Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Bad Things Happen, I Get Happy... Sort Of…

True Confessions from My Dark Side

Last week I wanted to loot my neighbor’s yard.
This week, well, read on…
By Christine Clark
Misfortune and joy—now there’s an odd couple, but someone paired them in the word schadenfreude—enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. I know it's an evil feeling because I have felt it. When Merriam Webster’s Word a Day sent it to my inbox several years ago, I was relieved. “Gosh! There’s a word for it. I’m not the only person who feels that way.” I am a bit less guilty about schadenfreude, but it still troubles me when I think to myself—or horrors! express out loud—my smug “Ha! [He, She, They] had that coming!”
It’s human nature to feel vindicated when what went around comes back around, but after a few minutes of schadenfreude—okay, sometimes more than a few minutes—I feel bad about feeling good.
Schadenfreude came to call a few nights ago. One of my children shared some hometown gossip that a former classmate is a single parent to a baby. I was shocked at first and then the S word set in, not toward the young woman, but toward her parents.
Holier than thou, and thou, and every other thou in the school and the town describes the parents’ persona. They peered at my family over their Bibles and brandished judgment and an ever-present sting of condemnation. One of their children announced to my daughter at Christian camp: “My whole family hates your sister.” Ouch! Not quite in the spirit of Jesus songs around the campfire, but it’s an example of the hellfire and damnation sent our way. Wimp that I am, I was polite when they spoke to me in public (turned the other cheek) although their harsh assessment was obvious behind the veils of their greetings.
Over the last several years, I heard comments about the kids as they became teens and young adults, but not many because they didn’t associate with the likes of us. I sympathized with those kids because they were treated harshly when they were young (no details, but I know).
Schadenfreude took over my psyche a few nights ago when I heard the gossip. I decided the parents must not feel so high and mighty now. I even said as much as I climbed onto my own goodness platform and peered down at them. And then I fell off!
I imagine those parents had dreams for their kids that didn’t include the ensuing reality. In perceiving this, I open my heart to them because I, too, have had disappointments regarding my kids. The idea of someone having schadenfreude about my personal distress troubles me immensely, so my own dark feelings trouble me even more. A certain amount of satisfaction ensues when someone gets their just desserts, but to be honest, it’s not a dessert I want to taste or share.
To turn away from schadenfreude, I redirected my feelings toward those parents and have new sentiments: A baby is a miracle and an affirmation of life. I hope they wholeheartedly love and accept the baby and their child. I hope they are supportive. I hope they have learned empathy. I hope their veils of judgment have been removed. I hope their hearts are open to the imperfection inherent in being human.
As for me, I want to experience less schadenfreude in my life. I want more pure, forgiving, accepting, empathetic feelings for everyone. I know my heart has no space for schadenfreude. The imperfection inherent in being human might push my sentiments in that direction, but I intend to steer them away and remove my own veil of righteousness.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lust for Stuff — I Want It, I Want It!

