Monday - June 06, 2016

Religion Sex Politics

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What do Religion, Sex and Politics all have in common?


Sure, we’re led to believe that these are topics not to be discussed at the dinner table or at least not the first dinner with new people, or at the very least not within the first 5 minutes of a dinner with new people.


And why is that? Are we all so deeply entrenched in our own belief system that we literally cannot entertain a discussion with people that have differing opinions. Isn’t that how we learn and grow – from new experiences and new perspectives? Are we really incapable of reigning in our emotional attachment to those beliefs?


Here’s what I believe….


The only thing I know for sure……… is that I don’t know ANYTHING for sure.


Religion: Who am I to say that the ‘all knowing’ entities in any religion don’t have a master plan that I am blissfully unaware of? Even the likes of the ultra faithful Dawkins – his faith is that there is no God, but it’s still a faith! – would, I hope, agree that we as humans don’t have everything figured out. And if we don’t have everything figured out, can we really say we have anything truly figured out?


Sex: What’s the right age for kids to know about sex education? Hard one, I know. I’d love to see the statistics on what proportion of kids already knew about the birds and the bees before the parents plucked up the courage to have THAT conversation. What should we take from that?


Politics: Who’s to say Donald Trump isn’t nearly finished with his latest, soon to be best selling book of all time, ‘The Art of Politics’? Maybe Hillary’s emails have information in them that it would honestly be better that society didn’t know about at this time? Looking at the impact of the general election versus local elections and the time the public invests in both as compared to the impact each has on our daily lives, are we focusing our energy in the right areas?
Religion, Sex, Politics………The commonality I invite you to think about for Religion, Sex and Politics is that these are all things we, on the whole, care about, all things we are passionate about yet we, as a society, have created a narrative that we shouldn’t even talk about them over dinner.


How many people do you know who are excited about the prospect of their own death?


Three years ago, I was rushed to the emergency room not being able to breathe. I was literally drowning in air not being able to get enough oxygen into my lungs. If you’ve ever had the feeling (not the thought) “I’m thirsty”, I was feeling “I need oxygen”. Being starved of oxygen was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. It was 6am and while waiting for an ambulance, my wife and I decided to get straight in the car and go to the hospital. During the journey everything was going completely black and then blindingly white. In my mind started racing the question “What words do I want to say if they are my last?


That experience completely recalibrated my priorities. The pneumonia that had infected my lungs and that put me in intensive care for a week has now gone and the pulmonary testing that proceeded revealed no long term issues. But the echoes of that experience have permeated almost every facet of my life. Weirdly, I’m now left with the notion that I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone…… but at the same time I wish that everyone would have an experience like that.


This month’s encouragements explore this further.


Encouragement 1: Watch this 5 Minute Video

It’s a talk given by one of the passengers who was on the plane that crash landed in the Hudson river in New York a few years ago.


Encouragement 2: Find a pen and paper

Some paper that you’re not likely to lose.


Encouragement 3: Write down what you’d want to say if you thought they would be your last words.

Who would you say them to? Some people may find it easier to think about what they want their epitaph on their headstone to be.
After these encouragements you basically have two options. One, continue life as before or, two, make changes in your life that reflect your acceptance of only having a certain number of days left on this rock in our solar system.


Perhaps one day I’ll write a blog that details the words I was going to say to my wife, but for right now I’ll just give you a clue – they had nothing to do with religion, sex (well, almost nothing) and politics. And I’m grateful to my encounter with Death for that experience.


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