The Evil in Indifference

“There is another kind of evil we must fear most, the indifference of good men.”

man-praying-on-one-kneeEvery night before bed I pray.  I ask God to replace my fear with faith.  I ask that he puts me in situations where I can be courageous and face things I fear.  This doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be put in a fight or flight situation; but put in situations where I am forced outside my comfort zone.

Today I was presented with an opportunity to be courageous for someone else and fear kept me from acting.  I was rushing on my way to get my haircut.  I stopped at a red light when I saw a older man about 50 feet away from me walking his dog.  The man was probably in his 60’s.  He was clearly intoxicated and was yelling at his poor, defenseless dog.  The dog was terrified.  The man even went as far to kick at the dog when it wouldn’t listen.

I love animals, especially dogs.  I was enraged by the mans actions.  I started screaming out of my window at the man to leave the dog alone.  The dog was trying its hardest to run away from the man and almost ran out into traffic.  A police officer was stopped at the same light perpendicular to me and watched the same events I saw.  The police officer sat in his car and did nothing.

The red light stayed red for what seemed like an eternity as I watched this drunken, abusive man yell at his dog.  I so desperately wanted to jump out of my car and harm the old man for treating a scared, defenseless animal in this manner.

My blood was boiling as I screamed at the old man from my car.  But I did nothing to help this animals plight.  I let my fear stop me from doing what I felt was the right thing.

I feared that if I got out of the car I would have immediately act in a violent manner.  I was not in the frame of mind to handle the situation delicately and kindly.  A police officer was sitting there watching and I feared getting a citation or possibly arrested.  I feared hurting the old man and getting sued and what that would cost me.

I was confused as to what I would do if I did step in and was able to take the dog from the man.  Would I keep the dog?  Would I be arrested for stealing his animal?  What happened if I did not take the dog from him?  Would this drunken man abuse the dog further for my actions?

Then I realized the fear I am most embarrassed to admit.  I feared being caught up in this altercation and missing my haircut appointment.   I feared how that would effect my day and all of my other plans because I am leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow for vacation.

My selfishness and indifference played instrumental roles in my lack of action.  I call myself an animal lover; yet I see an injustice and I am more concerned with how this may impact my day instead of doing what I feel is right.  That realization made me ashamed and disgusted in myself.  I turned this into “someone else’s problem.”  That is the greatest evil in my opinion.

I’m not sure what the correct action was at that exact moment, but inaction certainly was not it.  I feel that is one of the greatest problems facing communities and societies today.  People are afraid to stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves.  This is one of the main cuas why neighborhoods and cities are destroyed and overrun by  those who wish to do harm.

People are afraid to stand up and do that right things because they fear the outcome.  Quite often there is a good reason to be fearful.  You could get arrested, sued, injured, shot, outcast in the neighborhood, be targeted for violence later.  The list goes on and on.

If we want real change to occur in our world for the better, we as a society must start taking these risks.  We have to develop a plan to take our streets and neighborhoods back.  We have to make a difference in the lives of those who are young and defenseless in order to instill in them the confidence and courage to take the correct actions.  Even if it’s an unpopular decision.

Parents, teachers, leaders need to evolve in our communities and invoke the sense of pride that people once had where they would not stand for people acting out and destroying where they lived.  Without citizens taking ownership in what occurs around them their environments will continue to decay.

I know their are good and courageous people out their every day who take action to make the world a better place.  They understand how turning a blind eye to what may seem like an insignificant problem leads to ignoring much larger issues later.  Like the people in Baltimore who stood outside of local businesses defending them from looters.  To all these men and women I respect and salute you for your efforts.

Plato poignantly and concisely said it better than I ever could:

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”



Fuck My Funk – How I Came out of my Slump

Coming out of mental and emotion tailspin is never easy.  At times I allow myself to spiral out of control very quickly.  I get lost and am not sure how to turn things around.   The last 2-3 months I have gone through this pretty badly.   During this period I’ve been experimenting with actions and ideas that are turning my attitude, mindset and ultimately my life around.  Theses are the things that are working for me.

Motivational videos – I wake up and the first thing I do is watch a video on my phone.  I try to find something to watch the night before so I have it ready for when I wake up.  Sometimes I’m really feeling one video that’s working and Ill listen to it a couple mornings in a row.  Lately I will listen to these videos several times a day.  It gets me through the gym, work and whatever else I’m doing.

