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 today.
That’s probably why Emerson went on to say “but all times are essentially alike.”
We find ourselves now in a time where the isms are on the rise – fascism, racism, sexism, elitism.
COVID-19, global warming, unstable economies, civil unrest, discrimination of all kinds, cyber nastiness, ideological clashes and so much more 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.
People didn’t spend endless time scrolling through social media getting into vile and derogatory debates.
Yes all times are essentially alike but 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.
Call to action for 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.
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.
Call to action to create the world
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 or reading endless speculative and inflammatory commentary on world events.
- Listen with the intent to understand.
Stop needing to defend your position all the time.
- Have a bold conversation.
Stop biting your tongue to please other people.
- Take positive action.
Stop complaining and do something that moves the ball forward in some way.
- Choose kindness.
Stop treating some people as if they mattered less than others.
Call to action for something different
I’m not sure that Emerson was completely accurate in saying that all times are essentially alike.
Seems to me that maybe these times are the most serious, the most calamitous that we have found ourselves in for a very long time.
So maybe this time calls for something different.
Something that requires us to stand up for what we know in our hearts is right.
The truth is you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
It’s not enough to be neutral.
Inaction makes things worse because of the missed opportunity to make it better.The truth is you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. It's not enough to be neutral. Inaction makes things worse because of the missed opportunity to make it better. Click To Tweet
If these times leave you feeling unsettled, anxious, fearful, angry…
if your heart is heavy…
if the world seems chaotic, unbalanced, unfair…
then do something about it.