The Buddhist quote I posted a couple weeks ago had been rolling around in my head for several days prior and it really speaks to the perseverance and determination needed to make changes in our outlook on life, the way our families and communities operate, and how we choose to inhabit this world.
We can all think of examples of where people have made a difference through conscious action- equal rights, marriage rights, the right to make a decent wage for a days work, etc. These fights all took time to develop public support and to change deeply-held opinions. Some were decades-long struggles that were won through commitment to a vision of how to make our society a better place for all of us.
This same sort of dedication needs to be applied if we wish to make improvements and changes in our own lives because we will face similar difficulties with social pressures as well as our own deeply-rooted habits. Ever try to quit smoking? It is not as simple as just not lighting up. The habit is woven into the fabric of your day and it takes time to remove that particular strand. There will no doubt be days where you miss a thread. But if you keep working at it, it is indeed possible to change your life.
Those days, where strands are missed, are the ones where doubt creeps in. Where we begin to question our motives. When we are perhaps unable to see the vision that was so clear just yesterday. Fall down seven times, stand up eight speaks not just to determination but to trust as well. If you can reaffirm that you set yourself on this mission for good reasons, then standing up, facing down your doubt, and retracing that missed strand of bad habit is your only next step.
Strength isn’t the absence of weakness, it is acting in spite of it. It is believing in the face of doubt. Rather than giving up and trying something easier, we keep to our decision and work around the difficulties.
I think that we may be in for a few years of difficulty in the United States. Our misguided culture has elected a governing body that does not have our best interests in mind and there will be unpleasant repercussions from that action. In light of that, we need more than ever to create stronger communities and take better care of ourselves.
- We need to not buy into the politics of division and negativity that tear us apart.
- We need to not follow every shiny new trend created to distract us.
- We need to shed unnecessary expenses and some of the daily luxuries that have made us soft and weak as a people.
- We need to want less and live a more economically realistic life because our outsized needs are forcing us into debt and ruining our lives.
- We need to regain a sense of compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings- this is not a weakness, it is the source of a community’s strength.
In effect, we need to retrain ourselves to be a self-sufficient and confident nation that has the strength to wrest power out of the hands of corporations and big money interests and give it back to those that matter- you and me.
This won’t be done through outright battle with the entrenched powers. We won’t win. I believe the way to take our country back is by changing our own habits and helping others to do the same. If we control our own lives, it is much less likely that we will allow others to control us.