My head has been pounding all weekend and no safe amount of Advil can make the ache go away. I hear echoes of my prodigal twin’s voice making pronouncements about how it serves me right for violating my own long-standing no-weekend-internet-clicking policy that I’ve struggled to keep this time around.
Why the self-induced migraine? My little boy has caught yet another stomach virus keeping us holed up indoors while the media circuit explodes with newsworthy tidbits. There’s the election going on in Haiti, a nation which, a year after the quake, is still on a steep climb to recovery. There’s NPR getting de-funded which could mean the elimination of about 9000 U.S. jobs. There’s the disturbing nuclear threat to an already ailing environment looming in the background in the wake of Fukushima. There’s the new substance spill of about 12-mile wide by 100-mile long and looks to be another oil slick spotted off the coast of Louisiana. There’s the Libyan intervention which, at this point so early in the game, is a veritable gray area whether viewed from the atrocity-prevention/human rights advocates side or the practical let’s-fund-our-domestic-interests-first side.
Gone are the delusional days of thinking none of these issues could ever affect my safe and cozy existence. The truth is the world has become much smaller and what once was deemed foreign can no longer be contained offshore. What happens at any nuclear reactor site affects all of us. Our interconnectedness is hard to deny at any level. We connect on the same social media outlets. We live on the same planet. We gaze upon the same stars when we marvel at the mysteries of the universe.
Picking My Battles
The news these days may have attacked and defeated my cheery disposition for the time being. Still, I remind myself that, though I may not always have a voice in many fights, I remain able to pick my battles:
- I can’t do much to speed up the recovery of Haiti, but I can help a few Haitian entrepreneurs via a micro-loan that gets paid back and can then be re-loaned through Kiva.
- I can’t save any NPR jobs, but I can at least access the news through outlets that serve the public’s interests rather than corporate interests.
- I can’t save any innocent civilian in Libya, but I can reflect on what it means for humanity to have the UN, various human rights advocates and heads of state be moved to act to prevent genocide.
- I won’t always understand what motivates others, but I can allow myself to be inspired by their passion and commitment to their cause.
- I won’t always agree with others, but I can hear them out and be enhanced by diversity.
- I can’t effectively do much to contain the effects of Fukushima, stop a war or corporate corruption or climate change, but I can do my best to raise my son, to teach him about compassion, social change and environmental justice, and to make sure he sees the world as it is, a magnificent place with a highly penetrable wall between good and bad; and hopefully instill in him the desire to do good as he grows. (Here’s a beautiful story of how a five-year old became inspired to do good as a grown man.)
- I can’t broker peace amongst nations and citizens at war, but I can work on continuing to flourish in my relationships, cultivating new ones and letting love rule where it may.
- I can’t win every battle that I choose, but I can make my hours count by having issues over which I’m strong enough to stand up.
How was your weekend?
Would you like to share any battles you’re winning (or losing)?
Meditation image by HaPe_Gera