Friday, July 23, 2010

Live your life the way you want to

"I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to."
Jimi Hendrix

I never thought that I would be quoting Jimi Hendrix some day, but it turns out that during his lifetime, the famous rock and roller said some things that were quite profound. The quote above speaks to me of the human need to go along; to acquiesce; to succumb to the pressures of the groups, communities or families that we find ourselves being members of. Human beings are “pack animals.” We feel a need to live amongst others in order to fulfill our destinies. In order to get along in our “pack” we tend to do what the leader of the pack and the other members tell us to do whether or not we agree with it, whether or not it makes sense and whether or not it is totally contrary to our own way of thinking. We wear fashionable clothing that we find uncomfortable, we work at jobs we do not enjoy, we are polite when we would rather be outspoken, and we do whatever our Governments and bosses tell us to do regardless of how foolish or misguided those things might be.

Jimi Hendrix on the other hand, was not politically correct for his time and although he had a reputation for being kind and polite, his gentility was on his own terms. He chose not to buckle to society’s customs or its moral idiosyncrasies. He wrote and performed brilliant music that was not only ahead of its time, but was considered by many to be so objectionable that it could not be classified as music at all. Jimi Hendrix was the epitome of the word “individualistic.” He lived his life on his own terms and as short as it was, he lived it to the fullest, doing what he wanted to do every step of the way.

Jimi’s quote speaks to me of our collective right to live our lives as we want to. We should realize that on the day of our death, we will not be joined by most of the people we followed during our lives or by any of the people who guided our actions during life. Death is a solitary thing and our mentors, lovers, teachers, legislators, and family members will not be there to tell us how to live our deaths despite the fact that they constantly told us how to live our lives during our time above ground.

I always enjoy meeting people who are free spirits and who are not bound by conformity. I like mavericks, free thinkers and non-conformists. I laugh at people who say things that society does not want them to say. I love people who find humor in taboo subjects, and I enjoy spending time with people who dare to try things they have never tried before or that others think they have no business trying. Above all, I admire people who are authentic and true to themselves; the people who do what THEY want to do despite criticism from others.

What is success? Is it money? Is it possessions? Is it status and recognition?...or is it the happiness and the satisfaction that comes from doing the things that we truly want to do? Happiness is the only commodity that can truly make our lives worthwhile during our short time on earth. There is nothing sadder than the death of a person who has never lived!

Live your life to the fullest, folks. Live it the way YOU want to!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Electronic Hit and Run

If you are alive and breathing, you have probably noticed that a lot of folks seem to think it is okay to criticize other people for their actions. They criticize them behind their backs and they criticize them in public. The boldest people criticize other people to their faces in an effort to embarrass and hurt them. They believe that somehow, their criticism will bring about a positive change. They think that their negative opinions of others will make a positive difference in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Negativity begets negativity just as positivity begets positivity. Which is better...a growing multiplicity of positive thoughts and actions or the drudgery of a continual, never-ending exchange of negative energy? The question does not require a lot of consideration...the answer is clear. Positivity is always better!

Lately, I have been witness to a preponderance of criticisms on various social media websites. These sites broadcast their words, literally worldwide, so that almost anyone with a computer in virtually any country can read the venom displayed there. People are saying things on the world-wide-web that they would never say out loud and in person. I have witnessed relatives criticizing other relatives, friends insulting friends, people unrelated in any way finding fault with others continents away in the so-called newsfeeds of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and others. Sometimes it appears that the individuals involved are simply making desperate but poorly executed attempts at humour. However, in many cases, the humour is lost in the insulting words they have chosen. In other cases it is clear that there is no humour intended at all and the only motive his to cause harm to the victim. I call it electronic hit and run!

I have actually witnessed individuals criticizing their own religious leaders publicly on these electronic venues. It is amazes me that a person who considers himself or herself a devout believer in any organized religion would believe that public criticism on a world-wide scale is a way to improve their situation or that of their church. Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek?” I have witnessed religious leaders criticizing members of their congregations or members of a “friends group” or a “followers group” due to their lack of understanding or failure to agree on a particular religious doctrine or dogma. That doesn’t help the world either. Negative energy simply and unavoidably creates more negative energy no matter what the reason or source. We all have an obligation to drive negativity from the world and replace it with positive energy and positive actions.

Before you hit the enter key next time, read your tweet or your status update again. Is it something you would like to read about yourself? Before you reply to a tweet or a post, read what you have written and decide how you would feel if your message was directed at you by someone else. When you put negative commentary out to the world-wide-web, your lack of integrity will be on display for the world to see. Let’s not forget about the embarrassment, despair and stress you might be causing those who might believe your negativity is directed at them. Human beings simply do not have the right to harm others emotionally, psychologically or physically. Social networking is not so different from regular mail except that its poison pen letters are available to the entire world. You might think that you have gotten away with something because when you wrote the post, tweet, or update, no one could see you, when in fact you have just been found out by the entire world!

Just for fun, send some positive, uplifting comments to people you know, and those you don’t...remember, whatever you write on a social network website is totally public and available everywhere in the world. Wouldn’t you rather be caught being kind, optimistic, or funny rather than rude, dour, or pessimistic? The world-wide posting of kindness and fun is a good thing! Stop the electronic hit and run and instead, use your access to the world-wide-web to improve the planet in some small way. Every little bit helps.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl