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9-11 Remembered: Perspectives Gained Within Our Loss

Guest Blog

by Jeff Schoener

People world-wide are remembering 10 years later.

People are asking, where were you when it happened? 

On this a beautifully clear day, comfortable and pleasant, I walked into my office and sat at my desk.  Just two blocks away from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, I and my colleagues heard the first plane strike.  We were stunned as we went to the window, five stories up, where we could see the gaping hole and the flames lick the side of the building.  A manager went into the conference room in order to turn on the news.  We at the time thought it was a horrible accident.  Then there was another muffled explosion which blew out the windows on the other side.  A short time later, the second strike on the second tower.  It dawned upon us that this was no accident.

As an eye witness without a telephone, at this point e-mail was the only communication means for us cloistered in our office.  The police kept us here, where we were out of both harm’s way and out of the way of the First Responders.   On Broadway, where we saw ticker-tape parades, Firemen and Police squads marched in military fashion in order to set up for their work of rescue and restoration.

Before people in my office were wondering why, they were first wondering if what they were witnessing was true.  “Is this really happening?” 

For the people who never witnessed this first hand, the media ran the plane strikes into the towers on a seemingly endless loop.

I think that in the fullness of time, while remembering the importance of the day, on a personal note, consider the following:

 What have you lost?

Did you lose a job?  Have you lost a loved one? Did you lose your direction in terms of career, of have you and your family the innocence of faith?   I know many people who found the wherewithal to rebuild and to begin again.  Some even created support networks as well as not for profit organization to honor and memorialize.

 What have you gained? 

In light of the loss, have you gained compassion and hope? Have you gained and expanded your understanding of yourself, your neighbors and situations that are not always black and white?  Have you gained a new resolve and strength or have you gained a fearful existence? In the subsequent daysI went around my office getting people beyond their fear and back into the flow of life.

Many others have taken their ‘loss’ as a reason to create something that will help themselves while helping others.  Take this moment in time and begin to answer questions in the light of the day.  Take this gift of time to fill any void with something creative and positive.  With this memory in mind, offer something to serve and sacrifice to another.    This will become a suitable tribute for those who sacrificed on that day.

Out of the ashes - rebuilding One World Trade Center

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I Want My Country’s Flag to Stand for Something

An American Independence Day Special
by Jeff Schoener, the NLP Wordsmythe

By nature and training I am an agent of change.  I help people transition easily and thoroughly, utilizing NLP, DHE™ and other healing modalities.  People will let go of behavioral patterns in exchange for better ones along a continuum from where they’ve come, towards where they will go, all the while happily leaving baggage behind as their own personal history.  In short, I teach people to use their brains and to be smarter.

I personally have been feeling unsettled of late and I am only now beginning to understand why.  For all of us the future is uncertain.  There are no guarantees, and yet most people can and will hold on to their own history.  In this way they may take the lessons from their personal past and use them in the present in order to construct the possibility towards an amazing future.

It has been said that the best predictor of the future is the past.  This generally consists of actions, behaviors, and programming as well as learned experiences.  Just as our ancestors had to adapt and adjust to weather and natural forces, government and society changes, we also are forced to adapt.  The greater the upheaval the more we adapt.  As we adapt we rely upon what we have learned, from whom we have learned and from where our teachers learned their lessons in order to impart wisdom.  The more grounded we are in the values of where we came, the smoother the transition in adaptation.  If others were to deny or distort their history, those in the know could hold on to what they know as belief until proven as fact.  What then happens to individuals who don’t really know their history?  After the Emancipation Proclamation made slavery in this country illegal, many who were slaves for generations had to slowly construct a new history.

Have we politically moved from the land of the free and the home of the brave into the land enslaved and the home of the victim?   We are moving faster then anyone expected in a direction that makes us seem more like the EU.  How did we get here and where were we as things changed?   Young people today will simply accept modern history as the way things have always been, yet I seem to remember differently.

