Love for a Second Child

Anna, my partner, and I recently announced the birth of our second child shortly after our son Kaspyan was born healthy into the loving embrace of his welcoming family. We are so enamored and borderline obsessed with our daughter that in the back of my mind, I had wondered whether the moment of his birth would be as profound for me as hers was. Would I shed tears of joy like I did the first time? Would I hold him with as much unconditional love as I had for her during those precious first moments and thereafter? I honestly did not know what to expect. It’s a facet of life I had never really thought about until we found out we were expecting again. My heart was bursting from seam to seam with adoration for my first born, Amalya, that I could not conceive of how my heart could even handle another child. I do have a hairy kid in the form of my male Beagle named Murphy, whom I love dearly, but I knew having a human child would be a whole new level (and it is), so there wasn’t the same mystery to me the first time around as there was with the expectation of a second child.

Anna Trebunskaya, Nevin Millan, Kaspyan Millan, Parenting, Love
Anna Trebunskaya, Nevin Millan, with newborn son Kaspyan Millan

As his harmonious first cries echoed in our bathroom (Anna opted for a home, water birth) while our eyes gazed upon him for the first time, the reaction was just as life altering as it was the first time. Anna and I both rejoiced in tears of pure joy… a feeling I can count on one hand how many times I’ve experienced to that level. When I held him for the first time, something interesting happened. I looked into his eyes and I felt a strange mix of emotions bubbling inside. Of course I was ecstatic to be holding my healthy newborn son, but a part of me almost felt as though I was neglecting or in some way “cheating” on my love for my first-born daughter. A strange sense of guilt was brewing inside that I had not expected and was quite perplexed to be experiencing. It’s difficult to articulate accurately, but it was as if my heart and soul were in a temporary confused state of trying to adjust and come to grips with the profundity of what had just happened. I was moving from “how in the world is it going to be possible to love another child this much? Will my heart explode?” to “This is how…”

With Amalya it was instantaneous. I held her for the first time and looked into her eyes and the flame of deep parental love had ignited, bursting my heart ablaze. But with Kaspyan, it was more of a slow burn for the first few days. The flame was lit of course, but it’s as if my inner soul was saying, “OK, we read you loud and clear, just give us a minute to make some room in here!” Anna, Amalya, and I had such a great camaraderie and chemistry together, what would this new little stranger do to that balance? We will soon find out, and I suspect we will be learning to adjust to that for many years to come.

As hours turned to days, and days to weeks and now at one month since he was born, I have been amazed at how exponentially fast my heart has expanded to accommodate the love for my second child. I finally have my answer. The capacity for love is not finite, but rather infinite in its capability. My heart’s capacity to love unconditionally literally increased to accommodate my second child, whom I am now thoroughly obsessed with on a level I never even thought possible. I can’t wait to see him, give a ton of snuggles and watch him discover the world. And when he wakes up at night, despite my weary, tired eyes, I smile from ear to ear and tend to him with excitement because…well, Love. It really is an incredible feeling to experience!

Parental Love is the only Love that is truly selfless, unconditional and forgiving.

The lesson is that this concept of Love, whether it’s parental, romantic, or platonic, knows no bounds. But more importantly, I think it’s the capability of receiving that love that can help open those gates. The more I postulated about it, the more I realized that maybe it was I that needed to prepare myself for receiving the love from my second child. I am still getting used to Amalya running up to me, hugging my leg saying, “I love you, Papa!” It’s so sweet and makes my heart skip a beat every time, so maybe I’m still adjusting to all this? While I won’t go into the details here, I will say that my home life growing up was not so gilded in declarations of adoration, quite the opposite actually. So, this new life of mine I have created, as lovely and loving as it is, remains a foreign land that I’m still getting used to, so adjusting to it is a natural process, I suppose.

Love can be such an enigmatic subject to think about, much less write about, but this parental love capacity is something that had been bouncing around in my mind for months, that I thought I’d see what else was out there.

Parenting unconditional love

Dr. Ellen Weber wrote a blog post in Psychology Today about love and favoritism of children when parenting. Her conclusion is that parents my favor certain children during various stages of their development. For instance, one parent may love the infancy stage while another may only prefer the toddler years, and so on. So, it can flip flop. While I have yet to figure out all of that yet, I can see how certain stages might appeal to certain aspects of a particular parent’s personality. That being said, I think having an equal unconditional love baseline for all your children is important. Whether or not you like or prefer a certain stage they’re in should not affect the overall love, at least I’m pretty sure it won’t with me.

Dr. Gayle Peterson writes in her blog about how you won’t really love your kids equally because your kids will all be different and will require their own unique brand of love from each parent. While I think that’s true to some extent, there’s still that baseline foundation of unconditional, parental love that should blanket your whole brood, however many there are. The kind of love that wants to protect them, provide for them, comfort them and prepare them for the trials and tribulations of life.

I leave you with this wisdom from an article about the Dalai Lama’s insight into parenting:

“A child cannot survive without the care of others; love is its most important nourishment. The allaying of the child’s many fears and the healthy development of its self-confidence depend directly upon love.”

Game of Thrones – Close Call

In honor of the return of epic TV Show, Game of Thrones, for their 7th season, I’d like to share the story of my close brush with the show, which should answer some questions I’ve received regarding the GoT photos of me playing a Dothraki character (see photo).

The photos are  from a commercial I did for HBO, AT&T and Game of Thrones a couple years ago (commercial can be viewed below). I worked with HBO execs and several of the behind the scenes team from the actual show, including makeup, hair, weapons, and wardrobe… yes, that is a legit Dothraki wardrobe from the set! AND I got to wield an actual Dothraki sword from the show’s weapons master, Tommy Dunne, who actually designed and made them. Being an actor who enjoys doing my own stunts, I’ve developed quite the affinity for swords and weapons, so that was pretty rad, especially because I’m such a HUGE fan of the show!

Of course my reps and I attempted to parlay this experience into an appearance on the show. With much tenacity by my agent and much prodding from my end, I was able audition for season 6 for one of the Khals. If you’ve seen Season 6, it was for the scene in the Dothraki temple when the “Great Khals” are meeting to discuss important matters. I got several auditions deep into it, including submitting a read in the Dothraki language, but ultimately it didn’t work out. Last fall (2016), however, they brought me back in to audition for a recurring role on Season 7. This time around, I DID book the part, woohoo!! But due to some last minute schedule changes, it became logistically impossible for me to get to the set in time since I was in LA. So, unfortunately they had to go with someone more local to the set. Nevin Millan | Actor · FilmmakerWhile it was a total bummer having gotten that close to being on the show and having the opportunity taken away at the last minute (we were literally making travel plans one minute, and the next morning it was over), I take solace in the fact that I booked a recurring role on the top show on the planet and I’m super grateful for the entire experience.

It’s been exciting to have come this close to being on a such an amazing, renowned show, and an honor to be only the 4th American actor to don an official GoT costume (behind badass cast members Jason Momoa, Peter Dinklage, and Pedro Pascal). So, keep your fingers crossed for a season 8 appearance! I’ll be sure to update on my website as well as social media if and when that happens.

 

My Morning Health Elixir

 

I’ve had many friends and associates interested in my fancy morning health elixir, so I thought I’d share with anyone and everyone that’s interested. It is 100% vegan and gluten free, and if you procure the proper ingredients, it can be almost 100% organic as well. You should be able to find everything in shops around town or Amazon.com. In no time, you can have your very own naturopathic apothecary in your kitchen, ready to whip up this elixir at moment’s notice.

As with any health-related supplements, always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, especially if you have a special condition or take any medications.

This elixir, or tonic, was formulated from research on home remedy and naturopathic healing ingredients. It’s an acquired taste and takes some getting used to, but I have options for palatability at the bottom. It may remind you of grandpa’s sarsaparilla, but it’ll get your body movin’ and shakin’ soon after you get it down the hatch. Take your time drinking it though, because you don’t want to overload your kidneys! Shortly after I wake up, I make the concoction and then usually sip on it over 20-30 min. To get an even quicker start in the AM, you could have it ready by your bedside by making it the night before. But I would recommend keeping it in the refrigerator if it’s pre-made.

I use a 22 oz glass bottle to mix in and drink from, but of course use whatever you deem appropriate. As I mentioned, the elixir’s taste is a little on the harsh side, especially when you first start, so a larger drinking vessel might help to dilute the harshness a bit. Eventually you get used to it and the health benefits are more than worth it. One note, it’s best if you have a straw or a lid that allows you to suck or pour the elixir into your mouth. This is because the apple cider vinegar could be harmful to tooth enamel if there’s too much exposure. In addition, the turmeric is staining to the teeth. Basically, don’t swish this stuff in your mouth, get it down as fast as possible to minimize tooth contact.

Drink it first thing in the morning before you ingest anything else (besides water).

To Mix PLEASE NOTE: Once you’ve added everything in there, you can close the lid and shake it up to mix the contents, but proceed with caution because the baking soda will cause an explosion if you shake too hard without pressure release! What I do is close the lid, give a couple of gentle shakes then open it…. It then makes a “pop” sound to release the air. I do that a few times and it’s mixed up enough. The other option would be to take a long spoon and just mix it manually.

 

 

The Health Elixir Recipe:

(ingredients that are linked will link to the item I use or recommend on Amazon.com)

  • Water – roughly 14 ozfiltered or bottled. Room temperature or slightly warm is best from a health perspective, but it’s easier to drink if it’s slightly cool, so do whatever suits your level of tolerance. Optional: Coconut /Cactus /Maple water – you can mix and match, do half filtered water, half coconut, etc., have fun with it! As mentioned, you can use more water if you want to dilute it or less if you want to just get it down quicker and don’t mind the intensity.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 or 2 oz, depending on how much you can tolerate in terms of taste. The ACV will help neutralize the acid in your body and help with skin, digestion, and all sorts of other benefits. Bragg’s Organic Raw
  • Aloe Vera Juice – 2 oz – Aids digestion, supports immune function and can help normalize blood sugar levels. George’s 100% unfiltered is my Aloe Vera Juice of choice at the moment.
  • MCT Oil 1 TBS – There are a zillion articles online about the myriad of benefits to MCT oil, a concentrated version of coconut and palm oils. (SIDE NOTE: Palm oil is a controversial product due to the destruction of habitat and other issues, so be sure to make sure your MCT oil, if it has palm oil, is sustainably sourced… the one I recommend is. Read more about the palm oil issue here.) If you’re not used to ingesting MCT Oil, it can cause a little digestive discomfort at first, so start off with just a little, like ½ or 1 TSP, and work your way up to the full amount over the course of a few weeks – 1 TBS. The MCT oil I recommend is from Wild Foods, a combination of the C8 & C10 forms of MCT – the C8 benefits brain function whereas the C10 benefits skeletal muscle. However, many people seem to like the pure C8 version of MCT by Bulletproof called Brain Octane. Choose whichever floats your boat!
  • Himalayan Pink Salt – ¼ to ½ TSP or couple of pinches – the many beneficial minerals will help balance and flush your adrenals. Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt is a good, clean option, but most grocery stores have it nowadays.
  • Cayenne Pepper Powder (organic) – couple of pinches – Cayenne helps with boosting metabolism, which can get your day off to a great start. You can get this at any grocery store.
  • Turmeric Powder (organic) – 1 TSP – Turmeric is one of the most powerful healing foods nature provides for us. It basically cures everything. I ingest it as much as possible. But in order for it to have any efficacy, it needs to be combined with black pepper and a source of healthy fat. For the purpose of this elixir, it will help reduce inflammation and improve nutrient absorption. You can get this at any grocery store.
  • Ginger Powder (organic) – 1 TSP – Ginger is another one of nature’s super powered foods. Like it’s orange cousin, turmeric, it has a ton of health benefits. For this elixir, it is included to help support immune function and to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. You can get this at any grocery store.
  • Black Pepper (organic) – couple of pinches – This seemingly tame condiment can work some magic! It assists in turmeric absorption and efficacy while also boosting metabolism. You can get this at any grocery store. It’s most effective when you get the kernels that need to be freshly ground, which makes the nutrients more potent.
  • Baking Soda (natural, not synthetic) – ½ TSP – this helps regulate the body’s ph and there are countless anecdotal stories and evidence on baking soda’s ability to annihilate everything from caner and tumors to the basic common cold & flu. I ingest it daily and when I’m feel like I’m coming down with something, I take a little more throughout the day. Bob’s Red Mill has some great baking soda carved from a mountain by Paul Bunyon’s great great grandson
  • Vitamin C (naturally soured, not synthetic) – ½ TSP – Most standalone vitamin C products in the marketplace as well as combo vitamin C in multivitamins, ESPECIALLY “Emergen-C”, are made synthetically and essentially useless garbage. Your body struggles to absorb it and most is excreted, which also puts strain on your liver and kidneys. So when taking Vitamin C, it’s important to take it from a natural source. It will boost immune function and help reduce cortisol when combined with potassium which will ease adrenal fatigue. You can use a couple of freshly squeezed oranges, or opt for a powdered form supplement such as the one by Healthforce Nutritionals. I usually hop on and off of this one every couple of weeks or rotate based on stress levels and immune function necessity (in conjunction with Cream of Tartar).
  • Cream of Tartar – ¼ TSP – when combined with Vitamin C, the potassium in Cream of Tartar will help lower cortisol levels and reduce stress on the adrenals. Most people in our modern society suffer from adrenal fatigue, which can cause a myriad of symptoms, which then become misdiagnosed as all sorts of other absurd “conditions”. I also hop on and off of this one every couple of weeks or rotate based on stress levels (in conjunction with Vitamin C). Spicely has a good, clean version of Cream of Tartar
  • Lemon Juice (organic) – ½ to 1 freshly squeezed lemon – The health benefits to lemon juice in the morning are a plenty. Everything from digestive assistance and electrolytes to liver function and skin and more… this is a no brainer and should be included in every health regimen.

