Friday, December 09, 2005

True to Yourself

You can't have peace if you can't be true to who you are. You need to listen to your internal wisdom, no matter what it tells you.

I've been relearning this lesson lately. I have a bad feeling about a potential real estate purchase and I've finally decided to stop thinking that I am just bothered because this is new. I have spent some money educating myself. In fact, I've spend more than I would like and mostly what I have learned is that my gut is correct. I don't regret learning that as I might have wondered "what if" if I had just listened and walked away. There's still a way to potentially make this happen, but I find myself very uncomfortable.

I have finally decided just this evening that the nausea that I feel thinking about this is not worth it. There are other places for sale. I can find one of them and I will.

As everyone has been telling me, I need to listen to my gut. Peace comes from inside but if we draw in things into our lives that aren't in harmony with who we are, then we'll have more trouble accessing that still place inside ourselves where find peace.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Being honest with ourselves is hard. We can all be dishonest in a hundred small ways with ourselves and with others. Some of these things matter and others don't.

I was thinking about this other day when a woman in my office was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was talking about the process of telling her friends and family of the diagnosis. One woman said, "I need to call you back in a few minutes. I have to go have a good cry." Another told her: "I don't know what to say. I'm floored. Can I call you back?"

While this may not sound like people giving wonderful support in this time of bad news, I was astonished at how wonderfully honest these people were with my friend. It is easy to try and think of positive reassuring things to say in most cases.

It might have been much easier to think up pleasant platitudes about her diagnosis, but the fact is, even with the improved statistical survival rates, beating breast cancer is a kind of a bitch. There's surgery, the chemo can make you sick and that goes on for 3 months and often longer and potentially there's radiation. Then there can be reconstruction surgery. You're tired. You're scared. You feel sick lots of the time. Your hair may fall out. You feel ugly.

That's off the top of my head. Who can say a lot of upbeat stuff about that? My upbeat comment: Wow you're lucky to have such honest friends.

Inevitably the more honest her friends are, the more authentically they can connect with each other during this process. I also believe that what draw to ourselves shows us something about internal process. This woman must be incredibly honest. This may make things harder sometimes because honesty doesn't often look away from a problem. However, in the long run, by not avoiding a problem, she'll be stronger and more able to deal with it.

I have to look inside myself to see how honest am I in cases like that? How honest am I with myself and others?

Defining Liberalism

This morning I was reading a book where I found a nice quote. I wanted to preface this quote by stating that I am a liberal. I wanted to look up the word liberal in the dictionary to define what I meant, as I don't particularly affiliate myself with any particular party. The Dems have gotten far too conservative in most things and not nearly interested enough in economics.

Based on some defnitions from my Webster's Dictionary, circa 1981, I am allowing myself to be side tracked.

First we have the noun.
liberal n: one who is liberal: as a: one who is open-minded and not strict in the observace of orthodox, traditional or established form or ways. b: cap a member or supporter of a liberal political party. c: an advocate or adherent of liberalism esp. in individual rights.

So how does the dictionary define liberalism?
c: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

So why is this a bad word? Not everyone has to subscribe to a party line, but when exactly did it become "wrong" or bad to be a liberal? What is wrong with believing in the essential goodness of man?

Conservative by contrast doesn't mean anything bad either. It merely wants to adhear to traditional values.

However, in the US we've allowed ourselves to make each of these people "other." Instead of remembering that we may want progress in certain areas and tradition in other areas, we allow ourselves to become polarized about those who are and who are not like us. The political realm is a wonderful place to look at this polarization as it's come on in a fairly short span of time. How did we get so polarized? Why? What are our own reactions and assumptions about people with certain belief systems? Are their belief systems inherently wrong or do they have some merit for the person who believes them. How can we all work together to find compromises?

Finding peace means finding ways to work within a society that has many different viewpoints. It is not about erradicating the dissent, but rather about working with it to create a more vital and dynamic whole. Diversity strengthens us. Diversity includes everything we (liberal or conservative) don't like. Just something to think about.