HEALTHYWORLDHopefully, you’ve had a chance to let the possibilities of our remarkable new situation sink in. If you read the post yesterday, our worst nightmare came true: no money, no savings, no loans, and no borrowing from friends. Private, public, and global, fiscal irresponsibility have ended, and it has not been catastrophic. The world is still standing and we are still a part of it.

We might have no money and we might be feeling bereft – (or not) –  but we are grateful because the apocalypse did not come, only a new, and rather marvelous day…

of lovelymorningsurprises. No one had  the electricity cut. Gas stoves and heaters still work. Water runs through the pipes. Toilets flush. There have been no raids on stores or supermarkets. No hate crimes have been perpetrated. No suicides have occurred. Schools are closed and the children seem vibrant and alive, and delightfully well behaved.

The 60+ wars being fought around the world ended without incident as soldiers turned in their weapons and fatigues for civilian clothes and a flight home. The doomsday preachers were still standing on the street corners only they were apologizing instead of preaching. Employees returned to their jobs either out of habit or because they really didn’t know what else to do. The men loosened their ties, the women took off their uncomfortable heels, and desks were pushed together as they sat together wondering what was next.

Everyone said the same thing.  Profound relief mixed with uncertainty. A sense of peace peppered with the passionate conviction that this time mankind would get it right, even though nobody was certain what that ‘right’ looked like.

Except for the children. play1 They knew what was needed.

The time had come to get the big people out to PLAY.

Why PLAY? Let’s look at the components of play.

Physical exercise: activity is essential to a healthy, well-rounded development.

Creativity: exercising the full spectrum of our innate intelligence to divine, interpret, and develop our biological, strategic skills to accrue resourcefulness.

Imagination: exercising a mix of sensory, extra-sensory, and logical mindfulness in brainstorming activity.

Logic: exercising an intrinsic method of determining correct and reliable inference in order to select the option with the highest probability of success.

Practice: the exercise of rendering the strategy that fulfills our choice.

Revelation: during the rendering this is the intrinsic verification of the strategic process and immediate, on-site correction.

Outcome: strong body, supple mind, reinforcement of self worth, more experience as a team player, greater understanding of team spirit and commitment – or lack thereof – and further dexterity with developing and employing strategic insight.

Moreover, play is a profoundly integrative experience. Literally, as well as figuratively, play convenes our entire network of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychic, and energetic systems and then exercises them in unison to develop a well-balanced, fully formed, and competent human being. Pretty impressive.

So perhaps a touch of playfulness is needed as we shed the past and review the criteria for  HEALTHYWORLD2  designing a fresh, new world.

How will we set the stage to insure that we never again fall prey to social contracts that betray us and our our generous Earth?


To insure that we don’t jump on old, familiar bandwagons of predetermined beliefs and values no matter how authentic and innocent and altruistic they seem, let’s take a few days to recover some familiarity with play.



We may not love crisis3  but we’re bred for it.

Even if we wake up expecting a good day it will be peppered with challenges like handling early morning domestic moodiness, navigating rush hour, squeezing out that hour of exercise we desperately need, and balancing the whims and necessities so we don’t go under at the end of the month. That’s not to mention the j.o.b.s. we go to, the tasks – and miracles – we are expected to perform just so the wheels of civilization stay properly greased, and we can return home dutifully exhausted, enough so that we don’t answer the tough question that is eroding our livers.

Is this fu–king it?  So far.cirisis

It’s what we call life and we’ve pledge undying allegiance to the social systems that fuels it. We follow its rules, keep  our noses clean, our eyes to the ground, and our elbows to the grindstone so no one will accuse us of getting in the way of progress….

Or the global greed that seeds our risk for extinction. 350px-2007-2009_World_Financial_Crisis.svgLook at all the RED!

We’re living from one global crisis to the other and the primary cause of this nightmare is our dependency on something green, and no, it’s not fresh cut grass!  In fact, mankind has become its bitch. Yep. Numb to the sociopolitical poker games taking place between nations that prostitute our lives, manpower, and the extraordinary human intelligence needed to get to get to it, take it, and amass it, we have become the slaves of this behemoth. Moreover, we have come to accept that in order to create any other reality we must have it. Hands tied. No way out.

