Not many answers but lots and lots of questions!!!

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Global Investigative Journalism Conference

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Forward this, %$@%$!!!! 

Note: Since I haven't had any time to write something new this week I thought would post something from my past. I wrote this as a rant in May 2002

So many people send me so many forwarded bits of wisdom, thoughts for the day and virus warnings that I became over-saturated long ago and gave up even trying to respond.

Still, I want to tell them if you care about me enough to send me (blessings, prayers, good luck) chain letters that make me feel guilty when I trash them why don’t you care enough to remove all the little arrows and leftover signatures and headers? Why don’t you care enough to put my e-mail address in the Bcc: header to protect me from the spammers? While we’re on the subject (or at least I am) do you really believe that forwarding enough e-mail will make the world a better place through blessings, prayers and good luck? (Really? You may want to give yourself a little shake and think again.)

Next time you want to forward something to me, take a good look at it. Is it really special? Does it tell me something about you that I don’t know? Can you take a minute to add some personal comments and explain why you feel that way? Are you willing to clean it up so I don’t have to open 5 messages and read through a bunch of crap to find out what you’re trying to say so I know that you value my time?

I feel obligated to suggest a solution when I point out a problem. How about this? Instead of forwarding something, take a few minutes and sit down and type out a few original thoughts. OK maybe you’re not some spiritual guru who says 7 really deep things every day before breakfast. The point is that I would rather you try to speak to me in your own voice than press forward and send on somebody else’s words. Maybe the wisdom of the ages doesn’t roll off your tongue but at least I will know that you cared enough to try.

Even better, sit somewhere quiet (no electronics), take a few deep breaths, clear your mind for a moment, think about me, and send me some good energy. It is not necessary to tell me, or anyone else that you have done this. While you’re at it, think about somebody that you’re mad at, maybe someone who hurt, betrayed, or abandoned you in the past. Send them some good energy. Do it often enough and pretty soon you won’t be mad or hurt anymore.

I’ve done this and it works. It will probably take longer than you think it should but it does work. The reason it works is because we’re the ones that suffer most from our hatred, anger or resentment. Most of the people you’re mad at don’t know about it. Most of the ones that do know about it don’t care or have forgotten. So we go around poisoning ourselves with toxic thoughts and feelings about other people and the vast majority of the time they aren’t affected by it one bit. I guess we showed them eh!? Hit me again and I’ll get up off the floor and bleed all over you! What would our world be like if we just stopped giving so much power to our negative thoughts and feelings?

While we’re here anyway how about doing something for yourself? I would like it if you were happy and fulfilled. That definitely would make my world a better place. So try this. Let’s pretend for a moment that we’re not angry or afraid anymore, that the universe is a good place. There is nothing but joy in our hearts and peace in our minds. I know, I know, we can’t have everyone going around feeling happy and fulfilled all the time. Then where would we be? Who would inflict all that pain and suffering so necessary in today’s modern world? How are we going to feel alienated and disconnected if everyone goes around really relating to each other? We’ll have nobody to blame for our problems. We can’t have that. How will we generate the moral superiority and righteous indignation that fuels the judgements we use to cover our lack of self-esteem? Maybe we don’t have the job, money, car, body, and/or relationship of our dreams but that’s OK. Yes we’ve been embarrassed, hurt, victimized, abandoned, betrayed, disappointed and/or abused in the past, but we’ve made a choice to let it go. Just for this moment we feel safe, relaxed and comfortable. We’ve taken whatever it is we use to make ourselves feel bad and just turned it off. Don’t be scared, you can go back to feeling horrible when we’re done, just try it for a moment. We’ve jumped over the whole huge process of becoming happy (the one that’s stopped us from actually being happy) and just for a moment (maybe even 2 or 3) we are going to BE happy. Do it now. Yes, you do know how. Everybody does. No, this is not unfair and it’s not cheating. Anyone can do this anytime they want.

How does it feel? Strange I’ll bet. Good, but weird. Well don’t do it too long or too often. You might get used to it.

If you would like to feel like that more often, try this. You know all those reasons you have for postponing happiness and peace of mind? Dump them. I know, it’s too simple. Life’s answers have to be difficult so we can have an excuse. What if, just for the sake of experimentation, we tried it? You know that person you’ve been meaning to spend more time with, do something nice for, or get to know better? Just stop whatever you’re doing and do it, especially if that person is you. This might also be a great opportunity to right past wrong’s and mend fences. Is there something you’ve been feeling guilty about? Straighten it out. Take the day off work if you have to. Call in well. Tell them you feel too good to come to work today.

What’s the matter, can’t bring yourself to do something nice for yourself, too shy to do it for someone you know? Then do something nice for someone you don’t know. Hold doors open for people, smile at someone you don’t want anything from for no reason, or say hello the next time you meet a stranger’s eyes. Next time you’re at the cash register of a restaurant paying for your meal, pick someone you don’t know and pay for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Ask the service person not to tell them until you’ve gone and not to reveal who you are. Don’t tell anyone else you did it. Think of it as a practical joke where people end up feeling good instead of embarrassed. It will make you smile and giggle to yourself. People will wonder what you’re on about but don’t tell them.

Look at this. I’ve gone on much too long. That happens to me a lot. Well, I got to say a bunch of things I’ve wanted to say for a long time. I should have been at work long ago. Somehow this seemed more important. I wonder if I’ll have the courage to actually send this. If I do, it would be nice to hear what you thought of this, especially if someone forwarded this and I don’t know you.

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