MyMixedBagLady2: My Mixed Bag, My Mirror, My Me, Part II

So in My MixedBagLady1, I introduced the concept of Purse and Its Content as Metaphoric Mirror, a PURSE-sonal Journal of sorts, Content as Context.  Ladies, and Man-bag-toting Gents, have you considered what your things tell you and others about, well, YOU? The YOU you ARE, the YOU you’ve BEEN, the YOU you aspire TO BE, the YOU that OTHERS SEE? 

In the 1st post, I examined the lovely Asian tote I often carry. It has no inner organizing compartments but provides a canvas-like beautiful facade to my Erika Badu-esk Bag Lady Dilemma…” You Can’t Hurry Up, You Got Too Much Stuff…”

For this second part of the series, I’m checking out the phone and related accessories I use to haul MY STUFF.  Having dumped and organized the myriad morsels on my mattress, the shot below is from a point in time never to be recaptured, meaning, the cargo is ALWAYS changing. But alas, on to the introspection afforded by this pictorial. Let’s begin with a haiku…

Siri Serenades

Aftershoz Our World Rocks

Encase, Ensconce, Ease

After finishing my UCLA MBA in 1995, as I headed off to be a (somewhat misguided) A.T.Kearney consultant, I acquired my 1st smart phone, a Palm Pilot.  I scarcely remember its initial case, but I do recognize 2 things about the experience of having this “personal digital assistant” or PDA nearly 20 years (GULP!) ago: 1. I was apparently one of the early adopters of this advanced touch screen technology, and 2. I would have only a relatively brief (OUCH!) love affair  w/my oh-so-chicly-expensive Monte Blanc PDA case!

 My phone cases these days are fairly inexpensive (more carefully-watched benjamins, due to entrepreneurial pursuits, including Znuggle Up, Home of Comfy, Cozy Cool), compared to that MB one: a black leather-trimmed nylon,  another, pink leather crock-embossed, both with cross-body straps. Perfect combos of function and form! The whimsical one of a CoCo-Chanel-perfume-bottle-wanna-be case is less utilitarian, with no separate compartment for biz/credit cards or cash, but it works well when I’m at ATL to greet and escort some high-flying, high-profile travelers towards their deliciously dashing destinations. I hang it around my neck like the sexiest badge holder you’ve ever seen, never have TSA probs when you roll like a trusty, tricked-out travelista! The cute strawberry is actually ANOTHER bag, cuz, you know, I may need to grab some groceries, and as a mindful environmentalist, I gotta have a re-useable bag, eh?? My glasses case holds my contact case, spectacles and make-up, so that jimmy’s doing triple duty! Fashion Forward Full Functionality is a clear requirement in Jewel’s World!

 And I’m just thinking, my Blue Tooth headset is in this second shot above, cuz I must’ve been wearing it when I snapped the original bag-dump pic. This cool back-of-the-cranium-wrap ditty is a bone conduction device from AfterShokz, another early adopter tinket, that keeps me jazzy, jiggy and jubiliant w/banging beats and dialog deets on safe streets.

Now back in the day, the Palm, didn’t speak, but it did have a touch screen and decent doodle interpretation capabilities.  These days, I’ve dubbed my iPhone Siri Silly cuz she sometimes mispronounces my contacts’ names, disses my dictations and wrecks my requests despite my attempts to train her. Alas, after some not-so-lady-like expletives from me, she may simply give up and apologize for her inability to help me.  I wonder if maybe this is others’ experience of me when they solicit my assistance?  Mirror, mirror, in my bag, who’s the tamer in this tag?

I have come to terms with the fact that , as a self-styled shape-shifter, I am typically on the leading, and often BLEEDING edge of technology and change, an Unintentional Trailblazer of sorts, inadvertently enduring much pain and growth (I think I need a BLIND TRUST HUG) to move to places others don’t even realize exist. Such is the path I now knowingly illuminate for myself and others. I intend to slow my roll, be patient with myself and those around me/us, as a way of tranquilizing my/our many transitions. I endeavor to make my/our path more smooth and filled with grace and ease, discomfort as a minor distraction to the joy of being vibrantly vrai (that’s true en Français, ya’ll!), living life on my/our own terms. Please do follow if you dare, or better still, show me/us the light from y/our sparked and sparkling sojourns!

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Tale of Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Listen my peeps and you gone check

Sleep-slumbrin’ ‘hoods, ’bout to get respect.

Between the weeds and tires dumped

lies precious metals, mem’ries slumped.

