Happiness Is…

Okay, so, yes, this is way cute, but there are a ton of cute things on the internet. I’ll tell you when this video won me over, though: at 7:49, when this 3 year-old speaks profound wisdom.

 

Honest and Unmerciful

I don’t get into celebrity news too much. Granted, it can be fun (in a demented sort of way) to watch the rise and fall of various Hollywood types, but more often than not, I feel kind of sleazy when I let myself gawk too long. Partly that’s because I think so much of it is ridiculous, and partly that’s because it’s so dehumanizing.

When a celebrity passes away, I see it as unfortunate, but I don’t typically focus on it too much. If the deceased was someone whose art I had a particular fondness for, I might mourn it in some small way, but I don’t pretend to have known the person. Like everyone else, I feel the void left when a talented person we’ve come to enjoy and respect passes on. I want to honor them, of course, but I don’t want to diminish their personal relationships by talking about the loss as though it had nearly the same impact on me.

This past weekend, Philip Seymour Hoffman died. He’s been one of my favorite actors for a while. I’ve watched movies purely because he was in them, and I never saw him in a single role I didn’t enjoy.

I didn’t (and still don’t) know much about his personal life. I only know he had a way of bringing roles to life so that they resonated with me. I’ll certainly miss him on screen.

But more than that. For whatever reason, his passing has been on my mind for the better part of two days. Not just because he was a talented actor, but also because the circumstances of his death seem to have been particularly tragic and unnecessary. More than a few wildly talented people have struggle with and ultimately left us as a result of drug use. All such situations are equally mournful, but the quick exit Mr. Hoffman made has left me reeling.

Maybe it’s because, years ago, a friend suggested that if there were a movie made about me, he should be the actor to play me. I don’t know. I only know that I feel a deep and resounding sadness when I think about the fact that he’s gone. Nothing compared to the sadness his friends and family feel, I have no doubt, but something that gives me cause for pause.

So today, I’m grateful for the talent he shared with us. I’m grateful, too, for the fortune I’ve had, personally, that has spared me some of the struggles he had. And, I’m grateful for the people in my life who make it worth living.

In his honor, here’s a small sample of his work. One of his better scenes, in my opinion. It’s my small way of showing respect.

The Things People Say

file000808611721Words are powerful things, and I love what Amy Nichols has to say on that. Check out this recent post from her site.

The Things People Say

Sometimes people say the meanest things. It’s like they don’t hear how they sound. Or maybe they do and don’t care.

I’ve been talking about this a lot with my kids lately. Teaching them that words are powerful. With their words, they have the ability to build up or destroy.

The little boy next door passed a note over the wall to my youngest the other day. In crude handwriting and awful spelling, the boy called my youngest a…well, an offensive term that starts with F and rhymes with duck. The word came out of nowhere. One minute they’re talking and playing, and the next, boom. His feelings were hurt, of course. Now whenever he interacts with that boy, it’s like he’s on heightened awareness, waiting for the kid to hurt his feelings again.

Read more…

Tolerance

Inconceivable

Last night, I posted the following on Facebook:

Tolerance has to begin somewhere. More often than not, it begins with the tolerate accepting the intolerant–not endorsing them and certainly not allowing injustice to stand unanswered, but accepting others’ rights to hold opposing views, hoping to lead them, by example, to a place of greater tolerance for others.

What prompted my midnight-hour fit of philosophy? A friend of mine, someone I respect and whose views I generally agree with, posted two pictures back to back. The first, a plea for tolerance and acceptance. The second, a demeaning taunt that embodied the polar opposite of the first, needlessly mocking those he/she disagrees with.

It made me sad.

Look, if we want a ‘better world’, lofty as that sounds, we have to (in the words of a quote often mistakenly attributed to Gandhi) “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Too often, we spout things about tolerance in thoroughly intolerant ways. If the idea of tolerance is going to mean much of anything, it has to be two-way street. Even if you think someone else’s values/ideas/beliefs are misguided and foolish through-and-through, mocking them or denouncing them wholesale only contributes to the problem.

Never more so, perhaps, than when intolerance, itself, is mocked.

Again, I’m not condoning close-mindness. I abhor it. And I’m not arguing that we should ever allow for injustice. I’m suggesting, however, that if one wants others to be tolerate of their values, ideas and beliefs, a good place to start is by being tolerant of the values, ideas and beliefs of others.

Happiness & Gratitude

Whatever you’re doing, stop doing it and watch this. I mean it. Then, tell someone why you’re grateful for them.

Seriously.

Like, now.

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