to actually embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity within each individual. As we observe their differences we learn from them and become wiser people in the process. Or, the other option is to run back into our own comfort zone and think to ourselves that we alone have the right or proper view of life. When people take this second approach, we can see it in their faces and feel it in their energy. Their facial muscles tighten, their arms are frequently crossed in front of them and their eyes, the window to their soul, say to us, stay away you are not like me and I am not comfortable around you. When you observe people with this mindset something sad happens as they live out their life. Their world becomes smaller and smaller. Frequently they become fearful and angry at the world in general. It is, as if, they have spiraled down to a mere point of simply existing – not fully living – but merely existing. How sad.

What if we all made it a point to expand our comfort zone in some way just for today? It doesn’t have to be a biggie but just something that causes us a slight discomfort. Discomfort can be a good thing. It can indicate an area for potential growth. The opportunity to become a wiser, more accepting human being is in our hands. We simply need to decide if we are big enough, strong enough or wise enough to become more inclusive and less exclusive. Due to free will the choice is always up to us.

Let’s take the challenge and pick up the ball and run with it today and look at another human being that is different from ourselves with acceptance and celebration. Doing so will cause us to smile when we go to bed tonight realizing that we purposely pushed our envelop of comfort and in doing so we have enlarged our lives and made the world a little better place.

Have a great few days!