personal history – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: personal history

(Left: Title: Shoes taken off of the Jews-Holocaust Museum | Author: rpavich | Source: rpavich | License: CC BY 2.0) (Right: Berlin Holocaust Memorial)

The Menace of Mendacity

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. —Albert Einstein There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. —Buddha Truth is not a trivial thing. Words matter. Being accurate requires curiosity, diligence, and rigor. I know that everyone has a different idea about what is truth. Much of the debate started when Pontius Pilate asked Read More

Hand carrying a piece of paper of the world

Marketing and Leadership

“When you are made a leader, you aren’t given a crown; you are given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.” —Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric There is an old adage that leaders are born not made. That myth became popular as people observed that most leaders had personality traits such as intelligence, charisma, attractive appearance, and confidence. I believe the truth is that effective leaders are typically born AND made, Read More

Title: photographer silhouette | Author: Benjamin Balázs

The Hard Truth of Mental Illness

Crawl into this experience. Feel it. You have a mentally ill brother who has been tormented by his disease for over 50 years. He has suffered from delusions and voices his whole life.
He claims he knows Deep Throat. He is convinced that the FBI has implanted listening devices in his brain and in his teeth. He believes his parents are clones, and he is not sure who is real and who isn’t.

Title: Nulle chose ne peut être détruite | Author: Bruno Malfondet | License: CC0

Disruption, Destruction, and Distraction

Independence Day 2017 “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” —George W. Bush, 2017 Disruption can be for better for worse. Luckily for me, the two major disruptions in my life turned out for the better. In 1968, at age 23, I was sent to Vietnam as a soldier in Military Read More

"what's the answer" | Author: Erich Ferdinand | License: CC BY 2.0

Quests and Questions

As long as humans have told stories, we’ve shared tales about people going on quests. There is a long list of these tales about quests of one sort or another in history and in literature. Here are a few of the more famous quests. About 2,000 BC, Gilgamesh embraced the quest to find the secret to eternal life. He started out as a cruel despot who raped any women he fancied. After losing his best Read More

Title: Window of St. Mary’s Cathedral in linz | Author: Magdalena Sick-Leitner | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sin and Spin

There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. —Tao Te Ching, Chapter 46 It seems to me that religions focus too much on sin; and politics focuses too much on spin. They may both be guilty of the sin of spin and the spin on sin. Religions specifically call out the Read More

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium

Turning 90: Like a Fox

My wife and I have been in a book group for 33 years. The co-founder is turning 90 on March 7. When we joined the group, all of us were in our 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. Now we are in our 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. We have been through a lot together – diseases, deaths, disasters, and disagreements as well as celebrations, joys, and shared experiences. We have a deep and abiding respect for each Read More

facade | Author: mitchell haindfield | Flickr | | License: Attribution 2.0 Generic

Bubbles, Beliefs, and Behaviors

I grew up in a bubble. It was a very common bubble for a lot of folks in our country: Mid-western, white, Christian, republican, working class, conservative, and rural. I had very little understanding about the lives of people outside my bubble and no awareness that I was even in a bubble.

My first bubble was burst in 1968 when I served in Vietnam with Army Intelligence.

Tu m' by Marcel Duchamp (Photo Credit: Yale University Art Gallery)

Taming Tourette

When I was 30 years old, I was diagnosed as having Tourette syndrome (TS).

It was a huge relief to me to finally have a name for what had been tormenting me since I was about 13 years old. I was also depressed to know that I would be dealing with this neurological disorder for the rest of my life.

"Basalt Columns of Giant's Causeway" Credit: pictruer / 一元 马 | License: CC BY 2.0

Fast-Slow-Stop-Look-Listen

My nickname growing up was Rapid Rick. I always got things done quickly. Not always accurately or perfectly, but fast. After 70 years of taking pride in this reputation, I finally realized that slower is better. Ouch!

Yes, there were some advantages to my “now is good” approach to life…but now I wonder at what price.

"014b," by Elton Eerkens, www.eltoneerkens.tumblr.com

P and E Trump I and S

When I was a kid growing up in the 50s, my whole life revolved around kickball, basketball, running, climbing and hanging out with a neighborhood full of friends. My community consisted entirely of white, Christian, straight (as far as I knew) people. My world was physical and emotional. I measured success by goals scored and games won, and by how many friends I had in the In-Group.

