I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Yes, I was young, and not totally aware of the implications at hand; still I recall my parents’ fear and anxiety as they sat transfixed, watching President Kennedy on our grainy black and white television. Images of empty grocery shelves come to my mind; whether I actually saw them first hand, or am remembering from documentaries I’ve seen over the years, I admit I can’t be sure. That of which I am positive is remembering the collective sense of relief as the emergency subsided.
As then-secretary of state, Dean Rusk said, “We’re eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked.”
In most locations, this column shows up on or near the weekend. However, I obviously write it earlier in the week. At the time I’m writing this, the current news cycle has many saying we are as close to the precipice of nuclear war as we have been at any time since those terrifying days in October 1962. We are hoping someone blinks as I don’t think any of us have the desire (nor the need), to be poised at the cliff’s edge once again 55 years later.
Nonetheless, here we stand.
I have a dilemma. My beliefs say that the more we focus on something, the more likely we are to make it real. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly in my own life. Does that infer that my fear of a military exchange is made more probable by my thoughts? Am I contributing to the problem? Obviously, it’s not a choice for which I wish, but with the level of trepidation as high as it is, it’s impossible to banish the notion completely.
To that end, maybe it would be of value to picture a softer outcome.
It certainly won’t exacerbate it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not so naive as to presume that by visualizing peace, the dominant forces will beat weapons into plowshares and embrace. However, mentally evoking an apocalyptic hellscape of death and destruction sure doesn’t bring any of us any comfort – and indeed might make it worse.
Given those as my options, put me in the column as one who chooses to imagine peace.
Said John Lennon in his classic song, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
In all the tumult and saber rattling, it is too often overlooked that we are all of the same Source.
Whether you call It, God, Spirit, Universe — or feel it’s random happenstance — it makes no matter. What cannot be denied is there is a sameness pervading us all. And because of that, I know that all of good conscience spend their time on Earth striving for a better, more peaceful existence for themselves and their families. It stands to reason then that if we expand our definition of “family,” beyond blood and heritage, we might be able to treat each other with a little more compassion and turn down the heat. Namaste, the Hindi word, loosely translated, says, “I honor the sacredness and equality in us all.” Benjamin Franklin said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
I’m not condoning bad behaviors. Quoting again, there’s a lyric in a song of the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar: “The stakes we are gambling are frighteningly high.” How apropos that is. Before a decision is made from which there is no return, it can’t hurt to take a deep breath and picture a diplomatic resolution.
No matter the outcome, circumstances, or players involved; there is no situation where adding more love and compassion to the mix will make it worse.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a THINspirational speaker and author. Since losing 70 pounds 23 years ago, he conducts speeches, workshops, and presentation. He also coaches individuals and consults with companies on how to implement and handle change. He can be reached at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com or 707.442.6243.