 What am I talking about? Yep. You guessed it, Money. dollar signWith a capital M. And, like it or not, mankind has become Money’s bitch. Yep.  Thanks to our addiction to money, our children and their children are now destined to endure endless catastrophic risk. 

4images  3images  1images  2images

Why is it that in spite of the millions of people doing great and sincere work, spending their lives dedicated to crisis intervention and uplifting the plight of others, the Era of Terror march on, dangers and risks increase, damages multiply, and disease and dysfunction sneak into every corner of our civilized house? Greed.

Greed fuels the expenditures of money for all politically correct, socially acceptable, and social unacceptable crimes against humanity.

Greed fuels all the economic investments that deplete our natural resources, pollute our air, water, and earth, endangering the lives of insects and organisms that keep our environment sustainable. 

Greed even fuels our willingness to look the other way. 

And we can do nothing to stop it? Baloney. Let’s cut the crap and cut to the chase. Just like Hollywood.

Today, our worst nightmare has become reality.

We’re brokeno_money_by_gabreleiros No savings. Bank accounts are empty. Our jars filled with coins are gone. The bills hidden under the mattress are dust. Not only are you broke, your neighbors are broke, the banks are broke, no one – anywhere in the world – has a cent.

How do you feel? I feel great!

Finally, society as we know it is KO, kaput, over. Everything you based your life on, everything you thought was essential to achieving happiness is gone forever. You have no money BUT you are safe, whole, intact, and healthy.

Since nobody has any money – and we’re going to insist that no one ever have money again – the slate is clean and the playing field is equitable. yinyand  It’s up to us.

For the very first time in millenniums, it’s not about meeting the obligations of the social contract, it’s about us, you and me and mankind. It’s our call. We hold the reins. We have the opportunity to harness our entire living trust with the quality of integrity, ethic, and intelligence that reflect humane being, and reset civilization. 

Carpe Diem! Our turn.

Let’s go refresh that human footprint!  uptight

But how? Excellent question. And, the answer will emerge from the journey each one of us must now make as we quietly settle in and get comfortable with what this new reality, this tipping point and renaissance signify.

The threat has passed. We got smacked and we’re still standing. We’re still breathing, still smiling, still hugging our loved ones, so we can be be open, relaxed, and receptive.

We are now safe to listen to the extraordinary invitation embedded in this quantum leap…


It’s time for our innate genius to begin the dreamweaving.

Stay tuned for Episode 2.



I’ve been an experienced swimmer since childhood. The swim team I belonged to swam its way to the state championships thanks to a fiercely competitive mindset and commitment to rigorous training. When I joined that team, there was a very muscular, very skinny kid that was half my size and a tenth of my weight, and when he hit the water he swam like a fish. I, on the other hand, was a sloth by comparison and, according to Johnny, didn’t belong there. I showed neither team spirit nor competitive spirit, and the day he called me out in front of everyone he drew a line that distinguished 100% from everything else. Either I was there to swim for the team, to train as a team, or I was a hindrance to the team. Commitment had no wiggle room. I was in or I was out.

Once I had chosen to commit to the team my swimming changed. Suddenly, I was conscious of finding ways to tailor my body for movement inside the world of water, and “the sloth” morphed into a competitive swimmer. Ten days later, I actually beat Johnny in a 25-yard sprint by one stroke, and we became inseparable friends. Years later, my passion for swimming infused with my professional expertise and natural curiosity would submerge me in another extraordinary and serendipitous experiencing.

When I was pregnant, swimming became my sport of choice. A mile a day was good for my body and great for the baby. Some days, swimming laps grew boring so I started toying around with variations on some of the cutting edge theories in human potential to keep things interesting. Knowing that the human body has multiple types of intelligence, that structure influences function, and that correct alignment makes peak performance possible, laps quickly became learning labs. Something as simple as seeing how many strokes I could take with a single breath led me to discover the correlations between the number of strokes I’d make and different, subtle body tensions that would either tighten my throat and congest my breath or let the breath move deeper into my body and last longer. Since each stroke had its specific breathing style and rhythm I started paying attention to the way my breath and strokes modified my alignment, my energy levels, and my psychological states. Bringing in my theater training, I began infusing my movements with sound, playing with the influence of emotions, and responding to the gestalt. It made for very exciting – and informative -swims.

