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Once upon a time I knew how the world worked.  I had ideas of right and wrong.  Marijuana was bad.  Alcohol was bad.  There was a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things.  This Josh had all of life’s answers.

We all I think have a little of this in us.  We are all raised the way we are and that teaches us things.  A lot of it is generally pretty good.   But like everything else in life, all things change, and life has its own way of telling you how things really are.

I had a lot of advantages moving around. I get to see the trends and tides of cities rising and falling as I move to towns.  I got to see Windsor Ontario at one of its peaks.  I got to see London Ontario’s Downtown decline.  So I can see the ebbs and flows of a city.  Living in Calgary right now, I can see some of the same mistakes that the city is making that Ontario made.

But I also miss stuff.  Shielded.  Overnight I got to see things like Marijauna creep into the culture, and a lot of other things just seemed to happen overnight.  Suddenly, I have no idea how the world works.

You try to keep to some of your principals, and even now, I don’t think that’s a terrible thing. Some things always work.  Integrity, follow through, honesty are all things that work.  It makes things difficult sometimes, but I don’t see this stuff ever not working.  Or at the very least, I know I will not last long when it is required for me to do otherwise.

But you have to be wise to see that some things are different.  I’ve mentioned marijauna.  I’ve never subscribed to some of the arguments I’ve heard.  Some of those arguments that are commonly said do not do the plant any favors.  That said, I cannot deny what I read on medical reports.  I cannot deny what I’ve seen in terms of it being a pain killer or a cancer fighter.  I’m not even against it completely as an anti depressant, although here I acknowledge some caution.   I personally believe the goal with depression should be to do it in as minimal amount of any kind of drugs as possible.  I’ve seen it help people, but I’ve also seen it as a crutch for people with depression as well.  So if it helps you, sure.  Just be careful.

This was not an overnight approach.  This was a process, and this was me checking and rechecking my facts, and my biases.  This has applied to a lot of views in my life.  How I view religion, sexuality, different approaches to lifestyle not my own.  I started in a very ordinary place.

These things really got to change for me when I got to spend two years living in a mormon community.  I’m not going to bash the religion; rather, I think this would apply to purely any one religion or one mentality in any community.  I saw how unhealthy that is.  It’s one thing to see small towns have their share of sex and alcohol.  That I have learned is the norm in this life when it comes to small towns.  It’s another when it goes to the extreme.  On a small scale, trying to make people conform to one ideal or one way of life, just doesn’t work.  People don’t fit any one particular mold.  Much like new wine, the old skin of these ideals just doesn’t apply or fit and it makes people revolt.  The dichotomy was quite different.  I know a lot of people that were ostracized for no other reason than being themselves.

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

 

That’s my all time favorite Shakespeare quote.  For all his wondrous writing, that is maybe the most profound thing he ever said.  During my time in Arizona, an individual called me the weirdest person they ever met.  I’ve been called weird, and crazy and been ostracized because I just can’t help but be me.  I realized after being called that, that maybe I was doing the same thing to everyone else.

I changed one thing.  I no longer cared where you came from, or who you sleep with, or what you believe in.  I care about what you do.  Who you are when you face your own obstacles and when you try to do great things.  That seemed to be a better approach than the one I had before.

I have been awarded for this.  Look at the variety of people that have come on my podcast.  I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing people.  Each of them trying to do great things in their own right.  It’s easy for me to be a fan of people like the ones I chat with.  I see them fight and struggle and go for it.  How can I not admire that?

They are true to themselves.  And that, more than anything, is something we should admire in people.  No one wants to be judged.  We all want to be heard.  And the real secret to eliminating judgment is not to compromise our standards, rather to accept that everyone’s standards are different.  We are all divided on how we scale the mountain of life.  There is an infinite amount of ways to do so.  Some of them I don’t understand, but I don’t have to understand.  That’s not my job.  My job is to encourage, and build and let people reach for whatever happiness they can find.

I still make mistakes.  Even now I’m not perfect.  I have biases, I make assumptions.  I’m as flawed as everyone else, maybe more so in some things.  Life is always changing, new questions are being asked, new possibilities come to life all the time.  Sometimes I’m still playing catch up to things.

But I try to be open.  I try to understand.  I may be ignorant, but not out of hatred, but of a lack of knowledge.  I am trying to fill the gaps I can.  Really, I think that is all we can do in the end.

“Judge not, less ye be judged”  Matthew 7:1