All posts by P7

Michael Morton is a teacher, student, son, and father. He teaches at Quarter Mile Lane School in Bridgeton and in the Gear Up Program at Cumberland County College. He is an alumni of Rowan University. His children Emily and Dylan are also very involved the various community activities. As an former firefighter of the Gouldtown Volunteer Fire Company, Michael prefers to support his fellow fire fighters in innovative ways. In 2012, he ran for public office in my township. As the top vote-getter in that election, he pledged to uphold the Constitution as he pursued positive change for his community. He's lived in Cumberland County for nearly 30 years. He's been a second grade teacher for 6 years. Before that he taught early education at the district preschool (GOFECC) for a year. He taught 8th grade Civics at West Avenue School for a short period of time. Including his experience teaching special education in the Millville School District, he has taught for a total of twelve years. Currently Michael teaches middle school Civics in the Gear Up Program at Cumberland County College. As a former employee of the State of New Jersey, Michael has held the responsibility of case worker and juvenile probation officer. He is the first in his immediate family to graduate from a four year institution with a bachelor's degree. For this reason, his family is very proud of him and continues to support my efforts in community service.

Only the Lonely

Contrary to popular beliefs, loneliness is not a choice for everyone. It’s certainly nice to be alone once in a while. But for some, loneliness is a state of being. It is not cured by simply adding others.

There are many souls who are lonely in a room full of others people. Despite our age, creed, or ethnicity, our individuality can be isolating or encompassing. Our state of mind can be altered for short periods, but even euphoria has an expiration.

Human interactions will not dissolve some kinds of loneliness any more than digital connections. Both only foster feelings of togetherness or solidarity. In truth, we will eventual return to ourselves– where accountability is our own; and our ownership of our personal accounts is unwavering.

Despite the darkness of loneliness, the sun shines with care, kindness, and positive energy.

Celebrate the Failures

We dream, set goals, and employ plans to meet the goals–to make those dreams come true. We draw from our resources, build networks, and develop our skill set to progress towards our goal. Our agendas become clearer as our dreams become a reality. And at that moment we least expect it, we encounter a setback.

Not a tragedy. Not a roadblock. A setback! It’s only a tragedy if we fail to go onward. It’s only a roadblock if we can not make our way around the obstacle. It’s a setback because it requires more. So much more! Because life is supposed to be unpredictable, we can not plan for the setbacks. We can only build our strength and endurance to be prepared just in case…

The failures that naturally occur help us build a tolerance. They force us to pause. They force us to rethink, reflect, and refocus.

In our mind, anything is possible. In reality, things are possible only when we don’t give up.

Ask the runner who falls, or the non-smoker who relapses, or the believer who backslides. It’s our perception that determines how we proceed.

We celebrate our victories. But we must celebrate our failures too. That’s not to suggest that the celebrations are anything alike. A failure is only a failure when we refuse to continue onward. We celebrate the failure by embracing the need to try again. The celebration is in the breathe that escapes our lips. The sigh, the gasp, the yell–they fuel that sequel. Part two is within our reach.

We don’t quit. We don’t give up. Instead we regroup. We reevaluate our path. We may even reestablish what drives us.

Be vivacious in your quest. The celebration is life. The victory is in living another day. Tell the story in knowing that there are many chapters. Celebrate life. Celebrate that you have more chances! Celebrate the failure because you know that you can try again.

For every victory, celebrate hard. But for every failure, celebrate too. With every failure comes knowledge (and a humility that is not always private). Celebrate that too! For with humiliation comes accountability. Get back up!

It doesn’t feel good to fall short of our goals. Let this drive you harder. True failure is loss. Do not mourn the losses for long. They’ll be time enough true failure. True failure comes at the very end. For life is a temporary circumstance. Death is forever.

Boxes in the Basement

I’ve got boxes, bins, and binders in the basement that need to be burned!  The boxes represent court documents that dissolved relationships.  The bins encompass unread memos from political appointments and official responsibilities.  The binders are filled with professional developments that are no longer relevant.  I’ve moved these containers to the basement because I need them out of sight.  I’ve reluctantly preserved them as if I’d need the reminder of what responsibilities in which I had not been successful–as if I’d analyze where I went wrong (and try again).  These resources must be burned.

Why would I feel the need to hold on to things that will bring me no joy?  Why can’t I simply bring one box at a time up to the trash bins and have them removed from my home??  Will I ever in-full-faith review that content again???

Their mere existence binds my hands.  I knowingly hide these boxes in the dark hoping that I can redefine my purpose.  The space that they take up in my basement represents the space in my mind, my heart, and my soul.  They are the scars that I hide beneath my clothes.

I am no physician.  Neither am I a psychologist.  I can not heal myself.  I simply lick my wounds and pray that they go away.  Yet I know that faith without work is death.

And I am slowly dying.  The mustiness and mildew will soon build.  The mold will grow into something unhealthy.  I need to stop it now.  I need to open the windows and let the light in.  I need to ventilate and remove.  I need to burn every piece;  not one at a time, but in bulk.  I need to dance on the ash and never look back.