One day I decided to let the ventricles inside my brain swim me. Throughout my study of cranial-sacral osteopathy the ventricles always held a certain fascination for me, and I had dubbed them sea horses of the brain. Focusing on the two large, lateral ventricles, I sought a direct connection with their motion and let them lead my swim. Within seconds, I felt the top of my skull morphing into what I perceived as the human equivalent to a fish head. The scary part was realizing this metamorphosis was beyond my conscious control.


As the front of my head elongated, my eyes and orbital cavities tucked up and inward behind my nose. A laser-like energy traversed my body from coccyx to crown and suddenly, I was streaming through the water faster than I’d ever gone before, completely entrained by a force field that literally carried me down the lane. My arms could not keep up with the speed my body was moving through the water, and once it impossible to inhale enough air I had to break out of the force field and get my feet underneath me. I felt disoriented and exhilarated, the way you do when you’ve been tumbled by an ocean wave, and all I could think was ‘ what just happened to me?’

‘You just swam like a fish!’ my inner voice cheered as I walked back to the edge of the pool, still dazed by the experience. All jokes aside, that is what it felt like. The elongated body, the lightening speed, effortlessness and ease, and the sense of seamlessness were all qualities I’d use to describe a fish in water. Until now, I’d always been a land animal that had conquered water, a visitor, or guest, but this time I felt amphibian.

Is such a thing even possible? Maybe. Could we still have the physiological memory and predisposition of our amphibian ancestry? Perhaps. And, wouldn’t that be a game changer! To find out, I took heart and returned to the water to retrace my steps as I remembered them. If I could tap into that energetic field again then it was real. To my delight, within a minute I was reconnected with this magnetic flow and finding it much easier to accommodate the speed, perhaps because expectation had eliminated the element of surprise and allowed me to accept without fear or the need for conscious control. Instead, I could follow the microscopic shifts taking place from head to toe as the morphing took place, and this time, notice more about the subtle realignment of my spine and internal organs as they readied for entrance into the streamline. This time I entrusted my arms and legs to know what to do to correspond with the rhythms of the water and as I gained proficiency another remarkable detail appeared: the proficiency of my flutter kick lay in the fact my legs and feet were energetically focused away from the direction I was going. Yes, my head led me forward and my feet, although propelling me forward, were actually heading in the opposite direction! This tensional line was critical to my ability to remain aligned with the streamline.

After the swim, I sat on the ledge of the pool enjoying the expansive state of physiological delight my body was experiencing, utterly amazed that I felt no fatigue.

A young man came over and said, “How did you do that? It looked like you were going faster and faster the longer you swam!”

“Not exactly sure,” I answered, shrugging my shoulders, “but it feels amazing.”

“It looked amazing so let me know if you figure it out,” he said with a smile. I nodded.

Every day thereafter, I continued exploring this new alignment of swimming like a fish. The more I practiced, the more certain I became that this ‘streamline’ was indeed the secret to peak performance swimming. This magnetism was, in my experience, the equivalent of being aligned with the Gravity on land because there is a similar experience of levity and effortlessness in movement.

What if we taught competitive swimmers to find their amphibian alignment in water? Aligned with the kinetics of water the swimmer’s weight, breathing pattern, and performance style would radically shift and they would be lighter, faster, and effortless in distance swims. Could we use the intelligence of water – our water – to access and partner with the intelligence and consciousness of Water? Years later, when I graduated from a pool to the open sea, I found new challenges, the pull of the moon, winds, undercurrents, weather conditions, and rapid temperature changes challenged my ability to remain in the streamline. You really find out how alive and commanding water can be. At times I simply abandoned myself to the tossing and jostling of the waves and wind, consciously addressing my fears of depth and disorientation so my body would lose its fear of depth and disorientation, and trust her –the Sea – to teach me to reallocate amidst disparate waves and currents. Once, I remember finding myself swimming in place, my strokes taking me nowhere and my partners gaining distance, so I tried swimming harder, kicking with more force, but the more I fought the more enervated I became so I gave up, rolled onto my back and wallowed in the buoyancy of the water, waiting for some clue that would free me from this strange defiance. What do fish do, I wondered. I assumed they used those moments to rest, or to digest; they’d know because they were fish. So, I focused on the water, its buoyancy, the density of its darkness, the sense of security I felt on my back compared to the vulnerability I felt on my belly, and I began rolling from my back to my belly, splashing my arms, following whatever cues my body gave as I waited for insight, and then, out of the blue I felt a strange adjustment switch in my lower abdomen and I was off again, back in the streamline. To this day, I have no logical explanation, no way to connect the dots and create a repeatable pattern but the intelligence is there, and so is my respect and trust with Water.