My first three cars were GM Pontiacs.  Today the Pontiac brand has gone the way of the dinosaur.  It simply no longer exists.  As I thought about this I also began to remember my youth, happily watching television shows such as ‘The Wild, Wild West’, ‘Get Smart’ and ‘Star Trek’.  Today Hollywood has remade an important part of my youth with their creative perspectives. Are modern stories and fresh interpretations creative?  Sure, but far from original thought. This is something that is severely lacking today.  If I were to talk to a young person about it, we would be having two separate conversations.  It is as if my personal history is being altered, my future even more uncertain as I hang in suspension as the Fool in a Tarot deck.   Many today are generally plagued with a lack of imagination and therefore problem-solving seems to bring even greater challenge.  When I was a kid, a stick was a gun and a box was a rocket ship.  This was an imagination proving- ground.  Imagination is from where fresh ideas come.  We wanted to be just like the good guy, the hero who stands up to the opposition, even at greater numbers because we understood what was decent and right.    We noticed life on a two dimensional screen and we wanted to emulate it in our three dimensional worlds.  That seemed enough for us.  Pseudo-realism has encroached upon every part of our current lives.  Technology has allowed our two-dimensional worlds to perceptively seem as if it has three dimensions.  It is almost as if many would prefer to escape into these pseudo-3D realms.  Life in 3D seems to lack appeal.  War games played with slick controllers in pseudo-3D on a 2D screen by people who would never volunteer for actual service.  That would be too real, too gritty and bloody.   You only get one life on the battlefield and that wouldn’t be safe.

My father was part of the greatest generation.  He, his friends and the entire nation joined the fight, not against evil, but for what this country stood.  Many had little, as they were children of the great depression.   They knew they didn’t have much, yet they never considered themselves poor.  They fought, they strived they worked and used their imagination in the hope of giving their children better lives then they lived.  They laughed, they cried.  They kept going because they knew where they came from. They knew what sacrifice it took just to come to these shores.  Defending them and upholding the honor was the small footnote each would contribute.  Together each small sacrifice weaved the fabric of our nation.  A few were afraid to die, fewer of them were afraid to live.  They rarely spoke of the details and they would never forget.

It is a normal process when people seem to forget, or want to forget hurtful memories.  This is human nature.  Take September 11th, 2001.  I was going around my office in New York City, breathing the dust from the remnants of the twin towers assuring those who didn’t want to believe that what happened that day was completely real.  Just as there will be holocaust deniers, the witnesses are the ones who must continue the tales lest they become corrupted and distorted.  My personal history has been breached, so I am now forced to dig a bit deeper into my own character, remembering who and what are truly important to me.  I hold dear the people who shaped me and allowed me to grow.  I hold dear, my ancestors’ struggles.  I must hold tightest, onto my hopes and dreams as I write my own history.  I want to stand proud.  I want freedom to be a way of life for all and not simply a conceptual exercise.  I want individual greatness to prevail.  I want people to be awake, aware and smart enough to know that there are consequences for ignorance.  I want people to be able to learn from mistakes so that they will think and work smarter.  I want to hold my head proudly as I salute ‘Old Glory’ and know it stands for something.

In 1998 an immigrant from the former Soviet Union told me something that I failed to understand back then.  “You are lucky you were born here, (in America).  If I were born here my life would be so much better.” Only recently did I begin to understand what he said to me so many years ago.  Over the last few years, I realized that helping people get beyond their fears and limitations, also included ending their internal struggle.  For example, does a fish feel the water?  On an average windless day, do we feel the air?  I suspect we would appreciate it far more if we just broke the surface and came up from a fish’s natural surrounding.  It is much like the misnomer that one must suffer for one’s art.  Proper motivation, one could simply create.

