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Years ago, as I staggered into the Emergency Room at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, I was gasping for breath with a life-threatening asthma attack. The doctors and nurses rushed me into a room and started to give me intravenous epinephrine to enable me to breathe easier. It was, to some degree, a frantic scene...one straight out of a medical series on television. As the lead physician (Dr. Joe) walked in, and all the others who were subordinate to him looked to the good doctor for approval, he gently checked all the doses, connections, charts, and the patient, to make sure everything was going as he directed.

As it turned out, after an overnight stay in the hospital, I was free to go home. Since I lived around the corner it wasn't a long trip. But...the memory has been imprinted in my brain ever since.

Life is strange and, as luck would have it, Dr. Joe was - within a few months - in my office with his prescription. I was to take care of his vision and was very pleased to do so. He and I became good friends. On occasion we would meet for lunch and talk about our philosophies of life. The first time we walked down the street together he confided in me by saying, "You know...if I hadn't have been there that night, you would have died. Your attack was that bad." In my mind...I knew it. However, hearing it from him brought chills to my being. How lucky I was that Dr. Joe was "on" that night.

We continued walking and I mentioned to him how incredible I thought life was, how fantastic it was that nature created so many amazing things and how beautiful our world truly was. He responded by telling me that he was awed at the inventiveness and innovation of humans and how much he admired the creations our species had crafted. Walking past the skyscrapers of downtown Philadelphia he said, "Look up, look around, look down. See what I mean." I couldn't deny what he was saying. Yet...I also felt that nature created the most incredible things this planet has ever been graced with. Species, mountains, oceans, energy, continents, vegetables, fruits, love, and so much more.

Both views are valid. In fact, both are very compatible. Humans, of course, have also invented war and weapons that may someday wipe out life as we know it, as well as the ability to save peoples' lives from disease and other ailments. Yet...the one thing that could save us all may be very simple. If we, each and every one of us, would step back and look at the beauty (both natural and man-made) that surrounds us, things may begin to change. If we just did that simple act, spent a few moments each day marveling at the awesomeness of nature and the innovation of humankind, we may see life from a broader perspective. Perhaps a perspective that will enable us to ALL say, "What the heck are we doing to ourselves?" Maybe we'll realize that our self-sabotaging behavior could ruin everything that is good about life and it's even possible that we might start to eliminate the bad.

All it would take is a few minutes of stopping our daily madness each day. Call it meditation, realization, or whatever you'd like. But...no matter what label you use, I believe that if each of us took a few minutes a day, at least a few times a day, and looked at the beauty of life and our exceptional existence - we may be able to save ourselves from ourselves. Look around - it's worth it.
10/21/2012 04:19:07 am

Hi Dan,

I love what you wrote and have to agree completely. I just wanted to share some thoughts on what you've commented on.

Humankind has achieved some extraordinary accomplishments to be sure, but are also the cause of many global disasters that could easily wipe away all humankind's greatest achievements, leaving not even a memory of man''s greatness.

With all mankind's innovations and advances there exists the reality that some will use them for the greater good, while others will use them for personal gain. The only hope for humankind is to teach the leaders of tomorrow; our children, that life isn't about getting, but about giving; not about greed, but about need; not about war, but about peace; and not about money, but about our connection, one to another and to this beautiful world that we are blessed to exist upon.

It may be too late to change the many who don't want to see a better way of life, but it's not too late to educate the next generation of leaders to see the world through compassionate and responsible eyes.

Truth is, we need individuals now in the world to sound the warning alarm, bringing awareness to the things humankind needs to change, but more importantly, we need to be teaching future generations how life on planet earth is all connected and that all life must be respected. Our future leaders need to put compassion, forgiveness, and peace above money, fame, and ego.

The governments of the world aren't going to change the world; it's up to the public; people like you and me to invest in the future of this planet for the sake of our children and our children's children.

If we fail to reach our children..... WE FAIL.... The End

Greg Ferens

PS - Love reading your thoughts!

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Dan Goldberg
10/21/2012 07:13:42 am

Greg,

Very well said my friend! You're absolutely correct.

I often tell my students and others who are in the "younger generations" that they are the leaders of tomorrow...they and their children and all future generations. They will set the examples for their group and those in the future to follow. If they don't make that change that we (at least too many of us) seemed to have failed to do, than there won't be much hope for humankind.

Thanks so much for your comments Greg! And...thank you for your kind words as well!

All my best,
Dan

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