Month: October 2017

Science Won’t Change You

Science Won’t Change You

Crunch, crunch, crunch…

“Hey, um…,” Eve said with a mouthful of sweet goodness. She savored the slight tartness that swirled over her palate and then swallowed. She winked at the creature hanging on the limb of the tree she leaned against, turned to Adam and announced, “You should try this, honey.”

And according to that history, it all went downhill from there.

Next thing we read is The Big Guy comes to Adam asking about why The Tree was violated.

And, of course, since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been putting the blame on others.

In this case, a dude named Adam blamed his gal. Keep in mind, this hasn’t changed for centuries.

“Ahem…well…” Adam swallowed hard but not from the apple he just ate,”…well…it’s because of this woman, that You gave me.”

It’s always someone else’s fault. Here, he blames his gal and the Creator. Way to go Adam.

Again, this hasn’t changed for centuries.

Then, in the cascade of blame, Eve blames the serpent. Hell, the only one who had the balls to accept any responsibility in the matter was the serpent.

No, this isn’t a lecture on theology.

Just the fact that we homo sapiens have been blaming and reasoning as to why we do things…since the beginning.

And frankly, it doesn’t matter what you and I believe in as to how we got here in the first place.

What matters is this, we’re here right now and at some point we need to take responsibility.

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I love data. I love science. I love technology.

But!

None of that will create the type of desired change we seek.

We have tons of data about tons of things, in our lives, about our lives, and how we live our lives.

BUT!

None of all that science, research, and acquired data will change us. It never has. It never will.

Yet, we’ll sure use all of that data to reinforce why we do what we do.

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What about all the scientific data? The research? The findings that are replicated over and over and over again?

Smoking: takes care of 30% of all cancer deaths. It’s the cause of 87% of lung cancer and is associated with 15 different types of cancer.

But, the data that won’t change a smokers mind about quitting.

Fitness: it is one of the most effective ways in dealing with stress. It raises HDL (the good) cholesterol, which in turn expels LDL—the bad cholesterol that causes heart disease. Not to mention the data on losing weight and looking better and feeling better mentally.

Yet, the research doesn’t cause anyone to start exercising.

Gratitude: I could speak of Hebb’s Law and give more data to show how that practicing Gratitude everyday actually rewires the brain and the neurological pathways.

But, that won’t make someone who always sees life as a force that’s out to get them and squeeze every drop of blood out of them, and no one is to be trusted, change their minds about being grateful which in turn could make them happier, and those around them.

Never mind about all the data out there about journaling, meditating, exercising your brain and turning off the heavy doses of T.V.; the research that points us in positive directions about having positive people in our lives, and that being mindful of the now is the best way to fight off anxiety of the future and the regrets of the past.

But! We’ll use the data to boost our position and then beat others over the head as to why they should change…now!

I am guilty. Guilty of heaping guilt on those not ready for change.

Unfortunately, it’s not the data that creates the intrinsic reasoning for us to change anything in life.

It’s usually the triggers in life that forces us to change: divorce, failing health, times of depression (maybe even suicide attempts), lay-off, company downsizing, and the list is endless.

Living intentionally is about taking responsibility for where we are, what we are doing, and with whom we do that with.

The data merely helps us plot the course of our change when we’re ready for it by giving us some logical insights as to the why and how those changes benefit us.

As Legolas said in Lord of the Rings (yes, there’s more truth in fiction than you would believe), “…but change and growth is not in all things and places alike.”

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Burned out, no energy from sleep deprivation, and unhealthy relationships; yet, I did nothing to change it.

I knew the facts, I knew the data, I knew the eventual outcome, and yet, I did nothing.

I got up. I went through a routine. I clocked into work. I was stuck.

I guess you could say I woke up one day and was just sick and tired of the crushing weight from the sides of the corral.

After a few years of living this way, I took one small step. It seemed insignificant. I had no idea that something as little as writing a few, nasty, horrible, curse ridden sentences in a personal journal I started in 2012 would eventually lead to a published book, two others in the works, and this post.

It led to other changes.

Instead of the typical frump, frown, and other F words that used to be associated with my wake up in the mornings, I had no idea that I could wake up, look at the sunrise and go, “Wow, it’s a new day! There’s a lot of cool possibilities today.”

If you seek change, no matter what it is, you can do it. You can make it happen.

You might fall on your face a few times. It won’t look perfect. Those around you won’t like it. And I assure you, change is nothing what it looks like in some sterile scientific laboratory where everything is controlled.

Question now becomes…

Can you see down the road? Are you traveling in the direction you want to end up at? If not, are you ready for change?

What holds you back?

We don’t need more data, just that place in our lives where we’re willing to stop blaming others and our past, and start living intentionally; taking one tiny step in the direction of the path that burns within.

 


Photo by Hannah Gibbs

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention
The End is…Near?

The End is…Near?

A good friend recently emailed me and absolutely went off.

He was curt and churlish in the beginning and then he blasted away. He bemoaned the fact that he didn’t like the new policies issuing out of D.C., the disasters that have taken so many lives and have left so many desperate, and the wars and general state of life worldwide.