I originally wrote parts of this article in 2009.  Since then I have come to learn that people who are free from birth do not have the struggle as opposed to the immigrants who come to these shores from nations of limited freedoms.  Are we not meant to breathe free and look after ourselves, our families and our communities?  Good fences may make good neighbors, but reducing our ability of free choice does not necessarily make ‘good fences’.  Progress is not necessarily progressive and if we fail to understand the freedoms we have, we will not know what we have lost.  Our nation’s constitution from its original intent is a framework of freedoms.  As Americans we are unique, just as are the Italians, the Greeks and the French with their language, styles and culture.  America for generations was known as the melting pot, not because of what we lost in terms of other cultures, but of what we gained by adding other cultures to U.S.  If we are coming to a time where the stars and stripes lose this symbolism, then what is its meaning?  Who are we and who will we become?  If we lose our ideals along with our freedom, what then do we stand for and what does our military truly fight for?

As Americans who were born of this privilege, let us relearn why it is our privilege and why others still dream and strive to come to these shores.

 From a citizen who loves his freedom, respects the Constitution and wants his nation back,

Happy Birthday America.

**This country is said to be a democracy, so what does Democracy look like? 

Guest Blog: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

By Jeff Schoener, the NLP Wordsmythe

This sounds catchy and easy to chant in public* and calls forth a single modality – Visual.   So, ‘What does democracy sound like?’ and ‘How does democracy feel?’ should be logical questions if one were to take but a moment.  In order for one to answer any of the above questions, one must understand the perspectives in which one perceives this thing called democracy.

Merriam-Webster’s definition: Democracy

  1. a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting
  2. an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights

The concept is defined only with specific perceptions.

What if others would see democracy through American cowboy movies?

In October 2001, I went to Egypt.  I was quite surprised when the Egyptians who wanted to connect with me in order to separate me from my money would ask, “Where are you from?’  As it was less then one month from September 11th, I cautiously replied, “America.”  They immediately responded, “Howdy!”  At first I was surprised until I began to understand that Egyptians perception of America came directly from western movies and television shows.   John Wayne and Lone Ranger democracy consisted of an attitude, a fast gun, a fist of justice and simple talk.  The color of one’s hat would indicate just which side of the law you lived.  This was simple and shades of grey were never truly discussed.  Real governing bodies are far more complex.

As it turns out, I learned that there are many different organizational varieties of democracy.  Here are a few that I found in the web that may contain some grey areas:

  • Deliberative democracy – focuses on hearing out every policy alternative, from every direction, and providing time to research them all.
  • Multiparty democracy – two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles.
  • Totalitarian democracy – system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.
  • Religious democracy – values of religion play a role in the public arena in a society populated by religious people.
  • New Democracy – Maoist concept based on Mao Tse Tung’s “Bloc of Four Classes” theory in post-revolutionary China.

Internet video sites will show parliamentary procedure from around the globe that uncannily resembles Professional Wrestling.  Please now consider how different opinions are reflected in terms of art and culture on government as well as government on culture and art.

Based upon my experience and understanding, I ask you the following:

What if others would see democracy through Soap Operas? Would you hear campaign promises belted out in a foreign language?

What if others would see democracy through Comedies? Would arguments be clever repartee or would slapstick motion prevail?

What if others would see democracy through Interpretative Dance? Urban jazz, Ballet, Soft-Shoe or Tap

What if others would see democracy through Musicals? Maybe a combination of song and dance?

What does it now look like to you?

After considering the above, I personally would have difficulty joining in on the drone of chant.  Instead images come to mind.  Imagine a subtle opening musical score.

Picture three or four overweight, out-of-shape politicians wearing large floppy shoes, purple tights and pink tutus sporting Viking helmets, holding shields singing Rodney Dangerfield’s jokes in falsetto voices.

Now, this is what democracy looks like to me.

This perspective also allows me to take an extra moment in order to think for myself before I join in.  My suggestion is that we shift from being ‘Politically Correct’ and with humor, strive to be ‘Correctly Political’.

* A Quick Note: Chanting is useful in terms of group-think.  This is an extremely useful tool for cult indoctrinations.