JUDY, JUDY, JUDY and the Wedding Dress!

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

One of my favourite projects during Fashion Design School was the “Recycled Project.”  I love creating innovative and exciting fashion pieces.  My usual inspiration seemed to be lacking, though and the deadline was looming.

Just one week before the project due date, while sorting through my old cassette tapes, I pondered the different methods  I might use;  cut and paste or glue; knitting; linking pieces together; stapling or tying  strings.  Nothing jogged the spark.  I’d heard others were using CD diskettes, Kleenex and garbage bags.  I set about tidying out cupboards and prayed for that flash of inspiration.

Hours late, still frustrated, I chucked most of my old cassette tapes into the trash bin; and picked up the phone.  I curled up beneath a queen-sized bedspread I’d crocheted for my son.  While bemoaning the absence of my usual bright ideas, to a girlfriend, I played with the bright blue tassels on the bedspread.  I thought of my kids and how I’d enjoying crocheting something beautiful for them.  Hmm.  Maybe I could crochet something!

After searching through box after box of craft and sewing supplies for something to recycle, I sat down, feeling somewhat deflated.  My eyes settled upon the remaining stack of cassettes, yet to be sorted.  I hated to throw my wedding tape out, even though I was divorced and even though I had no desire to listen to the recording of the ceremony, again.  I could make a “wedding” dress.

I wondered what crocheted cassette tape would look like . . .  Within a few minutes I had crocheted a test swatch.  Hmmm.  Seems to work . . . lots of give  . . .

Over the next week, I crocheted a size 8 tube-top-like piece, that laced up the back and a matching skirt.  While I was pleased with my creation, it seemed rather boring.

I set out on a mission to locate some  45 RPM record centers.  The only shop in the Lower Mainland that seemed to have any was an antique record shop, across town.  Imagine my elation when the shopkeeper handed me a sample.  The little circular pieces were red!  Perfect!

I joined the bodice and the skirt together with the red circlets and trimmed the hem and bustline as well.  It was getting better .  How can I accessorize this and make it an ensemble?  I ransacked my travel crates and pulled out a glass=beaded African necklace I’d picked up at a Masai market in rural Tanzania decades ago,  It was PERFECT!

At school, I hung the outfit on the mannequin and took a couple of photos.  I was pleased and got bonus marks for originality!  YAY!  I stuffed my haute couture piece into a plastic bag, relegating it to the very back of my closet shelf, along with the costumes.

Over the next decade, every time I went to create a costume or sort through my closet, I came across the cassette tape dress.  I still couldn’t bring myself to throw the thing away.  It was the last physical remnant of happier times.  I asked everyone who saw it if they’d care to try it on.  Only one soul was brave enough, since it’s a very open mesh!  She said she could not imagine wearing it for any length of time because it was so scratchy!  Nevertheless, it did look hot on her!

A girlfriend had donated her antique judy to me and I thought about displaying my fashion design skills.  The dress just didn’t match the decor.  Once I finished renovations and redecorating, though, I realized the colour scheme would fit.  I set up the Judy and dressed her, complete with the Masai necklace.  She looked great.  Also, since I no longer had anywhere to hang my First Nations, bone, chest plate, I also hung that around Judy’s neck.  Hmmm.  Not bad!

Whenever strangers enter my living room, Judy is the very first thing that draws their attention. It amuses me to hear how amused they always are when they find out that the dress is crocheted from cassette tape!  Then, they are doubly amused once they learn that one of the tapes was the voice recording of my 1980 wedding, along with Def Leppard,  ACDC and Peter Paul & Mary!

Now, as I enjoy Judy every day, I can’t help but wonder what kind of energy she is putting out and what kind of man she will attract for me . . . LOL!  Perhaps an Aboriginal Chief with African roots; an eclectic taste in music; love of antiques and a flair for fashion and eccentricity !

The Joy of Genealogy

•January 2, 2010 • 4 Comments

Genealogy is one of my strongest & deepest passions & I’ll share with you my background in genealogy; both as a private genealogist & as a forensic genealogist.  Then, I will go on to outline the joys & pleasures, purpose & benefits of genealogy as a hobby.  Then, I’ll get into the really interesting stuff . . . how to begin your family tree!

