Monthly Archives: July 2012

Always Be Prepared to Walk Away, Part 2

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The ability to always be prepared to walk away is found in two places. First and foremost it is found in an unwavering faith that your needs will always be fulfilled. You must know and believe that God and His Infinite Universe are there to surround you and protect you, guide you and bless you. No, this does not mean you can sit at home and wait for a million dollars to knock on your door. But if you are inspired into action, such as a date or an interview, it is not always because, to quote myself, “This is it! I just know it!” At times we are only being guided into a certain situation to receive a blessing or to learn a lesson, or to take another step closer to where we are actually supposed to be. So do not think that these occurrences are God “teasing” you or testing you. They are, however, teaching you. We must enter these situations not with a mindset of making something happen, but in a mindset of being open to receive a blessing, with no expectation what form that blessing will take.

The second place the treasure hunt with take you is the garden of Detachment, where you wander alone. The word “detach” has gotten a pretty bad wrap in modern society. When we describe someone as being detached, it has the connotation of being aloof, or stuck-up, uncaring, or unkind. Get this into your head once and for all. Detachment is good. You must remove yourself from the influence of other people, places, or things, and to do this you must detach. When you do, you will immediately liberate yourself from any control “it” has on you. This is even true of relationships. In her book Why Men Love Bitches [the author] tells women, “Don’t give away the pink slip!” (This particular pink slip to which she refers is not the one referred to when getting fired, rather it is the title for an automobile, like in Grease, “We’re racing for pinks. Pinks? Ya, pink slips. Papers?”) What she means is hold on to your ownership papers. If you put full dependence on whatever is on the metaphorical table during the proverbial negotiation, your desire for it controls you and your emotions.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor when I attended Moody Church in Chicago, said once, “God will continually allow Man to disappoint you, so that you learn to put your trust in Him, not in Man.” And humans will, indeed, continually disappoint you. But do you know there is one reason and one reason only for disappointment? When you expect something you do not get. One cannot have false or exaggerated expectations if one is detached. Therefore, there is little opportunity for disappointment. Why? Because you came to the table prepared to walk away if the terms or the people are not beneficial to your life.

Think about Facebook for a minute, I know it’s not hard, that is probably how you got to this page in the first place. Don’t worry, I am not judging, I was there just before you to post a link to this page so you could get to it. If you are anything like me you do, however, give the premise of Facebook a bit of pause, thanks to all of the big brother and privacy conspiracies floating around out there which are all but too believable. My use of the social media tool has not waned, however, because I have justified it with the realization that it really is nice to keep in touch with everyone.

As Hamlet says, “Aye, there’s the rub.”

Maybe we are not meant as humans to be that connected, has anyone ever thought about that? In the past if someone was a bitch to you in high school, you graduated and never thought about them again, but now, all of the sudden same bitch who is still a bitch wants to be your “friend,” and it is okay because you are more concerned with what she is up to and whether or not you turned out prettier or more well off than you are concerned with the fact you are letting negative energy into your life. Then add to that the immediate dismay if you post a status and eight people don’t “like” it right away, and that my friends is a recipe for a severely detrimental attachment. Some of your friends on Facebook are people that you would not even recognize if they were walking down the street, yet you daily air your grievances to them and even worse, you have to read what someone had for lunch that day or how much more awesome they are than you because they went to the gym. Then you don’t post that hilarious picture because some people may not approve, and you don’t ever say anything about smoking weed because God forbid anyone know you smoke weed. All of these worthless attachments, zombie-like interests in, and concerns for the mundane are harmful and they wear away at your soul. And they further distract and detract from two fundamental truths: that you can be anything you want to be and f*@% ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

Not all who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkein

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“Why does everyone in my life always worry about me?!” She thinks, humored by the bold truth that provoked a mischievous laugh.