 

 

OPTIONAL: For Extra Immune Boost

From time to time, you may feel like your body and immune system are run down or you feel a cold coming on or some other type of infection creeping up. When that happens, you can add a few extra supplements to the elixir to help your body naturally fight it off. Only use when needed and always check with your doctor in case there are any conflicts with meds you’re taking.

 

 

Oregano Oil – it’s been used for millennia as a natural antibiotic and remedy for all sorts of ailments, including the common cold and anything fungal related. Start with a few drops, but don’t exceed 5 or 6 drops, it’s super potent! Also, don’t over use it either, as it could negatively affect your ever-important gut flora. I use it when I’m feeling under the weather or if I feel a flare up of candida overgrowth coming on. It’s important to use the Origanum Vulgare form, which is the one used for medicinal purposes. Organic is also recommended. I use the brand Plant Therapy.

Grapefruit Seed Extract – is a natural general antimicrobial and antioxidant that can rid your body of all kinds of infectious microbes including bacterial, viral, and fungal. It offers immune support and can even be used as an antiseptic for wounds. The liquid form, which is what I recommend, is quite potent, so start off with 5 or 6 drops and work your way up to 10 drops over the course of a week or so. Similar to Oil of Oregano, I only use this when needed. For instance during times when I’m feeling like my immune system is down and I feel a virus coming on or if a candida flare up is imminent. Overuse can lead to destruction of your gut flora, so only use when needed. This GSE I use from Nutribiotic is solid.

 

 

OPTIONAL: For Taste

 

 

 

 

Stevia – there are many terrible forms of this natural sweetener flooding the market, so it can be daunting to know what to use. Brands like Truvia are laced with nasty chemicals, so watch out! I prefer the liquid form of stevia, and Trader Joe’s actually has a great organic version. 2 drops should be good, but don’t go past 4 or it might start tasting a little weird.

Honey – always a good sweetener! Use in moderation and be sure to use raw, locally sourced honey. Do not purchase national brands or anything that comes in a bear shaped bottle.

Maple or Agave Syrup – these are high glycemic, so use in moderation. I do not recommend these, but the taste of this elixir can be a deterrent to many, so just a small amount can go a long way in helping it go down. Always use organic.

 

Best of luck with your concoction! You can add, subtract, and do your own customizations. It’s good to keep things fresh by altering the recipe from time to time. This will help with the monotony of drinking the same thing every day. I do, however, keep a few of the staple ingredients all the time – All the liquids plus turmeric, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, lemon. Feel free to comment here to ask questions or chime in on how your own health elixir turned out.

You are not special.

You are not special. There, I said it. This applies not only to the self-proclaimed “exceptional & unique” millenials, but all other generations of humans as well. The society we live in where everyone thinks they are a golden goose, an extraordinary You are not a snowflake - you are not specialsnowflake unlike that which mankind has ever seen before, has created an environment of self-centered selfishness that has crept in and permeated every facet of our existence. Everything from celebrating “your special day” by arbitrarily commemorating the moment upon which you began to breathe oxygen on this plane of existence, to countless selfies and self-important videos uploaded to social networks at inconceivable rates. It is a plague for which mankind will suffer the consequences for centuries, eventually devolving into our own demise, unless we do something about it.

 

You are not SpecialYou are not special. You are a carbon-based mass of cells and atoms that has formed and evolved over millennia to become an efficient use of this environment’s resources. That’s it. Because you happen to be Homo sapiens does not give you any special rights or superiority over anything or anyone. This obsession we have with cultural rituals that place each other on pedestals is absurd if you really examine them, merely inflating already oversized human egos.

 

You are not special. Regardless of whatever religious affiliation’s misinterpretation of their text has brainwashed you into thinking, you are not a demi-god blessing the earth with your presence. You are a part of this world, this universe, made from the same elements and particles as comets and asteroids, rocks on Mars and ice on Pluto. A couple of minor molecular differences manifested in our species evolving as a life form that we assume to be “intelligent”, but that is just our myopic perception of it.

 

Keep Calm - you are not specialYou are not special. What if I were to tell you that the rocks in your front yard, the trees, the squirrel running across the neighbor’s roof, the worm burrowing through your flower garden, are all just as intuitive and “intelligent” as us? This may sound trippy and existential, but put your human logic aside for a moment and really open your mind to other possibilities. It is just a matter of perspective. From the POV of the worm or the squirrel, or the rock, they are the “intelligent” beings perfectly executing their purpose for which they evolved. They are the culmination of billions of years of evolution to arrive at that moment to do and be exactly what they are. And in terms of the POV of the universe itself, we all exist as intended, in a harmony of sorts. The bombastic audacity of humans to assume the invisible throne as masters of the universe denies this harmony, causing ripples of dissonance around us. The result is an energetic discord that never-endingly attempts to self-correct. It is that energetic conflict which fuels the fire of our egoistic and venal culture.

 

Sperm Egg Zygote - you are not specialYou are not special. Sorry, but your lovely little baby, beautiful as they are, is not the most precious cherub to ever walk the face of the earth. Your child, although special to you personally, is a combination of cells and subatomic particles. And through the magic of procreation… which is something we still don’t really know anything about, your child becomes another bunch of cells dividing and expanding. What really happens when the sperm enters the egg and creates the zygote? We have no idea how that spark of life unites these two elements, but it happens everyday… and with flowers, trees, squirrels, and even allegedly benign materials too. The miracle of life is fascinating indeed, but certainly not unique to Homo sapiens.

 

You are not special. Let’s expand this idea of life to the furthest corners of the universe. We are but a small spec in that landscape. If you think we are the only life forms capable of “thought” or “intelligence”, then you, my friend, have succumbed to the egocentrism of the Earth bound human race. Surely the vastness of this universe would manifest in all sorts of iterations of what could be defined as “life”. As of now, we don’t have solid scientific proof of it, yet, but using common sense and imagination, one can quickly deduce that a trillion light years from here there is a planet not too dissimilar from ours or perhaps drastically different from ours with forms of life that we can’t even understand or conceptualize. Sci-fi movies and the like are riddled with bipedal, humanoid aliens because that is what is most palatable to most people’s cognitive capability. But recently, the film “Arrival” went a little further with their “aliens” who looked and behaved very differently from us, yet Time does not exist - you are not specialwere quite “intelligent”. And I loved how they explored the concept of time not existing, since time is just a man made notion anyway. Who’s to say the same isn’t true for elephants or dolphins? Both are very “intelligent” species, at least from our perspective of measuring and assessing it, capable of complex social interaction and logic. And we are constantly discovering more and more about animals and how they behave on an intuitive and energetic level. To assume that we deserve more priority over them because we are at the top of the “food chain”, capable of inventing machines that destroy the very home planet we live on is preposterous. Yet daily we blindly play into this, get into our fossil fuel based transportation devices that do nothing but destroy our environment. We eat food that comes from an industry which is extinguishing environmental resources, torturing other beings and monopolizing precious land and habitats. We pollute every corner of this earth with our materialistic obsession over useless things. I could go on and on, but the point is this: Is our action and behavior really intelligence?

 

You are not special. You are a cog in the wheel of the universe. And right now, the human cog is defective and in need of a major redesign. Luminaries such as the Buddha or Gandhi have attempted to communicate similar ideas to mankind, but their messages mostly fall on deaf ears, sadly. And I do not mean to devalue certain extraordinary accomplishments of specific humans throughout history. The actions they’ve taken are certainly special, unique and wonderful. But it does not change anything about the fact they themselves are just matter and energy manifesting in the human form. Some may call the energy component a “soul”, which is fine if that helps you wrap your mind around it. But know then, that everything around us also has souls.

 

Dalai Lama - you are not specialYou are not special. The most intelligent we can be is to leave our environment, both physically and energetically, the same or more enriched than when we arrived and to protect and preserve the harmony of the universal subsistence of life. The key to a flourishing existence in harmony with all that surrounds us is compassion. Through compassion we find love. And through love, we become one with everything around us. This idea is at the core of every religious text ever written, yet human egos warp their meanings to fit their selfish agendas and greed. Our society’s cynical attitude and denigration towards compassion when it should be the very fuel that drives and ennobles us, is the dissonance we see manifesting daily. All religions boil down to this core truth – compassion into love. We are all connected by it and to everything around us, from the dirt and grass you walk on to the oxygen particles you breathe. Acknowledgment and respect for this universal truth would take us very far, collectively, in advancing towards peaceful harmony. But instead, we are slinging arrows of hate towards one another, slaughtering other beings, and destroying our home. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing, and accordingly, we are heading in the wrong direction.

The Golden Rule

“Compassion is aptly summed up in the Golden Rule, which asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. Compassion can be defined, therefore, as an attitude of principled, consistent altruism.” -Karen Armstrong, brainpickings.com

 

Compassion and love - you are not specialYou are not special. My belief is that we are born with this instinctual knowledge, connected and intertwined with the fabric of the universe. And our society beats it out of us from just about every angle, unless you consciously swim against the stream, aware and deliberate. Recently we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. And as I hypocritically and reluctantly acquiesced to pressures from family members, I did not understand how or why she developed a fascination with birthdays. I realized it must be from school and other exposures to this cultural ritual, because it is certainly not something we had ever emphasized. But later in the day, something quite beautiful happened. We sat at the dinner table and she began using play-dough to “make” little birthday cupcakes with “candles” and wanted us to sing Happy Birthday for basically everyone that she knew. Mama, Papa, our dog, uncles, aunts, grandparents, close friends. She proceeded to say that it’s not just her birthday, it’s everyone’s birthday. That pure sentiment really touched and inspired me. It’s as if she intuitively knew that it’s not all about her, but rather about all of us. If there were a way to harness her joy and purity in that moment of sharing the bliss of a Happy Birthday sentiment with everyone, and inject it into humans all over the world, we would be much closer to life in harmony.

UNIVERSAL LAW OF HARMONY:

This law supersedes even the fundamental law of Karma, for harmony is the supreme potential of balance.

The purpose of Karma is to attain harmony.

If you throw a rock into a pond, you disturb the harmony of the pond, you are the cause, the effect is the splash and the ripples that flow out and back until harmony is restored.

Similarly, your disharmonious actions flow out into the Universe and back upon you, lifetime after lifetime, until eventually your own harmony is restored. 

 

Dalai Lama - you are not special

You are not special. We are in drastic need of a course correction and it starts with the individual. Each person’s acceptance and embracement of love and unity will bring us all together in a way that has only been dreamt about in utopic ideals. If we think not only about our own personal preservation and flourishing, but also take into account the prosperity of everyone and everything around us, the only direction we can move in is to abundantly thrive, together, as one. I think we’re capable of it, do you?

