We are basically good. I trust this belief and try to live my life through this window of the world. All of my work on behalf of my beloved Positive Change Club is my most recent training ground, and there are days when I lose sight of my mission. I question my sanity in the moments when it feels like a continuous give and I wonder why I try so hard. It gets ugly when these feelings turn into judgment and disappointment about what the kids aren’t doing. My son gets angry at me and reminds me that there is nothing helpful about these feelings. “Go meditate,” he says. Then I get full enough within myself to trust this process and do the next thing. If nothing else is accomplished with the Positive Change project, I hope that a small portion of the future generation will have learned how to help and even more importantly realized that it is in our efforts to help that we hold ourselves in highest regard.
Still, it is easy to look around and judge our culture harshly as a voyeuristic and unkind society that is rich in gadgetry and short on compassion. Recently, the front page of the NY Post, showcased a story in which a man was hit by a subway and none of the bystanders offered any assistance. It is hard to imagine the level of fear that they felt in the midst of their inaction. Most of us don’t have practice moving forward to help. In subway stations in many cities, it is easy to try to disappear. Yet, without the impulse to help, to move beyond our own fear to extend a hand to someone clearly in need, we are lost not only to each other but to ourselves.
This story stands in sharp contrast to the millions of strangers who reached out to help others during the recent hurricane and its aftermath. One of those helpers is a Good Clean Love fan who shared her story with us. We are proud to share it with you and happy to send her our Love That Works gift set as our way of saying thank you.
She writes: “The chaos that happened after superstorm Sandy left plenty of people stranded, and for days and days, without hot water, heating or electricity. I offered my home as a place where people can shower, cook, brush their teeth, charge their laptops and cell phones, and lounge indoors for warmth… I felt proud to be part of my community where I could make a difference. As an artist I empathize still with those who continue to struggle to regain their sense of home and I continue to volunteer with the New York City food bank in providing meals and groceries to families in need.”
Here is the thing, humans are herd animals. We need each other to know who we ourselves are. We need each other for the millions of ways that as a collective we are stronger, happier and more productive together. Learning to help is how we create community.