..... powers of creativity and joy.

Self-Portrait 2000

This article is well worth the read....beautiful, inspiring and hopeful..enjoy

"Our World Is In Peril, How Do You Cope?"
by John Robbins

I am someone who longs for world peace. Perhaps you are, too. But every single day our world spends more than $4 billion on war. The last hundred years have been by far the bloodiest in human history. I support human rights and human dignity. I want every child to grow up healthy and strong. No doubt you do, too. But today, like every day, 20,000 children will die of hunger and poverty. Even in the world's wealthiest country, the U.S., nearly 25 percent of children live below the poverty line. I believe in upholding the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. I believe in the inherent worth of every human being. But we live in a time of grotesque inequalities. There are shoe companies who pay famous athletes $20 million to endorse their shoes, while paying their workers only 20 cents an hour to make them. The CEOs of some companies make more money in an hour than many of the company's employees make in a year.

Many of the world's spiritual traditions teach that inner peace is found when you love the world as it is, rather than faulting it for not living up to your expectations. But our addictions are not only damaging our spirits, they are also causing irreparable harm to the biosphere and to humanity's future.

I believe in holding a positive attitude toward life. But the rate at which forests are disappearing, coral reefs are deteriorating, the arctic ice cap is melting, and species are going extinct is undermining the capacity of the earth to support human life. I draw strength from my kinship with animals. Some of my best friends have had four legs. Perhaps you, too, have had a relationship with an animal that has enriched you as a human being. But today, almost all of our meat and dairy products come from animals raised under conditions of horrific cruelty.

There are so many kinds of pain and loss in our times. There is illness and financial stress, there is growing unemployment and homelessness, there are oil spills and terrorists. It can seem that our little flickering candles of faith are no match for the hurricane winds of destruction and despair the world can so relentlessly blow our way. There are things happening in our world today that must make the angels weep.

Here's what I believe. If you are going to face the suffering and destruction of life, and if you want to find a way to be effective and positive in response, you must also be open to the life affirming powers of creativity and joy. It can sometimes seem that we are on a planetary death march, and yet we are also living in an age of miracles. Some are so common we often take them for granted. There is the miracle of color and the miracle of music. There is the miracle of tears and the miracle of laughter. There is the miracle of breathing and the miracle of sunsets. There is the miracle of people continuing to strive for a happier world even in the face of devastation and grief.

At this very moment, people are learning new ways to communicate, to understand each other, and to resolve conflicts. Right now, people are learning to read, while others are writing poetry, and others are dancing and singing. With every breath you take, relationships are growing, new health-giving practices are being discovered, ancient feuds are being overcome, and people are finding ways to restore their connections to the living earth. At this moment, as in every moment, ever growing numbers of people are working for a better world for themselves and for all children, now and yet to come.

We are not done. Our despair is not meant to destroy us but to awaken new life in us. Our wounds can give us depth, empathy and understanding. Our hardships can be places where we meet others and grow. Yes, there is ugliness, which is why it matters when we bring beauty. Yes, there is great suffering, so let us live with great compassion. This is what I have to say at this time in history. There are forces at work in the human psyche that are destructive and unconscious. And yet there is also something in us that is wondrous, that touches the infinite and belongs to the sacred.

Let us stand for this. Our dreams and prayers are rooted in something greater than the forces of death. Our grief and fury at the world's brutalities are part of our awakening. There is something mysterious taking place in this world that is part of our healing. With all its delusions and broken dreams, our world today is still a place where our hearts can meet and grow wings. There is horror and agony here, yes, and it is at times overwhelming. But there are also countless opportunities for the illumination of beauty and the awakening of love.

We are not done. There are sources of joy here, and we are here to protect them and cherish them. We are not done. We can still make our lives into works of art. We can still create thriving, just and sustainable ways of life. Bitter winds are howling. Let them howl. We can shelter each other and put our little flames together. Maybe we will yet find that the pain we feared would destroy us rather brings us back to what gives us life.