Lust for Stuff and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

By Christine Clark

Acres of food were left to rot. Livestock that crowded barns were killed and buried. Thousands of migrants to California from the Midwest’s Dust Bowl devastation in ­­­­­­­­­the 1930s were dying of starvation, but growers and landowners hired armed guards who shot on sight anyone daring an attempt at eating what those men wasted. I reread The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck last week and I am disheartened. At the same time, I am more awake and aware of the stuff around me after reading the story of the Joad family’s migration from Oklahoma to the lush California farmland. That lush land might just as well have been fallow as it felt the feet and absorbed the tears of those engaged in an often-futile search for a simple day of work and food for their families. The Joad family, although fictitious, was like thousands of real families during those years. The Joads displayed an almost-indomitable spirit and I admire them for that. They had so little, yet they never gave up. That spirit shames me and my focus on what I lack rather than what I have.
My kitchen right now probably has more food than the Joad family ate in an entire month. Clothing? I have a closet larger than some people’s kitchens. The Joad women had two dresses.  Each family member had one pair of shoes that were so worn I would not consider such shoes worthy of another moment’s wear. If any of the Joads stepped out of the pages of the book and into my life, they would be stunned by my life of luxury—toilets, running hot and cold water, two bathtubs, showers, a washing machine and dryer, telephones, televisions, electric lights, stove, oven, refrigerator, separate rooms—my family members have their own bedrooms.
I do not want to live under the same circumstances as the Joads or any impoverished people, then or now. However, reading what they experienced gives me a new perspective on my life and any lack I perceive within it.
I yearn for better things in my life, but none of those “things” involve things or accumulating more stuff. One scene in the book describes stuff so well it could have been written last week. The Joad family, Tom (Pa), Ma, Uncle John, Albert, Ruthie, and Winfield worked an entire day picking cotton and earned $3.50—total. At day’s end, the family goes to the store to buy some meager supper supplies. They choose three pounds of pork chops at 30¢ a pound, a piece of beef to boil for supper the next day, and a bottle of milk for Rose of Sharon, the Joads’ pregnant daughter. Two boxes of Cracker Jacks at 5¢ each are purchased for the two youngest, Ruthie and Winfield, as a reward for picking cotton the entire day alongside the adults.
Pa sees Uncle John near the store’s liquor display and asks whether John’s cravings are getting too strong. He tells John he can get drunk as soon as the cotton picking is completed. John notes that he did not notice the liquor bottles; he was thinking about the canvas and leather gloves he had just tried on.
John says: “I didn’t hardly see ’em. Funny thing. I wanta buy stuff. Stuff I don’t need. Like to git one a them safety razors. Thought I’d like to have some a them gloves over there. Awful cheap.”[1]
Pa tells Uncle John that the gloves can’t be used to pick cotton.
“I know that. An’ I don’t need no safety razor, neither. Stuff settin’ out there, you jus’ feel like buyin’ it whether you need it or not.”[2]
In a few words spoken in a tiny store at a county crossroads, Uncle John Joad nailed the lure of consumer society. John Steinbeck, of course, wrote those words in the late 1930s and put them in Uncle John’s mouth. Steinbeck died in 1968, 43 years ago. During those 43 years, the mantra of America has become “Buy stuff, whether you need it or not.” Clever people throughout our country and indeed our world spend their lives convincing us we need stuff. In the process of buying and acquiring that stuff, in many ways our lives are more impoverished than the Joad family’s, who in the book’s final pages, walk from the flooding boxcar that was their last “home.”
I intend to explore what I really need in the coming months versus the stuff “I jus’ feel like buyin’” whether I “need it or not.” What value does stuff have in my life? Does it help or hinder me? How can I resist the lure of more stuff? How much of my “stuff” do I really need? Can I simplify my life and make it richer by ridding myself of so much stuff?

[1] Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. 1939. International Collectors Library: Garden City, NJ. 427.
[2] Ibid.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Want to Loot My Neighbor’s Yard

By Christine Clark

Casualties of the ruptured housing bubble mark the landscape of several cities in Florida, as in the rest of the nation. One of those soon-to-be-foreclosed, vacant houses is across the street and two doors down from where I live. The house has been empty for about eight months, not that I’m channeling Bewitched’s Gladys Kravitz from my windows.
I walk my dogs past the house several times a day and have watched the lot’s progression from well kept to its now-neglected state. I have also noted several large terra cotta flowerpots on the front walkway and in the backyard through an opening in the fence, not that I’ve studied it or anything.
My thinking—rationalizing—is the following: I’m out of large terra cotta flowerpots. I need more terra cotta flowerpots. I want to go into my former neighbor’s yard—maybe after dark with a flashlight—and take (steal) those flowerpots. I mean, they aren’t being used except for some dead plants and trees. I hate to see them go to waste. I might even be able to rescue the plants in those pots. No one wants them. It’s possible that when the house is sold, the new owners will throw them away. But it isn’t even on the market yet. The former owners allowed the people living right next door to haul the other junk in the yard to the dump. Maybe I could ask them if the flowerpots are part of that junk and tell them I will be happy to take care of them. Those flowerpots would have a happy home at my house and be filled with flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. I know it’s wrong, so I will not steal those pots or anything else. If I did, I could begin a slide toward other unethical behaviors. Trees, shrubs, and flowers also remain in that yard. If I took the pots, maybe my next step would be to dig up whatever I choose. Then maybe I would try to get inside. Perhaps a window is not locked. Nobody is using the appliances and curtains and shades. Why not take them, too? If everything is locked, why not break in?
Ethics and morals begin with simple decisions. The first decision in this case would be simply to not trespass, and then all the other possibilities for illegal, unethical behavior diminish and disappear. I would not and will not take those flowerpots because it is wrong. To be honest, I have entertained the thought, but that’s as far as I have gone. I am embarrassed to admit to myself or anyone else that I have even considered taking the pots.
I am faced with small decisions every day and how I respond affects not only me, but everyone around me. When I make the right decisions, a cascade of positive reactions ensues. When I make the wrong decisions, the negative cascade of reactions hits me and everyone else.
Being honest and ethical in small things adds up to being ethical and honest in all things. How do you respond when tempted to do something that is maybe even a little bit wrong? What do you do to avoid that slippery slope… even if it is limited to your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lost Opportunities from a Pitcher Plant Put-Off

