how to save the world

Last Sunday, my spouse and I decided to go for a late afternoon walk in the park. It was our lazy way out of doing a 3 mile run. Instead, we decided to walk the 3+ mile loop of our park with our dogs, as a way of getting the miles in but not over-exerting ourselves. This of course, is not the point of this post, but I need to set up this scenario.

We walked around the park, but although it was already late afternoon, it was pretty hot, and our dogs are not used to the heat; and although they are fit, 3 miles was a big jump from their usual 1 mile max on a walk. So, we carried them, looked for water, sat in shady areas, got their bodies wet to cool their core. Eventually we sat in a cool shady area for a longer period of time, where the dogs (and us) could rest, and watch the people in the park.

While sitting there, watching kites fly, people playing frisbee, or paddle ball, sitting around, eating, reading to their child. I lay back and enjoyed it all. Though the park was full of people, it was peacefully quiet.

I turned my head, and looked at the curve of the hill that I was on, that flattened out to the path. Beyond that was a lamppost, a fence, and then more greenery beyond that. I thought about the earth, the dandelions all over, imagined the hundreds of people that walk through this area; imagined the iron worker that must have taken pride in the lamppost they made, or not. The people that installed it in that spot, and the others that repaint it a shiny black every so often. Were they proud of the work or indifferent? I went on to think how the fence must have been installed by someone – I wondered how they felt doing it – was it a hot, sticky day like today or the middle of winter?. I wondered about the stories that each person in the park had – why were they there, were they happy? serene? miserable? There were also the birds, bugs, and other animals that live in this park – all in a peaceful coexistence. We are all one.

With this thought of one-ness, I then started thinking about the world; caring for the world and how there are some people/organizations/countries that are not taking care of the earth/people/animals/vegetation, and are more focused on profit. How could we be one, and then do this to ourselves? What can I do to stop fracking, or to stop use of GMO’s or whatever other global or local issue that is affecting the world?

We are all one…hmm. The thought came back to me, like the speck in Horton Hears A Who!. Earlier that week, I had spoken to someone about how, within families, we cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. Even if the other person is the one that’s ‘wrong’, we can only control our own behavior – what we say and what we do. We have to focus on ourselves if we want to make progress, otherwise we can wait forever, unhappy, waiting for someone else to ‘see the light’. And then it hit me – well actually, the speck landed on my forehead: maybe this earlier line of thinking also applies to the world – that all I have to do is work on myself. Somehow, this is the key to saving the world – make myself the best person I can be. This new thought has been quite tentative – a thought that can float away on doubt. But it hasn’t, it has rested on the spot right above my nose. I did not swat it away, it was not bothering me, but was also surprised that it remained there, still.

What do you think? Change the world by becoming a better person yourself. Phooey! That can’t be possible, can it?

7 thoughts on “how to save the world

  1. Jennifer

    I like your train of thought, Pat! I never look at a lamppost and wonder about it. I agree that we can only change ourselves. Sometimes what’s going on in the world drives me crazy. I think you are on to something here. If we each work on ourselves and put our best foot forward, there has to be a trickle like effect that will facilitate change. Kinda like when you are nice to someone, then they are nice to someone else, etc, Good stuff 🙂

    Reply
  2. Theresa Varela

    I, too, sometimes have trouble believing that all I really need is to work on my self. If I do the next right thing on my path, somehow, everything turns out how it should. Sometimes my service to others is just being what I so desire for them to be.

    Reply
    1. Patricia Dornelles Post author

      although it’s hard to see how working on oneself could change the world; doing it is a win-win activity. The alternative – waiting for others to change – is lose-lose both in the short and long run.

      Reply
      1. Mara

        Being the best you, I believe, helps others… we don’t normally realize how connected we all are- and sometimes when we shock others into noticing that through impersonal compassion (that immediate acceptance that’s love even if it’s romantic or familial love), they feel that connection, and, hopefully, it sits on their forehead and encourages them to be their best too. Sometimes just knowing we’re not alone is enough to make the world a better place.

        Reply

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