Exercise – Within an hour or waking up I head to the gym.  I like to get it out of the way first thing so I can spend the rest of my day focusing on other tasks.  Exercising gets the endorphins going in my body and helps me let off some steam.  Some times my friend will drag me with her to Hot Yoga.  Recently I started doing sprints with my dog after the gym.  We walk a block and then run a block.  Its cold as shit out in Philly and Im really out of shape from a cardio standpoint. But, it forces me out of my exercise comfort zone and all I can think about is just trying to breath and keep up with her.  She loves running so it allows me to connect with her more as well.

Write – For me its cathartic.  I get to take all the shit that’s eating me up inside and put it on paper and see it for what its really worth.  Writing has allowed me to take an outside perspective on my internal feelings.  I can better evaluate whats going on with me and weed out the real problems from the bullshit

Force myself to do things I’m fearful of – Doing things that take me out of my comfort zone helps me build confidence.  It enables me to face my fears and learn to trust in myself.  I become more cognizant of that fact my fears live only in my head.  The consequences for taking these little risks are never as bad as I imagined.  I learn that I am able to handle rejection and failure and keep moving forward towards my goals.

For example; Sunday I was at the gym and a really cute, fit girl came in and started working out near me.  I wanted to strike up a conversation with her, but my game is pretty weak.  I was afraid to speak to her, so I decided I was not going to leave until I did.  I had already finished up my workout.  I was forced to do exercises I don’t normally do until I built up the courage to go over, introduce myself and talk to her.  It took me about 25-30 minutes of doing ab exercises that I hate, to finally go up and start the conversation.  She was nice, nothing bad happened.  She didn’t run away screaming “stranger danger”.   Ultimately, she wasn’t really feeling me and I didn’t get her number, but the outcome didn’t matter as much to me.   I just needed to do it for me.  I needed to show myself that I have courage to do what I fear.

Ask myself the question “how does this serve you” – This is a concept I learned in rehab.  Whenever I have negative thoughts or want to take negative actions I ask myself that question.  The majority of the time, just saying these five words will instantly stop me from following down the negative path I am heading.  It takes the power away from the negative thoughts and allows me to refocus my energy and attention.

Pray –  I know this will make some people cringe.  I’m not religious.  I don’t practice nor am I here to proselytize a certain religion.  I’m not even really sure I know who my God is.  What I do feel is that something greater than myself is out there.  Every night before bed I get down on my knees and talk to God.  I give thanks for the days events and I ask for the strength to work on my character flaws and defects.

Sometimes I ask for a reprieve from whatever is bothering me at the time.  I feel there is a certain sense of humbleness and humility in asking God, the universe or whoever for help when I am struggling.  For me it helps right-size me.  I do believe in the saying “A prayer without action is powerless.”  If I don’t do the work things will never get better.

Laugh – The power of laughter is something I lost touch with until recently.  Statistics say that the average child laughs about 300 times a day.  While the average adult only laughs 5 times daily!  Somewhere along the way I lost my sense of of how important it is to laugh.  I need to fill my life with things that make me smile, laugh and feel good.  Laughter helps me deal with my problems and not take things to seriously.  Lately when I need a laugh I go to YouTube and look up Dave Chappelles old stand up.  No matter how many times I’ve watched it I’m laughing my ass of seconds.

Give back – Going out of my way to do for others is 100% foolproof way for me to get out of my own head.  Whether its having a conversation about whats going on in their life or helping them build towards a goal its always effective.  If I am truly engaged in what they are doing or saying I don’t have the capacity to worry about whats going on with me.  Its a nice break at times from myself.

I train a friend of mine at the gym three times a week.  She is a HUGE pain in the ass.  She whines and complains the whole damn time.  I often wonder why I put myself through the aggravation.  Then I realize there are so many reason why this is good for me.  It’s great practice for me to be creative with my problem solving skills.  It gives me insight into the perspective of people who may not be as driven as I am.  People who want results, but don’t really want to put in the work.  It forces me to look at aspects of my life where I fall into that category.  There are so many benefits that better my life from helping someone else better their’s.