By Christine Clark

Carnivorous pitcher plants and their dangling cylinders with self-shutting lids have an odd, captivating appearance. After catching its prey, the pitcher-shaped flower’s lid swings shut and it digests its meal in the liquid inside the pitcher. Carnivorous plants like bloodthirsty Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and other films are magnified to gigantic proportions and look like they could swallow you, or me, or a cow! Most carnivorous plants, however, are insectivores, although a variety named Nepenthes attenboroughii eats rodents (

Nepenthes pitcher plant
A huge display of pitchers caught my friend Lisa’s eye at the Vero Beach, Florida, Gardenfest! last month, where over 77 vendors tempted gardeners with plants and other delights. Smitten by the plants, Lisa bought one. The woman selling the plant informed us that pitcher plants do not need fertilizer and that, if fertilized, pitchers get “lazy” and will not catch their meals.
Several booths later, we neared another vendor selling pitchers. One was identical to the one Lisa just purchased. Another species was so striking Lisa was tempted to buy it. The vendor noted the pitcher Lisa carried and asked if the seller told her how to fertilize it. He shook his head when we said we were advised against fertilizer. “Wrong. They need fertilizer,” he said. The opposing instructions perplexed us, so we asked if he sold the fertilizer. In a peevish tone, he replied that he sells fertilizer with the plants he sells. Should we buy a pitcher from him, he would sell us the food and advise us on the plant’s care. His manner was rather arrogant. In essence, he said: Buy from me and I, the expert, will tell you what you need to know. Otherwise, you are on your own, and your plant will probably die.
Stung at his dark demeanor, we edged away from him. Lisa did not plan to buy another plant, but she might have if the vendor had educated rather than alienated us. After the way Mr. PPV (Pitcher Plant Vendor) treated us, no way would we buy anything from him.
His behavior surprised me on many levels. We were potential customers. Teaching a customer about a product is a great way to engage them and create a buying relationship. The value of firsthand information and expertise go far beyond a price on a hanging plant. Did Mr. PPV forget that he is in the twenty-first century? I retrieved the dates and times of Gardenfest! from the Internet. Plans to attend Gardenfest! were made over the Internet. Did he forget that typing the words “care of pitcher plants” into Google would provide more information than we have years left in our lives to absorb? He, indeed, forgot the Internet and that few people need him or his expertise. Face-to-face contact is not even necessary to buy pitchers; on hundreds of Web sites, a mouse click can purchase a plant.
He also forgot the downside of the Internet: lack of face-to-face, human interaction. The Internet has abundant information about pitchers, but no voice to go with it, no eye contact, no smile. The woman who advised against feeding the pitchers even gave the plants a human characteristic when our eyes met and she said, “They get lazy.”
His healthy plants showed that Mr. PPV has the expertise. Had he shared that with us, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, how different might our interaction have been… I imagine him saying, “This is why I feed these plants…” and showing a leaf or a bloom. He could have said, “This beauty gets its color from X nutrient.” Perhaps he might have said, “X Island, these plants’ native environment, has the pitcher plant proliferia insect [a made-up name], which exists only there. My fertilizer gives them the nutrients they would get from eating that buglet [another made-up word] family.”
Had Mr. PPV treated us with common or even uncommon courtesy, Lisa might have purchased the fertilizer and been nudged toward buying a plant. Rather than seize those opportunities, Mr. PPV rebuffed us. We walked away feeling edgy and I doubt he will be on our list to visit at next year’s Gardenfest!
In the meantime, unlike Mr. PPV, I want to become more aware of opportunities that exist, even in the face of disappointment and discouragement, for human interaction. I can find more information than I ever want or need to know on the Internet, but the Internet lacks the value of people in real time—face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and voice-to-encouraging voice.
How can you focus on or change a face-to-face interaction today? Can you seize an opportunity to relate to people other than through social media, e-mail, text messaging? Can we simply speak to people we encounter, acknowledge them, and have an interaction, even if it is just a smile?

