Floss One Tooth

One of the issues in any attempt at self-improvement and self-knowledge is the enormity of the task. I know it keeps me from doing anything because getting from Goal Point A to Goal Point B seems more like dog paddling across the Pacific Ocean.

 Affirmations don’t work for me because the Saboteurs in my brain call me a big fibber.

 Me: “I am a money magnet.”

My Brain: “Bullshit! You’re overdrawn and still have bills to pay.”

 Me: “I am organized and efficient with my time.”

My Brain: “Yeah Right! You have 10 boxes of papers from 5 years ago that you haven’t sorted, shredded, or filed YET! More bullshit.”

 Me: I am so happy and grateful that I make $100 a day in passive income from XYZ business venture.”

Brain: “See affirmation reply #1 –  It’s getting deep in here.”

 Me: “I am an ambitious and motivated entrepreneur.”

Brain: “In a pig’s eye. You know you are not motivated by money because you don’t believe you are an entrepreneur and can make it on your own.” More Bullshit and then some. . . .”

  In a few understated words, I am plagued with self-doubt. It keeps me from making any moves at all toward working on a business again, and it keeps me playing small.

 So I beat myself up and see the big picture fade away. And it makes me feel ashamed that someone with the potential people tell me I have could feel so obscure.

 Until a little inspiration comes along from an unexpected place. Zenhabits.com. I have no affiliation with them except to get the emails and prowl the unadorned site for bits of wisdom. And the inspiration that helps me is this:

 Floss one tooth.

 Don’t worry about all the teeth. If you hate to floss or just don’t, then set the goal to floss one tooth. Just one. Here’s the link: http://zenhabits.net/floss/

 Pretty soon you  floss two, then all the uppers. Then all the lowers and eventually every tooth.

 So part of this blog is my “floss one tooth” entry back into writing publically. Back into communicating in a larger way. Hopefully then into making a larger contribution.

 But this is my contribution for the day. If you have a large daunting project you don’t want to start, just floss one tooth — move the stuffed box into an open spot for further examination and sorting the top of the pile. Just one.

 Begin that book with one sentence. Start the blog with one paragraph.

 Since I posted once, some interesting things have happened. A bunch of people started following the blog. Now, some are probably just wanting backlinks for their own sales blog, but that’s okay. A follower from before the “Great Lapse” contacted me and I am greatly encouraged by her words. A new job opportunity opened up and I’ll apply with renewed vigor and optimism.

 From one post. The self-doubt lifts and the Sage within me begins to overtake the Saboteurs in my brain. It’s working.

 Just floss one tooth.


Starting Over

The past two months have brought upheaval, a realization of failure and a renewal of discovery. That’s a lot.

 In the past two months I have closed most of my writing business and dropped all the networking, business development, and business meet-ups. Nothing was working. I was losing money every month and my savings couldn’t take much more depletion. I’m now running on near empty.

 The last straw that made me snap was when my business development group moved to a new location and I couldn’t find it. I drove around for about a half hour trying to locate the right building and didn’t find it. That one little thing made me write an email to the leader and say, “I’m done. My business is failing and I’m done trying to hide that fact.”

 No amount of development would fix it, so FULL STOP was my answer. Partial list:

  • Aforementioned business development classes – done, but they offered me guest status.
  • My Chamber of Commerce membership was up so I didn’t renew.
  • My membership in a Construction Referral Group was up, again no renewal. They also offered me guest status.
  • I dropped my Profit Through Life Purpose group, even though I really wanted to do that one.
  • Didn’t renew a major business networking group ($700 a year’s worth of wasted time and money. I would write about the jerk in charge of that one, but he would probably sue me. I’ll have to disguise it.)
  • Business meetup once a month for Business Startups – done.

 I quit everything.

 Except two: my weekly fitness class, and my life coach. I think of both as life strengthening and affirming. I also got a job cashiering at Home Depot to help fill in the financial gaps as I retool and rethink business or job or whatever is next. This blog is part of the retooling and I wouldn’t be writing at all if it were not for Kate.

 I didn’t find Kate; she found me. Last fall I attended a conference of all women vendors and speakers. Kate was a vendor and I tossed my card in for a drawing prize of 3 free sessions with her and won. (I also won a free analysis of my handprint which was also amazing and will be part of this blog at some point.) Both wins have been instrumental in my forward movement in self-discovery. Both totally unexpected, unplanned, and unsettling.

 (Change is hard. You go first.)

 We did the three sessions and really wanted to continue. She uses a method of analysis for the saboteurs and sages each person has living in their heads. I’ve bounced around all over the place and she always seems to ask the right questions to get me positioned in front of an answer that makes the most sense. It’s not necessarily right or wrong, but it makes sense after looking at the situation a new way. Or realizing just how much I have sabotaged myself year after year, and that I can change the patterns with discovery and awareness.

 That’s what I want to write about now. I’ll do the politics and progressive writing somewhere else, but here I want to explore Me. Lynn. Friend to many, but unknown to most, especially myself. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m doing it anyway.


