Are We Relying On A Digital World To Streamline Humanity?

December 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

A couple of times a week, I go for a walk around a reservoir by my house with a girlfriend and our dogs.  Yesterday was a gorgeous day in LA.  We took my two dogs and her one and went for the one hour long that it takes to walk around the entire reservoir.

At some point a couple of women standing on a sidewalk commented on how cute her dog is.  Without a second thought my friend walked up to the two women and started chatting.

Now, that seems like a mundane action for me to actually be writing about in my blog but let me share where her reaction took my thoughts to: the realization of how so many of us – including me – miss out on opportunities to relate with others.

When I walk outside my home, I do so in order to do something: a task.  It can be anywhere from food shopping to working to meeting up with friends.  Anything that happens between me leaving and getting where I need to go gets interpreted in my mind as a distraction.  Also, I often use my time, while doing mundane things, to continue thinking about issues I’m working on.  Again, anything that takes me away from my thinking I interpret as a distraction.

One might think this type of living is very constructive.  Every minute is calculated to produce something.  But the downside is that often we miss opportunities to meet others, to be surprised and to be present.  We end up living compartmented lives where X amount of time is for this and Y amount of time is for that.

I wonder if online dating is so successful because we are losing our ability to spontaneously interact with others.  I wonder how many people I have walked by who said hello that could have turned out to be interesting for me to meet or to just share.  Are we now fully relying on the digital world to streamline our humanity?

Of course seeing my friend interact so easily with others resonated with me because that is something I have been thinking I need to change in my life.  I need to allow myself to interact with others without thinking I’m sidetracking or what it is in it for me.  How about you?  Are you really open?  Are you really present?

Achieving a balance between using our time wisely and leaving the door open for surprises, is a fine line but one worth our efforts.

 

 

Share

Life Is A Roller Coaster

November 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

A friend of mine sent me the below post  “Roller Coaster” by Rabbi Brian.  I wanted to share it with you for two reasons: 1 – It’s a good post, 2 – It comes from someone whose profession is to give answers to tough questions.

I respect Rabbi Brian’s honesty in saying some times life is tough.  It is refreshing when people have the courage to share their feelings even if they are risking turning people off. Here’s someone whose job is to comfort, advice and guide. But in order to truly perform his job, he needs to be honest.

We live in a world where we are taught the only answer to “how are you?” Is “well, thank you.”  We know sometimes we tell others we’re well but we absolutely believe others when they say they are doing great and their life is perfect.  The result of these false exchanges is that we wonder if there is something wrong with us.   After all everyone else seems to be doing just fine.

Read more

Share

Connecting Through Our Humanity

September 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Angie Rubin

One of the good things the internet provides us with is a way to connect with others that have the same interests, experiences or simply want to exchange ideas.

When I started The Love Project Inc. in May of 2009, I was looking to share my thoughts and feelings and find others who wanted to do the same.

At that time I had just experienced many emotionally intimate moments with complete strangers and had learned underneath all differences lie all similarities.

Read more

Share

The Responsability Project

April 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Reaching out to people we don’t know just because we care. If we all did a little, our world would be very different for all of us.

Share

Honesty; A Path To Freedom

April 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  ~Tad Williams

Honesty is our greatest liberator.  I’m not so much referring to giving the right change type of honesty, although that is important, but the honesty to be who we truly are.  When we can embrace all parts of ourselves and our actions, we are free.  When we can embrace what we are proud of about ourselves and with the same enthusiasm what we are not so proud of, we are free.

As we try to hide from others the parts of ourselves we don’t appreciate, we are denying ourselves of our humanity.  As humans we are not “perfect” and changing our “imperfections” can only come from acknowledging them.

When we know who we are there is no shame.

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  ~Thomas Jefferson

Share

Embracing Pain

April 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.  ~Kenji Miyazawa

Human Hearts

Human Hearts

We have all been hurt or will be hurt.  Pain is part of living.  But with every scar comes an opportunity to stop and reflect on who we are and how we want our lives to continue.

Not embracing pain is pushing aside the opportunity to come face to face with ourselves.

Not embracing pain is missing the opportunity to be profoundly human.

But once the pain becomes ours it turns into love because pain humbles and shows us we are part of a huge community of people who want the same; love and compassion.

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.  ~Eric Fromm

Share

With No One To Protect Them

March 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

I just came across this video. It is hard to watch but it is the truth of the world we live in. We forget how privilege we are to live in this country and as we seek happiness in all the gadgets in the world we find emptiness. Maybe reaching out and bringing a smile to a hurt face might. Happiness means meaningful acts towards ourselves and others.

Share

The Only Thing We Have To Fear

November 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Is fear itself .   That quote was made famous by our 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, more than a half century ago.   It still is heralded as one of the monumental statements of modern day politics.  A close look at the state of the world today would serve as a reasonable catalyst to have us use it with more frequency. 

Surely as the Earth’s population grows, so do the complexities of everyday living.  Unfortunately, in many instances, diversity is met with suspicion, distrust and, yes, often times fear.   As our ethnic, religious, political and economic boundaries continuously mesh, we tend to cling more to what we know rather than open ourselves up to learn more.  When we can sensibly conclude that whether we profess to be Christians or Jews, born of Nordic or Sub Saharan parents and are diametrically opposed on every matter that our representatives stand for, we all also have undeniable commonalities.  

