Monday, March 21, 2011

Think About Japan: How Easy it is to Lose Sight of Ones Priorities

For me, yesterday was an incredible day. After a motorcycle ride South over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, enjoying the beautiful, accommodating chamber-of-commerce weather, meeting my brother and sister-in-law for a few beers at a packed, outdoor, live-music-filled biker bar with almost a thousand motorcycles parked all over, I fixed a cup of coffee and sat out back on my screened-in porch to watch some sports on my small old TV.

As I was trying to simultaneously follow golfer Gary Woodland through the last few holes on his way to winning the Transitions Championship and the exciting March Madness college basketball games, I felt my frustration starting to escalate. “Poor me,” I said to my two dozing cats who were trying to stay awake enough to watch the boats motoring by on the Intercoastal waterway, “I only have this one TV out here and it doesn’t even have PIP (picture in a picture).” With that, their dozing morphed into something more akin to napping. By then as I was adding to my self-pity, “Even my two cats don’t even care about how much I’m struggling here!”

Then I glanced at one of the cover stories on the St. Petersburg Times on the table and it hit me: there are thousands of people dead and missing in the aftermath of the 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that recently struck Japan. Not only that -- the nuclear power plants in the region are on the brink of a major disaster. The earthquake was ten times stronger than the 7.6 quake that struck Taiwan in 1999! Further pondering reminded me that as the Japanese government is working to fix the nuclear reactors and restore order, it has asked the major manufacturers to shut down operations until further notice so that all energy can be used for emergency purposes. This, of course, will have major implications to the global supply chain depending on how long these factories are asked to be shut down.

Hold it, I reconsidered: thousands dead and thousands missing, and here I am feeling sorry for myself because I can’t simultaneously follow two of my favorite sports. Yeah right – “poor me...!” Not only that, but talk about a psychologically- and philosophically-healthy culture… through all of this, sans heart-breaking tears of mourning, there have been no riots, looting or pillaging. Indeed, we Americans could learn a lot from these incredible people!

Out of what I believe was genuine compassion (okay, including a pinch of guilt), I opened my i-phone and made a donation to the American Red Cross. While I then enjoyed watching Gary Woodland win the Transitions and see some of my bracketology picks win their games, I did so with less frustration and Angst -- albeit still feeling saddened by what’s going on in Japan... as well as thankful and blessed.

Question: How has what’s going on in Japan affected you?



Jackie Minniti said...

What struck home the most for me was the footage of two bereft parents searching through the rubble of a post office for their missing son. Even though I couldn't understand their words, the sound of their grief needed no translation. I went right to the phone and called each of my kids in NJ to say hi and tell them I loved them.

Barb said...

So true...for me it has been the realization that at any moment your entire life as you know it can be taken away from you. So I'm enjoying the small things- clean air, sunshine, good food, a car that runs and a comfortable home.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Barb,
Oh I hear ya… we “Ugly Americans” (including me) have a way of forgetting the value of what I call the “big little things.”
I recall what Dr. Fritz Perls the famous Gestalt psychologist said at the end of his first visit to the United States fifty years ago: “The trouble with people today is that instead of loving people and using things, they’re loving things and using people.”
Keep on enjoying the little things (like this morning, I so appreciated a simple walk to the store),
Til next time,

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Jackie,
Thanks for sharing your experience… very touching. We take so many things for granted, easy to do! According to the research I’ve seen, the #1 major life event is “loss of a child.” I have three and can’t even imagine…!
Good you called your cherubs (I’ve been calling mine more frequently as well).
Ciao for now,