That she was me. And everyone in my life is worried about me. And that makes me laugh. Not a mean laugh, just an if-they-only-knew-how-okay-I-really-am laugh. Life is pretty straightforward for some people. Then there are the 3% like me that twist and weave and turn and bend and go with their gut, not their head. I trust my intuition, I look for God everywhere and that is how I discovered this amazing Universe of His. It has taken me some amazing places, and it has taken me some mind-numbingly boring normal places, and it has taken me to some deep, painful, gut-wrenchingly awful places. Guess  what? I will go to all of those places again. That does not mean I will be afraid. That does not mean I will sacrifice my freedom and my dreams in order to avoid them. And I speak not only of the painful places, there are many who fear the amazing. I was one of those people. A martyr mindset, an inability to truly believe that I was worthy of what I wanted, and therefore completely unable to make it manifest.  Still the dream held fast, and I would not let it go. At my lowest points it was the dream that lifted me back up. Yes, indeed, I may have taken the long way, but the destination has always been the same.

Paulo Coehlo calls it the pursuit of your “Personal Legend.” I like that term. It feels so regal. That is exactly how it should feel. We are all children of God and heirs to His kingdom. Freedom, peace, abundance, prosperity are all within our reach. Open yourself up to receive them.

The first step in realizing this is being aware that Everything is a Sign. Get the words random, coincidence, and mistake out of your vocabulary, and start looking at everything. Read the labels, look at numbers everywhere, always look at the moon, observe nature. Take time to stop. We all hate stop signs, I hate stop signs with a passion, so perhaps that has something to do with how we are so conditioned as a people to go, go, go. And going is not just going, constant mental and audio stimulation is going, too. Seek silence. Seek solitude. Seek still. No, I do not mean you must spend an hour amid the lilies and the tulips, at first just take small opportunities throughout the day to take a moment, get out of your head, and look around you or even better, look up. See how everything around you moves together, it is then that you will begin to open yourself up to God’s teachings. You can read, yes, you can go to church every Wednesday, but I believe that you will never truly know God until you begin to see Him in every last facet of your life.

I was raised a Christian, and on my spiritual quest to shed religion and truly find God and only God wherever or whoever he was, I discovered the Universe. At first I wrestled trying to reconcile this seemingly New Age term “Universe” to what I knew of God thus far. Was it a contradiction or an anomaly to believe in a Universe and also in God? What I realized eventually was no way Jose is it at all at odds with a belief in God, because it’s God’s Universe!! Then I began to understand how nature and the forces of the Earth played their pivotal role in creating this undying, unwavering energy force that invades every last microscopic atom of anything and everything in existence, and even the things that are not. Einstein taught us a hundred years ago that time is an allusion, everything exists at the same time it is only a mortal experience that we see one thing at a time. The last thing I saw referring to Einstein was accompanied by a grossly exaggerated caricature that made him look like a fool. Blasphemy. No wonder the underlying themes of his teachings have been so utterly lost. And do not think for one moment that is a coincidence, either. When you open yourself up to the beauty of the Universe in all of its order and brilliance, you will also begin to see the evil. This was intended and designed: know your enemy.

It is with this knowledge that you gain true freedom, for you remain steadfast in your belief that not only does everything and everyone have a purpose, we also have the power within us to be anything that we want to be and do anything we want to do and have anything we want to have. No outside forces, no government, no economy, no oppression, no suppression, no red tape can keep you from accomplishing your goals and living the life you can imagine. But it has to begin inside.

I was debating with a quite practical man this evening and he said to me, “95% of people out there don’t like their jobs and aren’t happy at work.” That was quite simply one of the saddest things I had ever heard, and if that person believes that then it is no wonder why he is miserable at his job. Because he thinks that is the way it is supposed to be.

I am not advising, yet, that everyone should aspire to more and go look for a new job. That again is a detrimental mindset because it still puts too much importance on the job. The issue I am addressing here is that the job has nothing to do with it. You must learn to be grateful for what you already have before you will ever be able to have what you really want. Gratitude emits joy. Joy is not happiness, happiness is derived from the external surroundings, but joy is the real pursuit, because joy is permanent. Joy begets peace and peace is also permanent. Someone remarked once of feeling peaceful around me, and I replied, yes, well, isn’t that the ultimate goal? Peace? And so it is. Joy and peace work harmoniously together within you to produce an unwavering assurance and faith that every step you take is in the right direction, even when it appears to everyone else that you are dancing a jig.

