by Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Like many people I listened to Pope Francis address a joint session of Congress. I watched as hardened politicians shed tears because they were hearing truth and it opened their hearts. Pope Francis is reminding us what we already know but somehow haven't given ourselves permission to live. He talked about caring for the most vulnerable of our population: the youth, old people, homeless people, people who are ill. We know those things in our heart. So what then is the issue? It seems the real issue is we have forgotten what matters.
We are scrambling not only to make a living but to make one that measures up to the standard we have been told over and over again is the "American way of life." Two cars per family, a large well furnished house, fashionable clothes, all the appliances, phones, computers, etc., kids enrolled in at least 2 or 3 after school activities and the list keeps getting added to all the time.
The drive to keep achieving more and more produces the world we live in. It is a world disconnected from it's heart. To live from the heart means living in a simpler world where there is time to pay attention to the decisions we make, the words, we say, the help and support we give to our families, friends and those we meet. It means slowing down enough to be conscious, to be aware. To acknowledge what feels good to our spirit. Living in a manner that makes us feel good about ourselves in the deepest sense. Doing the work and activities we know in our heart we came here this lifetime to fulfill. It is a very different way of looking at ourselves, others and our world. As Pope Frances reminded us, we are at a critical juncture with regard to our planet. We can only have gotten to that place because we have become a hardened and closed-hearted culture. We have allowed standards, rules stated and implied to run our lives. What kind of culture allows the very place they live in to be threatened? Time to reflect- "Am I living the life I can mere to live? Am I living what matters? At the end of my life will I be happy the way I lived it? What really matters?" Those are the questions that can change our world.
We can get overwhelmed but remember it only takes 1% of the population to make those changes. We can each begin to live from our heart to do what we came here to do. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi.