Huge Leaps in a Positive Direction

468949_Morning on the lakeI woke up this morning to the sight of the sun glistening off the lake behind my home and my heart was instantly filled with a profound gratitude for the simple beauty of the world around us. So often our thoughts are focused on personal hardships, world catastrophes or the difficult circumstances that surround us – that we can allow ourselves to feel listless and defeated – but to succumb to that stance is to underestimate the amazing power of the human spirit. Yes, our world faces some daunting challenges – but if you widen your view enough to see the whole picture, you can’t help but be encouraged and inspired by some of the positive action that is going on around us.

Innovative Leaps Forward

People are thinking creatures. We have been endowed with the ability to evaluate information, create a plan of action and put those solutions into effect. Because we “don’t know what we don’t know” there really is no limit to the scope of what we can accomplish. The ideas of flight, internet communication and open-heart surgery were all, at one time, impossible – but are now commonplace in our society.

Cover Courtesy of: Popular Science Magazine
Cover Courtesy of: Popular Science Magazine

Popular Science just released a list of the Best Inventions for 2014, and while each is wonderful, one can’t help but wonder why we didn’t come up with these ideas sooner. Some of these innovative new discoveries are:

A collapsible bike helmet strong enough to protect you from potentially fatal head injuries – while fitting easily into backpack or storage compartment.

A syringe filled with rapidly expanding sponges, treated with anti-infection agents and a coagulant, that can be inserted into a wound to keep a patient from bleeding out – and buy them valuable time to receive life-saving treatment.

An exo-skeleton (a type of robot-suit) that can offer each of us enough super-human strength to perform tasks that were previously only the domain of fork-lift equipment.

It’s amazingly exciting to see that we have not reached our limits with regards to innovation.

Knowledge gives us Power

Photo Courtesy of morgueFile
Photo Courtesy of morgueFile

While some might prefer to bury their heads in the sand with regards to our current challenges, doing so doesn’t make them go away. The key is to remember that we’ve faced problems before and overcome them – so why should this be any different? Knowledge is power. When we can remove the emotional reactions and instead think in terms of solutions – we literally can change the world.

People are the change-makers. There’s a new show on Showtime called Years of Living Dangerously that is outlining some of these challenges with the help of celebrities like Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ian Somerhalder. Hollywood has long used their platform to help create spotlight on issues of importance, knowing that there truly is power in numbers. As more of us step up to make the sometimes small but powerful changes needed – positive change begins to grow exponentially.

Positive Change is happening

Solutions are all around us. All it takes is becoming informed of the issues at hand, brainstorming a list of possible solutions, and then putting a little man-power and energy behind those ideas – and millions of people are doing just that every day. I worked as the Science Writer for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Entertainment Parks for a time, and despite whatever feelings one may have about zoos in general, I can tell you that the people who devote their lives to animals and animal welfare have the best of intentions. This particular organization provides millions of dollars each year to a Conservation Fund that enables hundreds of worthwhile organizations to provide protection to threatened species all over the world.

Photo Courtesy: morgueFile
Photo Courtesy: morgueFile

Take the cheetah for example, by some estimates only 7500 remain in the world today, but there are many people who are doing their part to make sure that this species doesn’t go down without a fight. These organizations promote awareness programs in schools (since children are our future leaders) and teach farmers predator friendly farming practices. One exciting program supplies African farmers with Anatolian shepherd dogs to guard and protect livestock, reducing the need to harm cheetah who are simply following their natural instincts.

Want to know what’s being done to protect your favorite animal? I created a searchable database of some of these amazing programs.  Check it out here.

Down but not Out

girl successIt’s inspiring and empowering to know that, despite all the negative news we’re bombarded with every day, there are real plans in place to create viable solutions. This is an amazing world that we live in. And although mankind’s presence has placed some considerable burdens on the ecosystem – I also believe that we are completely capable of developing ways to peacefully co-exist with the world around us. All it takes is for each of us to devote a little time, attention and energy to the things that matter most – honoring life, the preservation of our natural resources, and an appreciation of the glorious planet that we call home.

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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2014 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.

 

The Pain and Pleasure of Living

Photo Courtesy of Morguefile
Photo Courtesy of Morguefile

When I wrote the book Pain, Passion & Purpose, I never thought that it would become my own go-to manual for living. Why would it? These were profound revelations and insights gifted to me during a time of deep soul-searching, surely I would become changed by each and every one of them. And while I am certainly not the same person that I was before the book – I guess I’m just not a quick study. I find myself having to go back over some of these life lessons time and time again. Each time gaining just a smidgen more mastery and understanding. Even though we may receive the most amazing inspirations and guidance along our journey – we always come back to the substantial challenge of having to merge them with our own frail humanness. My latest challenge is based on the following insight:

“Do what’s right because it’s right – not for praise or validation”Pain, Passion & Purpose by Marci Wise

While I’ve never been a selfish person, I think it’s safe to say that most of us choose our actions based on some sort of final, pleasing outcome. Whether it be for love, satisfaction or the respect of others, it seems that there’s always layer of ego-gratification involved. And when you get down to it – that is really beneath the highest, ideal version of ourselves.

We should do right – simply because it’s the right thing to do.

First PicMy latest gut-wrencher of personal growth came yesterday when I discovered that I will no longer be able to spend time with the adorable 7-year-old girl who I’ve been mentoring through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Now, right off the bat, let me say that I know my thinking is flawed here. I should be completely and ecstatically happy that this wonderful, little girl has found a stable and loving home where she can flourish and grow. And I really am happy about that. But I suppose I’m sort of sad for me too. Spending time with this open-hearted little person reminded me of how we give our love so freely when we’re younger. It’s not a drawn-out and complicated decision that we make – simply an expression of the purity of our being. Within our first week together there was laughter, joy and plenty of hugs. Not only was I helping to offer her some lighthearted experiences that she might not ordinarily have – but she was also helping me to bridge the gap from my role as a mother to an empty-nester.

rollThis morning, as I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I realized that this is one of those moments where the “ego” is not my friend. Yes, it hurts to develop a connection to someone and then have it taken away – but certainly not enough to have missed out on the experience entirely. The only true way to keep a heart safe is to never give it to anyone – and that’s not living. I began volunteering for the organization because I had love to give – to someone who needed it. Mission accomplished. Not only was I able to do that – but I got the pleasure of seeing this little diamond-in-the-rough begin to polish and shine. Regardless of what might have occurred in her past, her future is now ripe with possibility – and I’m grateful for whatever part I was blessed enough to play. So I won’t focus on the loss – but instead treasure the memory of the joyous time we spent together. This was just one little way that my time and energy was able to help create a better world for someone. And while I cannot own or hold onto the experience – there were definitely gifts in it for me, too. Letting go of expectations – and control of our hearts – is freeing. Maybe that pain I’m feeling is actually my heart growing and expanding with more love to share. So who knows what new and wonderful relationships and opportunities lie around the next bend? I’m ready, willing and excited to find out.

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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2014 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.