Karen Armstrong’s search for God – on the Washington Post’s Divine Impulses. I loved it as usual, the whole series looks great. I would encourage anyone to check it out.
Spread the word, the Charter for Compassion, Karen Armstrong’s TED wish is launched today. Read about it and take action, sign the charter to show your support.
Here’s a snipit:
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. …
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. …
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. …
A quick link to an article on mostly the health care debate… you MUST read it, funny and sad at the same time (but mostly funny).
My favorite quote,
The right-wing magazine US Investors’ Daily claimed that if Stephen Hawking had been British, he would have been allowed to die at birth by its “socialist” healthcare system. Hawking responded with a polite cough that he is British, and “I wouldn’t be here without the NHS”.
To my wonderful Nana, these pictures show how beautiful she was on the outside but nothing can capture her true beauty, her strong and loving heart. She will be deeply missed and always remembered.
We love you Nana
I heard two back-to-back stories on the radio this morning, that taken separately are interesting but because they were neck ‘n neck, really got me thinking…
I’ll start with the second report. It was on the always contentious abortion debate highlighting anti-abortion protestors and their tactics. One MA woman took a very personal approach and tried to counsel women as they entered the abortion clinics not to get an abortion. Her approach sounded like one of concern and love rather than hate, but her goal was clear – get woman to keep baby! The opposite end of the spectrum was the extreme anti-abortion camp (you can’t really call them “pro-life” based on their views) who advocated the killing of abortion doctors and felt that anyone who did was a hero.
Now, the report that aired right before that was about congress debating whether or not to grant federal employees 4 weeks of paid time off after the birth of a child. What?! They don’t get this already? Admittedly I’m used to the corporate world where 6 weeks paid time off (short term disability it’s called) is the norm. Sure you can 12 weeks if you want, but don’t expect a paycheck. Ok, appalling enough that some people get no paid time off. But what really got me was that people were actually arguing against it! Yes, one real bright spot from a Texas Republican who said sarcastically “Why don’t we just give them 16 years off!”.
Are you kidding me?! The amount of time a mother is allowed off in this country is already shockingly low. We’re really going to argue against government employees having the ability to take 4 paid weeks off to be with their new born? Is it any wonder some people often consider abortion thier only option?? Lawmakers, and Republicans in particular, need to be very aware of the double message they are sending.
If you want to be even more appalled read these comments from WashingtonWatch.com.
Although I like to keep it positive on this blog, I’ve really had it. The subject applies to anyone who has ever uttered or written the term “all christians”, “all atheists” or even “all religions”. Nothing makes me want to go out and buy a bible and go to church as often as possible more than people who would decry “all Christians” (or religious group of choice) as brainwashed idiots who just aren’t smart enough to realize there is no God. Likewise, every time someone insinuates that “all atheists” are likely unenlightened wanna-be-devil-worshipers I’m looking for the needle to sew a big “A” on the front of my shirt.
The point is the people making these declarations are extreme and are doing NOTHING for the religious dialog. As someone who loves the conversation, the debate over God these types of statements are pure trash. They add nothing to collective knowledge about the group, they show an enormous amount of personal ignorance, and immediately turn me away from what they have to say.
There will always be atheists, there will always be people who believe in God(s) – so if you don’t have anything truly constructive to add to the conversation about how both groups can live peacefully in their belief system, SHUT UP!
Yesterday, I went to the book signing of Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth. I hope everyone has a chance to read the book and learn some very important things about our food supply. Robyn’s message about food safety and our health is very important, but as I sat in the room listening to other mom’s and dad’s ask questions about how to find out more, what they could do, feeling overwhelmed and helpless I realized that Robyn’s message and example was much broader.
It all boils down to caring enough to ask questions. Since when did we start blindly trusting others to do the thinking for us? If the government says it’s okay it must be! If it’s in an American newspaper it must be true! People are shocked and dismayed at the level of betrayal we see around us, but we’ve ultimately allowed it to happen. We should ALWAYS be questioning the why, the how, the who. Maybe we have a moral duty to do so maybe not, but we sure can’t complain about someone pulling the wool over our eyes if we stood silently by while they did it.
And it’s not that I expect we’ll find a conspiracy every time we ask a question. But by being the kind of people who ask, analyze and act, we can start to demand a level of truth that maybe wasn’t there before. Just because you’re not a scientist or economist doesn’t mean you don’t understand. It’s not rocket science folks, it’s just basic information. Demand it!
(See Robyn’s other work with AllergyKids – linked on the side bar)
Ok, maybe miracles is a strong word. Let’s call them “signs”. How often do you feel you get a sign from God (or any higher power of your choosing)? Or is everything just chalked up to coincidence? That’s typically my reaction. But really, it’s much more fun to see a hidden agenda! Like this great post from Conversion Diary.
Of course, you have to look for these signs to “see” them. You have to be open to them in other words. Just like spirituality, why try it if you’re not open to the possibility of a God(s). And don’t put people down who do believe if you’ve never truly tried it yourself.
I’m going to spend a week paying attention to small, seemingly insignificant things that happen in my life to try and discern “signs”. Why? Because I want to see if it changes my perspective at all. If being more aware and more present help me feel happier, nicer, you name it. Of course, I may not “see” anything at all, which would be a whole different issue.
On a friend’s recommendation I’m reading the Quaker book Let your Life Speak, by parker J. Palmer – and apparently mine has been bound and gagged in a corner for years – professionally speaking that is.
Now, unlike the author I was probably closest to my true vocation in high school than I am now as a marketing manager for corporate America. I desperate wanted to be a private detective. This was shocking to my mother – as it would be to any sane parent. But my future loves of history and genealogy follow the same lines of looking for clues to find answers.
…So how did I end up here, on the 11th floor of an office building creating powerpoint presentations and web pages? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I work for a good company, they pay me well, I enjoy my peers, and many would probably love to be doing exactly this!
Well, for starters I went to business school, which for the record I LOVED! It challenged me to do and study things that I never thought I could be successful at. So that was all good. And then I got a job and a promotion, and then a better paying job, and so on..
But job after job (12 years later) I’m less and less satisfied even though I’m more confident, smarter, making more money, and much better at what I do than ever before. I realize that there’s a huge gap missing for me that this type of vocation – that occupies 8 hours of my waking day – doesn’t and never can fill. This isn’t just a “I’d-like-to-read-more” gap, this is the soul punching gap that makes you think “what the F am I doing here??”
The one gap it is filling and the one that can’t be underestimated is $$$. And for many years that was enough. When I was a single mom I could tolerate the daily grind better; I had no choice so I did what I needed to do. Scary thing, choices are.
I’m married now, and for the first time in my life I am faced with the reality that I could quit and do whatever it is I really want to do. Great Right?!
Several of my personal psychoses are standing in the way:
1. Guilt (that’s always a top choice) – guilt over the fact that my not having this job will mean taking my kids out of private school. My son’s school I especially love and it’s been so good for him. We aren’t zoned to great elementary schools. Am I doing them a disservice for a selfish reason?
2. More guilt – I just got married and we bought a new house, expenses are going up not down. My husband has changed his life style a lot to be with me, is it fair to make him the sole bread winner? Massively changing our lifestyle after only a few months of marriage?
3. I don’t have any clue what else I would do! Well, not NO clue, but not enough of a clue that I could justify it by saying “I’ve always wanted to do this!” – Whatever this is. I’m not exactly following a dream, I’d be sort of test driving dreams.
4. Ego – could I go from corporate, six figures to nobody overnight? I would be much harder than I think.
5. Stupidity – people are killing for jobs in this economy and I’m talking about giving one up? Am I crazy?? Should I just be stuffing cash in a mattress as fast as possible until the world implodes?!
Ok, I don’t really think the world will implode. I’m quite an optimist normally. But, admittedly, impatient. But how do I tell the difference between just being impatient for my attitude/job to improve vs. denying myself the opportunity to be truly happy and contributing – in whatever vocation that may be??
Time is the biggest tease in my life. I have a lot of great ideas that I’d like to pursue (at least I think they’re great), but with what time? Between work and kids and possibly more kids I think I may be able to do something I want in the year 2030! I’m drowning in not-for-me-ness…so I tie the gag on my life a little harder and go back to work so that everything will continue to work.
P.S. Writing this is the first time I’ve smiled all day, including the chocolate milk shake I got for lunch.
Any advice is good advice!