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?