Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Students are Speaking Out About Gun Control and Safety in Schools
February 22, 2018
I do not personally know anyone who has lost a loved one in a school
shooting. Not Columbine, not Sandy Hook, and not most recently at
Stoneman Douglas High School. Yet, I realize the pain and sadness run
The sad reality in America today is that school shootings keep
happening. And there seems no way to make our schools completely safe
against these tragedies.
But something can be done. Something must be done.
While many adults can't seem to come to agreement on solutions we are
now seeing some students stepping up. A town hall meeting in Florida
drew 7,000 people to speak out and many of them were students, some of
them survivors who lost friends. Follow this link
to watch some short videos posted on CNN by some of the students
speaking up after the February 14 shooting in Florida that took the
lives of seventeen people.
When I hear students bold enough to speak out about the need for love
and change and calling for real action I am impressed. I am a teacher
and every day now that I go to my classroom I want to help young people
discover, learn and enjoy a full life. I don't want them to be consumed
by fear or worried about their safety.
The stories from these students are powerful, just as stories from
parents, teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals and all
family members and friends whose lives have been impacted by these
tragedies have powerful experiences to relate.
Let's have the dialogue. Say what needs to be said. Come up with doable
plans that will reduce the possibility of more senseless violence and
killing. Money is never more important than life. I commend
the brave voices who are speaking out about the need to ban assault
weapons such as the AR-15 rifle. And let's face it, there is a need to
make background checks stronger.
Beyond that we really need to have some growth about how we live with
and among each other. There is way too much "us versus them". It's time
for more love and support for our common humanity.
Love, A Matter of Heart
February 13, 2018
Happy day before Valentine's Day. Tomorrow many hearts will turn
towards romance. Some of it will actually be sincere. But let's face
it, some will be a reaction to confectionary, card-giving,
guilt-induced, and overly commercialized pseudo romance.
Still, love conquers all.
And when all is said and done, your life is a measure of the love you
give. It's a matter of heart. The Beatles said it well with The End, "The love you take is equal to the love you make." They also said, "All you need is love." Some pretty good sentiments.
Love is a matter of heart. And love can take many forms. Eros, ludus, philia, mania and agape, to name a few.
Love that lasts is built on a sturdy foundation of true friendship.
Romantic and erotic love get the most attention, but agape, love
that is selfless, is where it's at.
Most of us know that love is what we need and what will change the
world. Still, it is easy to get beat down or cynical. But don't. Don't
give up on love.
is what matters. And love is a matter of the heart. Hearts beat to keep
us alive, and I mean that in more than the physical necessity of
pumping blood through our bodies. The heart is more than a
muscle. According to William Hazlit, "The seat of knowledge is in
the head, of wisdom, in the heart."
Tomorrow is not just Valentine's Day. For Christians who commemorate
the importance of repentance and change of heart, of giving, fasting
and praying, this year's February 14 is also Ash Wednesday. Interesting
It is never too late to change, to be more loving, more selfless and
more forgiving. Here's to a love that is truly a matter of heart.
Freedom Advocate and Grateful Dead Co-Songwriter John Perry Barlow
February 8, 2018
John Perry Barlow met Bob Weir in high school in Colorado. They were
both at that particular school because they "had difficulties" or "were
difficult". When Weir was kicked out Barlow was upset he also was not
booted, so he quit in protest.
They remained friends and songwriting partners for many years. Barlow
came from rural roots which influenced many of the song lyrics he
penned for Weir co-compositions. Some of the best loved Grateful Dead
songs, in my opinion, were the result of Barlow's wordsmithing. Estimated Prophet, The Music
Never Stopped, Weather Report Suite, and of course, Cassidy.
was much more than an excellent songwriting partner. He was an early
advocate for free expression and creativity on the Internet. Just visit
the Electronic Frontier Foundation to see the tribute they have posted to him. Or better yet, watch this reading of The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,
which he wrote 22 years ago today. It should give you pause to think
about how we often take the Internet, and all it affords us, for
Yourself In Your Story
January 28, 2018
We are all on
a journey. This journey, which lasts our entire lifetime,
is one of discovery. We are searching for true meaning and purpose. We
are trying to find out who we are and why we are here and what we have
to contribute. We do this through the story of our life.
In essence, we find
ourselves in our stories.
Storytelling is an ancient and very important craft. Some people
are gifted storytellers. But you don't have to be a great
storyteller to tell your story. All of us learn from stories. It starts
when we are very young and continues throughout our lifetimes.
Stories are the natural way we learn.
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Bird Movie Had Me Reflect and Squirm
January 23, 2018
is a fine movie that today received some Academy Award nominations,
including a best picture Oscar nomination, along with Saoirse Ronan for
the lead actress role, and Greta Gerwig for best director. There was an
interesting CBS Sunday Morning feature on
Gerwig a couple of weeks ago and it is nice to see young talent like
her getting recognized.