Radical Republicans at it again

I commented yesterday on the article in the NY Times by Maureen Dowd –

Ghastly Outdated Party, Published: February 25, 2012   

The article condemned the “barking mad” Republicans and how some of the more rational Rs are beginning to see that the road the presidential candidates are on could take the Rs back to a political minority. They could be right, and I for one, hope so with all my left wing heart.

 My published comment follows. It received 116 recommends and ranked about 38 out of 368 comments.

 Lallen 56 wrote on Feb 25, 2012:

“Just when I think the repubs have done the worst they can do, they do something even more slimy than before.

Sick Rantorum (not a typo) may be the most extreme, but they are all dangerous men under the thrall of power and money and a narrow ideology proven to bring more misery and poverty. With Sick R. you have the added paranoia of religious extremism which would only compound the misery and poverty.

 Getting money out of politics is rapidly becoming the most important issue for the next administration, hopefully Obama’s next four years. The rightwing has been chipping away at our democracy since 1971 when Lewis Powell wrote his infamous letter the to the US Chamber of Commerce.

The right took his advice, poured money into the effort, formed think tanks and started the lies and propaganda flowing through the media, education, and religions. After 40 years of it, the efficacy of their methods has reached its peak, but with that has come an awful stink. Maybe this is the point of diminishing returns and just maybe this is the time to shove the plutocracy out the door.

Monied interests want to own this country and we have to stop them. Turn back Citizens United, reduce or eliminate lobbying, make elections public, take away tax breaks and loopholes, and balance the scales. It was balanced before 1971. It can be again, but definitely not with Repubs in charge.”

End of my comment.

This next comment says a lot about how people like Sick Rantorum could win. I don’t know the identity of the writer, but he/she goes by Thomas Payne.

Thomas Payne, Cornelius wrote on Feb 25, 2012

WARNING: The republican party, unified and acting in a purposeful and organized manner as directed by ALEC, may have already disenfranchised enough voters to guarantee that whomever they nominate will will (win) the election.

 REMEMBER: It is not the popular vote that is counted. It is the votes of the Electoral College. If they win enough swing states they will win the election.

 They have passed laws specifically aimed at blocking likely Obama voters from the ballot box. Do not be distracted by issues and arguments. They don’t matter. What matters is restrictive Voter ID laws, restrictions on Voter Registration, restrictions on College Students, Voter Caging, shortened Early Voting periods, and efforts to avoid sending absentee ballots to military personnel serving overseas.

 Hopefully these issues will receive enough publicity so that they will be brought front-and-center in the nation’s consciousness. Our democracy is being stolen. Don’t let them steal the White House.

 We must organize and focus our energy on insuring that every voter who wants to vote will be able to vote and that each vote will be fairly counted. There is a vast but silent conspiracy to see that this election will be stolen from us.

 You have been warned.

Tonight will be President Obama’s third State of the Union address. The remarks afterward by Mitch Daniels and Herman Cain will undoubtedly try to cloud all issues and spread false facts.

Think Progress posted an impressive list of facts this morning, some of which outlines accomplishments by Obama. (POLITICS FACTS: The State Of The Union
By Judd Legum on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:10 am). Other items in the post point out the need for a return to more equality and building the middle class. See the article for sources linked. Here’s the list.

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]
• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]
• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]
• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]
• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]
• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]
• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]
• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]
• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]
• Union membership is at a 70-year low. [Source]
• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty. [Source]
• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. We’re now #14. [Source]
• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans. [Source]
• 47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty. [Source]
• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes. [Source]
• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year. [Source]
• More than one in 70 homes faced foreclosure last year. [Source]
• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent. [Source]

Any way you shake it, this country is struggling to gain back not only its economic footing, but its integrity as a nation. From what I have heard and seen of the Repub candidates so far, they are not promising to correct anything. Only continue the failed policies of the Bush Administration to a degree not only Bush could imagine. All backed by Corporate Money.

Obama is talking about returning this country back to its people, rather than delivering it wholesale to corporations. In other words, preserving what’s left of our democracy for everyone rather than become a corporatocracy where only the rich participate. Sometimes known as fascism.

Today’s Gilded Age and Populism

This entry is from an interview between Bill Moyers and Nell Painter, historian and author of Standing at Armageddon. You can hear the entire interview of about 15 minutes, and read more about Ms. Painter at:


They talk about the secret of “class” discussions and what populism is and how it rose from the People’s Party, Farmer’s Alliances, the Grange and the Green Backers. At that time the people said that “Our interests are not the same. And the money power– money power or later in the early 20th century, the plutocracy; that those people were acting in their own interests, not in ours.” From that movement came some important safeguards in our economy and culture. Those safeguards have been weakened significantly in the past 25 to 30 years, and we are once again facing the encroachment of big money, big corporate power, and big non-populist influence shoving our country into the same inequality and poverty of 100 years ago. 

These lines are from the end of the interview, but summarize the dangers we face now. Ironically, she is talking about why two populist presidents, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, decided to push for populist policies in America during the time of the so-called Gilded Age.

We have come full circle in the last 100 years and are once again in a Gilded Age. It’s time to bring populism back and reinstate an America as a citizen state, not American as a consumer state under corporate power.

