I woke up this morning, as I do most mornings, and read through the trending news on Facebook. Now I’m not sure how accurate it is given that Facebook controls who sees what, but these are the headlines I saw:
SNOOP DOGG: DONALD TRUMP A RECKLESS MOTHER______
POKEMON GO REALLY DISTRACTS DRIVERS
As I read through, it really begged the question: “Don’t we have better things to talk about?” Have we really resorted to chasing invisible creatures in our cars with our cell phones while Snoop Dogg’s thoughts have sway in our Presidential election?
And, if this is where we are, where are we headed?
Sugar Versus Substance
If you’re reading this and have no context for knowing me personally, I’m sure you might read those words with a tone of sarcasm, or even judgement. If so, I apologize for seeming flippant or critical, but I’m asking these questions from an absolute place of conviction.
Is this really the headline news in America—my America, our America?
When faced with the fork in the road of sugar versus substance, have we taken the path of least resistance, diving headfirst into the sugar? And by sugar, I mean the seemingly harmless, feel-good, quick version of information that is followed by an emotional insulin crash.
At first glance, I’m afraid so.
Ok, so what’s the big deal? Don’t you deserve sugar? Isn’t that you’re right and your freedom?
Sure, it absolutely is. But I’m not the guy who idly stands by and watches someone he cares about wreck themselves with bad choices in the name of freedom. And why do I care about you? Because you’re a human being. You’re a beautifully created individual with wonderful gifts and talents that can radically shape this world and this culture for the better and I don’t want to see you fall into the trap of culture throwing a blanket of funk over your head that keeps you trapped.
Listen, Pokemon and Snoop Dogg aren’t the bad guys here. But when they become the trending news, it causes concern that those things are beginning to consume us. Albeit entertaining for a while, it’s like sitting down and eating an entire carton of ice cream. No matter how good it tastes or how it makes you feel now, it won’t likely end well.
The State of Your Union
From time to time, the President gives a State of the Union address. This is the moment where he informs Congress and the nation about the reality of where we are as a country. You see the same in corporate America. At the annual conference, the CEO will address the company as a way to fully establish a “where we are” and a “where we are going”. This type of directive is essential is the process of transparency and growth in the lives of individuals, organizations, and communities because you have to know.
In ancient philosophy, the great thinkers said the single-most important piece of wisdom one could attain is to “Know Thyself”. We, as individuals and as Americans, need to pause and take a long, hard look in the proverbial mirror and ask ourselves, is this really who we are? Is this who we are as individuals? Is this who we are as a country?
We need a personal State of the Union.
Your body, your mind, your soul, and your spirit come in constant union with your outer world every day. And if not kept in check, our external influences begin to guide us away from what we really long for.
Think about these few questions: Do you remember your dreams and desires and deepest wishes? What did you envision as a kid? What’s your greatest hope for your future? Pause for a minute and really wrestle with these thoughts. Then, ask yourself, are my actions moving me in that direction.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t play Pokemon or listen to Snoop Dogg, but your diet can’t consist of things that draw you away from your greatest desires for yourself and for those around you.
One of the simplest and most profound powers that you have been given is the power of self-control. You have the absolute ability and capacity to control you actions. At each juncture, at each moment in time, you have been given the power of choice. No one can take that away from you. But understand that your choices have consequences.
If you’re able to really grab hold of the reality that you can choose and you’re willing to be honest with yourself about where you are, you’ll begin to break the chains that cultural norms and sugar has on your life. In essence, be mindful of your union with the world around you. If you’re completely satisfied, then carry on. I respect your freedom and your willingness to considering the consequences.
But to not deeply consider these things and get lost in the stream of unconscious influence can have lasting detrimental effects that draw you away from who you really hope to become.