Monday, March 17, 2014

Journal day: solving the world

Here is last week's prompt from Danielle at Sometimes Sweet (I'm a bit behind): If you had unlimited resources, what political or social issue, or area of scientific or medical exploration would you fund? Do you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart that you'd put your time, energy, and money into if you had the means?

I have spent most of my life rejecting my compassionate side. That doesn't mean that I don't care about people or their social problems; it means that I feel so completely overwhelmed by people and their social problems. There are so many people, with so many problems: poverty, crime, drug addiction, violence, ignorance... the list is pretty long.

I also have my own problems -and here's where I start sounding really selfish, so bear with me. I have struggles and complaints and things I need to change about myself. I have spent my entire adult life attempting to develop myself spiritually. I have suffered set backs and challenges in life that take my focus and put in on me. The mere thought of fretting over larger social issues always makes me feel a bit tired. Those issues are too big, and therefore can't be fixed by me. But you know what can be fixed by me? Me. So, that's what I have focused on.

By developing myself spiritually and intellectually, I feel like at least I am not contributing to those bigger social problems. We've all heard that phrase -you know, the one that makes you feel selfish for caring more about your own life than that of others? That phrase people throw around to lay accountability for the masses at others' feet?

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem!

I know a lot about guilt and shaming others for not doing enough, and this phrase hits me right in that place where my middle finger lives. This is something people say to make others feel badly about what we aren't doing, and placing blame for problems where it doesn't always exist.

Please don't misunderstand - I do believe we all have some social responsibility to do "good" but I also think we need to care for ourselves and our actual, literal areas of responsibility first.

Here's something else... I think our "problems" give us hope; they give us something to work toward or for or away from, depending on the problem and the perspective. They can be a great catalyst for change. Some of my biggest traumas have led to the greatest spiritual and emotional development. So in a very broad way, the idea of fixing the world's problems so we can live in some sort of nirvana doesn't really sound very satisfying to me.

So, where does that leave me? Because of my outlook on life, I don't spend a lot of time railing about the injustices of the world and wishing I could change them. Therefore, I don't have any one cause that I think can be solved even with unlimited resources.

That said, if there was one thing I could magically change about the world it would be ignorance. The sort of ignorance that leads to hate crimes, to religious or sexual intolerance, to wars and self-righteousness. At the risk of sounding naive, I often find myself in the "why can't we all just get along?" camp. I don't care if my neighbour or best friend or family member is Muslim, or gay, or any other thing that I'm not. I like diversity, and I like having the opportunity to live in a world where my neighbour might be Muslim or gay or any other thing I'm not, because then I get the chance to talk to someone whose perspective about life is different from mine. That makes me feel less ignorant, and learning is one of my biggest motivators in life.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Journal day: Advice to myself

This week's journal prompt, courtesy of Danielle at Sometimes Sweet, asks us to reflect on the past year and offer -if we could- advice to ourselves over the things to come.

This is a tough one for me, because I'm so tough on me. I have really wasted my time in some respects. I didn't blog; I didn't write; I didn't knit much; I barely exercised; I didn't photograph like I wanted to. In addition to all the things I didn't do, I spent so much time working on a job that eventually didn't last.

Looking back I feel like spent a lot of time treading water, so to speak. I didn't get anywhere with my work. I also didn't do any of the things around the house that I wanted to do. Oh, I had a wee garden that gave me a tomato and a couple squash but I didn't paint or deep-clean or improve the yard or clean the garage.

If I could go back and give that version of me some advice it would be to spend more time doing the things that re-charge me. I would have reminded me that yoga helps me process life. I would have demanded that I document more of my journey - blogging and paper-journaling are so cathartic and valuable, and I did neither. I would have reminded myself to study more scripture, every day!

On a more positive note, I did continue developing myself spiritually; I did some studying -not as much as I would have liked, but some. I prepared for and was able to attend the LDS Temple, which was a very big deal for me.

This journal prompt fits very nicely with my theme this year of development. This year I will develop better study habits; I will record more of my thoughts here; I will write, something, every day - whether a private journal entry, blog posts, or more of that elusive novel that hates my guts. I will exercise (I'm doing so good with the exercise, you have no idea!).

My list of goals and desires is miles long. My list of regrets is smaller. I try not to have regrets, but anyone who has met me knows I do life wrong sometimes and I'm incredibly judgey of me, so... little regrets, but also a whole lot of excitement for the future.

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