Miles of Tree Pictures – Grounding Yourself

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

My smartphone is completely packed with nature pictures from the last three years and I’ve not been able to really cobble together a cohesive story or subject to use the ones focusing on trees in particular. The reason for that I now know is there they cannot be used in a task-oriented way like so many other elements of our lives – they are totally free from that and serve as a reminder that we need to be free from that more often as well.

When I went to graduate school at the University of British Columbia, I often walked to a rose garden that faced the Georgia Strait and the mountains to the north to remind me that this is reality, not what I had to answer to with my papers, presentations, and administration. The images hail from Kansas, California, British Columbia, and Estonia:

I leave you with a favorite, a definite human engineered spot, but one that still can inspire of a balance of how old power structures become open gifts to the public years later – Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany, where I am currently enjoying some creative space:

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When a Deal Collapses

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As I write this, Theresa May in the UK will in a couple of hours go to Buckingham Palace to request forming a government. If all that is happening on the surface is true, her government’s plan was to hold a snap election and to widen support to get Brexit initiated under a more supportive and stable atmosphere. A few terrorist attacks in and a more bold manifesto from Labor cut this short in a matter of weeks and now a more shaky coalition may come together.

I see some parallels with this and my own life and something to consider carefully is when you decide your own wishes and logic should supersede those of others. There are so many variables that can be unforeseen and can impact a deal but the repeated problem here is too many people, myself included, assuming inevitability because they are not really listening to other people. The result has been all of us trying to cobble together some kind of new “coalition” of sorts all the time both at the organizational and personal levels. I believe that because there is so much uncertainty in the marketplace and not a lot of a solid, long-term vision for anything, this capital-starved environment is forcing us all to behave this way.

Now more than ever is a time to conserve resources and deploy them in very deliberate ways. Set small, more achievable goals and keep everything above board and honest (the latter of which we must do all the time anyway) and then as your smaller achievements materialize and give a strong foundation, you’ll be better equipped to scale up and increase success by adding to what is already in place.

If a deal collapses, go back to the most basic, simple formula that has worked for you in order to restore confidence to yourself, your organization, or in the marketplace. Keep a calm demeanor, itemize your achievements, and remind yourself of what your long-term vision is (not what is contingent upon one deal – if everything rests on one deal, that is not the best vision anyway). If there is really no hope of any kind of revitalization or there is some public failure component to the situation, the emphasis shifts to going around and delivering genuine thank-yous to all participants and partners. The range of expression for this depends on the context of the situation – it is up to you whether partners should be named publicly or if these thanks should be private in the event that there is some kind of tainting of their name in the collapsing situation. Stop to think of every kind of scenario of what reconfigured power may be in the future so that no one is offended or left out who could be an asset to a stronger future.

I do hope that the press is kind to Theresa May because while she did assume office in the Brexit era, she was against Brexit before becoming Prime Minister and appears to be someone who applies herself very diligently and without major ego problems.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

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Offsetting Costs in Poznań, Poland

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

Poland is such a treasure to those who visit. I have maintained since first visiting in 2007 that because it is a relatively low profile country, when one comes here for the first time it is astonishing the cultural and intellectual assets that you will encounter. I will have both the good and the bad of this in a later post but first I want to present to you Poznań, Poland, which is about halfway between Berlin and Warsaw and a natural stopping point if you are taking a bus between the two (four hours and five hours away from each, respectively, and currently usually between $10 and $30USD to arrive at by bus). This is further an excellent city to rest in or party cheaper because accommodations will be less than either, and as the original capital of Poland, a great indicator for the feel of the nation. A cursory view shows me that to buy, it looks like it is anywhere from 50 to 70% cheaper than Warsaw, though of course not with anywhere near the same amount of corporate headquarters.

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Grappling With Horrors

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US and our minds are primed for reflection on and around this holiday. I am in Warsaw, Poland and visited the Ghetto Heroes Monument in an attempt to get into Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich (Museum of the History of Polish Jews), which is unfortunately closed on Tuesdays. The following images are from the March of the Living display which recounts stories of the Holocaust.

The last pair I include because I think we can all relate to resenting our parents for certain actions taken when in fact they can often be sacrificial and noble. While the displays here are heartbreaking, there is also incredible risk-tasking and millions of acts of selflessness that need to be remembered – both then and now.

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Simple Miracles of Light, Water, & Music

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

As with the four tarot suits representing basic elements, I do believe the most basic, universal miracles we experience are derived from light, water, music, plants, and landscapes. Last night I was tired and looking to a 5.15 a.m. wakeup time to go on to Poland but decided to take just one more walk to get a new vantage point on light in Vilnius, Lithuania (near Užupis) – and I am so glad I did. The moment I walked into a park square a timed opera recording began with a fountain water show. Every second you take in a natural setting, even with human manipulation, there are never identical scenarios. Always take that one more walk, especially in the evening, if you feel something else awaits you.

 

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Calling on the Baltics for Inspiration – Vilnius

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

One of the purposes of this site is to draw attention to areas of the world that may not get full western exposure in the media or as a tourist destination. I have been on the road for several weeks now and have gotten to experience the serendipity of the world on many fronts. A region that has a unique balance to it as the meeting place of Nordic, Slavic, Russian, Germany, and currently general European influences (via the EU) is the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These places have offered a great homecoming for me in a way though it is the first time in this lifetime to visit them all. There seems to be so many noble characteristics to these cultures, probably stemming from intense pressures to survive and thrive under more than one occupation. I’ll leave you with some particularly vibrant pictures from Vilnius, Lithuania from late May 2017 in hopes you visit.