 

You are not special. We are all one.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not preaching from a pulpit about this. I, too, am a guilty hypocrite when it comes to this issue. I succumb to societal, familial, and peer pressures, and by no means am I anywhere in the realm of perfect. BUT, that being said, the first step is awareness, followed by action. I have become aware and have taken whatever actions have been possible for me on my journey thus far and will continue to do so. The intention of this post is to bring awareness with the hopes of inspiring people taking action.

 

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION:

 

 

 

 

 

Great post by Brainpickings.com: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/01/08/karen-armstrong-compassion/

POST 2016 ELECTION REFLECTIONS & THEORIES: PRESIDENT TRUMP

PREFACE

NOTE: If you haven’t read my previous post, The Fallout of the 2016 Presidential Election, then I highly suggest you read that first, as it is relevant to this discussion.

Well, I’m certainly not the only one that was blown away over the 2016 election. A week later and I am still bewildered as memories of tuning in to CNN expecting to see Clinton run away with it, but watching Trump’s numbers escalate leave me incredulous. I eventually let go, sat back and enjoyed the show. I was even able to find humor in it as the confused pundits flailed on camera, dumbfounded, tripping over themselves for an explanation. By the end of the night I was riveted, not only by what had transpired, but by the myriad of reactions of all the Hillary supporters, newscasters, politicians, friends, and family. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much on the evening of November 8th, 2016

 

 

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

In my previous blog post, I was 90% sure that Hillary would win because she was selected by the New World Order to take power as their pawn of corruption. She’s been bought by so many evil corporations and power hungry miscreants on her way to the top, she was so well funded, supported by so many facets of culture – celebrities, politicians, media outlets, and more – that her not being crowned seemed inconceivable. I was so certain that Trump was a distraction and decoy, a monkey in a suit, the only person that could actually lose to the fervently disliked Hillary and make it seem like she “won”. But I suppose I was wrong. Or was I?

In my previous post, I wrote this:

“For Trump to beat the system and actually win, there would have to be a TON of what I call the “F*CK YOU” votes. The people that actually think Trump would make a good president are few and far between, but there are a lot of people out there that would vote for him because it’s the only thing they feel they have power over. It’s the “screw the system” vote. The kind of mindset that knows there is something wrong with the system and knows that Hillary is a part of that system, so voting for something not in that system seems like their only option. Sadly, you can’t totally dismiss the logic in that, despite its inherent dangers. It’s the recourse of lost people in a lost country not knowing where to turn. They are just grabbing on to some semblance of control. I don’t think it will be enough to turn the tide, but you never know. Anyway, a Trump win would be a whole new blog to write about, and something I can’t even wrap my mind around yet.”

Well, my friends, this paragraph is EXACTLY what happened. And I’m making good on my promise to wrap my mind around this Trump win.

What happened on Tuesday was the first kernel of a revolution. People know in their hearts and souls that the US Government has been on a disastrous path of corruption for decades and Donald Trump is a total rogue entity from outside that system. He had minimal support from pop culture, media did not take him seriously, and most politicians turned their backs on him. And he has ZERO political, government, or military experience. But the guy managed to bankroll and bullnose himself into the GOP nomination, then with a fraction of the resources and support Hillary had, won the presidential election of the United States of America. Mind-boggling!

The people elected him precisely because of his dearth of “politicking experience”. They do not want more of the same and they spoke loud and clear on Nov 8th. In addition to that, I think Trump had some smart and clever people working for him in his campaign. By targeting the areas in which Bernie Sanders did well against Hillary, they tapped into that anger, disillusionment, and hopelessness so many felt and were able to swing them to his side in key counties of battleground states, resulting in a manipulation of the archaic Electoral College system to work in their favor. They won despite the fact that Hillary won the popular vote.

 

Michael Mooremichaelmoore predicted a Trump win because he was in the trenches listening to these people in the rust belt of America. Meanwhile, Hillary took them for granted, the media ignored them, and the government had long forgotten about them. This was their last ditch effort at taking the system back from the elitist urban centers, and it worked. One could call this a swan song for white, 1950s era ‘Merica where chauvinism, bigotry, sexism, and good old-fashioned racism were par for the course. Coupled with some home brewed egocentric and sociopathic behavior and celebrity, you have a perfect storm of mania that pulled white folks’ feet out of their graves and brought them to the polls.

A great article on cracked.com by David Wong really spells it out: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about

And another one on Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class

 

WHAT ABOUT ALL THE RACISTS & SEXISTS?

I’ve spoken to many liberals who seem to have the opinion that anyone who voted for Trump is a racist and sexist asshole. That’s just not true. By assuming that and applying such judgment and labels to 60 million Americans, you are becoming exactly that which you oppose, judgmental, condemnatory, extremist, uncompassionate and closed minded. Sure, there are KKK and other nefarious supporters of Trump, but those are the minority. Vocal as they are, they just don’t have the numbers. No, this was the non-urban collective of rural America that knew Hillary was not someone that could be trusted, so they felt they had no other option. They voted for someone extremely flawed, but someone they felt was more genuine that would hopefully bring about change, even with all his grievous faults. Trump turned a lot of Obama voters and that speaks volumes. This election was much more complicated for millions of Americans and boiling it down to ‘isms does not aptly analyze the situation. Check out the breakdown of Trump’s voter demographic here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/15/upshot/how-did-trump-win-over-so-many-obama-voters.html

two-party-system-doesnt-work-battaile-politics-1361136493

These are your fellow Americans and their voices deserve respect to the extent that you respect the democratic process, and without castigating them to the seventh circle of hell for their choices. This election was complicated and difficult for everyone. Maybe this could have been predicted if there had been more of an open dialogue between people instead of assuming that everyone must vote for “heir apparent” Hillary or face being chastised and admonished for having the nerve to have a different opinion or point of view? People kept silent about their reservations towards Hillary and considerations of other options because they feared a flurry of scolding would soon ensue by pretentious liberals, and rightfully so. I know of several friends that got into it on Facebook and disowned one another.

In my opinion, although he does seem to speak genuinely (something Hillary Clinton really struggles with), based on his behavior during the campaign Donald Trump is a crass, misogynist, sexist, racist, narcissistic, vindictive, egomaniac and sociopath. The thought of him having control of the military and nuclear codes is so disturbing, it’s hard to even process. And the ideas he proposed about registering Muslims and all the racist comments towards Islam and Mexicans, completely outrageous and disgusting. I shudder at the thought of my daughter growing up with that as an example of the best our nation can offer as a leader. What example is this setting for our women? What example is this giving our men? Treat women like sex objects, bully everyone around, seek revenge on everyone that speaks anything but accolades towards you and you may just end up a billionaire president of the United States! Unbelievable. It seriously feels like we’re in the twilight zone. Or worse, that we’ve somehow ended up in the “alternate timeline” from Back to the Future Part 2, where Biff is mayor of Hill Valley and apparently Donald Trump is president, yikes!

Shouldn’t the president exemplify the values and qualities that personify what we believe make this country great? Shouldn’t he or she be a shining example of a US citizen, an example we can all look up to, revere and respect? One would think so, but these are rough, complex times.

The reality is that with all his horrific flaws, he was elected because people dislike Hillary and “the establishment” that much. Doesn’t that say something? Is that not a signal to the rest of the non-Trump supporters that something is SERIOUSLY WRONG with our country for this to happen? Let’s stop the blaming and stone throwing, it accomplishes nothing. And to be perfectly honest, if I had a gun to my head and was forced to choose between Hillary and Trump, I would probably just take the bullet, ha! But regardless of his depravity, and it makes me nauseous to admit this, I can see why the disillusioned voted for him. And it’s solely because of two things… 1) He’s not Hillary, and 2) A shred of hope that he will turn the government upside down and implement change, for better or for worse. For the greenpartyrecord, I did not vote for Trump, nor Hillary, I voted for the Green Party’s Jill Stein actually. But I did not have a gun to my head (and in CA, HRC was a shoe-in, so the luxury of a so-called “protest” vote was not a big deal). What is becoming clear now is that 60 million people in the USA did in fact feel like they had a gun to their heads, and they chose accordingly, and not a pundit, nor pollster had an inkling or sense of that deep despair. So here we are, caught in a mind-bending scenario that feels too surreal to accept as reality.

 

 

ELECTORAL COLLEGE FAILURE – “BUT HILLARY WON THE POPULAR VOTE!”

We can whine all day long until we’re blue in the face about how Hillary won the popular vote, but what good does that do? This has only happened 4 other times in the history of the US, the most recent being in 2000 with George W. Bush being elected over Al Gore who won the popular vote. I always chalked it up to how close of a race it was, but that theory is down the drain after this election and Trump’s more than decisive victory. The others were Benjamin Harrison (electoral vote winner) vs. Grover Cleveland in 1888, Rutherford B. Hayes (electoral vote winner) vs. Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, John Quincy Adams (electoral vote winner) vs. Andrew Jackson in 1824.

But if you’re a citizen of this country that wants to vote, there are set laws and rules that govern how the elections work, so they must be accepted at this point, until they are changed.

The guilty system is the “Electoral College”. It was ostensibly created because they figured it was not possible for all the eligible voters (at the time generally land owning white adult males, with some exceptions) to have all the relevant information to fully grasp each candidate and current issues. Instead, they elected electors whom they trusted and would be knowledgeable about such things while representing their interests. Although this sounds like an ingenious solution that made sense at that time, what is more than likely is that it was created to protect slave states in the south. To quote Yale political science professor Akhil Reed Amar on Vox.com:

 

“In a direct election system, the South would have lost every time because a huge percentage of its population was slaves, and slaves couldn’t vote. But an Electoral College allows states to count slaves, albeit at a discount (the three-fifths clause), and that’s what gave the South the inside track in presidential elections. And thus it’s no surprise that eight of the first nine presidents come from Virginia (the most populous state at the time).”

 

Regardless of the reason why the Electoral College system of voting in the USA was created, it is painfully obvious that it is no longer relevant, and hasn’t been for a very long time. Yet it stubbornly remains, and abide by it we must. That is, until there is a mass movement to change it, not only from the people, but the movement has to be intense enough to get the lawmakers to do something about it. And since the current dominating party is the one that took advantage of it most recently (twice), it is doubtful there will be anything done. Although Trump did mention in his recent 60 Minutes interview that he still believes it’s a messed up system even though he won from it. So maybe a glimmer of hope?

There is also another movement called the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”, which is an agreement among a group of states to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote. They don’t have enough to cover the 270 to win yet, but they are well on their way.

And who’s to say Trump’s campaign wouldn’t have taken a different approach to their strategy if the election was determined by popular vote? They played by the rules and won. So although Hillary will most likely remain on top in popular vote after all the absentee ballots are counted, to throw a fit about this issue is futile and a waste of energy. Instead, focus on pushing lawmakers to abolish the Electoral College system! And while you’re at it, End the Fed! NOTE: California Senator, Barbara Boxer, plans to introduce a bill to abolish the Electoral College: http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-boxer-files-longshot-bill-to-scrap-the-1479234745-htmlstory.html

 

IDEAS TO CHANGE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

  1. Popular Vote: Simply change the system to a straight up popular vote. Simple. Easy. But this could present some issues, particularly because this system then becomes a slave to the “two party system”. If there are 3 or more parties, it’s more than likely there would not be a majority reached, and then the election is kicked over to Congress, which nobody wants and kind of defeats the purpose. A runoff clause could be added so that a runoff between the top two candidates is held in the event of no majority in the initial election, but this is not preferable due to costs and voter turnout concerns.
  2. Ranked Choice Vote: This is where there is only one election, as many parties or candidates that qualify can run, and voters rank the preference of their candidates. Using this system, an instant mathematical “runoff” can be calculated with no need for a whole other election. This site explains it thoroughly with a nice video: http://www.fairvote.org/rcv#rcvbenefits . I feel this is the best option and should be used not only for the popular vote for president, but for governor and congressional elections as well. Maine recently just passed a bill that approves RCV for all state and congressional elections. Excited to see how that works out for them!
  3. Proportional Electoral Vote: This would be the option where the candidates are awarded electoral votes based upon the percentage of the popular vote from each state. Currently 48 out of the 50 states are “winner take all” (Nebraska and Maine being the exceptions using a form of proportional method). The electoral votes would be distributed based upon the final popular vote results. So if four candidates ran in a state that had 4 electoral votes up for grabs and each of them received 25% of the popular vote, then they each would receive 1 electoral vote. This version has its merits, but again, this system could easily end up in no majority and kick it to congress or force an expensive and annoying runoff election.

