Tag Archives: balance

In My Opinion

If you were born and are breathing at this moment, then you have an opinion. It seems as though the advent of the internet, forums, blogs, instant messaging, social media, and the like, have given a larger majority of people a platform on which to express their opinion. Right or wrong, good or bad, we now live in a world of commentators, posts, articles and pins that define how our perfect world should be if it were left up to our singular voice.

The other day, I was counseling one of my children and the words, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” popped out of my mouth. This is a go-to phrase I’ve uttered frequently over the years, but in this particular instance, it seemed to carry a bit more weight than normal because I realized that my child was merely expressing his opinion. Therein lies the dilemma of having a voice and an opinion, and the proper balance of the two.

An opinion sums up a person’s view, judgement or belief.  Inherently, there is nothing wrong with an opinion. Yet, you can voice your opinion to one audience on any given day and get a round of applause. Announce the same opinion to a different group and you might get vilified. So is there any safe universal territory when it comes to opinions? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And that fundamental fact is why we will never come together wholly as a human race.

As humans, we group together based on our opinions. Pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-environment vs. pro-fracking, and so on. As for myself, I adhere to one simple rule when it comes to my opinions…they are mine and mine alone. Unless it goes against a moral code (ex. thou shall not kill), then my opinion is for me to live my life by; I do not force it upon any other adult – period. Just as my child has the right to an unkind word in his opinion, he does not have the right to make anyone else feel inferior, demeaned, or saddened by it should he choose to voice it to the world as a newly dispensed law.

You see, humans can’t come together wholly because of our need to not only have an opinion, but also because of our need to control others and force our opinions on our fellow mankind. We even force it upon Mother Nature. Whether it be through casual conversation or jamming it down someone else’s throat, our egos can’t let go of the fact that although we might have an opinion, it might not be right – or for everyone. Or even valid outside of our mouth.

Within the very definition of an opinion therein lies the conflict – it is a belief or judgement. As a belief, it is a beautiful part of the foundation of you. As a judgement, it can turn ugly and redefine you as inflexible and needing to be in control, no matter the consequence.

If we were to spend more time forming our opinions into tolerant, respectful manifestations of who we are, then there would be a lot less suffering and wars. Maybe leading by force and judgement is not the way to go. Maybe living an opinion sets a better example. Think about zealots solely praying peacefully vs. suicide bombings. How about pro-life activists showing a spared life becoming a life-saving surgeon vs. a picture of a unrelatable fetus on a demonstrator’s sign? How about working through the issues of healthcare with enlightened minds vs. shouting across the aisle like a spoiled child? How about it?

While negative opinions seem to capture more headlines, it is the positive beliefs that, when nurtured, are truly the catalysts for slow and sustainable change.

But then again, that is just my humble opinion.


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I Can’t Smell the Roses

Relax: re-lax |riˈlaks| verb, 1) make or become less tense or anxious • rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious.

I actually had to look the word up because I don’t know how to relax anymore. Tired and anxious I have down pat, but relax? Forgetaboutit. I’m actually wondering if it’s even possible “in today’s day and age” [dun dun dun!] to relax.

Everyone has endless lists running amok in their brains, right? Like when you are trying to fall asleep, and the dreaded List Spigot releases a waterfall of never ending to do’s into your subconsciousness. How, when you’re driving in the car, you suddenly get from point A to point B on autopilot because you were trying to figure out how to get a birthday present, fill out school paperwork, finish a presentation for work, and determine what’s for dinner – all in a day you’ve already totally overbooked.

Case in point: I love nature. Love, love, love, love, love nature. Growing up, I remember sitting on the front hill of my yard and smelling the sap coursing through the veins of the trees. Feeling the freshly mowed grass clipped to a precise height file through my fingers. Even watching the clouds as they whispered the secrets of angels to one another in the sky.

Now, if I try to sit on a hill and take in the surroundings, my once peaceful brain rattles off replies to emails, new shoes for the children to be bought, and, oh yeah, a note to self to check the level in the oil tank.

Have I lost the ability to silence myself or have my senses been dulled with age and responsibilities? Or has technology and “stuff” replaced my beloved nature? Are my computer, iPhone, house, and car really that needy? Because nature isn’t needy. I am the one that needs her to stay whole and well-grounded. But how do I get back to her? To clarity?

Since I can’t seem to smell the roses anymore, I need to seriously weed my garden. Like a beautiful, unspoiled field in the country, its quiet magic is fed by its simplicity. It can breathe. If I built a house, and then a town, and then a city on that field, it would eventually become so complicated that I wouldn’t be able to see the soil that was once its foundation. I would have suffocated it.

I think that’s what I’ve done: Built a beautiful life and then overcomplicated it. I need this to do that. Wouldn’t it be great if we had x to make y easier. Boy oh boy, wouldn’t the kids love to have ______. Quite frankly, I can’t smell the roses because I’ve buried them under ten tons of manure.

So it’s time to start digging. Time to silence my head and reintroduce myself to my heart. It’s time to feel the sting of a few thorns to get to the beauty of the rose; those being my family and my well-being. And as the trowel breaks through the unnecessary layers, I bet it will smell great.