Finding joy: go around the boulder

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will
tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”

– Buddha

Got this gem from my HearthMath quote of the day list. Can’t you just picture the Buddha sitting there with his twinkling eyes and big round stomach (I love the laughing Buddha carvings), encouraging us to laugh with him at our own foibles and the absurdities of this life? When I was a kid and got angry about something bad that I was sure wasn’t right, I often used to choke out the words, “It’s not fair!” through my tears and frustration. And my mom would whirl around, angry herself then, and hiss back at me, “Who told you life was fair?” My mom and dad, like so many in the world, had more than their share of unfair things happen to them–from dysfunctional parents, stays in orphanages, and grinding Depression poverty, to losing a beloved first son and killing to keep from being killed in World War II.

I didn’t get it then. Didn’t really know what she meant. I’ve learned since then, of course, but I can imagine how much quicker and easier the lesson would have been if we’d both known about Buddha’s philosophy and been able to take his words to heart. How do we turn tragedy into laughter?

Today, when things aren’t fair, I don’t like it any better than I did as a kid. But I’ve come to accept that this is the way life and people can be. It’s like in the little kids’ Nick, Jr. show where Moose’s friend, the blue bird Zee, is in a race and arrives at a big boulder in the path. And Moose asks the kids watching, well, should Zee go AROUND the boulder or try to go under it?

If we accept that boulders are simply part of life, we learn to use our creativity to go around them and get back on path. If we accept that we might not even finish a race, we can still choose to do the best possible job—and enjoy the work we do. If we believe that everything is perfect as it is, we can find reasons to laugh at the sky even when things are at their blackest. Whether it’s a rotten economy, an abusive relationship, a crappy job, or a serious health challenge, all we need to do is come up with Plan B and Plan C—and even with the worst case senario—and we will always be ready to find the positive.

And when single working women reach out to support each other, we get an extra layer of cushioning to help us feel the joy.

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Creating a new vision of our world

Love this idea. They’re called “common security clubs,” and they’re all about looking at our personal, national and global economic issues together with a view to understanding–and changing–the forces at work on us all. Groups of 10 to 20 adults meet, either independently or affiliated with an institution (religious secular or otherwise) for a minimum of 5 times and then decide how they want to proceed. This is a concept with promise for single working women battling things all alone out there–generating ideas where working together we can improve each other’s economic security.
 
Some questions to build club activities around:

1) Learn and reflect
Through popular education tools, videos, Bible study (if Christian church-affiliated), and shared readings, participants increase their understanding of the larger economic forces on our lives. Why is the economy in distress? How did these changes happen? What are the historical factors? How does this connect to the global economy? What are the ecological factors contributing to the changes? What is our vision for a healthy, sustainable economy? What are the sources of real security in my life?

2) Mutual aid and local action
Through stories, examples, Web-based resources, a workbook, and mutual support, participants reflect on what makes them secure. What can we do together to increase our economic security at the local level? What would it mean to respond to my economic challenges in community? How can I reduce my economic vulnerability in conjunction with others? How can I get out of debt? How can I help my neighbor facing foreclosure or economic insecurity? Can I downscale and reduce my consumption and ecological footprint and save money?

3) Social action
The economic crisis is in part the result of an unengaged citizenry and government. What can we do together to build an economy based on building healthy communities rather than shoring up the casino economy? What public policies would make our communities more secure? Through discussion and education, participants might find ways to engage in a larger program of change around the financial system, economic development, tax policy, and other elements of our shared economic life.

Great ideas. Thanks to Jillian for sharing. Read more here http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0902&article=we-re-in-this-together.

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