My kids have had a fascination with World War I and II lately, so bedtime book of choice and library picks have been on this topic. After spending some time with them reading, and listening to videos on my computer about these historical turning points, questions like what are allies? What country is where? Who started it, what is artillery and the biggest question when do you think World War III will happen?
I think about my two oldest learning about history, war, the world, and I often find myself thinking about my own life and what I may be currently struggling with, worrying about or at war on. What I have come to find is everything is relative to your perspective and what information you choose to take in. World War I and II may be over, but have the issues ever resolved fully themselves? Have the underlying issues from such historical conquests every full resolved and dissolved themselves?
Before I get into that, let me step back a bit.
If you could make a list right now (no, really, get a pen and paper) of what your areas of issue are, what your hang-ups are, what you are losing sleep over, and then look at that list (you’re looking at your list right?) how important are they? How much of what you are stressing about is really a manifestation of you not dealing with those issues head on, you, afraid, and as a result, things get messy? How much of your stress, worry or fear is really just petty, and if you let go of thinking about it, you and the other parties can just move on with their lives?
I think about my own life and so much of what I am stressed about is me not wanting to face my fears and speak up, me not doing what I know in my gut I should do, and thinking way too much about what- I think I should do, to appease others. When I break it all down, it’s stupid, just plain stupid.
Who cares what Starbucks does on a silly cup, I will go on living no matter what their cup says, why are we reading into it so much? A red cup does not determine what Christmas means to me and as far as my kids go, what they believe in is dependent on what I expose them to and instill in them on a daily basis.
I am saddened with social media of how much people are taking a personal interest in this the speculation on Starbucks and why they did it, in reading about this I thought to myself, Hope, there is nothing more important and pressing to think about then this?- Really?
(Wondering about WWIII still, I’m getting there)
If I stay in my box and never step out I will continue to be stressed, upset and angry over the most mundane issues: I still have carpet in my kitchen, hell I’m lucky I have a home I can afford and my kids are dry, warm and safe, I didn’t write enough this week, my kids needed me so much I couldn’t get much done-really that is what is stressing me out?
Every time I step onto my mat to teach or practice I am overhauled with perspective and honesty. Everything I am stressing about in my life right now- I can change. How? Most all my stress requires me to make a change that I don’t want to do. Somewhere I have to speak up and I am more worried about the other person than my own happiness (and there is a huge possibility they are not losing sleep over this), other areas are asking me to make a shift and it’s different than what I have been doing so I’m scared. And most other areas of stress are due to petty jealousy, fear and internal confusion I have brought on myself.
In seeing this each and every time I arrive on my mat, I am reminded that our world is at war; our freedom we say is free does come at a cost. Paris, France has been brought to their knees, people are dying in the Middle East (and here each day) and here we are worrying about telling our boss we quit, that our kid wants to spend time with us and we are busy, whether or not Starbucks cups say Merry Christmas or not. Does it really matter? I have come to realize over and over again, if it is something you can fix or face, do it, and then move the heck on, clear space in your head, and in your heart, for things that really matter.
Now I am not suggesting your life is of no value in anyway, and I am not suggesting that your troubles are not troubles or real issues, but for a minute when you shift your focus away from you and expand it to a global scale does it give you a new perspective?
The World War III my son Harper was asking about has been going on for some time, because the more we stay focused solely on our own lives, the more time and energy we waste consumed with others choices and why they made them, we waste precious time and energy that we could be using to cultivate those allies Harper was asking about when reading about the war.
Those allies are your family members, your neighbors, your co-workers, your teachers, your friends, the person that rides the bus with you every single day, the person serving you your food through the window, the person standing next to you right now. We are told to mind our own business, to focus on what we are doing and leave others alone. And although those requests are valid, I wonder if we are taking it to an unnecessary level.
In minding our own business we have no longer taken a genuine interest in others, in solely focusing only on what we are doing, we often forget to look up and see how what we are doing could be better when unified with another’s path or passions. And when asked to leave others alone we and mind our own business, in truth, have torn apart humanity and one of the gifts we have been given as we walk this earth, which is physically connecting with others.
If we as individuals continue to act only for ourselves in a way that does not permote honesty, integrity and unity (regardless of what a cup says) then we are saying yes to our world and our lives to be at war.
If we continue to only do the minimum required of us, then we will continue to be at war, if we continue to leave others alone and only focus on us to a point that creates so much separation and segregation that there is no longer any unity to spare, then this war we are seeing run rampant globally is already right in our own backyard.
Blame creates comfort, blame helps the persecutor feel better for what he (or she) has done, and it is always easier to blame, because that takes the focus off of what we can do to change the situation.
I pray for the people in France, Russia, the Middle East and United States, I pray that- thy will be done, that I can muster up the courage to face my own fears in the midst of a global conflict, that I can live my life right and to the best of my ability; remember daily that there is someone more in need than me and that my freedom isn’t free because it does cost you and me something every day.
Today ask yourself what can you do to make your life right, where can you step up and reach out? How can you reconnect with yourself and reconnect with those around you so that we can unify and become allies again. It has to start on a smaller scale, in our families, in our communities, in our own country.
In making your own life right we send our an energy, a message, that we are a country of allies, a country of unity, one that is in a place to help others as we have proven we can help ourselves.
When I choose to only focus on me for the wrong reasons I lose sight of others dying for the right to simply focus on theirs, I do not know what is in your heart, what is on your mind or what your beliefs are, but I can say for certain that one person alone cannot fight a war, when we stop focusing on things that simply do not matter we can then focus on the things that do. I think, it really is that simple, but I never said it would be easy.
So tonight, when I sit down with Harper and Meredith and read about World War I and II, and they again ask about when World War III will happen, I will speak to them about what they can do to be allies with each other, their neighbor and to win a global war we must first not be at war with ourselves.
That is all I have to say. Namaste to everyone! The light in me bows to the light in you, it’s there- I know it!