 

Always, ALWAYS, Be Prepared to Walk Away, Part 1

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In my two years as a car salesman I attended countless seminars, training sessions, and “inspirational” meetings. And by inspirational I mean a bunch of great sounding mumbo jumbo that really made no sense to me whatsoever. I sucked at negotiating, I knew it, and I had no idea how to fix it. I listened intently to every trainer, every manager, and in theory I understood what they were trying to tell me, but none of their instruction made any sense until a mere two days ago, many moons from my last tour of duty as a “cement soldierTM.” Train all you want, but battle is the best teacher. This particular instance was a negotiation for which I was not at all prepared. Despite the ample dose of wisdom God has given me, I never cease to maintain an even more ample stash of naiveté, blindly whistling along and looking at the clouds thinking everyone desires peace and harmony and beauty as much as I. You know how two dudes can get in a bar fight and five minutes later sit down at that very same bar and have a beer? Unlike women, with whom the slightest conflict results in utter and absolute decimation of the relationship, and an expectation for all mutual friends to do the same. In this instance I prefer to approach life like a dude, with an insane capacity to forgive and a refusal to hold a grudge. When a conflict is initiated and acknowledged, my thought is, “now we can all be adults and move on.” Enter Kimber, with her faithful sidekick innocence on one side and a beer bottle flying towards the other.

My humble and most critical opinion is that I made an incredibly poor showing, but I got home and realized that I had won. I may have gotten a little too emotional (shocker) and there is a sliiight possibility that a little of the “ghetto chic” came out in some of my delivery (yes, I have a little ghetto in me, I listened to a little bit too much rap music when I was in high school). But I won. And the moment I realized I had won came, not coincidentally, immediately after my remembering that at one point during the negotiation I gathered my things and began to walk away. I said, “You know what? You are right. That was our agreement and I’ll take it on the chin, I don’t want your money.” Well something happened when I did that. The person on the other side of the table suddenly wanted to give me the money. It was not as much as I had asked for but it was way better than nothing, which is where he started, and it was double his previously purported opinion of the market value. But the amount did not really even matter; it was that I had made him want to give it to me, when he had previously not wanted to give me anything at all. How did I do that?! Oh yeah! I started to walk away.

My first thought was how the behavior on the other side of the table is a good indication of human nature and how we like it better when things are our idea, and how paradoxically we would much rather help someone that doesn’t need help.

But let’s go back to what was happening on my side of the table when I decided to walk away. It certainly was not a strategic maneuver, as mentioned early I am (was) a horrible negotiator and such a “trick” would never enter my mind, my brain simply does not work like that. I despise manipulation and I have enough trouble trying to monitor my own actions I have no need to try to control someone else’s. What I realized was that something clicked in my head that said this conflict is not worth the money. My decision was twofold. On one hand I just decided to take it like a man and be the bigger person because I was done letting these people make fools of themselves by tripping over their own lies and inconsistencies and simultaneously piquing my outrage at their ignorant arrogance. On the other hand I just decided I didn’t want the money. And I really didn’t want their money. And guess what? As soon as I didn’t want it anymore, they wanted to give it to me.

Of course the obvious deduction is that one must enter into any negotiation or interview as if they are not worried about the money. But as I imagined the many negotiating tables in my future, most of which will concern much more than the paltry sum of this transaction, I realized that money has even less to do with it than that.  In fact, negotiation in a business deal is not about the money one single bit, not at all, the numbers don’t even matter forget the numbers. Negotiation is about learning the people and deciding whether or not you even want to do business with them. So had I known in the beginning what I was being set up for, and had I learned this lesson prior (impossible of course), I would have walked in like Al Pacino and just sat back and listened to them talk all over themselves and then said you know what, (in my best Scarface voice) “I’m not buyin’ your story, sonny… I’m just not buying your story…” But instead since I went in emotionally and financially vested, I had a stake in what was going on and I weakened my position. The same lesson applies to interviews. You are fabulous, you are wonderful, and they already want you. You don’t need this job you have eight other interviews lined up you just want to know how this place does business and if you like it. If not, you can walk away no problem on to the next.

