“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of his fellow beings.” Mahatma Gandhi
My husband often quotes Max Hermann “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” My father often said, “It takes a lot of different people to make a world.” I grew up with the concept that we are all similar-regardless of our race, ethnic background or financial standing. Yet, as I entered the adult realm I realized that not everyone shared my sentiment. I was saddened to see that there is discrimination, bigotry, and even hatred from one group of people to another. That is a mystery to me as well.
People argue over what language should be taught in schools, or placed in public settings. I say let’s use the language of kindness.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain
“There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars, and even shadow people.” Stephen Hawking
Halloween provides permission to play with dress up, and participate in ghoulish activities. People put coffins in their yards and spread cobwebs over their bushes. Makeup is used to create an appearance of goblins, vampires and zombies. Pleasure seems to be derived from making people afraid.
Perhaps there is a need to explore the ‘other life’ that is beyond our understanding. Ask three people on the street what the ‘other life’ is like and you may very well receive three different responses. More so as the acceptance of the traditional teaching of heaven and hell has declined. (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life/US Religious Landscape Survey showed only 59% of Americans in 2008 believed in hell while in 2001 71% believed in hell)
I applaud the exploration. While I, myself, do not like the ghoulish part of Halloween, I do enjoy the imagination of life outside of my own. So dress up, explore and wonder!
“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking
“Sure knowledge is based on belief and tentative belief is based on knowledge.” Joseph W. Hager
I have known a lot of people who were certain of something because they believed it be so. There are others whose uncertainty grows the more they know. Some don’t want to be bothered with the facts-the facts may compromise their ideas. Others feed off the facts. Facts do enlighten a situation. The question really is: Do we want to be enlightened? Once a fact is known, it may alter our previous opinion…therefore it may alter us.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis Waitley
Oh, the nebulous world of Risky. The definition depends on the day. When I was young, it didn’t seem so risky to climb a ladder, reach a little to paint in that wee corner of the wall. Today, I am older, and the days of climbing ladders has ceased. It is deemed too risky. The wall may still need painted, I just have to find a new way to get it accomplished.
As a nurse, my mind has turned into radar to detect risk. As we rehab our 200 year old home, my job is risk management. With an adventuresome, courageous and competent engineering husband I stay plenty busy in that role!
I use the sliding scale of “risk : benefit” ratio. Many activities carry some degree of risk. However, the benefit may outweigh the potential risk. Conversely, the benefit may be low and the potential risk too high. On occasion, the risk is high for me, but the benefit for mankind may be huge.
“I wondered how many was like me. Like me wanted to be free. Had thought bout leaving, but stayed for some reason. Then somethin happens. Takes you over your edge-that edge of fear not knowin what’s on that other side. Not willin to take the first step to move to some new spot. Then somethin kinda forces your foot. An you step out.” ” Leo and the Listener”, by Faye Hager
“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self.” Pearl Bailey
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare
These are familiar sayings that we often recall when we are making a decision. We try and find our core which we believe will speak to us and provide us guidance as to a decision.
But does our ‘core’ change? Do experiences change who we are and therefore how we might decide? We are rehabbing a 200 year old home. As we work on the house, I often wonder how the house was originally arranged. The internal walls have changed many times. Even the external walls have been altered in a few places. But the ‘core footprint’ has remained the same.
Perhaps it is that way with people. The basic core of who we are-kind, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful-remains unaltered as we journey through our lives. Yet, some have experienced hardships and become bitter, cynical, and even hateful. How does that happen? To which self are we to be true. The one pre-hardship? The innocent and naive person? Sometimes I mourn the loss of my innocence and naiveté. Or the new core honed by hardship? Honing can provide new skills-patience, perseverance and tolerance.
Truth, as we understand it, is also tricky. What we once knew-with so much certainty that lives were taken for questioning the truth (such as the world is flat, the sun revolved around the earth…many individuals were tortured who dared to question that truth of the day). As we grow, learn, and explore our life we may alter our perspective. Is that being a fraud to ourselves? or is that becoming new and fresh again?
“I am a fraud. I have cobbled together my personality from hundreds of little bits. I am simultaneously the most genuine and the most artificial person you will ever meet.” Sebastian Horsley
“No man is an island.” John Donne
Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.
By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.
One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.
So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape? Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.
“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama
“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” Robert Burns
Countless. Our blog challenge for the day. Countless is often defined as being too numerous to count.
Very few things would be countless by my thoughts. If there is an item to count, given the patience and time, those items could be counted. Even the number of a human’s breath. At the time of their death, the breaths could be counted as there was a first breath and a last breath. My thoughts could be counted; again, because I would have a first thought and a last thought.
But the impact of our actions, could indeed be countless. People who have been affected by behavior could pass the resulted impact of that behavior on for generations. From continent to continent. Behaviors vary from cruelty to kindness. From selfishness to sacrifice.
Memorial day is a day to remember those who have passed from us. While those we loved may be gone, we feel their presence by the influence and impact they had on us. Many have lost loved ones to war. Some from hate crimes. Others from illness.
Some of us are who we are today because of some kindness which touched our lives. A person who touches another with an act of kindness may never realize the impact of that one act. There may be a beginning, but as the affect of that action continues, there may not be an end. Therefore, it is countless.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop