Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July! Fireworks - Barbeques - and Apple Pie!

Celebrate but be safe!   

Don't Drink and Drive.  That is a no brainer - get one person to be the non drinking driver!  

Beautiful fireworks against dark clouds above a city
Don't use fireworks illegally and without supervision. As a young kid of about 10 my 2 older cousins and brother figures used to sneak across the border and buy fireworks.  They would let me play with them and looking back on this I used to scare my cousin to death because I would hold on to the fire cracker as long as I could
before releasing it into the air - It is amazing
that I still have my eyes and ears! 

Now that the rules are out of the way I wish to reflect on
many of us traveling during the summer.  That might include going abroad to tropical paradises or traveling to wonderful areas within our boundaries.  Some of us have had the now common termed staycation.  Just last evening I had the opportunity to just sit on a bench in the wee hours of the night (or should I say morning) with a friend.  My view?  Extraordinary architecturally sculptured buildings designed to look more like art than office buildings of multiple colors with about six water fountains.  The running water, the view, the colors.  There is beauty all around us in LA, even at 3 a.m.!  Therapy and feeling emotionally better comes in many ways.  Finding water fountains are interventions that are priceless.

During today it is important that we recognize that our country is not perfect; however whenever I hear stories from others or when I am personally out of the country I always hear in some part of the conversation how great and advantaged the United States of America can be.  Yes the Oscar Grants exist, yes we are witnessing the paradigm of defining what marriage (and marriage equality) means in the United States, and the list of social challenges is extensive.  But there is something that allows us a sense of hope and possibilities. I believe that hope is the catalyst of all cure.  Hope it is the light to all possibilities.  The United States still has this ideology of a dream and hope becoming reality.  Maybe a bit corny but Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land sums it up for many of us: 
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
So, on this day of the 4th of July, let's not focus on the negatives of how this country was built; or how oppression had been a chronic cancer in the Americas or what is wrong with America.  Let's look at the good that has happened and how far we have come and where we are going.
 And if you want to have some thoughts on the day's meaning there are some historical and social thinking on the July 4th holiday's meaning from Fredrick Douglas'
Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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