Touchstones for Today

Sometimes, the world can seem like a crazy, scary mess. News outlets shout at us about all the chaos occurring or about to break out across the globe. But, in the midst of this, we continue to live our lives, day by day. At times like these, as part of an effort to ground yourself and move forward in a coherent manner, I find it useful to remind myself about a few basic truths. When your life is a mess, or you’re simply confused, here are five things for you to check in with yourself about, to make life that much more secure and sane:

Who do I know who loves me?
Parents count, perhaps siblings, children or other relatives? Past or present lovers, spouses, or friends? Be honest; you have been loved and are today.

What public achievements can I claim to be wholly my own?
Bar memberships, athletic awards, diplomas earned, culinary, artistic, or musical output? How about accolades from a community group?

What private, good moments have I had?
An honorable break up with a former flame? A returning of found money that wasn’t mine? An emotionally generous moment with someone who didn’t deserve it? Did I respect the space of someone who didn’t want my company?

What wrongs have I made right?
Have I apologized to someone, when I could’ve slunk away or denied my role in a particular mess? Have I been willing to step up and be the first to make amends? And beyond this, was I willing to accept an apology sincerely made?

When have I spoken up against a wrong?
Instances like the poor school bus monitor in upstate New York—have I voiced my objection to bullying? As in Nazi Germany, the worst things happen when good people fail to speak up against tyranny. Did you see someone shoplift something from the market? Cheat or mistreat someone else? What about other, “small” misdoings?

In each of these instances, we could easily argue it, “wasn’t that important.” Or tell ourselves that we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves. But, at the end of the day, these are the same decisions that we have to own, fully, as our own choices and actions. It is these choices that make our society work! We may sometimes err in our decisions and subsequent actions, but if we abdicate all responsibility, then society is…lost.

Think of the women in burkas—nobody is speaking up for them. So they remain living their lives afraid, silenced, uneducated, and encased in black cloth. Do they even dare to imagine their life another way? How about the men who make sure they dream no further? I doubt it.

My point is, you are not bound and silenced. You are free! As heavy as life may sometime feel, you have a responsibility to make this world better than it is, but you have also achieved things of which you need to be proud! Think on this.

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2 Responses to “Touchstones for Today”

  1. grasshopper Says:

    good points!

  2. helenga Says:

    I love this!! Far too often we are our own worst critics and it’s so important to remember how much we’ve accomplished and how much we can truly do! Thanks once again for the reminder.

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