 

 

THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE VOTERS CAUSED THIS!

Let me give a quick and short answer: No they did not. Fact.

A few political scientists, Kyle Kopko from Elizabethtown College, and Christopher Devine with the University of Dayton, analyzed the data from the election results and confirmed this. As quoted from a Vox.com article:

“Their conclusion: While the third-party vote could have made a difference in some states, including Michigan, their votes wouldn’t have given her [Hillary Clinton] a clear path to victory.”

The analysis of the math confirms it. So don’t blame your friends for voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. The two party system is corrupt and the only way out of it is if we start giving more attention to the other parties, and it must start somewhere. If not now, when? The time is now. All voices and opinions must be heard and two parties, especially the current versions of the RNC and DNC, certainly are not cutting it. Many free countries in the world have systems that seriously consider more than two parties, it gives the people more options and takes power away from overgrown political parties that get caught up in special interests consumed by greed.

 

 

bernie2BERNIE SANDERS COULD HAVE BEAT TRUMP

I’m not going to dwell on this too much, but the numbers show that he had a double digit cushion lead on Trump be the end of the primaries when Hillary was neck and neck with Trump. If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, we’d be talking about President-Elect Sanders right now, this is what I believe. I am confident in that statement, but at this point it does little good. His movement was so strong, had so much momentum, and his voters really believed in him. People wanted change and he offered it. The “socialist” label, in my opinion, was a branding problem that could have been fixed in the general election. Voters would have been extremely motivated and would have turned out in droves to support him, and his donation demographics prove that.

The fact that the DNC undeniably colluded with the HRC campaign against Bernie Sanders is abhorrent, and more proof of her villainy. The email leaks show that she was fed questions before debates, they discussed how to exploit his religion, and more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/24/here-are-the-latest-most-damaging-things-in-the-dncs-leaked-emails/

superdelegateThe DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was fired it was so egregious! And then she was hired by the Clinton campaign. Shameless and sad. A disgraceful way to treat an honorable man with over 40 years of honest public service. Instead of embracing the tide of change that was washing over the party, the DNC resisted and shoved HRC down everyone’s throats, come hell or high water. And now we are reaping the results. I was initially upset at those that voted for Hillary during the primaries, but with all the collusion, allegations of election tampering in several states during the primaries, and the “Superdelegate” controversy, it’s the DNC that did this to themselves unfortunately. Hopefully Bernie’s movement can live on in a new DNC raised from the ashes of corruption.

I’ve read a few articles that attempt to debunk the “Bernie Sanders would have won” theories, and I find them to be pretentious and dodgy at best. They say “oh, the collusion emails were after he was already mathematically unable to win, so of course they were trying to get rid of Bernie.” Aside from the fact that the DNC already chose Hillary years prior and was undoubtedly colluding with her prior to those specific emails, that argument fails to see the big picture, which was that more people were motivated to vote for Bernie. His movement was on the upswing and Hillary’s had been stagnant at best, and remained that way for the rest of the campaign. The other arguments were that she didn’t go for his throat with all sorts of dirt because she was trying to keep it clean and save face for the general election against the Republican candidate. Maybe, but regardless, for a total unknown senator from Vermont to crawl out of the halls of congress and compete head to head with probably the most widely known candidate ever since George Washington, former first lady and secretary of state, speaks volumes, and the DNC was deaf to that. Not only of the momentum of belief behind Sanders, but of the massive dislike and sluggish support behind Hillary, and this is something the DNC refused to acknowledge. The other claim they make is that the Republicans would have been all over Sanders for various occurrences in his past from 30 and 40 years ago. Honestly, if people looked past “grab them by the pussy” said a few years ago by the now President-Elect, I think it’s safe to say that they would have looked past Bernie’s minor infractions from almost half a century ago. But again, basically futile to invest too much energy into woulda, coulda, shoulda.

 

NEW WORLD ORDER TRUMPED?

In my previous post, I discussed several so-called “conspiracy theories”, their viability, and my opinions on them. The short of it is that I postulate that there exists a group of people at the upper echelons of society that pull the puppet strings of our government, often referred to as the “New World Order”. They control everything from the food supply, elections, media, trade, our minds, and more. I also mentioned that I am certain Hillary was their next pawn in line for the throne, but alas, it seems their plan was thwarted by a Trump win. However, if another of these theories showsrepublicrats-5 that behind the curtains, there really is no Republican and Democrat separate parties, that they are all run by the same handful of people, that they are designed to divide us with invisible political policy lines based on ideological and socioeconomic worldviews,
thus preventing the populous from uniting together to take the power back, then it really didn’t matter who won this election, right?

Well, not so fast. I’d say normally that is true, yes. But there was something unique about this election. Trump, for better or for worse, is a rogue candidate. He basically achieved a hostile trump_rnctakeover of the Republican Party and revamped it in his image. It appears that he is not part of the plan handed down by the New World Order. That being said, what do they do now? Are they freaking out? Short answer: No.

They have several options to pursue and many resources at hand, with their tentacles seeping into every facet of our infrastructure. A few options for them are listed below:

 

Remove Trump

The most obvious is to go JFK on him. Not going to go into detail, but they could certainly do that as they have in the past all over the world, US included. The other, more likely, option is to have him impeached. Based on his bombastic actions during the campaign, it’s safe to say that there is a high likelihood of him committing an impeachable offense whilst in office. With a fully Republican congress, they could easily push it through, get him out, and then the NWO has their pawn in the form of a marionette named Pence. The Vice-President-Elect’s views are extremely conservative and I can’t imagine a Pence administration would be any improvement over Trump. So this scenario is just as scary, if not worse, for us.

 

obama2Exploit Congress

Since both the House AND the Senate are Republican, they can use the illusion of legislation to pass all sorts of disgusting policies that further their world domination agendas and tear down what the founders built. They’ll give even more of our freedom to multi-national corporations, and there will be nothing we can do about it. Recent examples include a bill with a secret clause protecting the evil corporation Monsanto from prosecution on extremely controversial issues, which the pawn, Obama, signed into law (http://www.amtvmedia.com/obama-signs-monsanto-protection-act/).

 

Manipulate Trump

This is already happening, with Trump’s administration being populated with horrid choices such as known bigot Steve Bannon as his chief strategist (http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-s-pick-steve-bannon-chief-strategist-sparks-backlash-n683386), Reince Priebus (head of RNC) is his Chief of Staff, and Mike Pence is now the head of the transition team. I sincerely believe that Trump feels he is in over his head and since he simply does not have the political connections or knowledge to know potential candidates for the vast array of jobs that must be appointed (over 4,000!), he trusts his close-knit circle of advisors to do the job. Well, those “advisors” are pawns of the corrupt system he promised to clean up and they will take advantage of his ignorance and stick their corrupt players in key positions. Trump, the egomaniac that he is, will be too proud and too stubborn to admit he’s been had, until the walls come tumbling down around him. Four years later they’ll stick whomever they want in the White House.

 

divide-and-conquer-how-to-control-a-nationKeep the country divided

Again, another insidious method they employ is currently working right into their plans. The more we fight against one another and assume polarizing stances based on who we did or didn’t support in the ‘faux-lection”, the better it is for them. We are more divided now than most can remember, certainly the most in my lifetime. The creeps have come out of the woodwork and the media is exploiting every single instance of it to make sure we are too paralyzed with fear to do anything.

 

 

 

unityWHAT DO WE DO NOW?

As daunting as it seems, we must stay the course. Fight back with civil disobedient protests like the ones I outlined in my previous post. But most importantly, we MUST remain together and united as one. Yes, there are racist assholes running around spray painting ignorant slurs, but who’s to say they’re not just part of the plan put into place by the NWO? Is it too far-fetched to think that since a candidate not of their choosing is president, that they implemented a “plan b” of sorts to instigate mayhem and fear amongst the citizens? I certainly think it’s possible. But many will say I’m a lunatic conspiracy theorist, sucked into the idea and mystery of it all. I promise you I am not. This stuff is happening behind the scenes whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

 

Activism: If you’ve ever thought about supporting a cause or taking a stand, now’s the time to do it. Join forces and groups of people in your city or town and motivate. Support other parties than the DNC or RNC!

Love thy Neighbor: With all the protests, rioting, racist attacks, and violence, we accomplish nothing but shooting ourselves in the collective foot. We simply cannot let this go on. The “Not My President” protests are fine as long as they stay civil, but at some point one must ask, what do they want to accomplish in the end? The guy was elected fair and square. You made your point that you do not approve of his election, but now take that amazing energy and use it towards productive action that will actually make a difference. Form groups, choose members to get into local government, work your way up into the state government. Let’s beat them through grassroots and take over each state.

love-peace-unity-cycle-sealStand Together: If you see violence towards a minority (or anyone for that matter), do what you can do distract, deflect or disengage the perpetrators and get the victim(s) out of harm’s way. Fighting one another will not work. Spread love, peace and understanding. Go out of your way to try and understand someone’s point of view for voting for a candidate you do not prefer. The olive branch of an open heart and open mind can move mountains and this is what we need right now.

If we fight one another, they win, and liberty takes another step towards tyranny.

 

divided-we-fall

Revolution: The people elected Trump because they wanted to revolt against a corrupt and broken system. Well, in the spirit of that, let’s continue, but with a more organized and developed plan that doesn’t involve such an incendiary, polarizing, unrest-inducing demagogue. Bernie Sanders has a movement that is worth checking out. As do others… the Green Party for example. It’s time we stop buying into whatever they feed us.

 

trump_liberty_cartoon

TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS

If you haven’t seen his plan for his first 100 days in office, here is a link where you can check it out: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/president-elect-donald-trumps-plan-first-100-days/

Being aware of what his plans are and vocalizing opinions about them to your representatives is an important step towards being involved.

My opinion on these “promises” are as follows:

  • About 25% of them are actually really great. For example, “term limits” – people have wanted this for congress for a long time, and I am definitely on board with this. “5 year ban on white house and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after government service” – amazing. “A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections” – fantastic! “Clean up Corruption in Washington Act” – great, do it!
  • Another 10% is just “I don’t know”. Either the plan is vague or I don’t know enough about it to make a judgment on it. For trump_wall_memeexample: “label China as a currency manipulator” – I mean, sure, I guess. I honestly don’t know enough about that.
  • 65% – bat shit crazy, terrifying – everything from the “wall” to cancelling funding to “sanctuary cities”, “immigration policies”, “task force on violent crime” which sounds an awful lot like the Gestapo or Inquisition. Some of it is so insane, I just can’t believe it is out there and being taken seriously. Scary stuff.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

On the recent post election 60 Minutes interview of President-Elect Trump, his demeanor seemed to have been toned down. The prospects of taking on this responsibility appear to have had an effect on him. He even turned to the camera and asked people to stop the racist and bigoted attacks. There were little shreds of hope that this might not be a total train wreck. But one thing still rang true, for him to say the things he said and act the way he did during the campaign and still get decisively elected is proof enough that the country is broken, on multiple levels.

Fixing a broken system is really hard and complicated. The next four years, or eight or twelve, or more, are going to be very, very challenging for most of us.

I know we all want to float on our rainbows of American pride, with the artifice of our perfect way of life blindly gliding us over the black tar of corruption that has infiltrated our government, while we pretend none of it is going on, snap off more selfies and upload videos of cats falling off chairs. But that house of cards will come crashing down at some point, and better to catch up to reality now before it’s too late.

revolutionFighting the original Revolutionary War was tough. But they did it after much sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears. The Civil War was another time the USA had to have a major course correction and get back on track. Since then, we had another few other course corrections in the form of the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights movements. But the corruption has had quite some time to dig in and cement a stranglehold on the ideals that make this country great, hiding in plain sight within every facet of our system.

