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From Where We Stand

Posted in: Blog by amy on August 8, 2012

I have always been keenly aware of the concept of PERSPECTIVE. We all approach the world from our own individual vantage points: What is important or sad or joyous for me may elicit an opposite reaction from another person. Perspective is something that many of us need to be reminded of on a regular basis. For example, when we are crying at the bus as we watch our kids pull away for eight weeks of summer camp, we might need to be reminded of what a great opportunity this is for our kids and that they are not headed off to war. That is perspective — our frame of reference — our way of looking at the world.

It’s not easy to always keep everything in perspective, however, as we are so enmeshed in our own day-to-day lives. If I’m upset that I can’t just go buy all of my groceries at Whole Foods because it’s so expensive, I can simply remind myself that I’m lucky that I can even go and buy food at all for myself and my children. I’m, of course, aware of the fact that many are starving all over the world and even in our own neighborhoods.

There is always someone who has it easier than you, but there is also someone who has it way more difficult. The point is: You live in your own space, and you try to be rational about your good fortune while you also try to maintain a healthy, realistic perspective of your life and the world.

Like I said, it’s not always easy. We get lost. We get stuck. We get confused. We forget how lucky we are to simply be born into a life that is full of freedom and choices and food and safe water.  And, as parents, we try to teach our children about this very weighty concept of perspective. When they are complaining that their chicken is too crunchy, we might remind them that kids in Africa are waiting for their moms to return from their 10-mile trek to bring them home safe drinking water. We might remind them that kids are starving all over the world.

But, here’s the reality: It’s very challenging to really envision what is happening outside of our own comfortable space. Real life in real time just happens. We may be thinking about the horrific story on the news about the kids who were found living in dog cages, but then we wipe our tears, we wipe our kitchen tables, and we run upstairs to make sure our kids are getting their homework done. Our lives go on.

It would be too difficult and too painful to always be thinking about the less forutnate or to always be worrying about what is happening in other homes.  We have our own problems and daily challenges, even if they may be extemely trivial in comparision.  Plus, many people don’t want to be aware of what is happening to other humans around the globe. As a matter of fact, they can’t even handle hearing about what is happening to many animals in slaughterhouses on our own domestic farms.  (“Please, don’t show me that video. I don’t want to know about it!”) They would rather not know about the world’s pain and suffering and heartache. Hey, ignorance is bliss, right?

We all want to walk around with a smile on our face. There’s no greater feeling than joy. That is why so many of us turn our cheek to life’s pain. But, we have so much power. We have so much influence. We have so much compassion. We have such a loud voice. And, we can and should use it when something incites us.

I recently came across a movement called Falling Whistles. It is a campaign for peace in the wartorn Congo. When I read that 1,500 people continue to lose their lives daily and that thousands of children are involved in this war, I felt sick and sad and helpless. I learned that the youngest children (those who are too little to hold guns) are armed with only a whistle. They stand on the frontlines and blow the whistle to warn of enemies, and in return, they often receive bullets in their little bodies. They were born into this life of pain and violence and despair. Their only defense is their whistle.

To make people aware of what is happening in the Congo, this organization started selling whistles. I immediately bought one; I wear it often; and I am continually eager for people to ask me why I am wearing this whistle so I can help to spread the word and be a “whisteblower for peace.”  And, whenever I am wearing this necklace, it is so easy for me to maintain a healthy perspective.  If I’m overhwhelmed by the mess in my house or the list of chores before me or the pile of work on my desk, I glance down at my whistle, and I’m able to gain an enlightened perspective.

Whatever moves you, whatever makes you want to protest, whatever reminds you of your many blessings is something that you should embrace.  Whether you wear a whistle or donate your time to help families of fallen Israeli soldiers or volunteer at the local dog shelther, make sure you do something to live a full life that is bursting with compassion and supported by a realistic perspective.

For more information about Falling Whistles, go to: http://www.fallingwhistles.com/

The website will undoubtedly move you, enable you to adopt a more truthful perspective about your own life and hopefully inspire you to live a bigger life.

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