Image from page 295 of "Bell telephone magazine" (1922) | Source: Internet Archive

Pain and Empathy

Pain may not be your friend, but it may be your partner. And pain may be the path to empathy.

Michigan fall landscape, by Rick Bellingham

Emptiness

I remember the knock on the door. It was 1982, and we were living in Basking Ridge, NJ. A fresh-faced and earnest 10 year-old wanted to know if he could mow our lawn. He said he was saving up to buy a car. Even though I was perfectly capable of mowing the lawn myself, I said, “Fantastic, you’re hired.” Today, 34 years later, we are still friends. Richard is now a 5th degree black belt Read More

Title: November 24, 2015 | Author: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com

Truth, Honor, Integrity, and Sensitivity (THIS)

My dad was a man of honor. If he said he was going to do something, you could bank on it getting done. He was also a very talented man. He constructed two family houses pretty much by himself. He built me a small car from scratch. He invented aluminum two-by-fours for houses. I never saw him treat anyone with anything but decency and respect. Most importantly, he stood by his principles, and his word was gold.

Title: Stevie Wonder & Muhammad Ali 1963 | Credit: RV1864

Sense and Sensitivity

March, 1968. I arrive in Saigon during the Tet offensive. I’m scared shitless. Having grown up in a rural, middle-class, Midwestern, small town, I’m not exactly used to hearing bullets whistling over my head. How in hell did I get into this hell and what am I supposed to be doing here?

Eastern States Penitentiary, by Victoria Pickering

Jails and Justice

My daughter, Emily, asked me a great question the other day: “How did your work in jail rehab inform your work with executives?” My answer: It was the best training I could have ever had. Why? Because the same principal applies to both: to get out of jail you need to move up the scale. Here’s the context and explanation. After returning from Vietnam, I spent 8 years in jail (1970-1978)—fortunately, not as an inmate, Read More

Sagrada Família nave roof detail by Flickr user SBA73 https://www.flickr.com/people/7455207@N05

Endings and Beginnings

In 1984, we formed a book group in Basking Ridge, NJ with 6 other couples. Our first book was George Orwell’s 1984. We met monthly (with few exceptions) for the next 32 years discussing a diverse mixture of books: fiction and non-fiction, simple and complex, light and heavy, funny and sad, uplifting and depressing. Each book gave us an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings and to get to know each other on a Read More

Photo by Sérgio Rola, http://unsplash.com/sergio_rola

Wonder and Wondering

In 1968, I met Stephen Williams at Fort Holabird, Maryland, where we were both enrolled in Army Spy School.

Fudekuyo Calligraphy Ceremony, by Aurelio Asiain | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Tribute to Old Friends and New

There’s a comfort in old friends. It’s a warm, easy comfort that is somehow different from the new. There’s no posing, pretending, or pandering. There’s no need for anything other than relaxing in the joy of connection and in being who you are. There is no fooling an old friend. There is a fullness and richness in conversations with old friends. The long histories and specific details of trials, triumphs, and tribulations enrich the re-telling Read More

Untitled photograph of a flower, by Master Wen (License: CC0)

Making Love

Don’t get excited. This is not a sex post or a guide to more exciting intercourse. Although I am a fan of great sex, this post deals with making love to life – in simple, everyday ways that don’t require expensive props or bundles of money. It’s simply an attitude and a choice. I should preface this post by saying that I was a participant in the “Make Love, Not War” movement in the 60s. Read More

Title: The $1.50 Roll | Author: ffunyman | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/ffunyman/3414045884/

Freedom

It’s a terrible feeling and a freeing experience to have your illusions destroyed. As I walked down the streets of Saigon and watched the army trucks full of terrified, tough kids purposely drive through mud puddles so that they could laugh gleefully as the brown, polluted water splashed randomly on the elegant, white, long dresses of the beautiful Vietnamese women I knew my view of the world had been irrevocably shaken.  In the name of Read More

Image by Thomas Hawk

Being at Home in the Universe

An Internal Space or an External Refuge At my older daughter’s wedding, she sang the song, “Feels Like Home to Me” to her husband. It struck me that we are all searching for a sense of home in our lives and I was so grateful that she had found a man with whom she felt at home. Her beautiful voice filled the reception hall and my hope for everyone there was that they felt, in Read More