Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

There was a tragedy in Tucson last week, which involved the shooting deaths of six innocent people and the wounding of more than a dozen, including the congress woman, Gabrielle Giffords, who represents that area. I'm sure you're aware of it; you'd have to live in a hole to not to be.

At this writing, this horrific event does not seem motivated as much by politics (e.g. the Oklahoma Bombing) as it is by the fact that the shooter was mentally unstable, such as the those at Columbine. (I'm sure this is small comfort to the families of the victims.) The fact that I can list examples (and I could provide more) of various shootings "by name" - and that you can understand the references - is a sad, discerning comment about the level of violence in which we find ourselves. As for the cause of the event, finger-pointing began per schedule. Blame will be assessed, and as with a New Year's resolution, promises will be made. For a brief moment, our awareness will be heightened and actions might be be taken. Unfortunately, also like those resolutions, these commitments will be abandoned in short order.

I am loath to wish for the "good old days." First of all, I don't believe that the times when polio existed, racism was accepted, and children would "drop and cover" to practice for nuclear attacks; were "good old days." Secondly, lamenting what has already passed is useless. Even if the past was as pristine and idyllic as some would like to remember, it is indeed just that: past. That said, pundits and pontificators proclaim that during those bygone days our elected representatives, even after vehement disagreement, would gather after debate to have a beer. They might have been at odds with each other on the congressional floor, yet they retained a sense of civility, even friendship, when day was done. This has, so it appears, been lost of late as both sides have become armed camps; shaking out positions, with nary a thought of middle ground. However, one positive outcome arising from this tragedy (if "positive" can be the label applied to anything that comes of it) is the heightened scrutiny on the tone of the political discourse during this fractious era. Only time will tell if it was a partial cause in the shooter's break with humanity; but it cannot be a bad thing to examine.

Due to the Tucson event, the heat has been turned up on the uncivil rhetoric espoused by some politicians and even more media kingpins. "They" are apparently feeling the heat and the common reply is "We have to tone it down on both sides." Personally, I am not sure that "both sides" share equal blame but I'll leave that discussion to those who write about politics. Moreover, that misses the point: I am concerned that as long as the meme is "both sides are responsible," neither side will take action. As long as we can point a finger at someone else, even if others are pointing at us, we have an "out," an escape, a way to avoid the responsibility we each hold.

I am not just speaking of hate-speech nor of calls to incite violence, this concept also applies to a much more basic level of personal responsibility and change. Until we accept that the "we" must "tone it down;" "we" must change (on whatever level that is applicable), there is always a scapegoat and a way out. Being humans, in seek of comfort, we are quite likely to use it.

If change is truly our goal - whether it be our political discourse or our personal lives - we must understand that the only thing we can change is "us." And the only part of "us" over which I have control is "me."

You and I make up the "we." I will watch more closely what I say, both to you and to myself. I hope you will too but I have very little control over that for the only part of this green planet I do control is the few feet in which I exist, and at least I can make that a better place for all who come in contact with it.

About the author: In 1994, after a lifetime of obesity, Scott “Q” Marcus lost 70 pounds and assists people and organizations who are tired of making promises they have continually broken but are ready to change. Get involved or contact him at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. You can also find him at www.facebook.com/scottqmarcus or on twitter @ThisTimeIMeanIt. Plan to celebrate the first ever “This Time I Mean It Day,” a tribute to our personal successes, on February 15 (more info at the site)

Re-discovering hope Oops! I made the misstep of watching the news, not wise if you wish to maintain an upbeat attitude. Rather, it’s an excellent way to become discouraged.

Politicians, with soft spines and moral compasses no longer pointing north, have become wholly owned subsidiaries of Special Interests Inc. and Mega-Business Unlimited. “Establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” has been crushed under the weight of partisan bickering and a landscape awash in uncountable dollars.

There is plenty of blame to share; as they say, “we get the government we deserve.” But since money has long tentacles, we seem — in my humble opinion — to be getting the government the upper crust deserves.

I am not a “class warrior.” I do not dislike nor inherently distrust the wealthy; truth be told, I would like to be so labeled. I also do not believe that money is the “root of all evil,” rather it simply allows you be more of who you already were. As illustration, if you’re a charitable, involved, dedicated person with an empty wallet and fate or hard work decrees you great prosperity, you become a charitable, involved, dedicated person with a lot of money; able to do much more. Unfortunately, if you were a jerk with but a few dollars who happens to receive a fortune; you become a jerk with a lot of coin, increasing your jerkness. That said, I cannot deny that — lately — it appears many well-off folks have an “I-got-mine,-the-heck-with-you” way of thinking.

It is distressing to think that the concept of helping “the least of us” has become quaint and passé.

An addict, unable to give up my painful addiction, I collapse on my couch to watch the Sunday morning news shows. Ironically from the same spring as my depression bubbles forth hope.

Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ted Turner; three members of the aforementioned privileged order were discussing their views on charity and — in a broader sense — the general order of society. I do not have a great deal in common with these denizens of the uber-wealthy community. They can spend more at a restaurant than I will spend on a year’s groceries. I seek out for-sale items in stores they buy and sell. We’re not on the same strata.

But short of the number of zeros in our paychecks, turns out we actually have a lot in common. Ms. Gates summed it up, “With great wealth comes great responsibility.” All are working diligently to give away vast amounts of their fortunes before they die; Mr. Buffett has pledged to donate more than 90 percent. With projects ranging from U.S. schools to Global Nuclear Disarmament to Energy Conservation, this crew of ultra-fortunate share a belief that we are all interconnected and they are asking others of the same class to join them, sharing a common belief that it is wrong to not give it back to those on whom their success was built.

I understand they are not saints (none of us are). I know they don’t have to choose whether or not they can afford to go to a doctor. None will ever wake up at 3AM wondering how to pay their mortgages. Yet, that does not detract from an extremely powerful benevolent gesture.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re better than I thought we were. I can hope.