Tag Archives: humanity

VOD: Batkid Saves Gotham and Charms the Entire Internet

If you were near any digital device with WiFi on Friday you probably heard about Batkid. To his parents he’s known as Miles. He’s five years old and has been battling leukemia since he was a baby. The cancer is currently in remission, but that didn’t stop the Make a Wish Foundation from making Miles’ dream of being the Caped Crusader come true.

Thousands of volunteers in the San Francisco area pitched in to help create Miles’ special day. He started off taking a ride in his Batmobile, saved a damsel in distress from the Riddler, ate a little lunch and still had time to apprehend one of Gotham’s most treacherous villains – the Penguin! For all of his hard work Batkid was awarded a key to the city by San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee. The police chief Greg Suhr even dressed up as Commissioner Gordon to signal Batkid when new trouble was arising. Gigantic crowds followed the action, filling in as the Gotham populous while everyone at home watched on. Even President Obama chimed in to offer his encouragement to Batkid. Even more impressive is that the San Francisco Chronicle printed a special edition of the paper to document Batkid’s heroic day – with articles by Clark Kent and Lois Lane and pictures taken by Spider-man alter ego Peter Parker.

The most heartwarming thing about this story is the sheer amount of people it took to make this happen. Everyone was there to support the dreams of a little kid, and this is the type of thing that reminds us of the virtues of humanity. What was the latest good deed you performed? Tell us your thoughts and give your support for Batkid in the comments below!

Cute Alert: This Little Girl and Baby Gorilla Are Best Friends

This video is taking the Internet by storm, which perhaps says more about us viewers than it does about the girl or the gorilla or their adorable friendship. But before we go any further, let’s take a look and this incredible moment:

From an adult’s perspective, it’s hard not to jump to praise the little girl for her undiscriminating love and curiosity. Where an adult might be burdened by thoughts of species superiority, or over identification with being human, or even with the well-intentioned concerns for animal rights, this little girl springs to playfulness and conviviality. The baby gorilla matches her enthusiasm, playing right along with her. The adults laugh and capture the moment on film, somewhat removed from the scene because, ostensibly, the moment isn’t really theirs to experience.

If you are among those whose mind jumps to thoughts of the treatment of animals in captivity, then we encourage you to investigate those feelings more. Do some research, talk with people who work in such facilities, and stay away from zoos and animal parks if they make you uncomfortable. We will support your cause.

In another light, though, it might behoove us adults to examine our own relationships (or lack thereof) with non-human animals. When we walk our dogs, step around pigeons, or visit zoos, are we approaching and interacting with these animals authentically? Are we seeing their lived existence and appreciating them for what they are? Or do we ever fall prey to feelings of superiority, disregard, or even condescension?

Consider this: Next time you come in contact with an animal, try seeing them and interacting with them as fully and honestly as you would interact with a friend. Let’s all take a lesson from this video’s amazing inter-species friendship and do our species proud!

Guess what – I’m human!

Smoke This!I think people have a fear of being found out.

I know this because I once had this same fear. This fear of being caught with my hand in the non-organic, sugar laden, big corporation labeled cookie jar instead of a raw, homemade dessert with DIY edible decorations. I have feared the wrath of my peers at not having read that book or been to that seminar, and having instead chosen to spend my weekend watching reruns of Hannah Montana with my kids, taking a trip to McDonald’s to eat a dead cow (I hope it’s a cow, whatever!), and letting them frolic in the play area while I perused the latest issue of my favorite gossip magazine (because sometimes you gotta know who cheated on who, right?). And I admit it: right now as I write this, I am enjoying a cup of Folgers coffee and smoking a cigarette.

I used to be afraid of being seen as flawed, as not “spiritual” enough. I was afraid people would see the missing eye on my blissed out bunny slippers or hear me snore during that last 15 minutes of yoga class, when what I should have doing was meditating.

So, like many of my friends, I scoffed at those around me who accidentally let their humanness slip out. I judged and sighed knowingly and gazed upon that lost soul with that look – you know, that look you get from someone who has decided they are somehow better than you, that they have tasted the elixir of enlightenment and you just don’t have the right stuff to play in their galaxy or dimension, that they are taking their unicorn and going home. But with each sigh, with each judging gaze of my blinded by light and bliss eyes, deep down inside I wished I, too, could just take off my crystals and that itchy hemp shirt and just wear my Walmart shorts and eat a Nestle ice cream and be okay with that, too.