My Story Is Spelled My.Stery

“Deja vu” is the mind affirming a familiarity with a circumstance. Was it a dream or a coincidence? That moment that causes us to stop and question ourselves, when we look around and know that somehow we’ve been here before–that is the moment that we realize that there’s a higher consciousness and a heightened sense or awareness.

We are leaving clues for our future selves intermittently. Pictures, mementos, and miscellaneous scribblings that capture something meaningful are unimportant at any given point in time except for the one moment that means everything.

Our mental health is gauged not only by how we interact with the world, but also by how we manage our own thoughts and feelings. A person who collects things assigns meaning to each souvenir. Awards and trophies are merely framed papers or inscribed tin fastened to molded plastic or crafted bark. The more important, the more likely we display these artifacts to the world. And what the world honors, we covet.

We are proud of those things that we’ve been taught are valuable. Yet we treasure most those things we’ve come to craft and mold on our own. Our creativity spawns all kinds of ideas. From our flesh comes offspring, and from our conceptions come legacy. Any deviation is an opportunity for evolution. And as convoluted as this may seem, we all have that moment when we hear a familiar sound or whiff an almost forgotten aroma. It triggers memory. It’s at that moment that we question our being and recognize that we are not just present in that moment, but we’ve become increasingly aware more than we once were.

Wise men don’t know everything. But they earn wisdom from learning that they can not know everything. There’s a calmness from surrendering a need to have more, to know more, or to understand everything. Some call it bliss in ignorance. Others call it letting go to let God.

That higher consciousness is merely a lack of consciousness. An unknowing, un-relentless, unfamiliar mystery for which the end is neither foreseen nor aforementioned…

This is where we are right now. Only a fool would assure us otherwise. The clues we leave are the clues we find later… and this prescription for fulfillment is what we call happiness. Because in that moment, we believe that things happen for a reason.

Until we are again clueless…

Sorry, Not Sorry

Spending many years in reflection

Fewer years in regret

A moment or two mourning losses

A second or so welcoming the growth

There are more than five human senses

More than seven wonders of the world

The provable truths can be disproven

The wrongs are too embarrassing to discredit

Our lives are not our own

Like ants we are apart of something bigger

A colonization vulnerable

Enough to be washed away by one hefty

Spring shower

Our selflessness has eroded

Consumed by what is personal

We may never earn the glory

That we so badly think we deserve

Entitlement

Enrichment

Enhancement

Deplorable

Disenfranchisement

Deposable deniability

Dorian

Grey

Black

Life

Death

Surreal

Matters

No one is sorry

Except for the ones who didn’t cause the pain

Lacking empathy, sympathy, or concern

The voices in our heads don’t silence us

No filters, no compassion

We think it, we say it

We see it, we photograph it

Our newsfeeds are cluttered with other’s posts

(Without an original thought of our own)

No illusions

Nothing concealed

Proudest, boldest generation in history

Killing each other, killing ourselves

Watching the genocide

and dispelling the lessons we were supposed to

Never Forget

The fear fuels the ignorance

Which justifies the hatred

Personal losses are the only ones

That drive change

(the kind of change that’s inevitable)

There’s an expectation

For change to occur. It is both

Demanded (by those who need it)

& Resisted (by those who control it)

So many are not sorry

Because so many will never own their

Thoughts

Actions

Behaviors

Beliefs

Words

Teach Empathy

I wanted to say model empathy, but you can’t model something if you forgotten how to do it. You also can’t do it well if you’re out of practice.

Gun owners who haven’t lost loved ones to gun violence wont give up their guns.

Bigots who’ve not been impacted by bias can not accept a racist label.

Yet victims of sex crimes are not the only ones who feign indecency (but the victimizers won’t stop until they’re apprehended, convicted, and restrained).

We recognize wrong, but we point it out in the judgement of others. It’s our own discomfort that changes us. It’s the prisons that others put us in that victimize us.

Those who oppress never apologize. At best, they resign; but most often they justify their actions as fitting for the circumstance, for the environment, for the moment in time.

There are large chunks of society that can not exercise empathy. To them, your analysis doesn’t matter; your criticisms are minimized; your position is not their position. To them, there is no unity. Unity was their enemy all along. There’s no empathy so it doesn’t matter.

This is where we are. Empathy has expired. Entitlement erases empathy. Oppression erases empathy. Ignorance erases empathy.

You already know what we need. But you’ll never convince the non-empathizers without imposing on their values, oppressing their freedom, or stripping them of their rights. You’d have to witness them endure everything that they’ve caused; everything that hurts; everything that strips away…dignity. And maybe they may grow a sense of empathy.

But they’ve already witnessed it occurring to others, and they failed to act. It’s not personal until it happens to you. Empathy is personal. When tragedy occurs to groups of us, it’s interpersonal, but it’s still doesn’t belong to everyone.

Watching is not enough. Talking is not enough. Teaching is not enough. But all of these are a start.

Teach empathy. Model it.

Feel.

Heal.

Reveal.