Layered paint over dreams deferred

Scarred yet stronger, now goan be heard.

Drop the pretense & its weight

Sun shower, shimmy, foundations shake.

Hearth and heart, no more to roam,

Ancient acres rolling, home.

MARTA as Mobility Method AND Metaphor: 5-14-12 Board Mtg Public Comment

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Board Members, Dr. Scott, other dedicated MARTA staff, fellow concerned MARTA stakeholders.  My name is Julie Borders and I am a 2nd, really 3rd generation public transit rider and advocate.  I say 3rd gen because my grandfather, Rev. Wm. H. Borders, Sr., fought for desegregation of Atlanta’s street cars even before MARTA was a twinkle in the City’s eye.

In the last two years of his life, my physician father, Dr. Wm. Borders, Jr. was a para-transit rider, making his way to life-sustaining dialysis 3 days per week. He passed away in Sept.  2010.  I carry his memory with me, wearing his black & white silk pocket square almost daily.
For the approx. 2 years, I’ve been car-free and using MARTA as my primary mode of transportation.  I currently work for airport concessions company The Paradies Shops (TPS) @ Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l, in its Brighton Collectibles store.   TPS generously provides me w/a MARTA monthly pass as part of its benefits package.  So you see I have multi-generational love, respect and appreciation for MARTA.  In fact, I consider MARTA an essential fabric of my life. Cotton ain’t got nothing on MARTA!

I’m here to speak with you today because I see this MARTA fabric becoming more tattered, torn and worn every day, even as you contemplate increasing fares while reducing service because of budget constraints. To use a more shocking analogy, one related to my father’s unfortunate bi-lateral amputee condition, for me, it’s as if we’re well beyond cutting to the bone and are now cutting off limbs, and wondering why we’re bleeding. But how could we not be?  We cannot just cut our way to wellness and prosperity.

I had the misfortune this weekend of spending the night in the W. End Citi-Center Kroger because the last #71 bus didn’t run. I was unable to find friend, acquaintance or even cab to ferry me home. I was notified by another disappointed patron that no bus was coming as I stood at a bus stop near Culberson and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. This experience was ANOTHER rude awakening to how unreliable the system is becoming due to funding issues.  If we continue w/business-as-usual, hacking like Freddie Kruger, prospects are looking pretty dim.

I would submit that business-as-usual is the last thing we need at this critical point in MARTA’s history.  Instead, we must use out-of-the-box thinking, sensible risk-taking and pragmatic, creative, inclusive problem-solving.  I stand before you now ready, willing and able to add my best positive energy, thoughts, actions and HEART to mending MARTA.

I’ve submitted some simple, low-cost social media-enabled suggestions for engaging riders in improving MARTA safety, but they seem to be falling on deaf ears.  Seems I get push-back accompanied by vague, off-putting explanations/excuses at every turn.  But I am undaunted cuz THIS IS MY MARTA and she’s like my Mama driving carpool. I know she can do better, even w/the budget constraints she faces day in and day out.

I love this MARTA fabric, and I refuse to let her go.  I know she has untold greatness in her; she’s
a world-class transit system in waiting.   I promise to work long and hard for her sake, until my hands are bleeding and/or arthritic, if necessary.  That’s my word to you.
But I need your help. We need open honest discussion. We need willingness, even courage, to change and seek unconventional solutions.  I trust that you’re willing to play seamstress, no better still, tailor with me, not really mending OR ending OUR MARTA but TRANSFORMING her.  I hearken back to our resourceful slave ancestors who created underground railroad-directing quilts with the castoff fabric scraps from their masters’ homes. Won’t you stand on their shoulders with me and make MARTA all she can be??