This experience triggered a waterfall of questions about the ways we’ve been accustomed to think about sports, training, and the concept of exercise. Terms like, to need exercise, working out, building endurance, getting in shape, hitting the wall, breaking through the wall, finding our second wind, and to work up an appetite, sweat off the sweets, burn off the calories, and whip our bodies into shape, bully and abuse the privilege of innate, biological intelligence and add stress rather than reduce it. How much of that rush we feel after a good workout is based on the adrenal exhilaration from working up a manly sweat, or driving ourselves to the next level or limit? That six-pack isn’t doing our internal organs any favors. Wherever we’ve got extra thick, dense, and overly developed muscles we’ve set the stage for hypertension, limited range of motion, improper alignment and dysfunction. No other animal ignores the intrinsic intelligence in its strategic design. Why must we effort so? Let us begin to look at how our beliefs and habits curb the natural potential of our bodies to perform at peak levels, and doing so let us discover what might we be otherwise capable of.

man&gravityMan & Gravity

The sketch on the left shows the human body in misalignment with Gravity while the sketch on the right shows the dynamic resilience of the human body in alignment with Gravity. Can there be any doubt that the constraints of our ill-suited, social habits and habitat have led us to become misaligned?


Fish, on the other hand, don’t suffer our environmental challenges. They don’t use chairs and cars, or eat unhealthy foods. They don’t slouch, whine, wear uncomfortable clothes, or need vacations. Nor do they follow laws that make them lose tissue quality, tone, organ health, and suppleness. And, they don’t have false beliefs and secondary habits that curtail them. Big or small, they embody the essence of lightness and ease, and from a complete standstill (without warming up) mobilize in the blink of an eye – because they are the ergonomics of their constitution. Isn’t the same true for us? Aren’t these skills encrypted in the engineering of our structural design? How many times do we turn instinctively inward when our dependence on logic and reason has failed us? Every time. An organism is the living trust of that biological engineering and without it they lose sustainability. As we have. Unfortunately, our social system hasn’t preserved the ecology of our self-evidence and, consequently, we find ourselves in an endless loop of learning and unlearning while we strive to recover that seamlessness and continuity promised by our functional design.

Thanks to the mutability and regenerative capacity of our living intelligence these compromises are not yet irreversible, however we must redesign our social systems to compliment our structural integrity and compatibility with Gravity, and this kind of transition demands we refocus our existential premise from supremacy and dominance to resonance, affinity, and alliance.

Look at the image below.

CHImachineThe sketch transposes the core rhythmic pattern of a goldfish onto the human body. Forty years of research has demonstrated that this wave frequency helps realign and revitalize the structural integrity of the human body. The sketch illustrates how this vibration liberates those skeletal, muscular, and nervous system tensions that prevent us from experiencing the natural ease our bodies are engineered for. If only we didn’t become dependent on machines to induce the changes we are so readily, so instinctively capable of on our own.


Becoming insiders of the streamline let’s us become brokers of effortless motion and that seamless and reflexive alliance between our selves and our environment. Zero strain. Effortlessness. Flow. Discovering that our exercise refreshes and recycles our energies rather than spending us into exhaustion.

It’s not so hard. We modify our diets, change our pace of life, our clothes, learn new languages and embrace new lifestyles all the time, and we do so earnestly. We are looking for the perfect fit to enhance and elevate our wellbeing and thriving. In fact, that’s what I was doing, finding ways to overcome the boredom of mindless routine and feel alive throughout my swims. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to morph into a human amphibian or discover a streamline that would change my swimming – and my life – forever but I did. Everything I learned in water I have infused in all other aspects of my life and still only touched the surface of what we are truly capable of.

