Monthly Archives: September 2013

Four Unrelated Thoughts for Sunday Morning, MD-style

Inspired by MoJo’s article this morning, I have 4 thoughts I would like to share:

1. Stop doing things you like saying you do and start spending time doing the things that you’ll go crazy if you don’t do— the things that make your heart beat fast and your spirit catch on fire. If you’re doing other things, you’re probably wasting your (and others’) time and you’re DEFINITELY wasting the magic that lives within you. Don’t do that anymore. It’s stupid to waste anything when life is happening so quickly all the time. I am thrown back into that Howard Thurman quote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

2. Be a kinder stranger. I have so many little arteries of conversation and discussion and observation feeding into this one today, so I’ll share just a few highlights:

  • Today, I was riding my bike home from a late-morning patio hangout and saw an elderly man sitting slumped over and looking very confused. On either side of him, though, was a couple with grocery bags who must have also noticed him just a minute or two before I rode past; they were checking his pulse, helping him sit up straight and trying to figure out what sort of help he needed and who could provide that help to him.
  • I saw this on Facebook today and it made me think about how convinced so many people are that there is a limit to how much we can/should love in this world. I understand that I come from a different philosophy than many others on this, but I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment and hope that (if nothing else) it is thought-provoking for those who may not.

  • Earlier this week, my good friend Charlie and I were having a very important conversation about brokenness and disconnectedness and why we’ve become socialized into thinking that we shouldn’t interact with or be present to those who exist in public with us. This is a fairly recent phenomenon both of us have realized within ourselves and both are trying to actively combat by talking to at least one new person a week that we don’t “need to engage with, in the most basic and least meta way (if they aren’t checking me out at Target or if they aren’t calling him on the phone). He then sent me this message on Facebook as a follow-up:

Just got back from a run in the rain (the best) and had a nice experience with a new friend Steve. Steve was one of only 3 people I ran past on my run and apparently everyday Steve stands on the side of the road and asks people for money as they exit Lake Shore. I ran over to him and talked with him about his ‘spot’ and a few of the challenges he has worked through. Not sure if I made Steve’s day better- but he did have a smile on his face as I left. And when I ran past him again on my way home, we pointed at each other because now we’re old friends.

3. Prepare your own food more often. It’s that thing where we’re overweight, undernourished, and full of cancerous things, all because we eat things from unknown sources that are both harmful to us and to our planet. Be an advocate for sustaining your own health and Mother Nature’s awesomeness by checking out local farmer’s markets, chatting up the farmers themselves to hear about their philosophies (as a reminder, see #2), and voting with your food budget. We support what we fund, and right now we’re probably feeding our hard-earned money into some less-than-honorable systems & priorities. When we choose to buy fresh & local, we are also choosing to slow our evenings down and prepare our nourishment with patience, care, & curiosity. Prepping food not only slows me down and forces me to have Molly time, but it also makes me more mindful of the day’s information I need to process more fully & the emotions I am allowing myself to consume (or that are consuming me).

4. Be honest.  When I was working for PeaceWorks 2 years ago, I learned that Gandhi– one of the most famous practicers of nonviolence in global history– created a new word to discuss the pursuit of justice through active resistance: satyagraha. This translates into “insistence on truth,” and it implies that, truly, the least-violent way to interact with others is to speak your truth as you experience it and also seek THEIR truth in order to be as close as one can be to enlightenment. I don’t know why so many people operate in the realm where little white lies are more acceptable or polite, but at some point doesn’t that become destructive, both to those of us bearing the burden of our little white lies and to those receiving our words who are thus assumed to be incapable of handling the reality of truth? I’m trapped in this idea, too, but it’s something I would like to release myself from and hope others I’m close to in my life will challenge themselves to do the same.

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Bonus 5th: In case you don’t read the (pretty brief) MoJo piece, I’ll share a thought-provoking excerpt from their #3:

Poverty and education. From Matt Bruenig: “Let’s focus our attention on [the claim] that education is a way to reduce poverty. In fact, we have dramatically ramped up educational attainment in the US in the last forty years or so and poverty has not taken a dive. As a basic logical matter, being more educated doesn’t make you less poor. Having more money makes you less poor. So education, even if you think it is necessary, is not sufficient to end poverty. You need distributive institutions that actually generate a specific distributive result, and education is certainly not sufficient for ensuring that happens. A more educated populace will probably be more productive, but that too — as we have seen for the last four decades — is not sufficient for ensuring the gains of such productivity increases flow to the non-rich. Education is good, but sufficient for solving poverty it is not.”