Mindful action is key to responsible living

I tried to find a suitable photo for this post, but couldn't. So here I am. Again.

I tried to find a suitable photo for this post, but couldn’t. So here I am. Again.

For every grievance we’ve ever had against those who have wronged us there is always another story. I try to remember this when I think about past conflicts where I feel I’ve been slighted.

As flawed people we do the best with the tools that we have. We’re not perfect, we were raised by imperfect people who are not whole, just as we are not whole.

I’ve maintained for years my annoyance with expectant parents. My argument is that I don’t know one fully functional adult so how can anyone arrogantly believe that they’ll be able to raise one?

Our children, before they enter kindergarten, will learn exclusively from us. They will see how we resolve conflict, what we believe about the world, what religion we follow, our dislikes, our philosophies, and all of this will leave an imprint that they will live with for the rest of their lives.

Being a parent is a serious decision and just because we can do it, doesn’t mean that we should. It requires thought, mindfulness, stability and security. Some of us will arrogantly hold to the notion that we inhabit all of these characteristics, but I doubt any of that to be true.

Couple these imperfections with what’s happening across this planet, and it’s wise to pause when considering building a family.

The battle rages on between Israel and Gaza, ISIS terrorizes Syria and Iraq, Ukraine is being bullied by Russia, North Korea and Iran are arguably developing nuclear weapons, Africa is suffocating in disease and poverty, climate change is changing our landscapes, need I go on? The world is growing increasingly erratic and unstable — in the next 50 years environmental refugees will be a serious global problem, one that was preventable, had it not been for our willful ignorance, greed and selfishness.

These are qualities that we fall back on. To have a family we must not only look to ourselves but to the world around us. We have to see the problems outside of the confines of our own home as our own personal issues, because that’s what they have and will become. How can we positively contribute to a world that we often look at with apathy?

So much of this can be blamed on how we were raised. None of these problems truly existed when we were growing up, but they certainly do now. To be an effective parent we must first free ourselves of a need to be exclusive, to compete and contrast with others. This attitude only serves to hold a space of arrogance.

There are too many global conflicts to consider, but also, our own personal conflicts as well. We get caught up at looking at others with disdain, especially those who we disagree with. We forget, or choose to ignore that they have feelings and insecurities that have been developed by other people in a world that is callously judgmental and unforgiving.

Being alive means being aware that other people exist. They too have fears, hopes, love, all the things that we find important, so do they. If we could be a little more tolerant, even to our enemies, and see them as humans who deserve compassion and kindness, we’d demonstrate to children the foundation of being responsible global citizens.

Thought. Mind. Action. It’s not difficult to achieve. Collectively, it will change the world.

The time I saved a turtle

Fire

It was a month ago now when I saw a turtle slowly crossing a busy country road. I grimaced as it scarcely missed being crushed under the speeding cars. I knew in that moment what I was supposed to do. In a flash I ran to the centre of the road, stopped all oncoming traffic, picked the turtle up, carried it to the side of the road and gently placed it on the grass where it quickly scurried away. 

In that moment I felt like a hero. To reward myself I made a fire, drank some beer and passed out.