Oct 032013
 

Blasphemy Incorporated

All opinions expressed herein by the author are offered without undue depths of rancor, malice, irony, or satire; only reasonably-balanced depths are intended. I name names and offer opinions but, any errors of fact are unintentional and sincerely regretted.

Rubber Ducky Jesus Nativity

Today, I received several items in the mail, including a magazine subscription offer and a specialty mail order catalog. Both traded on themes of religion — especially Christianity. You have to believe that neither company felt any need of remorse for their marketing choices. At first I was tempted to simply discard the pieces as simple junk mail. However, considered together, they gave me cause to think about the nature of commercialism, American values, and blasphemy.

The first item was an advertisement for “sinful savings” on subscriptions to Free Inquiry magazine (oriented toward the scientific examination of religion). I have a reputation for thinking (and writing) about such controversial subjects and wasn’t surprised to be targeted by their mailing list. The envelop featured red blood splatters and the message, “Blasphemous! Look inside at your own eternal peril.” They enclosed a “Special Introductory Offer – For Blasphemers Only.” Also, “Your salvation isn’t guaranteed… but your satisfaction with Free Inquiry is!” Their come-on letter starts, “Dear Intelligent Reader, You and I are under attack by religious fanatics who want to control what we read, how we think, and what our kids are taught in school. That’s why they use words like blasphemous, godless, and sacrilegious when bright, free-thinking people ask questions that challenge their superstitious beliefs. These are words meant to inspire fear and intimidate the weak-minded into submission.”

All of this seems like outright inflammatory sensationalism used for commercial advantage. These words, in this context, are also meant to shock, inspire fear, attract gratuitous attention, and sell magazines. I actually admire the effective use of language to motivate appropriately. I admire the insights of Frank Luntz, a Republican Party Strategist and wordsmith, in how to use words and re-frame arguments to push people’s emotional buttons. I just don’t buy his double-think inventions and arguments. And, I just won’t buy what might actually be an interesting magazine when it is promoted in this way.

However, the magazine advertisement also enclosed a note from Richard Dawkins (a renowned evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist) saying, ”If there were a God, I’m convinced He would want you to read Free Inquiry,” adding, “He would be committed to the application of reason and encourage scientific discovery and the cultivation of moral excellence. He would want us to be more concerned about living a valuable life than enforcing arbitrary rules to avoid a vindictive punishment in an afterlife.”

Richard Dawkins also pushes some emotional buttons: reason, discovery, moral excellence, valuable life, and vindictive punishment. But, did you notice how positive, reserved, and respectful he was in framing his note? “God” and “He” are appropriately capitalized as honored divinities. Dawkins appeals to cultivating moral excellence and living a valuable life. You got a problem with that? I don’t. You got a problem with exposing religious hypocrites and moral corruption? Jesus didn’t. Still, I don’t think Jesus would have subscribed to Free Inquiry. I imagine that He might have given permission to be quoted, but not felt motivated by their advertising.

My wife, Dianna, is a retired elementary school teacher and still receives catalogs from the “Oriental Trading Company.” This issue featured “fun and faith” items with the exhortation, “share the spirit.” It contained a mix of holiday spirit and (evidently by allusion), Holy Spirit” trinkets, gifts, activity packs, as well as carnival and fund-raising prizes. They obviously expected to sell profitably to those wanting to promote and commemorate religious holidays and classically-fundamentalist Christian themes. I’m sure that if they anticipated that any of their items would be easily considered blasphemous, they would not advertise, stock, and sell so many.

First, let me point out that I am a self-acknowledged cranky old curmudgeon and some of you will think that I’m being overly-critical. And, any issue, taken by itself, may be easily-excused. But, the catalog collection, taken together, represents a popular disregard of appropriateness and dignity among self-professed spiritual and faithful people.

The catalog cover features three young children, singing hymns in “angel costumes,” complete with cheap white polyester gowns, battery-operated candles, and white “feather and marabou wings.” It is not entirely clear if real African Marabou Storks are “harvested” to produce these authentic-looking wings. That would be a whole other animal conservation ethics issue. Also, I want to suggest that it would be a mistake to dress your little cherubs in polyester and then substitute authentic candles, flickering with actual fire.

