Soapbox Rant: Down With Apathy

On August 29, when I started writing this post, the people living in Hokkaido, Japan woke to sirens and messages from the Japanese government to seek shelter from a North Korean missile.

“There’s nothing I can do, so I try not to think about it.”

According to NPR, this was a quote from one of the residents of Hokkaido when asked how she felt about North Korea’s missile launches.

This understandable quote has brought forth my ire and disgust. Not at this woman but at what seems to be a shared response from communities across the world to choose inaction when all around us the world is crying out for help.

I have empathy too. It is easy to fall into the cycle of becoming inundated with so much information, not knowing how to help and then becoming paralyzed with fear and then a last-ditch hope (or maybe it’s more like a wish) that someone else will take care of it.

So, let’s empower ourselves to not become crippled by too much information and seek inaction as our refuge. Down with apathy!

Call To Action Section: Because inaction was never a valid option

Surprisingly, and not, I was tested right from the get-go. At this stage of writing this blog post, I went searching for resources and, instead, was plunged further into that feeling of hopelessness and despair. All search results returned news articles that sounded increasingly dire.

But I stayed with those uncomfortable feelings and ultimately found some examples of things we can do to effect positive change. If you have other suggestions, please share them with me and I’ll update this post.

North Korea

Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia

Continue to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey (and Irma, Jose and Katia) but be sure that you don’t fall victim to organizations that would love to scam you out of your good intentions.

Black Lives Matter

Institutional racism is here and it is not going away without our help.

Refugee Crisis

According to NPR, “The number of people forcibly displaced from their homes is the highest since World War II.” And many of the refugees are children.

 Be the best version of yourself

The days feel more somber of late. In these times I’m reminded of a meditation exercise I try to practice regularly*. Try it out with me:

Take a few deep breaths in and out. In an in breath think to yourself: “I’m going to die.” Let whatever thoughts and feelings arise. Exhale. In the following in breath think of the people you love, know, and those you feel neutral to but interacted with throughout the day.  Say to yourself: “You’re going to die.”  Let whatever thoughts and feelings arise. Exhale. In this in breath think to yourself: “And we have just these precious moments.”

If more of us treated each moment as precious, which it is, I believe that we would find pettiness replaced with kindness and compassion.  And then, it would be as Gandhi wished for us —  we would be the change we wish to see in the world.

Consider the following:

That petty thing you wanted to say about your co-worker: don’t say it. To the guy on the highway who you’d rather cut off: let him pass you by. To the person who is speaking to you: turn your whole body in their direction and put your phone down.  To that person you appreciate: tell them. Pick up trash. Drop the need to be right and replace it with the need to be loved and to love others.

Let’s be true to the best version of ourselves. In doing so we will we start to recognize that others, just like ourselves, just want to be happy (free from suffering). And I believe we’ll see more empathy in the world.

With gratitude,

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(*Source: Exercise by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and shared through Tara Brach.)


Grateful List

Sometimes you just need to be grateful. Well, ideally, we should be grateful all the time. However, that is harder to manage with life’s insistence to not follow along with our wishes.   The next best thing is to take a moment each day to remind yourself of what you appreciate in your life.  You may be surprised to find that the more you pause to reflect the more your awareness grows of all the good things that are happening day-to-day.

Sharing Gratitude

Sharing a little gratitude can be as simple as saying out loud to yourself or to your partner three things that occurred that day that you were grateful for. Then you can hit the sack. Or, find a pen pal of sorts. Every day write an email (or actual snail mail!) and list three things you appreciate.  Perhaps you like to take pen to paper and jot down something. That’s my jam too. Each night, I write a sentence in my monthly Gratitude Log within my Bullet Journal. It’s the perfect way to end the day.

Littlest Martha’s Grateful List

I’d like to take the opportunity to review past months’ Gratitude Logs and share with you what I’m grateful for. Maybe they will remind you what you’re grateful for too.

    1. Snuggles
    2. My son’s belly laughs and how only my husband can make him laugh so
    3. Clouds
    4. Sunday mornings with crossword puzzles and coffee and eggs
    5. My husband’s cooking
    6. Morning meditations
    7. Giggling with a friend
    8. My co-workers/friends and their wonderful energy
    9. Rescuing a lost dog
    10. Monthly date night
    11. Going to the gym
    12. Catan
    13. Being able to forgive myself
    14. Meditation group
    15. Peter Piper Pizza with the boys
    16. Feeding ducks
    17. My son’s curly hair
    18. Wine
    19. Yoga
    20. A rainbow to start the day
    21. Podcasts
    22. Chicken soup
    23. Volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank and Homebase
    24. Dim Sum on Sundays
    25. Homemade pho
    26. Gumbo
    27. Feeding a stranger
    28. Writing
    29. Blogging
    30. Learning to say “yes” to what comes

Grateful For You

Thank you. Thank you for subscribing and reading these ramblings. Thank you for posting comments. Thank you for being as you are. As a token of my appreciation, and in the spirit of this post, I whipped something up for you.  Download it and let it inspire you to make each day wonderful. Like you.

Inspiration quote by Hafiz over a golden sunrise


With love and kindness,

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