In spite of all of the trouble, what a wonderful time we live in. We can be amazed by images sent back to us from the Hubble telescope from all over the universe; the galaxies, the stars, the planets and their moons. I love to peruse those mesmerizing pictures of Jupiter. We understand and map DNA, we study and photograph tiny atoms and share those images on media that can be seen all over the world. We can discuss quantum physics and alternate universes around the dinner table. We can learn how to change oil on our car, how to paint butterflies or can tomatoes on YouTube.
We can connect with people all over the planet in ways that no previous generations could have imagined. Think of how all of this exposure to grand ideas and images changes us and expands our view of ourselves, and of the world. Children growing up today know more about the universe, the world and their fellow humans than ever before. This gives me great hope for the future, since it becomes more and more obvious that we are all living on one planet, and that everything we do affects everyone else.
No matter our circumstance, there is simple joy to be found in just walking out of the front door and looking at the sky, the clouds floating by, taking in all of the different and subltle shades of the green trees. Tuning in to the bird song, the rustling breeze, and take a deep breath of wonderful, life giving, air. Breathing air that, only last week, was being breathed by someone on the other side of the planet. Amazing! This is where I am at today. Finding simple joy in simple things, being aware in the moment, of being alive, and of livingness in all around me.
This doesn’t mean that I am not aware the suffering, the poverty, the pain and death that is also part of this life. There is the dark side of all of that enhanced communication and connection, where information can be changed and nefarious agendas propagated on the very same platforms that spread hope, beauty and connection, or it can be used to escape or replace real connection. Sometimes it is hard to allow ourselves to experience joy, because there is suffering, and our hearts are heavy.
Embracing, and accepting the shadow and the dark of life and of myself at the same time as the co-existent good is what has made me whole. Instead of projecting our rejected shadow out onto someone else, take it back and give it a place at your table. Carl Jung said that if everyone took back their own projections, there would be world peace. From experience, I know this to be true within my own life.
Becoming aware of the goodness all around us, and of the small joys in life makes us more human and more whole. We cannot control what will happen next, only our response to it. In that, we have more freedom than we can imagine. If we can change our minds, we can change the world.
I will leave you with three thoughts from one of my guiding lights, Victor Frankl, from his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. These are not mere words, but keys to wisdom that can be used to unlock secrets of how to change your mind.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”
Where are you finding joy and strength these days?