The vendor evidently also dyes marabou wings red to produce similar “Cupid wings.” The ad reads: “Put on these feather and marabou wings and find true love as a matchmaking Cupid or use them for an angel costume on Halloween!” We have discovered an unholy amalgam of child-angels in heaven, Cupid, the Roman god of erotic love, and the likely improvisation of a sexy fetish costume. It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone but me. And, I’m not too fond of Halloween as a festival-for-the-dead with little beggars dressed as angels, devils, zombies, pirates, and hookers.

Speaking of little angels, my wife’s older brother died in tonsil surgery when he was seven. Her mother’s pastor explained that God called her boy to be a little angel in heaven and that a bouquet also needs buds to be pretty and complete. Her mother evidently believed this literally and repeated it often in defense of the comfort that she claimed it brought her. Nonetheless, she never escaped the obvious trauma and bitter desolation of her loss. She became an alcoholic and chain smoker and died prematurely of lung cancer. Don’t try to tell me that God harvests little angels from our families.

And, when did “Christ our Savior” start getting mixed up with a jolly old elf sliding down chimneys, evergreen trees, snow men, and other such nonsense? You can buy color-your-own Christmas nativity stockings; gingerbread, rubber ducky, and gnome nativity sets; nativity bingo and playing cards; “Happy Birthday Jesus” balloons, party hats, beach balls, kaleidoscopes, slide puzzles, novelty assortments and ornaments; “Jingle for Jesus” bell bracelets; nativity crosses (just a slight anachronism); plus “Jesus Loves You” and “Caleb the Camel” Christmas tree ornaments.

There is more. You can buy golden crown and “Jesus is My Rock” stress squeeze toys; “King of King” tattoos (hardly in the spirit of Leviticus 19:28 or Deuteronomy 14:1), favor boxes and treat bags; “Joy to the World” paddle balls; “Joyful in Jesus” candy canes, Bible verse fortune cookies, and “Testamints(tm)” breath-freshening candy; “Share His Light and Love” and “Jesus Loves You Snow Much” snowmen; “Jesus Lights the Way” flashing bouncy balls, “Bible Bucks” play money, and “Pick Jesus” guitar picks; as well as rainbow faith bears, “Our Wise Lord” owls, “Jesus is Deer to Me” reindeer and “Wild About Jesus” safari animals.

You will definitely want to proudly display your own Celtic Cross Bible cover (incorporating a pagan solar nimbus). What can I say? It appears that non-believers do not have the corner on impiety. A mix of ignorance, indifference, conceptual hybridization, and crass commercial blasphemy are popular (and big business) among religious “fun”damentalists these days.

All the time, I run across people who want to tell me that they know what the truth is — that they are in charge of explaining what (their version of) God wants everyone to believe and do. I can spot them right away; I used to be that kind of faith-and-fellowship true-believer. Now, I can’t imagine what makes them better than any other tribe of mere mortals with similar convictions. I am appalled, not persuaded, by the arrogance, presumption, and hypocrisy of their blasphemy.

Jun 022013
 

Family Values

Captain Chan Huy Gan stood before his assembled crew and spoke to them with conviction and urgency:

“It has been a full season since our sea-barge and its company of four hundred ran aground on this shore. There is no doubt that we shall not see our former homes and families again without being discovered by another expedition, and we know that no other such expedition was planned to explore these unknown far reaches. Therefore, our ship’s governing council, with the consensus agreement of our accompanying Scholars, has determined that we must put all consideration of return behind us. We must commit ourselves to permanent residence in this place. Further, we must commit, not only to our continuing security, but to extending our prosperity and our progeny for all time henceforth in this land.

“We have met with hostility from the native peoples. But our fortifications hold strong and they will be further strengthened and expanded. You have submitted well in transforming from a ship’s crew to a community of farmers, herdsmen, craftsmen, and guardians. Many of you have been humbled to necessarily forget your royal lineages and government appointments. We have only survived by all willingly doing what is needed, in service to our common good.

“We bear no ill will to the natives beyond our walls and protected fields. Yet, they do not approach us kindly and will not tolerate us to approach them. Sadly, it is only by experiencing the superior strength of our weapons that they have been persuaded to give us some distance and a measure of peace. We have not even been able to unravel the mysteries of their speech. We have taken some from among their raiding parties captive, but they are proud and strong; they refuse to speak or even eat and, by so doing, they give themselves up to their gods.

“We continue to give honor and gratitude to our few precious Scholars who, although being women and our guiding council, have, like every man of the crew, sacrificed for our company’s survival into the future. Remembering that they were born as women, they have, each one, consented to lay aside their veils of mystery, submit to a man among us, bring forth progeny, nurse, and nurture children. However, it has become obvious that, to increase our numbers sufficient to survive and prosper into future generations, we cannot continue to rely upon only these women who traveled with us. We must also take wives from among our neighbors.

