Friday, October 23, 2020

 

 

"We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin.  To waver is to fail." -Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, book five, chapter IX, "The Last Debate"

 We all like to cling to our perceptions of duality - us vs. them, good vs. evil - it makes for a better story and allows us to be the hero of our own folktales.  

However when knowledge of people, places, historical moments, and events increases, then "them" can look a whole lot more like "us."  "Bad", when seen in a different light and from a different vantage point, can seem like "good."  

This bifurcation does not serve its purpose of changing people's behavior and attitudes, it only reinforces them.  In other words, it’s human nature to say that “it's not US who needs to change, it's THEM” regardless of which US or THEM you are.
 
What is lacking on both sides of the equation is compassion, empathy, and kindness.  I am not condoning harmful or unethical behavior.  However,  the only battle that can be truly fought is not "us" vs. "them," but "you" and the "better you" that you know you can become.  To paraphrase Thornton Wilder, “the good and excellent YOU stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.” 
 
To reach that “better you,” please consider, moment by moment:

  • Choosing inclusivity.

  • Choosing equal treatment for all.

  • Choosing empathy for those less fortunate.

  • Choose kindness.

  • Choosing love.  Always.

 
 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Power of Prayer


"I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things." - Mother Teresa 

 

I believe in the power of prayer:

  • prayers as we remember the lives lost on 9/11/2001
  • prayers for all victims of COVID-19
  • prayers for all those treated unjustly because of the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, their religion
  • prayers for casualties of the west coast fires
  • prayers for all victims of wars and acts of violence
  • prayers for all that the world has lost - people, wildlife, natural beauty - due to global warming and climate change
  • prayers for you and your loved ones
  • prayers that the power of prayer can change us and that we can change the world

 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Building Joy

Global pandemic, impending recession, protests in the street, violence, hate, and anger everywhere - in a world gone mad, is happiness even possible?   When increasing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression are the natural consequence of uncertainty, unrest, and disquiet, is happiness possible?  When so many people are suffering on so many levels, it almost feels wrong to feel happy, if happiness is even possible.


Joy may be a better option.  It has been suggested that happiness occurs at the macro level - "I am happy in my work, relationships, home, with the state of the world " - and therefore is harder to achieve and sustain.  Joy, however, is found in the little moments.   Joy is more sensory in nature.  Smelling flowers, petting kittens, listening to birdsong or hearing a child's laughter - the little delights that occur everyday.  This "bottom up" approach to building joy - noticing, appreciating, reveling in, and recalling these little moments - can, in fact, lead to happiness.  A happiness rooted in the here and now, choosing to be satisfied with what you have rather than yearning for more, becoming more accepting of life's trials, and approaching conflict from a calm and more reasoned perspective.

Joy, it has been argued, is better than happiness.  And, in a world gone mad, our well-being depends on the belief that little moments of joy are still possible.

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Listen to Ingrid Fetell Lee's TED talk on "How To Notice and Build Joy Into Your Life."