It is imperative we change our perceptions and appreciation of our selves and harness the ecological sustainability of our innate intelligence to become the living, sustainable environments we actually are. Anything less and we remain our own worst enemy, and the real threat to our existential survival.



softbank-pepper-botThis is Pepper, the AI robot prototype that will take care of us. We are now ‘the elder population‘, that rising force of soon-to-be-useless humanity  thanks to the way our social system is set up.

This morning I watched Neil de Grasse Tyson chat with ‘her’ – oops, wait, no, Pepper is androgynous… No, wait, Pepper isn’t androgynous, Pepper is a robot, a surrogate humanoid machine that is now being tested on the elders in Japan. Press leaks are positive, saying Pepper is well liked and therefore the experiment is successful!

SidbearMeet Sid, my grandmother’s teddy bear. Sid was fitted with a hidden music box that played merry-go-round music from her youth. As my grandfather diminished in capacity, and despite being surrounded by a flock of loving grandchildren, my grandmother turned to Sid in the evenings to confide. He was the safe where she deposited her personal discoveries and percolating world views as well as where she dumped her disappointments to work on them as children do with imaginary friends. She loved Sid, and now Sid is part of my collection of our family’s generations of stuffed animals. You know, Sid gets warm if you hold him. Does Pepper?

LOOK AT PEPPER and tell me what this machine reminds you of. Let me suggest a possibility….

babyeyesMeet Child. Pepper is small like a child, has the eyes of a child, even the voice tone of a child. BUT Pepper IS NOT A CHILD!

Pepper was designed to simulate a child? Why?

What is it we all seek? Unconditional love. To be accepted as we are. And, who expresses that unconditional love best if not a young child. Looking into the eyes of a child we return to the once-upon-a-time of unscathed innocence and absolute trust.


Or would you prefer this adult prototype reminding you when to take your pills, or helping you in the bathroom?


kindadultseven our kindest adults show the cracks of wear and tear of making due with the cards they were dealt.

softbank-pepper-botWeighing the pros and cons of real people vs. AI, let’s be honest and look at the advantages Pepper provides:

Pepper won’t bark orders, or snap back at you when you ask the same question twenty times. Pepper won’t tell you it’s too late for amends when you ask that your mistakes and oversights be forgiven. Pepper won’t denigrate the dignity of your elder years with yawns and impatience. Pepper promises kindness, compassion, solidarity, and unconditional love to those facing the social emargination of ageism, and its dark rain cloud of uselessness, and unworthiness.

But what about that touch of human, the feel of warmth? When Mr. Tyson hugged Pepper, it was awkward. These two different materials embracing had to find the point of convergence. Human and mechanical had to forge a new and acceptable medium, and measure, of warmth in order for the human to experience a sense of satisfaction with the hug. Tyson was not satisfied. He was visibly embarrassed.

elderI’d much prefer to see more and more… of this. An elder sage transmitting simple yet essential truths with unconditional love. Sharing the unscathed essences that survived the slings and arrows of interrupted lives. Dissolving the unfinished business between generations. The heart is open. The mind is quiet. Time stops ticking.

All there is – us.




IMG_0193Did you know…

The systemic integrity of any corrupt system is dysfunction.

The principal ethic of any corrupt system is deception.

The equivalent to wellbeing in any corrupt system is disease.

The trademark of our corrupting social system is inhumanity.

In contrast:

20140510_072609The systemic integrity of any healthy system is sustainability.

The principal ethic of any healthy system is transparency.

Wellbeing in any healthy system is structural-functional integrity.

The trademark of our healthy social system is humanity.

As you consider the implications of this comparison,


redcrossWhenever you put a band aid over an open wound you must then rely on the immune system to heal the injury. If the immune system is sound (healthy), the healing process will be complete however, if it is compromised or corrupt there is risk of new infection and further deterioration.

So, when we problem-solve the systemic distress in our social system we need to figure out whether the core structure of our social system is healthy… or corrupt.

Anybody checking?



NEVER QUITI’m noticing an incredible outpouring of positive quotes and heartwarming pictures across the internet that borders on overwhelm. Meanwhile, in my daily life I see the majority of people walking on the streets glued to their cellphones. Eyes down, oblivious to others, unaware and unavailable. This is the new ‘busy’.

In the park I watch ‘runners’ listening to…is it music, an Ebook, or a training manual…on headset as they run, and I am perplexed, why run if you don’t want to experience your running?