I’ve had an interest in genealogy from the time I was about 5 of 6 and was old enough to realize there were other  countries and that my grandfather was born somewhere other than Canada.   I’d always ask about our family history, but no one knew much, other than my Dad’s family came from Greece & that two of his brothers had gone to West Virginia, while other siblings had stayed in Greece.  My grandfather died in 1951, 3 years before I was born and it appeared to me, that his memory had faded, quickly, from everyone’s minds after he died.

Perhaps it was the fear of having my memory fade like that, in my family member’s minds or just plain old curiousity.  I began my family tree in 1979 and put everyone I knew on it.   I had no idea how to proceed, since I didn’t speak Greek & didn’t know who or where to write to find out about my family.

Then I recalled that my Grandma had shown me a small stack of letters written in Greek, when I was a teenager & I wondered if she still had them.  I did get those letters from her and had them translated.  They were from the 1940s, from my Grandfather’s brothers & nephews; some in the back hills of West Virginia and some from Greece.  The letters relayed information about how my great aunt had been killed by the rebels in the mountains of Greece.  The book Eleni had just been published, in which author Nicholas Gatzoiannis details the story of his mother being executed during that war.  That book added fuel to my fire!  An excellent read, by the way!

This was before the internet . . . I called directory assistance & asked for any listings by the name of Bongalis.  The operator provided me with 2 names & I called.  The cousin who answered was elated to hear from us.  They always heard that they had relatives in Canada, but didn’t know how to contact them, either.  Within a short time, I was on my way to West Virginia, where I added over 200 names to my tree.  The family was HUGE, with one of my grandfather’s brothers having 7 children & the other having 14 children . . . many of whom had grandchildren already!  Shortly after that, I visited Texas and met more of this branch of the family.

I also wrote to Greece . . . sent a letter, general delivery, to my father’s first cousin, who’d been identified in those Greek letters.  I wrote it in English & I prayed that he was still living & that he would be curious enough to find the resources to translate my letter.  Sure enough, I received an open, warm response from my 1st cousin once removed, in Greece.  I had his letter translated, because it was in Greek & within a few months, I was on my way to Greece!

I spent 4 glorious days in Lidoriki, Greece, over Easter, in 1984.  My cousin roasted the Easter lamb over an open spit, while his wife, prepared the Easter feast.  Other relatives came, also, from Athens, and I managed to fill in all but one branch of the family. I was expecting my son, Thomas, at the time & vowed that one day, I would return to Greece with him, so he could learn about his ancestral homeland & feel the amazing energy in that mountain village.  It had been almost totally destroyed in 1944 during WWII & had slowly been rebuilt over the decades.

In 2008, Thomas & I returned to Greece & through a serendipitous inquiry, discovered the last branch of our family, some of whom were living on Santorini.  Of course we visited them & made the pilgrimage to Lidoriki.  I cannot tell you how proud I was to show him where our family had come from and proud to be able to relate the history of our family to him. That I was able to do that gave me such deep sense of fulfillment.  The realization of what my ancestors had sacrificed, so we could have a better life, left me with such appreciation & gratefulness for them.  My great grandparents never saw three of their sons after they immigrated as teenagers, to North America.  Neither did their sister.  This is not an uncommon story, though, as I learned during my tenure as a forensic genealogist!

So what is forensic genealogy?  I actually did a radio show on forensic genealogy, back in July, for those of you who did not hear it  are interested, it is in the archives at http://www.spiritquestradio.com.  For those of you who missed it, forensic genealogists usually work with attorneys or lawyers; banks & financial institutions to find missing heirs for estate purposes.  It is the art & science of identifying, locating missing individuals & documenting their relationships for court purposes.  Sometimes, people die without a Last Will & Testament & their next of kin & heirs need to be identified.  And sometimes, the attorney handling the probate has been unable to locate the heirs, even though they’ve been identified, either because they have moved; they are deceased or they’ve changed their names, etc.  . . so many different reasons.