I looked around me and saw that so many were struggling to keep up with the Jones, or I should say the Chopra’s (wink wink). This being spiritual thing is exhausting. It seemed ironic that the idea of living a spiritual life was supposed to mean living without judgment, but let’s be honest here, there seems to be a lot of judgment around what it means to be spiritual.

So what’s a girl to do who just wants to have some peace in her life, be happy and find joy, love and be loved, feel good about the world, who sometimes has wild experiences in what seems to be other dimensions, but could just be she had a little to much wine and well, you know, she can’t really explain it but it was really mind blowing, who sometimes feels deeply connected to all things known in this dimension and others, but sometimes wants to eat crappy food and shop at a discount store?

Do it. Do it and enjoy it. Seriously, go right now and do anything you want. If it brings you joy, do it because that is LIVING. We ARE human; we are all a work in progress and we are all here in this reality to live in it, learn from it, to expand within it and out of it at our own pace. There is no spiritual handbook with points next to each enlightened feat accomplished. Deepak and Eckhart are not somewhere up there keeping score.

Being human is in fact normal, and when I let go of trying to be anything other than human, suddenly I find myself spending more time doing the things that brought me the peace and joy and enlightenment I had been searching for. Funny how that happens: when I stopped chasing, it stopped running.

How to Appreciate the Gift of Kindness

By Yael Kaufman

If I told you that each individual in this world was part of the same world, you wouldn’t disagree with me. It’s a fact. We all live here. Perhaps in different places, definitely in different time zones, and without a doubt bearing different perspectives and opinions.

But we’re all part of the same world. You agreed to this. Let’s run with it.

Like any part of a whole, what one part does affects the rest. Right?

If each of us is part of this whole world, then the things we do affect each other, too. That means…the strangers on the street, every passerby on your way to work, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, and the list goes on.

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To create a more tangible and digestible image…let’s imagine that each individual is connected to every other by a thin piece of fiber and together we make up a web (a huge one, at that). Every action you do creates a slight pull in some sort of direction, gently shifting every other member of the web. You didn’t realize you had that much power, did you? It might not be noticeable. Sometimes these things can create massive shifts and sometimes a shift so gentle it’s barely felt and definitely not plainly visible. But the shift happens.

We all lead busy, bustling lives. There are always so many things that occupy our minds and our bodies. We spend most of our lives distracted by one thing or another, so much so that we’re rarely in the present. But we also spend a ton of time focusing on ourselves as individuals, which is nothing to be ashamed of. This just means we’re concerned with how we’re living our own lives, how things are affecting us, and sometimes we lose sight of that massive external world we’re so connected to.

If you were to look at yourself in the mirror and see little pluses and minuses floating around inside the shell of your figure, you would probably think something along the lines of, “I should definitely work to turn those minuses into pluses.” Because we want to be happy. If it was as simple as drawing a little vertical line onto those minuses, how many of us wouldn’t do it? Practically none. That’d be silly.

If every person was a little plus or minus floating around our world, or communal body if you will, and it was just as easy to change the minuses into pluses…would you do the same for them as you would for yourself? I don’t know if you would, but it’s something to think about. We are all connected. We are each part of one, large external body. The more negatives in our communal body, the more we will be weighed down as a whole. We have a duty to the world just like we do to ourselves, to try and make it as positive as it can be.

The first step is realizing you have the power to do it.

“Change” might seem daunting. When people hear about “changing the world” they think of massive organizations and movements, things like ending world hunger and genocides and wars. Things that seem so much bigger than us that we easily cower before them and go on our merry ways. But it doesn’t have to be like that, you know. Change doesn’t have to mean something huge or even medium-sized. It can occur through small shifts. These add up. These make a difference, too. And these are easy and attainable, for everyone.

I told you before how much power you had–the push and pull you effectively can cause. And I also told you just now that it’s very easy to pull parts of the web out of the negative and into the positive (minuses into pluses)…and that this kind of shift will benefit everyone. So, how?

We can do this through the gift of kindness.

I call it a gift because it’s essentially something we are all handed, free of charge, and there are no negatives that come along with it. There’s no fine print. Giving kindness provides happiness, for the giver and the receiver. That’s it. How many people realize they’ve been given something so purely positive, a tool they can use every single day to make a positive change in someone else’s life? in the world?

Few.

It’s time to wake up and realize and appreciate how lucky we are to have this ability. There’s nothing else in the world like it. Except maybe love, but we can talk about that later. Kindness is easy. It’s as simple as telling someone you like what they’re wearing, hugging someone who looks upset, high fiving a random passerby on the street, asking someone if they need help, lending someone a pen.

