Never a dull moment. What is it to have lunch to myself or with a colleague? Every free moment spent with students who have no access to resources many of us take for granted. Internet. A computer. You assume it. They look for the chance to access it. I work with some very poor students. These students need help getting meals. These students have been removed from their families by child services. I sometimes want to check out from the pain they are forced to feel….ALL THE TIME. I am there at lunch, at free periods, after school. I show them there is an adult who gives a shit about their success. I give up my life to make sure they have a future. I had my shot. Whatever I can do, I will. They cry to me. HELP ME! I find a way to help. I am more than a teacher. I am a parent, a counselor, a friend. All the people they never had. I have always fought for the underdog. I continue that fight. ALL my kids will have a voice. I AM FEARLESS. I know what it is to have no one listen. I have ears. I hear you. I will make sure your voice is heard. I am your advocate. I am a soldier. I am hope. You matter. I believe in you. Even when the darkness falls, look to me and you will find a lighted pathway. You are NOT alone.
I’ve been snowed in for the past two days and it’s given me a lot of time to think. Maybe too much lol! Currently, as I’m writing to you I’m eating peanut butter cups for dinner. Yeah..time to see people again soon 😦
Aaaaaanyway…what I’ve been thinking about a lot is the unhappiness that many of us feel, particularly in the USA.
It’s especially interesting to me that of all the countries I’ve traveled to, some of which were facing heart-wrenching levels of poverty, I’ve never seen unhappier people than I do in one of the richest countries of the world – the USA.
The United States is a fairly young country in the grand scheme of country ages and it was founded by opportunists who came from all over the world to make a new life. Because of this, America has long been a symbol of great innovation, opportunity and freedom around the world.
In the short time I’ve been on this earth (36 years) as an American, I’ve noticed a number of changes. I am certain that those who have been here longer have experienced far more that I’d love for you to share in my comments section.
I believe that the arrogance of our youth has cost us in many distinct ways. Just as a teenager rarely considers the consequences of their actions, I believe that we as a country often do not either.
Let me give a handful of examples though I know there are plenty more…
We find ourselves continuing to think we are the best in all categories despite the continued proof that we’re not.So we don’t work to improve what we refuse to see.
We too often prefer to shoot a gun at people we don’t understand at home or in other lands rather than sit down and have a conversation.So, we have lobbyists who ensure access to guns, but no lobbyists clamoring to educate our youth on conflict resolution.
We are so sure that our way is the only right way.So, we force our way onto people who we make convenient assumptions about.
We rarely even give ourselves a real opportunity to know others in our own country or around the world.So we judge them without any evidence and keep ourselves at a distance.
And oh…. that sense of entitlement that we are owed something without having to give back anything of ourselves. New generations have lost their work ethic.
To make matters worse, what grows out of the righteousness of our own ignorance is even more emptiness when we buy into the notion that success can be defined by material acquisition and conquest. Conquest of the world, the environment, our careers, our challenges and over other humans.
It all leads towards separation. Us vs. Them Mentality.
Maybe you’ve felt that uneasy nagging feeling that I feel and haven’t been able to put your finger on it.
When you look at how you’re asked to show up in this world, do you have to wonder anymore why it all feels like a struggle? Why it hurts? Why it is lonely? Why you feel angry and sad and lost? Why you never seem to get ahead or even know what you’re working for?
I believe that there is a divine consciousness that flows through each and every one of us. Call it by the name you choose; the Universe, God, Allah, Buddah.
It’s all the same.
It is that nagging belief somewhere deep inside that we are all connected by a power greater than the individual. We so rarely take the time to plug into that power source. Sure, we go to our place of worship, but we miss the message. We claim spirituality and keep ourselves away from others.
We are separated from each other because we were never taught to be cooperative. We’re taught to be competitive. We strive as individuals to beat our opponent. There are winners and losers and we fight to be a winner and feel we can stand even taller when we smear the face of the “loser”.
It may seem small or insignificant and I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but I’ll say it one more time on the odd chance that this time you hear it…
The only change we can make is within ourselves. This is all we really control.
The rest is an illusion. Trying to control everything and everyone else, is what’s making us unhappy.
And when you start telling yourself that you are too small to make a difference, imagine that there are others just like you doing the same thing at this moment. Consider how your strength just multiplied.
When we all come together and go a different way, we finally become the change we want to see in this world. And I believe that’s what our recent leaders such as, Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., or even President Obama were trying to show us.
“Someday, the realm of liberty and justice will encompass the planet. Freedom is not just the birthright of the few, it is the God-given right of all His children, in every country. It won’t come by conquest. It will come, because freedom is right and freedom works. It will come, because cooperation and good will among free people will carry the day.”
― Ronald Reagan, The Quest for Peace, the Cause of Freedom
I’d love this country to be a true leader once again. But as a more mature “individual”. Leading without it being at the expense of others. Finding compassion for ourselves and others.
As it stands we’ve lost our compassion and as such we’ve reduced people to numbers and objects to be pointed out as examples of “unfortunate people”.
And in this state, we’ve also diminished ourselves because we’ve failed to see that, we ourselves, exist in them. We are more than individuals. We are also a group of people that affect one another here and around the world.
If you get right down to it and really tune in, it’s the core message of every religion out there. It is a universal human belief across lands and cultures.
We have so much capacity as individuals and even more as a cohesive unit.
Until we realize that each persons’ well-being affects our own well-being, all of us will stay sick, lonely and separated from each other in a state of poverty no matter how much money we have.
I believe this is why so many people I’ve met in third world countries seem happier than we do. They rely on each other. They work as a unit cooperatively with each person doing their part. Together they do have more than they’d have alone.
There is enough for everyone. Happiness is as close as our nearest neighbor. We just have to learn to share and cooperate with one another in order to get to the next stage of our development.
Maybe we could start by concentrating on what we stand for instead of having another “war” against something.