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Vacation Reflections

Recently I took three weeks away from my regular work routines.

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Instead, I traveled and interacted with strangers, new acquaintances, friends, and family in Ohio, Washington, and Idaho, plus in British Columbia.

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My vacation afforded me opportunity to engage with homeless people, working poor, middle class, and with economic elites.

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My experiences occurred in a variety of settings, including urban, sub-urban, rural, land-locked, plus sea coast, and in multiple contexts, public and private.

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People’s activities ranged from “work” (employment), through traveling, and leisure.

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I could not, of course, literally experience “everything” human going on around me — although this is often my interest.

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This time, my activities all occurred within just two of our planet’s “three basic economies” — that is, within our monetary cultures and our planet’s eco-systems.

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My activities did not include direct experiences this time within any traditional (First People) nations.

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Wow!

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I am so positively impressed by the people I met and interacted with — virtually everywhere I went!

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Sure, there was an occasional mild exception.

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Nevertheless, let me briefly share what I did directly experience, over and over.

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To begin, I experienced individual after individual after individual taking personal responsibility for him- or herself, under a wide variety of conditions and circumstances, with a functional peace of mind and with a believable pleasantness toward others.

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I experienced this in circumstances and situations, one after another.

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I also watched an amazing diversity of young parents interacting positively and sensitively while maintaining healthy boundaries with and safety for their children.

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And often times I observed grandparents delighting in their grandchildren.

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I was particularly positively impressed with the quality of interactions I observed between parents and their children.

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In contrast to what I tended to observe thirty and forty years ago, I observed more ready and sensitive interaction by fathers with their children and with their children’s mothers.

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This interaction was emotionally sensitive, as well as intellectually astute.

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And quite cooperative.

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I observed incredible varieties of toddlers, young children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults exploring their world with openness, apparent delight, and enthusiasm.

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I also experienced service professionals acting with grace and acuity.  Technical professionals, ditto.

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To be fair in my (informal) analysis, I must also point out that comfortable weather seemed to follow us where ever we went during the three weeks.  I am sure the comfortable climate contributed positively to people’s moods.  And, of course, I was on vacation.  Set and setting are key contributors to each our own perceptions.

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The clear impacts of human handiwork and technology were evident literally everywhere in the urban environments and most everywhere in the suburban environments I visited.

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While the rural environments I visited also showed human technological impacts, in many places these impacts were not notable to my own untrained senses.

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Practicality and beauty were the two major themes I personally experienced in regard to the use and impacts of our human technologies.

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Combined all together, I experienced the richness, paradoxes, and grace that are each involved in human community-building.

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This included evidence of people’s historic and present focus on tasks (work to complete) and people’s simultaneous focus and impacts upon each other (our human community).  I experienced this occurring in human circles small and large, formal and informal, amidst little and amidst plenty, and while bumping up and interacting with each other in varieties of ways.

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No, life is not perfect.  And true, it is more difficult for some than for others.  Also, life is also currently “more ultimately fair” for some than it is for others.  Let’s be real.

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Even so, I experienced the opportunities inherent in people taking responsibility for themselves and in interacting constructively with others — whomever those others might be.  The results were positive and infectiously contagious.

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I am very positively impressed by the ingenuity, practicality, beauty, and grace evidenced by the vast majority of people with whom I had opportunity to interact — and I am not shy.

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I experienced wide varieties of people, working with what they’ve got (in their heads, in their hearts, and in their pockets), creatively adapting to wide varieties of circumstances, and most often in largely constructive interactions with each other.

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This is the world to which I wish to continue to contribute, amidst the ever-present changes and industry-changing and sometimes regime-changing instabilities occurring all around us.

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This will require continuing adaptive learning by us all, with forgiveness, integrity, and respect for self and for others within our civil societies that are guided by the rule of law with appropriate checks and balances amidst inevitable conflicts.

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Our challenges today are assisted by the increasing transparency of human activities.

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I also believe our increasing recognition of our developing climate change challenges — and how we must address in practical ways — will naturally support our recognition of how we are all part of the same human family who must learn to work with each other, each from our own situation and perspective, to address this in-common problem.

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The rest is up to us.

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To what do you wish to contribute?

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My best.

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~Norman

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