Saturday, February 14, 2009
What Inspires You?
Huffington Post editorial,
by Russell Simmons Editor-in-Chief of Global Grind
Valentine's Day is here and we are thinking about love. Not the passionate, intense, anxiety-producing am-I-worthy/are-they-worthy kind of love. Not the dim the lights, cue the Al Green music, heart pounding, getting lucky kind of love that can leave you electrified or electrocuted by the object of your desire.
Today we are thinking about compassionate love. The kind that comes from empathy, affection, care, trust, and, above all, a shared respect for all people. This is the kind of love we are after, the kind you see when an elderly couple spend their time joyfully helping each other through aches and pains that escalate to terminal illness and end-of-life small gestures to insure that dignity and love are the last things they share. The kind of love that is everyday business as usual for teachers, physical therapists, nurses, well-diggers, and just about anyone of any profession who has the ability to be kind in handling their affairs no matter the chaos they may be living in.
We are thinking about the question "What inspires you?" and we are inspired by compassionate love. With great love all things are possible. This is true. In Mahatma Gandhi's words, "love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable. "Mother Teresa spent her life working to give a voice to the poor and to promoting love as an essential ingredient to life. Her life devoted to the poor was among the richest in human history. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years imprisoned because of his actions to end the loveless and dehumanizing oppression of Apartheid. After surviving circumstances and abuses that would seem impossible to endure, this giant among leaders and humanitarians presided over the transition of South Africa to a post-Apartheid democracy with justice and compassion. In Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote of love, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela both were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes, and Gandhi sadly was overlooked for that honor, but we can safely say we believe these three know their stuff and that love is central to human rights, civil disobedience, ending poverty, and achieving peace.