In order to be a forensic genealogist, three main areas of competency come to mind; firstly, to have the skills of a genealogist, so one can track the family; know how to map it all out on a tree & understand the relationships.  Secondly, one should have good investigative skills or at least, an innate curiosity as the forensic genealogist needs to find the missing heirs.  The last area a forensic genealogist needs to be competent in is in paralegal skills, because they must draft affidavits for court purposes, on how each heir is related to the decedent.  This requires reference to, sometimes, hundreds of documents, included as exhibits, all neatly sleeved in plastic protectors, in a binder.

Forensic genealogists do whatever it takes, but rarely do they have to go anywhere!  I found over 2500 missing heirs in 5 years and never once left the office!  They use internet, phone & write letters.  So this was when Google was first coming out & I was one of the original geeks who knew how to search the net & find anything!

Forensic Genealogy is exploding with the advent of the internet.  Old probate files, where they haven’t been able to find their heirs, sometimes sit for decades in bank vaults & file cabinets.  Now that many historical records are online, genealogy has become far easier.  People are easier to find.  Forensic genealogists have access to databases that others don’t have.  With court authorization, they can also get information from institutions, organizations & government bodies that the general public cannot!  It is a fascinating career.  The cases are handled, much like a police case; in that a forensic genealogist has a number of cases as a time & documents everything that happens & how everything was discovered.  One reason for that is that if an heir is NOT found, the court will usually require an Affidavit of Due Diligence, that outlines everything that was done in an effort to locate the heir.  And, sometimes, sadly, if an heir or heirs are not located, the monies are taken by the State.

With the gargantuan waves of migrating humanity the world has seen over the past century, there is no doubt that the field of forensic genealogy will continue to grow.  Nowadays, with world-wide travel so commonplace, heirs  can be found anywhere on the planet!  I found people who were in India, on their way to buy a camel for an overland trek; a woman who was living under a bridge in Italy, and a homeless person in San Diego.  The San Diego Police Department assisted me in that case, by posting notices on dozens of telephone poles throughout the downtown core!  I located people who had never met their offspring and folks who had never met their parents. Celebrities can be missing heirs, too! A famous comedian was a missing heir on one of the cases I worked on and another was a benefactor.  I located a famous producer in Ireland, whose mother’s remains were resting on ice, awaiting instructions for either embalmment or cremation!  One of the larger cases I worked on was a member of Colonel Saunder’s family.  I learned a lot about the history of Kentucky Fried Chicken!  🙂   Yet another client enlisted my aid to research his father who had been executed in Russia in the 1940s.  He wanted to learn what he could about his father’s family.

One might ask what the relevance of forensic genealogy is to us, as individuals, especially since many of us cannot imagine a long lost aunt or uncle who has left us money.  It’s important to have one’s family documented and I believe, as people travel more and more around the world, important to have your family tree included in your Last Will & Testament.  One never knows what is going to happen . . . you could outlive everyone in your family & seemingly, have no one to whom you can leave your estate.  Do you really want your money going to the state?  Better it go to a distant relative!

I’ve seen forensic genealogy reunite many families.  The forensic genealogist gets to know the family far better than each family member knows the family!  By researching hundreds of families, I learned about genes and inherited characteristics.  Not only the genes that affect how we look and what we sound like.  I’ve seen lines of people in the same families, but two different branches, with the same occupations.  And estranged family members that started out on one side of the country, ending up within two blocks of each other, on the other side of the country, unbeknownst to each other!  I noticed that the energy of different families varies.  It’s amazing how all the members of one family can have a certain feel or energy to them.  Even if they have different personalities, it’s still a similar energy.


OBSERVATIONS OF A COMMUNICATORY KIND!

•October 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This article first appeared in the October issue of RADIANT LIGHTS MAGAZINE

pony express

OBSERVATIONS OF THE COMMUNICATORY KIND!

Our methods of communication have certainly advanced over the past century and a half and I often wonder how much more advanced communications will be a century from now.