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Are You Waiting For? Is It Worth the Wait?

Is Anticipation Making You Wait?

By Christine Clark

It seems to take forever for an amaryllis to open and bloom.

Instant or near instant are the watchwords of our always-on, connected, global society. It is rare to wait for a message, a letter, or a phone call. We want instant answers, instant communication, photos and video moments after an occurrence, no matter where or what time it takes place. We want strawberries in January, even if we live a thousand miles from South Florida. We want asparagus in December, regardless of the bland taste of the spears imported from South America. We want apples in May. Out of season? Doesn’t matter. Whatever we want, with few exceptions, can be shipped anywhere in the world, at any time.
Christmas Cactus blooming in December
Who really wants Christmas cookies in June, though? Who wants a table groaning beneath the weight of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes in August? Not me, and I suppose not too many other folks. Some things are worth the wait.
A few weeks before Christmas each year, I bake several dozen loaves of Swedish cardamom bread topped with generous amounts of pearl sugar. My family fell in love with the bread at a Santa Lucia celebration about 15 years ago. Since then, my children have called it Lucia bread. Christmas week, 2009, a friend of my son’s ate almost an entire loaf of Lucia bread. In the weeks following, he asked my son if we had any more. “No,” my son said, “she only bakes it at Christmas time.” He continued asking, and one time received this answer: “No man, it’s July. She only makes it at Christmas.” A month before Christmas this year, he asked my son if I had baked it yet. “No, not for a few more weeks,” my son said. When I baked this year’s batch, I rewarded his friend’s patience with an entire loaf. He was thrilled, but he won’t get more until next December.
Amaryllis flowers bloom only once a year.
Anticipating life’s seasonal gifts and celebrations is part of enjoying those gifts. For me, many of those gifts are flowers. I know the spectacular blooms of the amaryllis will captivate me with their beauty only once a year. I can buy bulbs and force amaryllis blooms during Christmas season, but it isn’t the same. My first year back in Florida, I planted amaryllis I had purchased for a pittance during the post-Christmas markdowns. They did not bloom the first year, so I waited, watching the greenery thrive. I started to think I had purchased duds. Fourteen months after planting those bulbs, I spied a bud. Over a few weeks, I checked the bud several times a day, monitoring its progression toward a bloom. When the flowers finally opened, their beauty stunned me! I felt a keen sense of satisfaction. It was worth the wait.
Gardenia bushes delight us with their fragrance only once a year. Lilacs herald spring only in the spring. Christmas cacti, if cared for properly, bloom at Christmas. The best time to gorge on Cadbury Cream eggs is in the weeks before and after Easter. Jolly Rancher jellybeans disappear from the stores after Easter Sunday (and that’s a good thing).

Would a lilac smell as sweet if it didn't herald spring?
A home filled with the scent of bread baking fuels one’s desire to cut through the crust, smear butter across a slice, and taste and eat! Anticipation beckons us to the kitchen, butter softening on the counter. But we have to wait, wait until the bread has baked, and wait a bit longer until it is cool enough to eat.
The scent of baking bread lures us to the kitchen,
where we wait for it to come out of the oven.
What do you await with keen anticipation? Do you ever put something off, just to savor that anticipation? What in your life has been worth the wait? A crisp Macoun (apple) just picked from the orchard on a September morning? A slice of Lucia bread? A serving of Mom’s stuffing on Thanksgiving afternoon? The first crocus of spring? A baby’s first laugh?  A baby’s first step? Graduations in June? Remember to enjoy the anticipation as well as the event.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Backgammon and Steely Dan

November 15, 1998

By Chris Smith

We played backgammon the night of the day she died.
We sat on the bed where her child body breathed its last,
    Where I felt with the palm of my hand
    The final beat of her heart.

We played backgammon the night of the day she died.
We moved the pieces—white and brown—from point to point.
We rolled the dice and moved again.

