Friday, March 18, 2011

Not Slapping Your Face Friday


I have been working exceedingly hard for these past few days to muster up some righteous indignation. I JUST CAN’T! There is nothing weighing so heavily on my mind that your face needs to be slapped by it.

I can’t fathom that you’re not heartsick already by what’s happening in Japan and that you’re not working on finding a small way, whatever it is, to contribute to the overwhelming human need that is happening there. When I hear of villages of 17,000 people have over 10,000 missing, I know deep in my heart that everyone who is connected to me is doing something already. I KNOW THAT.

Cross Japan off the list. Drew Carey has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Bob Barker and any yay-hoo off the street knows you’re supposed to spay and neuter your pets…nothing to get all bunched up about there.

And I just don’t have the energy to “engage” you in political debate on a blog. That’s why John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are my homeboys….

Where does that leave you and me on this Friday? Here you are doing YOUR part, showing up for a beat down, and I’m standing here with freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Where you want a red slap mark on your face, I have only warm toasty delight. HOW WEIRD IS THAT?!
This is deliciousness, not facial violence!!

I read a book (hard to believe right?) about 5 years ago by Anne Lamott, called All New People. There is a passage in that book that pops into my head frequently as I wander through my days and nights, living my own tragedies and bearing witness to the world’s, as well as those of my friends. It is never far from my thoughts and maybe that’s because of the defensive pessimism I so fervently practice.  It goes like this:

“…why do we make it all seem like a crisis, over and over again? Why do we worry it all to death, like dogs with socks or chew-toys? Look at this way…In a hundred years? –All new people.”

I don’t think I’ve ever read a more beautiful and comforting vision of the mass extinction of my peer set. The perspective that passage foisted on me is immeasurable. Think about 100 years ago.

What possible daily bearing do the events of March 18, 1911 have on your day today…right now? What part of that day in 1911 is ruining your life in this exact moment? I don’t mean if we go do some deep research and find a piece of legislation that was so wrong it’s laughable, or the serious Jim Crow issues that America was facing, or how women and children were treated…I’m not talking deeply here.

I mean that TODAY, in this minute, what is directly making you feel pain that started on March 18, 1911? I’m betting it’s a rare soul who has an instant answer. And that is because:  it’s all temporary.

Hello Buddha! Bless it all, I love that guy...

Maybe what I’m doing today is slapping your face with compassion. Perhaps what we need right now instead of my high horse and finger wagging is a hug and a reminder that whatever you’re feeling right now, whatever pain is following you around…whatever feels scary, pressing, suffocating…it’s temporary.

Even the true crisis in your life, the crisis and disaster in the world, is temporary. We DON’T need to worry it all to death because if we calmly breathe and look at every day as it is (temporary) we can move through it with a clear mind.

Panic and hand wringing have never ever once solved a problem, unless the problem was phobia of wet hands…in which case wringing your hands like a freak is advisable and worthwhile. So, if that’s you…apologies. Wring away!

For the rest of, I think kindness is the order of the day. I don’t mean just kindness to each other because, as I said in the beginning, I’m already assuming you’ve got that covered. The kindness on order today is kindness to yourself. For today, can you be your best friend?

Can you be a nurturer today? And hold your own psychic hand? Tell yourself that it doesn’t have to be a crisis over and over…in a hundred years, it’s all new people and the bounced check, the spouse in a downward spiral, the business going under, the illness that’s taking over, the loss of the loved one…everyone around you will have faced it too and a new group of people will be facing it again.

Just be your own pal today, and maybe say a little prayer for the poor schlubbs in a hundred years…because they’re going to be feeling the EXACT same way.


*Go to www.erinhenkel.com if you like the painting at the top. She does custom work. If you like cinnamon rolls, stop looking at Google search results and eat one! It's an exceptionally kind thing to do for yourself today, unless you're a diabetic. If so, I'm sorry I did that to you. Maybe a stick of Big Red gum instead?

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