AND What Else Is True

October 12th, 2014

In moments where things seem dark or discouraging, one of my favorite questions for shifting perspective is, AND what else is true?

The news is full of stories of Ebola, war, death, and local calamities. AND what else is true? Just this week a seventeen year old who has defied terrorist threats to stand for the education of all children, especially young girls in countries which would deny them access, shared the Nobel Peace Prize for her stance and voice on behalf of those who cannot speak.

Amidst less than enlightened corporate behaviors that belittle and squeeze the life out of people who want their work to mean something, otherwise responsible and capable workers are working ridiculous hours under mental and emotional stress to do the impossible at what has become an unsustainable pace. The cost in terms of stress-related illnesses and self-esteem has yet to be fully understood or figured into the equation of corporate profits.

AND what else is true? Quieter voices who have figured out how not to lose themselves continue to guide colleagues in healthy decisions and priorities. Conversations that help the diligent pleasers to understand that some rules need to be bent and expectations ignored, when following them would endanger health. A dentist who told a hygienist years ago never to drive through a snowstorm to get to work if it were not safe to do so, because you must take care of your health and safety first, is but one concrete example.

It is easy to get caught up in the context of these voices that surround us, unconsciously obeying what we think are rules for responsibility and support of others. Yet, when we step back, our own sanity and health provide us clear perspective to assess the reasonableness of any request before responding. AND when we step back, we add greater health to the very systems that we otherwise allow to overrun our health today.

So, we have a choice to bury our heads in the sand, follow unconscious rules and expectations in our heads, live in fear of all we hear on the news, OR step back to ask ourselves AND what else is true? Because in the midst of all the bad news, the trees have been putting on their brightest red, gold, orange, and green regalia. They show up whether we pay attention or not. AND I find it very difficult to choose anything but joy and gratitude when the sun filters through the trees and fills me with the reminder of natural beauty in this world.

The next time this week you find yourself caught up in Ain’t it awful? or Why me?, try asking yourself AND what else is true?

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