I’m afraid that reason will triumph and that the world will become a place where anyone who doesn’t fit that will become unnecessary. ~ David Byrne
I grew up during the cold war and as such, wondering if everyday the Russians and Americans would decide to end life as we know it on our planet, creates a certain affinity to a dystopian mindset. The time we are living in right now is becoming equally as stressful as those cold war days. I’m a lifelong reader of science fiction and recently I’ve discovered a really amazing writer, Octavia Butler, through her book The Parable of the Sower. It is an amazing dystopian novel, mostly because unlike most science fiction it doesn’t take place hundreds or thousands of years in the future. It takes on life in America and specifically on the West Coast in the near future, just the next few decades. What made the impact even heavier for me was that I have personally experienced some of the places she uses in the book.
What I found so amazing about the book was how unbelievably realistic it felt. In many ways it felt like an actual diary from the near future. It describes a world that has been falling apart for decades. Disease, war, famine, climate change all degrading our world, our lives, our standard of living. In many ways this is a world living under an old adage, the frog in the pot. The way this goes is that it’s said, if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will never notice until the water is boiling and it’s too late.
This idea feels very much like the times we are living in. A global pandemic, war in Europe, global supply chain issues and global climate change. All are degrading our lives in many ways. Most of these are subtle, you can see it at the grocery store if you pay attention. Pre-COVID, we lived in a world where at eleven at night I could leave my apartment and drive to the supermarket. Once there I can find what I want, the brand I want, the flavor or type and even in the size that I want. Now, I can still go to the market late at night, I can still get what I want. But, it’s no longer a guarantee, you might have to settle for another flavor, or an alternate size. And occasionally, you may not find what you want.
This is not a big thing, but when you put it together with not being able to get some things as quickly as you normally would, more frequent fires, storms or other disasters you start to get that we are a bunch of frogs. And even if we all aren’t consciously thinking about these things, we are still feeling them and it’s increasing our stress levels. Now this blog is not the place to talk about solutions to the myriad of large problems in the world. But here we focus on how we can maintain our happiness.
I think the first piece to remember comes from a Wayne Dyer quote, “How people treat you is your karma, how you react is yours.” This goes for the world as well, external pressures are always going to happen, what matters, is how you react. In this respect, attitude is everything. You choose the way you respond to everything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should get all yippy-skippy and dance around singing your joy over war, disease and climate change. But instead I think it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of life. Things may be different than they used to be, there may be more stress, life may get harder, but we have to remember all of the things that bring us happiness.
I received a picture this morning of my littlest niece and nephews sitting on a bench eating ice cream and I think that image really captures exactly what I’m talking about. There is nothing better than the happiness that radiates from kids eating ice cream, or playing. Today was a day for people to have big family meals, time with great company eating good food watching kids hunt for eggs. That’s what I’m talking about, thinking and focus on those things. If you struggle go back and read about the three questions technique that I’ve developed that can help.
Life is hard and complicated and amazing and wonderful. It’s up to us to decide which part of it to focus on. So stay positive and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane