When the Paris attacks hit—the one that wiped out 130 people and injured more than 350—I read a powerful article. It said: Stop asking kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problems they’d like to solve.
Genius. And timely, I thought. Asking kids what problems they’d like to solve helps remove the narrow expectation that kids must grow up to fill one specific role: ballerina, astronaut, psychologist, writer, senator, etc. It removes the idea that, as an adult, you must become a job. Inspired, I began asking myself a series of questions:
- What problems do I want to solve?
- Who must I be in order to solve them?
- What must I learn?
- What action could I take to get me closer to solving these problems?
- What tools do I already possess that allow me to solve these problems?
- Is there a deadline involved? A way to track my progress, and keep me moving forward?
- What one action step can I take today that will move me closer to my goal?
- What type of platform is appropriate for this message?**
(**Taken from my notes on November 18th, 2015):
War. Mental, physical, emotional. The possibility of an attack from an “enemy.”
The mind, believing that war is an answer.
Feeling separated from God/Source/Creation.
Feeling isolated, in general, by friends and “society.”
Annoyances, grudges, disgruntled attitudes.
Bigotry, hatred, self-righteousness, greed.
Complacency. Laziness. Confusion.
Lack of respect and kindness/compassion.
The fearful divide between sexes, cultures, sexual preferences, etc.
Religiosity on all fronts, even in intellectual sphere: “I am right; you are wrong.”
Judgement for the sake of judgement, needing to be “right.”
The other. (Lack of oneness. Lack of perception of oneness).
No drive or willingness to grow, or to understand the ‘unknown’
WHO MUST I BE IN ORDER TO SOLVE THEM?
Compassionate. Willing to listen. Connected to my Source in deep conversation and communion; relying on my Source to provide answers, and to pave the way. I must be peaceful, and give up my fear and desire for war. I must rely less on my critical mind, which has the goal of dividing, labeling, identifying differences. I must be open to new ideas. I must be rooted in truth, kindness, compassion, love. I must love my enemies (because they are not my enemies). I must pray for my brothers and sisters. I must want the best for them, and see past any differences and fear. I must show up to conflict with a smile and love, not avoiding people or conversation because it could result in an uprise. I must be comfortable with gently challenging others. I must be comfortable when that challenge does not feel so gentle. I must be giving, and do the work necessary to absolve my ego needs and thoughts. I must be interconnected with all things, faithful and believe in the vision of oneness. I must meditate, and imagine a world where all creation is holding hands, and emitting their true nature, which is love. I must correct my own errors of thought, and lovingly hold a vision of truth for my bothers and sisters, which sometimes means correcting their errors in thoughts, too. But also knowing when to step in with my opinion, or to simply listen and embrace them with love, without words. I must be vigilant in my belief of love and oneness, so that I may BE this energy, and GIVE this energy freely, which has been given to me freely, just by choosing to be it.
WHAT MUST I LEARN?
How to focus and concentrate my thoughts. Boldness. And courage. Basically, I must learn to steep myself in the belief that the world I envision and desire is even possible. I must learn to shake my disbelief. I must learn to see the truth, even when it is invisible, and isn’t present to my current awareness. I must learn to pay attention to the “signs,” and nudges, to move in the Spirit of God in situations that I otherwise might not even show up to. I must deepen my trust of God, and my faithfulness. I must read and meditate and empty my soul. Release the trap of emotions that are rooted in fear, anger, misery, death. I must release that, for the sake of my family, country, community, and friends.
Confidence in my message and purpose and delivery.
I must learn how to shake off criticism, and to forgive it instantly.
I probably need to learn how to best convey and communicate this information, so that I do so with confidence and courage, not fear. I probably need to listen to God to find the medium in which I am meant to use — which could be multiple mediums.
WHAT ONE ACTION CAN I TAKE TODAY TO GET ME CLOSER TO SOLVING THESE PROBLEMS?
I can mediate on peace and love for my brothers.
I can tune in at 3pm with the pope***, and send love to my sisters and brothers across the entire country, and focus that love over Syria and Paris and over the eyes and hearts of those in error, who believe in war. I can forgive my own mind for wanting the attack. I can send love to myself, and ask the Holy Spirit to release all desire for judgement and war and separation, and to fill me up with the spirit of Love and Connection.
Read great writing/memories/poetry/books.
***Pope Francis scheduled a time of prayer following the Paris attacks.
WHAT ACTION CAN I TAKE LONG-TERM THAT WILL MANIFEST THIS SOLUTION?
Study groups/compassion groups. Discussion groups. Group meditation/prayer.
A book of prayers.
Reaching into artistic expression, making things…
WHAT TOOLS DO I ALREADY POSSESS THAT WILL HELP ME REACH THIS GOAL?
I have the internet, which has countless opportunities for guided meditations.
I have The Bible.
I have my eyes, which can read, and my heart, which can hear.
I have the desire and drive to make this possible.
I have concentrate and focus.
I have an ability to connect the dots, and find new pathways for truth to be present.
I have money, and time, and a car, and communication skills, e-mail, text, phone.
I have the Holy Spirit.
I have a willing heart.
I have an inquisitive mind.
I have integrity.
I have wisdom.
I have warmth, a home, and people to connect with and practice sending love to.
I have a family who loves me, and nurtures me.
I have language and the ability to read and write and speak.
I have God.
WHAT TYPE OF PLATFORM IS APPROPRIATE FOR THIS MESSAGE?
The inner chamber of my meditation
In conversation, out in the world, wherever I am.
At church (after church, when connecting with others).
Monday Night Dinners.
Other people’s blogs.
Piano (music), Video, Song, Lyrics, Sound, Art /audiovisual
Prior to client calls and during client calls.
Community centers/in-person gathering. Skype gatherings.
To discuss how we can parade for peace, internally and externally.
Guided prayer through Skype.
INTEGRITY AND WISDOM.
Where there are problems, there are also solutions. They exist simultaneously. What issues do you care about? What do you see around you that does not seem fair, right, or just? In an ideal world, how do you imagine things playing out? What gifts have you personally been given in this lifetime to help usher in peaceful results? What type of thoughts must have you in order to make that ideal come to life? What actions must you take to see positive change?
There are many ways to approach a problem. My gifts and contributions are largely rooted in the Spirit while the gifts of others might appear to impact something more tangible within the physical realm. Whatever realm, your gifts are valid. How do we test our solutions to make sure they are sound and actually helpful?
I ask myself this question: Will this solution cause pain or harm to anyone? Does this solution create peace in me?
12 For our struggle is not against [a]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12).
“Love has no darkened temples where mysteries are kept obscure and hidden from the sun. It does not seek for power, but for relationships.” – ACIM
I implore you to ask a young child what problems they’d like to solve in the world. I encourage you to ask your own inner child the same question.