While the Pony Express only ran for 18 months, it reduced the transcontinental delivery time for urgent communications, to a mere ten days and once the transcontinental telegraph was completed in 1861, the Pony Express immediately became obsolete.   Other changes, such as the telephone, have taken longer to evolve.

The telephone was invented in March of 1876 and by the early 1900s, the candlestick telephone was being marketed and over the next fifty years, telephones crept into the homes of the wealthy.  Technology advanced during the next hundred years, to the dial phone; the touch tone phone and then into the cordless phone.  Satellite and cellular telephones weren’t far behind.  Cell phones now even include cameras that capture digital images on the spot as opposed to having the corner drug store sent photos out for developing, which could take 2 weeks or more.  On top of that, phones now have video capabilities!  Back in the 1960s, most families were still using silent, black & white, 8mm movie film that required developing and the additional investment of a movie projector and screen, for viewing!

Music, one of the mainstays of today’s international communications has progressed from grooves pressed into a hard plastic disc, to 8-track & cassette tapes, to CD and now onto the internet, where we can purchase it on ITUNES, without a physical product.

Until Charles A. Lindbergh made a nonstop airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean between New York City and Paris, France, in his single-engine plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, on May 21, 1927, inter-continent- al travel, was limited to ship and transatlantic crossings and the journey often took weeks, depending upon the weather and the routing.  Mail still had to be delivered over-land once it reached its port destination.

Along came the internet, the use of which exploded in the 1990s and our thoughts can now be relayed, almost instantaneously, around the globe.  Can we communicate any faster?  I used to think the internet was as fast as communication could be sent, until I began studying mediumship and what most of the public call “psychic phenomenon.”

Remote viewing was popularized in the 1990s, following the declassification of military documents.  From between the time of WWII until the early 1970s, the USA was researching ESP or extra-sensory perception and from 1972 until 1995 researched Remote Viewing, which is the ability to gather data about a distant or unseen “target” using extra-sensory perception. The intelligence community offices that tasked the group seemed to believe that the phenomenon was real. But in the view of these taskers, a remote viewer could be “on” one day and “off” the next, a fact that made it hard for the technique to be officially accepted.*  . . . In 1995, David Goslin, of the American Institute for Research said, “There’s no documented evidence it had any value to the intelligence community.” * Apparently, it took the CIA thirty years to reach this conclusion.  What did they learn during the interim that was not released?  I, certainly, believe we can perceive real-time pictures in our minds eye of distant and far away places.

In advancing this concept further, how difficult is it to intentionally project one’s energy and mental images?  On rare occasion, I have instilled a specific picture in someone’s mind, without verbally, describing the scene.  Exactly how I managed to do that escapes me.  However, I know it was not coincidence.  There is no such thing as coincidence.  And furthermore, I’ve witnessed people who are already having psychic communications or at least some sort of non-verbal, communicatory exchanges, on a regular basis.

As I progress in my personal and spiritual development, I experience more and more evidence of my psychic abilities.  We have all had times while thinking of someone in particular, the phone rings and that very individual greets you with a cheery, “Hey there!”  And how do we explain knowingness?  The ability to know things without being told?  Or being in a certain place, at a certain time so miracles occur?  The serendipitousness of life startles me, every day, as the psychic ties and energetic instances become stronger.  How do I manage to summon the very people I want to speak with . . . people from whom I haven’t heard in years?  Is it the Law of Attraction hard at work, attracting the people I want, into my life, or could it truly be my psychic ability?

As I progress in my studies of mediumship, I am now able to “read” the energy in objects; the practice called psychometry.  If I can read the energy in objects, it follows that I must be able to read the energy in people, also because everything is energy.  Thoughts are just energy.  I truly believe that we all have that ability . . . we just need to clear our minds of extraneous clutter, daily and practice on a regular basis.

I have seen hundreds of demonstrations where mediums have “brought in” spirits who have passed over to the other side and offered what is called proof of survival; information that only the person receiving it would know.   It’s happened so many times I feel I have no choice but to believe and my years of skepticism have been neutralized.    If spirits can communicate with us, I’m positive they can communicate with each other.  It’s only a matter of time before we here on earth will evolve, naturally and communicate the same way.  And it’s, also, only a matter of time before computers; telephones and televisions are obsolete, perhaps to be replaced by holograms, projected by the brain.

