Headstart on a Mindful March

In so many aspects of my life I feel like I’m behind, like I’ve been behind and the only way to get ahead is to emulate Brady’s fourth quarter heroics or have anyone I’m in the race with be tripped by a rouge pack of muskrats about to burrow a new colony in the infield.

And so, even though 30 entries of 500 Words A Day with Kale & Cigarettes doesn’t start until tomorrow, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to be ahead in what seems like an eternity, so I’m taking it.

And unlike the asshole who sprints out in front of the professionals at a marathon and then collapses after the first mile, I am starting out with deliberate intentions to be here at the end.

It’s the only way I know how to lead. I have to continuously push myself to be the best version of myself. And I have to hold out my hands and whenever possible support others to be the best versions of themselves.

One of the challenges we’ve encountered, comes from the unexpected demand that we do this while trying to keep our heads above water in the rapids of a river polluted with negativity, frustration, lies, manipulation and greed — and every once in a while a piece of shit just floats by your ear.

But at the mercy of the current there are moments, fleeting moments when your toes hit the riverbed or a rock and you get just a little bit of a foothold, enough to push you away from the most severe rapids but you look on helplessly as good people are terrorized by the fate of what lies ahead.

And you want to reach them but there are others screaming for help and it’s triage. Everything is falling apart around you and you choking on water yourself.

And then you saw the Oscars or somehow you’re reminded of the story of the White Helmets in Syria. Nicholas Kristof wrote about them in 2015 for the New York Times. I read the article then and was in awe of their humanity. But to be honest, I haven’t thought about them much since then. Occasionally I would see them on the news or in B-Roll about Syria. But I am trying to prevent myself and those who are touching me from drowning. It’s hard to be present in their battle too. We learned this during the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And so during the Oscars Sunday, the acceptance speech of the documentary about the White Helmets, they cited their reason for being as having come from the Quran:

“…and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” -Chapter (5) sūrat l-māidah (The Table spread with Food), Verse 5:32

I can’t claim to be well read when it comes to the Quran, but I can say that since Sunday night, that scripture has provided me tremendous peace. It strengthened my resolve to strengthen those around me so we might fight the river together. Before any change is possible, the decision has to be made. I will join those in making the decision to have a positive impact.

Ironically, in this instance, both President Obama and President Trump will succeed in making our human chain, our ‘connected being’ stronger.

Obama as a center of light in that chain. Trump as the creature in the river that we will not allow to drag us under. We buoy one another. We share the burden. And we decide to push forward together in spite of the raging waters and what lurks underneath.

You see it every single day, if you look. In the face of anti-semitism new alliances are formed based on common humanity. For the next 30 days, I will seek to see the good. Highlight the progress. Share some of my stories. And reach out my hands to any and all I can help and share about those interactions.

The White Helmets have saved 82,000. How many can we serve?