My Reflections

Look Towards the Horizon


As a proud citizen of this nation, especially having lived in the NYC metro area during 9/11 and then seeing what occurred at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, I have so many feelings and thoughts.

I am angered that people like those who caused the rioting insurrection were able to even get that close to the Capitol, let alone within it.

I am completely disappointed that law and order wasn’t in place far sooner in a manner that would have prevented what happened.

I am saddened by the deaths and huge amounts of those severely injured.

I am still aghast that those who represent our states on one of the most important days had to fear for their lives and go through all they did.

I am at a loss that in a time when our nation has endured so much and still has so much fear related to COVID-19 that a human who’s supposed to lead this nation that stands for democracy has instilled such additional levels of fear on top of the flames of all of his insane rhetoric on a worldwide stage.

While this nation won’t ever forget the act of insurrection on January 6, 2021, I will also fondly remember . . .

The power of people who worked together for the better good.

The day when Georgia’s senatorial race made major history on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

  • Reverend Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first African American senator who is the pastor of the church founded by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.
  • Jon Ossoff became Georgia’s first Jewish person elected as senator.
  • Together they changed a strong red state with the help of many people of that state to a blue one.

When our nation’s government officials didn’t fail democracy on January 6th, to make sure that law and order, that the ways of our democracy would prevail before they left the building that hours before had brought many of them terror.

When social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) took away the current president’s ability to worsen an already terrible barrage towards violence, at least through those mediums.

When Twitter stated on January 8, 2021 would permanently ban this president from ever having an account again. Perhaps this will lead to others getting the same ban due to the extreme harm done against humanity.

I will also remember discussing what occurred at the Capitol on January 7th with my middle school students, because what they knew, how they thought and felt about the insurrection and how democracy still prevailed afterwards, instilled in me an even deeper hope in he future of our nation.

I know that generations caused a lot of harm in our nation, but along those paths, we have begun seeing tremendous amounts of evidence that the tide is turning and a better sun rising in more ways than one.

Never lose sight of the horizon to the brighter days to come.
©️Photos By Rachel http://www.photosbyrachelkc.smugmug.com

I choose to not let all of the horrific acts reign stronger, but rather be a stark contrast to what all the good that is rising up in phenomenal ways towards a more perfect nation. No land is perfect, but I can see a better one across the horizon.

My Reflections

2021: Be the Fulcrum


As we usher in 2021, may we remember what truly matters.

So many are looking for 2021 to help us heal from what’s happened in 2020. Deaths of loved ones. Isolation. Lockdowns. Normal education having so many shifts. Fears in various forms. Faith and hope shaken up. Places shut down. Shortages and hoarding. Events cancelled. Places of worship shutting doors for weeks and months on end. Political unrest in ways never seen before. Racism and prejudices becoming harder to ignore. Loss of jobs, food, homes, relationships, and the list goes on and on.

I get it. I have faced a lot of that myself, as I’m sure you have, too.

There’s not a single human who can rescue us. God does all He can for us, yet we humans don’t make it easy. We never have.

We want life to get back to normal, while much of what was normal needed changing. Normal doesn’t exist.

We want masks gone. Not seeing full faces is not in our nature.

We want to hug and touch others. Humans crave connections.

We want to be there for our loved ones in the hospital or in adult care facilities. Going through hard times alone is not what we were meant to endure.

We want to gather with others for weddings, births, funerals and celebrations. Life milestones are important.

We want some sense of predictability we can rely on, after all of this. Yet, when was life ever predictable?

2021 will not erase the past and it will not entirely fix the world. However, each of us can do our parts and be the change this nation and world needs, be truly selfless and the best versions of who we each are meant to be in the time we have on this planet.

The best way to make 2021 a better year, involves all of us. May we do all we can to water those seeds.

We can each make the differences that are needed, making life easier for all. Each of us have purpose and it is those purposes within us that are parts of so many solutions. There is much to be changed, no doubt.

However, if we truly consider our fellow humans and other living creatures that inhabit the land, sea and skies, as well as the planet itself and our Creator, life in 2021 can be the turning point that can finally get us all on the right path.

By truly choosing to see others as humans who have their own burdens, we can have more compassion.

