When I first started blogging many years ago, my posts were random thoughts with occasional commentary on hot topics du jour. Reviving my blog in late 2019, I was committed to writing mostly about the art of retreating, that is, taking a break to recharge and reset your life. Today, who knows when places of retreat and organizations that allow volunteering for a cause (another form of retreating) will open their doors again? When they do, their programming will become much different. Stay tuned.
So this week I’m adding a new topic to my blog posts: Foresight 2020, which will explore some of the ideas many great thinkers and leaders are floating around to ensure societies thrive sustainably.
We’ve experienced seven or so weeks of lockdown in various states of restriction depending on where you live. As I was struggling with various necessities at the grocery store checkout (mask, cart, items, shopping bags, and cell phone—I now pay electronically for everything), I thought, “this is going to get old fast.” After sanitize-wiping all my purchases at home before putting them in the pantry and fridge, I declared, “this is already old!” Unfortunately, the end to this routine is not in sight.
Instead of falling into a pity-party trap, though, I’d like to drive the conversation toward how we as a society can reinvent our way of life. How we’ve been living in the past 20 to 30 years is not sustainable on many levels: social, economic, psychologic, resource-wise.
Millions of individuals and families struggle to make rent and buy food. Children born into poverty experience alarmingly low rates of becoming self-supporting, healthy adults. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 43% of children live in low-income families in the United States. Have you ever wondered what happens to those children and how their damaged start in life affects you? We warehouse our elders in senior care centers and wait for them to die, many of them neglected, abused, alone, and afraid. We incarcerate the mentally ill, drug addicts, and other non-violent people for minor crimes instead of giving them the appropriate means to manage their lives and situations.
Our laws are replete with racist, sexist, classist features that deny basic rights and services, among other things, to large sections of the population, making it difficult—if not impossible—for certain types of people to lead decent lives. We treat our pets better than we treat other people. And we have failed colossally in demanding that our lawmakers pass legislation that benefits all of society instead of being paid tax dollars to shill for greedy corporations whose main goal it seems is to pay as few taxes as possible while hoarding wealth in offshore banks and outsourcing jobs to other countries.
In the pursuit of our individual needs and desires, we have checked our capacity for compassion and empathy at the door, entered the theatre, and stormed the stage, shouting our one line: “ME, ME, ME!” This is precisely what those greedy corporations want us to do—distract ourselves with selfishness so that they can keep on puppeteering Congress for their own personal gain.
Mine is not an anti-government, anti-corporate tirade. We need governments and corporations, but we taxpayers, workers at all levels, citizens and non-citizen immigrants have put politicians and corporations where they are. Without ordinary people voting and consuming goods and services, governments and corporations would not be where they are. Which means we can put other politicians in office who do the peoples’ bidding, not that of a select vocal minority with deep pockets.
Let’s turn this giant load of lemons into a lemon-aid tonic. Yes, this whole thing sucks, and it’s going to for a long time, so why not use this opportunity to envision a better way of life for everyone? Some of our lawmakers are trying to do this very thing by including riders to the relief package bills considered by Congress, while other lawmakers are preventing these considerations from seeing daylight, protecting industries that will soon go the way of the literal dinosaurs anyway (oil, gas, coal, which originated from prehistoric plants and animals).
We have been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to examine how we live, the laws we make, and the destructive habits that are annihilating us inside and out. What are we going to do about it? What are some ways you can reinvent yourself to reduce your planetary footprint, increase your capacity for compassion, and share your talents and ideas for improving your corner of the neighborhood? Check out these two links to get the creative juices flowing:
- Soul Food for Thought on Facebook has a lot of beautiful nuggets to think about.
- Hindsight 2020 Bedtime story
If you have ideas or strategies you’d like to share, send me an email. I’ll write about them in future posts. Remember to also take care of yourself, too.