Saturday, September 15, 2012

Intolerant of intolerance

Intolerance has been on my mind lately. Violent intolerance of the religious kind; the intolerance a friend experienced at a restaurant because of who he loves; intolerance of red or blue; intolerance of black or white. If there is one thing I can't tolerate, it's intolerance (and lactose)!

Not that its antonym, tolerance, is a very lofty ideal. Simply being tolerant of others and their views is better than seeking to annihilate them, but surely we can do better.

Tolerate one another, as I have tolerated you?

How uninspiring.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Swimming downward: Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a childhood experience in which I almost drowned trying to lift a capsized rowboat off of me. I ended the story with the following thought: "Instead of struggling to swim upward, I had to swim downward to reach the surface."

As promised, I am now revisiting that thought.

We struggle so hard to rise to the top. Sometimes, the very act of struggling is what keeps us from getting there. We can literally kill ourselves and each other as we fight and claw our way toward a pinnacle we may never reach. It takes a lot of courage and wisdom to know when to abandon the struggle so that we  might truly live.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Milwaukee Sikh shooting and art as a teacher

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the Sikh temple in Brookfield, Wisconsin, on August 6, 2012. REUTERS-John Gress
The Sikh shooting in Milwaukee was disgusting,  and terrifying, and  serves as yet another powerful reminder that love and acceptance are increasingly important to our human experience.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The shooter - Wade Michael Page - was the vocalist and guitarist of several white power bands.  While I will not suggest that music led Page to this hate crime, I do firmly believe and assert that some music teaches people how to hate; it helps people become better at hating and better at being angry.  Music and art can plant seeds of anger, self-pity, insecurity, revenge, and pride. Great art plants virtuous seeds that inspires us to think and feel in ways that enrich our experience and foster appreciation for others.

I think it is critical that we own our thoughts and emotions - that we recognize that anger is inherently deceitful and destructive. Art has powerful influence over our thoughts and emotions.  We should seek art and entertainment that supports our best self.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Local artist spotlight: Matteo

I recently heard an interview on KUER's Radiowest with a Salt Lake City band, Matteo. They play thoughtfully written American folk, infused with traditional Chinese instruments. I found both their music and their story really inspiring. Take a listen:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Swimming downward to reach the surface

When I was about seven years old, I went with my family to a lake in the mountains. There was a little rowboat floating in the shallow water near the shore, so I jumped in and started playing in it by myself. I don't remember how, but the boat capsized and I suddenly found myself underneath it, unable to breath. My brain went into panic mode and all rational thought was shut down. I needed oxygen- which lay just inches above my head- but there was an obstacle between us. I needed to remove that obstacle. Desperately, I began to try and lift the boat up out of the water so I could take a breath. I pushed until my arms ached, but it wouldn't budge.

Still hopelessly pushing, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't need to lift the boat off of me to reach the surface. I wasn't trapped, I just needed to dive down a little bit and simply swim away.

Had I continued to push on that boat for much longer I would have passed out and probably drowned. Getting out of the situation alive required the following paradigm shift:

Instead of struggling to swim upward, I had to swim downward to reach the surface.

Perhaps on another post, I will elaborate on that last sentence. For now, I think it's worth leaving with you to ponder on your own.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Influential Americans

Time's list of the top 20 most influential Americans.  The article provides a brief wiki-esque overview of some important people in US and world history.  Worth a read if you have a minute.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Milestone For Women's Issues In Corporate America

It has been one week since Marissa Mayer assumed the role of chief executive officer of Yahoo. Mayer - who is currently six months pregnant with her first child - has been the target of a barrage of chatter and criticism surrounding her ability to both lead a struggling company and raise a child. I personally believe that her appointment symbolizes a milestone for women's issues in corporate America. I appreciate the faith that the board of directors placed in her despite her decision to balance motherhood and career.


Mommy Wars Rage Anew Over Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's Pregnancy