By truly listening to understand, rather than to have our say, we can have more empathy.

By giving of the resources we have to those in need, we can heal.

By trusting those who have proven themselves worthy and by giving the benefit of the doubt to others till shown otherwise, we can have more respect for others.

By seeking truth and not just trying to confirm our own conceptions, we can have better discernment.

By doing all we can, by valuing the lives of other, we can have more unity.

We are always a part of the equation. Each of us have more power to do good than most of us believe. Step out in 2021 and let’s do this, together!

While we head into 2021 in a matter of hours, reflect on what you have learned during this past year. Reflect on the good moments, because they also happened even if some were different than prior years, and learn from the bad ones.

While no year can fix so much, we can shift the trajectory too many of us have been on and begin moving into brighter days, weeks, months and years. We can leave a better legacy for those who come after us, rather than leaving behind more heartache.

May we all see the pandemic end or at least lessen to a huge degree soon.

Are you ready to be the fulcrum? Come join me and so many others. A shift is about to happen and we have plenty of room on the ride.

May we give, love, laugh, and enjoy one another more than ever before.

Let’s make 2021 the year we all begin to heal and help others to heal, because we seek to make our lives and those all around us the best examples of ourselves that we all need. When we are each on the other side of Heaven, may we truly do so knowing that we were “good and faithful servants” to all.

As we look in the mirror, may we each remember that today is a good day to have a good day, for us and for others. https://nikkibanas.com/

Healing comes in many ways. Seek and you shall find.

Poetry

THE LENS OF FREEDOM


We live in the Land of the Free
But in 2020 still couldn’t see
That not all our brothers and sisters 
Are treated the way they should be
While too many have lived their lives
Thinking their experiences were just like others 
Only seeing through a small lens
While people continued to hurt each other.

Today, I see a grander and better picture beginning to take form
Not just in what is happening now, but in what hasn’t happened before . . .
People buying so many books, to learn and to grow 
Having real conversations about the pain they somehow didn’t know
Understanding now that others live with such great fear
Not just once or twice, but every day of every year
Finally acknowledging that enough is finally enough 
I can now see the lens truly widening
May we become the America we should all have dreamed of. 

By Rachel Basden ©️ June 19, 2020

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Poetry

WHAT DO YOU SEE?


I went through my day seeing so many others
No matter the person they were a sister or brother 
Each one beautiful in so many different ways
Hair color, complexion or the words they’d say
A smile, a gesture, an act that was kind 
Wherever I looked, there was so much to find 
Tears of joy when someone stopped to lend aid
Children laughing with each other as they played 
Someone helping another to walk across the street
Another one ensuring a family had something to eat
A teenager texting, “I’m so thankful you exist.”
Each moment a sign that this is how we should live
For we are not all gifted in the exact same ways
We are all amazing in how we’re uniquely made
But when we seek to understand, it’s easier to see
The human race, connected, is how we must be.
By Rachel Basden ©️ 2020

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COMMENT, to FOLLOW my blog and to SHARE. I value you taking the time to read my posts.

My Reflections

IT’S 2020: WHO WILL WE BE?


Many kids remember the times when we tried on a parent’s clothes, stepped into their shoes, or tried to do something to mimic the actions of a parent. Ever wonder why we do that? Of course, we all can easily say that it’s because we learn first by watching what those around us do, and at first that usually means our families.

In an article written by PsychCentral, written and published by Rick Nauert, PhD in 2019 stated that “scientists ‘have been finding this odd effect where children will copy everything that they see an adult demonstrate to them, even if there are clear or obvious reasons why those actions would be irrelevant,’ says psychologist Mark Nielsen, of the University of Queensland in Australia. ‘It’s something that we know that other primates don’t do.’ If a chimpanzee is shown an irrelevant action, they won’t copy it — they’ll skip right to the action that makes something happen.” Their findings, thus far, have found this to be true only in the Western part of our world.

Most people know or sense that the natural innateness of our desire to copy adults at those young stages of life are normal, but depending on what is imprinted on us, some or all of it can most definitely be detrimental to us. Fortunately for the human race, we also have free will, and as we learn other aspects of what may be right or wrong, we are able to change and not continue the mistakes or downright evil things we may have witnessed in our growing up years. Perspective is everything.

