written by john c ashworth
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -emmerson
That’s a quote by Emerson and it’s my favorite one of all time.
My wife of 25 years shared it with me on a card when I opened my fitness studio back in 2006 and then worked like hell to keep from losing everything I had when the great recession hit in 2008. I made it out and with a large duffel bag full of wisdom that I share with you one post at a time here on the ash flash each week.
There’s NEVER been another more relevant time than now to embrace this idea.
What path will you blaze for yourself as we move through a new and life-altering era?
*Note: there is a VERY VERY important message about how to relate to your small business marketing at minute 5 in this video. Be sure to at least watch that part!
Godspeed to you, my friend and thanks for being here. -John
Why Bill Gates is a vital Beacon for value and healing power of Science
written by john c ashworth
One of the first things you discover upon entering graduate school is the focus and importance of scientific study. Yes. This begins with your undergraduate work, but once you get to graduate school, this level of intensity and intimate relationship with the science in your field, and the importance and value of science as a whole, begins to take on a whole new meaning.
The problem in today’s tightly contested and twisted politically altered pursuit of solutions to the covid-19 pandemic, is that according to the US Census, only 13.1 percent of us possess a graduate degree. Yes, these numbers are on the rise and that’s good, but it’s not nearly good enough when you suddenly find yourself wading into a political climate and crisis that is wrought with the perils of ignorance.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, an organization devoted to science and to stopping the spread of diseases like malaria, polio, and HIV in underdeveloped countries, provides a beacon of hope for our ability to prevent ignorance from undermining our evolution. His work has been focused in large part on bringing vaccinations, cures, and viable supply chains to poor countries often ignored by Big Pharma specifically because they are so much harder to mine for profit.
“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said in his TED talk in 2015 which warned of the real possibilities of the pandemic we are living through today.The Next Outbreak? We’re not ready
Bill Gates is an expert on the subject and that expertise is grounded solidly in science. Anthony Fauci and others rely on him and his expertise heavily right now. Unfortunately, when Gates warned of the potential of what we are living through today back in 2015, no one would listen; and he now laments his inability to be more persuasive. No one wanted to listen and instead we continued to spend a lot more time and money on protecting ourselves from the next nuclear war, rather than protecting ourselves from this vicious thief we now know as covid-19.
What I find even more disturbing than these facts is the story I read this morning in the post and that I’ve also referenced above that reported on reactions to Gates’ comments on twitter regarding Trump’s decision to halt funding for the World Health Organization.
Of course, when only 13 out of 100 people have taken the opportunity for the pursuit of higher-level education, there is reason for these unfortunate realities. I simply felt compelled today to point them out.
Following Gates’ twitter post, the uneducated and uninformed conspiracy mobs on social media got to work spreading rumors that Bill himself had started the pandemic and that he is mining the crisis for profit and leveraging it for global surveillance and population control. Keep in mind, Bill is the second richest man in the entire world.
Naturally, the State Department has reported that these conspiracy theories are also being amplified by the Russian government as it continues to spread its own form of disease by means of misinformation through state proxy websites. All of which spreads by only one means. A sick ignorance and lack of ability to think critically about the world around you. A phenomenon caused by a lack of education, formal or otherwise. Gates has become an expert in this field by his voracious appetite for reading and study and his strong beliefs in the power of science.
Where have your opinions coming from?
For your convenience, here is a list of all articles referenced for this post:
written by john c ashworth
Inside the thicket of a deadly pandemic, life outside in nature seems all the more subtly determined to affirm the resilience of life.
Just outside my home office window, sitting patiently and steadfast all winter long, a now medium-sized bush sits much more tolerant than I of warmer weather that seems reluctant this year. Looking in that very same direction at night shortly after the sun sets, I can also now see Venus hanging low and brilliant in the sky, beckoning my spirit in a way that is seductive and that I don’t fully understand. A reverent calling from the universe that will always remain a mystery and that somehow, when I spend time soaking in the sun’s reflection from its surface, beckons my understanding at the same time.
The bush outside my window will fill-in quickly as soon as warmer weather shows it’s face. Blocking my view and making me feel shrouded in a summer darkness that is out there and that seems so unfair after all we’ve been through thus far. And yet, I yearn for its engulfing presence, because when all of it’s potential has finally arrived, it represents something far greater than self. Similar to that presence of Venus that has somehow transfixed my place in the universe either momentarily or forever. I still can’t tell.
The juxtaposition of that bush during the day and my vision of Venus at night, though, somehow keep me hopeful about the future and all that it holds for me, for you, for my family, and for my own selfish pursuit of passions and purpose that I’m learning to follow with a great deal more grace, purpose, and humility.
Venus is my beacon.
Venus holds my light for the world.
Venus is my talisman for embracing humility.
Time will continue to march like a soldier toward graduation. Dutifully making it’s way along. A solute to the natural order of things. Holding service and sacrifice and humility in ways that that I can only hope to muster enough courage to honor.
Long ago, the seed of my existence entered this world, and until now, nothing felt as real as it does at this moment. Nothing as sacred as a quiet cup of coffee in the morning, a good stretch, and a magnificent day ahead of me during which I will spend more time embracing the solitude of reality than before. An authenticity that can only come through loss and trials that try our souls.
One moment at a time I will let go, and then commit myself to the one I’m in, while gently preparing myself for the one that comes next; and this time I will heed the promise to hold more closely to the light of the universe that feeds us all.
Stay at home order? Boy do I have it easy…
written by john c ashworth
So, this morning I woke-up and read story #1 and then story #2 in The Washington Post and I thought to myself, “Where am I?”
