Archive for July, 2011

The presence of peace

July 16, 2011

World peace is possible. Just do things my way.

Frequently, I make the mistake of listening to the news. I occasionally read the news magazines.

Neither is full of sunshine.

Both are overflowing with violence towards ourselves.

My limited scientific knowledge of how we are all interconnected speaks to the truth that we are One. When we attack and harm another, we are essentially waging war against ourselves. If I commit an act of violence against another person, it is my own internal angst that makes me lash out. Something has disturbed my sense of peace and well-being. Self-defense and sociopathy aside, it is the fundamental lack of peace within each one of us that is a prime motivator to violence against ourselves.

I test this constantly. Anytime I feel anger and a desire to lash out at another, I find it is rooted in fear, a disruption of my internal sense of peace. As I listen to the news and hear about the inability of people to resolve their problems without harming another, I feel scared, helpless, and alone.

I wonder: What if each person found their peace within themselves? If we stay centered in our peace, perhaps we would lose our fear. In its place would be trust in oneself and the greater One that we are all motivated from our sense of personal peace. Of course, that fantasy fills me with peace. The problem is that it relies upon the actions of others. It is dependent upon how others are in the world, not how I am in the world. The real test is whether I can maintain my peace even within the greatest of fears. My honest self-assessment acknowledges that I would commit violence to defend the lives of myself and those I love. That includes fighting for food, water, shelter, and safety (first and second in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). And when I think about our world situation, I get the feeling that our violent behavior is born because we don’t feel safe. We want to assure ourselves that we will have enough food and water. There are people who will put up with atrocious acts committed against them just so they can maintain their food and water supply.

The reality is that there is enough food and water in the world to take care of everyone. That we misuse our water supply and grow food to capitalize wealth is our shame.

We created the games and rules of societal living. We created the system of money and wealth. We created the root of our fear.

Maybe it is time to create something else.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of decisions

July 10, 2011

The consequences of our decisions and actions (or lack thereof) follow us all of our lives. They might follow us into the next iteration of our existence. In fact, they might determine the next iteration of our existence. I am in a comfortable spot in my life. Not all is perfect, but I am basking in the enviable position of being securely employed with a good home and excellent health.

It is very easy for me to engage my 20/20 hindsight and review how I got to this particular point in my life. As I examine each of my decisions and retrace my steps, a few of them make me shudder. Others make me clasp myself in a hug filled with relief and gratitude. The one I am most grateful for these days is that I have a job to complain about.

I have family members who lost their jobs some time ago and currently live off the charity of others. Both are struggling to find a job. ANY job, they say. They fill out endless applications online nearly all of which disappear into the vast empty hole of cyberspace. Sometimes, though, an application gets a response and there is an interview.

They call me when there is an interview, voices trembling with excitement and an anticipatory joy. It is only an interview, but they sound as if they had just been invited to the prom. They ask: What should I wear? What should I say? What if they ask about this or that?

This or that are decisions these family members made that resulted in them being unemployed and nearly unemployable. They took actions which were not in their best interests. When they relate their woeful tales of how tough their lives are now, it is all I can do not to point out how they got themselves there (when I do, the conversation ends abruptly). I can point to the exact decisions they made – years of them. Instead, I recommend decisions and actions that would take good care of them now and in the future.

This process makes me more cognizant of all the thoughts and deeds I carry with me. What I think today has a real impact on where and who I will be ten years from now. What I do today may not make my life noticeably different tomorrow, but the seeds are there getting ready to sprout. It is the ultimate reaping of what I sow.

I have to go now . . . my life is begging for some water and fertilizer.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

A little bit uphill

July 3, 2011

Back in July 2010, almost to the day, I wrote about how I sometimes only run downhill when I go jogging. I am perfectly content to use gravity to speed me along and then walk up the next incline to catch my breath.

Here it is a year later and I’ve begun to test my legs and lungs more on the uphills. It is only against resistance that a body grows stronger. If it weren’t for gravity, we would all be sloppy globs of flesh dangling from our bones. Gravity is required for muscle development. Astronauts lose muscle strength during space flights despite weight training exercises.

So, taking the gravity of life’s situations into account, I want to be strong enough to sprint uphill if required. Does that mean, though, that I get to walk the downhills if I choose?

I’ve always run the downhills even if I’ve run the uphills. I take advantage of the chance to move faster, accomplish more in less time when there is less resistance. I’ve not stopped to consider that my body and mind might need the slow, complete resting period of a few blocks of downhill living.

It is silly for me to give 110 percent when life is tough and, when life has its easier moments, still demand a 110 (or more) percent production. Taking the path of least resistance is often exactly what I need. I can be a slacker.

Really.

I know life is short and there is SO little time to do what I need and want to do. There are deadlines hovering in the distance like heat waves rising in the desert. My lists of accomplishments do not end. I cannot rest on the bounty of yesterday for it is finite and will not last. I have many, many reasons to keep running.

Except, I feel some days that I am running right past my life.

There might not be any rose bushes for me to stop and smell on the downhills, but how will I know if I don’t walk once in a while?

There will always be uphills to run.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass