Right after September 11th in 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, I thought I should become more informed by reading the news. Like that would help me understand life better. So I signed up to get an email-a-day of the the top headlines from the New York Times, hmmm, or was it the Wall Street Journal? Well, it doesn't really matter, "the news". I was not a newspaper reader and I didn't watch or listen to the news much before that either. I was not into it. After a couple of months of reading the headlines and following some stories to their end, if they grabbed me, I noticed that I had been feeling down, serious, nervous.
This picture is from the app called Bitstrips. That's supposed to be me.
I had nagging feelings of being afraid. I had less energy and I was expecting something bad to come at me from around every corner. I didn't want to get up in the morning. I got a feeling that the cause might be all the doom and gloom I was reading about each and every day. OY! It was twistedly negative and I felt out of control of my world.
So I did an experiment and stopped reading the news, cold turkey! After about a week, I felt much happier and more motivated to do things again. I mean, I was WAY happier. Around that same time, my husband got me the book "Gift From the Sea" written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It was originally written in 1955 and has been reprinted many times since then. The book is like a long talk with a good friend who is letting you in on the simple mystery that our lives really are to us. It gave me an infusion of confidence about my life and living.
"Today a kind of planetal point of view has burst upon mankind. The world is rumbling and erupting in ever-widening circles around us. The tensions, conflicts and sufferings even in the outermost circle touch us all, reverberate in all of us. We cannot avoid these vibrations.
But just how far can we implement this planetal awareness? We are asked today to feel compassionately for everyone in the world; to digest intellectually all the information spread out in public print; and to implement in action every ethical impulse aroused by our hearts and minds. The interrelatedness of the world links us constantly with more people than our hearts can hold. Or rather - for I believe the heart is infinite - modern communication loads us with more problems than the human frame can carry. It is good, I think, for our hearts, our minds, our imaginations to be stretched; but body, nerve, endurance and lifespan are not as elastic. My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds. I cannot marry all of them, or bear them all as children, or care for them all as I would my parents in illness or old age. Our grandmothers, and even - with some scrambling - our mothers, lived in a circle small enough to let them implement in action most of the impulses of their hearts and minds. We were brought up in a tradition that has now become impossible, for we have extended our circle throughout space and time."
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
In the next paragraph she asks, "Can one solve world problems when one is unable to solve one's own?"
"Perhaps we never appreciate the here and now until it is challenged, as it is beginning to be today even in America."
This was from 1955! It rings true to me today.
My personal take away from this is that I am the individual and it's important to me to be able to live my life the way I want. I think that makes my enjoyment of my life, something that I want to be of foremost importance to me, to learn what I want to learn and seek out people who relate to me how I like to be related and the same goes for others. I do want the best for everyone.
But . . . I am fed up with hearing and reading about how I have a greater responsibility to the world. I won't sign on for that because I am working at my own personal see level. Not national, not worldwide, not the TV world but Catherine's world. I believe I have that responsibility to what and who I want to have it to, not to the whole wide world. I don't accept the guilt trip for the things that are happening in the greater world. To me it's really just words collected under the heading "stories". I won't be lumped in with the mass of people in such a way that I am made to feel guilty for other's wrongs and thefts. It's not in me to go looking somewhere else in the world for problems to affect when there are plenty of problems in my part of the world that could be benefited by my attention. In fact, I think that often we point our attention away from our own problems to bigger world problems as a distraction from having to deal with our own real life issues. Now if thinking about and taking on one of these world problems excites you, it's got your name on it and you have my blessing to whack away at it.
I have to tell the truth that I know I'm NOT going to fly anywhere to help anyone I don't know. I am not sending money into the gaping maw of 'societal or world problems'. It's time to take the blame and guilt off of every man of the world, especially when there are stories in the news every day about how someone or some company just fucked us or them over, again. I don't have any more patience for the constant piping of bad news, chipping away at the collective good attitude wherever it may be found. I am a kind, gentle, person. I'm thoughtful and thoughtful (yes really, 2x). I have faith that I'm doing the best for my immediate community and vicinity, physical and virtual to the best of my capabilities but I must now COME FIRST in my own thoughtfulness and care. I'm working for a better world right here. There are SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, it's mind boggling to me. This is not about shoving my head under the sand and living in a sunny world of denial. This is about being strong inside myself and taking care of myself so that I can be of use when I'm needed.
Thanks Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I appreciate your speaking up.
When I was a teenager I was reading voraciously and got a hold of Oscar Wilde who wrote:
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
AND I found this too:
Living well is the best revenge. --George Herbert
When I was all grown up and looking back through a long life of quote collecting, this gem jumped out at me and I still chuckle every time I read it. I don't know if he wrote "stuff". Maybe that's a modern translation. I love the quote from wherever it came. It's matter of fact and it's good for you to understand this.
Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff.
Most fails. Some works. You do more of
what works. If it works big, others
quickly copy it. Then you do something
else. The trick is the doing something else.
and he also wrote:
Learning never exhausts the mind.
So watch the sunset,
all the way
slow down, (click on the photos for the full effect)
de-e-e-e-e-per - doesn't it make you feel so very tiny, like a speck of dust?
Lighten up, enjoy yourself, better yet, go sit outside and take pictures of your own special sunset and
enjoy the beauty, letting it snap you right back into the present time and
replenish your spirit before you go to work if you're able, or whenever you can.
Follow your own path . . . have faith in yourself.
See the world through your own eyes
and don't believe everything you read. It's not good for you.
These few quotes (all in color) probably reflect my truth the best.
I hope you will enjoy them.
Have I whetted your appetite for favorite life-changing quotes? Please travel on to discover the fancy words of my fellow bloggers.
Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Kathleen Krucoff: http://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com/
Are you wondering about what this “Blog-o-Sphere” thing is?
Andes Cruz, a metalsmith I met online and whose work I love, formed a group of friends who blog and she called it the "Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank". We all write a blog post once a month about the same topic, and we all post at the same time, on the 20th. I've been writing with them since October 2013 and the group keeps me blogging even when I am busy doing my thing. I hope you’ll visit all the blogs on the list and see what they have to say and if YOU have anything to say, please leave me a comment. I would enjoy hearing about it.