Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Growth In Tough Times

I have found it a bit hard to write in the last few weeks. So much going on in the world. I am not a reader that purports to be able to predict world events. I work more on an individual basis with what I pick up in a person's immediate life experience. At the same time there are trends that I see affecting everyone. Sometimes I have to acknowledge that. I found, for instance, around the time of the 9/11 disaster that I had to differentiate between the overall stress of that time and how individual people were working through things. What I see in terms of mass / community consciousness IS important. Even before  many of these things started playing out, I have seen a lot coming in the next while that has to do with people reaching out, communities and neighborhoods growing to accomodate need and people putting their lives into a greater perspective.

Many things are having to work differently. How people look at separation, for instance, has economic and stress related aspects that are very different from even as little as two years ago. People are having to cooperate differently as families and colleagues. Our sense of personal security is vastly different than it was a decade ago. Retirement, for many is looking like a different kind of deal than the more "get away from it all" luxuries of the 1980s. At the same time, we seem to be actually getting back a different sense of worth that for many was lost.

In the last few weeks the terrible disaster in Japan has been either directly or indirectly affecting everyone. I give some mention to this in a reading when I feel it. Rather like a condition that colors a lot of other aspects. I don't have any easy answers but what I have the privilege of seeing in many people, both as customers as well as friends and family is how we are pulling through.

I have a younger relative that until recently was teaching in Japan. She is determined to go back and help out when she can. My family is pulling together to do what we can to support her and her friends overseas. Although the impetus for this was terrible. It also seems to be something that has my family coming together in a way we hadn't for a while. I am also seeing great differences in the issues clients are bringing. many have a greater world concern than I have ever seen before and that is inspiring. That I can share with you.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, they say. Somewhere in the great wars of the last century someone also said "this is what seperates the men from the boys". Certainly there are times where upheaval and stress brings out the best and worst in all of us. I find both to be true in myself. The key thing seems to not try to manage it all. To do what we can, the best we can and to stay in the game.

Another saying I think of is "twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work". While this may be true I also notice that when world disturbances happen, there are about eighty percent that run about like Chicken Little, hollering that the sky is falling, while about twenty percent are like the Little Red Hen, doing what they can with what they find and not being side tracked by the unnecessary drama of others.

Whether we like it or not we are all affected by calamities in the world, whether it's the compassion of humanitarian concern or indirectly in gas prices and groceries and the stress of others. I see a lot of polarities in times like these. People are either drawn into distraction to escape themselves or in listening to their hearts to move with a sense of attraction toward growth and cooperation with whats going on.

Sometimes we cant have easy pat answers, so it's how we live with the questions. Faith certainly helps with that, or, for some, a kind of acceptance. I know people who don't necessarily practice a particular credo or faith path but still do a great deal that is constructive. Some of these people are relatively happy, useful and contribute to the well being of others. What most of these relatively content people have in common, whether it is with faith or not, is a basic sense of decency, recognition of worth (in self and others) and the ability to take what comes as a lesson, not a punishment or reward.

Last there is a story (I'm sure many have heard it, I'll tell it anyway) of a man walking on a beach where hundreds of starfish have washed ashore. When this happens the starfish dry up and die. He sees an old man out knee deep in the waves. The old fellow is smiling and throwing starfish back into the water. The younger fellow hollers to the old man "what are you doing"? The codger happily yells back "I'm saving starfish". The young man says "but there's so many...you won't really make a difference". The old man laughs and while throwing another one out over the waves says "made a difference to that one".