A testament to how little we utilize this gift is how shockingly surprised a person is when someone does something nice for him/her. Have you experienced the shock-then-smile on people’s faces after doing something nice for them? It means we don’t expect this out of people. This makes me only a little sad. A little sad because it means we so rarely experience this kind of kindness. But less so because I know many of these receivers will then go on to do good things, themselves, and there goes the chain of cause and effect.

We have the opportunity to be a catalyst for positive change, and it’s not. hard. We go our whole lives looking for reasons to feel proud, experiences to prove to ourselves and others that we’ve “achieved something,” that we’re not worthless. Guess what? We can do it in five minutes. We could probably even do it in 30 seconds. That’s all it takes to make a lasting change in a person’s day and a person’s life.

It’s really all at our fingertips. Let’s make moves to make kindness a top priority. Let’s use the gift we’ve been given. We need it now more than ever.

Lastly, if you’re in the mood to feel really inspired and empowered (so much so that you’re going to want to run around doing nice things for strangers all day long), I highly recommend reading this transcript of a graduation speech made by George Saunders. It discusses kindness, albeit in a different way, and it’s very much worth the read. It will brighten your day, guaranteed!

Is There a Human Aspect to the Weather?

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By Julia LeStage, Founder and CEO, Weathermob, Inc.

The recent tragic deaths from the tornadoes in Oklahoma made me pause, again, and think about why the weather is so captivating to human beings. Why we just can’t we get enough of it, even when the weather is so inhuman, often inhumane—and sometimes deadly?

In 2013, despite great advances in technology, we still cannot predict the weather with enough certainty. Even professionals such at 30-year veteran storm chaser, Tim Samaras, his son, Paul and meteorologist, Carl Young, could not predict that a tornado would jag the wrong way – their way – and take their lives.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Americans check the weather 3.8 times a day. Are we so compelled by weather because it is one of the few things left in our lives that we cannot control?

Perhaps we’re fascinated by weather because of the very fact that it does not submit to us. The weather cannot be persuaded. The weather’s own uncertainty in the face of the increasing pace of climate change, should make us even more worried about its will and its might.

The weather is culturally, geographically, politically, religiously and linguistically impartial. How many things that affect us all every day are impartial? The impossibility of the controlling the weather is an ultimate challenge, an infinite frontier. The appeal of this alone is enough for some people. It is a problem that can never be solved. The allure is in the chase.

Hauntingly, Tim Samaras explained that his initial interest in tornadoes was to, “…witness the incredible beauty of what Mother Nature had created.” He also confessed that at times he had “mixed feelings” about chasing storms because of their destructive and life-changing power. The deaths of high profile and seasoned scientists in an extreme storm remind us that no one can capture or tame the weather.

The practice of storm chasing and meteorology and of weather-casters standing in a studio telling us the day’s forecast is a relatively new way of telling the weather story. Talking about the weather, however, is indisputably primeval. Since time began, human beings – indeed, all beings – have had a profound and spiritual relationship with the weather.

It connects us throughout time and across the world. We notice, enjoy and fear the same conditions that the ancient Egyptians, Vikings and Incas did – and that our contemporaries in countries we will never visit do.

We tell our weather story – chase storms, listen to the weathermen, bring an umbrella, talk about it in the Starbucks line, chat with our Mothers, and look up and out – to try and impose some kind order. In this human attempt to impose order there is some kind of comfort and healing; it is part of human nature. For professionals there is data that might help people be safer in the future.

I am guilty of this, of trying to bring human order. I write about and report on the weather every day. I run a crowd-sourced weather media company called Weathermob. I am not a meteorologist. Then again, neither is Al Roker. He and I are just people, like millions (perhaps billions) who are weather keen. Al and I just happened to be paid for publicly responding, reacting, and describing this force we cannot control.

Weathermob was created to help give ordinary people a place to record and share what they see in the sky and feel in the air and in their hearts. It is tool to contribute to our need for order and storytelling around the weather. We use social media tools to create real-time weather data. Weathermob is a network of weather reporting from the ground up, a human weather army.

We believe that everyone can be a weatherperson and should be, which is why our organization aims to harness the “understanding on the ground” from the people who are in the weather. Everyone has to right to talk about the weather. Weathermob reporters in your local area and all over the world share real-time weather, mood and weather-triggered activity. We do not claim to outsmart the weather, but we are recording it to learn, share, shine, connect and – sometimes – be safer.