We are here to live, not merely survive. We are here to fully express and celebrate the gifts we each have to give to the world, and to receive the gifts that others have to give to us, as well. Let us touch with love the inevitable suffering in our lives, and in the lives of those we meet. Let us tend with tender mercy that which is dying in us and in our world. And let us welcome the new life dawning in each of our souls. We who are alive, with breath in our bodies and love in our hearts, have so very much to be thankful for. In all that takes place over the course of our lives, may we never lose track of our capacity for joy. And may we never forget the power of the choices we make."

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Snowbrush said...

Julie, I appreciate the inspiration, although I don't think human beings will ever be any better overall than they are now simply because they never have been. Every gain--as in women's rights, for example--is accompanied by a loss--as in greater environmental degradation (I don't mean to draw a connection between the two, but to say that progress is never altogether in a forward direction). My concern for my species isn't that we're better or worse than we ever were, but that we have a greater capacity for destruction because of our numbers and our technology.

Could you give a source for the number of children who starve each day? I don't mean to doubt you; it's just that I've tried to look this up, and the numbers were all over the place depending upon the source, so I'm wondering if there is any really authoritative estimate.

julie mitchell said...

Hi dear Snow...I can sink deeply into doubt that we will ever be any better than we are now. I think there is a heavy energy hanging over us and it is us. None of us can really reach our highest consciousness as long as we are aware of the many atrocities..child starvation for one...But I think if we don't stay open to the possibility that we will wake up, we can't change anything. I believe each person who works to come from a place of joy,hope,creativity and love passes it on...and that is a lot about choice...although not always. And if each of us did that what a change the world would see..I know you believe in miracles... :)
I found a little blip about children staving to death..but I didn't copy where it came from...I think 20,000 is probably low..really, any child who dies of starvation is one too many. It's just wrong...
Here's the blip..
Malnutrition is an underlying key factor for many of the diseases children die of. For example, if a malnutritioned child dies of tuberculosis, did it starve? Not literally --- however, it only got the tuberculosis because of the lack of food.
If we look at the question like that, then for 2000, then the answer is: 10 Million children died because of lack of food (as stated in the Lancet).
The 'pure' starvation numbers are lower, but hard to get, because many governments hide starvation numbers behind other diseases.

Snowbrush said...

"...if we don't stay open to the possibility that we will wake up, we can't change anything."

I'm not trying to change anything in the big picture. I try to be kind to people who I meet along the way, but I seldom go out and take part in a demonstration or a fund-raising drive, for example. And I figure I'll donate most of my money to charity after I'm dead since they'll surely need it then as much as they need it now. I'm frugal and would almost certainly kill myself before I would waste my life savings on nursing home care when I had no chance of living a quality life anymore anyway; so they might get a goodly amount.

As for me believing in miracles, you surely jest. Of course, it depends upon how you define a miracle.

julie mitchell said...

You do try to change things...most of your posts really make us think...examine ourselves and society..and you know they change us..isn't that your intent?
You know I agree that the world is a some ways it is an obscenity....maybe the miracle is that we can still love one another...maybe miracles are simply the way the sun and moon, and earth and the stars, all do this amazing dance that allows us to experience the show Mother Earth puts on...
hug, hug

lyptis said...

Its hard. This world is harsh. Not really the world itself, but people.
Greed and power seem to be the driving force in this so called civilization.
Lots of people are just sheep, doing what they've been told.
I dunno, i try to keep up a postive attitude, its difficult at times.

julie mitchell said...

Thank you for your comment...A positive attitude can be hard when you add up all that is wrong with the world. I believe there is change in the may take awhile and I don't know what form it will take but I think we are waking up to the truth. One of the things I see as holding back is lack of news coverage on all of us who are gathering to end corporate control and war. We don't realize how much strength we have since every effort is being made to keep us isolated from one another...Hold on to faith and stand in the are making a difference..hug, hug

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