Sunday, 10 March 2013

Don't leave it to the superstars!

Leave it to Daylight Saving Time to create the state of mind where you're sitting in church and what the pastor says reminds you of the Harlem Shake.

The idea under discussion was that no gifts or skills are higher-ranked than other ones.  There are always people out there who are very impressive and high profile in their humanitarianism. 

The unfortunate reality is that, when we see people out there making a big deal of their good acts, we have a tendency to stand back and leave it to the 'pros.'

As an aside, once you have the Harlem Shake in your head, don't expect to continue tracking with the topic at hand.  It kind of doesn't lend itself to that.

This is really random, and I totally blame a crazy weekend and sleep deprivation for this - but here's the thing:

Who's the one who starts the Harlem Shake?  Always the guy in the helmet.  I won't say he's concerned with fading into the background, but he has no name and no face.  And next thing you know, everyone's doing their own freaky dance. 

One guy dancing does not an internet meme make.  Okay, well other than this. And this.  The point is, it doesn't get real till everyone buys in.  No one's going for the spotlight.  Everyone's doing their own crazy dance.

You don't have to look far to find pain and stress in our world.  Most of us don't have to look past ourselves!  If hurt and struggle is that prevalent, how could we think the solution could be found by relying on the handful of do-gooders who have dedicated their lives to it?  They don't have our eyes.  They don't see the needs that we see.  They have their own crazy dance, and they're doing it.  Like crazy.

I live in Red Deer - I'm in the same boat with everyone else in my community.  When people are struggling, WE ARE STRUGGLING.  If I'm in the boat, I need to put my oar in the water and pull a little too.  Not because people might notice and think I'm amazing.  But because if I think everyone should be doing it, that obviously includes me.

I have an acquaintance who recently watched a friend lose her husband prematurely.  She and a few others organized an online social media auction and raised, like, $14,000 for a trust fund for her young kids.  I have another acquaintance who was moved by a recent suicide in a local high school, and is now making a documentary with the hopes of being honest and real with teenagers about the reality of mental illness, because most tools we use for awareness are cheesy and don't hit home.  These are people who were happy to be nameless and faceless.  They threw on their helmet and started dancing like crazy, even though nobody else was.  And now everyone else is.

So, consider me the guy yelling in spanish at the beginning of the video.  Now let's throw on our helmets and spandex, and do our little, anonymous part to make our community a place of healing, care, and wellness!

Sunday, 3 March 2013


I want more.
I've had enough.

How do these two phrases make you feel?  Do you prefer one to the other?

In our culture, we look at these two words as a progression.  You're finished wanting more when you've had enough.  Although actually, 'enough' tends to be a pretty elusive concept.  We chase it like happiness - every time you think you're getting close to it, it moves off to the horizon again.

In fact, usually when I think of the phrase, "I've had enough," I hear it in exasperation - when things pile on at a rate we can't tolerate.  We only say "Enough" when we actually mean "TOO MUCH".

I actually think we don't understand the meaning of the word 'enough.'  I think it should be more closely associated with the word 'satisfied.' That word doesn't suggest that you're getting all you can handle.  It has more of a connotation that, though there's capacity for more, the current amount will work just fine.

Our culture doesn't really get equilibrium.  We tip the scale all the way forward, like a sprinter about to charge out of the starting blocks.  We're always pushing, striving, struggling.  Always expending.  That's as healthy as always exhaling.  Our access to easy energy means that we have amazing leverage to expand and increase our wealth and profile, but if 6-7 billion people all tried to only ever accumulate, we would very quickly find ourselves in a huge problem.  Heck, we're on our way there now!

The earth doesn't constantly expand.  What we have is what we have (unless an asteroid lands).  It's the law of conservation of mass. Natural principles are wired around taking what you need and leaving behind something someone else can use.  Trees absorb CO2. They provide oxygen.  Their lost leaves degrade into soil.  No waste.  Why do we think that constant expansion, constant accumulation, and infinite growth is a good idea?  Where's the precedent for that?
This for example, is what it looks like to sell more computer monitors year over year.

I think we need to turn down the "more" talk, and start asking ourselves what 'enough' looks like.

I'm not talking about redistribution of wealth here.  A lot of people take this to that next step.  But that's the step where you lose people.  Fact is, if you knew what it was that made you satisfied, and that's what you went for and no more, nobody would need to re-distribute your wealth!  More isn't a thing to want.

If we never feel like we have enough, we will never feel peace.  Satisfaction is a great feeling.  It feels like a good night's sleep.  It feels like equilibrium.  And when your needs are met and you're satisfied, you'll find yourself with a lot more time to help others reach their 'enough' too.

What does 'enough' look like for you?