There is a flip side to this extremely important question, which was stated by Eleanor Roosevelt: “What you don’t do can be a destructive force.” Both of these are actions that require commitment. So, as I talked about in an earlier column, we sit down for a while. While we are resting, we can try this simple exercise. Sit in a quiet space and close your eyes. Think about the thing—or things—that disturb your calm on a daily basis. Your brain will be full of argument, ideas and answers to what you could do, but your heart will have a better answer. Begin the exercise.
- Breathe in deeply, exhale to the count of five. Do this for a minute. Then relax your body.
- Picture your heart, patiently beating in your chest, sending life to your body.
- Thank your heart for its steady support. The heart harbors the neurons of emotion and will always react to what we feel—peace or stress.
- Ask your heart to share with you what you should be doing in this time of chaos and pain for so many people on the planet. Ask for honesty about your opinions and feelings and how often you tend to conceal them.
- Ask your heart to simplify this for you, giving you one small thing you can do today.
- Continue to breathe deeply and get an image from your heart to your mind of what your life could look like if you honored the Truth that is in your heart. Now imagine yourself doing one small thing that would improve the life of another—from a compliment to a donation. You decide.
- Each morning, before you get out of bed, do this exercise and try to follow-up on what you hear as you go about your day, taking in the days actions. Come back to your heart often. It is a brain with feeling, not a brain of logic. It is your life guide.
I know that I have to do something to express my deep distress over what is going on in the world, and in my country in particular. I write, talk with friends and suggest relaxation tools to my clients, but I am still not satisfied that I am doing all I can. I feel that things are beyond me, and most others feel the same. First let me share what I’m observing and feeling.
I find myself remembering the quote from Santayana: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In my lifetime, I believed that our leaders and people of intelligence would never forget the horrible examples of Germany in the 1940s, Korea, Cambodia and Vietnam after that. Who would ever forget the roundup of foreigners, particularly Jews, and homosexuals, in Germany? Who would ever forget Pol Pot? What father and grandfather would not warn us of the horrors of war?
And yet we are returning to a time when our leader(s) shake the fist that holds a nuclear bomb and brag: “Bring it on!” Trump and Kim are like bullies in the schoolyard, making up names for their enemies. Ambassadors are absent—not even appointed in some cases—and voices of reason are remarkably missing in the White House and Congress. The thing they have in common, especially those looking to repeal the ACA and those frothing at the mouth for war, is that we are not “conditions”, we are people. Fareed Zakaria quoted Ronald Reagan’s nine worst words in the language: “I’m from the government and here to help you.” After the tragedy in Texas—mostly caused by lack of zoning and green practices in Houston— and the Hurricane in Florida, that is all people wanted to hear! “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
Now in Puerto Rico and elsewhere, the government is being asked to please send help. For those safe in their ivory towers, these are statistics. They run away from their constituents when they go home for the break. How to explain that the state they live in will decide if they qualify for pre-existing condition coverage or Medicaid? Instead, they hide in their offices. It is time we called them on it. It’s time to acknowledge what is good about government—especially for people of small means and even less power. When will we be reasonable and say there is good here to save, and we can talk about the rest? Congress votes billions for foreign military adventures and, at the same time, meets in back rooms to take medical care away from the poor and the suffering with pre-existing conditions. These aren’t conditions! These are people! Congress provides themselves with perks, including top-shelf health care. We deserve the same. If not, let them give up their perks and take the same miserable health care they are considering for us. Government is not bad. The system by which we elect our representatives is. The money required makes awful bed fellows and leaves our so-called public servants indentured to the powerful Insurance, Banking, Wall Street, Energy, and Drug interests. We need a wholesale house cleaning where big money and all the rest are rendered impotent.
Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. Harry S. Truman
And, should I say it? We need an informed electorate! Not an electorate who yawns or prefers reality TV, but an electorate that cares about people, about integrity, and about history. An electorate who cares about what’s going on in the rest of the world and VOTES! Good people must rise and be heard before it is too late. Whatever comes to you as you think, pray, meditate, consider that you can do something. It might not be easy. It might earn you the scorn of some people you thought loved you. But study the words of E.E. Cummings: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” Within that person you are meant to be is the answer to the question “What difference do I make?” Each of us has the answer in our soul. I’d love to hear your answer.