“We shall prepare new homes inside the innermost walls. These will be comfortable as befits the most honored guests. Necessarily, to prevent the possibility of these girls giving themselves to their gods, the homes will be secured. Open central courtyards will be provided for access to sun, gardens, and if fortune smiles, the raising of children and the entertaining of friends. As they mature into women, these girls shall discover that they are honored for their service and welcome as citizens of our community. They shall receive the better portions of our goods, whatever education their aspirations allow, and our reciprocal service in caring for their needs and responsibilities. To the extent possible, we shall embrace them as our privileged own.

“We will begin immediately to spy-out villages and fields in our region. Teams will observe the age, health, vigor, and emotional disposition of girls. They will not select over-many from any single village. Nor will they select any who are known to already be mated. But, at an appointed time, as many as possible of these selected will be brought back to join our community.

“In time, the girls will be introduced to men from among our crew. Our Scholars will exercise their best judgment in deciding these matings and their circumstances. All related matters will be at the sole and exclusive discretion of the Scholars. We intend that the girls will be allowed to select temporary or permanent mates to the extent that they choose to cooperate. All crewmen will be expected to comply for the benefit of our community and without concern for their individual preferences.

“It has been decided.”

Twelve years later, Chief Banimbu stood before his gathered warriors and spoke to them with conviction and urgency:

“Your tribe needs you and so I have commanded that you assemble here in advance of an important raid. For years, the intruders on the coast have taken our land, taken our children, and murdered those of our people who approached them. Their vile weapons have given them the power to slaughter our best warriors. We have, in the past, been forced to retreat. Now, we have an opportunity to take our revenge. You men are the knife edge destined to spill their blood and reclaim our stolen fields.

“Our spies have weakened one of their walls in a neglected area and we are ready to break through, catch them unawares, and repay justice for their evil. We will form into teams, enter their houses by first-moon dark, and kill them in their beds. May the gods of earth, water, and sky bless your blades and strengthen your strong right arms.

“I grieve with you for the loss of our kinsmen and the theft of your daughters. You, Yalkan, gave your firstborn son in an early valiant raid on their walls. You also had a beautiful daughter taken while harvesting bushbeets in the eastern fields. I still feel the sting of tears for my beloved Jasitan, taken in the firstyear raid. I often wake at night, remembering the way that she would stand and stare with adoration into deep behind my eyes. Not just me, but so many of you have suffered such losses and endured such painful memories.

“This outrage is not to be permitted. We must defend our children and grandchildren against all threats. Why should we give our fertile lands to loathsome strangers? Why should we allow our daughters to be stolen and sacrificed to their gods? We see that they do not keep but a very few women. It is men who work their fields, bending their backs and knees as women should. It is men who walk their streets.

“Surely the bellies of their gods must cry for the blood of women. We cannot tolerate the outrage of our daughters being taken as sacrifices to call forth blessings from their gods. Why, they must surely also give our daughters to even call forth curses upon us! Raise your voices now and join as brothers in taking vengeance for the evil done to us these past years. Raise your swords, for we shall spill their blood to run back into the sea from which they came! Let none remain; execute justice to the last man, woman, and child!”

The next evening, Chief Banimbu led his fourty men to the intruders’ village. They finished boring through the wall and dispersed to do their work. They walked with stealth and struck with well-planned deftness. They did not shout out their victories, but kept the silence of unpleasant duty and honorable labor.

In the third house that Chief Banimbu entered with his team of four, his lieutenant opened a sleeping chamber door, only to draw back quickly with a quiet gasp and the glistening of fresh blood on his forearm. Chief Banimbu could see the form of a women outlined in the door. She wore a beaded gown with a sash of rank. She brandished a small dagger and stood protectively in front of a small brood of children. She suddenly froze where she stood, staring with adoration into deep behind Banimbu’s eyes. The lieutenant, his surprise and pain turning into anger and outrage, raised his sword to run her through. The Chief knocked the sword aside and stepped into the doorway, ready to defend his child and grandchildren against all threats.

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Mar 022012
 

I found this posted on the information board at my US Post Office in Dayton, Iowa, 50530 on March 2, 2012. There were also three modified cartoons referring to President Obama, fried chicken, watermelon, and black salami. I thought that the cartoons were inappropriate and offensive to public decency; I removed them.

