Be true to your own spirit

Wouldn’t it be simpler to live in a little rural village with all your extended family surrounding you? But even with all your family closer to you, it might be frustrating for everyone to know your business and not be able to have any secrets. On the plus side, everyone in the community would have been born there and raised with much the same values and taught the same tasks. Cultivating the soil, planting, reaping the harvest, baking the bread and making clothes for the family would be commonplace.

Now fast forward to the 21st century. Television and the internet bring the world to your screen. War, famine, earthquakes, hurricanes and tidal waves become known to you personally. News of murder, drug dealing, and robberies are reported to you hourly. What a complex situation for any one mind to contemplate.

It is no wonder that places where one can forget are becoming even more prevalent. In a down economy casinos, movie theaters and thrill vacations including bungee jumping are thriving. You don’t even have to remember anything anymore. Your doctor’s secretary calls you to remind you that your appointment is the next day. The TV ads entice you with a medicine for every little pain and children are bombarded with so-called healthful breakfast cereals that are good for you and taste good too. Right. They taste good because they are laced with sugar. The first lady is going to find it rather difficult to change the eating habits of little ones who have never tasted real food without sweet additives.

But exercise is important too. What will entice young children to engage in heart stimulating activity when they are surrounded by computer games and television which may take up much of their free time? Many adults work at sedentary jobs and then wonder why their arms and legs are getting flabby. People sit at desks in offices and then pay for expensive health clubs to ride on exercise bikes that could provide enough power to light up the whole building.

Nowadays if anyone feels like taking part in activism after a day at the office they can be found protesting a strip club in their neighborhood as twenty protestors recently did in Yakima. Wow, I was thinking that if more people had bothered to protest this country’s trillion dollar wars, it might have saved us monumental debt. But this country has been more concerned with the private lives of famous philanderers than doing the right thing in avoiding unnecessary wars.

Have we learned anything by studying our past history? Or are we satisfied with ignoring the power hungry leaders who send young men to battle and mega-corporations that market what they have seduced us into craving? As the Dalai Lama says, the complicated lives that we live have turned solitude into chaos and pleasure into pain as we build bigger houses for less children and have more conveniences but less time. What is the answer? Know who you are, find your own spirit, live your own life, and be true to your family and friends as you reach out into community for sustenance and sharing. Shedding past hatreds and giving up revenge would also help in building a more peaceful world. Let’s go for it.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at gnkunkel@comcast.net or 206-935-8663.

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