The YouTube videos of Tim Samaras facing what we now know to be his killer made me feel profoundly sad and human. He – and we – could not stop the tornado. We can only change how we react to weather, how we adjust and refine our response to it.

Samaras knew, perhaps embraced, the inherent risks of confronting a tornado. He died doing what he loved. His life’s work involved creating tools to increase our understanding of tornadoes, of their devastating power and beauty, and how to be safer in their midst.

We at Weathermob salute Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and Carl Young and re-commit to our mission to enhance our real-time responses to all weather and to tell the human weather story, to give more relevant, beautiful and safer weather information to each other every day.

In the malevolent eye of a charging tornado, Tim Samaras found beauty and a life well lived. This stark and painful dichotomy is strangely healing, like looking up, again. At the sky.

Photo via U.S. Air Force

Are You Holding Onto Emotional Pain?

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 11.34.36 AMI’ve spent my life’s work supporting people in working through their anger, their sadness, their grief, their disappointment, their frustration, their rage and their confusion. Working with our emotions is one of the most difficult things we’re asked to do in this human experience. And we can be sure that when we are struggling with or stuck in our emotions, it’s always because of our resistance to actually be with what’s going on.

I’m sure you’ve found this to be true. What you resist persists. What you can’t be with won’t let you be. No matter how hard you try to get rid of an unwanted emotion — whether you eat over it or drink over it or shop over it or work over it — it will always keep coming back until you allow and invite the emotion, the feelings, the thoughts, the fears and the resistance to be as they are.

Even though some people would call me a master of emotional freedom, I get stuck in my own emotions all the time. And when I do, I call one of my staff or one of my coaches and they work me through it. Lately I’ve been calling my dear friend Hale Dwoskin, listening to one of his recordings or watching a bit of his movie Letting Go. (I say “a bit” because I’ve watched it a few times now in its entirety.) Hale is the New York Times best-selling author and teacher of The Sedona Method which was created to support people in uncovering their natural ability to let go of any painful or unwanted feeling, belief or thought.

After Hale’s proven, powerful, and liberating techniques saved me once again from a gnarly mess of wound-up emotion, I realized that many of you don’t even know about him, his work and his movie. Letting Go works. So if you haven’t seen this movie, I really want to highly recommend it. I promise you that you’ll get your value out of it at least 10 times over if you stick with it.

Transformational Action Steps

I’m excited to share with you one of my favorite processes to make peace with my emotions.

1) Find a comfortable, quiet place and bring your journal and a pen.

2) Identify an emotion that you are resisting.

3) Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to give up your resistance.

4) Do to The Subpersonality Process by listening to this recording. In this process, give the emotion you are resisting a name other than your own and then use the process to dialogue with this aspect of yourself. You will be amazed by the gifts you discover.

5) Take the action or put in place the practice that will support you in making peace with this part of yourself.

Make this week the week of emotional release. You deserve it.

With love and blessings,

p.s. I’d love to hear from you on Facebook and Twitter about what you discover as you do this emotional release work!

 

Originally published March 2011.

Radical Responsibility

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“Why would God allow this to happen?”

I heard this questions, in many forms, in many variations many, many times. At last I responded. This time it was about a five-year old girl who was raped with an iron rod and died. Why would God allow this to happen?

“Maybe because God considers humans to be responsible adults who don’t need supervision, but can make their own choices, design their own lives and create their own reality” I responded “maybe because God acknowledges their freedom to do so. Humans are free to choose, some choose pain, others don’t — all create their experience of life with their choices.”

And the inevitable response came:

“But the 5 year old little girl didn’t choose all of this for herself. What does God have to say about that?”

 And … and it gave me pause. It gave me pause not because I didn’t have an answer to that – I have an answer and it is a good one — but because I was not sure my answer would be an acceptable one. I was not sure it would be a hand-able one.

I said:

“God might say: you choose your own faith, you create your destiny and your life in ways you don’t yet understand. You chose where and how you will be born and you choose how, and when, you die. Your life is called ‘your life’ not ‘God’s life’ for a reason. That you are not aware of choosing and creating doesn’t mean you don’t choose and create.”

Is that too much? Is it too much to say? Is it too much to expect from a five year old, from a fifteen year old, from a fifty year old?

But, you see, God just might see humans differently than humans do. God just might know the unlimited power humans wield and with which they create their reality, their world, their life. God might know that there is no limit to what humans can do, to what they can be. God might know that the human world looks and works like it does because humans say so, believe so, relate so.

