Tag Archives: responsibility

Who’s to Blame?

I heard this on television the other day: All the oil that has spewed forth into the Gulf of Mexico to date equals what the US burns in one hour.

I also heard this: While the US comprises 2% of world population, we consume 25% of the world’s energy resources.

I do not vouch for those statistics, although I don’t doubt their validity.

My point is this: We are quick to vilify British Petroleum, but they are only doing what we asked them to do. More oil, please, and make it quick. My car is thirsty. I have to fly to Europe for a wine tasting.  I’m moving to the country, so my kids can breathe clean air, even though now my commute is a gasoline-guzzling hour and a half every day.

There’s no question that BP was horrendously irresponsible and unforgivably lax in their safety measures. I am not absolving them of their heinous actions. But we need to take a very close look at our own culpability in this mess.

Americans don’t like regulations, because we want our freedoms. Well, we have the freedom to be irresponsible about our oil consumption, just like we have the freedom to be irresponsible about our personal debt, our birth rate, and our health. What’s it going to take for us to use less energy? Government rationing?  Enormous taxes on petroleum products?

Well, we’re going to have to change our lifestyles, because oil is a finite commodity. Doesn’t anybody realize that there are only 15,500 days left to the END of oil? (www.worldometers.info) And that is at today’s rate of consumption, but at a net population gain of around 175,000 people per day, what are the chances of that?

Who are we going to blame when the oil is gone? Or, since I’ll be dead in fewer than 15,500 days, what do I care? It’ll be someone else’s problem then. Well, of course I care, and so should you. Stop looking at BP and start looking at yourself.

If we are unable or unwilling to control our gluttony, then perhaps it’s time for someone else to regulate our behavior.  And when that day comes, we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves.

1 Comment

Filed under Discipline, Social Consciousness

Aren’t We Lucky?

I grew up in a white, middle-class neighborhood. My dad had a good job; my mom was a homemaker, I have one brother and one sister, we had a dog and a cat, two cars and a house with a nice lawn. We went to the lake in the summer. 

All through my childhood, I was told how lucky I was. How privileged. How grateful I should be that I wasn’t born in a desolate, disease-ridden part of the world, to poor parents, starving, uneducated. And I was grateful. I still am grateful.

But that’s not enough any more. I have come to believe that The Powers That Be knew of my gifts and talents long before I was born and they put me into a privileged situation so that I wouldn’t have to scrape for food on a daily basis, but instead could be free to contemplate how best to utilize my gifts and talents to serve those less fortunate. 

I wish this had been the message given to me my whole life. I would have structured things differently, voted differently, allocated resources differently, written about different things, put my energies into different endeavors. I have come to believe that the celestial advisors are looking to me — and you — to see what we have done with the incredible opportunities we have been given. Do we use our intellect and our wealth for altruistic purposes? Or does it just fuel our greed? Are we miserly with our resources, or generous? Are we happy, joyous and free? Or bitchy and miserable to be around?

I look around and I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed. People who profess their faith are not acting accordingly. How can we let people starve? How can we let people die for lack of medicine, or mosquito netting over their beds? How can we recklessly squander our resources and then look to those who have marshalled their resources wisely to save us?

How can we send our young people off to war?

Really. We’re sending people off to war?

Shouldn’t we be a little further along than this?

I’m searching my soul today, considering what I can do to uplift the terribly sad state of our world. If I listen carefully, I’m certain I’ll hear a suggestion that I can accomplish today. One small person doing one small thing of faith, for the betterment of my spiritual brothers and sisters.  And if you do one small thing, too, that would double my efforts.

Eventually, we could have ten billion small people doing ten billion small things for each other. Every day. Don’t you think that would make a difference?

Let’s do it.

1 Comment

Filed under disappointment, Discipline, dreams, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Hey: Pray!

I mean it. You. Now. It only takes a second to send a little healing energy via the deity of your understanding to one of your kids, your spouse, a co-worker who is in trouble, our troops overseas, their families struggling to manage without them, the starving children in the world… take your pick. If you want, you can even move beyond prayer and extend a little mercy in the direction of those who have wronged you, those who have moved against us, those who knowingly and consciously commit evil acts upon others.

Listen, our planet is in a world of hurt, and if you don’t know that, then you really have not been paying attention. Do you think our national leaders are going to get us out of it? As Dr. Phil famously says, a good predictor of the future is looking at our history. Do you think we’re going to be able to mobilize the masses in time to make the drastic changes that are necessary to keep our civilization from going the way of so many that have failed to survive?

I say divine intervention is the only path left open to us, and we better be getting about asking for help in a serious way. Prayer circuits, I’ve been told, begin like game trails, and with more and more traffic, they become cart paths and then roads and streets, and eventually superhighways. We need those superhighways. We need all the help the celestial overseers are able to give us, and we need it now.

So do your part. I’m not asking you to vote, inflate your tires or even change a lightbulb, although we should all be doing those things anyway. Just say a prayer, a small one. Right now. Nobody’s going to know unless you tell them. And maybe you should tell them, and ask them to do it, too.  Maybe do it every morning while you’re brushing your teeth. It’d be more productive than admiring yourself in the mirror.

It’s a small thing. Just as every vote counts, so does every small petition to those on high. Your small request just might be the tipping point that makes the switch from a material citizenry to a spiritual citizenry. You never know.

So do it.

Now. It won’t hurt, I promise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Two Keys to My Kingdom

Many years ago I read an essay that said, “If you have more than two keys on your key ring, your life is too complicated.” At the time, my key ring was so heavy I was afraid it was going to damage the ignition of my car.

Today, for the first time ever: Two keys. One for the house and one for the car. 

And I have to say, my life is a lot less complicated.

I’ve had keys to storage lockers (the last one surrendered this afternoon), to my mother’s home, to post office boxes, to other peoples’ houses, to other vehicles, on and on and on.  Lots to keep track of. Lots of responsibility. None of it necessary. The only other key I employ on a regular basis is for my bicycle lock, but I keep that in my bicycle ditty bag. It doesn’t count because it’s not on my key ring.

Another indication of a life too complex is the amount of mail that arrives on a daily basis. There was a time when it took me an hour a day to process the mail. If I left town for a ten-day writing conference or retreat, I had ten hours worth of mail waiting for me when I got back.

Made me want to not come back.

Today’s mail brought one bill and an advertising flyer.

A life simplified.  Nobody owns me any more.

And because I don’t have all that flurry of questionably meaningful activity and responsibility, I have the time to concentrate on the important things. Study. Family. Leisure!

How many keys on your keyring? What would you have to give up in order to get down to two?

It’s a worthy goal.

2 Comments

Filed under goals, Joy, peace, Possibilities, Stress, Symbols, time