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Sunday, April 22, 2012

I started this blog along with my other one Hope Lives On late in 2007. Over the past four years, both blogs have lain dormant as I have focused most of my attention to work, studies and social media, including Twitter and Facebook. In coming weeks, I will be reviving both of my blogs. Please check back for updates in coming days and weeks.

My personal Facebook page is Robert Scott Harrison (R Scott Harrison)   and the accompanying Twitter page is rscottharrison. My advocacy and activism pages on Facebook are Standing Together for the Rights of All People (STRAP) and Standing Together for the Rights of All People in the Americas (STRAP-Am). The Twitter pages for each of my two advocacy and activism Facebook page are as follows:  standing4all and Standing4AllAm. I welcome you to friend or follow my social media pages. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome to 2008. Now go home.

I wrote the title of this first entry tongue in cheek, but I also really meant both parts. First, I mean in a positive way "Welcome to 2008." The new year is here and we cannot avoid it. Many of us bring a variety of thoughts and feelings to the year before us. For some there might be dread of what might happen this year. For others there may be excitement. For some others today, January 1st, was just another day--and this year may be just one more year of drudgery or mundane existence. To others still, the new year is a new opportunity for change and fulfillment. More than likely, we all share a mix of these kinds of thoughts and feelings.

The reality is that however we choose to look at the new year, each day offers all of us new possibilities which can be positive and hopeful, regardless how dismal our circumstances may be or become. Yes, this is easier to say than to believe or practice. Still, I am not the first and won't be the last to say it. Religious leaders, philosophers, psychologists and sages from all walks of life have said the same thing down through the ages. And I write it as much to myself as to anyone else, for I need to remind myself of that constantly. We all know that there is some truth to the saying that it all starts and stops with our attitude. What we think determines how we feel and what we will do. We all know deep down that the only thing we truly can control is our attitude, NOT our circumstances. It is our attitude more than anything that determines what we see around us. And I do believe that there is a lot of truth to the idea that our attitude can open or close doors, that, in a very real way, we can and do create our own destinies by own free will, every moment of every day--and in every year, including every new year. It all starts with our attitude, with what we choose to think and feel.

And that brings me to the second part of the title above: "Now go home." When I say "go home", I mean that we all need to focus on what attitudes we bring to every moment of every day in this new year. But it goes deeper than that. In order to change our attitude from one of hopelessness, despair or resignation when things go wrong, we all need to find a way to be centered each day. That personal centering of our minds and hearts may be spiritual or purely psychological. For me it is both. I am learning that I cannot become aware of those positive opportunities before me each day of this new year or of any year unless I have a positive attitude and I cannot hope to have a positive attitude which allows me to respond rather than react to situations unless I first "come home". For some of us that coming home involves a very real relationship with God, a Higher Power, or some other strong sense of spirituality. For others it may simple mean being in touch with the core of one's own being and of one's higher self or potential for good.

So as we enter into 2008, whatever one's convictions may be, I think it helps to remember that not one of us can make a difference in any aspect of our own lives or in this complex, beautiful, but hurting world unless we start with ourselves and adjust our attitude. And that can only occur if we strive to become centered in who we are at our best--and focus on what is most important each day. Coming home for me is not a one-time thing or something I can do only when I first wake up. It is a discipline I must employ moment by moment throughout the day, some days more than others. And there are many days when I feel like I have lost my way home. That, I think, is part of the human condition. But I am am growing.

This blog will not shy away from many controversial topics, and it will not avoid open discussion of religion, spirituality, psychology or philosophy. What I share is only my experience and is not meant to be a judgment of anyone else's journey.

I decided to launch this blog today as a forum for addressing some of my personal and professional passions. First and foremost please know that I am creating this blog for me: it is meant to be a channel for self-expression. Second, I hope that by sharing some of my own thoughts and feelings, I will be able to encourage others in their own journeys. Finally, I intend this blog to be a forum where I can share some of my concerns with others and discuss practical ways of creating change in the world. I am reminded of that quote by Mahatma Ghandi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." It is my hope that by creating this blog I am actualizing a small part of that vision for creating the kind of positive change which I have and which many of us share.

Over the past seventeen years, I addressed some of my passions by using my strengths of public speaking, research, writing, community education, networking, advocacy and activism. Now I am trying to use blogging as a tool for bringing these strengths together.

There are many things that I am passionate about, but people who know me well would probably say that I am most passionate about a variety of domestic and international social justice issues which range from human rights violations to concerns about poverty, pandemic disease and injustice in our world.

As we enter into this new year, I hope to use this blog to raise more awareness about some of the needs of our world, but also to offer hope about ways that we can practically make a difference individually and collectively--if we are willing to hold conversation and develop respectful partnerships with others. Dialogue, collaboration, cooperation and networking are key words for me. In my opinion, our world is so complex and many of the issues we face are so big that there is no way that we can address many of our challenges without working with others who may be very different from us. As idealistic or simplistic as that may sound to some, I believe it is the reality of the world of the twenty-first century. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." In a similar way I would say that it takes a community to solve a problem and a world working together to save itself.