God might know, at last, that it is nothing more than an outward projection of humans themselves. A name, a concept to which humans assign that which they, themselves, truly are — the ultimate, unlimited creators.

All humans, even those who are five years old.

Is this too much?

Top 10 Life Lessons Learned From My Dad

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 9.55.32 AMWhere I am concerned, my Dad’s heart is always on his sleeve. He is so grounded in truth, so deep in his thinking, and so moral about humanity that I wonder how I got so lucky! Of course he doesn’t see it that way, and wonders instead how he got so lucky to have me. We have been through a lot together over the years, and in his “lead by example” way I have learned so much from him that I have taken into my own adulthood. My favorites:

1. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You  never know what kind of day someone is having and what they’re  going through. Know that most bad moods, angry words, or scowling faces have nothing to do with you. Put yourself is someone else’s shoes when you can and try to see life from another’s perspective.

2. Don’t judge someone by what color their hair is, what their job is, how many tattoos they have, or who their parents are. Just because they don’t fit a socialized mold of “acceptable” doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the most caring humans you might ever meet.

3. Every dream and every goal is attainable no matter how far out of reach it may seem at the time. Break down your dream into small steps. Do three things a day that will lead you closer to your dream.

4. Religion is a personal decision and something to be used with respect and love. Don’t push your beliefs, or your lack of belief, on anyone else. We simultaneously walk our path alone and together, and each person has their own way to self-discovery and their own definition of “divine.”

5. Your past is not an excuse for your present. Not. An. Excuse.

6. Don’t hide who you are just to make the people around you more comfortable. You have every right to shine and to be yourself, because yourself is pretty fabulous!

7. Be dedicated to your body and your health. Life is so much easier when the body is whole.

8. “Disappointments, failures, weakness, making wrong decisions and mistakes are all part of life. Some of the most valuable life lessons come from these times,” taken verbatim from a letter sent to me in college from my Dad.

9. When your family needs you, really truly needs you, drop absolutely everything and go to them.

10. Anything worth doing has a certain amount of fear associated with it. Don’t be afraid of that fear and know that moving forward can be scary. Again, taken verbatim from a  letter my Dad gave me upon high school graduation…”As you head in a new direction in your life, don’t let fear keep you from moving ahead. Moving       forward can be scary because you are going into the unknown. Staying  where you are is usually safe and comfortable but you never get anywhere. You have so many qualities that will take you anywhere you want to go.”

Above all…always let your kids know you support them one thousand percent, no matter what they do, where they go or who they become. They need you and life is a whole lot easier to manage with that kind of love.

Tornadoes, Bombings, and Kidnappings – How Tragedies Activate Our Higher Selves (Part 2)

PrayClick here for part 1.

Author Seth Godin shares that, in today’s world, big change doesn’t happen top-down – by governments or companies deciding what to do. Big or epic change happens from the ground up. It happens as thousands of people decide how they want something to be and then go do it. We can influence this string of tragedies between people by a creating a groundswell of respect and appreciation by people who recommit to seeing the good in others, valuing others and using their unique abilities to see and solve today’s challenges.

Tragedies get our attention. Tragedies interrupt our daily flow – they demand us to step into larger and more responsible roles. When life is fine – we are less intentional in our approach – almost going through life in autopilot. In these moments, we are less focused on how we can connect with each other more significantly or find ways to live more safely on the planet. But when something unusual – painful and tragic – happens, we dig deeper, find resources within ourselves and work more significantly with others to give, improve, support, and care. We are more responsive and more compassionate.

Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth, “As unhappiness increases, it also causes an increasing disruption in your life.” And when the pain is great, we change. When tragedies strike, we are shaken out of our normal, self-centered worlds and have a glimpse of our greater humanity, greater suffering, and greater need. In this moment, we connect to what is best in us and we solve, invent, work together, and let petty differences disappear. Remember the unity we felt after the Boston Marathon bombings, 911, the Oklahoma tornadoes and hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The planet and people are the greatest sources of our tragedies. We can’t do much about the planet other than to understand it and use our collective genius to work together to learn how to live safely on it. We can however, learn to be more focused on each other’s greatness as the way to discuss our differences instead of attack, to work through problems instead of shooting or bombing, and to consider that every life is as valuable and important as every other life, regardless of faith, career, social status, or ethnicity. We are each born awesome; when we each are able to know ourselves and know our world, we can then unite to connect the best of ourselves to address today’s needs, challenges, and opportunities. Our problems and our solutions are in our humanity.

As my mother used to say to my five siblings and me when we complained about some physical attribute we inherited from our family that we didn’t like (long arms, unruly hair, Italian nose), “Look deeper. You have enough of the right stuff to make a profound difference in this world. You have what others need in the way of ideas, intellect, compassion and awareness to invent what needs to be invented and to learn to see the divine abilities in every other person.”

What if each of us learned to respond in “tragedy-mode” even when there were no tragedies? What if we cared more for others to help them reach their potential and soar in life instead of taking them down? What if we used our amazing intellectual abilities and wisdom to develop ways to keep people around the planet safe, regardless of what the planet was doing in its life cycle, then hurry to respond if something larger than our solutions happens?

Tragedies have the ability to help us discover and live what is best in us. The better question is why must we wait for a tragedy to access our more expansive, wise, and compassionate selves? If they are present in tragedy, then they are also present in happier and less dangerous times. All we need to do is to call on them.

So, maybe tragedies occur to remind us that we have greater power and influence over the outcomes of things than we think. That perhaps tragedies exist to show us that we have what we need to proactively stop future tragedies from happening. It is our choice to show up each day respecting and caring about others, and understanding our world to know how to live in it safely and wisely. And when the unavoidable humanity and planet collisions occur, that we quickly, wisely and compassionately respond.

Tornadoes, Bombings, and Kidnappings – Making Sense Out of Tragedies (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 3.58.18 PMIn what seems to be a period of an unprecedented amount of tragedies, we ask what is happening with our planet and with the people in our world? Tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and super storms; bombings, kidnapping, civil wars, battles over land and beliefs, and centuries’ old sectarian violence is all we hear about. Today’s news seems to report crisis after catastrophe after calamity. Why do these tragedies happen and what sense can we make out of them?

What if tragedies were the interruption in our lives to get us out of our mindless approach to our days – to be “shocked” into being greater, more compassionate, more creative, and wiser? What if the reason for tragedies were to force us to learn to reconnect with others as each important and valuable, and to use our collective genius to learn how to live better and more safely on our changing planet?

In a closer review, it seems this string of tragedies is centered on two areas – our planet and our humanity. Perhaps by looking at each, we can start to make sense of why these events happen and determine if there is anything we can do about them. Let’s start with a look at the planet.

Our planet is alive. It is constantly shifting, growing, and regenerating. Earthquakes are the natural process of the collision of shifting tectonic plates and the bringing up of new materials from deep in the earth to feed the surface. Hurricanes are the natural reaction of changes in our atmosphere whose winds clean and reconfigure the face of the land. Their rains replenish all life forms throughout all ecological systems. Violent tornadoes are the intersection of cold and warm fronts, influenced by topography and geography.

My personal perspective is there is no intentionality or malice in these events; these are not curses or punishments. They, instead, are the natural cycle of life of our living and changing planet. These events have existed on our planet long before mankind inhabited this blue and green ball. As we live along fault lines, in areas lower than sea level, along riverbanks, on flat windy plains, and along the coasts, we put ourselves in nature’s way. Nature does what it does to sustain itself, regardless of where we live, shop, attend school, or work. Though beautiful, nature can also be violent. Tragedies happen when these planet life-events collide with where humans live and work. But the solution to living in a vibrant and thriving planet is directly connected to the second focus in this discussion of tragedy – people.

In addition to our collision with our planet, we are also in collision with people. Wars, conflicts, bombings, genocide, kidnapping, assaults, and rapes happen because we are colliding with cultures, values, beliefs, and traditions. In these collisions, we have forgotten that each of us is intrinsically great, special, unique, and divinely created. In conflict, we do not consider others as equally important, valuable, or as great as ourselves. We lose the understanding that we are a collection of people – all uniquely gifted and capable of not only solving the issues we have with each other to eliminate personal tragedies, but by using our intellect and gifts to discover how to live on our evolving planet.

I am reminded of the message in the Hindu greeting Namaste – “may the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you.” Science, religion, and philosophy rarely agree. But they do agree on this one thing – there is an element of greatness or divinity in each of us, evidenced by the uniqueness of our talents, strengths and passions. Reconsidering this inherent value in everyone and living with the respect and appreciation for the true greatness in others, not only can reduce the collision of people, but can be used to resolve the collisions of people with the planet.

Stay tuned for part 2!

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