The threat letter seemed more personal, so I added my answer and left it there. I will transcribe the notes for your convenience.

The original message was: “What do you call 20,000 liberals in the bottom of the ocean? A good start. Liberalism is a mental disorder”

My answer reads: “Please, don’t just threaten me with drowning and post anonymous racist hate cartoons against our elected President in a US Post Office. Make your case, explain your issues, and give practical ideas for improvement… and please have the courage to sign your name. With sincere best wishes, Your neighbor, David Satterlee”

Frankly, I worry that the threat could get personal. It may already be personal: I’ve had an Obama 2012 poster in my front window for weeks.

Having lived in this small rural town for only two years, I’m still a bit of an outsider. I’ve improved the old 1880s workman’s Victorian that we bought and joined the Lion’s Club until my social anxieties got too severe. I smile and speak kindly at every opportunity, and wrote a series of positive local feature articles for the Dayton Review until I had a stroke last year.

The editor of the Dayton Review has encouraged me to begin submitting an opinion column, which I can write from home without running all over to take interview notes. I plan to feature liberal ideas explained in terms and values that conservatives claim as their exclusive own.

It occurs to me that my openness may fan the flames among those who are prone to reflexive hate. I could just hide in the shadows, cringing and hoping that no one will notice me or be mean to me. But, I am aware of the courage of those great souls who spoke out to end slavery, gain the vote for women, oppose the baron kings and their trusts, and march for civil rights.

As a child in school, I was raised in a particularly rigid, conservative, Christian faith. I remember how it was to be the object of hate, bullying, and abuse. I learned to run fast. No more. I’m going to stand fast. Bullies should be faced down. I’m tired of this shit and I’m not going to take it any more.

I’ve spent decades trying to figure out all the things I didn’t learn as a closed-minded conservative. I started with all the self-improvement and pop psychology books. I graduated to social psychology, Eastern religions, and theories of human development. These past four years, I’ve concentrated on figuring out the difference between Republicans and Democrats. I came out of the process as a generally-tolerant, love-thy-neighbor, but still-evangelical liberal. But, I still can’t feel good about hate, disrespect, and bullying.

‘nuf said.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Sep 252010
 

Self Improvement – Know Your Self

If it is to be, it’s up to me!

Jack of Bakersfield, California, endorses the motto: “If it is to be, it’s up to me!”

If you fail to act, things will gradually come apart. Your plow will rust, termites will devour your walls and your distributors will loose interest. It is a universal law that things will become increasingly disorganized if left alone. Thus, we all have a responsibility to continuously invest intelligent, creative energy into making things more organized. I do not believe that things can become increasingly organized on their own without the directed energy of a creative worker. So, if you want something to happen, you had better get out there, plan, invest your time and energy and take responsibility to make it happen.

“Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly, even if they roll a few more upon it.”
-Albert Schweitzer

“But then if I do not strive, who will?”
-Chuang Tzu

How to Test Your Motives

The ideal motive for running your network business is service to others. You may draw your faith in this principle from the teachings of Jesus or the concept of Karma, but the principle is sound. The trick is to not anticipate that repayment at the time you are performing an act of service.

Sometimes, however, your life situation puts a lot of pressure on you. Many of the people who are moved to begin a network business do so because they already have financial problems and need money now. That makes it real hard to avoid visualizing their neighbor’s product purchase as their children’s school shoes. If this is your situation, do what you must from the need to do it. Relief from poverty by earnest endeavor is an honorable motive and most people will respond kindly to your work. (And you may just introduce them to the business opportunity that they need to solve their own problems.)

The real problems of motivation are those people who see network marketing as their ticket to riches through the work of others. They are shameless, pushy and shallow. There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to earning a car allowance or a TAC trip. But, if you spend all your time dreaming about retiring early and how important you’ll look in your fancy yacht, then shame on you.

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”
-Bertrand Russell

Know thyself

I’ve known some people who are a mess. They don’t understand themselves and they don’t understand anyone else either. They don’t know what they want out of life and cast around randomly and unsuccessfully for affection, approval and control. They change jobs and spouses; nothing seems to make them happy. They may live dangerously to feel “alive” or they may resort to chemicals to hide from their desperate emptiness.

Knowing yourself not only means understanding your values and needs, but also having mastery of your goals, emotions and relationships. When you know what good things bring you a sense of satisfaction and purpose, you can invest your life cultivating, harvesting and distributing that goodness.