We played backgammon the night of the day she died.
We listened to the sounds from the other room.
Steely Dan—he played it for his friend.
    Over and over and over.
He drank Foster’s. He washed the dishes.
He listened.

We played backgammon the night of the day she died.
The phone rang. My friend called.
You still carry on, she said.
We cried.

We played backgammon the night of the day she died.
Twelve years later, Steely Dan music—even in the background—pierces me.
I turn away—shrunken in pain.
I still play backgammon.


On November 2, 1986, my sweet child Alexa died from brain cancer. She was seven years old. Childhood cancer is a scourge on the lives of children and their families. Alexa's sister, Tarah, who is now 22, never met Lexie. However, Tarah is honoring Lexie's memory by participating in St. Baldrick's tomorrow in Pepperell, Massachusetts. St. Baldrick's funds go toward researching childhood cancer. Please consider supporting the effort so that there will be no more poems about backgammon and Steely Dan and how such tragedies affect all of us our entire lives. I still cannot listen to Steely Dan...

Thank you.

(I wrote the above poem in 1998, when I was Chris Smith, thus the different byline.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Stay Focused In Spite of Missing Children, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis

By Christine Clark
It was a rough morning. My friend’s 15-year-old stepdaughter has been missing since Tuesday evening and the news is not good. I was teary-eyed and scared last night and several hours this morning. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan put an additional bleak spin on the day. Predictions of a tsunami racing toward Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States produced an even bleaker outlook.
On mornings like this, I am tempted to sit at the computer in constant search mode, looking for news of my friend’s stepdaughter. I am lured toward Facebook to check for updates. News sites reporting on the devastation in Japan and possible devastation in Hawaii, California, and the states on the U.S. West Coast beckon me. I click there, and there, and there. Rarely does the television provide background chatter for my day, but CNN and NBC supplied me with commentary, video, photographs, expert opinions, predictions, and up-to-the minute reports on the world.
I am self-employed and the temptation to immerse myself in news gathering, searching, and social networking is hard to resist most days, and particularly difficult on a day like today. Did I give in? I did, even as I knew I had no power to do much of anything about any of the dire situations—the missing child or the earthquake/tsunami. How much did I give in? Not too much, because of one thing I have in place—a routine. On days like today, having a routine is of paramount importance. If I want to have any balance in my life, I must take charge and step away from online news, Facebook, e-mail, and even the telephone. It’s hard, because I want to know and perhaps even be the first to know what is going on with my family, friends, and the world.
Superseding my desire to know, to be in that flow, are the daily things that anchor me. I have a schedule, but not an etched-in-stone schedule. It is flexible, but details the essentials to maintaining balance in my work, family, and personal life. Among those essentials are journaling first thing every day and getting dressed. I am more focused and conduct myself in a more professional manner when I ditch the sweat pants and wear a nice shirt and a pair of not-too-faded or dated jeans. My routine centers on work during typical banker’s nine-to-five hours. Later, the evening’s responsibilities beckon me. I also have a short list of the things outside work that I must do to keep in balance. I keep that list on my bedside table.

My list is not all-inclusive, but notes what is important to me. I have tried rigid schedules and they just do not work.  I do not write down things like do the laundry, feed the pets, do the dishes, get the coffee ready for the next morning, because tasks such as those are set on autopilot.
Each morning, while journaling, I also make a to-do list that highlights the day’s must-do items. Today’s list kept me on track because I wanted to meet with a new writers’ group this morning. I considered skipping the meeting, sitting at home, and festering over my friend’s child and the rest of the world’s woes. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to be aware that missing the meeting would have a negative impact on the rest of my day and other aspects of my life. I said goodbye to CNN and NBC, turned off the computer, got ready for the meeting, and went on my way.
When I returned from the group, I noted that my absence from the computer and the TV screen had no effect on what had happened in the rest of the world. However, my few hours away had a positive effect on my personal world. I didn’t give into the temptation to stay home and monitor the world and it carried on without me. More important, I carried on. Because of that, I can be a more supportive friend and family member to those who might need me today and those who might need me more in the days to come. The world in which I walk in Central Florida is not now affected by any natural disaster, and I am grateful. Like those who prayed for Floridians when they suffered the devastation of the hurricanes several years ago, I will pray for the Japanese people. I also will keep at my routine, stay grounded, and attempt to retain my focus because it is the only way I can have the smallest amount of control in what often seems a random, chaotic world.

