“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” — Buddha
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” - Buddha
Two years ago today, I was sitting on a beach in Orange Beach, Alabama. My family and I vacation there in a beautiful condo overlooking the beach. The beach is my thinking place. Especially before the beachgoers descend and the beach becomes crowded. I love watching the sun rise over the horizon and hit the water. It always reminds me of this gift we have been given. The gift of life. Whether we know it or not every new day is a chance to rise and begin again.
This past year, this past month, this past week has reminded me that we get to choose what each new day can look like. We get to choose in every moment. Before the knee was placed, or the gun fired, in a split instant there is choice.
I love this saying by the Buddah. Last week, in that courtroom, justice was the choice.
And we have also made choices that have endangered the planet and taken human life. This past year we have made choices that have divided families, neighbors, neighborhoods, cities, counties, towns, a nation.
As I think about it the adage about going around the same old mountain is aptly applied in its logic to the challenges we have faced this past year.
How is it that we rise every single day and apply the same logic to broken problems and systems from the day before?
Some people would call that insanity. I would simply classify it as fear and ego. Fear of losing what we know, the systems, the power, the order that tells us who we are. The ego that defines who we are in those systems, in that power, in that order, drives us to make the same decisions and choices. No matter if they did not work yesterday.
To make change in institutional systems we must change our behavior to change our choices. I know this to be true. As I watched the George Floyd trial, Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, and Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell presented a sound case. It was factual. Yet, in the closing what was so deftly asked of the jury was a behavior change. They were asked to not make the usual choice. They were asked to see the common humanity of George Floyd, rather than the highlighted crimes of George Floyd.
In so doing, the facts helped the jury stop going around that same mountain. They we able to not make choices based up their own lived experiences, but on our own common humanity.
When we can begin to see each other through the lens of justice, fairness, equity, inclusion, and love we can begin to make new choices. Each new day can be a day to begin again. When we can see that if a grown man shoots a child, it is a crime regardless, we can begin again.
When we can see that not paying a livable wage hurts everyone, we can live again.
When we can see that neither skin color, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, education, neighborhood, zip code or anything else defines who can be on top and who is somehow on the bottom...we can begin again.
While I miss sitting on the beach this year and getting my thinking time in, the quiet of the pandemic has brought me something else. It has slowed time down long enough for me to know that not only in each new day can we begin again. In each moment we can begin again. In each moment or each day we can make new and better choices. It might just save a life.
And that's a brilliant glimpse of insight.