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If you would like to know just how inexpensive Tallinn, Riga, or Vilnius are compared to your city, you can visit the Cost of Living Comparison site where users give their input on current prices – though this does not include hotels.

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Trump is a Mess – But the Tiny Thread Holding Things In-Tact Now

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Clearly I am not a political insider and there are lots of people who think they know what is going on in the world, but it takes years of hindsight to hash together a version of history that becomes acceptable or the construction most advantageous to the story of the regime in control. Something I want people to consider however is that we are witnessing a battle between intelligence communities and the controllers of the planet based out of the US and none of the players appear to be virtuous in the least.

It has been a struggle to explain to people my view of Donald Trump, which I am not alone in holding as there are millions of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein voting or supporting progressives that seem to be remarkably ambivalent toward him while holding Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire. We are all still dissecting 2016’s election and not really getting any wiser or flexible in our views, which is really wasted energy in a way but I think everyone who voted did so with fairly valid logic no matter how they voted. If you can empathize with people who voted for each of the four main candidates, you possess the power to persuade in future ventures, and that is what is more important and effective than blasting your already closely held belief and fury over and over in the same way, which is what I see people doing from my perch in Europe, but also grew weary of on the ground in the US.

I very much believe that Trump can be duplicitous and an embarrassment to the US in the way he delivers information or spin, but at the same time there are many things to consider if you really want a brighter, more balanced future for the US and subsequently the world and you only have to look to the fairly recent past to see that Russia is a fabricated bogeyman to grease the wheels of military spending and destabilize the planet in a way that only further energizes and funds the ultra wealthy destructive class that we hardly see. Trump is very much the unwitting yet willing moving target in this landscape.

I liked Barack Obama for his abilities as an orator and general optics he provided to other western countries, but it is important to recognize shortcomings and faults rather than have a totally partisan view that paints one side as good and the other as bad. There is mainly gray in politics and governance since there are so many historic, systemic faults that cannot be overcome easily and enormously powerful, threatening, silent forces that have the final say of what happens. This is why the language and tone of an administration can change and there are some concessions allowed but generally, the bombs will keep dropping and new war fronts will be opening as the quest for fresh victims and markets can never be fully sated. We are complicit in this by needing returns on our investments and by continuing to consume non-renewables and products coming from dubious sources and origins. Therefore, we cannot get our ideals in place until we truly, meaningfully accept responsibility for what happens. A better reality has to be earned.

I have worked with personalities very similar to Trump before and I can safely say a number of things as to how to manage them even from below. As with almost everything else in life, you must not take them on directly and call them on their bullshit, however just or accurate you may be. Such people have strengths as well and appreciate attributes in the soft skills areas. You must not hit their ego but instead use it from an emotional appeal standpoint. Trump would be receptive to a well-reasoned and heartfelt appeal from the legitimate progressive left if coming from an appearance of respect and true need. What he wants is admiration and to be the hero that does make things better. However, anyone who humiliates or criticizes him he will be consumed with thoughts of destroying them. This drive of proving naysayers wrong is what gave him the drive to get everything he has achieved and also accounts for a pile of lawsuits from breached contracts and Twitter wars. If he feels the nation or groups are against him, he will be very spiteful toward these groups. I understand that it seems immoral to stroke his ego but when someone holds this office, it is the only way, and one very important piece of this process is that someone with this temperament will give extreme liberties and autonomy to trusted people because essentially he would like ot take the credit for good results from teams. If you attack the administration and him, what will happen and has happened is that you give the opportunity for really radicalized neoconservative people who will say what he wants them to say and manipulate him for more aggressive posturing to be the only people with access to him.

Even prior to the firing of FBI Director James Comey, I have been sensing that Trump may suddenly resign under great pressure coming from the neocons, the neoliberals beside them, and public opinion. In spite of what many people may think, this is probably the worst thing that could happen and I feel very confident in saying that Mike Pence and Paul Ryan would bring on a dismantling of freedoms in the US that has been unprecedented. These two figures are not as easily manipulated and do have very specific visions that they would have near universal support to expedite in a lightning round of events and legislation.

The last thing I want everyone to consider is that we are in the midst of a very nasty conspiracy or series of conspiracies that we will probably not hear the truth about ever. I do not know what or who is at the heart of it for sure any more than the next person, but I do know that the villainization of Russia is formulaic from the pages of how Iraq and Afghanistan went in 2001-2003, but the target audience is the old school left majority rather than the center right majority that existed 15 years ago. This is not to say that the leadership of Russia is good or right, but it is more fragmented and layered than we are probably acknowledging or able to comprehend at this time, and just because something comes from Russia, it does not mean that it is coming from Putin, who is upsetting the oligarchs at some times and appeasing them at others, depending on how that affects his ability to maintain power and also fend off western interference in the management of their country, influence, and orbit of power.

Last, it is helpful for all of us to finally abandon our Democrat-Republic paradigm at times because neither seems to be offering a full package of what anyone wants. The US does not have a true labor party, nor a moderate party of reasonable enterprise and security. No amount of protesting is going to have any measurable effect but boycotts and changes in personal behavior and accountability will. If you do write any political figure or organization, write to the Democrats or left-leaning figures and ask for fair, concise engagement with the White House and ask them to present what is reasonable and good for all people rather than to undermine the presidency and pave way for a much more radicalized brand of right-wing policy to gain traction.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube

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