Veteran’s Day prompted Walmart to come up with a new popular idea. They ran a commercial promoting green light bulbs as a way to show veteran’s support. But were any proceeds of those sales benefitting any veteran’s organization? The ad did not mention any such benefit. At the least the Breast Cancer Foundation claims that some of the proceeds go to research for “The Cure.” But honestly, for all the pink merchandise on the market, I would think they should have been able to fund “The Cure” for several forms of cancer by now.
Friday’s terrorist attacks prompted many American’s to post images of the French flag to show their support of the devastation abroad. But what did this accomplish? Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to show that you are on the same wavelength and empathize with others. But can’t we do more?
I’m all for supporting a country or cause, but in a manner that is more significant. People’s lives shouldn’t be reduced to an anecdote, catch phrase, wristband or light bulb. Doesn’t matter if they fought for their country, struggle with illness, or are ordinary folk living mundane lives – every life should matter. Animal, vegetable, mineral, we all contribute something.
But mirroring the hate that caused extremists to take lives, including their own, serves no one. Hate won’t help heal the families who are grieving. And killing others will only attract more retaliation. But I do understand why the human animal wants to react with aggression. Reaction is what we do in response.
What if we could take action with thought and words instead of buying merchandise?
Thoughts are things. They become a physical energy. If we are all thinking hateful, retaliatory thoughts on terrorists, we are batting for the wrong team. Mirroring anger only accelerates that energy like throwing gasoline on a fire. Yes, we should always be vigilant with defense against the opposition. But what if we keep our thoughts in a lighter state, open to possibilities instead of slamming doors on communication through misunderstanding? Making ripples in our own backyard pond might touch someone across the pond. If we are mindful of what we think and speak and place on social media, perhaps we can brighten instead of darken our little corners of the world. The more light, the better.
You know that when any group of people gathers and negativity rears its head, everyone jumps on that wagon and collectively grows that thought, especially the negative ones.
“The economy sucks.”
“The government is corrupt.”
“The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
“People are horrible.”
Don’t follow the herd.
Families who lost loved ones on Friday are inconsolable in their grief. Their lives have an enormous empty hole in them that will never again be filled. They can’t see any light.
In my town, there are homeless veteran’s panhandling on every major intersection. For many, life seems pretty hopeless at the moment. So the rest of us need to step in and hold that space for them, thinking and speaking as light and encouraging as possible, raising the energy to keep balance.
If you want to buy a green light bulb or pink hat, great. Just match that sense of giving with the right energy, and a contribution to the actual cause. If you’re around anyone whining and griping about the state of the world or the hateful people in it, break the thought by interjecting something lighter, more positive. Take the wind out of the black sails. Feed the light with uplifting thoughts and words. Because the living must continue to live.