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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Hope in a world of tragedy.

In Health, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on December 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOHope – A small word that carries a great deal of weight. Hope inspires people, gives them purpose, direction, even courage. For some, hope is all they have to motivate them.

If you look up hope in a dictionary its synonyms include: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, and so on. But I’m not entirely convinced that these are accurate. In my mind, hope is not a simple thought or expectation, but one of the most powerful of all emotions.

Yes, hope is an emotion. It has no medical or biological origin. It is a complete figment of the heart, which can move the mind and body to do incredible things. Unlike other aspirational emotions, I believe that hope requires the additional element of faith.

The type of faith depends strongly on the individual. It could be faith in God or some other supernatural belief. It could be faith in one’s own character and accomplishments. For me, faith in the integrity, loyalty and support of others is what fuels my hope. If hope is to have weight, faith must be unwavering and consistent.

Action is also needed in the equation in order to move you towards your goal. You can’t just sit idly by and dream of something, you must act. You “hope” your child will be accepted to a good school. So you do things to support that hope by helping her along the way providing, music lessons, math camp, whatever supports the end goal.

Hope without action is merely a wish, void of substance or direction. A wish is fine if you’re throwing a penny into a fountain, but hope is usually focused around a mindset of action.

Sometimes, people still have hope for things over which they have no control. A great many people hoped the 2016 U.S. presidential election would have turned out differently.

Others hope the new president will do all of the things he says he will and meet their hopes for America. Either way, it’s all about your perspective – and that’s often the very nature of hope.

In hope, as in life, perspective is everything. Your hopes are dependent upon your life view. You hope for things that will improve or enhance the lives of yourself and those closest to you. Hope also requires time.

Action is rarely instantaneous, so time is required for hope to be a motivator. That’s hard sometimes, particularly if someone is in dire need. When we hope a sick family member will recover, we have to be patient while the treatments are applied.

Also, we generally “hope” for things to turn out for the best. Our anticipation may grow because of hope. Good news about a potential raise or promotion at work can build hope. It’s not often that hope is associated with something negative.

But again, hope is nothing without faith and action. If you are someone who generally sits idly by praying that God or someone else will fix your problem, I’m afraid you’re in for a big disappointment. You have to take steps towards what you want – even if it doesn’t feel you have much control over it.

With so much tragedy in the world – wars, mass shootings, and xenophobic politicians – how can you find hope? If I had the answer to questions like that, the Dalai Lama would have some competition or his job.

The fact is that we should have hope despite tragedy. Keeping our hope alive is what gives purpose to human beings in perilous circumstances. No matter how well off someone might seem to be in position, finances, love, work, whatever, we all have hopes for something.

Hope isn’t as much about answers but more about questions. What do you want out of life? Have you done anything to move towards getting those things? Are you making a plan to get there?

It’s been said that hope is the desire for something with the expectation of getting it. Well, as I’ve pointed out, I don’t believe it’s quite so simple. If it were, hope wouldn’t be such a powerful influence on human existence.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. 

 

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Don’t talk to me about, “life.”

In Health, Opinion, psychology, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on May 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

Deer In Headlines

Special Edition 

By Gery L. Deer

dih-logo-SE“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ― George Carlin

No kidding, don’t talk to me about life. I don’t have a clue what to tell you. It’d be great if I could suddenly sound like one of those know-it-all high-dollar advice columnists but, really, they’re full of it too.  You’d have more luck following the meaningless advice from inside your next fortune cookie at the local Chinese restaurant.

Advice columnists, TV experts, so-called “life coaches,” or your favorite self-help author or motivational speaker must be infinitely smarter than any of us regular folks. After all, they motivated your money right out of your wallet; genius, wouldn’t you say? In reality, one can tell you what to do about the perils and promises of life except you.

Life is one of those subjects about which I have never felt confident offering an opinion, nor should anyone else. The very idea that anyone has it figured out or could possibly understand the complexities of someone else’s situation is not just ridiculous, it’s a little insulting.

Special, personal hat tip to the late author, Douglas Adams, who helped to put this writer's perspective into focus.

Special, personal hat tip to the late author, Douglas Adams, who helped to put this writer’s perspective into focus.

If anyone could actually manage such a thing, it would mean that there is nothing inherently special or unique about our lives. It implies that everyone lives a sort of cookie-cutter existence, with no peaks, valleys or crevices, and that’s just silly.