On buses and trains I observe young people consumed with texting, video games, or staring out the window, letting their minds revisit old, unfinished business, or bracing for the upcoming, next chapter of their lives, or allowing the streaming landscapes to lull them into sleep, to get away a while. I knew that place, I remembered the discomfort of adolescence and the deep, visceral need for a timeout, to get away so the deep within had time to process just enough of the senselessness for me to keep it together, and keep going. But is that what’s really going on today?

Standing not 6 inches away are the elders who  ‘spent’ their lifetime making ends meet, getting food on the table, clothing on their children’s backs, books for their schooling, and the assortment of cell phones and tech toys that gave those kids the necessary ‘advantages’ to compete in the virtual, viral new world. They are bent, and they go entirely unnoticed. This is their payout for a life of good works, responsibility, navigating adversity and opportunity, and now they’re simply not fast enough to grab a seat, and no once cares because public transportation has become uncivil. The fastest and most aggressive win.

Invite one of the young to give up their seat. If they are alone they stare at their phone, or out the window, and pretend they didn’t hear you, or that you weren’t addressing them. If they’re in a group, chances are everyone will make a mockery of common courtesy. Should one of them give up their seat they will  bear the brunt of disappointment from the others because they betrayed the unwritten rules of the pack, and put the shared, collective values at risk.

However, and this makes me smile, for the five seconds it took that individual to stand and step away from his/her seat, everyone else was forced to experience a moment of conscience, and reconsider their self-serving ways. And, in those five seconds their faces soften, return to their youthfulness, and I sensed that if they hadn’t felt the need to protect themselves by putting on face and act as if, they would have gotten up too.

How we have bolstered ourselves against the discomforts in our daily world with an armory of attitudes and activities to help us suppress the uncomfortable.

Here’s my Short List:

Smoking. Drugs. Pills. Alcohol. Dieting. Gambling. Pornography. Prostitution. Technology. Work. The gym.

Racism. Sexism. Ageism. Nationalism. Party lines.

Depression. Anxiety attacks. Chronic back pain. Eating disorders. Addiction. Self harming. Mutilation. Botox. Face-lifts. Body tucks. Penis enhancement. Suicide. Bullying. Domestic violence. Scripted Reality TV.

Cults. Sects. Gangs. Gurus. Chain letters. Cliques. Lobbies. Political correctness.

War. Disease. Homelessness. Sleep.

faceless_mannequins_202408I’m pretty sure some of you will take offense with my list. It’s uncomfortable, even for me, yet I’ve only scratched the surface of what we do when things get uncomfortable.

The thing is we’re not paying attention to the root cause of what’s uncomfortable. We’re trying to offset it with NGO’s, Charity, Trusts, Grants, Angel investing, Volunteering, Shelters, Neighborhood Watches, Individual Acts of Kindness, Google searches and Websites dedicated to building a healthier world, and that flurry of quotes in our purse, on our laptops, filling our phones.

There is no doubt great things are happening in the world – all over the world – and amazing teams are doing crisis intervention, going into schools and addressing bullying, sexual abuse, domestic violence, suicide, self harming and other forms of reactive deviance – and they are doing great work.

But stop my question is – WHY?  Why are we experiencing this level of existential dysfunction? What is so uncomfortable about this ‘uncomfortable’ that we have to run, hide, or hurt ourselves, in order to survive it?

Let us give ourselves permission to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. No running. No hiding. No trying to make it go away.  Accepting that, one way or another, we are all uncomfortable and some just hide it better than others, let us just sit for a while with the discomfort. Fearlessly. Let’s engage it and rediscover its protective role in our lives.

We aren’t worthless because we are uncomfortable; on the contrary, it is our undeniable worthiness that is insisting we pay attention to what is making us uncomfortable. Somehow our choices are having invisible but serious consequences to our person.

 We are putting allegiance to the social contract before of the health of our species and our selves, and the price of this social popularity has become human distress, dysfunction, and dis-ease.



IMG_1045Yes. I could. Despite the punches I took growing up to defend the innocent against gratuitous cruelty, and despite my belief that I would never purposefully hurt someone, I had a rude awakening at an elementary school reunion, 45 years after the fact, when a classmate confronted me about something I’d done to her that I didn’t even remember! Something that had stayed with her 45 years! And I was s.h.o.c.k.e.d! It took me about a week of replaying her story in my head over and over before I got close to considering that yes, it could have been me, and then another week before it had to have been me. I felt sick.

