“Nothing good comes from being comfortable.”


Alex Honnold said that just before a 3000 foot free solo climb up El Cap in Yosemite.

Alex has a tiny Amygdala, which we learn from a brain scan at the beginning of the documentary, “Free Solo”. This means he doesn’t feel fear or emotions the same way others do. This explains a lot in the movie but it also inspired me to write a $200,000.  Grant to the Sonoma Ed Foundation for my own Siemens Somatom Plus 4 MRI machine. Know your brain, learn accordingly


Did you come to our Creekside haunted house? Course you didn’t because it didn’t happen after I explained my vision for a “2018 Reality Horror House” which failed to pass the approval of, well, everyone I asked in advance.


The first room was going to be a school shooting scene complete with bloody students and teachers (are you uncomfortable now? Good, now do something about gun control), the second room was the environmental catastrophe room with hurricanes and fires, finally the third room was a giant laughing statue of our president spewing his greatest hits. “Murderers and rapists, grab them by the…, my kind of guy, build the wall, lock her up…”


I was having a little trouble remaining non-biased before the midterms.


Thursday, I’m 50 feet up, between two redwoods at the Challenge Sonoma Ropes Course in the hills behind the Sonoma Developmental Center. I’m walking along a quarter inch wire and switching hands on five static ropes connected above me. My only safety is a rope attached to a harness being belayed on the ground by my ex-student Adeline. This is trust, this is life, push, try, be outside of your comfort zone, try not to think about the D Adeline earned in my Algebra class.


Friday afternoon and I’m presenting to a classroom of teachers about the importance of thematic units. I start with a video by Prince EA titled, “What Is School For?” It’s not real supportive of our current educational system; it is supportive of my personal educational environment and philosophy. No teachers walk out of the presentation but there are some uncomfortable moments. I view this as a good thing.


Tuesday I’m sitting in the pharmacy waiting room at Kaiser, two retired RN’s sitting across from me are having one of those private conversations that they want everyone around them to hear. They are discussing the Trump Bump and the Blue Wave and the state of politics. Why they hated Obama and really hated Clinton and why they like Trump. They feel like outsiders in California but are happy with the choices that the president is making.


One explains that the caravan is filled with dangerous Mexican criminals, “Sure, he sometimes says the wrong things but he’s getting stuff done. I spent a lot of time in Honduras and Mexico and I know that the Mexicans like to swear a lot. I listened to them talk on TV and I know that caravan is full of dangerous people.” I wonder how any woman could support the misogyny and how a registered nurse who took the Hippocratic oath to help all people could say these things out loud.


Are you uncomfortable yet? Well how about school being cancelled Friday and Tuesday because the air quality was unhealthy because the state is on fire (again) because our weather patterns are changing because of an issue no one wants to face. Or that Ted beat Beto or that the market is tanking or that all classes aside from the 1% are suffering, or that you and your wife are fighting because all you want to do is slam Petroni Cab (actually Black Box Cab since your 401 K is in the toilet) until you pass out by the TV each night.


But, listen to Alex and you will realize that there is good news in being uncomfortable. Uncomfortable means change and change means growth. The smart kids will eventually get that their pursuit of leisure (Netflix and Chill) has gotten them nowhere and nowhere kinda sucks.


And didn’t we know in 2016 that we were headed toward moral and institutional corrosion? Fortunately, now we’re shredding cutbacks and floaters on the pink wave of the 2018 midterms. We’re protesting more and voter turnout was higher than ever. There are good signs people, there is still time.


But we need you, and those around you to use this uncomfortable moment to shift. Stop blaming and start playing through (a golf term when you jump past the slow people in front of you). Keep pushing because California is on the right path but we have to help Gavin make these next four years the best ever.


Think help centers where job training and life management counseling end homelessness. Think immigration policies and facilities that help people become taxpaying citizens. Think environmental policies that help save the one planet we have.


Uncomfortable? Good, now get to work.




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