Bias

There is a subtle, often unconscious filter which hides deep within us.  I am not sure if there is a consistent origin.  I suspect it is born in our early experiences where the influence of events and words touched us like truth.  Once planted, our eyes and mind began to reinforce its home within us.  At some point we forgot about it, rarely recognizing how frequently it changed our ways of seeing life around us.

Understanding the existence of unconscious bias takes time and self-reflection.  As I continue to discover different forms of bias within me, I still struggle to see where and how it originated.  Given it seemingly effortless ability to multiply and morph, I have turned my attention to the role it plays with my decisions and choices. read more

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Consistency

My first art piece reflected an intense experience.  Different metal pieces from an abandoned rail line in Maryland on a bed of oak captured the surprise of the inspiration, the natural setting where the experience occurred, and the way we are responsible for taking the time to understand our lives.

I was a proud artist.  After carrying this heavy art sculpture to be assessed by a friend and an artist in his own right with credentials, I was hoping for his acknowledgement that I had delivered.  As he looked and reflected on the piece, he asked me about my inspiration.  After a few minutes, he simply said, “it is good”. read more

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Universal

I grew up in a world defined by barriers and boundaries.  One accepted their existence.  Culture, economic, and race were just the beginning.  Castes, blood lines, and language were tangibly real moats.  Cross them at the risk of your life.  If you did, respect for local customs and practices was a must.  It was important, often required to understand and honor the walls between us.

In responding to these, some rebelled while others looked to make them stronger.  In a moment which created an interesting opening for others, businesses’ quest for profit created an openness to marketing imagination and universally consistent goods and services.  Revolutionary discoveries on how white goods (washing machines, refrigerators, and stoves) which were sold bore more in common with each other than differences led to mega factories in the Far East and lower prices to consumers. read more

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Speed

From the time I was ten, I remember being in a hurry.  I wanted to experience life to the maximum.  I wanted to try to do any and everything, I was sure I was going to miss something.  My answer was to be bold, aggressive, and relentless.  Patience was a word I had little time for.  If not path A, then option B.

Even as I write this, I see his white hair, remembering the trusted voice of Grandpa Lange.

“I recognize the urgency in you Bill.  I see it in your grandfather.  I will share the same advice I gave him.  Take it slow and enjoy each moment for what it brings.” read more

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Party Lines

My earliest telephone memory was the fun as a six-year-old picking up the line to ever so quietly listen in on a conversation between strangers.  In this era, there were no mobiles and few dedicated land lines into homes for the working class.  We shared our line with others, it was known as a party line.

As I look back on this time, I find myself smiling at how we stay connected.  Many today see social media as a part of life which began in the early 2000s.  I beg to differ.  Social media was alive and well in my childhood.  It was different and yet the outcome was much the same as it is today. read more

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Next Generation

Every generation worries about the next.  Will they appreciate what came before them?  Will they take the best of what is and take it to the next level?  How will they look at and treat their elders along the way?

The questions are complex and broad enough that one might think they would be difficult to answer.  If one was trying to say the right words, it would be hard.  As I look at several examples, I experience the next generation using their choices, decisions, and actions as a living way of telling a personalized version of the story which answers the question. read more

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Repeats

There is a specific range of years where artists and jazz came together to work wonders on my heart and mind.  I am happy to share the details however there is, from my perspective, a more interesting lesson.  The lesson emerged from the discovery of life touching my soul again and again.   The touches were repeats from a close-knit range of music.

To set the stage with music in the background, I offer the words and jazz music from 1958 through 1962 with artists such as Bill Evans, Red Garland, John Coltrane, Sonny Clark, and Frank Sinatra. read more

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Commitment

A friend shared a decision he makes each morning when he wakes up; he makes a conscious decision to remain in relationship with his wife, to be married.

His decision pronouncement was met with a puzzled smile.  How could he decide to do something that he had already committed to do?  Publicly and legally, he had declared his obligation.  His response stays with me as a life lesson.

“Every morning I wake to a choice.  Will I be married today?  I know I said “yes” in the past.  This is a new day.  I have a decision to make.” read more

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Response

Experiencing a crowd enthusiastically responding can move you to the core.  As I listened to the radio broadcast of my favorite baseball team playing their arch rivals, fighting for the last out in the 9th inning, the roar of the crowd took me to a place where great experiences rest.

In this moment so many great experiences exploded together!  Catching a Willie May’s fly ball in the cheap seats as an eight-year-old boy was hero worship personified!  Watching Joe Montana and Dwight Clark in the playoffs against the Cowboys was a dream come true.  Experiencing Joe Satriani nail it on stage for almost four hours was extraordinary.  These along with Elton John, Harry Chapin, Roberta Flack, Frank Sinatra…the list goes on.  Each brings a sense of how we can be touched, especially when we are joined by others raising their voices in celebration. read more

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Mindfulness

Being aware and mindful opens a door to seeing the beauty and wonder within your life.

No matter how many times I have forgotten this mantra, there are special moments which take my right back to this foundational truth.  There have been three seasons in my understanding as Life has relentlessly tried to get through and touch my heart and mind.

Unconnected awareness, often associated with large blocks of time in younger days.  I seemingly never connected the wonder of being alive, and the way these gifts arrived when I least deserved them with Divinity’s care, kindness, and relentless love.  Even as I write, I think of the wonder of peaches, olives, almonds, and walnuts trees from my childhood.  These trees and their fruits and nuts were all gifted to me as a child.  No money exchanged hands.  Abundance in season was greater than we could consume.  The fresh, natural wonder of nature playing it out through experience and the relationships built along the way. read more

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