“Thoroughly to know oneself, is above all art, for it is the highest art.”
-Theologia Germanica

“To know oneself, one should assert oneself.”
-Albert Camus

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
-George Eliot

“Being in business is not about money. It is a way to become who you are.”
-Paul Hawken

The pleasures of dedicated work

There is nothing like dedicated, focused attention to make things flow. Somehow, when you get completely involved, time seems to stand still and everything gets easier. It’s like all the circuits in your brain line up to keep you on track. In fact, being fully absorbed in work is a distinctly pleasurable state of mind.

According to a manager in Texas: “It’s easy if you are willing to work hard and if you have the desire to achieve. It’s difficult if you aren’t dedicated to the work and the company. When I decided to dedicate myself full-time to an NSP business, it became much easier for me to achieve my business goals. The very reason I’ve worked all these years with the same endeavor is because I enjoy helping people find natural answers to their dietary concerns, and talking about health and nutrition with them in words they are comfortable with and can understand.”

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
-Patanjali 

Approval and control

What are the things that you really, down deep, want in life? Almost anything you can think of boils down to some form of approval or control. That makes the desire to feel approved and in control the most powerful influence for good or bad in our lives.

My sponsor urged me to learn to “release” on my desires for approval and control. She explained that they bound me to the responses of people who weren’t even aware of their influence. In addition, these emotions especially bound me to manipulative people who had no interest in my welfare.

While discussing competition, my wife told me that women compete for approval but men compete for control. Have you noticed that tendency? You can use that information to help motivate the people you talk to.

“The hook is your desire to be approved by others. The bait is any kind of reward. The minute you go for the bait, the game is playing you. You are no longer playing the game. You get serious.”
-Laurence G. Boldt

Waiting ’till later – the classic negator

“I’ll do it tomorrow.” – “Tomorrow never comes.”

Be careful to not say “tomorrow” when you really mean “not today.” Procrastination is the perfect way to put something off forever. It negates your good intentions. The best way to fight procrastination is do things right away. There’s no time like the present.

Setting deadlines helps you to avoid being forced to rush at the last minute. Try to finish your monthly goals during the first 2 weeks. Place your orders early.

“We take no note of time, but from its loss.”

“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
-Edward Young

“To be contented is noble, but to be lethargic does not enable one to benefit men or to utilize things.”
-Hung Tzu Ch’eng

“Tomorrow is another day”
-Scarlet O’Hara, Gone With the Wind

Buy some flowers

Show your appreciation. Buy some flowers for someone who needs a lift or needs to know that you care. Flowers are truly special. They convey a special sense of tenderness and friendship. Buy some flowers for yourself too. You deserve it. You’ve been working hard and doing good. Take charge of brightening your day and giving yourself a lift.

You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers, of course. There are so many ways to show your appreciation! Search constantly to find ways to brighten someone’s day. At Hewlett-Packard Company an engineer burst into his supervisor’s office to announce that he’d solved an important problem. The manager groped in his desk for some way to give an immediate reward and came up with the banana from his lunch. The “Golden Banana Award” is now one of the highest honors an HP employee can receive.

“The best portion of a good man’s life – his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
-William Wordsworth

Looking Good

The most important part of looking good is a smile born of genuine happiness. Inner beauty always brings out the best in people. It is not necessary to have the best clothes or most perfect hair and makeup but your attitudes will affect your appearance.

Respect for yourself and others demands keeping clean and being “presentable.” I don’t know which comes first, self-esteem or dressing well, but they seem to reinforce each other. My great grandparents used to put on their better clothes when they left the house. It was a matter of respect for themselves and others. People today seem to want to be more “casual” but that is no excuse for being slovenly.

Mary Kay Ash (chairman of Mary Kay Cosmetics) says: “While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence – which, I believe, does make the woman.”

“Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.”
-Christopher Lasch

“What you see is what you get.”
-Flip Wilson

Love: The best motivation

The real sustaining power to keep you going is love. When you love people, you just HAVE to show them how they can feel better and be healthier. Can you imagine a finer motivation?

Bonnie feels this way: “Love the people and be very concerned with other people’s feelings. If we love people, we have the right attitude to be in the people business. As you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want. Treat each other like family, and like you want to be treated. It works – it’s tried and tested.”

