It seems almost a sacrilege to write anything about the “I Have a Dream’ speech. What is more compelling? I’ve used that speech so many times to teach writing, to teach how to marry passion and political practicality. My students have memorised it. I’ve internalised it. And now, 50 years later, we need it more than ever.
If you are one of those Americans who believe that all people are equal now, and that race is a problem of ‘then,’ not ‘now,’ you might as well click elsewhere. I don’t share your optimism. My own experiences — often recounted in this space — show me that racism and lack of opportunities based on racism are alive and doing very well in America today.
So I’d like us to take a moment to really READ Martin Luther King’s momentous, historically profound speech. Here it is, in its entirety. Read it, and remember: 50 years ago, and it is as necessary a speech today as it was then.
This is what you see when you leave home: familiar scenes (twilight, for instance) with new eyes. Because everything old is new again, on the road.
It’s trite, I know. But when I travel, everything — even pizza, which I normally don’t much care for! — is new, and made wonderful with that newness.
And yes, the Blue Ridge Mountains are deeply beautiful. And they really are this blue, once the sun drops below the horizon.
But there are other sights that surprise, and even astonish: a sign to Hungry Mother Park (what a name!); a billboard beside the road painted sky blue, with clouds shaped exactly like fluffy buffalo on it, and nothing else; buzzards patrolling for speeders; the Brown Squirrel Furniture Warehouse (WHO would want squirrelly furniture??); alien monsters clothed in kudzu green. A huge truck rig pulling a tiny UHaul trailer.
I like to believe that I would notice these tiny moments even in my hectic normal day, without the benefit of large windows and no distractions. The truth is, I’m really not sure. The simple tasks of life can be beautiful, certainly: who hasn’t set a table and taken joy in it? Found comfort in sheets warm from the dryer? But how many times do I nit-nit-nit about the very minor glitches in my days?
My hope as I return from the seductive baby smiles of my grandson, to the mundane world of my own home & life, is that somehow I can sustain the wonder of a road trip. How every corner brings some new vision, framed by wide sky and cloud mountains. And how mindfulness is like that frame, bringing beauty to every new moment.
This is what corporations ought to be like. As an engaged Buddhist, I know that often how I spend my $$ is my best ‘vote’ for social justice. For corporate responsibility. And believe me: if we had a Costco in Tulsa, I’d be there often!
Here’s the story of Matthew Horst, a handsome Costco employee who rose through the inside ranks to his dream job. A big thank you to his brother Chris for penning such a gracious letter, and to Brandon Weber for making it public. It’s nice to hear good news!
Click here for a heart-warming story about Mathew Horst and Costco ~ about a corporation that ‘took a chance’ on Matthew, and the rewards we all reap.
Staying with my son & DIL means a smaller bed. And believe me, my beloved & I have not shrunk to fit. We’re used to a king-sized bed in deeply air-conditioned comfort. Here we have an attic fan and closer quarters. Which isn’t all bad, but is certainly… closer.
Except that my husband tends to sleep diagonally across our large bed at home. There, it’s not a problem. Here? It means I have NO ROOM. Which makes me verry cranky.
Here’s the problem with a habit: you do it w/out thinking. You can make an honest effort NOT to do it, and then forget, reverting back to what’s ingrained. Which is, of course, what you do when you’re asleep. And poking someone while they’re asleep isn’t really … nice.
Why I’m sharing: because I figured out something pretty cool from this experience. I can just take more room. I can politely — but firmly — make my own space!
Okay, so this may not be revolutionary to some of you. But to me? I’ve always ASKED for what I want, not just taken it, however nicely. But sometimes taking what you need is OKAY. And — almost certainly, in this case — nicer!
I can’t tell you what a big learning moment this was for me. I know, I know: I sound like a total dork confessing this. But seriously: how many things do I make a big-ass deal about, when I should just calmly & politely take what is fair? Think of all the nagging we could avoid!
So here’s my advice for the day: stop kvetching. Nicely put your foot down (or make your own space:)) and save your breath for something more important. Like meditating.