A Veterans’ Day Thought – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday November 11, 2008

Today’s quote:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

~ John F. Kennedy

amflag_rsToday we are commemorating Veterans’ Day. The history of this day is an interesting one. For 36 years the day was celebrated in The United States as Armistice Day. November 11 marked the day in 1918 when World War I ended. Ironically, The Armistice – the agreement that ended fighting – was signed “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

The day was officially recognized as a holiday beginning in 1938. The bill that made Armistice Day a holiday stated that it should be, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

After World War II, some people suggested the holiday should be expanded to include all veterans. The bill establishing Veterans’ Day was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954.

Today we remember the Veterans who risked or lost their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. The impulse to sacrifice for others is a noble one. For that sacrifice, the veterans of wars past and present deserve our respect and our thanks.

Our responsibility, as citizens, however, is to ensure that we hold our leaders to a tough definition of what constitutes legitimate uses for our armed forces. That standard has become dangerously low in an era when these decisions are made on emotion rather than reason. It has been muddied by interests whose main driver is neither the defense of the nation nor the interest of the troops, but profit pure and simple.

Our soldiers have a right to insist that we are clear on who the foe is and why they are the foe BEFORE we commit them to sacrifice. They won’t ask. They are committed to their task and to the command structure. Their love of nation compels them to act even when we have not done our job for them.

We must insist that our leaders not call for these sacrifices unnecessarily. Holding leaders accountable is our responsibility and our soldiers rely on us to do that for them.

One of the best things we can do for veterans is to do our part to create fewer of them in the future. This is our charge as citizens in a free society. The soldiers’ job is to follow orders. Our job is to make sure politicians respond to our core values.

To every veteran who reads these words, “THANK YOU”. We honor the fact that you stand ready to protect us. We must do a better job of honoring you by limiting the sacrifices we ask you to make.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Accept Your Greatness – The Affirmation Spot for Monday November 10, 2008

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”

~Wilma Rudolph

Your greatness lives within you whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Why wouldn’t you choose to acknowledge it? How does anyone benefit from you being less than you are? You don’t. The people around you don’t. The world doesn’t.

There is a bright light inside of you. It gets brighter the closer you come to fulfilling your purpose. Some of you are very close to that purpose and the light is intense. If you find yourself casting about in the darkness, you may have moved away from your highest intentions in this life.

I wrote this at a time in my life when I was searching in the darkness:

On my journey this day, I follow in the footsteps of the immortals. The imprints they have left behind on the Earth are large and their strides are a stretch for me. Yet, if I dare not encounter them and measure myself by them, how shall I ever know the true immensity of my own being?

So, I step consciously into the light; walking the path they once walked. Leaving it, occasionally, and improvising. Adding to it qualities uniquely my own.

The light is there, if you look! No matter where you have been. It is still there!

Stay inspired!

Ray

Obama Won, But Now What? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday November 7, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

(click to hear it)
“Recession proof…I have the skills and the confidence to compete in a tough economy.”


Today I am looking for some feedback from you. The United States elected Barack Obama as its next president on Tuesday. Now What?

Leave a comment to share your hopes and concerns about the new administration. What do you think are the potential positives about the new administration? What gives you concern? What would you like to see the new president address in his first term?

Most importantly, how do we use this moment to re-empower ourselves as citizens and human beings?

Stay inspired!

Ray

Obama Wins: Long Election Ends on a Positive Note – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 5, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

“I believe in the future of humanity. I believe our species’ most prosperous, peaceful, and enlightened times are ahead. I am living my life in a way that turns that belief into reality.” (click the affirmation to hear it)

“Yes we can!” After last night, who can honestly argue? If nothing else, Barack Obama’s rise from unknown to the presidency proves that all is possible in The United States of America.

Whatever your political leanings, last night was a breakthrough night that will be remembered by all Americans for generations. For a large segment of the population, the night was the realization of a seemingly unattainable dream. This is proof again that dreams do not rely on reason, but on our willingness to continue to pursue them.

