Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The last few days I've been listening an audio version the book "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss. The subtitle is: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich. How could this possibly happen? Isn't it the "law" that one works hard, and saves until they are 65? (Or 66 and 7 months for those of us born after a certain year). Well, apparently not!
I was most intrigued by the chapter called "Mini Retirements". What a concept?! I like it! I've never been certain that permanent retirement was something I wanted in my life. Of course the author has all sorts of good ideas on how to make this happen, some practical, some not so practical. He also provides a wealth of websites to visit. Including several websites that have opportunities for volunteer work opportunities.
Another of the more interesting chapters described how to outsource your life. There is an entire worldwide network of people who will complete every task from creating complex data-bases, and research to writing an apology note to your spouse. In fact, much of the research for this book was outsourced. Some of the websites for outsourcing are set up in an Ebay style with jobs and bids submitted, and ratings given by both the bidders and those who bid. I'm not sure if or when I'd use such a service, but the idea of a "global economy" at this level had never occurred to me!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Friday night I went to a talk given by Dr. Jack Hickle on his work in Old Fangak, Southern Sudan. This area of Sudan is extremely impoverished and disease ridden after 20 years of civil war. A civil war between the African Nuer people of the South and the Muslims of the North, over the oil riches in the area. (Imagine that?!). Dr. Hickle is a friend of Dr. Jill Seaman who has gone to Old Fandak for 19 years providing the only medical care for an estimated 5,000 people in the area. Measles, Polio, malnutrition and a myriad of tropical diseases are rampant in the area. The hospital consists of a small building with turn of the century iron beds and no latrines. Because the building is so small many of the patients lie outside under mosquito nets. And, there are no outhouses outside either. Unimaginable conditions to those of us who live our comfortable soft life here. At any rate, Dr. Hickle is raising money for a clinic with indoor plumbing for Old Fangak. To learn more about his project you can go to www.alaskasudan.org. I warn you though, the videos are heart-wrenching!
As I left the talk, a friend of mine, who was deeply moved by what she had heard said: "I don't understand a God that would let such horrors occur!" I thought about that today, because I've pondered the very same. You know, I've come to think of this differently, I can't believe the human race, people, would commit and let such horrors occur! I think Eckhart Tolle said it best in his book A New Earth. He talks about the violent deaths man has suffered at the hand of their fellow human. Just since the beginning of the 20th century over 100 million people have been murdered by other humans. He said: "The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnoses would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived "enemies"---his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals." Eckhart goes on to say that the collective human consciousness has to change from the "criminally insane" consciousness or the human race will not survive. Pretty dark huh?!
Of course I don't have answers to all of this, only questions. But I believe I am connected to the people in Southern Sudan through the spirit of God, and it is my responsibility to do what I can, however small my contribution may be. And I believe it was no accident that I heard about these people, I must do something.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today I went to a Jewish wedding, the first I've ever attended. The service was beautiful, in the woods, overlooking a creek. I liked the traditions the Rabbi told us about, I assume because most of the attendees were not Jewish. Anyway, the tradition of breaking the glass is one I enjoyed the most. According to the Rabbi, in ancient times there were thought to be many demons around, and the sound of the breaking glass would scare the demons away. The Rabbi said we still have demons that need to be scared away, the demons of jealousy, disrespect, anger and indifference. I appreciated the analogy. These and many other things can be demons in a marriage.