Well, the weeks come and the weeks go. This is another week that was.
I'm currently in Chantilly, Virginia attending the 2015 Veteran Speakers Retreat with a small group of professional speaker friends of mine. I coordinated and ran this annual retreat for 12 years, 7 of them with my late dear, long-time friend, John Jay Daly. It's always been a privilege for me to associate with this group of individuals and it was an honor to coordinate and manage the annual gathering. Now, I've reverted back to "civilian" participant status. My weekend is very relaxed compared to the past events when I was in the captain's seat.
I arrived here on Thursday and we'll wrap up tomorrow, Sunday at about 1:00 PM after a final lunch together. Tonight we'll honor five individuals, four living and in attendance and one posthumous, as we induct them into the prestigious designation known as "Legends of the Speaking Profession. It always is and will be a gala evening.
The News This Week
In general, it was the usual murder and mayhem. But, in addition the stock market had its largest decline in about four years. The nose dive of the Chinese economy and stock market are being blamed. The cost of a barrel of oil dropped to below $40.00 and there are even predictions it could slide to $30.00. This is an amazing drop considering it was a little over $100.00/barrel just a year ago. Once again, China seems to be taking the brunt of the blame as the most energy hungry nation in the world.
I'm guessing we will see declining gas prices at the pumps. That's great for our personal wallets, especially those of us who live a mobile lifestyle in vans and all kinds of other RV's. It may also increase sales of larger, gas guzzling trucks and SUV's. But how will it impact the economy in the long run? The answer to that question remains to be seen.
The money printers, aka the Federal Reserve, have been claiming (along with the Feds) that the U.S. economy has been improving enough they can raise the interest rates on business borrowing. They want to raise it from virtually 0% (is 0% interest really interest or a percentage??) to . . . something. Who knows? But, now with the massive stock market decline they may have to put that decision off still longer into the future. I think it's about seven years and counting that the rate has been at 0 or close to it.
The political scene has been business as usual. The Donald continues his bombastity (my coined word), his primary opponent from the other party still doesn't seem to get it and continues with a certain air of arrogance and complacency toward the issues and claims leveled against her. The other players are all vying for some kind of position. I still don't have a horse in this race and probably won't even when the dust settles and there are two nominated candidates to choose from. I still scratch my head as I ponder the question; Who wants this job and even more importantly, WHY? My personal opinion is power driven by ego. It's pretty "heady" stuff to know you are the Leader of the Free World and the Commander in Chief of the largest, mightiest military machine ever assembled.
In other parts of the world; there are a few new heroes and; some very evil men decapitated an 82 year old man attempting to preserve history so future generations will be able to experience their roots. In the Koreas, the guys in the north said they were sorry (more or less) for the land mines they set out that injured or killed some south guys and the south guys said they'd stop blasting KPop music (whatever that is) over the border to the north where people aren't supposed to live free, be happy or even smile and laugh. Wow! Some serious progress.
So, like I said, just another week that was. How is your progress toward achieving the degree of personal freedom you seek? Are you and is your life any better and happier this week than before? Individually, we may not be able to do much about the condition of the world, our country or even our family and friends. But, we can focus on our own goals of personal freedom and happiness and hope some of our progress will rub off by example and things will improve for some others.
Here are some things I came across this week I think you might find interesting and fill some of the spare moments (who am I kidding) you have over the weekend:
There is No Such Thing as Free Speech - This read is short, but frankly, makes me ashamed to say I'm from New Jersey. If this thinking were in effect when I was in college 50 years ago, I and just about every person on the campus would have been booted out of college. And 95% of our "discriminatory, politically incorrect banter" was good natured and we all were targets as well as perpetrators. No Free Speech! I wonder who is rolling in their graves?
ThePath of Forgiveness - John Haines is a Kiwi (New Zealand resident) by choice. He's an "almost American" being a Canadian native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada born and raised just across the Rainbow Bridge. After he came of age he became a citizen of the world and currently lives a simple, free lifestyle in northern New Zealand. I hope to meet John one day.
25 Ways to Bring Peace into Your Life - Here is another thoughtful and inspirational post from one of my favorite bloggers, Marelisa Fabrega from Panama City, Panama. Just one of her 25 tips can make your weekend, week, month or year much better and freer.
WhenYou Struggle With Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt - Here's another interesting read from one of my favorite writers on simplifying life, Courtney Carver.
Less Stuff, More Happiness by Graham Hill - Here is a short TED Talk that really expresses the less is more, simplicity and frugal lifestyle concepts as explained by one guy on his own journey to this lifestyle trend.
That's all for this week. I wish you a happy weekend and a great next week.