Charity As Commerce

I am constantly amazed at human ingenuity and ignorance. Give us a mammoth problem, and we’ll give you a magnificent solution; then we forget it! We hide our bright lights of hope under bushes of –isms: Nationalism, Racism, Sexism, Color-ism, Ethnic-ism, Age-ism, Sexual Orientation-ism, Disability-ism.
Cases in Point: Charity As Commerce (The New/Old Concept of Making a Way Outta No Way)
About 50 years ago, my grandfather, William Holmes Borders, Sr. embarked on a project of parochial community investment that became approximately 30 acres in downtown Atlanta of housing, retail and banking assets unparalleled nationally. The project stands as a testament to what can happen when a few good people take a seemingly insurmountable problem, e.g. 1950-60s African-American Poverty & Segregation, and transform it into something spectacular, e.g., Wheat Street Gardens, Towers & Credit Union, a Cinderella story of “Urban Blight to Bright.”
In 2010, the 22-acre Wheat Street Gardens apartments, a low-income housing community, were replaced in part by a 4-acre farm, this in response to the Food Desert challenge in the area. The project, brainchild of Rashid Nuri, founder of Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture, has been recognized in the media, but I’m wondering how long it’ll take before this brilliance will be forgotten. Will history revisionists leave this story out because many of the project volunteers are white? Will African-Americans continue to shrink from such an empowering initiative for food sovereignty because of residual slavery associations, or as Dr. Joy DeGruy would suggest, Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder?
Two years ago, an architecture competition inspired amazing ideas for resolving Jakarta overcrowding and waste problems, the winning entry involved building housing over trash dumps and using unemployed neighbors to recycle the waste. I digitally stumbled upon this gem and can see its applicability to my own community, but will it be discounted because it WASN’T INVENTED HERE, but by a firm in The Netherlands for an Indonesia drowning in people, pollution and paper?
Can you imagine where the world would be if we could get out of our own way?? See through our fears and prejudices to an unbelievably bright future? I think we’re infinitely capable of such greatness, and we can begin with each of us seeing bold change AND THEN being that change. I invite you on this tempting, titillating & tumultuous journey with me. Where and how will WE continue together?

Sankofa: Our Rembrances, Our Rituals, Our Selves

What a cool Sunday I had yesterday! It seemed to be all about Sankofa: looking back to go forward. My graphologist (handwriting seer) Rev. Mother Sharon speaks of it often, mostly in ancestral terms, like going back to the Mother Land, tracing one’s roots in search of the sources of one’s ghosts, gifts & greatness. I’m thinking of it in those previous generational ways, but also in the context of my own lifetime. Sunday was a day for recollection and reverence but also progress and prosperity.

It started with a rousing service at Impact V1, the hip & happening, doing-church-differently spiritual collective launched by visionary Olu Brown, formerly of Cascade United Methodist Church in the SWATS (that’s SW Atlanta for you uninitiated folk). He brought an uplifting message entitled, “What Do These Stones Mean?” based on Joshua 4:4-7 (http://www.impactdoingchurchdifferently.org/sermon/what-do-these-stones-mean-). As I listened to his talk, I began to re-cognize the significance of the wisdom of the ages, and the faith of our ‘foreparents’ in our everyday challenges, the YES WE CAN (Obama & will-i-am style) available to all of us because WE ALWAYS HAVE.

How odd to have him speaking about this topic, since I’d journaled along similar lines that morning, in thinking of my plans to take on the Grady High School Stadium stairs that afternoon…a Sankofa experience. You see, when I was a grad student at UCLA (http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/) in the mid-90’s, I had a crew of female classmates intent on getting bathing suit bodies. So we set out every Saturday on an outbound tour past-Golden-&-Kurt’s-beach-crib-to-Santa-Monica-stairs then return through Downtown-Santa-Monica-city-route sojourn in pursuit of this blissfully fit state. And we’d always stop mid-way at Canyon Beachwear (http://www.canyonbeachwear.com/) for a browsing session as added incentive to stick with our rigorous program. MBA/JD student and type A personality Tsan (http://campcobalt.com/tsan-abrahamson.html) came up with this crueling, yet scenic workout, and tricked us into it the 1st time out. Anyway, more than 10 years later, I now have Cigna director Cerise to thank for inspiring a similar ritual in 2008: weekly stair-climbing at one of our finest Atlanta Public Schools, named for local icon Henry Grady. SanMo Stairs Remix!

This particular Sunday, I had a Wing Dude (instead of Chick), Harvey was good sport enough to be my playmate on this playdate; back in the day, he was one of my younger brother Eric’s crew. So after the inspirational message from Olu, and fellowship with other Impact enthusiasts, some of whom we’d known since high school or before, off we went to Arden’s Garden (http://www.ardensgarden.com) for a carb boost, then to the imposing concrete Grady stadium stairs. After a grueling set of trips up & down, we jetted to join a Jack & Jill (http://national.jackandjillonline.org/) touring of the Courage exhibit at the Atlanta History Center. Another looking back to go forward, from SC-spawned Brown vs. The Board of Education to 2007’s overturning of that ruling. Another set of high school or earlier reconnections, with parents who’d participated in Jack & Jill as children, now bringing their own kids through a similar rights of passage.

