Surround yourself with like-minded people…

That’s easier said than done, but how do you define like-minded, and if you are an individual is that even possible? The people we choose to have around us influences us subconsciously whether we like it or not, and on a societal level subliminally tells people about the kind of person you are or your beliefs. It shouldn’t, but people sometimes can’t help but judge on the surface. Why else would your parents forbid you from being friends with those who have been involved in dodgy dealings? It’s because who your friends are, or whom you choose to be in your circle reflects on how you are perceived and judged by society.

Naturally, there are instances where you cannot choose certain bonds, like your peers, family members, work colleagues, or neighbors. Reputations count, and a neighborhood with desirable residents is highly thought of (posh versus the rough council estates), so people do judge you on where you choose to live. The workplace is a little harder, because sometimes you choose a career, but you can’t choose the reputation of the company. People like to name drop where they have worked, because it elevates their status, but does that really matter?

Can you choose honest, kind, generous, and intelligent company all of the time and is it even possible? Does that mean you should abandon friends that have made mistakes, such as a friend who had an affair, or who got fired from a job for stealing. As a friend you choose whether to support them and give them a chance, or to distance yourself. Humans aren’t perfect, and we do all make mistakes, but having the kind of people who are on your wavelength with shared beliefs does make it easier, and can inspire you.

This also applies to online communities as well as real life interactions. I have discovered certain websites or forums have communities that either you feel comfortable with and can join in, or the members are so far removed from your perceptions it’s not worth trying to interact. An example would be a political forum, where the owner and moderators are right wing and biased; they attack any one who doesn’t agree with them and so there is little point being part of that community. Another one I encountered was one on couponing; the community was given the power to remove any deals they didn’t understand, didn’t think was a real deal, or ones that they thought were misleading. Of course these are all subjective, and when I realized that the community was made up of stay at home moms aged 25 with at least three children, the uneducated, or unemployed when a posting was flagged as confusing and difficult to understand. I’m not sure how difficult it is to understand buy two items and get a free gift, but for some that is hard and obviously not the kind of company I need to deal with or interact with.

There was a New Moon recently and I had a dream that referred to the Fibonacci sequence. I wasn’t sure what that message meant and asked a community I do take part in their thoughts. Someone asked if I saw the Fibonacci Arc; unsure of the significance, another member compared it to the beginning of the Yellow Brick Road. Then I recalled this blog I started, that charts my journey on the Yellow Brick Road. I have been stuck on my journey for a while, just as Dorothy fell asleep in the poppy field. Perhaps it’s time to have faith in the Yellow Brick Road again, and the path will clear; maybe I will find some like-minded company to accompany me on my next leg of the journey?

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Reality versus Perceptions

What is reality and how do our perceptions change? Sometimes it comes with age and experience and other times it’s just plain common sense. Is society so blinkered these days where reality seems so abhorrent and sad that people have to create perceptions to survive?

Who wants reality when they can live in a bubble and pretend that their lives can be like celebrities or reality television stars? Reality shows are staged and scripted by prompts; people don’t really live like that and if it gets boring or people don’t cooperate they ‘leave’ the show.

The problem is the media hypes reality to be something it’s not, and behind closed doors the persona of most people is in fact very normal and boring. Famous models and actresses do walk around without makeup and politicians and actors do take public transport. Reality is not always exciting, but is about survival and being as happy and content as possible. The media tempts and goads us to buy bigger houses, buy expensive clothes, and to eat out at fancy restaurants. If the average person can do, then we all can, can’t we is the message they portray. In society we are perceived as equal, but it’s human nature where you will always find someone who wants to be bigger and better than a sibling, neighbors, or friends. No one will admit it, but it’s true.

Our perceptions change when we yearn for something that we are led to believe we can be or have. We want to believe it’s possible, or some choose to only see what they want to see. Many don’t want to know about the homeless street people (thinking it’s their own fault) or the single parent working two minimum wage jobs, or that the elderly maybe lonely and need help. We are led to believe that these things are taken care of, but in reality they are not. What if it was you?

Reality is seen as depressing and boring, but is honest and is how many people do live or survive in this world. People do struggle to put food on the table and live hand to mouth, racism and sexism still exists despite the laws making it illegal, and people do lie and cheat. Accepting reality and acknowledging it is much better than pretending it doesn’t happen, yet the reality for the minority is that their lives can be out of touch for the masses. Even the celebrity life can be a façade—what is perceived and what is reality are two different things. The sibling of a famous actor told me that they saved their air miles to travel, even though they are a multi-millionaire. I remember well-known comedian traveling on the bus standing next to me, and a model and pop star were told that they had to give up the two tables they were using and to let me have one. That’s reality, what many don’t see.

Society is built up on materialism, and humanity, in helping others and protecting nature comes further down the list. What we perceive makes us happy, but how real is it? Are you brave enough to see reality in humanity for what it really is, or is it easier to create your own perceptions?

