We all need to be part of a community, because we cannot travel life’s path totally alone. We drive on roads others built, eat food others grew and picked, send our children to school for others to educate. The photo shown on the left shows the outpouring of care of a shocked and grieving Tucson community after the shootings on January 8, 2011. We so needed to be together…to hug, to cry, to pray, to sing, to hope – to BE a community. As a Tucsonan, I was proud of our loving response. Tucson is a caring community – and the tragedy of a mentally deranged young man shooting and killing six people at our local Safeway, and injuring 13 others while attempting to assassinate our Congresswoman, has increased our bond – and our agreement to treat each other with respect and civility, even while feeling so much pain and loss. “This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving. I choose to live life this way. I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, ‘aw sh*t, he’s up’!” Steve Maraboli
“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” Pablo Casals Caring is a REALLY BIG DEAL, deeply personal, and also deeply spiritual. It is an essential and universal part of being human. We all need to care about someone or something to feel alive, to thrive, to be our best selves – and we all need to be cared about. Caring involves our innermost self, our basic identity, even our connection to the mystical and the sacred. “All the things that truly matter- love, creativity, joy, inner peace–arise from beyond the mind” Ekhart Tolle
What and who we care about shapes our relationships, our basic sense of right and wrong, our vulnerabilities, how we spend our time and where we spend our money. It is based on the meaning and value we give to the events and principles and people (and puppies) in our lives. We all have within us the capacity for passionate caring, not limited to the romantic, and often beyond the personal; people often live their lives for, even give their lives for, what they care about, be it people, country, or principles.
But caring also involves taking a chance. We can be hurt, rejected, deceived, ridiculed. Caring brings us our greatest joys, but also our greatest pain, and so sometimes we choose to protect ourselves from “caring too much.” We then cut off any caring and lash out. “Who cares,”(about the other person) we say, and then we can be cold, careless, bitter, vengeful, even cruel.
Life brings challenges and changes, and other people often don’t act as we would prefer, both in our private and our public lives. We can only control our responses to them, and the Path of Peace often requires self discipline. A model of caring, Mother Teresa (August 1910 – September 1997), is said to have had a poem on her wall at her home for children in Calcutta, likely based on one by Dr. Kent M. Keith © 1968. (Mother Teresa’s changes in parentheses)
The Paradoxical Commandments Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Love (forgive)them anyway.
If you do good (are kind), people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false (unfaithful) friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness (sincerity) make you vulnerable (people may deceive you). Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. (not included in the Mother Teresa version.)
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. (not included in the Mother Teresa version.)
What you spend years building (creating) may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
(If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. be happy anyway.)
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. (not included in the Mother Teresa version.)
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth (it will never be enough). Give the world the best you have anyway.
(In the final analysis, it was between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.) Not in Dr Keith’s original.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“Love your neighbor as (you love) yourself.” Jesus
“One must care about a world one will not see.” Bertrand Russell
AFFIRMATION: On my path to peace, I choose to transcend the petty and the personal, to build a world that works for everyone.
ACTION / SOUL-ution: I invite you to list 10 things that you care about when you make decisions about your time, your money, your commitment. Then, I invite you to number them in order of priority. Have fun getting to know yourself better!
The Season for Nonviolence is celebrated from January 30-April 4, each year, between the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mohands K. Gandhi and Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in order to further their vision of just and peaceful world.
This series of blogs are intended to inspire peacemaking, and are spiritual, not political