I am so grateful for this intellectually, emotionally, spiritually fulfilling day of village-wide remembrances. It can do no less than catapult me forward, on my workout, on my friendships, on my life’s work, all these, my passions. I can see the synchronicity in occurrences both large & small, historic and everyday. How about you? Have you recently had a déjà vu remix-type experience that hailed from your past, a past life or a previous generation’s? Did it leave you awed and inspired? If not, I trust you’ll be on the lookout for such experiences, because I suspect we can see them all around us, if we only take the time to notice. I wish you great inspiring memory hunting this day and always.

Forget Chicken Little & Father Knows Best, TRANSPARENCY, PLEASE!!

I’ve watched CNN & C-SPAN coverage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) debate. I appreciate the efforts involved parties have put into the EESA negotiations, but unfortunately, I am one of the majority of Americans who just says NO to the “Trust Me on This” way in which this administration has hood-winked and bamboozled the Legislatures, and these bodies have in turn, unwittingly, done the same to their constituencies, e.g., rushing into the IRAQ War.

I believe the legislators’ obligation is to the people who elected them, no matter the timing, election year of not, to represent, not 2nd guess voters’ will. If a legislator believes supporting this bill is ‘the right thing,’ a more appropriate action is to convince his/her constituency of this position, not vote for HR3997 despite what his/her electorate says. Instead each legislator should vote for or against whatever bill based on what we indicate we want. We don’t trust this administration, and are not interested in having another fathom WMD-type experience.

The FDIC and private sector seem to have done an adequate job with the Wachovia failure (no branch closings, no run on the bank, barely any media coverage) WITHOUT the HR3997 provisions, so I see no reason to rush a half-baked solution into law. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Democrat, Ohio, is the most reasonable voice I’ve heard so far.

During Congress’ 1-day recess for Rosh Hanana, my request has been that my legislator, John Lewis, 5th District GA, do whatever is in his power to have the House Financial Services Committee meetings be open to the public, perhaps with hearings being broadcast online and on CNN & C-SPAN. The American public is not too dumb or angry to understand, we just seriously lack confidence in our administration and legislature, so I for one, want to see for myself the proposals themselves, and analyses of proposals. Secrecy breeds bondage, transparency generates freedom. Key questions that need to be answered:

1) How was the $700B figure derived? How are any dollar estimates for other proposals being calculated?
2) What are the fundamental principles underlying the recommendations of the VARIOUS PROPOSALS (not just HR3997) on WHO gets bailed out: weak firms, strong firms, or consumers via investment, loan or insurance. What are the fundamental problems and how do these proposals seek to address them?

3) What test scenarios have been completed to better understand the potential impact of these various proposals which occur for me as collections of inadequately examined and perhaps contradictory ideas? How can this level of examination (much like the reports on the impact of the presidential nominees’ tax plans) be included in the legislative process?

Let’s stop with all the party squabbling, Chicken Little performances, and Father Knows Best attitudes (you can read more about my explanation and disdain for this last one here -http://jewelscharmedlife.blogspot.com/2008/02/father-knows-best.html). These ill-fated approaches would best be replaced with transparency, rational root cause analysis and creative, responsible problem-solving. As a constituent, please write to your Congress person and ask how you can support his/her ability to properly inform and represent you. I am open to any suggestions and feedback what I consider to be this more respectful and truly democratic representation-based approach.

‘Neocon’ Sarah Palin: You Go, Girl! Gone Wild

Ok, so I’ve been oh-so-fascinated by the Republicans’ latest & most brilliant diversion: Sarah Palin as Johnny Mac’s (I heard Whoopi bestow this nickname on him on The View) running mate. In 2004, it was gay marriage that threw the country off-track, contributed to Bush’s re-election and resulted in the worst economy Greenspan has ever seen (www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/14/greenspan-this-is-the-wor_n_126274.html). I was willing to give the GOP props for at least being a bit more positive and uplifting with this particular distraction: a young, attractive, articulate woman, though a ‘neocon,’ leaning even further right than the top of the ticket. At least we’re witnessing another woman making history, and that’s a lot better in my book than fear-mongering by preventing gay couples from making a legal matrimonial commitment to each other.

I’ve spoken to fellow political junkies about the media’s inability to vet ‘Phenom’ Sarah, mostly stifled by the tight-lipped/scripted McCain campaign. Since I see her positioning as a Republican diversionary tactic, the point is moot. From her Pro Life, to Pro Gun to military action before diplomacy stances, I respectfully & vehemently disagree with her on issues, not withstanding her feisty attitude and perky personality. She could be the proverbial 2nd coming of Christ and I wouldn’t consider voting for her.

