Is It Time For a Reset?
Is It Time For a Reset?
I love this advice from one of the smartest minds on the planet.
You can get out of a black hole, Hawking wrote, but you must look up. Be curious and don’t give up.
Hawking was speaking about the black hole of depression, but this advice can be applied to anyone who feels hopeless and scared, whether that be about their own lives or about the state of our country.
Look up. Be curious. Don’t give into the black hole.
I’ve always been a curious person, but there have been times in my life when I couldn’t see the stars that Hawking talks about. I could only see my feet, and they weren’t moving.
Every day, each of us is faced with the possibility of resetting our lives. Refocusing. Reimagining. Rebooting. Every day, we can decide to change our outlook, our words, our tone, and our attitude. Every day offers us the opportunity to redirect our eyes upward, along with our hopes.
This week, President Trump will give his first address to a joint session of Congress. It will be his first real moment to address the American people and their representatives and outline his vision and agenda for the days ahead.
Trump’s audience will be one that is divided, but awake. It is made up of some who feel hopeful, and others who feel hopeless.
Many have given up hope that he will ever say anything that will speak to their hearts and their minds. They are in a dark hole. Others are holding their breath and hoping he might surprise them.
This is more than just a potential reset moment for the president. It’s also more than just a reset for the Democrats, who voted on a new party chair on Saturday. This can be a reset moment for all of us, regardless of who we voted for, or whether we voted at all. (By the way, if you are one of those who didn’t vote at all, please reset your opinion about that, as our nation needs all of us to be engaged in its future.)
So going into this week, each of us can decide how we approach the president’s speech by thinking about our own openness and curiosity. As Krista Tippett told me during our recent Architects of Change conversation, we have a choice in life: listen and be surprised, or close ourselves off and have our minds already made up. Each of us must decide whether we choose to dig in, or give up. I’m not counting on the latter, though, because everywhere I look I see engagement. I can feel it.
My brother Timmy wondered to me this week whether the war motivated our parents’ generation to get so involved, since it showed them what it was like to be attacked and to see people lose their lives for their principles.
Perhaps, he said, Trump is like the war for our kids and for others. He has gotten them to think about what they are willing to stand up for and fight for. He has gotten us all to think about our principles, our values, and what we are willing to do and say when we feel attacked.
As the president gets ready to stand up and speak out about what he values — what he is willing to fight for —perhaps it’s a moment for each of us to think about what we are willing to fight for. Will we fight for equal rights? Will we fight for the safety and security of our country? Will we fight for a free press? (Trump’s decision on Friday to block major news outlets from The White House is unfortunately showing us yet again that he doesn’t like the press.)
This is a moment for each of us to think about own principles and about how we would address a divided nation.
Do we have what it takes to unify the union — be it the union in our own homes and in our own lives? Are we willing to be curious about opinions that are different from our own? Are we willing to have conversations that surprise us and make us reset the way we think?
For us to go from divided to united, all of us are going to have to take our eyes off the ground and redirect them to the stars. It’s the only way to get out of a black hole.
NEWS AND VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
NEWS TO OPEN YOUR HEART
I’ve always believed in the power of one and in the unity of our great country. That’s why I love this One America Appeal campaign – which is a joint appeal by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support hurricane recovery. It’s a reminder that we need to drop our party lines, our state lines, our judgments, and work together as One America. Yes, we are. [LEARN MORE]
VIEWS FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION
In addition to the hurricanes, there was other major news this week. With President Trump announcing his plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, millions of these lives now hang in the balance as well. Many think they know who these people are, but I’ve had several conversations this week and realized there’s a real lack of understanding. The NY Times did a nice job putting together this interactive portrait featuring the life stories of 100+ of these individuals. I think it’s worth us all taking a moment to read them and try to better understand. [READ MORE]
NEWS FOR YOUR MIND
God willing, we’re all going to be here for awhile. So, if you’re thinking about how to age well, then you’re going to want to watch this TODAY piece I did this week about a reported “longevity pill.” It’s about a common medication that one doctor hopes could be the key to eliminating certain age-related diseases and leading to a longer life. [WATCH]
NEWS TO MAKE YOU THINK
One thing is for sure: we’ll be hearing a lot next week about what Hillary Clinton has been thinking when she releases her new post-election memoir “What Happened.” So many people have weighed in with their opinions on this past election. Now, we get to hear from her directly. Excerpts released so far have certainly been food for thought, including her jabs at Bernie Sanders, who she criticizes for causing “lasting damage” to the Democratic Party. I know I’ll be curious to hear more. [READ MORE]
ARCHITECTS OF CHANGE OF THE WEEK:
This week, we shine our Architects of Change of the Week spotlight on all of the first responders who are serving in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean and elsewhere right now. Some have gotten attention in the news, but so many have been unsung heroes doing incredible work to rescue our fellow citizens and get their families to safety. Many are quickly pivoting from Houston and now headed to Florida. Thank you for all that you are doing. May we all find a way to support your efforts during this time.
Monday marks the 16th anniversary of September 11, a day that is forever stamped in so many of our minds. Today, we share with you a video of Architect of Change Billy Collins, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2001 and wrote a beautiful poem remembering those who had fallen. May we remember today, and may we look ahead to how we can continue to come together as a country.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
SHOP FOR YOUR MIND
“My First Coloring Book Is On Sale Now!”
I’m so excited that Color Your Mind” is now a national bestseller! If you know someone with Alzheimer’s or another brain-related challenge, or if you know someone who is a caregiver, I hope you’ll consider gifting them with a copy. It’s designed with love.
“We Want to Make Our Kids Proud. We Want to Give Back.”
The women of Rivet Revolution have also been touched by Alzheimer’s. Through their passion for jewelry-making, they are using their work to ignite conversations and raise awareness. These “WAM Revolution Bands” benefit women-based research.
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT I'VE BEEN THINKING
I’ve been thinking about how to make each and every day matter. How to make each and every day memorable and meaningful. If the last week or so has taught us anything, it’s that people are super fragile. All of us are, at one point or another. It’s hard to know what’s...read more
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of shifting your thinking. I’ve written in the past about shifting my own thinking from “I have to…” to “I GET to…” I also wrote last week about my shifting my thinking on time from “It’s happening to me…,” to “It’s...read more
Not too long ago, someone asked me why I hadn’t published my book, “I’ve Been Thinking...,” sooner. After all, I’ve been writing these essays and sharing them in The Sunday Paper for years, so I could have easily published it a year or two ago. But, as I told that...read more