To the interview excerpt:

BILL MOYERS: It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, both men of property championed the cause of people against the big corporations?

NELL PAINTER: Because they realized that not standing up to gross economic power risked ruining their country, risked incredible disorder, risked asking for Armageddon. In– after 1907, but certainly after the populist and after the great– hard times of the 90’s, and the strikes, and the riots and all the disorder of the great upheaval. Theodore Roosevelt realized that he couldn’t just let the bankers and the railroads call the tune. Because they would run the country into the ground. Franklin Roosevelt, looking at the Great Depression, and the strikes, and the riots, and the marches realized once again that government would have to step in and put a hand on the side of ordinary people. That the system cannot run by itself.

BILL MOYERS: You are a historian. You’re an historian, and not a prophet. But are we standing at Armageddon today?

NELL PAINTER: I don’t think we’re ever standing at Armageddon in the United States. Because we do have lots, and lots and lots of safeguards. And one of our safeguards is simply our huge size. Nobody can move us around very quickly. Everything takes a lot of time. I don’t think we’re going to have a revolution in the United States. So, in that sense, we’re not standing in Armageddon. And we never will. However, we certainly are standing at a critical moment, in which we decide whether or not to continue as, in Bryan’s terms, “An empire,” or whether we want to return to our roots as a democracy.




Quick explanation of why I am an atheist.

This is an expansion of a comment I made on string about why people are atheists. The article was in the NY Times today.

Here y’are:

I have read that there have been about 30,000 gods worshipped at some time in recorded human history. Each was revered and believed in at that time, but dropped as time passed and knowledge took the place of superstition. In time, Christianity will take its place among the myths and the Christian/Jewish god will also land in the Olympus Retirement Home for Gods.

My Christian friends declare their belief in the One God and no other. So they do not believe in the other 29,999 from history. I have come to reject all 30,000 gods. Just one more than my buddies who hold to their patriarchal monotheistic religions and their one god. Just one more.

I feel that as humans we need community and that our instincts lead us to do what makes us feel good within that community. We strive for a feeling of wholeness and goodness which most often comes in service to others in some way. We each use our talents to contribute and feel good. We feel love from friends and give love to select others. We love nature and its beauty because it makes us feel good and humbled in the presence of greatness. That striving and sharing and connection is to me what makes up a meaningful life and a non-religion based spirituality.

A concept of judgmental, jealous god too often interferes with the meaningful part of all that. That’s why I choose to be a non-believer, but reserve the right to be spiritual in a secular, humanistic way.

Spirit is not God. Spirit is all of us. We don’t need a god to seek meaning or find hope. We don’t need a church to participate in our communities and find connections that make us feel good and whole. Opportunities are all around us to create meaning and fullness in our lives without the need to worship a distant God that increasing leaves us with emptiness and even cruelty.

I’d rather hope for real things, connect with real people, revel in a real nature, participate in a real society where I can do some real good for real people. Isn’t that more hopeful than blind faith in one of 30,000 retired gods?

“Those less favored in life should be more favored in law.” – Powell

This quote by Thomas Reed Powell sums up all that is wrong with the current conversation about the deficit. So much of the rhetoric is about punishing the already economically punished and rewarding the secure and even the exploiters.

Liberal thought is that we are all part of a larger community that is willing to lend a hand to those in need. A hand of helping, not slapping further down. Liberals remember that “There but for the grace of God go I.” Fortunes can turn in an instant; won or lost in a day.

The Republican debates have been especially telling. I was dismayed about the audience reaction to Mr. Paul’s discussion of what should happen to a 30-year old man with no insurance who hypothetically needs medical care to live. The support for “let him die” tells me that this country needs some heavy duty re-education about community and the value of human life.

What does it say about the people of America (or at least that group of people) if we are willing to let those less fortunate die because they have no insurance, either by choice or necessity. If you have no insurance, you die in a situation where medical treatment could save a life? It’s so negative and nihilistic. (From Wikipedia – nihilism is “characterized as “emptying the world and especially human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value.)

We all need help once in a while. It shouldn’t be a death sentence to not have insurance, nor should losing your job mean that you are forever unemployed and reduced to poverty. How does that build community, or country? It doesn’t.
It’s a rejection of human idealism and an acceptance of animal fatalism – survival of the fittest. It’s more war on the middle class. It’s political and economic extremism. Is this who we are as Americans? I can’t accept that.

I think that most Americans value life and want to enjoy the best for themselves and their families. And they are willing to work and contribute to achieve it. They are willing to lend a hand to those who are unemployed and struggling until they get back on their feet because we have all seen how easy it is to lose everything when jobs get cut. Most Americans want to be respected and are willing to extend respect to others, even in the hard times.

I think that most Americans want to move forward not backward and are being manipulated through the (conservative) media by fear, greed and big money. I think most Americans are more liberal than they give themselves credit for.

I have more faith in America than that. Let’s keep talking about who we really are and maybe the majority will awaken to their own goodness and start shouting down the exploiters.

Let’s talk about liberal living as a step forward, not backward. Let’s move toward optimism, not negativity and nihilism.

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