I don’t think it was until the housing market crash in 2007, followed by “The Great Recession” and incredibly fraudulent bailouts that people started to seriously consider the other possibilities. That experience really opened the eyes of a lot of people, particularly because nobody was ever really prosecuted for the crimes that caused it in the first place (technically one guy was, but he was nobody major). But almost ten years later and it seems the curtains have been drawn over our eyes again and the verisimilitude of life has become murky at best.

Did I want Trump to become president? Absolutely not. But honestly, I’m kind of glad now because maybe it’s the kick in the ass this country needs to get up, get motivated and start getting involved. Maybe we needed to hit rock bottom as a wakeup call that we are in dire need of a course correction. Let’s shed our lackadaisical comfort and really listen to one another. Let’s find out what is truly going on from all perspectives by having civil discussions and opening our hearts to one another. Let’s take control and shape our world into what we want it to be, together, as one. It’s now our turn to take on the responsibility of returning the USA back to the people and out of the jaws of corporations, special interests, and the greedy billionaire run New World Order.

Do you have what it takes? Do you have the tenacity, strength, and courage to give this country another course correction? I certainly hope so, because we need it now more than ever.

 

Below are videos I had at the bottom of my previous post, so I thought I would include them in case you want to view information from different perspectives.

LINKS TO INTERESTING VIDEOS:

There are many more than these, but the ones I’ve listed here will get you started. Once you’ve gone through these, you will undoubtedly stumble upon more and more the further down the rabbit hole you travel.

Thrive Movementhttp://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie – watch the film, but stay past the beginning which is a little trippy and technical and it opens up to a mind bending world of information.

Zeitgeisthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrHeg77LF4Y – another mind boggling array of eye-opening information. There’s a part 2 and 3 as well… see below.

Zeitgeist: Addendumhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbvCxMfcKv4

Zeitgeist 3: Moving Forwardhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlPs10GSJjQ

Cowspiracyhttp://www.cowspiracy.com/ – avail as download or on Netflix

How Big Oil Conquered the Worldhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySnk-f2ThpE

Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reservehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IJeemTQ7Vk

America – From Freedom to Fascismhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE8RtL3azDg

Who Controls the United States of America? –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzrYMEvAEyw

5 Most Powerful Families that Control the Worldhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bn24qdZ7c

The Illuminati and the Hijacked Pharma Industry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRsYk127SI4

Vaxxed – http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

 

A CALL TO ARMS: THE FALLOUT OF THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

PREFACE

I usually hesitate before getting into political discussions, not because of fear of the potential uncomfortable aftermath it could have with those of opposing views, but because there is so much ignorance in this day and age, oftentimes it’s challenging to have a civil discussion. However, with all the madness coming from this election, I figured it’s about time for me to throw my hat in the ring of commentary.

 

 

THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS EXPOSED BY THIS ELECTION

As someone who was mostly conservative growing up and even through college, I began to shift in my 20s and then into my 30s to where I find myself middle of the road with regards to politics, an “independent” if you’re in to labels. However, the country seems to be more dichotomous than ever with an imploding Republican party and a Democratic party ready to crumble or at least split apart into factions. Other parties seem to be rising and the two main parties are doing whatever they can to suppress them.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the outrageous circus that has become of our presidential election. Needless to say, there are so many disturbing scandals and revelations, it’s mind numbing. Back in 2008, I released a post on a former blog where I discussed how reality television is a detriment to our society. In the closing paragraph, I wrote this:

I can only imagine the horror of a Presidential race in 2020 where, instead of debates, we have candidates juggle grapefruits on live television and we all text message our votes, and on live television President Kermit the Frog takes office, presiding over The United States of Idiots.

riggedI believe we have basically achieved this prediction metaphorically speaking, and four years earlier than I projected! This election is like watching our country go down in flames in a slow, disastrous train wreck, and we are idly sitting on the sidelines futilely waving our arms or covering our eyes. How can the alleged “greatest country on earth” put forth these two abominations as the best options to lead us?

The answers are out there, but you must be open to the supposedly far-fetched, the seemingly preposterous. If you’ve never been one to consider what some refer to as “conspiracy theories”, then I hope this situation we’re in will at least open your mind to the possibility of some of these theories, or parts thereof, being valid. For the scope of this blog post, I won’t be providing detailed evidence and facts per se, which would take several novels worth of writing. I will be presenting the existence of the ideas and my thoughts on them. But there will be links to places where you can read more on each theory and idea and at the end of the post I will provide links to many documentaries and videos based upon what I’ve presented, all of which have irrefutable evidence to each claim. My hope is that you take the time to read through the supporting material and watch the videos, and in the end wake up the truth inside you.

 

THE FALSE IMAGE OF A TWO PARTY SYSTEM

There is no “two party” system. There is no Democratic or Republican party. They are controlled by the same people, same special interests, and same power hungry group of insiders. It really doesn’t matter who you vote for or support, and that is a cold hard truth. The United States is not a direct democracy… and it never was. It’s a democratic republic, but a republic nonetheless. And that republic has been infiltrated by an elite group of power hungry, greed driven, psychopaths drunk on their egos and in search of world domination. It sounds like something out of Bond film, but if you peel back the many layers they’ve put around them to disguise the truth, it’s all there. The phony elections are just one small cog in a wheel of deception and they present these two main political parties so that “we the people” actually think we have a choice. They want to appease us, make us feel like we are selecting someone we want because then we remain docile, obedient, worker bees dutifully working for the few at the top to benefit.

two-party-system-doesnt-work-battaile-politics-1361136493After the past several presidents, it’s become painfully obvious that the elections are rigged and we swallow the pill of illusion like the medicated minions we are without so much as a peep. We lap up the media maelstrom of deceitful smoke and mirrors because to face the actual truth that we live in a cauldron of lies would be too much to bear. And we as the modern day American public are too weak, selfish, spoiled and lazy to deal with it, too wrapped up in our selfie obsessed illusion to see the truth right in front of our eyes. From the Florida fiasco in 2000 to Obama’s election in 2008, and now this nightmare of 2016, the obvious election tampering is so flagrant at this point, they’re barely even covering their arrogant tracks anymore.

 

 

WHO REALLY SELECTS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?

The choice for president is made several years prior to each election by a group of rich, greedy, powerful elite members of the New World Order. This group is mostly made up of the Rockefellors, Rothschilds, and Morgans, with a few other ones peppered in there for good measure. They make the decisions on everything including money, war, food scarcity, health, and of course government. Bush was chosen in 2000 because they knew he’d go along with their plans for war and the NWO, who set out to profit from it, thought he’d be the right one to fall in line. There’s no way they were going to let Gore win, no matter how many “hanging chads” were accounted for.

Obama, a totally unknown politician at the time, was plucked out of obscurity and thrust into the political limelight because they knew he’d make a great figurehead and was someone that would be easily manipulated while at the same time the perfect bone to appease the public for a few years. He is a puppet for the machine, plain and simple. McCain has not always been a “team player” so they were never going to let him win. They pushed the self-destruct button on him in the form of Palin and the rest is history. Big Bird could’ve beaten him in that election.

This webpage explains it pretty well: http://educate-yourself.org/nwo/, as do the documentaries listed below. It’s a disturbing revelation and if you have a knee-jerk reaction of denial, as I did, it’s OK, eventually it will sink in and you’ll have that “Ah ha!” moment of acceptance.

 

 

2016 NIGHTMARE “ELECTION” FACADE

That brings us to 2016, and the ridiculous nightmare it has become. I had so much hope earlier this year following the Bernie Sanders campaign. I actually began to think maybe some of these theories about our government were just extreme paranoia; I was ready to write them off with each state he won. And although I’m not 100% in line with all his policies, he was certainly something new and different that we could use to catapult us out of the mess we’re in.

But then it happened, the evil machine behind Hillary began their work and stole primary after primary from Bernie. There’s no doubt in my mind that he would be our next President if these elections were legitimate. Hillary is a greedy, lying, career politician in bed with all the wrong interests. In addition to all the nefarious collusion she’s been wrapped up in for decades, she was being investigated for the email scandal on the coattails of the Benghazi investigation. The general public very much dislikes her and she becomes the democratic nominee?? In no sane iteration of existence does someone like this ever make it this far in a non-rigged election, yet she’s days away from becoming the president-elect. It’s insanity if you consider all the facts. But the NWO chose her because she is their pawn, she is their chess piece to move around the board as they please. Bernie would be an outsider and would not play their game, and again, there’s no way they’d let him win. I’m sure there were conversations with Hillary when they selected Obama where they promised to anoint her after his reign.

 

 

evolutionofsheepleTHE POSSIBILITY OF A TRUMP WIN

In comes Trump. How in the hell does the “greatest country on earth” allow for a jackass like this to be a serious consideration for president of the United States?? As outraged as many of us are, just think about it… how are they going to pull off the illusion of making it appear as though Hillary Clinton actually won? They basically have to put a monkey in a suit and parade him around like an idiot so that there really is no choice but her. He is Hitler, Wallace, Putin, and Oscar the Grouch wrapped up in one outrageous cartoon character. He is a farce, and it’s ridiculous that we take him seriously instead of asking deeper questions like “How is our system so messed up that this is even happening??”

trumpgrouchThe fact that we actually sit here and debate the validity of his ludicrous “policies” is even more proof of our collective blindness to the fact that our country has been hijacked by greedy billionaires and corporations! Of course the issues at their cores are important to discuss in our society, and there are a few things here and there that he says which make sense. But the powers that be are trying to change the conversation from “the system is broken” to “OMG can you believe this idiot said something idiotic!?”, and it’s working. It’s all the media and the pedantic cackling of the pundits can talk about. The epic amount of free publicity he’s received from them is the only reason he’s gotten this far. But look who owns all the media companies… the same billionaire group of maniacs. He was planted there. In terms of this election, he’s just distracting fodder for us to chew on until the façade of democracy is held up in the phony “faux-lection” on November 8th when we shake our heads in disgust at the presumptive lesser of two evils who will allegedly run our nation is chosen “by the people”.

Do you really think they’d ever let Trump in there? NO WAY! He is the only person Hillary can pull off the artifice of “winning” against, that’s why he’s there. Her campaign has become less about her or the issues, it’s now become, “Vote for Hillary, because she’s not Trump”. It’s a shameful, pathetic way to become president, and I abhor her (as I do most politicians in Washington for that matter). But she doesn’t care because she’s going to be sitting in that oval office making good on the deals she made with the devils along the way and on all those promises she made to corporate and Wall Street interests, making money for the evil demons pulling the strings.

She is more of the same grotesque, corrupt political system that is the US government that got us in this mess and it’s sad and awful. In my opinion, a Hillary Clinton administration will undoubtedly leave this country in shambles after she’s done with it. But the thought of a Trump administration gone rogue brings so much disconcerting instability and potential for disaster, that it’s difficult to even imagine. But again, would any of it really matter in the end if the illusory curtains of legitimacy were to be pulled back?

 

 

A FEMALE PRESIDENT…WOOHOO!!

One can say, “Oh, it’s great that there will be a female president!” Yes, that is absolutely fantastic, I’m all about destroying the glass ceiling, but this has nothing to do with sexism or gender. If you’re truly going to be a champion for non-discrimination, then one must pull all those issues out of the equation. Black, white, man, woman, Christian, Jew, it shouldn’t matter at all. What should matter is who they are as a person, what their stances are on the issues, and what their plan is for the country. That’s it. The fact that she becomes the first female president should be a perk of the outcome of the election, not the driving force behind electing her.

To really put women in an equal consideration, which they undoubtedly deserve, then they must be considered as equals. Do you think it’s yet another coincidence that this misogynist pig is running against the first viable female presidential candidate, thus putting those issues front and center, head to head? It’s like it was written for a movie for TV show… Hmmmm, or maybe it was, and the show is meant to distract us from the actual reality happening behind the scenes. But I digress… back to the conspiracies.

 

 

BEATING THE SYSTEM

The only person I can think of in recent memory that sort of beat the system and didn’t play by the rules was JFK, and look what happened to him. If you can’t look at the evidence and realize that his assassination was clearly an inside job, then I don’t know if you’ll want to read any further. If Bernie Sanders had somehow squeaked through the system and made it out on top, I suspect something would have happened to him… maybe a mysterious “illness” or worse.

