Happiness Habits by Katey Zeh

derek-thomson-406050Finding joy has never been a priority for me in terms of how I structure my life. A long-term goal? Certainly, yes. My path to getting there, however, has been misguided. I’ve held the common belief that if I can achieve and succeed enough, joy–or at the very least, contentment–will find its way to me.

Sometimes I wonder if I was drawn initially to the field of faith-based advocacy because the nature of the work is to resist complacency. The successes are few and far between, and they are never sufficient for achieving the ultimate goal of justice for all. My proclivity to be dissatisfied with progress and to keep on pushing aligns well with the vision of many social justice movements.  

My permanent state of dissatisfaction, which was for some time a motivational force, seeped into how I felt about nearly everything. Whenever feelings of joy or happiness would arise, particularly around work, I often attributed them to a false sense of pride that had caused me to lose focus on the long game. In short, I didn’t believe I deserved to feel joy. Continue reading “Happiness Habits by Katey Zeh”

Bans are Bandages not Solutions by Ivy Helman

meandmini1I’m heartbroken by yet another shooting in the United States.  I want to believe that all humans are, deep-down, intrinsically good.  I want to trust humans to act in the best interests of others.  I want peace between and inside human beings.  I want animals to be cared for, respected and deemed inherently valuable.  I want humanity to live in harmony with nature.  And, I want human societies that are just, equal and fair.

Even though I’m certain this world is achievable, it does not exist.  In fact, it often feels like we take one step forward, but something changes and we go back again.  This type of existence is no way to live.  In fact, Las Vegas was yet another example of how our way of life is worse than that.  It’s quite literally killing us.  And, I’m beyond any sort of ability to articulate just how upset I am. Continue reading “Bans are Bandages not Solutions by Ivy Helman”

On Planning: Reflections on Control and Hope by Ivy Helman

20151004_161012We plan so many areas of our lives. We make big complex plans, like family get-togethers, vacations, business trips, conferences, large events, etc. We also plan weekly, daily and monthly smaller tasks. Some examples are doctors appoints, day trips, sports schedules, weekly dinner menus and perhaps even the clothes we are want to wear for a job interview or the first day of school.

Many plans happen without a hitch and then there are those plans that don’t. Usually we attribute a plan falling through to something unexpected like an illness leading to cancelling vacation or because of some mistake on our part like when we burnt dinner because we forgot we had food in the oven (which has never happened to me!). All of this is assuming we have some level of control over our plans, our lives and, even, our destiny. But how much control do we really have, and likewise, how much control do others have over our lives?

I’m not so sure there is any sort of easy answer to this question. However, if I were to offer my view, I would say it’s a mixed bag. There are so many parts of our lives we have no control over even if we’d like to think we do. We can’t control where and when we were born. It is debatable if we have some control or not over the ways in which our lives are affected by patriarchy, capitalism, racism, classism and the like. We can’t control whether others drive drunk. We can’t control thunderstorms, tornados or earthquakes. Continue reading “On Planning: Reflections on Control and Hope by Ivy Helman”

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