Take five minutes. Only five minutes. Five minutes to calm. To listen. To be quiet. To pray. To meditate. To stop and smell the fragrance of the scarlet roses in your mother’s front lawn. Slow down five minutes.
Life’s been tugging on me with it’s incessant neediness and each pull feels as if it will take me down with it.
I want to change the world. Change society. When I see the desperate face of a refugee, there’s a pang of empathy and a desire to help. I see the needless waste of human lives thrown and tossed into the skirmish of wars fought over pettiness or another’s profit. It infuriates me.
My idealism is a black hole of never finished projects. I cannot save the world. I cannot change society. But I absolutely cannot afford to despair. Or to check out.
So, I’m taking five minutes. Five minutes to listen to music. To feel the perfection of this moment. To heal. To give. These five minutes I can do. In these five minutes I can reflect and remember who I am. Would you join me?
Tenderfoot. Softie. I used to hate those names. Once those words said to me could make my blood boil. I was a tough girl, and I was strong, able to take on the best of you. I ran barefoot over gravel. Snakes, bugs or even toads did not make me squeal.
I might have been a fighter with a big ole’ chip on my shoulder, but yeah, I was still a softie. I fell in love, gushed with pride over my adorable babies, felt pain before and after surgeries, had my heart broken, and etc.
Like Brené Brown, I’ve come to realize being vulnerable isn’t a weakness. Softness holds strength. I’m thinking of the almighty power in the aroma of coffee in the morning. It moves me like no bell of alarm could. Or the giggle of a young child. The smell of dirty laundry. What about the viral memes that flow through society with the ability to change a culture?
“There is no intimacy without vulnerability. Yet another powerful example of vulnerability as courage.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Ideas for hearts: Muffins and coffee. Fresh flowers and a thank you card. Kind words. A kiss on the cheek. These acts heal broken hearts, mend fences, end strife.
“UnMarketing: “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I’m not a great poet or speaker, but that never stopped me from saying what I felt. Maybe at times I’d be better sitting down and letting others wax poetic. Maybe. It’s a tough call to know when to speak up and when to sit quietly, hands folded. I want that wisdom.
There were times when I’ve spoken, and the words echoed back at me. Awkward. A room full of conflicted expressions and I was reluctant to continue. I wasn’t understood. How do you breach people’s defenses? Do we have an obligation to try?
It’s awkward at best to keep speaking. Usually, we sit. Or grow red in the face, yelling at our new opponent. The enemy has been marked. There’s another strategy to try. Stop the oratory. Become ordinary. Be Joe. Be Jane. Simple people, everyday activities. Change things. It’s alright if you’re not a great spokesperson. Maybe you hated speech class or drama in school.
Do you tell your friends about your favorite TV show? That local dive you went to with your guy last weekend. Did you share those pics on Facebook? Yeah, so did I.
We’re all spokespersons, all the time. Marketing has caught on, outfitting individuals to advertise for them using Instagram and blogs. They look fun too! It’s all in the name of profit. (i.e. Kelly in the City, Read this: Confessions of an Instagram Influencer
And no I’m not talking about plastering your profile with religious or political slogans. No! This is the opposite! Live your words for awhile. Be the good.
Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But, please don’t be meaningless.
Here are some of my book suggestions:
Getting my hands dirty. Working with my entire being – mind, body, and heart by creating something that stirs excitement and that brings hope to others, that’s what I crave. I like helping people build their lives and find out how they can change and grow in ways they didn’t think they could. There’s nothing better.
When I read about the Jimmy Carter’s of this world or the Nobel Peace winner Kailash Satyarthi, I want to run and join them. I want to start an organization. People who are changing the world by ending poverty like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Those creating access to water such as Water.org and Charitywater.org are groups I shout from the mountaintops. Good things are happening across the globe. Notice it. Join in.
Years ago when I was in the Christian movement I wanted to be a part of the millennial generation because I believed they were the generation changing the world. Crazy huh? I assumed it was all about a God thing. Not so. It’s about people, working together, with different attitudes, methods, and backgrounds, all coming together to end suffering in the world. One subject matters, we all must care for our fellow man.
There are plenty of posters and travel blogs promising bliss and restoration. Smooth, polished rocks, cascading waterfalls, and green plush grass are there for you. Rest and Restore. Leave your worries behind. Well, I chuckle. Life’s just not that convenient. Worries are like clingy little babies. They want to be fed, and they want only you. To remove them takes some conscious choice. Mindfulness.
Mad Max Highway
I drive the same short stretch of highway connections every day. People like me are jamming this interchange, just leaving work and wanting to go home as quickly as possible. Tired. Cranky. Maybe short on patience. Twice this week I’ve had the same thing happen. Two different people cut me off when there was an opening for me to enter a lane. Once it was my lane and the fellow thought I wasn’t quick enough I’m guessing, he passed me. The nerve! Both episodes I reacted poorly by speeding ahead, glaring or yelling. Something inside me quickened, warning me. Bad responses. Not that I might harm someone, but what if another, a third party, was injured. Was I willing to continue this same path? As I realized I wasn’t mindful or grateful, I noticed a large tire in the middle of the highway. Would I have hit it?
