You’re *Not* Special

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Harvey

“The truth is, there is no such thing as a personal problem. If you’ve got a problem, chances are millions of other people have had it in the past, have it now, and are going to have it in the future. Likely people you know too. That doesn’t minimize the problem or mean that it shouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you aren’t legitimately a victim in some circumstances.  

It just means that you’re not special.”

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

No Problem

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Jiddu Krishnamurti: “Do you know what my secret* is? I don’t mind what happens.”

By this, he did not mean blindly accept everything (oppression, violence, etc.) but to accept reality, and to not be “put off” by unforeseen circumstances. This is where you must start before exacting change or growth.

He lived by the tenet, “I don’t mind at all.” So I decided that would be my mantra today.

I sat down to paint. “Caroline, can you help me get my car to the garage for servicing?” I don’t mind at all.

And then I wanted to take a bath. “Honey, can you help me fix the window?” I don’t mind at all.

Throughout the day, I was called upon to do something unplanned and I thought, I don’t mind at all.

Saying it to myself in response to these events, I felt my body relax and my brain say, “This isn’t a big deal, I’m happy to help.”

I still managed to get my work done and I just completed a painting. I’m about to take a bath now…unless, of course, someone needs me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*secret to complete inner peace

The Mother Land

Recently, I discovered that Korean refugees from North Korea are actually discriminated against in South Korea!

I couldn’t believe it. Where is the humanity? The abuse and absolute horrific treatment of North Korean civilians by their government is well-known so why would South Koreans greet them with anything but open arms?  It’s clear that education and empathy are absent.

Enter an amazing South Korean TV program called, “Now On My Way to Meet You.”  It’s an example of using media as a powerful medium for positive social change. The program first aired December of 2011 and, despite the tagline which alludes to “North Korean Beauties,” it does anything but objectify these escapees. You can read more about it and watch a clip here: Cari’s Blog. Basically, these women play games, laugh and recount their stories of life in North Korea for an enormous South Korean audience. The result?  An empathetic reaction where South Koreans are understanding and seeing these women as people.  The culture is slowly evolving into a supportive, loving one towards their sisters and brothers.

Sewol Heroes
Sewol Heroes

I have numerous cousins, aunts and uncles who live in South Korea and I have visited the country three times. In 1999, I was there for two months on an NSF research grant and I fell in love with the land and people. As news of the ferry disaster unfolded, there was a collective sigh of exasperation, shock, and anger all around me. How could this happen? The students were told to stay put? Why?!

If my father had not decided to immigrate to the United States, I could have been born and raised in South Korea. In fact, if that had happened, I would likely have been married with children a bit earlier (and who knows?)  I could have had a high school student on the ill-fated Sewol ferry and be mourning his/her death right now. These connections and possibilities only make me ponder our roles in life. I’m a teacher and I’m proud of it because I can actually impact 32 young people per year. But… can I do more? The producer of “On My Way to Meet You” has created such a critical solution to an enormous problem.  What if we all stopped asking why and started asking how? HOW can I help this situation? I think it’s a powerful question.