Monday, January 18, 2010

shed a little light

do you ever have the feeling that you feel all the sadness of the world? it's hard to explain, but it's something i feel sometimes - it's like i'm very in touch with all the anguish and pain and sadness that exists, like i'm wearing it on my skin. relax, don't call a hotline or anything, i'm okay. it's just a feeling i have sometimes, and this past week or so has been one of those times.

it might be the post-holiday blues, the cold middle of winter, uncertainty about the future, an economy that brings so much struggle. truly, there's a lot of sadness in the world every day, and especially right now. so much suffering here and abroad, and i feel like so many faces i see on the train, on the bus, on the news, in the bank, at the grocery store...they all look tired and worried, and every glimpse of it i see makes me tear up.

i want to believe that 2010 will bring only good things, only progress and happiness and health. i want those things so badly. but i'm not a child, and i know that no year brings only good things. in many ways, the state of the world right now and our double-edged sword ability to see and experience it all on tv, online, always streaming, always there, makes it impossible to pretend otherwise.

so i'm faced with it: this is one of those times where happiness is a choice. it's one of those times we have to choose to look up, as my dad has always said, because really, what's the alternative? and sometimes we just feel what we feel - no explanation, no excuse, no apologies. it just is. that being said, despair without action doesn't do anything at all. so being a planner like i am, i feel i have to operate on two fronts.

one front is the feelings - and there's no medicine for feelings (well there is, but that's another post entirely). i know i have to just allow myself to feel these feelings and be sensitive to the world right now - no sense in trying to tamp it down. but the other front is a plan (always have to have a plan). my plan is to do all i can to supersize one of my resolutions - the one about having nothing but a positive impact on everything i touch. because i know with each positive action i take and thought i have, i am easing a little bit of the sadness and strife in the world. it's the most i can do, and it feels good.

i hope i haven't depressed you today (well, i'm almost sure i have, but let's try and move forward). all of your insights and thoughts make me feel like i can share these thoughts with you, my readers, and from what i can tell, we're similar in lots of ways so you might be able to relate. i figure this is also a good time to share a few organizations with you that i so admire and support, because god knows there is a lot of need out there right now.

first, i think everyone is aware of the need in haiti and so many people have already donated, which is amazing. there are the two different text methods (text "haiti" to the number 90999 to donate $10 to the red cross, or text "yele"to the number 501501 to donate $5 to the yele haiti campaign). also, unicef is a great place to donate. aren't these photos, taken in haiti last spring, amazing? i am so happy i came across on naturally nina, a really sweet blog i read, taken by flickr user millzes, but it chills me to wonder about the welfare of these children today.


kiva is a micro-lending organization which allows you to make a loan of $25 or more "to a specific entrepreneur, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.” if there was ever a living example of “teaching a man to fish,” this is it. it's such a proud way for people in need to receive help while putting money into their local economies and improving their own situations. best of all, as each loan gets repaid, you can reloan the money to another person in need. mitchell and i made our first loan in my grandfather’s memory when he passed away, and we have since reloaned the same money twice, thereby helping three people in need to help themselves, which makes me so proud. here they are:
silvia martinez-calderon borrowed and repaid $800 from kiva lenders to purchase inventory for and air-condition the grocery store she and her daughter were left to run when her husband died.

this is the riziki group who borrowed and repaid $1,350 from kiva lenders to help increase a salon business in tanzania, which was profiting only $136 a month.

and this is carla delfina pineda, an elementary-school teacher in nicaragua, who borrowed and is repaying $750 from kiva lenders to build a bathroom in her home so that she and her children can live in a cleaner and safer home.

another organization that truly touches my heart is the fruit tree planting foundation, a non-profit which plants edible, fruitful trees in needy populations, improving the surrounding environment. i love the idea of planting trees for lots of things - gifts, philanthropy, neighborhood clean-ups - because they beautify, they nourish the community that they inhabit, from the soil in which they're planted to the betterment of the air to the nutrition they provide.

which leads me to this beautiful james taylor song which is all about today...martin luther king day and all it represents about us as a people. i am listening to it today, as i hope you will (listen here), and thinking very deeply about the words, because they are true as they come. we have a responsibility as people to take care of our world and the people who live in it. i talk a lot about taking good care of ourselves - treating ourselves nicely, giving ourselves pleasure and comfort where we can. and i do believe that's incredibly important. but the flip side of that coin is to direct equal shares of that love and attention outward as well. i really think we all want the same things in this world and this life and i think it's that belief that pulls me out of this sadness each time i get into it. and a little james taylor always helps.

shed a little light
by james taylor

oh, let us turn our thoughts today to martin luther king
and recognize that there are ties between us
all men and women living on the earth
ties of hope and love
sister and brotherhood
that we are bound together
in our desire to see the world become
a place in which our children can grow free and strong

we are bound together
by the task that stands before us
and the road that lies ahead
we are bound and we are bound

there is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
there is a hunger in the center of the chest
there is a passage through the darkness and the mist
and though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

shed a little light, oh lord
so that we can see just a little light, oh lord
wanna stand it on up stand it on up, oh lord
wanna walk it on down
shed a little light, oh lord

can't get no light from the dollar bill
don't give me no light from a tv screen
when i open my eyes i wanna drink my fill
from the well on the hill
do you know what i mean?

shed a little light, oh lord
so that we can see just a little light, oh lord
wanna stand it on up stand it on up, oh lord
wanna walk it on down shed a little light, oh lord

there is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
there is a hunger in the center of the chest
there is a passage through the darkness and the mist
and though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

oh, let us turn our thoughts today to martin luther king
and recognize that there are ties between us
all men and women living on the earth
ties of hope and love
sister and brotherhood

top photo from http://www.wikimedia.org/, "today is awesome" from etsy seller the small object, all other photos from linked sites.

3 comments:

Culture Snob (Nina S) said...

Hi there, my name is Nina (not from the blog "Naturally Nina"..... I found you there, though... but I'm a different Nina!) and I want to say that I really love the overall tone of your blog!

Keep up the hard work!
**Nina**

http://pagefortheculturefreak.blogspot.com/

honey living said...

thanks nina, i appreciate that! i'm off to see your blog!

Maria said...

Love this post. I can relate, I feel the same way sometimes. I thought I'd share a quote with you and your readers...

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."-Buddha

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