If I can’t live in the present, then I can’t love. Love is NOW. Living in a future of wants prevents me from sustaining love for anything, or anyone. And expecting love from someone who looks ahead, dissatisfied with himself or herself, is a losing proposition. And sure to make you unhappy in the process.
Some people think they know better than others. You know the type. They give advice on everything. They believe they have the system of do’s and don’ts that will work. They want what is best for you. And they believe they know what the best thing for you to do is. In fact, they think they know what is best for everyone.
Others believe it’s better for people to make their own choice. They believe people will strive, work, share, and care for others. Not because we’re forced to, but because in a stable system of laws, that is what we will do. They believe people should have the freedom to live how they want, but without hurting others. To choose what passion to follow, where to work, how much to pay, how much to get paid, what to buy, how to explore their own consciousness, and who to congregate with.
There are those who want a system of control because they want to protect people, not just from others, but protect them from making the wrong choices. They want to protect us from ourselves. They are cautious of people. Do they even trust people?
They like giving guidelines, and providing a program. They believe in a high standard of living, and they want everyone to have that standard, not just the opportunity for that standard, because they think everyone deserves it. And they will engineer a system using their formula of mandates that will get you this, regardless of how this effects the financial condition of the country. They will make it too affordable to pass up or they will cook it into the system so you have no choice.
These people truly want to help others.
And they believe they are the expert authority on that. And they believe in a central authority. Like a central bank that controls money, or a central insurance company that controls health care, or a central department of energy and agriculture to provide corporate welfare. Or a police authority that has taken our right to trial, so we can be arrested without charge.
Those who believe in people are different. They are courageous, because living an empowered life is damn scary. But that is why we are here. Not to make a perfect world, but to accept that life is not going to be perfect, and anything that is worth doing in life is risky. And caring about someone else is not about giving them something. It’s about being their friend and helping them face to face, not through a check delivered by a service taken from our paycheck.
We’re here to make choices, not have someone else make them for us.
We’re here to get hurt, mend, learn, and grow. And when we see someone else hurting, we’re here to extend our own hand and help them up. Not pay others to help them for us. Because people need to intimately know they are valued before they can do something of value. And because you cannot make someone care about you by forcing them to share with you.
We’re here to explore our passions and our own consciousness without being restricted on what we can do, unless it hurts another person.
We know that we cannot get as far alone as we can by joining others, but not in faceless networks. We’re here to share life in a community, because we must have the opportunity to learn that without guidelines or incentives, a rich life is one of honest collaboration with others.
We know that if we give leaders the authority to do things on behalf of us, we must remain aware of how they are using this power. And that we must stop them when we feel they are doing a disservice to us.
We know that we should treat everyone else how we would want to be treated. And so we act accordingly.
These people trust humanity to do the right thing.
Some might call these libertarian values.
But they are not.
They are called human values.
And I believe it is how we should live.
I remember I met Patrick at the Ravari Room. I would go there most every Wednesday, to watch Tony and his jazz trio bang out tunes. After that night, I ended up hanging out with Patrick regularly, but ironically, it was only after he stopped returning my phone calls that I realized who he was. He was a teacher who taught me how to truly value people.
It’s not just what people do for you, but why they do it that makes them your friend
I was lost when I met Patrick. I needed to accept myself and construct my own value system for life. I was selfish and I would use people without appreciating what they had done for me. And I survived off of their attention. Little did I know that Patrick was the teacher that I needed, if only I had been ready to change.
One day I told Patrick that I had given some money to a friend at work who was in need, but I hadn’t realized that I was close to not being able to make my bills for the month. I didn’t want anything from him, I hadn’t even thought about it, but Patrick promptly said, “Let me know, I can help you out if you need it.”
When Patrick’s friend Chris moved into his house, Patrick said it was a little aggravating to always see him at home. I said, “But it’s nice to have that help with the house payment.” Patrick replied, “He’s not giving me anything. Not yet.”
Patrick moves to the ghetto and gets robbed
Within 6 months of moving into a low-income neighborhood, Patrick’s bike was stolen out of his garage and then his HDTV from his living room. Both were stolen because he had not locked his place. It may be naive, but the pureness of his attitude is inspiring because it assures me that he wasn’t a person that needed other people’s sacrifice or trust. He had a confidence in humanity.
It may seem that he sacrificed something, but what did he really lose? Things. Things which he certainly valued, but didn’t derive happiness from. And just as important, what did he retain? His courage, which serves as an example to others.
Patrick didnt compromise his values for money. He treated me like an adult. He helped me when he saw I really needed it, offered money, connected me to his company to apply for a job, among numerous favors.
After a couple of years, I guess he decided he had given me enough chances to develop confidence in myself and become self-sustaining. I regret that my change in attitude did not come sooner, but I’ll always remember his simple, honest, positive approach to life. I hope to live by the example he unconsciously set for me and everyone in his life.
Patrick knew everyone should be given a chance, because humanity is lost if we don’t try to provide an environment that promotes encouragement, trust, and love.
I’m glad he took some time to trust in me.
Every year around Christmas, we go shopping to get gifts for our family and friends. Christmas time is when we’re reminded that we should be giving to the people in our lives. To my credit, I’m on the look-out for things throughout the year for my friends and family. Thoughtful gifts are more…well, thoughtful. These past several years, though, have made me reassess my relationships.
Have you ever bought a gift for someone because it was expected as part of social convention? Some people have somehow settled into the Varsity squad of your relationships without trying out for the team. Don’t be afraid to bump them down. Think of it this way: You’re not omnipotent. You’ve got finite time and resources, and the more you spend them on getting gifts for acquaintances the less you have for the people who you value.
Secondly, I have found Christmas to be a time to review my emotional bank account with my family and friends. The bank account works like this: You and another share it, and each must contribute to it pretty equally in order to have mutual benefit. Over the last several years, I’ve come to realize there are people I do indeed value, and that no gifting makes up for having regular conversations with them to see what they’re doing, and more importantly, asking them how happy they are about it (that’s the emotion part). If I don’t know the motivations of the people I value, why do I value them, right?
Unfortunately, I’ve found a deficit in my bank account with people who I do value, and now I’m making it a point to stay in more regular contact with them. I don’t wait for them. I reach out first.
So, this Christmas, sort out whether you are sympathizing with the Grinch, or empathizing with him. If you’re empathizing, tune that emotional bank account so that you’ve got people in your life who you value and, just as important, who value you. If they don’t, then send them to the JV bench. It isn’t so bad.
I was sitting there for years.