An Awakening

Something is happening.  It is percolating in our society- bubbling up in disparate and surprising places.  It is born out of a deep spiritual dissatisfaction with American society though its manifestations are profoundly positive.

We see it in education where parents, teachers and students are revolting against high stakes testing and common core standards. They do so because they love learning and they believe that an emphasis on scores and quantitative data obscures the meaning of education.  They are tired of a rat race that is so focused on future careers, that it loses sight of raising happy, healthy citizens.

We see it in the slow food movement, where people are joining together to promote local communities, traditions and farms.  They seek to restore pleasure to eating, asking people to sit down together for a meal- to savor both the taste of the food and each other’s company.

We see this in the NFL (of all places) where the Seattle Seahawks are including meditation and yoga in their training.  Even in the violent sport of football, this team has found the benefit of caring for the entire player- for his soul, his body and his mental well-being.  They believe they can excel in the game (and their record supports them on it) and take care of their players.

What do these things have in common? They are rejections of the status quo.  They are rejections of our society’s relentless pursuit of the end-result without any regard for the process or journey.  They are statements that the journey matters.  They are affirmations of the importance of being human; of all the different ways of being human.

There are others out there doing innovative things; resisting the march to conformity.  We should honor and encourage these movements (even if we personally might not choose them) because they broaden our definition of what it means to be human.   This broader definition opens up greater possibilities for all of us.

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