Monday, June 18, 2007

Developed Nation Guilt

How do you stay positive and upbeat in life AND stay informed about world events? It seems the two are contradictory, yet I know plenty of well-informed, happy people. I imagine that each one of you has a personal philosophy that keeps the news just out of reach of your soul, and that you protect your soul with a special potion of kindness, that radiates out to protect you, sort of like anti-oxidents fighting off free radicals. Speaking in nutritional terms, if we all had a diet of daily news alone, we would be withering in darkness and shame.

My baby teaches me daily about the importance of being in the moment and appreciating all you have. Even when he's upset, it is an honor to hold him and cherish him. I am in this beautiful bubble of love, and I feel the community I live in is an extension of that bubble, somehow protected from the atrocities I read about in the paper. Yes, bad things have happened to me, to my friends, to my family, in my community. We will never be free of sadness and heartbreak, but most everyone I know is in the privileged top 20% of the world population, where food, shelter and a source of income have never been in question.

Perhaps this ramble is about developed nation guilt. Is there such a thing? You know you have it all, and yet you want more, and you feel guilty, because you know how extremely lucky you are already? Yet, compared to those around you, you are considered lower middle class on an economic scale, so you strive for greater things. If this is a disease, I have it.

So, what is the cure? Perhaps living your life to the fullest and accomplishing as much as you can, because you have the privileged position to do so. And giving back.


Chryss said...

Good questions.
For me, I feel like maintaining a wall between "me" and "the world" takes a lot of work. I feel best when I am able to see everything as interconnected, that I am part of a powerful, incomprehensible flow of sorrow, joy, love, loss... it's all there.

Kristin Anderson said...

But how does one embrace that interconnectedness without being overwhelmed?