For Trump to beat the system and actually win, there would have to be a TON of what I call the “F*CK YOU” votes. The people that actually think Trump would make a good president are few and far between, but there are a lot of people out there that would vote for him because it’s the only thing they feel they have power over. It’s the “screw the system” vote. The kind of mindset that knows there is something wrong with the system and knows that Hillary is a part of that system, so voting for something not in that systems seems like their only option. Sadly, you can’t totally dismiss the logic in that, despite its inherent dangers. It’s the recourse of lost people in a lost country not knowing where to turn. They are just grabbing on to some semblance of control. I don’t think it will be enough to turn the tide, but you never know. Anyway, a Trump win would be a whole new blog to write about, and something I can’t even wrap my mind around yet.

BUT WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE?

I’ve had some colleagues and friends make comments to me about how this is still the greatest country, look at so-and-so country and their oppression, and this other nation is a mess, etc. etc. Bollocks. Look, the reason the USA became the pinnacle of freedom for humans on earth, the land of opportunity, is precisely because the founding members DID NOT compare their new country to anyone else. The didn’t settle for, “well, this version of government is better than what’s out there, so it’s good enough”. They pressed and pushed to put together a system that they thought was right in terms of universal philosophical and moral integrity (but of course, not without its flaws). Therefore we cannot take our own temperature by comparison to other nations. We must hold true to the ideals that the foundation was built on, and if possible, improve on them. We must set our moral compass to the center of what we know is right and true, regardless of what else is going on in other sovereignties. Although this is not to say that there is nothing to learn from other democratic nations, I’m not saying that at all. Of course we can learn from one another. But I’m saying we cannot determine how far to reach by comparing to other nations. We must compare only to ourselves, raise the bar higher than anyone else, and expand on the original beliefs that made this the greatest nation on earth. By letting greedy lunatics take over the inner workings of our country, we’ve allowed ourselves to be taken hostage, and it’s time to wake up. We’ve strayed so far from the early ideals that this so-called democratic republic would be unrecognizable. George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson would shudder in disgust at what has become of their hard work.

A quote from George Washington’s farewell presidential speech:

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

A quote by John Adams:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

Either way, real change is NOT going to happen by playing the game of this broken system we call our government. If the billions of dollars in bailouts, robbed elections, corporate special interest goons flip flopping in key government positions (and this), disasters masquerading as “attacks”, corruption leaks by whistle blowers, culling of the population through poisoning (Big Pharma, Monsanto, Dupont, to name a few… all connected to the NWO group), the hijacking of western medicine, and more and more and more signs don’t wake you up to the fact that this country was taken over decades ago, then you are just part of the problem.

 

 

quote-mass-civil-disobedience-is-like-an-earthquake-a-sort-of-general-upheaval-on-the-political-mahatma-gandhi-129-1-0103WHAT DO WE DO TO COMBAT THIS?

If we want to break free from this current version of government, the only way is revolution. I’m not talking guns and fighting and death, I’m talking revolt with your dollars, your daily choices, protests, civil disobedience on a mass scale, etc. But it has to be done on a HUGE scale, like millions and millions of people standing up for what is right. Let’s look to the great minds of leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. for guidance on how to truly make change.

What if we all decided to stop buying gas or using any form of transportation that uses gas for a month? What would they do? It means we can’t get to work, we don’t use any public transport that uses gas. We walk, bike, or use electric/non-gas vehicles. But if the entire US economy was shut down because of something like that, imagine the impact? Yes, things would be tough for a while, we might have issues with internal infrastructure… but if we ALL did it together at once, they can’t fire everyone from their work. They can’t force you to buy gas. They would have to change the system.

bringing-power-back-into-the-hands-of-the-people-2What if collectively tens of millions of people decided not to go to work if they’re getting a minimum wage less than $15/hr? The entire day-to-day functionality of the country would come to a halt. We have that power together, but we are too stuck in the hamster wheel of fear to actually take action.

The single greatest threat to our society aside from potential war or environmental disasters is the Federal Reserve. It is the cornerstone of the corruption and treachery that is now the bedrock of our government and financial system and the only way through this mess is to end it. Period, end of story. If you don’t know about the fraudulent private institution that answers to no one that we base our entire way of life on, which was created by a small group of aforementioned greedy charlatans, and signed into existence by a bought off president and congress in 1913, then please watch the documentaries listed below and educate yourself.

endthefedYou can help by joining civil protests to #EndtheFed. Pull your money out of the large banks and put it into smaller local banks and credit unions. Spread the word to as many people as you can about the truth behind the Fed… the more people that know about it, the more noise we can drum up. Privately owned central banking systems have been defeated twice before in US History. And the only time the US has ever been debt free was during a period of time that we were not under the tyranny of a bank cartel, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, who stood up against them.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. Don’t turn a blind eye because you drive a BMW and live in a posh pad. Don’t write me off as some diluted maniac that is losing grip with reality. This is all happening under our noses, it’s real, and the fallout of inaction will be our downfall if we do nothing. Complacency is the same as joining the ranks of the sinister group of malevolent, power hungry monsters that seek to control humanity. They get away with murder because we do nothing collectively. The “Occupy” movements were the closest things we’ve had recently to any sort of attempt at a protest, maxresdefaultbut there was no organization to it, no clear agenda. Just complaining in front of a building to accomplish what? Just being upset about the government robbing the US public for bailing out a bunch of greedy bankers? That’s not going to do anything in the long run without organized action. They don’t care and they know we’ll all eventually fall back in line if there’s no real solidarity.

There needs to be precisely chosen group actions that have to be done en masse and we have to be willing to risk losing everything. The same way the soldiers did in the original Revolutionary War, we must be willing to lose it all in order to save us all, s1but in a non-military way. What is happening in Standing Rock is a start. If we can ban together and stop the government there, we can use that momentum to take on the next issue, then the next and so on.

The more we are seduced by the corporate run media, indulge in our selfie-taking, rat race, ants marching lives and continue to proliferate our bubbles of ignorance, the more we play into their plans of domination and control. Together as a group we have much more power than them, but we have to wake up and take the power back if we want to have any hope of a non-dystopian future.

love-and-unityThe United States has strayed way off from its original concept of “Government of the people, by the people, for the people…” and has become an experiment of control and we are the lab rats the insidious New World Order is testing on. They are testing to see how much they can get away with, how much can they control… everything from our money to our energy, food, and even our thoughts.

If we truly are the greatest country and humanity’s shining example of democracy and freedom, then let’s prove it. Let’s break free of these chains that have slowly crept around us and are beginning to strangle us. Let’s focus on loving one another, not on our differences. Let’s not let them drive rifts through us with their polarizing media mind control. Let’s start supporting multiple political parties that bring more ideas to the table that aren’t fueled by corporate greed. Let’s focus on unity, love, and stand up for what is right.

 

love-peace-unity-cycle-seal

 

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FROM SOME OF THE GREATS:

mlk

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

 

gandhi

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless and corrupt.”

“Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within.”

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

thoreau

“All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.”

― Henry David Thoreau

 

 

lincoln

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

― Abraham Lincoln

 

tolstoy 

“But what can I do?’ – I answer those who speak thus. – ‘… must I therefore not point out the evil which I clearly, unquestionably see?” 
― Leo Tolstoy

 

An eloquent quote by George Kennan here: 

“If you accept a democratic system, this means that you are prepared to put up with those of its workings, legislative or administrative, with which you do not agree as well as with those that meet with your concurrence. This willingness to accept, in principle, the workings of a system based on the will of the majority, even when you yourself are in the minority, is simply the essence of democracy. Without it there could be no system of representative self-government at all. When you attempt to alter the workings of the system by means of violence or civil disobedience, this, it seems to me, can have only one of two implications; either you do not believe in democracy at all and consider that society ought to be governed by enlightened minorities such as the one to which you, of course, belong; or you consider that the present system is so imperfect that it is not truly representative, that it no longer serves adequately as a vehicle for the will of the majority, and that this leaves to the unsatisfied no adequate means of self-expression other than the primitive one of calling attention to themselves and their emotions by mass demonstrations and mass defiance of established authority.”
― George F. Kennan

 

LINKS TO INTERESTING VIDEOS:

There are many more than these, but the ones I’ve listed here will get you started. Once you’ve gone through these, you will undoubtedly stumble upon more and more the further down the rabbit hole you travel.

Thrive Movementhttp://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie – watch the film, but stay past the beginning which is a little trippy and technical and it opens up to a mind bending world of information.

Zeitgeisthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrHeg77LF4Y – another mind boggling array of eye-opening information. There’s a part 2 and 3 as well… see below.

Zeitgeist: Addendumhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbvCxMfcKv4

Zeitgeist 3: Moving Forwardhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlPs10GSJjQ

Cowspiracyhttp://www.cowspiracy.com/ – avail as download or on Netflix

How Big Oil Conquered the Worldhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySnk-f2ThpE

Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reservehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IJeemTQ7Vk

America – From Freedom to Fascismhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE8RtL3azDg

Who Controls the United States of America? –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzrYMEvAEyw

5 Most Powerful Families that Control the Worldhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bn24qdZ7c

The Illuminati and the Hijacked Pharma Industry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRsYk127SI4

Vaxxed – http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

 

WHY I LOVE THE OLYMPICS & WHICH EVENTS SHOULD BE ELIMINATED – Summer Edition

Rio_2016_logo.svgAs the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio come to an end in the next few days, I sit here bemused at my seemingly neverending interest, borderline obsession, in watching them and absorbing the energy surrounding the games. The Olympics, both summer and winter but mostly summer, have fascinated me ever since I can remember. I’m not sure why or who may have influenced it, because nobody in my family has the same infatuation. I think part of it is because I was such an athlete in my youth and even into college years. I played everything from soccer to football, rugby to basketball, rowed crew, and even track and field where I ran the 200m, 400m, 300m hurdles, 4x400m, long jump, triple jump, occasionally the 800m. Another aspect is my love of history, and the Olympics is an international competitive festival of sorts that is inspired by a similar historical occurrence from ancient times. In the back of my mind I always had (and still have) my very own “Olympic Dream”. The closest I got was when I was a rower for the University of Miami varsity Men’s 8 crew team and was being scouted for the US national team. I chose not to pursue things further back then, and although I do not regret the decision, one cannot help but think, “What if?”

usain-bolt-michael-phelpsEvery four years I huddle around the television, glued to the stories of triumph and tragedy. Well, if you factor in the winter Olympics, it’s every two years now, but for the purposes of this post, I’m focusing on the summer Olympics. I leave inspired by the achievements of these great athletes and wonder if I could have had the level of commitment it would take to reach the elite levels of athletic competitiveness in any sport. I love watching the stories of how these phenoms developed and worked to get where they are, with some of those stories ending in victory, some not so much.

Simone Biles / Kerry Walsh Jennings 2016 Olympics

Simone Biles’ story comes to mind. Her level of gymnastic perfection is unparalleled and a mere five years ago she was not even on the radar. Kerri Walsh’s beach volleyball dominance is another. Usain Bolt’s sprinting supremacy is mind blowing. And of course one cannot discuss the Olympics and not mention the ultimate reign of Michael Phelps and his medal horde, a feat that will most likely never be matched.

And then they run a promo for upcoming events and they mention table tennis, badminton, trampoline, and shooting events. I always do a double take when that happens because the athlete inside of me cannot believe that these are “Olympic” events. I don’t mean to demean their qualifications as legitimate sports, but one cannot help but wonder where the Olympic organization will draw the line. In my opinion, there are just too many Olympic events and the breadth of events has gotten out of control.

ancient_olympics3Olympic History

Let’s take a look at this in further detail. The ancient Olympic games first began as one foot race on one day… basically back and forth once through the stadium. The race was called “stadion”, the word that eventually became “stadium” where we hold these athletic contests. Eventually the games expanded for five days of events with everything from racing to boxing, wrestling, discus, javelin, chariot races, jumping, running with armor and shields (can we bring this back please?!) and a few other basic athletic events, not a ping or a pong among them.

The Opening Ceremony at the 1896 Athens Olympics.
The Opening Ceremony at the 1896 Athens Olympics.