Revenge: A justified act?

What is justice these days and is society just? Who decides what is just? The imbalance in the justice system has led to people seeking revenge; justice as they see fit and what is deemed right.

It may seem to be moral, a father who kills someone who murders his child, but is it just? Some would say that’s real justice, however justice is when society decides and convicts someone of a wrongdoing and they either accept the decision of those who represent society or request an appeal. However, the justice system is subject to corruption from police officers forcing false confessions, withholding evidence and lawyers eager to make a plea bargain to lighten their workload.

An effective and moral justice system may prevent acts of revenge and society could begin to have faith in the justice system. It’s not foolproof and as society evolves, so does the definition and boundaries of justice. All these and more contribute to a justice system in decline, hence why some feel the need to take matters of moral laws into their own hands. While that feeling may arise in many, when someone is acquitted or found not guilty due to lack of evidence, do they have a right to seek their own form of justice? We, as humans abide by the laws set in each country that is how a civilized society functions, so we cannot take the law and reinterpret to our needs.

I do believe in the law of Karma. It’s not something you can predict and can take longer than the legal system and in some cases it maybe quicker than the system. Revenge is best kept as a thought, an emotional reaction to a wrongdoing, because to act on it renders one no better than the perpetrator. True justice will find its way, as long as you trust and believe and have faith.

Homelessness: An unnecessary evil or fate?

Work maybe a necessary evil, but homelessness is one that should not exist, yet after centuries it remains a dark side of human society. There are empty buildings that could keep people warm and so much food is wasted, yet is destroyed in fear that someone may sue for food poisoning. These are basics every human should have a right to and the solutions exist, however, laws prevent them from being actioned or is it apathy? At Christmas we see more charity towards the homeless as many die in the cold, but this is not a seasonal issue, but one society refuses to address in this globalized and materialistic world.

In the Victorian era many people were homeless, they had the workhouses and the churches to help those that were homeless and needed poor relief and alms. Today, we have social welfare that is supposed to help people get off the street and stay off the streets. The stigma of being homeless survives in this modern world of globalization, where money is given to wars and Third world countries that don’t invest in their own people. How is that right?

In Florida, USA, they segregate the homeless where a recent case of a volunteer and priests were arrested for handing out meals to the homeless on a beach. The state wanted to keep the homeless out of sight, by regulating where free meals could be distributed. They are already stigmatized and are further humiliated by being forced to receive aid under certain conditions dictated by the authorities to ‘hide’ the embarrassment of the homeless to the tourists.

In the Silicon Valley, one the homeless camps nicknamed, ‘The Jungle’ has been destroyed and all residents told to move or to be arrested. The area is one of the most affluent in the USA and again is an embarrassment to the authorities. The fact is, homeless exists, but it doesn’t have to.

I had a debate with someone who claimed people choose to be homeless, as they don’t want the responsibility of bills and a job. There maybe a few like that, but people don’t choose to sleep on a bench or on the ground open to attack in the cold. Some have no choice; they have lost their home, they are running away from abuse or perhaps a parent or partner has forced them leave.

Having no home or a place to be is unsettling and it’s hard to get yourself back on your feet. It doesn’t matter how educated you are or even famous, several celebrities have found themselves homeless after losing all their money. Many are runaway children either thrown out by parents or escaping abuse, others maybe be drug addicts or alcoholics that have lost everything due to their addiction or war veterans who can’t find a job and are left on the streets to survive.

How do I know? I worked one Christmas on a project to help the homeless, I worked six days and met many ‘guests’ and people who used to be ‘guests’ and who had managed to get their life back on track. I ran a shelter with Bob, he used to be homeless after he left prison and told me his experiences. I was humbled and was never scared to be with him and learned we can never judge someone by how they look. Among some of the ‘guests’ I talked with were divorced men who lost everything and people who admitted they had made mistakes and wanted another chance at life. Homelessness can happen to anyone. It happened to me.

There are the hidden homeless, those who couch surf and live hand to mouth, relying on the kindness of friends. It’s not a choice, but we do make mistakes, as we are human. Having a roof over your head and food is a basic human necessity. When I did get my own place, I have always like Dr. Barnardo made sure that my sofa or floor with a sleeping bag was available to any friends who needed it. Even if the timing wasn’t the best, I have been there and a small inconvenience is nothing compared to what someone who is homeless goes through mentally and physically.

People try to avoid the homeless in the street, but they are humans, part of society. There are some con artists too, so generally I will buy a meal deal, sandwich, pie and a drink for them so they will have at least one hot meal a day if I can. I can’t say how many months in my life I have survived on peanut butter sandwiches and a pot of ramen noodles, but homelessness should be extinct, but this social crime is allowed to persist and I hope one day it will be eradicated forever.