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Dissolving Cynicism

Topic for discussion: I've been teased repeatedly by someone who actually was among the first to support a cause I have given a lot of my time to. Always little zings about what gain there is for me, or expressing a little judgement if not puzzlement that someone would sacrifice some personal things to do it. I finally "teased" back, asking, "Is it so strange that someone might do something just because it seems the right thing to do?" I saw the realization sink in. I wonder and worry about the effect what has been growing with this toxic election in our faces every day. It has brought out so much divisiveness, not just with what may have been able to once be contained to "Them" but thanks to social media, is obviously between friends, family and neighbors. And we are all hurting from it. That can come out in subtle ways, like not believing without suspicion when you see good being done. Speaking for myself it's personally imperative that I use some part of my time each day to contribute. Pure and simple. To me, that is one of the biggest things that gives each day real value and meaning. A defining drive and principle. I can waste time with the best of them, and I find fun, friends and family just as important. I also juggle a boggling amount of adult responsibilities - and I know most of us feel life is ALL that at times. But I always am thinking - what effect will my having been here another 24 hrs make on the earth, or to the people around me? I have kids in my life, and many relationships, work, laundry, bills and car and computer troubles that need attention. I don't get to read enough, I barely keep up on my garden, I don't have time to paint or try new recipes or study classical music or another language or an instrument as I'd like... We all have the same time in a day. We each make choices to do what matters. I feel there is always time for doing a little to make a difference every day: caring for animals, recycling, shutting off the water when it's running needlessly, donating something, making time to talk a friend off the ledge, to give an older person my full attention, supporting someone's new venture or business, feeding someone, mentoring, listening, pitching in - all in all, to me, saying YES to life. And don't most of us do that for no other reason than because it seems like the right thing to do? I know it's how I deal with my own sense of frustration at the suffering in the world, and my own powerlessness to do more. I am not going to cure cancer, or win a nobel peace prize. I can't stop global warming singlehandedly, feed and cure the needy, end war. But I CAN do something every day in my own little world, and I firmly believe in the ripple effect. And if I get the chance to do it in a bigger arena, I go for it. To me, it's a privilege, and I feel honored to have the chance, even if I give up some sleep, some income, some time having fun. There's plenty of time for that across a lifetime, but only one chance to step up in a moment if you see it there.



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Notes from Paris This material is original and not to be duplicated or used in any way without the authors permission.

DRAWING AT L’ ACADEMIE de la GRANDE CHAUMIERE or... A ROOM WITH QUITE A VIEWI relinquished speech completely in trade for the chance to spend an afternoon -  
and as it ended up, several more - drawing live models with a room full of strangers.  The entire time I said not one word. 
I was hiding in plain sight.  
I found my way to a door that led to an archway, that brought me intoa hall with more doors, one of which was ajar. There was a man, wearing glasses and a vest buttoned over a rumpled white shirt, standing at it's entrance,his back pressed against the frame, greeting the people trickling past him into a classroom. I walked beyond that door at a distance, …