When they renewed the games in 1896, they began with a humble collection of sports, not too dissimilar from the original events, and of course sprinkled with the then “modern” sporting events. The events in the renewed games in Athens covered sports in track-and-field, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, shooting, and tennis. As the games progressed and gained international support, notoriety, and acclaim, more and more events were added. Which brings us to the obnoxious maelstrom of “sporting” events we have today.

I will make a side note that from 1912 to 1948 they included “artistic competition” events that included many artistic pursuits including painting, architecture, music, and more. This was eventually removed due to the logistics in organizing it and it’s non-adherence to many of the Olympic principals and distracting focus from the games as an athletic competition festival. From 1952 onwards, there has been an art festival in the host city of the games to run concurrently as a compromise to losing the art competition portion of the games they wanted to include. The art festival was and is a great idea in my opinion. And I also think several of the Olympic “sporting events” should be held as artistic exhibition performances in the art festival instead of competitive events.

d9F8dJOlympic Event Elimination

While it’s understandable and expected for the Olympic event expansion to grow along with the logistic, financial, and societal capabilities and expectations, there seems to be no end in sight to what they will include. I soon expect Underwater Basket Weaving to become an Olympic event in the near future. Do we really need golf, table tennis, badminton, and trampoline as Olympic events? My interpretation of the Olympics is that it is a festival of athletic competitive events that test the physical athleticism in particular sporting disciplines that test the limits of the human body. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying the validity of these other sports, but I do think the Olympics has way too many events and should have some sort of limit or discretion when choosing events.

With this in mind, I’ve selected events that I think should be removed from the games, as well as events that I think are on the line and could be removed, but also could remain.

 

collageSuggested Olympic Events to be Removed:

  • Table Tennis – Come on, it’s a trivial leisure game. Yes, it requires a specific skill, hand-eye coordination, and at the higher levels, physicality can be a component, but it’s just silly to have it in there.
  • Trampoline – Don’t think I need to explain this one. Ridiculous that it’s in there.
  • Badminton – Again, a leisure game to be played at beaches and backyards, certainly not an Olympic event!
  • Race Walking – I think hands down, this is the lamest “event” currently in the Olympics. It’s like having a contest to see who can whisper the loudest. Superbly idiotic for this to even be a competitive “sport”. Just go for a walk if you want to walk. If you want to compete for time and speed, then RUN Forrest RUN!
  • Synchronized Anything – swimming, diving, etc. – Although I think synchronized swimming is a beautiful art form that does indeed require quite a bit of physical capability and stamina, it shouldn’t be a competitive sport in the summer Olympics. If you’re going to have this event, then why not Ballroom Dancing? It’s the same idea. Neither should be in there because they are more of an artistic endeavor rather than an athletic competitive event. Yes, gymnastics overlaps this idea a bit, but overall, the athletics involved with gymnastics as well as its history can allow for a little bit of the artistry to slip in there. Synchronized diving, although quite athletic, is just superfluous and unnecessary. There’s already a ton of diving events, no need for this at all.
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics – as previously mentioned, it’s just too artistic and seems like an unnecessary extra facet of gymnastics to include when the regular gymnastics is comprehensive enough to satiate the gymnastics discipline.
  • All shooting events – Ok, so this one will be controversial, but hear me out. Although there have been shooting events since the 1896 games, I think it should be taken out. It’s more of a specific skill rather than a competitive athletic endeavor. Aside from that, there’s the moral implications of exalting someone for being skilled with a device intended for killing. I think society has progressed past this and the Olympics should reflect that morality. Taking out all gun related events would make a statement and also put more focus back on the athletics.
  • All horse/equestrian events – again, this might seem extreme to some, but I have my justifications. Yes, the original ancient games had chariot races so horses were used (and I’m sure they were abused, injured, and killed along the way as well). But this is not a good reason to continue the equestrian portion of the games. I honestly enjoy watching those beautiful beasts jumping and trotting around, but isn’t the animal doing most of the work? How does this test the human athleticism? Just doesn’t seem to fit with everything else. And when you factor in the abuse and exploitation of the horses, again, I think we have collectively evolved past this and don’t need to include this in the games that represent the collective human competitive spirit.

 

On The Fence:

  • Sailing – This discipline (there are multiple sailing events), although interesting and requiring both a specific skill as well as some physicality, just doesn’t seem like it fits in the whole realm of “athletic competition”. That being said, there’s something about the history of sailing and man’s capability to circumnavigate the globe via sailing, thus bringing us all together which kind of flows with the historical spirit of the games. But if it was up to me, I’d cut it, but I do see strengths in keeping it too.
  • Cycling – Not all cycling events, however. I think the road and track cycling events are OK, but anything else just seems unnecessary and superfluous – BMX, Mountain Biking, etc., just don’t need it. Again, if it was up to me, I’d cut all cycling out altogether and just keep it in the Triathlon, but I do see some positive points to keeping the road and track events in there.
  • Golf – I’m just not a big fan of this sport, and while it is technically a sport, I log it in as maybe one notch over badminton. Not really something super athletically competitive, although it admittedly has an athletic component. It’s kind of just a leisure sport that requires specific skills that aren’t particularly athletic. It’s on the fence for me only because it is so widely played throughout the world, so perhaps there’s something to be said about universal appeal. But once again, if it’s up to me, cut it, totally excessive.

 

Sports I’d Like to See Added:

  • Surfing – Not only super athletic and challenging, but it adds a modern sport in there that gives the games an updated relevance while adhering to the spirit of the games. I can see the point of view regarding the judged aspect of it, but think of it like gymnastics in the water while on a board. Cool, interesting, and definitely athletic.
  • Baseball/Softball – This is a team sport that is enjoyed by hundreds of millions. I think they may of cut it out because there’s only a handful of countries that are even capable of fielding a team – US, Japan, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, S. Korea – maybe a few more I’m probably missing, but certainly not a huge pool of internationally competitive teams. So I understand the reasoning behind removing it, but I’d still like to see it.
  • Pankration (or Mixed Martial Arts) – Pankration was an original Ancient Olympics event and I think with not only the popularity of MMA, but the historical relevancy, plus the obvious clear athletic competitiveness, I think it would be a great addition to the games.

 

Kunst, Epochen, Antike, Griechenland, Vasenmalerei, Diskuswerfer, rotfigurige attische Trinkschale des Onesimos, Innenbild, um 500 v. Chr., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Skyphos, Diskus, Diskos, Werfer, Sport, Sportler, Athlet, Malerei, hist, ~ fine arts, ancient world, Greece, painting, discus thrower, attic red-figure Skyphos of Onesimos, circa 500 BC, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, red figure, sport, sports, sportsman, athlete, historic, historical,

Final Thoughts

As an overall note, I think for the sporting disciplines that I haven’t mentioned at all that are great in the games, there could be some reduction in the number of events. Sometimes it seems like there’s so many distances and team/individual versions of some of the disciplines, it’s just so puffed up that the focus get’s blurry. Let’s keep things honed, lean, and super focused on the athletic competition of it all and in the spirit of the

Olympic motto: “Faster, Higher, Stronger”

A Genealogical Quest for Identity – PART 2 of 2

NOTE: If you haven’t read PART 1, you can read it here 
Genealogy Research Croatia
Inside the Cottage next to the vineyards of Zagorje region of Croatia

As I hinted at in my PART 1 of this post, I was hopeful that the latter half of this segment of my quest would deliver more fruit in terms of my family history and genealogy research. The trials and tribulations of mining through the nebulous records of a foreign country with only basic understanding of the language have proven difficult, but not as much as the clerical and logistical roller coaster. The amount of hoops one must jump through in order to find a morsel of information is frustrating to say the least.

That being said, it’s still pretty amazing to think that they have records in books from hundreds of years ago that were kept intact throughout the Napoleonic, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Communist rule and occupations. In a land that has been split up, torn apart and put back together again many times in the past several hundred years, it’s a wonderment that one can find any records whatsoever. But alas, here we are in 2016, and I’m about to walk into one of the satellite records Archives offices in Varaždin.

What I quickly learned on my journey is that there are several satellite archive offices scattered around different regions of Croatia which hold archival records from each respective region (roughly pre-1900). Those records go back approximately 50 or 100 years. Anything older than that is stored in the main archives in Zagreb. Incidentally, that’s where my journey started, and might be where it ends too… we shall see.

 

The Quest Continues

Genealogy Research
Rainbow over the Vineyards of Zagorje

I woke up in the morning at my Croatian countryside cabin nestled in the vineyard and noticed a drizzle from the sky and one of the most stunning rainbows I’d ever seen, encircling the breadth of the landscape, a multicolor streak serving as a welcome banner to the region of my ancestors. If I was looking for a sign from the universe that I was on the right track, this would most assuredly be it!

Leaving the country vineyard cabin behind was tough, but I had to stay steadfast on my mission, to the archives or bust! I pulled into the parking lot next to an old building with a Croatian flag, the consistent symbol adorning the plethora of government offices I’d been to over the past several years.

 

 

Genealogy Research Croatia
Outside the archives in Varaždin, Croatia

The Archives in Varaždin

After managing to find a few people that spoke a little bit of English, one of them quite well, I was able to communicate what I wanted to the gentleman and take a sigh of relief because I was off the hook as far as language barrier, thank goodness. They explained to me that there were several possible stashes of archival books where I might be able to find information from my family. From the long list they picked out, I had a strong sense that I would never get all that done in one day and unfortunately it was a Friday and I was leaving for the coast later that evening. No matter… I would plow through as much as I could and see what I could find.

They took me up to a second level into a room with a really large wooden table with shelves of old books… was this the Croatian Hogwart’s library? I was given a pair of white gloves to put on so the oils from my hands wouldn’t damage the old, weathered pages. We discussed which book to bring out first and decided on the books from the Zagorje region. He left to get them from the library stash while I took obligatory selfies.

Accompanying him upon his return was an old, large leather-bound book with parchment pages. Definitely the most epic book I’d ever touched! He showed me the columns of information, what they meant, and how to look for the information relating to my family. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack… handwritten Croatian script writing of names, dates, and places, a sea of words and letters within which I’d have to recognize the names from my family tree.

 

 

Genealogy Research Croatia
Inside the archives of Varaždin

Searching Through the History Books

I began to carefully turn the pages, scanning all the columns, one by one. It was quite cumbersome, yet intriguing, satiating a curiosity for knowledge and history. And then something really interesting happened… I started noticing patterns in the entries. I began to recognize other family names and their relations and their matching addresses. I was able to pull out little stories from the sea of writing. Turns out back then a lot of families lived on the same land, so there were addresses with several lines of a family listed as having been born there.

For example, there were two back-to-back birth entries, both boys born on the same day at the same address but different parents. Then I noticed the fathers had the same last name, and the sons had the same names as the other one’s father. So, what I deduced was two brothers that lived at the same address had their sons on the same day and they named their sons after one another. How endearing is that? Proof of the strength of family bonds in this region and the anchor that knowledge of one’s family ties has in this culture. There were several other really cool stories I pulled out while scanning the books, but that was the most charming to me.

Every 10 or 15 minutes I’d find an entry that I thought was related to me, but then we’d dig through the papers to verify and it would be disproven. As time ticked away, new books would be brought out, birth records, death records, marriage records, all from the various regions I requested. I painstakingly sifted through every page for clues, sometimes twice just in case, like a genealogical sleuth searching for the truth. The other workers mentioned that they were going to get a coffee and a bite to eat and they invited me to go along. I thanked them, but insisted that I stay, despite the fact that I hadn’t eaten, drank or visited the bathroom since 8 AM and it was now pushing 2 PM. They were impressed with my commitment and resolution, but I was committed to finding a shred of SOMETHING from my family history before their closing time at 4 PM. One of the kind gentleman agreed to stay with me and help search, he too knew I would never get through even half the books on my own, with his help, we could get maybe 75% of it done.

About 30 minutes later, we found something… an entry that seemed to match my grandfather’s mother. We didn’t know much about her or her parents, not even their names, so this would be a big find. Sure enough, we verified it, it was indeed her! A big sigh of relief as the time was coming to an end. With a fifth wind kicking in, fueled by this awesome find, I kept sifting through the books as fast as I could for as long as they’d allow me to stay there. And just before they were about to shut me down…bam! I found another entry… the name of my grandmother’s father, address matched, seemed to be the one… woohoo!!! (Note: later I was to find out that the second family record I found might not be correct, although the verification of that is still ongoing).

