These times are serious

These times of ours are serious and full of calamity. True, but I didn’t write that. Ralph Waldo Emerson did more than 150 years ago. In the mid 19th century, they had their hands full with the Crimean war, assassinations, a cholera epidemic and Charles Darwin rattling people’s world with the theory of evolution.

If I had written that line, it would be a true reflection of the world we live in, which is probably why Emerson went on to say “but all times are essentially alike.” Global conflict, ebola, mass kidnappings, shootings, cyber nastiness and ideological clashes make these current times simultaneously frightening and sad. To make it worse, the 24/7 news cycle and our always on culture never give us a moment’s relief from the calamity. At least in Emerson’s time, news didn’t travel in a nanosecond.

These times of ours are serious and full of calamity, but all times are essentially alike.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

All times are essentially alike not just because they are serious and full of calamity. They are also alike because they provide continual opportunities to rise to our best selves. In times like these we can be compassionate and supportive and understanding and loving. Except we don’t. Maybe it’s because we are all so busy, it feels like it takes more time than we have to pause and consider our response. So we blurt stuff out that sounds like judgment, criticism and yes hate. In our hectic world we give in to behavior that feeds the very things that make us frightened and sad. Maybe not in a dramatic way, but in small insidious ways that collectively contribute to the state we find ourselves in.

sketched faces in the shape of a heart

Each of us is simply a microcosm of the world. How we show up in our daily lives ultimately determines how the world shows up. In order to take advantage of the opportunities in these times, we have to become mindful of the choice point that exists between any event and our response.

In any situation, whether it’s in the grocery store or driving to work or commenting on world events, we are either making it better or we are making it worse. There really isn’t any in between. When we allow ourselves to pause for just a moment, we have access to a choice point.

To gossip or not

To judge or not

To criticize or not

To blame or not

To harden our hearts and minds or not

In that moment of mindfulness we get to choose. We create the world. It begins with you. So do something radical.

Be a beacon for harmony and peace. Stop arguing for the sake of arguing.

Bring a little calm into the world. Stop running at a frantic pace.

Be informed but not consumed. Stop watching endless speculative and inflammatory commentary on world events.

Listen with the intent to understand. Stop needing to defend your position all the time.

Choose kindness. Stop treating some people as if they mattered less than others.

Maybe this time is the time for something different.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, share, like or tweet this article.

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Mindfulness moment – breathing celebration

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Living life from scratch

When I got married, my grandmother gave me a wooden rolling pin that had been a shower gift to her when she got married in 1921. It had been well used as my grandmother was a wonderful cook who made …
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Mindfulness moment – thanks

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