I predict that within the next 150 years, or sooner, we will be tuning into our own psychic frequencies to contact and send messages to each other.  No longer will we require snail mail or email.  Telephone bills; internet and cablevision will be like dinosaurs of the past; extinct!  For pastime, we will project our wildest dreams and stories, from our imaginations, into holographic images to be enjoyed by others!  Welcome to the 22nd Century!

*From Wikipedia

hologram-1

MOTIVATIONAL FLASHMOBBERY!

•October 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

flash mob

MOTIVATIONAL FLASH MOBBERY!

Written by Gail A. Bongalis  Sept. 29, 2009

Within the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a proliferation of flash mobs and flash freeze mobs, a fascinating phenomenon that’s currently sweeping the globe!

Flash mobbing, according to Wikipedia, is “a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse.”  Generally, the term is generally not applied to events organized by public relationsfirms or publicity stunts, although it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to tell them apart!  Most of the flashes are captured onvideo and posted on YouTube.

Witness the homage paid to Michael Jackson, by people who appeared, seemingly, from nowhere, to perform in the streets and parks, around the globe.  Spontaneous tributes sprang up, within hours of his death, in the streets and shopping malls of Paris; Hollywood, NYC, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Budapest, Sofia, China, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Netherlands, Brunei and probably, many other places.

Celebration is another reason that flash mobs occur.  Oprah’s recent 24th Season Kickoff, in Chicago, featured the popular band,Black Eyed Peas singing, “I Gotta Feeling”  and post concert videos show the huge audience, all bouncing to the same moves.  Megaphones were used to instruct the crowd, beforehand, ie. Bow and Arrow; Mash Potato; Lean; Jump, etc.

The phenomenon is also being utilized by large companies for promotion purposes. T-Mobile has produced fun, foot-tapping videos at venues throughout the United Kingdom, all of which are posted on You-Tube, along with their catch phrase, “Life is for sharing”.  One of the more popular flash mobs was a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, which occurred in Antwerp, Belgium, earlier this year.  Over 200 dancers, with only 2 rehearsals, created a spectacular, 4 minute performance, to Julie Andrews’ “Do Re Mi“, in Central Station.  Dozens of Bollywood dancers, also, suddenly came to life in the middle of Times Square, last August, to support Bollywood Hero, a 3 part mini-series.

Improv Everywhere, a NYC-based company “causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.“  Since 2001, thousands of their “undercover agents” have executed over 85 missions, many of which are uploaded to YouTube.  In March of this year, a flash freeze frame took place in a Manchester supermarket.   Fifty people froze their positions for 4 minutes while 5 cameras captured the event.  What is it about flash mobs that make them so popular?

Aside from the spontaneous and unexpected thrill that recipients experience, it is human nature to want to be a part of something and to belong and do things with others creates a bond of “togetherness.”  In the Philippines, amazing & inspirational dance videos have been created in at least eight prisons, in some of which, over 1,500 prisoners dance in unison to pop music. Byron F. Garcia, the official security advisor to the Cebu government, has created over 3 dozen numbers, as a way of curbing violence within the prison walls. The inmates’ accomplishments all began as a mere exercise program!  In December of 2007 the Cebu inmates’ “Thriller” video placed 5th in Time Magazine’s Top 10 Most Popular Viral Videos!. While these men are, currently, unable to create a flash mob outside their realm, it seems that their desire to belong and to be proud of their achievements, is a part of this same subculture and that has created some very popular and inspirational videos.  Their YouTube video of Soulja Boywas muted due to copyright issues after 7 million viewings!  Even after that, it’s popularity is evident, with now over 9 million viewings!

Whether it is a Ninja Flashmob at the University of California, Berkeley; a flash mob, “stampeding” in Japan or just a prison exercise routine set to music, it is obvious that this trend is becoming increasingly more popular.  How can this phenomenon be used to further benefit mankind?