The sad truth is that many do not feel they have this luxury, to act as if they do not need something, or even someone, and almost no one is prepared to walk away. Especially in this “economy crisis” where everyone has their heads all twisted about how hard life is, they want that job, they need that job, they have to get this job! Since the beginning of time the majority has looked awry at people who make the choice to stay single, so we swing like monkeys from trees, not letting go of one monkey until they can grab another monkey. People smell need like a dog smells fear. Remember the guy or girl in high school that wouldn’t stop calling you even though you made it very clear you were not in the least interested? Sure you do, they sat right next to the guy or girl that you were bonkers over that never even gave you the time of day. Be the high school quarterback, be the gorgeous cheerleader, be Al Pacino. Gain control over your emotions and your reactions by making what is on the table worthless. What is on the table truly has no value. The money has no value; the logistics of having a warm body around are meaningless. The people hold the value. The people you will be working with, or supporting, or to whom you give your time. That is who you want to know. Only after you make a detached, observant deduction of what kind of people they are can you make an educated decision on how to proceed with what’s for dinner.

These decisions matter in life, they matter in your world and in your happiness and in your ability to pursue what you love.  Stop looking at the paycheck, stop looking at what qualities you are attracted to in a person, and start looking at the people. I assure you—  Ramen noodles, eaten at a table with someone you love, taste a lot better than a filet Mignon eaten with an a$$hole.

Quotes on Nonconformists

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Nonconformists make things happen.  Learn more about how important it is to have people that think “outside the box”. 

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity. – Christopher Morley

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.  – Rita Mae Brown, Venus Envy

The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Conform and be dull. – J. Frank Doble

You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. – Doug Floyd

 A “normal” person is the sort of person that might be designed by a committee. You know, “Each person puts in a pretty color and it comes out gray.” – Alan Sherman

The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. – Colin Wilson

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  – Dr. Seuss

A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. – Colin Wilson

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss

A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature made us individuals, as she did the flowers and the pebbles; but we are afraid to be peculiar, and so our society resembles a bag of marbles, or a string of mold candles. Why should we all dress after the same fashion? The frost never paints my windows twice alike. – Lydia Maria Child

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary. – Albert Einstein

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. – Bertrand Russell

Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. – Winston Churchill

We are half ruined by conformity; but we should be wholly ruined without it. – Dudley Warner

Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. – Voltaire

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking. – J.K. Galbraith

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. – George Bernard Shaw

What this country needs is radicals who will stay that way regardless of the creeping years. – John Fischer

With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists the small trumpet of your defiance. – Norman Mailer

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. – Friedrich Nietzsche

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. – John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. – Herman Melville

We need – and should encourage and honour – not only discoverers of facts hitherto unknown but explorers of ideas and rethinkers of values. – Walter Moberly, The Crisis in the University

If you don’t control your mind, someone else will. – John Allston

When all think alike, then no one is thinking. – Walter Lippman

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. – Alan Keightley

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. – Charles Kuralt

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. – Adlai Stevenson

People would rather be wrong than be different. – Henry Jacobsen

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

– Apple, “Think Different” campaign

It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed. – Albert Einstein

I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different.  – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity. – Bill Vaughan

Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids who don’t always get A’s
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers,
And noses that go on for days …
Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids they call crazy or dumb,
The kids who don’t fit, with the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum …
Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown, as history’s shown,
It’s their difference that makes them unique.

– Digby Wolfe, “Kids Who Are Different”

Good Morning Gal-ve-ston! (you gotta say it like Robin Williams…)

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I do not pretend to make the presumption that people actually want to read what I write, but I do know that I have a lot to say, and I prefer to write what I have to say than say what I have to say.

This blog will primarily consist of issues on and around Galveston Island, challenges and opinions I face and form every day. I have two main dreams in life, with lots of little sub-dreams surrounding them. I will make films for a living, and I will see Galveston Island restored to her former prominence and glory. Now to really understand that last statement, you would have to know at least a little about Galveston and her intensely rich history, but lets just say this was a swingin’, rockin’ place, oh, up until about fifty years ago.

