Whenever my wife and I make a hard decision in the face of authority, she looks at me and says one thing. It always helps when I feel I am not standing tall in Tennessee.
“What are they gonna do? Take your birthday away?”
Once again, we find ourselves, standing tall in Tennessee.
After listening to Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Mike Dooley, and the words of Rumi, I stand tall. After reading about Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and Dolly Parton, I stand tall.
Tom Petty, CSNY, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Nas and Damian Marley, Damian’s father Bob, and Robbie Robertson sing in my ear. And I stand tall.
Life Is For You
Before standing tall in Tennessee, you have to understand that life is for you. If life is for you, nothing else matters.
All of the masters agree that we create our own reality. We are all, in essence, co-creators of the world. Even the will of God.
If God trusts you to make decisions, you can trust yourself to make decisions. Whether you want to fight injustice or live in seclusion, the decision is yours.
Here’s the rub. It is all your decision.
Making Stuff Happen
The first step in making stuff happen is to realize you have the power to make stuff happen. Life is not teaching you any lesson other than this.
If you want to do one thing to realize your worth, understand that you are not powerless. Understand that you are a creator of circumstance, and not a victim of circustance.
This means you have to give up blame and judgement. Of others and of yourself.
You have to lay it all on the line. Go all in. Trust that whatever you need will come to you as you need it. In a real way, you have to hear and believe Kris Kristofferson, when he says, “don’t let the bastards get you down.”
One Example of Standing Tall In Tennessee
Recently the company I worked for, was acquired by a private equity firm. Everything (literally everything) I worked toward for four years was put in the crapper.
In a company that claimed to be about camaraderie, “friends” disappeared from site. Calls became strained. People, understandably, began looking to keep their world together where they were.
After hearing a team member was fired for a post on his social media platform, I directed a domain to my social media. While the domain name was based on a phrase we created in Tennessee, the company had long since “borrowed” and branded it.
After the news came out about how the company would not be investigating accounts, the HR director popped up on my newsfeed as viewing my profile. I called him out immediately.
All of the dirt done will come out. I will not be the one to bring it. There are so many better things on which to focus my efforts.
I lost my job. But, as far as I know, I still have my birthday.
Go All In
In the face of arrogance, smile and care for others. and in the face of greed, find those in need.
Let Life flow through you and hurt when you need too. Cry it out, see it for what it is worth, and create possibility.
Life is not happening to you. Life is happening for you. Stand tall where you are. I will be standing tall in Tennessee.
If you find you are struggling to justify the actions of others, find some others with whom to hang. If you cannot believe what is happening around you, get to safety somewhere else.
Death Is Not the End
At some point, I am just living a dream Patti Smith dreamed. “People have the power, people have the power, people have the power… to redeem the work of fools.”
Some people get it. Some people will never get it.
What I know is this. I still have my birthday. I still have friends. It only takes one voice crying in the wilderness to spark change.
On a wall in my writing space is a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is not smiling. Sometimes the work before us requires a seriousness that others cannot understand.
My personal mission is still to change the world one smile at a time. I am still standing tall in Tennessee.
Take care of each other where you are able. Take care of yourself as required. Stand tall. Wherever you are. The world is changing, enjoy.