There are now new Earth Angels, who are working on manifestation of all things good and who are now firmly planted on this plane.  They are responsible for providing guidance; helping those who cannot help themselves and increasing their own vibration to a higher level.  What can they use their brain power to create?  What would it look like if they worked, together, to manifest huge groups of like-minded people “working” on various projects in unison?

Everything begins with our imaginations and those who create flash mob scenes and events have firstly conceived of them within their minds.  To use John Lennon’s term:  IMAGINE!   Why not imagine the breakdown of our global borders, so throngs of volunteers can build new schools in Sierra Leone; or a fleet of planes can drop huge bags of food to starving people in Ethiopia or group of corporate sponsors can provide homes for displaced families . . . people working together in harmony, happiness & dedication?  If it cannot be imagined, it cannot be created.

In taking the flash mob mentality a step further, I predict that, soon, flash mobs will be used as a way of peaceful protest.  Can we stop the horrific circumcision of young girls in Africa & Asia or bring fast food chains to their proverbial knees for infusing their food with so many preservatives? Can we stop the pharmaceutical companies from pushing poisons onto us? These are all things to which the general public turns a blind eye. I ask you to just IMAGINE how our world could be and what positive and incredible things flash mobs could do!  That’s a start.

GIVE YOUR LIFE MEANING – BUNGEE JUMP YOUR FEARS AWAY!!

•August 6, 2008 • 4 Comments

 

 

 

One half of the Mother-Daughter Barefoot Bungee Team!!!  

We Jumped August 4, 2008, in Whistler, B.C., to celebrate

“Daughter’s” birthday.  Neither of us had ever jumped

before!  We can barely wait to go again!

 

 

 

SWEET SURRENDER!!!

 

MY BREAST STROKE PAINTINGS!!

•May 26, 2008 • 1 Comment
  

MY BREAST STROKE PAINTINGS . . . .  

 

 

 Sun City 1 - Breast Strokes       Sun City 2 - Breast Strokes
 

ON ATTITUDE, GLOBAL UNIFICATION & UNIVERSALITY

•May 24, 2008 • 2 Comments
 
 

 

After our basic needs are met, I believe that attitude is the single most important factor affecting our lives. 

 

Attitudes begin at home and while parents play a major role in shaping attitudes, few children are taught to think for themselves.  Children must learn to question everything and through evaluation and assimilation of information, learn to arrive at their own, independent decisions and beliefs.

 

Teachers also influence their students’ attitudes.  The school system of today seems to support attitudes that are completely foreign to those of several decades ago, particularly with regard to competition.  Somewhere along the way, it was decided that children shouldn’t have hurt feelings so competition was removed from many schools and now every student gets a ribbon on Sports Day.

 

Similarly, during the sudden death period of the last game in my son’s hockey playoff’s, several years ago, the powers to be decided to call a draw so both teams would win.  That resulted in two teams of very disappointed boys.  Is that the right attitude?  In the real world, competion abounds.  Contracts aren’t awarded because one guy did just as well as the other guy and they don’t want contractors to have hurt feelings!   What are we teaching our children?  This system removes motivation from the equation and creates negative attitudes.  Competition is healthy and instinctual. 

 

I’ve often heard, “Why should I work when I can make as much on welfare/employment insurance?”  Where did this attitude come from?  Why is there so much unemployment fraud?  I can’t answer that definitively, but obviously, our system allows it.  Do those fraudsters garner that from television?

 

With the advent of television over the past fifty years, I believe people are thinking and communicating much less; output is minimal.  Disturbing visual images and superficial banter soaks into our brains as do fictitious television programs that originated in another’s imagination.  With human interaction waning, society’s attitudes are being shaped more and more by what is seen on television and in movies, where negatives such as violence are sensationalized and the positives, often times, forgotten. 

 

Why are people negative?  How does a person decide beforehand that they cannot ‘do something’?  Isn’t it true that they won’t know for sure until they try?  Many use ‘not knowing’ as an excuse for ‘not doing.’ 

