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So, things have been very tumultuous of late. If there really are groups who maintain their power by keeping us so busy attacking “those monstrous others” that we stay blind to common ground on which to build a better future… well, I’d say they’ve been pretty effective.

I don’t think it’ll work long-term, though. Not this time. There are too many of us who have spent years working against the decay and destruction of liberties, livelihoods and lives. This work has been swimming against the tide, as the “mainstream” turned a blind eye and cold shoulder, standing firmly on the side of a White House and politicians who had a (D) after their names. Now that those letters have changed to (R), suddenly thousands to millions are ready to join those marches and pick up those banners.

Yeah, there’s apparently been some focus on making the marching and such strictly as a big protest against an enemy, rather than working together for the common good. But the experienced organizers are already in place, and that experience is in organizing to accomplish specific goals, joining people together for a specific purpose. With so much spotlight and energy being poured into getting people to stand up in opposition, it can only help those who are ready to put those new feet and hands to work.

I’m sure there’s many, many things you’d like to see working out better for your country, and for our world. I’m also sure there’s one in particular that could really use your help, and has a group in your area that’s ready and waiting for you to pitch in. Why not find it?

That better future doesn’t need a big, bold hero to make a difference. It needs hundreds of thousands of humble, small heroes making the difference we can in our own corners of the world. Even if you don’t have much, there’s some part of you yearning to give of itself to building something better. Allow that. Make your difference.

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Other peoples’ words and actions arise from their own past, and how they experienced it. While you can do your best to help your interactions be compassionate and respectful, you can’t control the other side of it.

It can hurt when it feels people are behaving badly toward you. Perhaps you can even do something to heal the situation. But it would be counter-productive to take on their actions as a part of yourself, letting their troubling behavior become troubles of your own.

It may help to think about why something does bother you so much, and reflect on times that have made you feel that way. Maybe there’s a pattern this feels a part of, a pattern that repeats in your life. If so, what could you do to step out of that cycle? Would you let that cycle go, so you could move on?

Above all, recognize that other peoples’ thoughts and actions remain their responsibility, not yours. Your responsibility is to build and maintain your own inner strength, within the cyclone of human experience.

May you know peace.

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What is that thing that makes you light up at the idea of doing it?

What kind of activity do you feel that itch-under-your-skin to get done, and done right?

When you’re feeling idle or delayed by some part of the day-to-day, what is it you daydream about accomplishing?

How could you pursue that thing, just a little more?

How could you fit a few more minutes, or perhaps an hour, into your day or week?

How much brighter might your life be with more of your dreams alive in it?

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One way I learned to create a happier life was to try to find more reasons to smile, and create more reasons to laugh. Even when I was feeling pretty low, the mere act of smiling and laughing helped me train myself to feel better as a default feeling.

Now, when I see people, I try to remember to smile at them, even if I’m deep in my own thoughts. When things get tough and stressful, I try to think of something to bring up that will help people laugh and ease the tension in an appropriate way. Sometimes it’s just the smiling and tone of voice that helps move the mood upward.

I’ve had a long day trying to beat a flu or something, and tomorrow is going to be a day with more than the usual amount of pressure and stress. I’m going to go find something funny to watch before resting, to remind myself to continually find the laughter.

Tomorrow, I’m going to keep on the lookout for reasons to smile. May you find many reasons also!

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Today was a beautiful day.

The weather was inviting, and the people moreso.

I spent wonderful time with my family.

I purchased fresh, delicious food from a local market dedicated to supporting our community.

I paused to appreciate the wonderfully blessed life I’ve had the opportunity to build for myself.

I got to walk among peacocks, flamingos, wild cats, tourists from across the world, and neighbors from across the county.

Today was a beautiful day.

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I spent most of the evening on a new Super Healthy Cupcake Recipe.

It didn’t go well.

Granted, it didn’t go well mostly because of things I did. I over-filled the cupcake cups. I forgot my vanilla is twice as strong as normal, making the vanilla frosting into VANILLA! (frosting).

My little boy was very excited to be part of the cupcake-making process. (The distraction being part of how I lost track of things like that.) He was very much looking forward to enjoying his favorite treat that we made ourselves.

When I got the results into edible-seeming form, he tried it, then tried it again. He was clearly disappointed, but brushed that off and went back to playing. He had been more excited than I at the project, and then I was more disappointed that it didn’t work out.

He did tell me he wants me to keep trying, and that maybe tomorrow or Saturday we can get it right. I told him I’d tweak the recipe a little and do better next time.

After tucking him in, I still kept feeling disappointed the recipe didn’t turn out quite well. It can probably still be a Mostly Healthy Cupcake Recipe, and maybe I can even get it back to Super after I get the hang of it. But I used to be pretty good at making things like this, so it was getting to me.

Finally, I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve tried this sort of thing. I don’t have the knack anymore, and it took up most of my evening, but I still gave it a good shot. Plus, I’m not planning to give up over it. As discouraging as my time has been lately, that really means something to me.

So as I try to get ready to sleep, I’m reminding myself to take the experience for what it was: I tried something new. Soon, I’m going to try something new in a better way. And I’ll keep at it as I keep getting better.

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The recurring theme today seemed to be people trying to cling to habits or ideas that made them feel safer or more secure, but really didn’t help. Challenges that brought those “comfort blankets” into question just seemed to make that defensive need deeper, bringing up more emotional responses than thoughtful. But then, I guess that’s how comfort blankets operate.

The emotionally challenging air today was most notable in my five-year-old, but it seemed to be affecting most of the adults I spent much time with, including myself. I tried to overcome it, seeking ways to find the holes in any threadbare comfort blankets I may be clinging to against the cold harshness of reality. Again, that’s kind of tough to do, because comfort blankets usually feel cozier than they are, but I tried. It was the least I could do on a day when I had to try to fight against the clinging of other people to things that were hampering what I needed to do.

Sitting here at the end of my day, I think I can say that I did an okay job, but that I only started the process. I feel as though the next few weeks are going to require a lot of us to hold our comfort blankets up to our eyes, and see how much daylight peeks through.

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