I saw the movie recently. It is about growing up in Sacramento,
California and Christine MacPherson is a high school senior with
dreams, a strong personality and some quirks, including insisting she
be called "Lady Bird". The movie had me reflecting about my own high
school experience. I enjoyed the performances and the story, but I have
to admit I was squirming a bit as I reflected about growing up and high
school. I, like the lead character, got involved in the drama
department and was in a couple of plays. As a military brat I also
often didn't feel like I fit in with the rest of the crowd.
Overall, my own high school experience was mostly positive. But, let's
face it, when you move a lot and go to three different high schools in
four years it can be stressful. It got me thinking about how we all
have our own life stories and they have ups and downs. When you
reminisce and decide to write about your life it is natural to get
uncomfortable. At least if you are being truthful about yourself.
It is important to look at your life honestly and think hard about how
you are going to tell your story. Some things you will reveal; others
you might, rightly so, keep closer to your vest. But your story will
most resonate with others when you do face and tell your Truth. Be
real. I thought Lady
struck that chord and it did get me thinking, yes, maybe squirming a
bit, but overall appreciating the story that Greta Gerwig has given us.
Wave Tattoo Preserves Grandmother's Voice Message
January 18, 2018
What an incredible thing to have a wave file tattoo that will actually
play sounds. In the case of Sakyrah Angelique of Chicago, it is a dream come true to preserve a
message from her deceased grandmother.
This is a relatively new technology, something called an augmented
reality tattoo by Skin Motion
of Los Angeles. They take a sound file and generate the shape of the
Soundwave. Then licensed artists are capable of using a tattoo stencil
of the soundwave and creating the tattoo. Then with an app for your
smartphone the camera can be focused on the tattoo and you get to hear
the sound file.
I can imagine many types of sounds people might use with such a tattoo.
But I really love the idea of preserving an audio message from a loved
one. It keeps their voice alive and for Angelique, it is something she
treasures to hear her grandma tell her that she loves her and happy
Writing a Dream Biography
January 10. 2018
It's a new year and many people are making resolutions or goals. That's
great. Sadly, however, many people break their resolutions early on.
They start with good intentions, but don't stick with it.
I think it is a bad idea to have too many expectations.
I think it is a great idea to have goals, plans and to dream big!
The story of your life can be about what has happened, all your
experiences, life lessons, personal history and what you think matters.
It can also include what you hope for the future.
A Dream Biography
that you can write that envisions what you hope to accomplish in your
lifetime. It can be goals, desires, the type of job or vocation you
might hold, the people you might meet and what kind of legacy you could
It is imagining a future. Will it happen? Not necessarily, but maybe it
will. Certainly parts of your life dreams can come true. There is
something to be said for writing out your dreams and goals. There is
even a famous quote to support this idea. It comes from the Brazilian
lyricist and novelist, Paolo Coelho - "When you want something, all the
universe conspires in helping you achieve it."
I've encountered this idea before and I think there is some merit to
it. I caution people to not expect everything you dream for your life
will come true. Life has a funny way of throwing us curveballs.
Nevertheless, I have also experienced some of my heart desires and
aspirations have come true, often in unexpected ways. So yes, put it
I saw an interesting article that led me to create this post. How
to write a Secret Dream Biography for the New
Year by Dr. Matthew King on elephantjournal.com.
The article gives reasons for creating a dream biography and directs
you to the non-profit 501C website, Dream Biography.
You might want to check it out and see if this is something you want to
All the best to you in this New Year of 2018. Dream big, do some
writing, connect with others and with ways to support you preserving
your life story. That's a dream I have for all of you who have a story
Time is Up and Now for Life Stories
January 8, 2018
Borrowing from the current rallying cry of the Time's Up movement, perhaps many
people are now more willing to face the burden of a past that involved
abuse and and to
tell their story. In many ways this can be good.
The right time for anyone to tell their life story might be considered anytime.
But let's face it, the right time is more contingent on being ready,
willing and able. There are many ways to go about telling your story (as this web site will
attest), but when you are dealing with a tale of abuse there
is some caution and counsel to consider.
Not everyone is willing to relive or tell about their abuse. But many
people can benefit from carefully telling "their truth". Far too long
have many women, and some men, kept their stories to themselves,
suffering in silent shame.
Dealing with a history of abuse has to be horrible for anyone. Yet
there are those who do recover from the experiences and are willing to
speak out and to help others find the courage to face the past and call
out the wrongs that have been done.
If you watched last night's Golden
Globes Awards you saw many of the actresses speaking about
the entertainment industry abuses and that "Time's Up" (link to story on E!News).
And Oprah Winfrey's fiery speech was powerful as she encouraged people
to speak outagainst sexual abuse and civil rights violations.
It is an interesting time in history that we are witnessing. If you are
one of those who has experienced abuse do not be afraid to deal with
it, and if you feel it will benefit others, to speak up and present
your story. Take time to counsel with personal historians and even
therapists or legal experts as there are many things to consider as you
bring forth your story. But remember, truth is powerful and things that
have been kept in the dark often lose their power over us when they are
brought into the light.
has a story to tell!
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