After more than 20 months and nearly $1 billion spent, the U.S. presidential election came to an historic end last night. Senator Barack Obama who inspired America’s youngest voters and many others in a way not seen in decades, won an overwhelming victory over Senator John McCain.

Current Results

Electoral Results

  • Barack Obama 338 (349 from new outlets projecting Indiana for Obama)
  • John McCain 161

Popular vote

  • Barack Obama 62,531,378 (52%)
  • John McCain 55,446,011 (46%)

Support him or not, Mr. Obama’s victory offers the hope of a new start for The United States. There is a chance to heal old wounds and move forward to something bigger and better for this country. There is a chance to restore American leadership on this planet in the positive way that can move it forward.

It is a moment for celebration for new possibilities. How the President-elect will govern remains to be seen. Clearly, the challenges facing the nation are such that he cannot be granted the kind of blind support George W. Bush’s followers granted the outgoing president.

The country’s needs demand that he really be a president of the people and not simply a new package for the same old top-down control. We have elected him, but the question remains who is Barack Obama?

The expectations and the promise are as high as the challenges.

This election is not about Barack Obama or John McCain. It is about the American people reasserting their will over a bipartisan government that has too often failed to heed the will of the people. It is up to all of us to ensure that is the ultimate outcome.

Last night Mr. Obama began with an inspiring victory speech and Senator McCain gave a generous and gracious concession speech. Mr. McCain’s speech did not douse the social fires intensified by the rhetoric of this campaign, but it was a strong and principled call for the nation to do so. The speech gave the nation a glimpse of the John McCain many Americans from all sides respect.

The two speeches are below. Stay inspired!

Ray

John McCain’s Concession Speech from Phoenix.

Barack Obama’s Victory Speech from Grant Park in Chicago.

Obama Victory Speech (two parts)

Drinking Life and Tasting Life – The Affirmation Spot for Monday November 3, 2008

I enjoyed lunch with a friend today and he was telling me about a beer tasting he recently attended.

The person conducting the tasting informed the group that, “Today we are not going to drink beer we are going to taste it. You can go out to the grocery store and get x brand lite beer, if you just want to drink beer. With these hand-crafted brews, it’s all about tasting.”

As I listened to my friend describe the beer tasting, I began to see a life metaphor. You can “drink” your way through life or “taste” your way through life. Each has its inherent advantages and drawbacks.

“Drinking” your way through life is about having fun and a carefree attitude. It’s the experience of “living for the moment.” Without these moments, life would be dull and lack a certain thrill factor.

There are times when you have to cut loose and really “drink” life in. There is no consciousness of anything between the lips and the stomach. The experience is marked by a satisfied unawareness.

Always “drinking” and never “tasting” causes you to lose perspective and meaning and can lead to excess. This approach creates a situation where you tend to consume ideas and experiences without the careful attention and evaluation they deserve. It can lead to a life completely unexamined and you might wake up one morning and wonder how you got where you are.

Meanwhile, “tasting” your way through life is about “being in the moment”.  These are the moments when you have a heightened sense that there is something more to life than its surface appearances. Without these moments, life would lack meaning and purpose.

This is the approach that causes you to “stop and smell the roses” and appreciate the meaning and significance of people, events, and experiences. It is the approach that causes you to stop and savor the “bubbles” of life as they tickle your tongue on their way to the stomach.

“Tasting”, really “tasting”, involves conscious awareness of what you are consuming and how it affects you.

The “tasting” approach has its drawbacks too. If we experience everything as having ultimate significance, then all experiences actually cease having significance. You lose your sense of fun when everything is meticulously evaluated. You can become too tentative and cautious and lose your sense of adventure.

Finding the right mix of awareness and fun in your life, it seems, is about achieving a premium mix of “drinking” and “tasting” as you consume the great brew of life.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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