How do you maintain control? What methods do you use to step away from the temptation to constantly connect yourself via social media, online news, or television news? How do you create balance amidst the chaos and random nature of modern life? Do you have a "Feel Good Every Day" list? What does it include? What would you add to my list?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bowing Down to the Gods of Capitalism

 By Christine Clark

I feel really flappy and scattered today. Really, I feel that way on any day I do not have work in my inbox. Such days loom long and large—full of space in which I will have no opportunity to bow down to the Gods of Capitalism.
And, other than Sunday, I feel like I have done nothing unless I am earning something, large or small—even a pittance.
My day often begins early. A 5:35 a.m. wake-up call sometimes has me in the car driving my son to physical training at the high school. Does it make me any money? No. Next on the agenda is caring for our animals and then caring for my home, inside and out, doing paperwork, organizing, cooking, gardening, planning, studying, and interacting with family and friends.
Do those things—the daily to-do list items—matter? Indeed they do, because without them, there is no point in bowing to those other gods. But the Capitalism Gods demand more—so much more, because unless I kneel (a.k.a. sit at my computer and work), the rest of the things that make up a life, my life, your life, any life, all fall aside. The Capitalism Gods demand their share, their sacrifices, their penance should one commit the sin of ignoring their edicts.
Ignore them I will not. However, I want to find a way of bowing that does not hurt my knees so much, a way of bowing that enriches me, but with infinitely more than dollar signs.
How do you bow to the Gods of Capitalism? What ways have you discovered that save your knees?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Doing My (Your) Job Is Not Enough

By Christine Clark

A little girl died in Florida. Her twin brother survived even though he was horribly burned by pesticides—chemicals poured on his body, those same chemicals that took her life. The department that oversees childhood abuse and neglect is broken—has been for years—and the people working in that department are broken as well.
“Not my job.” “The workweek ends at 5 p.m. on Friday.” “Overtime is not allowed.” “_________ followed the procedure.”
Does it matter if it is not your job when the job must be done? If it is 5 p.m. on Friday, and someone’s life is in danger, do you clock out and go home? Does the lack of compensation for overtime supersede the necessity of continuing to get an important task done? If the procedure is flawed, do you follow it anyway—even if it means a child will die?
Many jobs are squeezed into cubbyholes of rules and regulations and stacks of bureaucracy ready to fall and crush the strongest, let alone the flawed and the weak. Have those cubbyholes also squeezed out the basic humanity of the people contained and constrained by their dimensions? When is it time to break out of those cubbyholes, and to tear down the partitions that close off compassion?
When do we begin to do a job simply because it must be done? When do we take off our watches and cover the clocks that confine us and roll up our sleeves and keep working, rather than start our vehicles and roll away? When does the time allotted to a life exceed the importance of no compensation allotted for overtime? When do we create our own procedures because the ordained ones have no value or meaning?
When do we stop excusing, and apologizing and rationalizing? When do we stop planning how we will do things better in the future, and do those things now?
There really is no excuse, or apology, or rationale for what happened to those South Florida children. When do we act so that such a travesty never occurs again?

The story that inspired my commentary can be accessed here:

On a level that does not reflect life-or-death decisions, the story has made me look at my own life—the things I put off, the things I refuse to do. I balk at doing some things because “It’s not my job.” I neglect some things because I think “I don’t have time.” I continue to follow certain procedures even when experience has shown me that those procedures are futile. “This way isn’t working, but I will keep at it anyway. Maybe someday it will work.”
Why do I persist in the same path when experience tells me that following the preordained way will make me stumble and fall? Why do I get up every day and keep doing the same things the same way, only to stumble and fall again? In pondering this, I now believe it is a lack of awareness, of mindfulness, of purpose. I do not lightly make a comparison between getting my life done and those obstacles faced by people employed in social services. Nor can I excuse myself in many respects, as I cannot excuse them. However, if I, and they, and you, and she and he begin to explore our actions, no matter how mundane, with a focus on mindfulness, I know that same attention can and will expand to include life-altering situations. That mindfulness can assist each of us in making decisions and taking action to avoid tragedy in all aspects of our lives.
Today, I will more carefully explore the ways in which I can be more mindful. In what ways can you and will you explore being more mindful?