Monday, August 31, 2009

Dick Cheney Doesn't Get It

Dick Cheney misses the most important point. If, in order to gain something, we compromise our most important principles, then we have actually lost. There is nothing important enough to justify committing a wrong to gain the end we want, no matter how vital the need may be. It's no use trying to convince ourselves that the end justifies the means. It doesn't. Every action has a flow that returns to us in like kind. We will reap what we sow. We cannot come out right by doing wrong. This isn't politics--it's principle. Shame on you, Dick Cheney.

There is always a way to do what we need to do, either for ourselves or for our country, without doing wrong to others. The test of our integrity is to be able to use our imagination, ingenuity, and our courage to find that way. If we believe we can only keep our country safe is by torturing other human beings, we have to be ready to reap the results of that torture. The advantages will only be temporary. In the end, we will be even less safe than we are now.

I am against torture for any reason. There is a greater law than any law we might concoct to make torture "legal." That law is "do unto others what you would have them do unto you." Shame on you, Dick Cheney!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life's "Do Overs"

A couple of mornings ago, I woke up with the refrain, "Life is a series of 'do overs' " running through my head, and wondered sleepily what on earth that meant. When I was finally awake, I realized that, although I hadn't thought of it quite like that, I've noticed that things I've flubbed in some way often seem to come up again and again--not necessarily with the same person, or in exactly the same situation, but with the same principle involved. Whenever I catch myself asking, "Why does this keep happening?" I know it's time to pay attention in a different way--a way that can give me a new slant on what I am doing, or not doing, that brings this experience back again and again.

It's hard to do, but I try to look at myself as if I were somebody else, observing me and getting the benefit of what I am doing or saying. When I do this, sometimes I am embarrassed to find that I have been doing exactly what I criticized someone else for doing. It's such a shock when I finally realize it, it's a lesson not easy to forget. It's embarrassing because I believe in treating others the way I like to be treated.

What happens when I seriously miss the point? I get "do overs" until I get it right. It may sound negative, but in reality, I'm glad to have so many "chances." It's good to know we don't get condemned for our mistakes--just constantly reminded by life to "shape up."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Car Monsters

I can't help but wonder what happens to some otherwise nice people when they get behind the wheel of a car. In the last two weeks I have seen several instances of lunacy, anger, and rudeness on the part of other drivers on my usual rounds to the pharmacy, the grocery store, and the dentist. Three times in a row, at the pharmacy, which has a rather small parking lot, I have seen huge vehicles parked in the only disabled parking space. Not only were their vehicles too large for the space, making it hard for others to pass by, but they had neither disabled licenses nor a disabled sign inside their windshields. What goes through a person's mind to make them think that this kind of inconsideration for the handicapped and for other drivers is OK?

In the same parking lot one day, I saw a young woman, driving a spiffy late-model car, pull in and stop to wait for the space someone was about to leave. The only problem was, she stopped too close to the space she was waiting for, and the woman who was trying to leave couldn't get out. The young woman just sat there, waiting, and didn't budge an inch. I signaled to her to back up a little, but she shook her head. An elderly gentleman on the other side of her, also signaled to her to back up, but still she shook her head. The poor woman who was trying to leave started backing carefully, then moving forward, then backing again, doing her best to maneuver herself out of that space. I admired her pluck, her tenacity, and, in the end, her driving skills, because somehow she managed to get out, after backing and filling several times. The man and I both spoke to the young woman, pointing out how much trouble the other driver was having because she was in her way. She refused to move, saying "She has a small car. She can get out."

The elderly gentleman and I couldn't believe what we were seeing, and agreed it topped the list for rudeness and inconsideration. I'm ashamed to say I was so angry at this display of hard-heartedness, I didn't forget it for several hours.

On my way to the dentist, a man was so mad at getting caught at a red light, he sped through the intersection anyway, and only jamming on my brakes fast saved me from being hit. Several drivers honked, and one shook his fist yelling something at the disappearing car that it's probably lucky I didn't hear. Later, at the grocery store, someone backed out without looking, and again, I had to hit my brakes to avoid a collision.

Well, those are all the stories of strange driving experiences I can think of at the moment, but there were others, including instances of people causing near accidents because they were either texting or talking on their cell phones. Just because its against the law doesn't mean you get caught when you do it. I'm hoping these car monsters will begin to think about what they are doing, and will find a way to be kind while driving.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

There's Always A Way

I have lived long enough now--90 years--that I know there is always a way. I have found this to be true through many daunting circumstances for which I had no answer. Now, even though I can't see a solution the minute a problem arises, I know within myself that an answer exists and that it will come to me one way or another. I turn within, and ask that part of me that is witnessing my life, what I should do, where I should look for information, whom I could ask for help. Sometimes answers just pop into my head when I'm in the middle of doing something else. More often, answers and ideas come in dreams--answers that my merely human self couldn't think of, solutions that differ completely from the direction I was taking on my own. Or, sometimes I get a confirmation of the direction I had already started taking.

This isn't something that is unique to me. I have known many others who have found answers in the same way. Anyone can do it. All that it requires is turning within, and asking your inner self (we all have one) what to do, and then shutting up and listening for the answer. It may come almost immediately, or not for several days. "Listening" means going into a sort of mental neutral while you wait for an answer. It doesn't mean you completely stop thinking--life goes on--but it means not wrangling with the problem any further, and instead, reminding yourself that a solution is already in the works.

It was in doing this that I found out that the Universe is friendly. It may not seem so when everything has gone wrong, and you are faced with seemingly insurmountable problems and impossible choices. The more times you find your way out of difficulty by trusting your inner self, the more sure you become that there is always a way even when you're sure there's not. The hardest part is taking your mind off the problem. The second hardest part is reminding yourself (when the problem comes back into your head for the umpteenth time) that your higher self is taking care of things. The best part, is seeing problems resolve in ways you never thought of.