Pick Your Battles or: Live to Fight Another Day

image of a young lady sitting on a mountain top
I have posted about wars. This is about the smaller ones in everyday life. We can make an issue out of every little thing. Sometimes, people will misunderstand it if we don’t. I had to fight a lot in the course of my life. I learned one thing for sure: Many things can become big, even huge in the eyes of the world – or our own – if we make them that. Fighting is proven to ‘take it out of you’: You can become angry, even furious once you have chosen the issue. You start an argument, perhaps. Things even may escalate into a full-blown conflict that rages for years.

And for what, really? So often we will come to realize that a lot of things are not worth the energy, because:
Fighting saps one’s strength. I am not talking about becoming angry – and letting off steam. That’s important in a healthy way and done safely in order to not hurt others. But fighting?

Fighting takes it out of you, the effects can become really dangerous to our system. Because, the way we deal with anger or even frustration is something we can learn – and manage. So much in life depends on how we look at it. Strong emotions are part of our mindset – that is also: part of how we evaluate what happens to us. The first flush of anger may be involuntary – but after that, it’s a choice. To save health and nerves and keep frustration at bay.

Because, also, so often looking back, we may regret unnecessary fights, especially with people we like or love.

That’s why I make it a point in my life – and a plea here for all who are wondering: Pick your battles. The next one may be really worth it.

Quiet vs Talk? – Talk and Quiet!

sunset trees lake

Times can be tough, I have seen many and gone through a lot of such times. I still consider myself lucky, in many respects.

I find that talking can be overestimated. But so can quiet. As has been said similarly elsewhere:
there’s a time and place for everything.

Sometimes we talk to others in order to exchange ideas, or information.

Sometimes we talk to others to feel close by being understood and listened to.

Sometimes we talk to others so we can make the heart’s burden lighter, or to let off the steam of anger.

Sometimes we talk to others to clear up things or answer questions.

But often, there’s nothing of the above necessary. We are at one with ourselves and our emotions and ideas.

In such times, being quiet can be the order of the day. Know that our near and dear understand.

In hard or sorrowful times, a good cry can help. Or letting off steam by punching something

Hugging near and dear helps.

Work helps.

And laughter helps. Always.

Spreading Joy…

…Smile when they are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by, if you smile through your fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow you will see the sun come shining through, for you…

The song above has an interesting history.
I’ve found it to be true: After many years of hardship, especially during the pandemic, things are finally looking up again. But just as Charlie Chaplin – although more lucky in some ways – I’ve found as so many people around the world:
When life is sad or difficult you learn to smile to lighten the burden(s).

The song above was originally a piece without words for a film of Chaplin’s, one of his masterpieces. He was there in the beginning of the art of movie making, he improved it and became a master and an inventor with awards and special mentions all around the world. He knew, too.

War, Propaganda and Cruelty – Diplomacy has a Choice

Mural of the Picasso painting ‘Guernica’ he painted after the attack on the Spanish town – the painting an epitome of war – Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Practically no conflict we see around the world today is without past, without a history – and without precedence. The power factions in this world are known as well, since the middle of the last, the 20th, century. There’s a western faction, with mainly the US, the NATO members to it – and an eastern faction, with Russia and China as the biggest nations.

What is it about? Power. Money.

The apparently surprising attack on October 7th in a region that is fighting since the end of World War II is too dreadful to be true: The best secret service of the world, the Mossad, was completely unaware…? Is that credible?

Looking into recent as well as ancient history of mankind we find the repeating patterns – and as long as we do not learn from them, as long as we take only the news for granted, we will end up in more fights, more wars – and more pain, suffering and death of so many who are innocent!

The bible as well many pieces of art, writing, painting, singing/music is full of it: Why should the innocent suffer?

The bible is full of wisdom as well as full of contradiction. But when you take its wisdom from the place of the new testament that puts human life, the neighbourly love, at its centre, which says: “Love thy neighbour as you love thyself”, things become abundantly clear.

In that context it is also clear that there is yet another part in it which makes it clear just as much:

The idea of human responsibility.

For centuries the reading of the quote: “But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.” was that mankind had the eternal assignation, even mission to reign. But it seems that the original Hebrew text talks about:

“You may.”

This means that we have a choice! All of us, every day, in every place and position we work and serve.

You may – you have a choice – for good – or evil. Death and destruction and inflicting more pain on the innocent – or love and life.