And then, of course, I also thought to myself, boy do I have it easy…staying at home is tough and all, but I mean, really? Compared to what so many others are going through, it’s nothing…
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written by john c ashworth
My wife Laura is a nurse. Her Mom was a nurse too. They are amazing warriors and I can only hope to be fraction of who they are as devoted, strong, resilient human beings.
I love nurses. Always have. There is something about them that makes me feel humble, safe and inspired all at the same time.
Laura LOVES FIGS. They have revolutionized the ‘frumpy scrubs’ concept.
She showed me this idea this morning and I wanted to share it with all of you, because it’s cool and because it’s a very cool way that a business has entered the ether with a unique, business-minded, and service-driven idea at a time when businesses are really struggling to connect with their customers, prospects and networks.
You can purchase a FIGS’ Frontline set for $85 and send them to someone you care about. FIGS will then donate a second set to someone in need. OR, you can simply make a donation and FIGS will send two sets for $85 to those who need them most.
Keep it up, FIGS!
There is a thief in our midst
written by john c ashworth
“What were you doing up there, Dad?” His daughter asked quizzically, as she ran through her bedside checklist. A checklist well honed after almost thirty years of nursing. Trying hard not to blink.
“I was looking at all the lights…”
“I wanted to look around to see what everyone else was doing.”
He was atop the combine in the middle of the field, still working to get the remaining corn out of the ground before winter fully set in. A job that was taking so much longer this year because of all the damn rain. They literally finished the next day without him. Something they must learn to do now.
He lost his balance and tumbled to the half-cultivated field below, lying in wait for his fate and mine. There were no lights that any mere mortal might see. It was the middle of the day. I believe it was much more than that. Especially after witnessing his death.
I never got to see the imprint in the dust on the side of the combine where his hand had reached out sliding, in a futile attempt to stop something that seems so much bigger than all of us now. At first, I wanted to see that hand-print. It seemed important to revere. By the time I returned a week later for the funeral, the boys had disposed of its message quickly and efficiently. The same way so many of his personal things have been so efficiently removed from daily life.
The experience of his death five days later was a powerful one and in light of current circumstances, I’m even more grateful now than before that I was able to be there and hold his hand, while he strained with great loyalty to open his left eye and connect with me, so that I could tell him everything would be OK. Tell him how much I love him and how much he meant to me and how much he was like a second father to me.
I’ve never done that before. Watched someone take their last puff of breath, their body quickly beginning some kind of pale and mystical metamorphosis that happens so quickly and right before your eyes.
How do you walk away from that scene?
How do you go on?
How do you separate the spirit of his inspiration in your own life with the physical body that housed it for so long? I still don’t have an answer to that question; and I’m still eternally grateful to have been there.
I can still hear the prophetic puff of his last breath as it washed over Mom’s lips and the re-assurance her words provided as he made his way out somewhat ungracefully. An incredibly inspiring and brave act from his devoted partner. She was right there with him and right until the end. My wife was right there too, while the rest of his immediate family stood around his bed, his sons almost shouting their goodbyes through viscous cries that Mom admitted later she had never heard before.
We came back home that night to their apartment and stepped into the surreal and solace surroundings that a death leaves behind. Those were tender moments too. The time I spent that night going through some of the his things. Forgotten treasures living in desk drawers. Many of them for so many years. His spirit and his energy were still so close. I worried about his body in the morgue all night. It was hard to sleep.
Overall, I believe it was was a good death. Much better than my sister’s, which was proceeded by so much suffering. Years of surgeries and hospital stays and medicine that often did not work. Dad’s death was much different. And for that I am both grateful and fearful for all of us. He lived long and died short and we were all able to be there to see him off. And during that last night of his life, I had an experience so profound that it changed me forever. It transformed my perspective on death and dying, and on life. And it makes me incredibly sad, fearful, frustrated, angry, and anxious about every other person and family out there right now who is dealing with a different kind of death as a result of covid-19. They who won’t have the same opportunity I had.
This is a story that is repeating itself now in deafening silence and that needs to be told. Because it’s not just being there for the dying. It’s also the gift this experience provides for the living. A gift that is being stolen. Diverted in the face of this evil creature we call covid-19. Death is for all of us. Not just for the dying. And though we tend to avert ourselves from this idea in American culture, those of you who can relate to what I’m saying will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Death is for all of us; and the celebration of life that follows it’s course is even more vital; and yet everything is so different out there right now. Sick people are dying alone. Loved ones are grieving alone. Mourning alone. And this might just be the greatest tragedy and injustice of this crisis. A somewhat hidden loss. One that finds us later when we’re least expecting it. I used to too often fear losing those close to me. Suddenly I fear losing them shrouded in darkness, mystery, fear and chaos. Watching it happen through a pain of glass. That is no way to die. That is no way to live. That is no way to say goodbye to those we love as they exit from this great and mysterious world.
That presence I first felt enter the room about 45 minutes before my Dad’s death; the one that left me feeling like I didn’t want to leave the room until he was gone, was in fact the same one that returned to shepherd his soul away so quickly following that last puff of his breath…
That all-powerful, heavy, swirling, engulfing, comforting, magnificent, omnipresent and mysterious father of another kind…
…he stirred something in me that night that I would have missed had I not been there. Something universal, fleeting and unmistakable. Something that awakened in me a level of confidence and fortitude and wisdom that I carried forth from that room on that night, and that will NEVER leave me. Something no thief could ever take from me.
Godspeed to all of you…