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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

We can do better. We must do better.

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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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There is a lot of trouble in the world right now, but we are not helpless. We are not hopeless. And if there’s any better way to remember that today than Star Wars, I don’t know it. Just thinking of the theme song raises my spirits. Here’s to building a better future. 

For motivation, check out this piece on the history of John Williams’ rousing theme:

Behind The Song: “Star Wars Theme” by John Williams – American Songwriter

And then, of course, there’s our scrappy band of Rebels.

“Would it help if I got out and pushed?”

— Princess Leia

Always.

May the Force be with us.

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via Pixabay 

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On this day, eons ago, the brave Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee fulfilled their quest to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. And so it was decreed that March 25th would ever after be known as Tolkien Reading Day!

What does that mean?

Today is Tolkien Reading Day! – The Tolkien Society

And as an extra bonus, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Estate Releases Treasure Trove Of Drawings And Maps.

See those maps and more here: Maps – The Tolkien Estate.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

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Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

— Desmond Tutu

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Photo by Emily Jackson on Unsplash

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One of the side effects of growing up mixed race and adopted is the (often in-your-face) realization that a lot of how we divide ourselves into “us” and “them” is a matter of choice.

Like so many of you, I’m watching the war in Ukraine and hoping the news will improve.

I don’t know any Ukrainians (or many Russians). They aren’t Americans or Canadians or African Americans or Swedish Americans or Italians or Germans or French or Irish or any of the other categories that I might reasonably be expected to claim as “my” people. But they are people.

And that’s what matters. 

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Background & Links

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“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, Author and Veteran

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Here’s to Hope

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

― Martin Luther

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Photo by Kookay on Pixabay

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Some days I wake up and the world is my oyster. The sun is shining, work is good and my to do list glows with possibility.

Other days not so much.

It’s usually not that anything is wrong, per se. The sun is just as bright, work is on schedule, the world continues to turn. All good things, but there are never just good things. I like to at least try to look on the bright side but of course, not everything is awesome all of the time. And some days the not so good carries a little more weight.

Inevitably, you will miss the bus, your loved ones will not always be healthy, dogs (and software glitches) do eat homework, and the good guys don’t win every round. 

Fair enough. But what is the antidote to this not awesome?*

Action.

Make something. Do what you can. Help someone, even if it is yourself. 

Life isn’t always positive but you’re creative, interesting, smart, capable and fun. When you can, be an island of hope in a not-always uplifting world.

Answer not good with great.

“This is the world as it is. This is where you start.”

― Saul Alinsky

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Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash

* Regular readers may have guessed what I’m going to say but that’s ok, reinforcement strengthens habit and action is a habit I appreciate.

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Some days you take a break from the avalanche of news and realize you’ve got Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi stuck in your head. The chorus can feel too true to remember that there are reasons to be cheerful and the world is not, in fact, on a one way trip to Ugh Town. 

But other days? Like today days? With heartfelt respect to Ms. Mitchell,* you realize that the final lines of the song could be rewritten:

“They saved Paradise,

and took out the parking lot.”

And we’re just the people to do it.

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Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
  • How does one address someone with this level of accomplishment? Award-winner? Multi-Hall of Famer? Fellow Canadian? Doctor (she has three honorary doctorates)? I went with the title that, I hope, conveys fundamental respect across all arenas.

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Imagination Itself

In memory of the pretty tree in full bloom around the corner, which our neighbor just cut down.

Also, it’s Tuesday.

(This is the part where I like to bring it back to a cheerful ending. Right. Hmm.)

Ah yes! I’m making excellent progress on the bird front, lots of goldfinches, robins, cardinals, chickadees, juncos and sparrows. Nature finds a way, even if it sometimes needs a little help:)

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“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”

― William Blake
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

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Today is Earth Day. Happy 4.543 billionth birthday, Earth! Here’s hoping for many more.

Much of my day job is based in current news and events, which means I spend a good part of most days knee-deep in the internet. Yeah, it can be exactly as fun as it sounds. That said, I’m not looking for the bad stuff, or not only the bad stuff.

I’m looking for the uplifting, the hopeful, the rays of light. For a path to something better. So for every article I read telling me that in recent years, there are more Starbucks locations in California than overwintering monarch butterflies, there are pieces on what’s good, like these:

Let These Stunning Photos of a Year of Virtual Youth Climate Activism Inspire You

Halifax-based developer of CO2-injected concrete wins multimillion-dollar prize

It’s hard to miss the evidence of change, but the good news is that we’re not just discussing it, we’re beginning to take concrete action.

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You already know that doing big things is hard. Like ”saving the planet.” Human beings are small, and I suspect that at the root, most of us are plagued by the niggling feeling that we are just bit players on an unimaginably vast stage. That at some fundamental level our actions don’t matter much at all in the bigger picture. Not really.

But we’re wrong. And the world is made up of smaller pictures.

Photo by Martijn Baudoin on Unsplash

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It’s the question every hero is asked: The future is uncertain. The path is unknown. What are you going to do about it?

What you can, wherever you can. As a minor example, I spent time today researching ways to turn our absolutely useless lawn space into a pollinator garden.

Of course, a lot of what needs to happen on climate change isn’t just about individual action. Deciding not to eat meat on Tuesdays matters, but standards and infrastructure for energy, transportation, agriculture and construction, to name a few sectors, will need to modernize too.

It means working together on new ideas, new innovations, and new legislation. More and better targets, the kind that make a positive difference in people’s lives.*

Because humans are a social species. There is never just one, and when it comes to saving our home that’s a challenge but also a benefit. Sea shanties swept the globe in a matter of weeks. Why not this?

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It sounds big, and it is, but we do big things all the time, often by accident.** It’s just time to do this particular big thing on purpose. Here’s the mantra I try to stick with: Pick a goal. Break it down. Start today.

We are never just one. None of us are. We are legion. And we got ourselves into this mess. We can get ourselves out.

Starting today.

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* Like clean air and water. And I really enjoy the fact that one day, for example, I’ll be able to put my seat belt on, drive an electric car down well-maintained roads, sit in a non-smoking section at a restaurant, and eat food that won’t kill me. And that my nephews don’t spend their summers swimming in a creek laced with PCBs (like we did). Crazy, I know!

** I mean, who sets out to upend civilization? They just want to see what happens if they burn that dirty rock or invent the light bulb or the assembly line or freaking Facebook. There is no button a curious monkey will not poke. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can make it work for us for a change?

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“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives… The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand… To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

— Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

NASA via Voyager 1 Spacecraft, Feb. 14, 1990.

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