Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Great Blog

The Complimenting Commentator wandered by my kitten blog the other day and gave me a nice compliment. He's come by both blogs in their early days (how do you find new blogs so quickly?) but I didn't really know how to follow the path to his blogs. I have long since learned that.

Under his "About Me", you see

I love to compliment people. Especially through comments.

He's working on getting a birthday list of bloggers so that everyone can compliment them on their blog. What a wonderful positive thing to be doing online! Everyone loves a good compliment on their blog, even if we think we aren't doing a whole lot. Let's all return the favor and tell him what a great job he's doing okay?

Racism Revisted

So today is officially blogging against racism. I was thinking about this movie this week anyway and wanted to post about it. I this is a good time to mention it.

I also wanted to mention a wonderful film I saw the other day called Crash. It's on DVD and it's about racism, sort of.

The wonderful thing about this film is that in different ways almost everyone is racist. One of the people in the film that looks like he is most heroic in standing against racist, at the end, does the most racist thing of all. Each person in this film is a person compromised of some racial sterotypes and not others. Each of them also has redeeming qualities. It says a lot about how we are all racist but we make our judgements in different ways. We each have different lines that we cross or don't cross.

I highly recommend this film if you want to think. It's not a happy movie but it's a movie that you will keep thinking about long after it's finished.

What is Racism?

I read online that tomorrow is a day to blog against racism. I'm not sure how I want to partake in that. I thought I'd post a definition of racism today:

Racism: (n) 1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2. racial prejudice or discrimination --racist (n)

This is from Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 1981.

So racism means that people are using race is the main way to prejudge other people. Everyone is terrified of being called racist and I am not saying that this sort of prejudice is appropriate. However is prejudging anyone by race any better than prejudging them because of their religion or the way they vote or the state that they are from?

Racism is not the only "ism" we battle in our world today. The main issue with all of the "isms" and what makes these issues a problem is that it is about prejudice. We are judging people as part of a group, not as individuals. Given our propensity to want to categorize people and things quickly and easily, we will always have certain prejudices, whether it be by the way someone wears their hair, their accent, or the color of their skin. Some of these prejudices are so offensive we hide them in the closet and refuse to let ourselves think that we would judge someone just because they are _________.

It's important to examine the way we prejudge people because as soon as we refuse to look at something, it becomes a problem. Its only after examining where our prejudice comes from that we can see it for what it is and stop making assumptions about another because of the group that they are from and start actually getting to know the other human beings around us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Motion is movement

We tend to think of internal peace as that place where we are calm and joyous, or at least I do. Maybe everyone else has a better handle on it. Peace really isn't that. It can't be that because emotion is natural. Emotion implies motion when you use the word in English. A book on acupuncture pointed this out.

Emotions move. They change. Look at small children. They can be laughing one minute, hurt and sad the next and then the next, who knows? Emotions change. It's only as we get older that we tend to hold on to certain emotions and therein lies our lack of peace. We try and hold onto emotions that we think of as good or at least useful. We try and deny those that don't feel good or that we've been shunned for feeling.

That calm feeling of being centered that we can get during meditation and sometimes just during the day is wonderful. We should honor that moment but not hang on to it. As it fades, it should be recognized that it's doing what all emotions do--it moves. Generally the emotions come back. Letting go can be hard, even if it's just that nice momentary feeling. We won't ever get it back quite the same way but it will return to us again and again if we allow ourselves to honor and recognize that calm peacefulness in whatever guise it appears.

I've written about energy movement and feeling the full range of our emotions in the past. I think this time of the year to speak about it again as this is a stressful season and it's easy to loose the ties to our own internal peacefulness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Today's post is a quote from the Dalai Lama in his Words of Wisdom

Compassion can heal not only inner anger, but the world's violence.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Personal and Community Responsibility

I've been thinking about this post for most of the day. I think this is a tough issue. For a lot of people it probably comes up more this time of year because of family responsibilities that happen around the holidays.

During other times, our families may request our presence but it's a rare occassion when we have the obligation to visit that we might have during the winter holiday season. Often we are torn by several family demands and we try and juggle all of them.

While being true to ourselves and finding that inner peace does require that we stand up for our needs and learn to say no sometimes, we need to remember we are not an island. We are connected to others and as we seek to form healthier bonds, we need to realize that bonds of family are hard to break. Certainly in the cases of physical abuse and even particularly severe emotional abuse, we may actually need to break those bonds, but in the case of just disliking our family and being uncomfortable around them, we may need to rethink our pattern.

It's a time to think of the bonds we form with others and why we form them. Do we think of these relationships as expendable or do we think of them as something that will evolve and change as we evolve and change? Is our family really so difficult that we can't be thankful that we have them? If so, can we recognize the problems of our family of origin within ourselves and see how that may have made us the person we are? Can we perhaps bless the challenges we had growing up?

This is a tough time to remain at our best and most peaceful. Demands come at us, not only from family and beloved friends but from co workers, Churches, the community and our inner sense of what works for us this season. We have to stop and think of what works for us but then we have to realize that our decisions have an impact on others. We need to figure out how to make our needs known in ways that can honor the needs of another, and, if needed, allow room for discussion and compromise.

This season brings a lot of expectation (and attachment) to how things should be. When things are not that way people are often disappointed. We can't please everyone. Perhaps we can't even please ourselves with all the conflicting demands. Maybe in letting go of the expectation that anyone (even ourselves) will be pleased we can release some of the stress of this time of year and so when it is finally over, we can get back to our real lives a bit faster and with greater peace.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Not Enough

I was sadden to hear on the news this long weekend that food banks are having shortages. Donations are down and they are hurting because the various food banks sent so much food to help the victims of the Hurricane Katrina.

This is a good time to remember that the world is about "us", all of us and not just "me and mine." When we stop thinking about what's good for me, personally, and good for all of us as humans, we start looking at the world a little differently. Food donation has always been an "easy" way for people to help out. Certainly there are many who have a need this year.