Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Losing jobs. Losing homes. Losing loved ones. Losing our neighborhoods to violence, natural disasters, crime and poverty.  When everyone was predicting the world would end in 2012 – they thought about the world ending in an apocalypse.  The truth is, the world ‘we once knew’ is ending but everything continues the same as it ever was.  If you look back to the teachings of Greek philosophers, you will see that things were no different… which is why many philosophies and teachings are relevant today.  They are applicable. We still have the same problems, they’ve just donned new costumes.  

There are countries still at war.  There is violence still happening.  There are still homeless and hungry people.  And there are unspeakable acts we’ve all become aware of because of all of the ways we are informed about it now.

Awareness is key.  If we become the SOLUTION instead of pointing fingers of blame at others for our problems or waiting for others to clean up a mess that they did not create and we each started taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other – why would we have to sit around ‘waiting for the world to change’ when Gandhi once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Take a look around to those struggling.   Have you ever seen a bunch of homeless people gather and hover together to keep warm around a fire and actually share the food they get with one another?  

Do you see there is humanity and hope?   Do you see there is an immediate identification in a place coming from compassion to be able to relate and co-exist in trying to help out someone else in the same situation?  Do you see how a single situation can be 180 degrees from the other, that rather than destruct, there are people who wish to construct?  

It is the same as looking at technology as both a blessing and a curse. But isn’t it like everything else?  People use it for good.  People use it for evil.   The recent Boston tragedy has shown us both sides of it.  The bombers used it for evil.   The public used it to help identify them.  And in the face of tragedy and horror – there were those who stepped up and stepped in to help, there are others who looked away and did nothing.

The gift and value of life is to see people ‘taking care’ of themselves and each other.  The comfort of a hug, a smile, a friendly outreach of kindness, reassurance that ‘everything is going to be alright’ – even in the bleakest moment, when you yourself have nothing to offer, there is hope.

Is the reason that people resist from giving hope is that they are not given the signs of hope themselves?    The reason We Solved It was created was to empower people to realize they have the power within themselves to resolve and solve anything.   Sometimes in certain situations we are made to feel hopeless and helpless and sometimes powerless.  But when you are shown the light to be empowered and to feel like you have within you something to promote progress and create change, it’s quite an uplifting thing, even it just means that someone vocally declares they believe in you.  

Perhaps it is ‘pride’ that causes people to answer the standard ‘I’m fine,’ to the everyday flimsy question of ‘how are you?’  If given the answer ‘I’m fine’ – most people let that answer be, and never prod further. Perhaps this is to either be respectful not to pry into something people want to keep private, or simply be self-absorbed because they don’t care about anyone but themselves.   But you will find that most people don’t admit to challenges or hardship.   Is it to ‘save face’ or to put on the appearances that everything is alright?  Is it denial?

While most people don’t admit to medical problems or even having to sell off items to make the rent, there seems to be an upkeep of ‘appearances’ that all is okay, when it is not.  But what suffers most in this process is the reality check that one is not actually ‘taking care’ of themselves – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually or otherwise because they are in an environment that is not supportive.   Nothing spells loneliness like thinking no one cares about anything in life but materialism and superficiality.  

We only have ourselves as a society to blame, if we are the ones who purchase the magazines that have the tabloid headlines, we feed into the idea that we support things that matter less than humanity.

Perhaps there is too much plastic surgery, makeup, the guise of the trendy diet, brand names of status and fake appearances covering up what is really going on beneath the appearance.  People appear to be ‘too busy’ to take care of themselves, but in reality there is more happening to alter the buttons of existence.

Our society has life backwards.  Maybe today’s economic turn has helped to change the sick cycle of need for greed and humbled a few. Perhaps, it has made one appreciate the blessings of life. But the truth is, no matter what your situation is, chances are that your health seemingly comes last. 

When was the last time you had a check-up?   When was the last time you consciously ate healthy?  When was the last time you went for a walk instead of sitting like a couch potato in front of the TV?   And when was the last time you made conscious decisions about your health and well-being to insure a better future?  When was the last time you took a deep breath, if only for 2 minutes, closed your eyes and relaxed to get mental clarity?   When was the last time you laughed?  And when was the last time you actually asked someone “Hey, what can I possibly do to help YOU?”  

It takes a lot along the journey in order to bring priorities to ‘the big shift’ for many. Maybe it is during this time, when only real friendships surface, that one may discover that if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will.  Whether you pick up the phone today to call to make an appointment for yourself to change your life or decide to finally take your own fate into your own hands – taking care of yourself for yourself is a wise thing to do.

It is also during this time, we realize we can only rely upon ourselves for all levels of well-being. Maybe this is healthy in some instances, giving us the prod, the push, the determination that we need to be self-reliant and responsible for all our actions and consequences of neglect.

Most economists state that we are still in a state of recession and numbers across the globe in financial, corporate and various industries are showing this is true.  But if you take a good look around, you will find that even in the best of times, someone is always going through something.