To be fair, I was initially willing to give Sarah the benefit of the doubt, and assume that she could run an administration; even in this scenario, I’m sure I wouldn’t like the results because they’re Bush-esque, only worse. I’d suggested that to better understand her ability to administer, I’d need to know how she’d run the city of Wasilla & state of Alaska.
Well, I ran across some articles (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/sarah_palin/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=palin&st=cse) posted on the New York Times website that have caused me to NOT give Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt anymore. Specifically, one (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/us/politics/14palin.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) characterizing her administrations as having arguably misplaced loyalty shrouded in secrecy. Hmmmm, this sounds more & more Bush-like by the minute, even more so than McCain himself. Why, Arianna Huffington comically refers to Palin as Dick Cheney with lipstick (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-palin-doctrine-why-th_b_126511.html)!

So, you can get an idea about my perspective on Loyalty over Logic from my previous blog (http://jewelscharmedlife.blogspot.com/2008/02/logic-vs-loyalty.html); but secrecy & deception on top of misplaced loyalty add insult to injury. I trust that undecided voters won’t be taken in by this Sarah Palin Red Herring. If we can focus on issues, the choice is clear: Trickle-down economics + pre-emptive invasions vs. Bottom-up, grassroots reform + diplomacy. We see what havoc the former has wreaked over the last 8 years. Might be time to try a little something new, wouldn’t you say?

Confessions of a Recovered Obama Volunteer

So in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experiencing what I’d labeled ‘campaign fatigue.’ You know what I mean, that almost bloated feeling from gorging on Jeremiah Wright, Super Delegates or culture of fear nation conversations, a sense of politico overwhelm in my everyday (now not-so-charmed) life. Via media outlets old & new: MSNBC, CNN, online blogs, YouTube, seemingly inescapable. I’d gotten the feeling that this barrage of stuff, even with its promise of power to the people and transformational possibility, had taken me over and worn me out.
In this overloaded space I occupied, I stopped wearing my Obama paraphernalia, stopped blogging, stopped listening to the political shows, even considered not fulfilling on campaign-related commitments like running for a DNC delegate position, meeting with Super Delegates to shore up support for Obama and serving as a Democratic Party of GA Neighborhood Leader. How could this be happening to me?
Had my contrarian nature decided that this campaign’s success was no longer a long shot, but almost a foregone conclusion, and been repelled by the idea of becoming the status quo? Had my adult ADD-like tendencies kicked in after over a year of very visible, vocal Obama support, gotten bored with this ‘initiative,’ as had periodically been the case in my A.T. Kearney 60 to 90-day project consultant days?
As I lay awake before dawn, noticing the sometimes sharp pain that mysteriously appeared in my right shoulder yesterday, I wondered how my physical discomfort might be connected to my negative mental state. How could re-energize myself, fulfill on existing campaign commitments and reverse this trend before it REALLY got outta hand?
After journaling this AM, I am grateful that my self-awareness gifted me with a possible solution. You see, as I wrote my usual affirmations, then turned my attention to what had historically inspired & motivated me, I discovered a pattern I never really noticed before. I suppose I’d refer to it as IMPACTFUL LEARNING. It involves having to quickly become proficient in a particular context so as to make a significant, long-term difference. This type of learning requires curiosity, resourcefulness, collaboration and boldness. Add water, instant sage and guide.
For me, there’s nothing more exhilarating than a 0-to-60-in-milliseconds experience: microwave-like, from vague familiarity to expert in the mix, facilitating major positive sustainable change in seemingly no time. Like the amazing infrastructure of the Obama Movement reconstituting politically detached and/or cynical people into avid campaign volunteers. Hillary’s still trying to figure that one out.
This is what floats my boat. So now I see what I could do to flip my campaign fatigue script: look for the new yet impactful learning opportunities in the activist commitments that I’d made, with the goal of creating a lasting difference for myself and others . Because we all know, this leg of the journey ain’t over until the Senator from IL’s officially sworn in.

Calm & Storm

This incredible photo was taken by professional photographer Shane Durrance (http://www.shanedurrance.com/) Friday night. In the aftermath of this weekend’s tornado touch down(s) in the ATL, I’m keenly aware of the power of Mother Nature and the Universe, and humans’ mighty AND tiny roles in them.

