Archive for October, 2012
Thrilling! Exciting! Amazing!
When Major League Baseball moved to the West Coast in 1958, I was sorely disappointed because I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan through and through. It took awhile but the Giants won me over. I am not alone in my admiration of their ‘style’. Watching a group of very talented athletes play together in a way that epitomizes the concept of ‘team’ sports is inspiring. To have your home team win the World Series is frosting on the cake.
Thank you Giants!!
Today is the last day to register to vote. There was a period in my life when I abstained from voting because I believed my vote just did not matter. As I matured, as I observed people around the world willing to die for the right to become voters; active participants in their governing, my attitude changed.
Although I remain skeptical about the influence of my ballot in the major races, I staunchly believe I can and do affect the local political arena, especially in California where the ‘Referendum’ remains an active part of the political pasture.
My re-entry into the voting quagmire was ignited by a dear friend who was a naturalized citizen from a third-world country who held a PhD in History from Stanford. With his encouragement, we hosted ‘vote-debates’ in my home; inviting friends and family to an evening of pro and con discussions of the California ballot. A truly amazing and profound experience. To participate, one had to go beyond the 50-second commercial interest ads to the heart of the issues. These gatherings never became shouting matches, and at times persuaded me to alter my position.
I miss those meetings. My friend has long since passed over. Life marches on, and I find it more and more challenging and time consuming to pour over the ballot ‘legalese’ in an effort to be as responsible as I can to the honor and privilege of voting.
Perhaps it is time to bring back vote-debate night.
There are moments when I am overwhelmed by a life so full, my life.
Turning on a faucet and having hot, potable water available instantly; standing beneath a cleansing shower; turning on the heater (or air-conditioner); having a reliable car; bird-watching and star-gazing; richly satisfying work; good friends; family; the dazzling beauty of nature which surrounds me; the ability to read and write well; the freedom to vote…I could go on and on.
The overwhelming part of my deep appreciation for all these riches is how easy it is to take it all for granted. On a global scale, I truly am one of the world’s richest people. For my bounty of blessings and my daily bread I direct my deepest appreciation to the intelligence behind creation.
In a recent conversation with a dear friend, she shared with me an experience years ago which had a profound affect on the direction of her life. As she relates it, she was sharing a journal entry with a close friend about a deeply traumatic personal experience At the end of the entry she had written, “I don’t know how I am ever going to live with this?” Her friend answered with, “How are you going to live with it?”
She said to me that the unexpected question gave her a profound insight she had not seen. That how she ‘lived with it’ was a choice. It was empowering for her to realize that she had a choice. She went on to reveal that the insight gleaned from that simple question has continued to guide her life ever since.
Her story was a powerful reminder to me. A reminder of just how much choice we actually have when dealing with the challenging ebbs and flows of life’s vicissitudes.
I have an active negative chatter-box; the inner voice that likes to beat me down. Over the years I have gained considerable mastery over the flow of negative chatter. However, the reality is that it will never go away.
I know these things: that it feeds on negativity; that it is most active when I am tired, frustrated, sad, and/or anxious. I know that I have an arsenal of strategies to deal with the onslaught when it comes. I also know that there are times when I want to wallow. Engaging my strategies seems like too much work. But I know if I don’t, my negative chatter-box will attack my well-being and my self-esteem mercilessly. So even though it may take me awhile to work myself out of the mud, I will.
This week be mindful of your strategies. If you have none, create them. If you have them use them. Life is more centered and peaceful when the chatter-box is contained.