The more we attune ourselves to this fact, the less fear will play a part in our growth.  Some of you, depending on what your birth certificate indicates, will recall a telephone company ad campaign that used the memorable slogan, “Reach out and touch someone”.  Well, we need to do more of just that.  Not by using our credit card to place a call, but by using our stored up kindness and offering it to a Republican or a Democrat; a Muslim or a Buddhist; a businessman or a farmer; an Ethiopian or a Korean.   We need to extricate our pent up anxieties and replace them with well- intended assurances. 

Let’s face it, the world is getting smaller as we become more enjoined with others.  There’s no stopping that.  Simply put, adjustments have to be made.  There will always be a few that will want to play dirty and arouse the worst in people.  These are the nay sayers to peace and good will.   They thrive on the maligned concept that what or who you don’t know is bad for you.  Rubbish!  Just as when we were children, the “boogey man” was always in the dark and he was always gone when we turned the light on.

Share

The Dark Seed

October 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Where is the dark seed

that grows the forget-you plant?

Searching, now I see

it grows in the frozen heart

of one who has murdered love.

- The Monk Sosei

(D. CA. 909)

What is this thing the Zen monk-poet Sosei calls love, invoking it to anchor his poetic statement? What is the place of love in a tradition as unsentimental and austere as Japanese Zen? In what way does such love serve as the ground of remembrance? And what has been forgotten by the one in whose frozen heart the dark seed has spread its roots? Sosei implies that it is by the loss of connection to living pathways of feeling that we lose our own humanity. The poisonous plant of forgetting in this poem obscures any sense of personal authenticity, leaving its victim unable to recognize his soul within his own skin.

The poet points to the heart, to the body of living, human emotion, as the causeway whose flow must be kept open, in order to attain the wisdom and understanding toward which Zen aspires. The recollection of the true self, he suggests, comes by way of an open, compassionate and tender heart. This, from the most unsentimental of spiritual traditions.

Sosei also confronts us with a thoroughly unsentimental conclusion. No one can “murder love”, or destroy the capacity to feel fully and deeply, from without, but each one of us can allow it to perish from within. While the world may be filled with accomplices to the crime, the ultimate responsibility lies within each human heart.

NPR recently broadcast the news that one of the most wanted war criminals of the Rwandan genocide had just been apprehended. He was number 6 on the most-wanted list; apparently 1-5 are still roaming the African countryside. The coverage of this event included an interview with a man whose family members had been brutally killed by one of the criminals still at large. There has been a “Truth and Reconciliation” movement underway in Rwanda for some time, an endeavor to bring stability and a modicum of justice and closure to the victims and to the society as a whole. The movement unites perpetrators and the survivors of their crimes through a process of acknowledging culpability, and the absolution that such acknowledgement confers. In the report, this man called out to the ones who had committed the killings, asking them to come forth, in order that he might forgive them.

Through his poem Sosei offers his conviction that no one, or thing can extinguish love from without. The Rwandan man’s readiness to forgive strikes me as a living testament to the truth of this idea. Nelson Mandela once said that there was no force in the world that could separate him from his own dignity. It seems that in the case of this man, there was no trauma brutal enough to separate him from his own humanity.

If there is any evidence for God’s existence, it is in the graceful hearts of such people, who have not forgotten their own humanity in the face of such violence and suffering.

Share

Sadness

August 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

As you know, you people that read my blogs daily tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my husband’s passing.

This has been a strange week.  A couple of Chris’ friends, who I had not met before, contacted me through Facebook when they realized it was a year since his passing.  They wanted to share how they had met Chris and one of them even included an anecdote about Chris which had me laughing.  I also got a prayer from someone I had helped a while back.

Today in my boot camp class my Argentine teacher who is always teasing me asked: “Brazil, are you okay?  You’re so quiet you almost seem like another person.”

I’m sad, and sadness makes me quiet and introspective. So I thought I should write about sadness and try to turn some of it into something positive.

First what is sadness?  According to many psychology books sadness is a natural emotion that usually accompanies loss; loss of a love, a person, an opportunity. 

What to do about sadness? Feel it, embrace it. If unfelt will just stay in our array of unresolved trauma knots.  Sadness also allows us to get in touch with our deeper selves and with the things that really matter to us.

Why is that sometimes we avoid feeling the sadness? Maybe some of us are afraid that if we feel the sadness and its accompanying partners, grief and crying, we will never come out of the hole. Or maybe we fear that others will judge us weak.

In my own experience there is great strength in pain and there is great wisdom in sadness. Of course I’m not advocating for anyone to go out there and purposely find pain and sadness to achieve strength and wisdom because trust me it isn’t necessary. The truth is; pain and sadness will come to us, on their own accord, at different times in our lives. 

What I’m saying is that when pain and sadness happen to us to honor their existence.  From them we learn that we survive most situations as well as the value of happiness. 

I also think there is great strength in being vulnerable, in being human.  When we are sad and vulnerable we tell the world that we are strong enough to experience your humanity without fear.  That’s strength.

So today I’m staying quiet and am allowing my sadness to have the room it needs to express itself.

Share

Next Page »