Me? Yes, me. Fifth grade. Spreading a rumor about her mother’s use of Neet. Why would I do that? What was going on in my life that I would need to humiliate another? And all my life, I’d always thought I had stuck up for the underdog (because I had always felt like an underdog). Mud on my face. An arrow through my heart. Not the kind of memory I wanted someone to have of me but there it was. And, even though she accepted my apology and we chuckled over ‘things kids do’, it wasn’t funny. Her face trembled while she recounted the story and her eyes teared as she waited for my answer to her “Why?”

45 years after the fact that wound was as fresh as yesterday.

Is anyone exempt from bullying? I don’t think so. Growing up is a Boot Camp about becoming the best. In my day, you couldn’t be the best ‘girl’ unless you were the prettiest, best dressed, and the smartest (but not too smart or you wouldn’t find a husband). Without these traits, you simply didn’t get into the right circles, the ones that ‘guaranteed’ your parent’s would be proud and you’d have a bright future. Is this not the perfect stage for a world of bullies and bullied. We were taught to stand up rather than stand down, and given the okay to push our weight around when we needed to – if it was important. In essence, the ends justified the means. In my day, bullies were stereotyped as ‘the bad egg in the basket’ and this referred to the less fortunate and underprivileged, the ones whose daddy’s couldn’t afford the brand names that ‘protected’ the rich.

Wherever society has lines drawn that are based on gender, race, religion, age, IQ, looks, brawn, and location, there the seeds of bullying are growing.

IMG_1572 As long as some have and other have not, as long as some are in and others out, as long the color of your skin and gender make your life easy or very, very hard, as long as laws cater to the wins rather than players, and as long as there is a silent majority that bends to the winds of political correctness and obedience to a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality, then our civilization will continue to create bullies who perpetrate crimes against our own kind.

americangothicLike it or not, bullying is sanctioned by society. My grandmother mocked me regularly for my ‘nigger’ lips. Racial slurs are acts of bullying. “No good man will want you,” she’d say. Gender slurs are acts of bullying.  Ministers who slander other faiths, are self-proclaimed, God bullies.  Businesses that pay men more than women are corporate bullies. Athletes who shove and punch an adversary in the middle of a game are sporting bullies. What about coaches who use ‘tough love’ to bully their players into obedience, or parents who violate their children verbally, physically, sexually instead of seeking help for their fears of inadequacy? Bullies.

What about invisible bullies – like Money and Fame. Hasn’t money become the behemoth bully of our civilization? Are we not judged and ridiculed by the size of our bank accounts, and have we not come to denigrate entire cultures as ‘third world’ when it is our ‘first world’ bullying that is responsible for bringing the entire human race to the edge of extinction?

And we wonder why bullying is an epidemic?

Ask yourself how it is that each of these acts can be framed in a context that justifies them so they warrant social ‘forgiveness’, when they are abuses of the privilege of position. All too often, these social injustices swing on an unspoken, politically correct protectionism backed by historic priors or the murky legitimacy of multiple interpretations.

OK“It only happened once.” “Come on, haven’t you ever raised a hand in the heat of the moment?” “That’s how I was raised.” “I wasn’t thinking.” “Everybody does it.” “Historical precedents over the last fifty years show categorically…” “Statistics show…” “Men are the brains and brawn behind our civilization.” Cheap excuses we consider reasonable explanations for why, and so we continue to justify the very crimes we pretend not to condone.

uptightRich or poor, lost or found, good or bad, smart or instinctive, healthy or sick we all have silent drills ingrained in our blood that make us vulnerable – to be bullies, and/or to be bullied. The challenge is to stop looking the other way pretending we didn’t see what we saw, and don’t know what we do know.

Look for the ‘set ups’ and ‘hooks’ in our social story. Conflict drives a great film, a great story, and our human history. Peel back those layers and you will find the structural design of our society is predicated on conflict. Bigotry and hype underwrite the myths of social security, stability, and economic promise. Just look at the bullying in politics.

Fear less. Go deep. Tell the whole truth.