“Freedom of action, freedom of expression. And that means the freedom to express your opinion, not the freedom to hurl crude insults at those who think differently, though these days some people don’t seem to know the difference. As far as I am concerned, that kind of abuse has nothing to do with freedom.”
From: “The Tulip Virus” by Danielle Hermans, translated from the Dutch language by David MacKay. Published in 2008 and translated in 2010.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom.”
“Our lives begin to end
The moment we stay Silent
about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King
I am reminded of my freedoms and my inner voice reminds me that our freedoms mean nothing if we do not live freely. We are free to differ with each other but do it with respect, if not for the person, then at least for the right of that person to have a different opinion. When we differ, persuasion is the key to resolve the differences. And if persuasion based on rational (to you) arguements fail to convince then we must simply agree to disagree and move on to find common ground. Bullying and abuse of power only generates hard barriers, resentment and hatred.
I lived a life dedicated to making changes that would make life more equitable and fair for all. Obviously there is still lots to be done. But we always remained civil, peaceful and calm. And big changes happened. We did not let demagogues control us. Our minds remained free to adopt and live the lives we had the right to live. When we saw an injustice, we spoke up and took action.
Don’t complain and take no action. Speak up and persuade. Live and let live – and if possible, help others along the way. “We are not here to see through others, we are here to see each other through.” And finally, live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred … let me sow love
Francis of Assisi
Another short one today. It really is a simple and yet vital. We humans are a social species that absolutely cannot survive without each other. Literally! Yet every day we see hatred being expressed and acted out against “others”. Others are humans that have what we want, or are different in looks and/or beliefs, or are keeping us from our beliefs and activities … and so on. You know what I am talking about.
So how do we address differences? Start by acknowledging them. Then look for commonalities. Focusing on the commonalities, find ways to help each other live your lives in peaceful pursuit of contentment and happiness. I wrote a bit about this some time ago in “Universal Guidelines to Live By“. Another item that puts forward how we can live together is “Everything In Life Is Negotiations-pamphlet1.
We can disagree vehemently with others but do not make it personal with trolling and personal attacks. Attack the issue and put your views forward in ways to convince. Don’t sow hatred or personal ridicule … sow love and personal acceptance.
In an earlier writing I built upon the idea of doing what we can do that serves others. Today let’s focus a bit on just doing something for ourselves. I am going to concentrate on running but it also serves as a metaphor for whatever it is that you really want to do just for yourself. It could be writing poetry. It could be climbing that hill/mountain. It could be working up to lift a large weight. It could be learning a new language. Whatever it is, do it for yourself!
I have always wanted to run. It was a time that was just for me. I had nothing to prove to others. Others were not affected by how I ran. I ran just because I wanted to and I could. I had a very busy life as most do. A family and all those wonderful activities. Different work functions that allowed me to dedicate myself to helping/serving others. Being there for parents and in-laws in their end years, weeks, days and hours. I am a server by nature. What about you? I imagine you are as well.
Take some time just for yourself to do something just for yourself. I run. I always have – except when illness or disease prevented it. Then I worked hard to overcome the restrictions, do what I had to in order to recover and be able to get back to running. I consulted the Dr.’s and took the meds. I accepted that rather invasive surgery was needed, underwent that, recovered and adjusted to the new reality (much better than the disease!). If there are things that are getting in the way of you doing what you really want to do for yourself, do whatever you can to remove the blocks. This is your very own life and you need to find ways to do at least this one thing for yourself.
Remember, I am encouraging you to do this for yourself. You don’t need to earn awards and so on. You aren’t out to show the world. Well, actually, sometimes you want to have a tangible proof for yourself. Go for it! I ran a marathon in the National Capital run weekend when I was 55. I just wanted to have that little certificate to put on my den wall that was proof to me that I did it. To me it served to show what can happen if you just do it! There were months that I could not walk without a cane in my 30’s. Now I can run again. But very few people know about that. I did not do it to be able to show off my accomplishment to others. I still just did it for me.
Age does not need to get in the way of doing this thing for yourself. Remember, you are not doing it for others. Adjust as you must but do it anyways for yourself. It is part of living well, loving others and laughing out loud every day. 😎
It is a world absolutely full of fearful problems that have the effect of putting many of us into a tailspin. Weather events are so much more than we are used to seeing. People are even more intolerant of each other than they have been. Social media has given a platform for idiots to attack the postings of others just to get noticed. It seems that we are falling down the rabbit hole of nuclear war between two peoples whose leaders are just plain out of touch with reality. All of that, and here I am espousing that we can be happy anyway.
How? No, we don’t just stick our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away. There are a couple of things that I would advocate. Look at what is happening that particularly concerns and/or scares you. If enough people did something in particular, could it change it for the better? Could enough people doing something at least make the situation you are concerned about liveable. Then just start working towards that end yourself and do what you can to get others to join you. Everything worthwhile started with just one person taking just one step followed by another.
What sorts of things can we do? Pick up that piece of garbage that some idiot dropped and left. Consider and do what you can to be ready for a severe weather or flood event that might cut power and shut down all services for a period of time. A water supply is essential along with foods that can be stored and eaten without access to power. Know your neighbors and develop friendships with them. Be supportive and caring regardless of differences.
What about the biggies? Climate change and nuclear annihilation? What can I do that can make a difference?
Let’s look at climate change first. As mentioned above, I can prepare for emergencies that can be caused by severe weather. But I can also reduce my impact on worsening stuff that contributes to speeding up and exacerbating climate change. Don’t bother arguing with deniers. Just reduce your carbon emissions. Reduce consumption of things that contribute to the destruction of rain forests and forests in general. Reduce consumption! Share.
Nuclear annihilation? Raise your voice wherever and when ever you can. Let our so-called leaders know know that “heck no – we won’t go” is real. Not appeasement but for sure not bombs. The Korean problem is a real tough one and I don’t have any answers. If we can collectively figure a way to ensure people can get unfiltered messages and news let’s do it. Start by unilaterally declaring peace. Get that to the people. Send huge supplies of food to the borders and offer to help deliver it to where it is needed. Include clothing and building supplies as needed. Show that we really do want to be at peace and helpful. No money – goods that no other country may buy for money.
Above all, do what you can do. Make it prt of your conversations with others to ask and encourage them to do the same or at least what they can do. Don’t obsess about the news. Live locally and do what you can. If we can all do that, we will certainly be happy anyway!😎
If you can fish, fish. If you can sing, sing. If you can fight,fight. Determine what you can do. And do that.
We are mostly told that we need to find our passion and do that in order to be happy. I have spent huge amounts of time endeveavoring to learn exactly what my passion is so that I can be sure that I am doing what I should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been very happy doing what I was doing, I just wanted to be sure.
The above quote from Epictetus, a first century ex-Roman slave is actually a pretty good guide to doing what you should be doing. Don’t focus on finding out what your passion is if that seems difficult. Rather, focus on doing what you can do that serves others in some positive and useful way, and do that! Most of the time you will feel good doing what you do. Of course, there will be times when outside stuff gets in the way but we just have to keep on keeping on.
What are you good at doing? Can you find ways to do that in ways that serve others? How exactly can you see yourself doing that every day? Are there jobs or other sorts of opportunities that you can apply doing that? What do you need to do in order to qualify and get “work” using the skills you are good at doing? You are in the process of planning your future and moving into real happiness. You might find that you can earn a good living doing other things – but be sure that you find ways to build in enough time to do what you are good at doing!
Doing what you are good at doing is shorthand for doing what makes you feel good and therefore happy. What are you good at? Do that!