Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do You Fear Ebola?

If you choose to listen to irrational, heartless, non-compassionate, non-expert pundits from politicians and talking heads, you might hear…

Christian radio broadcaster Rick Wiles, said, “Ebola may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming," according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

“Ebola could solve America's problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion," Wiles said on his Trunews program, according to the Colorado Independent.

Radio talk show host Michael Savage said, President Barack Obama wants to infect America with Ebola. "There is not a sane reason to take three- or four-thousand troops and send them into a hot Ebola zone without expecting at least one of them to come back with Ebola, unless you want to infect the nation with Ebola.”

Obama sent U.S. troops to West African nations with Ebola as part of an international effort to help eradicate -- not spread -- the disease.

Check out the comments from Rep. Phil Gringrey, former Republican Senator Scott Brown and Senator Rand Paul. Donald Trump apparently sees himself as as an expert in human behavior and disease transmission.

As of October 15, 2014, 5 Americans have gotten Ebola. None of them have died from Ebola and continue to be treated.

Approximately 8,900 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola. 4,400 have died from Ebola.

Here is what we need to fear…

- Flu season is here. Did you get your flu shot? Flu is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Are you washing your hands after using the bathroom? I am appalled at the number of men I encounter in the men’s restroom who by-pass the sink after using toilets and urinals. 
- Nearly 80 million Americans are obese due to poor diets and lack of exercise leading to heart disease and diabetes. If you are overweight, you can choose to do something about this including cutting the burgers and fries and all the sugary “foods.” Check out this article in Salon on 5 Shocking Reasons Why Americans Are Getting Fatter.
- Wear your seat belt even if it is uncomfortable. Car accidents are the fifth leading cause of death.  
- Nearly 25% of our fellow Americans continue to smoke cigarettes, which is the leading cause of cancer and heart disease. If you smoke, you can choose to do something about this!
- 76,000 people will get the skin cancer, Melanoma, in 2014 due to a lack of using sunblock and using tanning beds. If you go outside, you can choose to use protection! 

- Nearly 90,000 deaths in the U.S. are alcohol related to binge drinking. And then there are deaths related to DUI! It’s a choice.
- We don’t currently have a U.S. Surgeon General because President Obama’s choice for U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is being thwarted by conservative politicians who are supported by the N.R.A. Over 11,000 Americans will die this year from firearms. Seems Dr. Murthy sees guns as a serious health care issue.

My suggestions…

- Choose to get information from credible sources who know what they are talking about and are experts in their field. Choose to trust them over people like Donald Trump.
- Choose to get your priorities straight, including what you are doing to prevent heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Wear sunblock and seat belts. Find another way to have fun or ease your pain than binge drinking. If you own a gun, be incredibly, over-the-top, responsible.
- If you are of the Christian faith, really ask, “What would Jesus do?” Would He talk and act like Rick Wiles and some of the other non-compassionate, unjust and heartless people whose voices have gotten our attention? 

NOTE: In my original post, I quoted Ann Coulter making disparaging remarks about Ebola and immigrant children to Sean Hannity on August 6th. It turns out those remarks were untrue and written as "satire." See Bad Satire Today.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

How Are You?

As a leadership coach and as a coaching relationship develops, I become a confidant. Secrets get revealed. As a coach, it's my duty to keep
confidentiality. Many times I learn that the struggle or the skill the client needs to deal with or improve upon is rooted in the secret revealed. Sometimes I can no longer be a coach and become a resource to guide the client to counseling.
     'The only reason I am staying at this job and in this
     unhappiness is because I am scared and can't
     give up health insurance. I am trapped.' 

Are you familiar with It is one of the most visited blogs on the Internet. Every Sunday, PostSecret's Frank Warren, posts secrets people have sent him via postcards.
     'I give decaf to people who are rude to me.'
                                               (Starbucks barista)

Secrets range from sad, humorous, trivial, shocking to "me too!" I like to visit this blog because it reveals our humanness, vulnerability, and connectedness. Secrets may reveal frailty as well as courage. Reading PostSecrets also draws upon my compassion. It is a reminder to check my judgment and assume positive intent with all I meet.

     'I have cancer and no one knows.'

We all have secrets. Our secrets, like our pain, like our grief, are our commonality. Secrets may be part of the baggage we carry on the journey called life.

     'My daughter thinks my husband is her father.'

My secret is not your secret, but it may be similar.
     'I am afraid to die.'

Secrets don't make us less human, less worthy, but they do create barriers, and they do create unnecessary fear.  Secrets are fueled by fear. Just ask yourself, "Why am I keeping this a secret?"
     'I don't care about giving up my addiction.'

Lies are secrets. Secrets close doors and build walls. Secrets generate worry and hurt productivity. Secrets may block reality as well as become our reality, our truth.

     'My boss is an asshole. He and this company do
     not get my best work. Furthermore, if I screw up
     a customer's order, I don't care.'

Secrets can be dangerous. Secrets become stories ... first the stories we tell ourselves and believe and then the stories we tell others.

     'I am married to woman to show others I am not gay.'

Secrets can build bridges. If I reveal my secret, I share my vulnerability. I model the way for courage. If I share my vulnerability I build a bridge for community. Community is that sacred place we all long to be a part and need.
     'I am afraid to say "I love you." The last time I told
     someone that I loved them, he left me.'

Robin Williams had a secret. Perhaps the silver lining in William's death is the danger of keeping a secret and that we need to reveal our secret in order to save our lives. Perhaps by revealing our secret, we will reduce our stress, anxiety and live authentically. So ask yourself...

     Does my secret torment me? 
     Is my secret another channel for denial?
     If I continue to keep my secret, how will I feel? How will I
     If I reveal my secret, how will I feel? Could I be relieved?
     Could I be free of pain, guilt and suffering?
     Who do I trust to keep my secret confidential?
     What is keeping me from revealing my secret?

Want to get more insight on secrets and their danger?
Read Secrets and Lies: The Price We Pay When We Deceive The People We Love  © Jane Isay, Doubleday, The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House.