“It’s motive alone that gives character to the actions of men.”
-Jean de la Bruyere

Zest for life

They know you’re dead when you quit moving. Zest for life is the joyous energy that keeps us moving, playing and working. If that were to go away, we would start losing mental and muscle tone rapidly.

Zest for life is infectious. It is a gift that you automatically share with everyone you meet. People like to be near you when you have infectious enthusiasm.

The sense of optimism that you bring to your life and work increases your chances of success in any endeavor and contributes to your health and ability to deal with stressful situations.

“I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
-Helen Keller

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”
-Mother Teresa

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Sep 242010
 

Self Improvement – Know Yourself

If it is to be, it’s up to me!

Jack of Bakersfield, California, endorses the motto: "If it is to be, it’s up to me!"

If you fail to act, things will gradually come apart. Your plow will rust, termites will devour your walls and your distributors will loose interest. It is a universal law that things will become increasingly disorganized if left alone. Thus, we all have a responsibility to continuously invest intelligent, creative energy into making things more organized. I do not believe that things can become increasingly organized on their own without the directed energy of a creative worker. So, if you want something to happen, you had better get out there, plan, invest your time and energy and take responsibility to make it happen.

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly, even if they roll a few more upon it."
-Albert Schweitzer

"But then if I do not strive, who will?"
-Chuang Tzu

How to Test Your Motives

The ideal motive for running your network business is service to others. You may draw your faith in this principle from the teachings of Jesus or the concept of Karma, but the principle is sound. The trick is to not anticipate that repayment at the time you are performing an act of service.

Sometimes, however, your life situation puts a lot of pressure on you. Many of the people who are moved to begin a network business do so because they already have financial problems and need money now. That makes it real hard to avoid visualizing their neighbor’s product purchase as their children’s school shoes. If this is your situation, do what you must from the need to do it. Relief from poverty by earnest endeavor is an honorable motive and most people will respond kindly to your work. (And you may just introduce them to the business opportunity that they need to solve their own problems.)

The real problems of motivation are those people who see network marketing as their ticket to riches through the work of others. They are shameless, pushy and shallow. There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to earning a car allowance or a TAC trip. But, if you spend all your time dreaming about retiring early and how important you’ll look in your fancy yacht, then shame on you.

"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly."
-Bertrand Russell

Know thyself

I’ve known some people who are a mess. They don’t understand themselves and they don’t understand anyone else either. They don’t know what they want out of life and cast around randomly and unsuccessfully for affection, approval and control. They change jobs and spouses; nothing seems to make them happy. They may live dangerously to feel "alive" or they may resort to chemicals to hide from their desperate emptiness.

Knowing yourself not only means understanding your values and needs, but also having mastery of your goals, emotions and relationships. When you know what good things bring you a sense of satisfaction and purpose, you can invest your life cultivating, harvesting and distributing that goodness.

"Thoroughly to know oneself, is above all art, for it is the highest art."
-Theologia Germanica

"To know oneself, one should assert oneself."
-Albert Camus

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
-George Eliot

"Being in business is not about money. It is a way to become who you are."
-Paul Hawken

The pleasures of dedicated work

There is nothing like dedicated, focused attention to make things flow. Somehow, when you get completely involved, time seems to stand still and everything gets easier. It’s like all the circuits in your brain line up to keep you on track. In fact, being fully absorbed in work is a distinctly pleasurable state of mind.

According to a manager in Texas: "It’s easy if you are willing to work hard and if you have the desire to achieve. It’s difficult if you aren’t dedicated to the work and the company. When I decided to dedicate myself full-time to an NSP business, it became much easier for me to achieve my business goals. The very reason I’ve worked all these years with the same endeavor is because I enjoy helping people find natural answers to their dietary concerns, and talking about health and nutrition with them in words they are comfortable with and can understand."

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
-Patanjali 

Approval and control

What are the things that you really, down deep, want in life? Almost anything you can think of boils down to some form of approval or control. That makes the desire to feel approved and in control the most powerful influence for good or bad in our lives.

My sponsor urged me to learn to “release” on my desires for approval and control. She explained that they bound me to the responses of people who weren’t even aware of their influence. In addition, these emotions especially bound me to manipulative people who had no interest in my welfare.

While discussing competition, my wife told me that women compete for approval but men compete for control. Have you noticed that tendency? You can use that information to help motivate the people you talk to.