 

Phone, no Phone – ‘I Phone’?

image of two women at cafe table drinking coffee smiling
Image licensed freepik.com

I love phones – now and again – in moderation…

Phones from the beginning were a status symbol – like cars – or a big house; because the first models of a new technology always are expensive.

People use smartphones these days for all kinds of things – even for phoning someone…

But there’s a few of us I believe, who do not use phones often – or carelessly.

With 22 job references and certificates and letters of recommendation to my name one thing is certain: I have ample experience. Due to my studies that I had to pay for mainly by myself for a long time while raising my son – and thus earning a living at many different places of work – I have met all kinds of types of people – in regard to phones:

    • Those who do not like to use phones at all. At any time.
    • Those who love them and are on the phone – all the time.
    • Those who use phones only at certain times during their day, plan even for time slots to do their phone calls in.
    • Those who feel that too much words are wasted anyway – and do not either answer or use the phone.
    • People who use the phone only when scheduled calls come in.

You may know a few others, but those are the basic use cases I have encountered.

I often feel phone calls to be a sort of time wasted: So often in business it’s crucial to later have notes of what was said.

You have to write notes and write emails in addition to phone calls to remind everyone of what went on. So apart from phoning people you also write. Additionally.

If I like the other person, I may enjoy talking to them; but to me that’s a sort of ‘danger’ – I am talkative by nature – and before I know it I settle down to talk for a while.

There are times when you like the other person but you know there’s so much to do; you are not sure what they want; you cannot see them and look them into the eye. Smile a little to ease things along.

I love talking to people in person – at leisure – and with all the time of the world – and a cup of coffee in front of us, perhaps.

Pushed to Extremes – What’s Life All About?

image of a far-away tower against a blue sky and a tiny human figure at the end of a rope
Image courtesy pixabay.com – free license

Bungee jumping: Jump down extreme heights and be just kept back by an elastic, suspended in mid-air: Most people just do it to feel they are capable of going through extremes.

Perhaps the ‘going through hardship’ is at the ‘end of such a line’: Prove to yourself, especially, that you are capable of doing it – and perhaps find out about life…?

Growing up in protected surroundings can make you feel restless – at some point – to some it can happen sooner, to some, later in life:

What is life really all about? Why and how to live? Even with a lot of rules to your education, especially when imposed more or less authoritatively by parents and family – it’s like:
Grow up – and start breaking the rules in order to have fun…? Because grown-ups have fun they deny their kids…?
And still later, it turns out that you perhaps acquired wealth and fame and broke quite a number of rules – but sublime happiness is still denied you?

For all the promises and stories and rumours about the most exciting things you can do – and that could be all manner of things – what in some contexts is called ‘naughty’ – still something is missing?

How do I know?
Well, I know about these things partly from experience, but even more so from observation, talks and probably ten thousands of stories I read and watched.
But also from reading other kinds of literature, books, history too, but also psychology, philosophy and politics. Sociology. I also know because my parents weren’t of the authoritative kind: They reflected on rules, traditions, behaviour and language – and they explained why we would follow rules – or not.
They made us aware of what is at the bottom of human existence.

The classical free thinking: Know about ethics and why they are there and decide when you are of age, at the latest – responsibly. Responsible for mind and body – and the community, ‘neighbourly love’ -> ‘love your neighbour as you love thyself’. Sounds easy, but isn’t really, when you think about it.

Since then I did all those things, think of the consequences before I act…and decide, responsibly:
Although, I didn’t break rules just for the sake of it. Does not mean I did not make mistakes, or never hurt a soul.

But the questions of – ‘what is a human being, why is human existence what it is and what can we do to make it bearable?’
I can answer.

The main thing to me is that many people who have gone through hard times know too, what it is that keeps you going, when all is said and done:

It’s human kindness, understanding, love in all it’s manifestations, such as friendship.
To know that there are a few people who care makes all the difference.

I think, in some ways I am lucky that I’ve seen hard times, because I know for myself, for sure.

The basics in life that make us feel fulfilled and happy are also those that come with self-esteem and neighbourly love. Maslow’s pyramid of needs after that.

And the eternal Buddhist concept: Avoid pain.

Light Talk – Light ‘Understanding’?

image of resting dog and cat
It’s interesting to note how ways to communicate – to talk – differ. Even inside one country, differ by region. Where I come from history had people be in touch with half the world – trading through the international society called “Hanse” was everywhere. The ‘world came into town’, you might say.

