Greetings and Salutations my Marshmallow Peeps!
Even though it is almost mid-way through January, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year! And speaking of the new year, over New Year’s, I made a couple of resolutions for 2019: be more patient, be more proactive in giving myself some mental space, and be less reactive/ less swept up in the day-to-day mini-dramas. Too lofty? Perhaps. But it feels like it is time to think big thoughts.
Over this break, I was reflecting on how we are subjected to the “domino effect”– in other words, how much influence we exact on one another. It made me think about a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 sermon about interconnectedness, our “mutuality.” In his sermon Dr. King said, “It really boils down to this: all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.
Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent upon most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed you by a Pacific Islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you by the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning and that is poured in your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by the Chinese.
Or maybe you desire to have cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you by the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.
This is the way our universe is structured. It is its interrelated quality.”
We are all inextricably intertwined, and we can see its effects both negative and positive. Unfortunately, the negative effects are quite flagrant of late from the way we are currently being governed to our lack of sufficient collective action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. As parents, we often face the daily grind from a mindset of reactivity since, at least within my family, there is always something to react to. It is difficult to be conscious of where we are placing our energies. How are we using our energy? What does our input and output of physical and mental energy look like? Could we be using it more wisely? The answer is usually, “Yes.”
Now that school is back in session, Maki and I are also back in the saddle at ETM, looking ahead at the year to come. This year, we resolve to shift our view from being reactive to being proactive by seeking a positive trajectory instead of giving away our energies to the negative. Throughout the coming year, the Eat The Marshmallow team will bring you simple ways to be less reactive and instead be more proactive in guiding yourself and your family into a more positive space.
My personal resolution to be less reactive stems from a post I wrote a few years ago called Accentuate the Positive which relays the beginnings of my adventure in implementing author Howard Glasser’s approach to parenting intense children titled The Nurtured Heart Approach. Over the break, we revisited Glasser’s methodology and started to see some positive returns (I’ll write more on this in a post later this month). In a nutshell, we saw the very beginnings of positivity and compassion being contagious in our household. Our tween daughter was taking initiative to be a more independent and helpful presence. Amazing. Who can’t get behind that?!
This year Maki and I will also regularly post on environmental themes to help and inspire you and your family to do small things to live daily life more sustainably (which will hopefully collectively add up to big things). In doing so, we can chip away at some very daunting challenges that lie in the year ahead.
We are playing the long game. We need to look deeply and think deeply about the way we live our lives. It’s time to pay it forward and remember our collective motivation: our children and the future generations.