Contributing Writer: Misako Lauritzen
"If I wasn't hard, I wouldn't be alive. If I couldn't ever be gentle, I wouldn't deserve to be alive."
You may wonder why I am quoting Philip Marlowe, a tough guy who appears in hard-boiled detective stories created by Raymond Chandler.
However out-of-character it may seem, these are the words that I have lived by for many years, and they have never seemed more appropriate than now.
The world is making a creaking noise, spitting blood, and crying out in pain. I am seeing its gaping mouth which threatens to split open in any moment.
Words like "terrorism" and "active shooters" have become the language of everyday. Schoolkids are learning how to survive "incidents" by practicing "Run/Hide/Fight." Freedom and equality that we supposedly have won.... In the past year or so we have come to realize how fragile they actually are. We have regressed to the Cold War era or much worse. The world is facing the danger of nuclear catastrophe. It is no joke.
The world has gone mad. It is time that each one of us think seriously about the future of the humankind and earth, and act accordingly. It is also time that we take care of our individual needs. That is important now more than ever.
We must make certain that individuals will not be trampled upon by the greater good of the collective or the higher cause. We need to be cautious that the weak or the weakness we all possess will not be ignored and sacrificed for the triumphs of the strong and brave. Therefore, I am making "self-care" and "self-healing" the code words for 2017.
Practicing compassion towards yourself/taking care of your own needs/being kind to yourself. What these words mean in practical terms may be different depending on whom you ask. Sharing delicious meals which nourish our souls with loved ones. Exercising. Making time to be with yourself every day. Creating to express your thoughts. Singing at the top of your lungs so your songs can be heard in the neighboring town. Allowing the beauty to move you to the point of tears. Reciting certain words to give you courage. Anything would do.
All I ask is that you have that "one thing" to keep your body and soul from destruction and despair, and stick to the routine, rain or shine. In the world increasingly difficult and dangerous to maneuver, if we are to protect the loved ones, we must start with ourselves. You cannot care for others unless you can care for yourself.