Lightening Up My Shoulders

I have heavy shoulders.

I tend to carry the weight of the world on them.

And our world is full of weight these days.

Today, August 6 2013, is the 86th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  140,000 people were killed during the bombing and subsequent radiation.  World War II was full of unspeakable atrocities, over 60 million people killed, 2.5% of the world’s population.  I can’t wrap my head around those numbers.

Our world has always been full of violence, cruelty and hate.  We humans have been massacring each other since the beginning of time.  In the name of religion and politics mostly.  Our way is better than your way, so now you die.  A simplistic way of putting it, yes, but it kind of sums it up.

People are starving around the world because of politics and corruption.  870 million people around the world today are chronically undernourished, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Refugees.  According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, there are over 42 million refugees in the world today.  They have no place to call home.

People are hated, discriminated against, even killed because of who they love.  On a family vacation, we recently drove through Laramie, Wyoming.  All I could think about was Matthew Shepard, the young man brutally killed there in 1998. Because he was gay.  And in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is threatening to behead gays.

Plenty of problems here in the US. Gun violence – another mass shooting last night. People dying because of a lack of health insurance.  Greed.  Poverty.  A government that seems intent on cutting off its nose to spite its face.

The list goes on and on.

I’ve always been a news junkie.  I considered it a duty as a citizen of the globe to keep informed on what is going on in the world.

But my shoulders are so heavy.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the hate.  I wish all these horrific problems could be solved and that we could all just get along, you know?

If only we could.

So how can I, one person, make the world a better place?

I can live my life in as healthy a way as possible, realizing that so many cannot do the same.

I can exercise, using the body that nature has given me. I can run, using my legs as they were designed.

I can eat nourishing foods – real food, avoiding as much of the garbage that comes out of factories as possible.

I can live a life of kindness.  Loving people no matter who they love or what they believe.

I can treat my body with the respect it deserves.  Give it rest and fresh air.

I can appreciate each new sunrise and sunset, and stand in awe at this beautiful planet that the universe has created for us, spinning through the endless stars.

Doing these few things can help lift the heaviness from my shoulders.  I can walk taller.  And live a life of health and kindness that so many tragically can’t.

Imagine if we all did this…

That is what we owe our world.
And each other.

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