Friday, January 28, 2011

Perspective by Danielle Laporte

why you’re privileged: perspective from the dark side by Danielle Laporte

If you're reading this, the highest probability is that you are living in the western world, above the poverty line, in a democratic environment.
Your heart may be broken, you may not have enough money to get to the end of the week, you may be fighting for your life.
But by many accounts - you are extremely fortunate.
By many accounts, you and I have every advantage to be happy, healthy, and deeply fulfilled.

Somewhere else...

: Are you gay? If you're found out, you will get jail time.
: If you were unfaithful to your spouse, you would be stoned, likely by your neighbours.
: Want to convert to a religion other than the one you were born in to? That would warrant execution.
: Thirsty? Clean water is five miles away. Walk to get it. You have one bucket.
: You may want to play soccer with the other boys your age, but you have weapons training.
: Have you complained about the government in an email? You're going to court.

: Long to be thin, to run in the sun? Forget it, men in your village like large women and you are force fed.
: Raped? Refuse a marriage proposal? If you're lucky, they won't kill you, they'll just throw acid in your face.
: Long for erotic pleasure? It's difficult since your grandmother cut out your clitoris with a razor blade when you were twelve.
: If you're menstruating, you will miss school rather than face the ridicule.
: You can't get a job because by law, women are considered "half the value of men" you can't even vote. You can't even look a man directly in the eyes.

We could go on with the atrocities and restrictions -- from the extremes of human trafficking (the average American girl is thirteen when she is forced into sex slavery,) and torture, to what we consider basic health-care, like clean needles and dentistry. The hell that is Haiti, and parts of Uganda, Sierra Leone, West Bengal...and our own cities...

Sometimes, the most direct route to appreciation is through the darkness - even if it's merely imagined. Facts, faced: even in our struggles, most of us are privileged. We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?

I'm writing this from an airport because I missed my flight - which derails my luxurious escape plans for a day. I'm lucky to have plans, to be sitting by a $2 million dollar sculpture, in a gun-free airport, drinking my peppermint tea, in a new warm coat, using free wifi. I'll choose to be appreciative.

Your mother had the right idea: eat your dinner, there are children starving in the world.

That fresh salad you get with your entree; the insurance on your car; the clothes you wear, where you want; the hands you hold in public.
That vaccination scar on your arm.
Your innocence.
The light you're reading by.
Really, what's the worst of your problems?

Perspective isn't everything in terms of have's and have nots. But you can work it to your very great advantage.

This is very thought provoking and timely from a wonderful writer.

photo by Mike Mazzo

It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community, be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its own destination. We must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. Now, see who is in there with you and celebrate.
Hopi Elder Prayer


jojo said...

wow! It is so sad to realize the things that I take for granted every single day...I am so blessed. Travel safe dear one...

Paula said...

Such powerful words. We are so priveledged beyond belief and it takes reminders like this now and again to put things into perspective. Incredible. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Sara said...

I was just thinking along these lines the other blessed we are and how much everyone moans and complains (including me sometimes) about things that, in comparison to much of the world, are so trite.

Desiree said...

Such truisms and yet so many of us forget how very fortunate we are in the pursuit of our own day-to-day lives. Thanks for the reminder.

Hege said...

Those words are so right!
We take so much for granted...

sandra said...

very powerful and so true. thanks for the reminder of just how very fortunate we are.

Jayne said...

Really, really powerful stuff my friend. May have to share this and link back to you if that's OK. And we have the audacity to whine about anything...

Holli said...

I needed this today. Thank you.

ellen said...

Oh, yes.
And thank you.

Farm Girl said...

Wow, how often I take life for granted. It makes me feel petty, small and selfish. I hope you enjoy your getaway. It sound wonderful.
I can't wait until you get back to share some more of your insights.

Breezy said...

one word... powerful

Mickle in NZ said...

What incredible writing - thank you, dear Yolanda, for sharing this. It has helped me get my life back in perspective.

Sending care and huggles, Michelle

Carolynn said...

I read this post when it was published originally on Danielle's website. Some of it (the force feeding) still really bothers me when I turn my thoughts to it.