A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".
Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.
Once upon a time, Japan released upon us the deadliest hot air balloons known to man. In an attempt to terrify and kill us, they created Fu-Go weapons that would float, thousands of miles in the air, from their country to ours. Silent weapons of death sent by the gods in the sky.
You probably don't know this story because it was a secret for many, many years. At the time, and for decades after, the government kept it a secret on purpose. This was done intentionally and strategically. Almost no one knew what had happened, that is, except for a small group of very unfortunate people. There was no hysteria in the United States, no fear, and Japan thought they had failed. That same lack of knowledge, however, is what killed a pregnant woman and several innocent children. Had they known these weapons were out there they never would have gone to investigate the strange thing in the woods that they spotted.
The knowledge we possess, or the lack thereof, comes with a price. It is powerful. It is what tips the scale one way or another. Very often, it's the deciding vote in life or death, good or bad, dangerous or safe situations.
Consider a time before fossil fuels. An era before we had electricity and power as we know it today. For most of us, it's unimaginable. Now, consider what it was like for the people that realized they could literally power the world with fossil fuels. I am certain their intentions were primarily good. I am certain it never even occurred to them what that would mean to the world decades into the future, the price we're all paying right now- the rush to find a renewable means of energy. What we didn't know then, we know more about now.
The key to this Puzzle of Knowing lies in what comes after our frame of knowledge changes.
We decide who we are by the actions we take. Do we acknowledge the errors we made along the way and move forward toward better things? Or do we pretend we don't know any better, still, when the evidence is so clear?
This is where you need to pay attention; to how you see things, to how other people react, to what comes next. This is why you need to pay attention; right now, immediately, always.
We can't know everything, it's impossible. That isn't an excuse for us to throw our hands up in the air like we just don't care.
Instead, we must remain open minded and we must look at every angle possible. We must be willing to change our minds when new facts and data surface. We can't get stuck in the old, in the past, in what worked once upon a time. We must hold ourselves accountable to find the facts, not rely on social media as our history lesson in life. When we are shown that we are wrong, that there is a better way, regardless of the effort, we must work towards that new and better way. And when we see something that we know is wrong, we must stand together until it is made right.
I mention that last piece because it feels vitally important in this very moment.
I can't tell you how many times I've recently seen or heard "Give our new president a chance. Whether you like him or not, he's our president and we need to support him."
Normally, I would agree. Normally, it's not that big of a deal. Really, it's not.*
However, nothing about our new president is normal.
To all those people who are telling everyone to give him a chance, to see what happens over the next four years:
- Think of Rosa Parks. Would you have told her to calm down, that everything would be just fine, to give it a few years and see what happens?
- Would you have stood behind Hitler when he promised to return his country to its former greatness?
I hope your answer for both of those is no.
Knowledge is power.
What we know about our new president is: He's a blatant liar, he doesn't conduct himself as a leader, he's using Nazi terminology in a modern way (Don't believe me? Read this and this), and that he has ill will towards a variety of people.
We know the White House website changed its page in less than 24 hours of him becoming president, with a QVC ad for his wife and the removal of certain info related to LGBT and climate change. We know people around the world, in numerous countries, have expressed concerns about his presidency and, just over the weekend, showed a tremendous amount of support for women's rights, among other things. That single point alone should speak volumes.
What we don't know is what he's capable of or what the future holds.
Here's to knowledge. Let's see where it gets us next.
For everyone around the world who has been standing by our side, supporting the people of America, using your voices and fighting with us- thank you. Those two words don't adequately sum up how appreciative we are. Thank you for helping us fight, not just for a better America, but for a better collective world.
*By which I mean voting is a big deal and getting the right people in office is a big deal, but typically the opponents are on a more fair playing field, which is to say: There's normally a lot less crazy in our candidates. In most instances, we're going to be fine either way.