It was a hopeless email to respond to. I honestly wasn’t sure if he was mad at me, or he was having a bad day.

I responded as gingerly as I could to such an email.

Turned out, he just needed someone to vent to. I appreciate that, but it got me to thinking hard about things.

I found that I’m not as worked up as my friend about The Issues, so I had to ask myself:

Am I so unplugged these days, that either I just don’t know what’s going on or am I still filled with apathy that I just don’t care?

Honest question. Honest reflection. Here’s my honest answer to myself: Yes and No.

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After using some serious finger math, I calculated I’ve spent a little under 25 years working for government, at various levels and at different times in my life. I have worked for the IRS (don’t damn me, I was young), US Marines, and Law Enforcement.

You can imagine that I had to be plugged in. There wasn’t a headline that didn’t come across the wire that I didn’t know about.

Then…I decided to retire early.

There’s a few reasons why I did that I’ll discuss in future blog posts, but the bottom line is that I wanted to start a writing career and jump into web development. In other words, there were things I’ve dreamed of doing and didn’t want to wait till it was too late.

But, my point is this, after I retired I unplugged. I had to. It was a matter of sanity.

You see, there was so much death that I dealt with that it came time that I couldn’t bare to see another suicide. I couldn’t bare to pull another smashed up body out of a car crash and give CPR—that is if there was much left. I couldn’t bare sleepless nights.

Some say I have PTSD, maybe, I’ve scored pretty high on every test I’ve taken. I’m better now, much better. Some ask me if they have PTSD. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Maybe I’ll write more in the future about that subject; again, I have much to say about that too.

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So, yes, I’m unplugged these days.

After spending years of being tethered to a pager, then a smart phone, and having a work email system that pushed continuous updates on said smart phone that always got in the way of family gatherings; the very first thing I did was turn off every news channel, push notification, and even tossed the cell phone into a corner and forgot about it—oh, with the ringer off, of course!

I still do today. That’s why if you call me, it will almost always go to voicemail. So, please, leave me a voicemail; I’ll call ya back.

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It’s frustrating for those who know me because I’m just not news savvy anymore; suppose it comes across as though I’m clueless.

It’s not that I don’t care—clueless? Maybe.

But, I choose to have more peace in my life now.

Being bombarded constantly with a steady stream of media-select-heinous-event-news that is usually filtered with a certain agenda, well, I don’t want that kind of poison running through my veins anymore.

Every generation has had its apocalyptic event.

No one is getting out of this alive, and sometimes very bad things happen to very good people. Sorry, it’s the way it is.

Not too long ago, there was a generation that thought the world was going to end…December 7, 1941…then…

Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if you were an innocent child in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945?

Every generation has faced its apocalyptic event.

What about the 60’s? The whole decade was jacked up and bled into the 70’s.

80’s? Oh jeez, national debt to big hair bands…some thought for sure the end was near.

The 90’s lulled us to sleep only to be so freaked out on December 31, 1999 that no one slept. Remember that? I worked that night, as a cop. We brought in extra staff just to deal with the end of the world. At 12:01 a.m., our computers still worked and the apocalypse sorta just missed us.

Not long after that, 9/11 and we went to war; fighting terrorists…which we still do today. Hell, we’ve got ground troops in Niger right this moment…who knew?

Then there was Ebola. Remember how we were all going to die from Ebola? We had super secret antidotes for it locked away in a super secret cave at the sheriff’s office. Wait! Maybe the super secret serum was for that nasty flu virus that was supposed to kill half the county and certainly decimate most of the U.S.

All the apocalyptic events sorta meld into each other and I have a hard time sorting it out. Actually, I’m sorry if I’ve left out or forgot some horrible event from your generation.

Now? It’s this, it’s that, it’s the other thing. It’s all drama.

BTW…I choose not to be inundated by things that can send me into a fit of despair. It taxes the energy supply, and quite honestly, my energy supply is limited. I try to gear that little energy to more productive things.

I ask myself, am I part of the solution?

Not if I’m arguing, spitting, and getting excited about stuff.

When’s the last time you changed anyone’s opinion by arguing and yelling with someone in person, via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or…

Hm!

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In the midst of a dark world that seems to be getting darker and the days seem to be getting grayer, I find that doing what I can to help where I can and with as much as I’ve been blessed with, either strength or financial, I do.

And…I stay grateful.

Grateful for the mornings that seem to speak of new beginnings.

Grateful for the little things around me, and for those that I can help when I can.

Grateful for the marvelous love and friends in my life.

Focusing on the things that are important and the things I can change; like my own attitude, my own approach to the issues at hand, and my own steps that ultimately I’m accountable for and no one else.

Whether it’s midnight, or right before the dawn, I don’t really know which it is.

Honestly, if we can just keep placing one step in front of the other, stop complaining and bitching and arguing, and start doing what we can to bring some love and peace right where we’re at—with our neighbors, the person in the grocery aisle, or letting the motorist merge ahead of us on the freeway—we might see the sun sooner than we think.

~ Love

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Self-Improvement