Your Learning Journal
The Secret to Happiness is Purposeful Living
By Joseph Fox, Chief of Transit, NYPD (Ret.)
A couple of years ago I have found a practice that continues to give me great happiness. It is this simple – I am ever mindful, of the purposefulness of the purposeful moments in the purposeful days of my purposeful life. Let me repeat, I am ever mindful, of the purposefulness of the purposeful moments in the purposeful days of my purposeful life. On a regular basis, I consider the importance of things that I may not have really given much thought to before. And here’s the thing – they don’t have to be big things. And remember, little things are big things.
Have you told someone you love them today? Did you wake next to the person you love this morning and tell them so, BEFORE you looked at your phone? Did you call your Mom, your Dad? A sibling, a friend? And when you made those phone calls, did you take a moment to consider the amazing importance each of those people hold in your life, how they have added value to your life, how you may have added value to theirs? Did you prepare breakfast for your son or your daughter? Did you call anyone for their birthday? Did you hold the door for anyone?
Here is my favorite. Everyone holds the door for another when they are following right behind them. Try holding the door when the person is 20 feet away. Watch them as they accelerate their pace, saying, “Thank you, thank you.” Do you know what I do then? I said to them, “Don’t walk so fast, you are minimizing a pleasurable experience for me. I enjoy holding the door for you.” They usually then walk even faster.
Seriously, we do important and meaningful things all the time. It’s just a matter of being mindful of it. Am I asking us to give ourselves credit for being who we are? Maybe a better word is, mindful. We were born to give, born to do good, born to love. So often we will commit acts of kindness without even thinking. But I have found that being mindful of the potential impact of those deeds is a great motivator. It feels good to know that we are doing something important, it feels good to know that we are doing something that matters. And what do we do when something feels good? We do more of it.
The Spirit of Ubuntu
If we were in the Northern Natal of South Africa, instead of greeting each other by saying “hello” or “good morning,” we would greet each other by saying “sawa bona.” Sawa bona is the English equivalent of saying hello, however it translates into, “I see you.” The response would be, “sikhona.” Sikhona translates to, “I am here.” What this is essentially saying is that until you see me, I am not here. When you see me, that is when you bring me into existence. Until you bring me into existence, I am invisible! There are far too many people around us who feel invisible day in and day out. Imagine the impact we can make on another human being by simply acknowledging their presence.
We are in this existence together. What makes us human is that we share this world with other people. We are all people having a human experience and in this experience, everyone adds value! Ubuntu is about respect, human dignity, and compassion for others.
We should never allow people in our lives to be invisible! Listen to this example of an Ubuntu moment.
Feeding the Mind
No Future Without Forgiveness
by Desmond Tutu
Nobel Peace Prize awardee Desmond Tutu is a renowned South African Anglican cleric known for his staunch opposition to the policies of apartheid. In 1996, President Mandela and others prevailed upon Desmond Tutu to postpone retirement’s pleasures to give South Africa his leadership as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this book, Tutu speaks frankly of this call, of the struggle that preceded it and of the betrayals and jubilations of this unique commission. The TRC’s work was unprecedented not only in its emphasis on restorative over retributive justice, but in the spirituality that permeated its work, the bulk of which constituted hearings from the “victims” and “perpetrators” of apartheid. Ubuntu, Tutu explains, is an African expression that was at the heart of the TRC’s labors. Its meaning is “a person is a person through other people.” Ubuntu sums up Tutu’s philosophical framework for addressing apartheid’s hard truths and beginning the reconciliation process necessary to move beyond apartheid’s legacy.
Why You Should Read This Book:
- From the Bantu language, the interconnectedness concept of Ubuntu is “everyone is part of the whole.” The philosophy of “I am because of who we all are” is a powerful reminder of the fact that we are all part of something larger.
- Ubuntu lies at the heart of the African way of life and impacts on every aspect of people’s well-being. Ubuntu is an ageless concept standing for kindness toward other human beings, caring, sharing and being in harmony with all – a spirit of mutual support. I can only imagine a world in which we treated each other in this manner, from family members to complete strangers.
- Desmond Tutu stands among the world’s foremost human rights activists. Like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., his teachings reach beyond the specific causes for which he advocated to speak for all oppressed peoples’ struggles for equality and freedom.
- What makes Tutu so inspirational? Perhaps it is his unshakable optimism in the face of overwhelming odds and his limitless faith in the ability of human beings to do good.
Each month, we will present information and recommendations that could effectively enhance your way of thinking, behaving, and feeling.
Could there be a broader awareness than National Safety Awareness Month? There are so many important safety issues that could be addressed. What about the wellness safety issue of fatigue – weather an officer or a civilian? This is a huge safety concern at work and in everyday life. As adults, we are supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep minimum to reach a peak performance state. Sadly enough, one third of us are reported to averaging less than six hours a night. Fatigue is a very big safety concern for us all:
- Safety performance at work decreases as we become more tired – corners are cut to get the job done
- We are three times more likely to be in a car crash when fatigued –reaction time is slower and judgement of distance is off
- Chronic sleep-deprivation can cause depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses, frustration, and lack of desire to communicate
Combat Fatigue…get more sleep:
- Take naps when you can – it’s for adults too…not just for toddlers anymore!
- Create a better sleep environment – block out light, use ear plugs and a sleep mask, keep the temperature of your sleep area cool, turn off alarms and phones if napping
- Utilize meditation and deep breathing as a way to relax your mind and body
Stay safe for you, your family, your co-workers, and your community. We challenge you to get your seven to nine hours tonight, tomorrow night, and every night after that!
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