"The hook is your desire to be approved by others. The bait is any kind of reward. The minute you go for the bait, the game is playing you. You are no longer playing the game. You get serious."
-Laurence G. Boldt

Waiting ’till later – the classic negator

"I’ll do it tomorrow." – "Tomorrow never comes."

Be careful to not say "tomorrow" when you really mean "not today." Procrastination is the perfect way to put something off forever. It negates your good intentions. The best way to fight procrastination is do things right away. There’s no time like the present.

Setting deadlines helps you to avoid being forced to rush at the last minute. Try to finish your monthly goals during the first 2 weeks. Place your orders early.

"We take no note of time, but from its loss."

"Procrastination is the thief of time."
-Edward Young

"To be contented is noble, but to be lethargic does not enable one to benefit men or to utilize things."
-Hung Tzu Ch’eng

"Tomorrow is another day"
-Scarlet O’Hara, Gone With the Wind

Buy some flowers

Show your appreciation. Buy some flowers for someone who needs a lift or needs to know that you care. Flowers are truly special. They convey a special sense of tenderness and friendship. Buy some flowers for yourself too. You deserve it. You’ve been working hard and doing good. Take charge of brightening your day and giving yourself a lift.

You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers, of course. There are so many ways to show your appreciation! Search constantly to find ways to brighten someone’s day. At Hewlett-Packard Company an engineer burst into his supervisor’s office to announce that he’d solved an important problem. The manager groped in his desk for some way to give an immediate reward and came up with the banana from his lunch. The "Golden Banana Award" is now one of the highest honors an HP employee can receive.

"The best portion of a good man’s life – his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
-William Wordsworth

Looking Good

The most important part of looking good is a smile born of genuine happiness. Inner beauty always brings out the best in people. It is not necessary to have the best clothes or most perfect hair and makeup but your attitudes will affect your appearance.

Respect for yourself and others demands keeping clean and being "presentable." I don’t know which comes first, self-esteem or dressing well, but they seem to reinforce each other. My great grandparents used to put on their better clothes when they left the house. It was a matter of respect for themselves and others. People today seem to want to be more "casual" but that is no excuse for being slovenly.

Mary Kay Ash (chairman of Mary Kay Cosmetics) says: "While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence – which, I believe, does make the woman."

"Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success."
-Christopher Lasch

"What you see is what you get."
-Flip Wilson

Love: The best motivation

The real sustaining power to keep you going is love. When you love people, you just HAVE to show them how they can feel better and be healthier. Can you imagine a finer motivation?

Bonnie feels this way: "Love the people and be very concerned with other people’s feelings. If we love people, we have the right attitude to be in the people business. As you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want. Treat each other like family, and like you want to be treated. It works – it’s tried and tested."

"It’s motive alone that gives character to the actions of men."
-Jean de la Bruyere

Zest for life

They know you’re dead when you quit moving. Zest for life is the joyous energy that keeps us moving, playing and working. If that were to go away, we would start losing mental and muscle tone rapidly.

Zest for life is infectious. It is a gift that you automatically share with everyone you meet. People like to be near you when you have infectious enthusiasm.

The sense of optimism that you bring to your life and work increases your chances of success in any endeavor and contributes to your health and ability to deal with stressful situations.

"I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
-Helen Keller

"A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love."
-Mother Teresa

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Sep 222010
 

Family Relationships with a Small Business in the Home

Getting your husband’s respect and attention

A common problem for married women who start a network marketing business is an over-protective husband. The guy may really believe that his wife is getting burned by a get-rich-quick scheme or that herbalists are all dangerous quacks. Of course, a few cascara sagrada brownies will loosen him up and convince him of the power of herbs. But seriously ….

Larry was really skeptical when his wife Maureen got into direct sales. He says: “It’s a whole lot different than the typical direct sales company. The company is based on education and taking care of the people you sign up.” Maureen patiently won him over. Now he adds: “I’ve got a couple of Managers who didn’t get their husband’s attention until they got nice bonus checks.”

Once your husband notices how well you are doing, you’re all set for the next most common problem. He’ll want to dive in, take over and reorganize. Well, you wanted his respect and attention ….

“Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.”
-Juvenal

Getting respect from family and friends

Strangers will take you at face value. They will judge you quickly but at least they will give you a moment’s chance.

The people who already know you may be harder to convince that you have something new to say. They’ve already classified you as “mother of three,” “computer nerd” or “Uncle Jake with the strange tattoo.” These mental perceptions run deep. You may never convince your mother that herbs are wonderful or that you know what will help with her gout.