Life is complicated. It cannot be sorted out with an hour on the psychiatrist’s couch or because of some nonsense from a self-help book. We all have to iron it out for ourselves. That’s not to say we don’t need some help sometimes, but it’s not going to come from something you saw on an infomercial at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Even religion offers no answer to such multifaceted issues as, “What should I do with my life?” Religion also guts your wallet without providing a single, concrete solution. In fact, without an incredible level of ambiguity, religion couldn’t exist at all.

Your faith may provide you with peace of mind, but leaving everything “in God’s hands,” is a little like letting go of the wheel while barreling down the highway at 70 miles per hour. I’d say He probably expects you to steer. And, to be fair, science has no solutions either.

For those empirical folks out there, Charles Darwin might have been able to tell you how animals changed over the millennia, but he had no clue how the evolution of your life should proceed. Sometimes you just have to work things out on your own.

Life coaches, support groups, psychobabble – it all comes down to the person you see in the mirror. Everyone has an opinion about your life, but before taking it, you need to look at the source of that information. What kind of shape is their life in?

It’s always puzzling when someone takes marriage advice from a friend or relative whose relationships are a wreck.  That’s kind of like asking a demolition derby driver to teach drivers education. They know how, but the results might be less than desirable.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) once said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” That is probably the best way to look at your world. Occasionally we’re looking too hard for answers to difficult questions with straightforward resolutions. But you won’t find your answers in a self-help workshop or in an advice column.

When standing at a fork in the road, there comes a time when you have to pick a path and start walking. You put one foot in front of the other, get moving and own it, whatever the outcome. If you do that, on your terms, at least you’ll know it was your decision to go left instead of right, to charge ahead instead of turning back. It will be yours, because we are responsible for the paths our lives take and, after all, the journey is the real destination. Make it a good one.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com

Disasters help us appreciate the easy things

In Children and Family, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on May 22, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

What’s your life like? Are you regularly faced with life-changing decisions? Is your life in danger with uncommon regularity? Fortunately, not many of us have to face such situations in our daily routines.

First response officers (police, fire, EMS), U.S. Secret Service agents and military personnel in war zones are probably some of the few groups of Americans who routinely face life-threatening events. For the rest of us, a visit to Walmart can put us into fight of flight mode.

A favorite author of mine once noted that when faced with a completely hopeless, potentially life-ending situation, one should consider how good life has been up to that point. On the other hand, if life hadn’t been so good, one should think about how lucky it is that it won’t be troubling you for much longer. The point is that usually, life’s situations are rarely as hopeless as we think.

Nearly two decades ago, on a beautiful summer day, on a quiet country road in the middle of nowhere, I was faced with just that kind of situation, but it all happened in the blink of an eye. While driving one of our farm trucks to pick up hay, a massive cement mixing truck struck my vehicle, head on, left front fender to left front fender, with unbelievable speed and force.

The power of the collision destroyed my truck and literally cut the front wheels and axle out from under me, burying the frame, nose first, into the asphalt below. A heartbeat later, I was sitting motionless in a shower of debris, dust and glass as the big Louisville Ford crashed to a halt in the hot sun.

Without sounding overly dramatic, had the other vehicle been six inches further to my right when it struck my truck, I’d have been killed instantly. There is much more to the story, but what stands out here is how different your life’s perspective is when you come that close to death. In fact, I actually remember bursting out in laughter.

My father had been in front of me, helplessly watching all of this unfold in his rear view mirrors. As we stood in the street surveying the wreckage, I busted out laughing and said, “My brother’s going to kill me.” After all, it was his truck and he hadn’t had it too long. Oh well, I thought, that’s life.

When faced with life-threatening events like the massive tornado in Oklahoma on May 20th, our perspectives change in an instant and what seemed important one second becomes the last thing on your mind a moment later. Maybe the lesson to take away from these events is about how much we value our day-to-day lives, or rather, how much we devalue them.

Every day without suffering, disease, pain or trauma is a gift. We should appreciate anytime we can just sit back, take a deep breath and think how calm and good life is at that moment. Most of us don’t do that, though.

In our country, we seem to be a little too preoccupied with what we don’t have to appreciate what we do. I remember times at family events when I literally stopped, sat there and looked around, and, like on a camera or video tape, tried to capture the image of family and friends laughing, smiling and being happy to be together, just in that instant. I have stored countless gigabytes of space in my head full of nothing but that – appreciation for the moment.

Admittedly, I don’t do it as much as I should and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who does that. But when life’s hard, or you can’t seem to find the good in a moment, it’s nice to be able to close your eyes and go back to those times to give yourself a sense of peace and calm. It makes you appreciate every moment just a little more.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer from Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com