A Time for Action

In talking to friends and associates from around the country, I am struck by how many of us have been deeply moved by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. I myself had a day last week in which it was difficult for me to figure out why life was supposed to be so darned good. I had sunk into ‘What difference does it make anyhow?”

But then I began to wonder what good I was doing by feeling bad. Was it helping the people of Mississippi and Louisiana? The answer is a resounding, “No1” In fact, as I struggled to regain my equilibrium, I realized that, not only was I not helping, I had actually become part of the problem. By giving in to despair, I was bringing more despair into the world. I think we have quite enough without our actively contributing to it.

The Law of Attraction is absolute. You attract more of what you focus on. We have a choice as we look to the South and want to help our neighbors. We can focus on the problem or focus on the solution.

There is no getting around facts that are difficult to face. People died and more may die. People have suffered and will suffer even more. But that is no different than any other day of the week in this imperfect world of ours.

I think Katrina is frightening because it’s an in-our-faces reminder that, “There but for the grace of a higher power go we.” We are afraid.

As soon as I admitted I was afraid, I remembered a solution I had learned long ago, when I was recovering from my 30-year clinical depression.


So what will we do?

For some of us, it’s important to make a contribution to help our neighbors. Whether we give money or drop off a box of diapers, actions can be very soothing.

Beyond that, it’s more important than ever to focus on the GOOD that is happening as people respond to the needs of the hurricane survivors.

This is not a time for blame. Blame is looking at the problem. By continuing to focus on the problem, all we get is more of the same. It is time to look at the solutions that are being implemented. When the immediate needs are met, there will be plenty of time to develop longer-term solutions to avoid problems in the future. Blame is not useful. Looking at what we can do better next time IS.

Years ago, I lived in Los Angeles when there were riots. If you saw the media coverage, you would have thought the entire city was ablaze. I was on a hill overlooking the city, and could only spot one fire. It was easy to spot because of the news helicopters hovering around, shooting the distorted footage they would show around the world. Please understand – when you see the ugliness in the areas hit by Katrina, it’s not the entire story.

There are wonderful events happening, even as you read these words. Thankfully, the news media is showing some of these, too. I saw a photo of a young black boy holding the hand of an elderly white woman in a wheelchair. I saw neighbors helping neighbors.

There are food kitchens being set up and staffed by charities and churches. There are soldiers comforting those who are suffering. There are cities all over our nation welcoming evacuees with open arms, saying to them, “How can we help?” On National Public Radio (NPR), I listened to a story about a man who gave the use of his apartment indefinitely to a virtual stranger and his family.

When you find yourself angry or in despair about what you have seen or heard, please do something very important. Begin sharing stories of hope with others. Don’t be part of the problem by rehashing the horror. Instead, tell stories of neighbors helping neighbors. Scan news articles for those items that make us proud to be Americans. They are there in front of us if we will only look. The more we focus on what’s working, the bigger it will grow. And you will know that you have taken action that has worked.

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