The key to breaking old patterns of perception is simply exercising the consistency and persistence to make deep new patterns. As you continue to do your new thing, you will build a new reputation and your family and friends will have to start seeing you in a new light.

Involving your spouse

If your spouse doesn’t share your enthusiasm, all is not lost. Distributors who have been there often say that it’s not unusual for the reluctant spouse to eventually join the other in the business. But it usually takes time and the right attitude.

The best advice is to not push too hard; that would only alienate them and make things harder. If you’re going to improve their diet, do it gradually. If you start them on an herbal program, choose one that is “just right” – one that will gently improve their health over time. Listen to their concerns and do what you can to not challenge them in that area. Show your spouse the respect they need in order to earn the understanding that you want.

Show that you still love and support your spouse. If you quietly and persistently keep on without in-your-face confrontations, your spouse can lower their defenses. Once that happens, you can involve them gradually, answer their questions and quiet their fears.

You’re not going to take away everything they love to eat and force them to live on carrot tops and turnip greens. All you want is to contribute to the financial security of your family and help others in the process.

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.”
-Terence

Involving your children

Helping in the family business can be one of the most significant constructive influences on the developing self-confidence of a young person. Instead of watching TV or playing video “virtual reality,” here is a chance to experience real reality. They can develop real skills and feel very much needed and appreciated.

Your children can earn and save significant amounts of money. (You do plan to pay them, don’t you?) We promised our boys when they were in their early teens that we would match whatever they had saved to invest in their own cars, when the time came. Our youngest took that to heart and tucked his money away for years. When the time came, we paid up several thousand dollars against his first car. He learned his lesson too well, but we were proud of his determination and good choices.

A child who learns to meet and talk to strangers, handle money correctly, make decisions and be responsible for the feeding the fish will already have what it takes to function away from home when they are more “grown up.”

You can work out schedules that allow appropriate time for homework and other school activities, play time with friends, and vacations.

Certain questions and situations come up regularly. Children really take pride when they can provide the right answer with authority. Of course children don’t know all the answers at first, but neither did you.

Living herbally ever after

The natural health philosophy can seem pretty scary at first. It runs completely counter to strongly-held beliefs about nutrition, vaccinations and drug therapy. Your spouse may think you’ve joined a cult or taken one too many enemas. Maybe your new interest disrupts a comfortable routine and makes them feel insecure or robbed of your attention.

Eventually something will happen that can change their mind. Gloria started her business as a hobby and got her husband Jim’s attention when she won a free trip to Lake Tahoe. Gloria says: “He was so impressed all he could say was ‘Wow!'”

When husband and wife share the same good values and goals, life is much more rewarding. Maybe you will have to give up your business to make peace in the family. Maybe your family will join you in the business. Either way, you will have learned how to be healthier and happier so that you can “live herbally ever after.”

Men, women, and relationships

The women in my extended family have been passing around and discussing the books by John Gray, Ph.D. This is the fellow who wrote “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” A little more slowly, some of the men are catching on. Not surprisingly, the guys who have always been the most obnoxious pigs are having no part of it.

Dr. Gray has been counseling couples for 20 years. He took his observations to workshops and seminars and then started writing books. He’s clearly a keen observer of human nature and deserves your attention. He writes about the obstacles to good communication between men and women.

For instance John explains that we all need love but a man tends to identify with his actions and responds best to trust, appreciation and acceptance while a woman tends to identify with her feelings and responds best to respect, understanding and care.

He says that men and women respond differently to stress. A man will tend to withdraw and become more focused to deal with stress; he needs to “go to his cave” to come up with a plan. A woman will tend to lose focus and overwhelm; she needs him to listen as she shares her anxieties. These difference often provoke men and women into behaviors that are completely misunderstood by their spouses.

I recommend these books to anyone who wants to improve their ability to understand, communicate and love.

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Feb 202010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 17 – Course Conclusion: Families and Couples

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Feb 182010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 16 – Intimacy Across the Lifespan

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Feb 162010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 15 – Making Relationships Better

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Feb 142010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 14 – Marital Disruption

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Feb 122010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 13 – Processing Information

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Feb 082010
 

Course Description

Professors Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury lecture on families and couples. This course examines relationships and their connection to individual psychopathology, marital discord, and family disruption.

Lecture 10 – Managing Differences in Families and Couples, Part 1

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Lecture 11 – Managing Differences in Families and Couples, Part 2

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