Beats the Alternative

In these contentious times, it’s easy to slide into focusing on what’s wrong with the world instead of what’s right with it, what’s missing rather than what’s present, the hurt others inflict while ignoring their capacity for compassion. So much seems to ride on perspective, which is fueled by attitude, which is shaped by awareness. I have to keep reminding myself to get to know someone on a personal level, hear their stories, see how they walk through their day, before asking about their political or religious leanings.

Easy to say, a challenge to do, especially in these times of binary thinking. The culture at large keeps channeling us toward judgement, which may feel satisfying on one level — superiority is an addictive emotion — but ultimately eats away at our souls.

I fail regularly, of course, in my drive to stay unequivocally openminded. But if I have one characteristic that sustains me, it’s persistence. Day after day it brings me back to the keyboard to write, and to my work-in-progress life — another form of revision. I keep on keeping on. Because, after all, what’s the alternative?

As Ron Padgett says in his poem, Excerpts from “How to be Perfect”: “Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even older. Which is depressing.”

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