It has been proven that a growth mindset can change so much of who we are. As defined in Psychology Today, “A growth mindset is simply the belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. It’s not so much that this belief is some kind of magic. It’s just that without a growth mindset, we don’t exert the required effort and so we remain perpetually stuck. But with a growth mindset, we can break through the stuck-ness and achieve the results we desire, whether that be at work, in our relationships, or in other aspects of our lives.” So, there’s hope! We don’t have to remain fixed on what was modeled for us, unless what was modeled for us, is something that we choose to continue.

As a teacher, I have seen both sides of this modeling or pushing away from what was taught by parents, which is part of the maturation process. So, when preparing for this blog post and with permission from a former client of mine to share a photo of her child for illustrative purposes, here’s the backstory of its inclusion.

My photography business was hired to shoot a wedding from start to finish, and I was capturing moments with the bride and the bridal party at the early stages. At one point, the flower girl and daughter of the bride wanted to try on her mother’s wedding dress. I discussed it with the bride that if we made sure to not damage anything, it would make for a wonderful memory and photo in the years to come.

Flower girl/Daughter of the bride already envisioning herself as a bride, in her mother’s dress as she holds the bridal bouquet. CREDIT: Photos By Rachel

So without much knowledge of what a marital relationship is like or the process involved leading up to it, this sweet girl just knew she wanted to be as happy as her mother when she gets older. Clearly, this is a wonderful moment and a good reason to want to replicate, in her own way, what her mother would soon be experiencing on this important day of their lives.

As any human, this young girl will become an adult who may resemble her mother in many ways, but she is also very likely to choose certain aspects of her life that are very different from what she once learned and thought.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe this part is purposely put inside all of us to learn by what we see and hear and then choosing to hold onto or to change some or all of it. That comes from our very Creator. As the Bible tells us right from the first chapter, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 NLT

Every human being that has ever lived, is living or will live is made in this way. It is why we have so much in common. At the same time, we also differ from one another in very amazing ways. Our differences are also part of God. We were never meant to be some sort of clones of one another or robots without individualism. So it stands to figure that our differences combined help us to better see who He really is and who He is in us.

Likewise, as many children grow and learn, we often feel a deep connection and even a sameness with our parental figures. We sense from early on that where we come from strongly impacts who we are. It is why it’s important to choose what we hold onto and what we choose to change from what we learned as we get older, for our beliefs and actions are huge parts of the adult versions of who we are to the world.

In 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 say, “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

It seems clear that we were never made to be carbon copies of any other human beings, but to treasure one another for our differences, support one another and to bring about change within ourselves to become more like the fullness of Christ, together. To this day, we are as little kids, putting on our parents’ clothes to see if they fit, while also knowing that some day they very well could.

Why not spend time understanding who God really is, whether you are already a follower of Christ or you don’t believe He even exists, and see for yourself? We are called to love one another and we can all learn more about our Creator and about who we should be.

When it comes down to it, 1 John 2:7 says it best: “Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.”

Regardless of your personal beliefs, love is something that we can all wear and wear it well.

In becoming better versions of who we are meant to be, it will impact the lives of those around us as Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Knowing that we learn from what we see, hear and do even as we get older, we can continue to grow into the clothing we were always meant to some day wear for ourselves. Likewise, just like we get rid of clothing that no longer fits us or we never should have worn in the first place, the right fit means everything.

I took a selfie of myself with one of my favorite quotes that Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to encourage and bring out the best in others.

As you saw the photo above, you may have noticed that while I wear this shirt to proclaim a very important statement, the shirt doesn’t completely fit exactly right. We must remember that we will always be flawed, but we still have room to change and be a part of the solutions needed in our world. To live our purpose. Just because we are not perfect and just because we may not fully have arrived to who we should be yet, doesn’t mean we can’t try.

May we always remember that we are each a piece of a beautiful mosaic, each with our tiny parts which when put together show the whole picture. Let’s value one another as members of humanity who together can do so much good for ourselves and for this world.

We have one life to live, and like it or not, our lives are all a part of history.

What part of the past will you choose to no longer “wear”?

What do you want your life to say?

In the grander scheme, what do you want the future to replicate from us?

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