Allowing Stupid to Be Stupid
Last week I mentioned in Mindless Searching clicking through one book after another. I realized after twenty minutes had passed that I was not interested in any of the books I was looking at. I was in a trance. Mindfulness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something I have to do. Pay attention. Watch the road. Stay calm. Let the anger go. Allow the stupid to be stupid and not even the score, because life isn’t fair.
Serendipity and Irony
I’m a passionate person, which is why I’m not good at just letting things slide. Some things can be planned, but there are a lot of stuff that just happen that are so much better if they happen on their own. For instance, the lemonade that I drank in Mexico. I couldn’t have planned that and made it taste any sweeter. And the memory of that day couldn’t bring me any more joy if I’d planned it.
When a moment happens and the events come together it seems perfect, as if you’d planned it, serendipitous. Athletes call it the flow or the zone. They’ve planned for it by practicing, maybe even visualizing. Who knows, that could be what happens to us when our lives have real things that fall into place. Ironic isn’t it?
I realized after the listening to several French citizens’ response shortly after the tragic concert bombing in November that what I felt some of us are missing here in the states. Love. One of the girls that came out of the concert stated it so clearly, not that she loved those that bombed them. No, but she felt love for those that she was with at the time and she was glad to have been with people she loved enjoying an evening of freedom. And her heart was filled with love even while she was searching for her boyfriend and friends. She wasn’t the only one that I heard say statements like that.
Their response to terror wasn’t to build a wall or blast the shit out of those evil bastards. It was, we are put on this earth to enjoy life. We will live. They want us to be afraid. The terrorist want us to fear because they hate our freedom, but we won’t let them take it away.
We become what we fear or we become what we love. We in the United States of America should not forget this. I want to live, not hide or pretend to be Rambo.
There are a lot of gripe worthy, fist in the air episodes in life these days. And it doesn’t take much to strike a flame it seems. Show me the video of the eight-year-old sitting in the vice principal’s office, with the sheriff handcuffing him to the chair. Why? The child’s bad behavior. I’ll start the riot myself. I would have been that child, believe me, kicking and screaming also.
When it comes to injustices in this world, I’m not one who sits idly by to put up with them. That’s why it’s a relief to see the good, the beautiful, and the things that are going right. Take a look at these two inspirations. The first is a man who has changed the world. The other is a video just for you.
Truthfully, I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start with this quote from his website,
2014 Nobel Peace Kailash Satyarthi, as a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 80000 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.
The work that this man does and those that he works with is some of the most amazing work I’ve ever seen. When I was reading of his work, I wondered when he stopped. When did he eat? I read through his interview and I could hear his passion and his zeal and I could feel that same feeling as I think of that child sitting in the chair in the vice principal’s office. Kailash Satyarthi started in a similar way. He saw one boy sitting and waiting for work and he wondered why this boy was not in school. Here’s the link to the Fareed Zakaria GPS audio interview. The following quote is from his interview in the Huffington Post. I’m in awe of the passion that flows through him.
By conferring the Nobel Prize on Malala and I, the Nobel Committee has recognised one of the most pressing yet neglected issues of our times. Millions of children still remain invisible, voiceless and unheard. During the last few weeks, their suffering has got unprecedented attention by the law makers, judiciary and civil society not only in India but worldwide.
Childhood protected and nurtured will yield superior global human capital, while wasted childhood will erode all prospects of a promising tomorrow. Our tomorrow will be as good or as bad as how and what we do about our children today!!! – Huffington Post
Huffington Post-A Child Friendly World
I hope this inspires you.
Join me every week as I look for more good in this world. Or I might be standing high on my soapbox again. You just never know.
I’m sure that as this week went by you remembered to get plenty of rest. You took your vitamins and drank enough fluids to stay hydrated. Of course, to me the most important – did you take time for your mind to reset to its normal speed? For myself, I like the analogy of the vinyl, is your speed a 45 or 78? As a sidenote, most of our podcasts are running at 1.5 times their normal speed. So for those that feel life is rushing by a little faster, it might just be.
I hope that you are, because I’m challenged in these areas. I’m handicapped, if you’ll forgive me for misusing the term. I grew up thinking that if you ate your vegetables, you could have your dessert. It’s the reward system. I even believed that if you saved your money, it would still be there waiting for you when you needed it. And of course we believed these things, because even our Grimms’ Fairy Tales had been edited for children’s innocent ears. If I sound a little down, it’s okay, I’ll take a nap and be fine in a bit. Sundays are good for that.
This week I must take care of myself first, as in, put on my own oxygen mask first. Yeah, I have to remember this because it’s important. More important than jobs, money, houses, cars, spouses or even other people.
“You are your best thing”
― Toni Morrison, Beloved
The Straight Dope: Why are Record Speeds 33 45 and 78?
Speed – Radiolab Podcast
‘Lord of the Flies’ comes to Baltimore – CNN