Cambrian: Opinion

T-shirts, bumper stickers can be gateways to wisdom

As is the way of life in Cambria, when business gets slow, you try to come up with other projects or products that might sustain you through lean times. My brain tends to skip creatively around to things like T-shirt designs. I know, not exactly the ideal get-rich-quick scheme. But fun.

“Spread Peace.” You may see that theme plastered all over my vehicle. I think it’s a message worth promoting. Shirt design: like one of the designs on my car but with ideas under it. I’m sure you can all come up with your own if you tried but, let me prompt you some

Smile: I just invested in a course by Qigong master Chunyi Lin, who uses that word as an acronym that fits my topic — Start My Internal Love Engine. Seriously, peace begins with thwarting unrest to begin with. A smile is a simple tool to do that.

Talk to strangers: I freaked out Love of My Life by immediately talking to the fellow who sat down next to me on the New York subway. “You’re not from here, are you?” We chatted happily for the next 10 minutes.

People need to know they exist. People need to know fear is not the norm. Shouldn’t be the norm. Fear perpetuates fear. Look at what our government and the media do to us all the time.

Give hugs: Have you ever ended a conversation and felt like you wanted to hug them but didn’t think you should? You should. I’ve had people, from all walks of life, say they just needed some “touch.” It connects, it enlivens. Hugs are a powerful tool. Start by putting your hand around their shoulders or at least on their shoulder or hold their hand sincerely.

Live simply: Consider what your lifestyle promotes. Blood minerals, blood diamonds, toxic waste the list is endless. Live simply simply means want less, use less, thereby decreasing the planetary burden on your fellow humans who may be suffering through production processes, materials extraction and unjust circumstances. Wouldn’t you feel angry and scared if you had to mine garbage to buy a bowl of rice?

Ask questions: Ignorance is not bliss but rather ignorance. If you do not understand a population, their religion, their culture, what-is-a-teenager, what-does-that-girl-mean, then you are likely to make assumptions with no basis in truth. What it does is develop lies, frustration and ultimately distrust. Seek to learn.

Share: information, food, love. We are all on this planet together. There is always enough if we let go. Studies show that the less people have, the more they tend to donate or share what they do have. Fascinating.

Practice gratitude: If you make others feel appreciated, you will benefit in ways you may not foresee. But the bottom line is, if you realize you have enough, then you don’t want everyone else’s. Greed and envy are poison to a joyful spirit.

Develop empathy: Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. While it may not be practical to sleep on a city bench with your three perfectly coiffed children, find a way (ask questions, share a meal?) to understand what the rest of the world is experiencing. It may not be poverty; it may be pain or longing or anger.

Seek the good, beauty, joy: Start the day with gratitude. Look for the silver lining. Notice the little details that really are what make up our lives. Focus on good news. Bad news is there, but we don’t need to give it power with our attention, as I’ve said before.

Most importantly: forgive. Peace begins within, so start there. Forgive yourself for injuries you may have inflicted on others or on yourself. Forgive those who have wronged you. It is not about condoning what they did, but rather about your spirit and your connection to the Universal Force. Free yourself, free your spirit and peace will prevail.

I think it’s worth working on.