November 26, 2008

First Person:

Falling Asleep Counting My Blessings

By Al Carlos Hernandez

I am sick and tired of them spinning the news. On-line is bad. Radio is worse, and TV is abysmal. They want you to get scared so you will stay tuned for the next commercial. Ironically it is the renegade and rampant commercialism that got this country in trouble in the first place. The culture of greed based on the cult of personality has to change. We need to get back to a more spiritual and soulful America, remembering that we are the land of the free and home of the brave, not the home of the broke.

Corporate crooks need to be treated as traitorous criminals. They need to share cells with lying real estate agents, oil future speculators, and auto maker CEO’s who arrive at their begging sessions via private jets.

This country was built on the backs of those who work with their hands. These are the people who are now getting the short end of the economic stick. There was a line in the film The Player. It was an insider’s look into the business of filmmaking from the screenwriters POV. The line was spoken by a down-and-out screenwriter to a Rolls driving movie executive: “I can write what you can do.”

People who know how to really work need not fear the recession; it’s those who only know how to “manage” those who work who will find themselves broke, busted, and disgusted.

I needed some perspective. I was inspired by an old positive thinking exercise that served me well during some of my dog day afternoons. It’s quite simple and if you are like me (you have more time than money) you can save yourself a trip to the psychologist by doing the following:

Make a list of all of the good things in your life, everything you can think of, starting with your health. After you have completed the list, then begin erasing them one by one. By the end of the exercise you will know that you have been truly blessed and have a lot to live for. This perspective should negate all of the bad stuff media spins in order to provoke you into hysteria.

This was brought to light very clearly the other day when, as part of my job, I went to a large care facility where they have an array of programs for disabled adults. I frequent that place twice a week. There are people in wheel chairs, those who use walkers, some are blind. I have never walked into a building with such friendly people! Most everyone has a smile and/or a “Hello!” Many of them even know my name.

I realized that those who are in many ways challenged can do this because they live in the moment. They live in the time and space entitled what is, not what it should be, or what it might be. For them life is what it is, not what it isn’t.

Each person, in their own way, seems to have a two way channel to The Creator who gives them a visceral peace that no doubt transcends understanding. Sometimes I admire their spiritual quality.

There is a young woman there who is wheel chair bound and who speaks very slowly, yet makes a sincere effort to say hello. Yesterday, as I breezed in and out, she painfully followed me. Politely engaging my attention, she looked up at me and said in a quiet voice, “My name is Janine, not Jeannie.”

I was at a loss for words, then sincerely apologized. I called her the wrong name for months and was arrogant and virally dismissive on my part because she didn’t and/or couldn’t protest my ambivalence.

This is what corporate executives are doing to the working people of America.

Janine isn’t worried about the economy, or the war, or an earthquake. She has a divine intelligence that is telling her that no matter what, it’s going to be alright. Because then is never right now, and what is important right now for her as an individual is that you know her and know her name, acknowledge that she is a person, not a statistic and not a type.

Janine gave me a gift: she gave me a reality check.

Life can only be lived one day at a time. Dwelling on the past robs you of today. Worrying about tomorrow robs you of the moment as well. If you have the will to work, and the guts to hustle, the only one that can20keep you down is yourself.

Fall asleep counting your blessings. You will wake up empowered to fix this country one person at a time.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to The Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed”.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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