If you actually take the time to talk to a person who is 90 years old or older, you will find that what we are seeing is nothing new, it’s just in a new form. Their wisdom is something we all need to hear.  They’ve been there, done that and yes, wear the badge of having lived through it.

Evolution is evolution.  With every new invention comes a new problem.  With every new wave of creation, things get forgotten, go by the way side and change happens.  Problems take on a new form or appear to be in mass form – only because a lot of this information is more accessible.  It may appear that the things have changed and have gotten worse, but we’re overwhelmed with information overload now because we have several devices to have more accessibility to opening our eyes about how messed up things are.  Some may look at this as a curse.  But in a way, it opens our eyes up to the blessings we have to be grateful for what we have when things are good and also a way to know we are not alone in our struggles.  Someone 5,000 miles away may actually be experiencing the same things as you where they are.  Sometimes the grass is not always greener, (truthfully it is only green where you water it), but sometimes our eyes are opened to the idea that it can be RIGHT WHERE WE ARE if we take pro-active action in our own communities to make things better where we are.

Never before, was this more apparent when recently witnessing the most amazing thing ever seen.

There was an old homeless woman.  It was very apparent she had lost her home, her job, her car, perhaps many relationships –family, friends, a significant other and most of her belongings except for a few changes of clothes held inside of her tattered tote bag.  It was evident the long laundry list of ‘things she lost’ was very, very long.

But to much surprise, there was even longer list of things she did NOT lose:

She was walking tall and proud.
She was walking with a smile.
She was saying ‘hello’ to people as she passed by.
She moved with energy.
She hadn’t lost her spirit.
She was singing in between greetings.
She was multi-tasking as…
She was vigorously applying SUNSCREEN TO HER SKIN!

Yes, you read right.  She was applying sunscreen to her skin!  

So add more to the list things she hadn’t lost: her hope to want to live longer, stay healthy and not get skin cancer and hadn’t lost her intelligence because she had the wisdom to do so.
She was taking her health into her own hands.  She was looking at what she NEEDED TO DO for herself at that moment which was a shift in priorities.

Think about this.   Isn’t this inspiring?   Seriously, to anyone who has probably been down the journey she has been, would this be the first thing on their minds?   This was more than an amusing sight, to me this was further proof that someone’s will, faith, conviction and belief can be stronger than any challenging situation.

We wake up every single day with the opportunity to seize the day and to be thankful for what we are given.

We are given the opportunity every single day to use what we DO HAVE to make each day better – not just for ourselves but for each other.  Even if it means giving those we love, tough love.  Those who are straddling the fence in-between hardship and inconvenience won’t understand life’s true meaning of what life is about unless they step outside themselves and their own self-pity and their horrific situation to take action to do what they can as they can to take a step to improve it.

Perhaps it is laziness. Maybe it’s denial.  But for those of us who are conscious about our place in the world, realize there is something more beyond material self-worth …. There is taking care of oneself knowing there is something more, a bigger and greater purpose for our being.   This woman represented just that.   She didn’t have to spend a ton of money to do almost everything on her list of the things she DID DO.   She didn’t have to have to have the right moment to take action on what she needed to do.  She just did it.  There were no lame excuses – even though she would be the most legit person of all to have many, many real excuses.  But she didn’t use them as an excuse not to smile, not to be kind, not to stand tall, and above all, not to do something she COULD DO to take a pro-active step to take care of her own health.

Most people say when s*** actually hits the fan, “well, at least you have your health…”  

Health represents many things – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.  One affects the other. A lot of people pay attention to physical health.  When was the last time you tended to your psyche, your brain, your emotional state of affairs with your life and your life situation?   Is your spiritual life in check?  They are all connected.  And one affects the other.  TRUE BALANCE can only be achieved if all are taken care of. 

Yet health is such a confrontational issue for most people that this seems to be the thing on the ‘back-burner’ of life.  Why is this so?    For the majority of people who do not address health, it mostly has to do with the fact ‘they are afraid of what they will find… ‘   For others who don’t bother to do the elementary things to ‘take care’  and preventative maintenance, it has more to do with vanity, laziness, denial and feeling ‘inconvenienced.”

While it may be more ‘convenient’ to eat junk food than a nutrient-rich piece of fruit…. Isn’t it more inconvenient to find you have disease, when in the middle of the prime of your life?    While it may be inconvenient to self-insure your health instead of paying $30 a week on designer lattes, isn’t it more inconvenient to be sick and not covered?

Prioritization is key.  This homeless woman applying sunscreen would rather take the time to slather on sloppy sunscreen and inconvenience herself by actually not having a meal that day with the money she found, having to put it on top of dirty skin and protect the only skin she has, rather than take the risk of getting skin cancer. 

To her that was worth it.   Maybe we all have our own ideas of what is ‘important’ – but the bottom-line is that taking care of yourself for yourself so you can be here to be of greater service to others, even though, you yourself may be suffering is probably one of the greatest lessons we all can learn.  While she may think she had nothing…. She did something with what she did have instead of dwelling on what she didn’t.    AMEN.

Take care.  And don’t forget to apply the sunscreen.

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It


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