 

Returning to school in my late 40’s after years of extended illness was extremely difficult and a traumatic endeavor.  I didn’t know if I’d be physically able to attend school.  It would have been much easier to stay in bed and just let the months roll by.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to school each day, much less through the day and home again.  Again, the most important factor in my success, was the right attitude.  Goals that I later achieved would not have been even set, never mind accomplished, had I not forced myself get up out of bed.  I’m not inferring all people afflicted with illness will automatically leap out of bed with the right attitude; however, attitude also greatly influences the rate of recovery and convalescence. 

 

During school, I discovered that learning and teaching are amongst the most important keys to life. With no input or output, the brain has no stimulation and consequently, I believe that the body will shut down.  Having watched my dear Mom waste away with Alzheimer’s disease, I really think that is the cause of it.  Can scientists measure that?  Have they tried?

 

How can people create a good attitude within themselves?  Some of the best words of advice my mother gave me as a child were, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say it.”  Gossip creates attitude, too.  That rule planted strong roots of good attitude within me.  It’s common courtesy and refraining from gossip shows respect for others.  Mom also told me there’s a silver lining in every cloud; that all negative situations hold something positive.  She was right.  I habitually find something good in every situation.  I thank my parents on a daily basis for insisting that I think for myself. 

 

 

We also need to be careful with whom we associate and to choose our friends wisely.  The attitudes of others are contagious and we can easily become like those around us.  You’ve heard the phrase, “You are who you associate with!” 

 

Behaviour is often confused with attitude.  They are two very different things.  A person with a bad attitude can have selective spells of good behaviour.  A good and positive attitude, though, will automatically lead to good behaviour.    Rather than fearing or hating someone, can we try to understand others and the reasons for their actions and behaviour? 

 

In the bigger picture, a politician’s job is to change the attitudes of their constituents through motivation and encouragement.  They often lose sight of that, though. Parliament seems to be one dog fight after another, with insults continually hurled across the floor.  Political rivals are often smeared in election campaigns.  These are the people we have elected to set examples.

 

Why do some jump to conclusions and adopt the attitudes of others before thinking things through?  Sometimes, those others are perfect strangers.  Is it because folks lack the confidence to trust their own instincts?  Good attitude instills confidence in one and as that good attitude is nurtured, confidence grows. Our accomplishments and failures rest upon our attitudes towards ourselves, others and the world, in general.

 

Attitudes toward people of other races, cultures, religions or beliefs can hinge upon our degree of acceptance.  People are generally judged, on first impression, by their appearance. . . I love how I look because no one can tell, with certainty, what race or nationality I am and that makes me feel like a citizen of the world.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you are; a mother is still a mother.  She worries about her sick child with a fever no matter what country she was born in and a father still worries about providing for his family.  We are all the same.  Equal.

 

I appreciated the accepting attitude of one very kind black lady, during the racially charged violence of South Africa in 1977.  In the train station, seeing my backpack, she knew, immediately, that I was a foreigner and unfamiliar with customs.  She gently pointed out that I had entered through the “Black Only” entrance and she advised me to make a hasty exit before I found myself in harms’ way.  Looking around, I realized I was, indeed, the main focal point at that moment.  I never forgot that lady’s genuine care and concern for a stranger of a different race.  We can ALL be like that by viewing events, customs and beliefs from others’ perspectives.

 

I’ve heard repeatedly that one person can’t change the world.  I believe they are wrong.  It is time to change the world; time to move toward global unification and universality so we can work together, side by side, rather than against each other.  How else will we solve the food and water shortages that will shortly be upon us?  Or other problems of global importance, like depletion of the ozone layer; toxic waste and pandemics?

 

Systems aren’t changed from the top down.  Permanent, grass root changes start at the bottom.   When change, implemented from the top, fails to trickle down to the masses it is because the majority of people want something different.  Enough like-minded people, together, with the right attitude, can shake the very foundation of any system and it will tumble like the walls of Jericho.  All it takes is one person with the right attitude to begin.

 

We can change the world, for the better, by improving our attitudes towards

ourselves and others.