I’ll give you a brief re-cap. Fast forward through Bernarndo de Galvez (our namesake), the Karankawa tribe, and Jean Lafitte. In 1821 the US Navy sent a warship over to our paradise shores and pretty much let Lafitte know that his presence here was a nuisance. Over the next eighty years, Galveston grew and grew some more, and didn’t really stop growing. Our status as a port city afforded us many benefits, and became indicative of a status and culture unlike any other in Texas. Because of our great location and easily accessed harbor, along with the cotton boom and an extremely organized pier system that allowed easy ingress and egress to our city streets, commerce was crazy. The increase of commerce meant that we had to have banks to hold all the money we were making, we had to invent insurance to protect it all, and we felt the need to start a mansion-building contest just to try and outdo each other. Being a port city also meant that a lot of people from all parts of the world graced our shores at all times, along with the bawdy and lascivious sailors that got them here. And so we enveloped many different cultures, realized that booze and brothels were profitable, and emerged with a much more relaxed, diverse, and forward-thinking population than the demographics of the rest of the Bible Belt. In fact during the years leading up to the turn of the twentieth century we were even at the forefront of modern technology, completely wired for electricity by 1885, and home to many firsts in Texas, including the first real estate firm, the first jewelry store, the first insurance company, the first producer of “artificial ice,” the first and longest standing operational library, and so on and so forth.

Fast forward, one hundred and twelve years later, and the local population is divided into two groups.  I despise labels but for the sake of reference I will admit I am an IBC (Islander  By Choice). The other, more distinguished group here, is affectionately referred to as BOIs (Born On the Island). Here is where my afore mentioned abhorrence of labels really comes to light. I think it is great that people are proud of being a BOI, I really do. If I was a BOI I would be proud of that, too. But there is a discrepancy. A small yet powerful subset of the BOI population reveres our rich Island history and the people who created it so much that they have become blinded by the pride of who we were. So much so that they have in a way bastardized this pride so that their prejudices exclude anyone who wants to help Galveston Island but was not  born here.

 Funny part is that this convoluted pride is completely abject and conradictory to the spirit of the Island upon which they base it! If the original BOIs were as close-minded and clique-ish then guess what? None of us would be here and Galveston Island would still be nothing but a flat marshy sandbar with Karankawa running around everywhere. Not only that, but some BOIs further perpetuate the insanity by exploiting their birthright, yet do not, as they say, “put their money where their mouth is.” One particular BOI foundation that shall remain nameless,  in 2011 donated over twenty million dollars off the island, compared to a mere two hundred thousand dollars to organizations on the Island.

Now before you get out your BOI carved driftwood and head for my office to show this crazy IBC who’s boss, hear me out. I am not, by any means, lumping all BOIs into this category. One of my dearest friends Ms. Weaver is a hardcore BOI but she loves anyone who loves the Island, despite their place of origin.  And there are many others who have welcomed my efforts and my passion for this Paradise with open arms. But we must not allow those who defy the spirit of Island culture with their disallusioned pride in who we were to prevent us from becoming who we can become.

Why are we living in the past? Why is a rich history enough, when recent decade after decade we have denied the legacy of resiliency and perseverance, thinking it’s enough to just appreciate where we came from, instead of using our legacy to empower us and take us where we need to go?!

One BOI sat in my office and said, “Don’t try to save Galveston, she doesn’t want to be saved.” Bull. Shit. This Island, this beautiful diverse Paradise so paradoxically located along the shores of one of the most conservative states in the US, doesn’t only want to be saved, she deserves to be saved.

Island Beautiful is a non-profit organization that I founded in May of this year. Inspired by the faith and determination of the survivors of The Great Storm of 1900, my dream, my hope, my wish, my passion, my goal, is to annihilate the beauracracy that is holding our City and our Island down, and work tirelessly to beautify and enrich this Island and her people that I hold so dear.

Peace, Love, and Palm Trees,

Kimber