I love Facebook.
Many folks think I joined FB to promote my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. It’s true that it has become a wonderful social networking tool, but business savvy was not my motivation. Other folks think I did it because it gives me a chance to instantly say what I “like” or a venue to “comment” on other people’s posts. I confess, I DO like doing that. People I will never meet still get to hear my opinion on things. They may or may not care about my viewpoint, but they get my opinion none-the-less.
However, the real reason I joined was so I could find out how my nieces, nephews and daughters are doing. Especially my youngest daughter, Brittany. Alicia, my oldest, lives three miles away and I see or talk to her all the time. She is the mother of my two grand daughters, so of course I hang out at her place a lot. When I’m out of town, I call over there to talk to my two-year-old grand daughter, Rosannah. I ask, “Who’s the greatest?” She always answers, “Grandma!” I never get tired of hearing that.
However, Brittany, is more elusive. She works, goes to school and spends time with her husband, Jamie. I can’t always catch her at home or on the phone, so I check up on her through Facebook. Perhaps I’d be better off NOT knowing about her exploits. Learning about her how one of her ex boyfriends was recently named one of the biggest dirt bags in the City of Scottsdale, was not that reassuring. Nor were the notes about her trips to Vegas and numerous hangovers. But at least I know she’s well enough to type.
In addition to the mom-snooping, advice-giving components I love about Facebook, I have the joy of reconnecting with friends. One dear friend, Karen, called me today. She is moving back to the Phoenix area and I’m looking forward to seeing her again. Karen and I are both Buddhists and have worked side-by-side to help develop humanistic leaders, advance world peace efforts and encourage better understanding through dialogue. This is not unique. These are the goals of our Buddhist organization SGI-USA (you can learn more by visiting www.sgi-usa.org.)
I treasure friendships, but the kinships I developed that were forged while working toward the greater good are even more valuable. In addition to the camaraderie and genuine caring that comes with having a great pal, another benefit is they can help keep you on the right track.
Talking to Karen not only reminded me of the great things we have done, but of the greater things we still need to accomplish. Her call came at a good time because I was suffering the after effects of a migraine. Unlike my daughter, Brittany, this had nothing to do with partying in Vegas or drinking too much. The skull-crushing pain is one of the down sides of having these excruciating headaches. Even when the pain subsides, I don’t feel like doing anything – much less anything more altruistic than watching Oprah on television.
But talking to Karen helped spur me into action. You have to love a friend like that. And she would say there were times I did that for her as well.
In my book I have a chapter that talks about victim mentality. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when you are depressed or in pain. Here is an excerpt.
“However, rather than dive into her profession, Chloe sputtered and hemmed and hawed and found every excuse imaginable to fail. Chloe recognized she had self- defeating behavior, but felt she couldn’t control it.
Chloe’s reasoning is not unique. Whether we are merely existing, or actively pursuing our dreams, we can become overwhelmed when things do not go as planned. However, using challenges in our lives as a reason to develop and gain wisdom, rather than an excuse to give up, is a key factor between success and failure, health and sickness, and happiness or misery. While it may seem comforting to find ourselves blameless for the things that happen in our lives, it also leaves us feeling powerless to change our current situation.”
We all face challenges. I am no exception. We can succumb to our weaknesses, or we can rise above them. We can withdraw from the world when we are in pain, or we can offer a helping hand to someone who is even worse off than we are.
Here is my weekly advice. The next time you read about a friend on Facebook who is suffering, pick up the phone and call them. Better yet, finagle an invitation to see them in person. Facebook and My Space are great connecting tools, but they can’t replace the joy of hearing a friendly voice or feeling a warm hug.
I would like to end this article with some lyrics written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson and sung so beautifully by Diana Ross. If you get a chance, play the song and listen to all the words. I hope it not only cycles through your brain and gets stuck in your head, I hope the message continues to percolate through your heart and evokes a friendly reaction.
Reach out and touch
Make this world a better place
If you can.