With a sense of success and achievement, we scurried down the stairs with the books in hand and over to the first guy I spoke to who had to verify everything and punch it into a program to generate a certificate for me to take home as proof of the family line. And just like that, the family tree was extended another generation back and I had the information I needed to dig around the archives in Zagreb. There are still more books to go through and more family lines to trace, so the search in Varaždin is not complete, I indeed shall return to those old books one day.

 

 

The Result: A Few Steps Closer to Identity

Before I left, I profusely thanked all of the workers that assisted me, especially the guy that helped me look through the books. He also gave me the names of the parishes in the regions I was searching so I could contact the priests and see if they have any additional information to offer. Apparently the churches in each region used to keep most of the records and that is how a lot of these books survived all the wars and flip flopping back and forth. Very cool, another trail to explore!

Although my journey is not finished, there was a big sense of relief leaving there with new information. My efforts had not been in vain and I was getting results. Finding one key opened another mystery that must be solved… I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt or in a Sherlock Holmes novel that revolved around my family tree. With each step back to my car, I could feel a stronger sense of who I was with pride knowing that I came from such a deep history and that I’d played an important part in uncovering some of it.

The following evening when I was in Dubrovnik, I had dinner with some friends who lived there. One was a local from Dubrovnik and we were talking about my quest when she kind of giggled. I asked her what was so funny about it and she said my story was so interesting to her because she never really thinks about her ancestors. “If I want to know anything, I would just go over that hill to the cemetery and find out everything I want to know. I just know they’re there, so I don’t worry too much about it”. When she said that, I knew why I had a burning inside to know who my ancestors were, and that was good enough for me to fuel the remaining quests.

In the future I intend to return to Zagreb and dig through those archives. I also intend to go back to Varaždin and see what else I can find. Once all is said and done and I’ve traced the line as far as I can, I plan to switch over to my paternal side and see what traces I can find in India, which will undoubtedly warrant it’s own posts when the time comes.

Perhaps this post will have a part 3 or 4, I’m not sure where the journey will go, and to me, that’s one of the most exciting aspects of this whole genealogical quest.

A Genealogical Quest for Identity – PART 1 of 2

NOTE: My First Blog Post

zagorje_nevinmillanNestled amidst symmetrical rows of grapevines on a small vineyard on one of the many rolling rural hills of the Zagorje region of Croatia, I’m writing my first blog post. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for awhile now, as a means by which to express ideas, commentary and exposition on topics that not only interest me, but also to spark intellectual discussions, enrich the reader with newfound information, or simply share stories that I feel are compelling and inspiring. With this first entry of what I hope will be many, I want to share the journey I’ve been on for years, but particularly this most recent trip to Croatia.

 

The Quest

I’m currently on a quest to see how far back I can trace my familial maternal line of Croatian heritage. Delving into one’s genealogical history can reveal insights into one’s origins, ultimately and ideally revealing more about you as a person. Having a sense of identity can ground you in place, time, and history and offer perspective about the journey of humanity and the purpose of life. It sounds obscure and grandiose, but stick with me here, it gets even more fun.

 

Genealogy Research

Tracing a family history via genealogy research in a country like Croatia that has been war torn for centuries, flip-flopping invaders since the Middle Ages, can be extremely challenging and cumbersome. Just when you think there’s light at the end of the tunnel, you hit a roadblock that can discourage and derail the journey. Vex not oh weary traveler, for what you seek may lie just over the next hill of red tape. The rules and regulations of a country still in transition towards the technological conveniences of modern record keeping are perplexing and mind bending. From my experience, it’s best to just accept them and take what you can get, go with the flow, and when all else fails, charm their socks off with your foreign swagger.

Although I grew up with a strong connection to my Croatian heritage, I did not pick up certain specific cultural attributes, namely the language, but also other inherent cultural idiosyncrasies that are important when planning an immersive experience. How am I going to get through this? What if they don’t speak any English? What if this was a total waste of time and energy? What if…. What if…. What if…. You can drive yourself bonkers with fear driven “What If’s…”, but the bottom line is that you just have to grow a pair, suck it up and get in that car, plane, boat, hovercraft, and go for it, if the interest compels you.

 

The First Stop – The Office of Birth and Death Records in Lepoglava

lepoglava_signToday I was a little bit nervous approaching the records office in Lepoglava where my grandfather was born and raised (and also happens to be where Croatia’s main prison is located, offering a creepy and terrifying backdrop to the situation). I fumbled through a rickety door into the mostly dull 1960s communist era office and managed to ask (in Croatian) the innocuous elderly lady seated at the desk if she speaks English. She replied with an adamant “Ne” (or “no”), prompting me to break out into a nervous sweat with dry mouth setting in, “oh crap, what do I do now?”

The Google Translate app had been my crutch, but my phone was almost dead and would only have enough juice to get me through the very beginning of this conversation, then what?? With my rudimentary Croatian skills, I dug in and proceeded to explain what I wanted. She seemed to understand and softened, her once hard exterior released to a more open and understanding energy. Then came the super-speed downpour of Croatian technical, legal, and political ramblings that would have even a native speaker scratching their head. Thirty minutes later, with the help of some improvised sign language, a lifeline phone call to a cousin in Zagreb, and some guesswork, we were on the same page. I sat down to wipe the sweat pouring off my forehead, my brain exhausted from the ultra, super, focused conversation plus the remnants of jetlag. I could feel my desire for a Croatian coffee increase with every tick of the second hand. My Croatian caffeine addiction was revving its engines and would be in full swing soon enough. Although I generally abstain from coffee whilst stateside, why fight it… when in Rome, or Croatia, right?

lepoglava_recordsoffice1Several hours later after a few more red tape hoops to jump through, which included me having to purchase a special government payment stamp from a nearby post-office (a side excursion that could warrant its own blog post), we were ready to get our hands dirty and dig. An hour or so later I left that records office having seen the actual birth logbook entry from 1914 when my grandfather’s birth was recorded over one hundred years ago. I sat on a nearby bench overlooking the town and took a deep breath, acknowledging that I’d had a pretty special moment. Somehow walking on streets and sidewalks in the town my grandfather walked on as a child and sleuthing out this record felt like life was coming full circle in a way. Somehow those pen marks on that old, weathered, faded yellow paper made me feel like I belonged to a deep history of people, a verification of sorts, and my curiosity wants to know how far back that trail goes. Will it venture into France? Austria? Stay in the same region of Croatia? I was dying to know, and my journey tomorrow will hopefully bear more discoveries.

lepoglava_recordsoffice2I was also excited to learn that my great grandmother was a school headmaster and her husband, my great grandfather, a teacher. An interesting dynamic for a couple in late 1800s Eastern Europe! It’s no wonder their son, my grandfather, was so well educated with multiple degrees, spoke ten languages, and was well read way beyond his class level. Is my never-ending, unquenchable pursuit of knowledge, the drive within that led to my love for school and acquisition of two master’s degrees, an energetic or genetic result of their union? As the mystery unfolds with each kernel of information uncovered, I am riveted and can’t wait to find out more, not only for myself, but for my whole extended family, my offspring, and generations to come.

The fact that this is only 50% of what makes up my genetic code is mind boggling to me. There’s a whole other world of my heritage that I haven’t even begun to look into yet. Why is it that in the US, the world’s melting pot, we don’t have as tight of a grasp on our family histories as they do elsewhere in the world? The idea of knowing your genealogical history is a much more ingrained part of the cultures in other countries across the globe, but in the US, a relatively young country made up entirely of immigrants (unless you are of Native American descent), the line is often harder to trace. Of course there are exceptions of those that can trace back to their ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower, and those that can go even further, but for the most part, people can only go back a few generations, perhaps well into the 1800s. But it is not uncommon for the family trees of non-North American inhabitants to go back several centuries. How does this affect our culture here vs. there? Does the US adoption rate (both domestic and international) add to the faded records of our collective past? Thoughts to ponder as my research continues.

 

Identity

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Identity as: The fact of being who or what a person or thing is

The very definition of the word invokes a subconscious feeling of innate stability and groundedness, without which beseeches a yearning to know and find “what a person..is” by tracing familial roots or other means, perhaps through spiritual, practical, vocational, etc. For me, the further back I am able to trace my roots, the more deeply connected I feel towards who I am and where I come from, with the hopes of gaining insight on where I want to be or confirmation on where I am. As humans, we are interconnected energetically, physically, and genetically, whether we want to be or not. We are an accumulation of energetic combinations over the course of time, and to be completely blind or ignorant of that history is leaving a large piece of the “identity” puzzle out of the equation for yourself and subsequent generations. By seeking out my heritage, discovering the history, and solving the mysteries of who I am, I intend to tap into that connected energy through revelation, discovery, and always learning with humility and openness.

 

The Search Continues

Seek whatever ye shall find, find whatever ye shall be, and be whatever ye shall become.

Am I shackled by the idea of knowing my pedigree? Absolutely not, of course I’m confident in who I am and the life I have and would surely survive without knowing more. But will the fruits of this journey hopefully add to the understanding of my life and those of my relatives? I certainly hope so. And I also acknowledge that this quest is probably connected to a means of mourning the loss of my mother, as well as my grandparents, at a relatively younger age than most people. It’s been 6 years since she’s been gone, and I feel like researching these roots, something both she and her father always wanted to do but never did, is somehow bringing me closer to them, an homage to their, and my own, pursuit of identity. I could get into the history of Croatia, the communist regime of Yugoslavia, my mother and her family being displaced during WWII and marring their sense of identity while they desperately searched the world for a place to set new roots, but I will save some of that for the part 2 of this post.

I wait with baited breath for what secrets and mysteries the Croatian Archives in Varaždin have in store for me. Will light be shed onto my own enigmas? Or will it lead me to yet another step of discovery? Or will it be the dead end of the quest? The truths lie within, and only 50 km, a language barrier, mountains of red tape, and tenacity will come into play in determining success or failure.

Click to read PART 2 of the Genealogy research quest

A New Father’s First Father’s Day Without His Father

On this Father’s Day, I’m faced with a unique experience of it being my first without my father around while simultaneously being my first as a new father (to a human child that is, love ya Murph-dog!). A melding of various emotions, memories, both new and old dance circles around my thoughts. There exists an unsettled dissonance as I come to terms with the fragility and finality of life whilst embracing the new adventures that come along with the breaking dawn of a new one. Torn between the loss of the memories yet to come that I will never share with my late parents, yet thankful for the ones I already have that taught me the lessons the universe needed me to know and have made me who I am at this moment. Thank you Dad for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I’m the better man and father for it.

Red Fox Father with Kits
Red Fox Father with Kits

When I’m in need of guidance, I like to look to nature. I recently read a post about male red foxes and how they not only tend to their foxy lady mamas constantly so the mama fox can tend to their adorable baby foxes, but they also teach valuable life lessons to their young. For the first month after the female gives birth, the father provides her with food every 4-6 hours so she can stay in the den to feed the young and keep them warm. When the offspring are older and able to scurry about, Papa Fox spends endless hours playing with his critters. When they’re about 3 months old, the father starts to teach them valuable life lessons. For instance, he will bury food under leaves and twigs around the den and encourage the offspring to find it, thus teaching them how to sniff out food and forage. These daddy foxes embrace their new role as fathers with an instinctual bliss and responsibility, no “how to” books, no Red Fox YouTube channel to refer to. They just naturally do what is right for their children.

Red Fox Father
Red Fox Father with Kits

I hope I’ll be able to trust my innate fatherly instincts and rise to the occasion like the male red fox. I hope I’ll be able to improve on the positive lessons I learned from my dad and not repeat the mistakes he made along the way. I hope.

I look forward to many more Father’s Days to come as I reflect on those that have passed. As with all new dads, the term “father” takes on a whole new meaning that one can only truly understand by becoming one. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, old and new. RIP Dad, wish you could have met your granddaughter, she’s an amazing beam of light, an old soul that is sure to to teach me as many lessons about life as I will be sure to teach her.