4 years, 7 months, and 3 days. People matter, not things.

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Kindness-health-benefits-RAK-Foundation-release.jpg

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-massacre-at-least-30-children-die-in-indian-hospital-after-oxygen-cut-off/2017/08/12/5f51cf70-fcc8-4fd3-8a71-94fcba37094f_story.html?utm_term=.74075c1cde17

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/12/543096666/white-supremacist-protest-in-virginia-leaves-one-dead

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_surprising_insights_about_success_and_happiness

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

There are difficult days, then there are DIFFICULT days.  Today is the latter.  The sadness is palpable.

But, as the enlightened Buddha has said, “Life is full of suffering, and the cause of suffering is selfishness.”  Open your eyes and see the world for what it is.  On one hand, you have 30 children die in a hospital in India because the hospital failed to pay for the oxygen needed to keep its patients alive.  On the other, you have a man drive his car into a crowd of protesters who hold views different from his own.

What is more important — the life of sick children or the death of those whose beliefs are different from your own?  A mere child can see the value of the former and senselessness of the latter.  Yet, adults often allow foolish thoughts to cloud their better judgement.

Don’t fall into this trap.  Remember always that people come first — not things, not ideas, not money.

(Let me be clear: even the grandest idea finds beauty only in its expression.  If a beautiful idea brings about ugly results, then the idea must not have been beautiful to begin with — its beauty was but an illusion.  Religion may be a beautiful idea, but countless number of people have been killed, maimed, and tortured in the name of religion.  The concept may not be flawed, but the expression of that concept certainly can be.)

As Americans, it is believed we have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.  That is a fool’s errand.  Happiness is not thing that we can catch.  It is more like a butterfly that will alight upon us when we are in the right frame of mind.

How do we achieve this “right” state of mind?  By being real, and by channeling your energies toward helping others.  (I use the term “help” here loosely to mean any act of kindness which would bring positivity to the lives of those around you.)

As one of my favorite sites states,

Kim Cameron, a University of Michigan professor and pioneer in the field of positive organizational psychology, tried a new kind of mapping: He plotted employees by their “relational energy.” Relational energy is how much your interactions with others motivate, invigorate, and energize them (rather than draining or exhausting them, something we’ve all experienced).

The result? The relational energy network predicted performance four times better than networks based on influence or information. In other words, having a positive and energizing impact on others seems much more important to how much you achieve at work than getting people to do what you want or hoarding secrets. And when a leader is more positively energizing, her employees perform better, are more satisfied and engaged with their jobs, and have higher well-being at home….

Are you searching for meaning in your life?

Most of us don’t have to look too far, argued University of Missouri professor Laura King. In a passionate and thought-provoking talk, she cited research showing that little things can increase our sense of meaning: seeing images of trees that represent the passing of the seasons; being reminded of morning-related words (pancakes, bacon, sunrise) in the morning; or having more routine in our lives….

“People don’t need to know how to make their lives meaningful. They need to know that they already are,” King said. And when we believe in the meaningfulness of our lives, we unlock the benefits of more positive feelings and better relationships.

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_surprising_insights_about_success_and_happiness

Be kind to yourselves and to others, my sons.

All my love, always,

Dad

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