Here on Earth, we talk about global warming, and how we’re killing our planet. I always find these conversations somewhat comical, because I’m clear that we’re behaving like destructive parasites to Mother Nature globally and She will surely survive; the question is, will we? She’s eliminated pesky, ill-suited inhabitants before, no reason to believe that inevitability will change. What needs changing is US.

Our own survival depends on our moving to more responsible action with our existence in this perfectly divinely constructed ecosystem. Al Gore’s Nobel prize is evidence that we might just ‘get’ the magnitude and certainty of this most undesirable road to global ruin we’re treading. The Green Movement is finally sexy, financially attractive and cool, now that our survival depends on it, at least as far as larger numbers of us are concerned.

This shot also brought to mind all the RACE hoopla that’s been going on in the US Presidential Campaign, including but certainly not limited to endless playback of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, Geraldine Ferraro commentary and most notably Sen. Obama’s brilliant Race speech(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU). You see, the subject of race & racism, always brewing just below the surface, periodically & violently raises its head, does major damage, then re-submerges, kind of like Mother Nature. It’s a cleansing of sorts, producing literal and figurative dark clouds from which we can always, if we’re open, glean silver linings.

Some of our Mother Nature challenges are of our own making, as are our strained race relations. When & how will we step up, individually and collectively, to resolving these life-altering issues at their root, to transforming our dire situation with thoughtful intention & powerful action for healing ourselves and our world?

These challenges are urgent. As Sen. Obama has quoted Dr. King, “Unity is the great need of the hour.” What small or large step can any of us take to return to a civilized culture and world? Reduce our carbon footprint? Tell our politicians that strategies that emphasize ‘unify and triumph’ are superior & preferred to those that seek to ‘divide & conquer’? How can we work WITH Nature, Mother and our own intrinsic, to BE the beauty and calm after the storm?

When Life Gives You Lemons…

Another interesting week in our lives, demonstrating to the world the beauty & tragedy of our free-spirited, enterprising, conflicted, zany US culture. The Spitzer-Dupre Scandal has caught the attention of the general public and media in a way that’s very familiar, reminiscent of Britney Spear’s child custody drama a few months ago. Another young woman attempting to navigate a complex world, making some questionable choices, then having to deal with the unforeseen consequences. Quite a few lemons we seem to have here, huh?
Well, we’re divinely human and so we all make mistakes…that is, sometimes take actions that have unintentional & undesirable results. The pivotal issue revolves less around our falling down, but rather around our recovery. Do we make lemonade? Every great breakdown provides the opportunity for a tremendous breakthrough, if choices more aligned with our true desires ensue.
Take for example Britney Spears’ Piece of Me video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuBrSmirI9c). I submit that it represents a keen genius of sorts in the lemon-lemonade realm, a clear demonstration of making hay out of what some would consider misfortune. Having paparazzi continuously tailing you has got to be one of the worse things imaginable, having no real private life what so ever, every action you take scrutinized to no end. No wonder Michael Jackson moved to the Middle East.

But check Britney, she made a successful racy video about her privacy-free and oh-so-lucrative existence. Hey, don’t hate the playa, hate the game! I first heard in January about Piece of Me on NPR, a most unlikely outlet to cover the pop culture icon’s travails, go figure! To be more NPR-credible & less tabloid-ish, the piece focused on a Brit ballet, Meltdown, that was inspired by Britney’s ongoing melodrama of a life (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18582314). The icon’s also, in another NPR story (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18255087), been described as her own multi-million dollar ‘industrial complex,’ a recession-proof economic engine. Wow!

For me, these situations bring up an important set of questions: what celebrity can any of us achieve in this life and how do we CHOOSE to use it? Like Oprah, Bono, Angelina & Brad, even Barack Obama or like Rush Limbaugh, Brittany Spears, & Flav-o-Flav? These folks are getting way more than 15 minutes of fame. The question is, whether 15 minutes or a lifetime, what message would any of us want previous, current & future generations to take away from our moment(s) in the Sun? What do WE want for ourselves, like if the NOW us could converse with the 10 years older FUTURE us? Or the 10 years ago PAST us? Our all of these SELVES dishing together at once? How’s that for a 360-degree perspective?
Perhaps we can all work on developing a consciousness that makes this consideration unconsciously nearly flawless, automatically informing the words & deeds of our most simple, noble & elegant desires, kind of like the grace & ease with which our healthy hearts pump and our vibrant lungs breathe. How charmed does that sound to you?

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