From those times it seems the tradition of light banter, light talk to any stranger, even a short, light conversation, a few jokes, is common. They are famous in other parts of the country for chatting at the supermarket checkout for a few minutes, just like that…

Yet, real friendship takes the same time as anywhere else in the world: Know your ‘peer’ – and perhaps go through some hard times together; learn whom to trust.

In other places I found that people sometimes tend to be glum, even irritable at first contacts. Only after a while they ‘thaw’ to strangers. And the aforementioned light-hearted banter is even considered flimsy.

From a lot of ‘sighting of strangers’ from all around the world in business and studies I can say and encourage: Take your time and know: Not every smile ‘wells’ from light sources – not every gloomy person is faithful…

War is Not an Option: War is Death

Buddhist monk walking rose petals barefoot
We can go there – if we really want it… Peace.

War is  wholesale murder.  Charlie Chaplin was not the first to point it out. He was not the last one either.
War is not a solution: War is the sign of failure to really try and find a solution.
War ist not heroism either: War is the ultimate cowardice in the face of – thoughts, life and difficulties.

Because: Anyone faced with the question at one time or another in the course of their lives if they were prepared to lose their own life for the sake of a cause – as long as they consider the cause to be ‘good’ – will come to the conclusion that as a fine human being you would have to.

But the point is: War is no ’cause’! War has a cause, not to say multiple causes. But they are never heroic, wonderful or sublime – whatever anyone tells you.

They are driven by interests, of lobbies, of industries, of companies, all those that will make money by selling things for those wars:
The weapons
The ‘units and kits’
The cars and vehicles
The ships
The phones and radio transmission devices
The food and shelter

All this makes a lot of selling to do. A lot of money, for those who provide the goods. The jobs…

Anything you want to sell needs marketing. That’s equally true of war: They will sell it by making it the only possible way out of a ‘fix’…presenting no alternatives anymore.
But that’s propaganda.

War is not a heavenly or sublime cause! Never was, never will be. War is about money. First and last.

 

Love, Passion, Seduction – Truth and Make-believe

Open old book in the sun and haze on a dark background
I am not out to make it any easier to any of my readers, alas, if any of them had supposed that. I am out to make it clear – and less painful for many, who really care.

Starting out into life as a young person in its teens, growing up, growing mature and even more mature over time, one thing we will realize at some point:

Love is no light game.

There are movies, books and TV series in abundance especially these so ‘progressive days’, where we seem to ‘know it all’ – which try to ‘make one believe’ differently…
The 1960s long since behind us, when it was supposed to be just the butterfly thing for all who called themselves avantgarde – modern and advanced in thinking…

So, it’s routine these days?

To this day I observe those who believe that seduction is a game: ‘He who seduces successfully wins the prize’ – the prize of the biggest and most important among his peers – the football club, the card players – or simply the pub goers.

Well, my friends, its not. It’s the prize for the biggest simpleton – among many –  given away, if anything.

Go on and use your imagination, your intellect and your heart – talk to people – and read. And you will learn. If you want to.

Of course there are those whose sole excitement in life is the thought of yet another passionate love affair.

I am for the truth, the simple and humane truth: In love it’s the heart that counts, not the brain or the long legs – or the hormones.

Why One Size Does NOT Fit All – or: The 32-Size Shoe

three people legs and shoes visible sitting on edge of car trunk
I see it happen all the time: People look at someone and with almost deathly certainty they ‘diagnose’ their (apparent) problem – and also have a solution ready right away. Strangely enough such people almost never are doctors themselves.
Because good doctors know that one size does not fit all.

A person appearing slightly ‘overweight’ – by today’s public standards – of course just must be in need of a new and completely changed sports and dieting plan.

A person who likes their home, sometimes stays there for a certain amount of time at a stretch just cannot possibly be happy – or healthy, for that matter – unless a new plan of being out in the open is devised and put into action.

What such ‘diagnosers’ usually ignore completely is the fact that really and truly one size does not fit all.
That is true for health, food and sports alike.

A famous food chemist put it along these lines one day :

Many such rules about what is best for you or your health are made and conducted based on the following principle:
They look at who has the healthiest feet, find that those with healthy feet wear 32-size shoes* – and thereafter prescribe them for everyone.
But would you wear them if you happened to have a 43-size foot?

And there is also something else to consider: What motives do such reformers have, trying to make everyone the same….?

Even the bible has a fine saying on it:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew, 7.1)

Perhaps it ‘behoves’ all of us to be a little more careful before ‘diagnosing’ a person by a very few symptoms alone – where there may be no problem at all in the first place – and without knowing the whole story or history.

 

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*) European sizes