Worlds in our words

My resolution for 2013 is to not wage a courageous fight against breast cancer. I decline to be a soldier in the war on my disease. Nor will I win or lose or survive any struggles as a crusader on a cancer campaign. Count me out as warrior woman battling cancer.

Words are insights into worldviews. The metaphors I prefer involve collaboration and caring, not fear and fighting. The many who saved my life are my team, not my army. Confrontation doesn’t capture my cancer experience and combat doesn’t describe my mindset. Winning or losing to cancer is a random crap shoot, not something I do to or for myself. My strategy for staying alive involves love, meditation, nature, and good deeds.

A fighting mindset feels taxing and fixed to me. A peaceful mindset imports space for growth and adventure. Travel I once managed easily now exhausts me, but I find energy in how people create quality of life on this small planet. In particular, the wonderful people of Taipei, Taiwan inspired me with their tenacious individual improvements of a challenged environment. Here’s what made me happy as I wondered around Taipei.

taipei-2010

http://www.globalphotos.org/taipei.htm Taipei is a megalopolis. Hovering towers rest on unending concrete and asphalt. People live in stacked high-rises. No matter how dense the district and how little earth poked through the pavement, people put a plant or tree somewhere.

alleyBack alleys with buildings abutting the road sported a narrow line of vegetation. Streets with no pedestrian sidewalk had tiny potted gardens. Huge apartments so close together they got little light had greenery cascading from the balconies. The roof of our rented condo boasted an allotted garden for each suite.

Even in this busiest of metropolises there’s nature in cracks in the sidewalk or out of walls as I photographed in Hong Kong. This picture is oriented correctly and that is a wall not ground. I couldn’t stop looking at this tree as traffic whipped inches away.

tree on wallNo surprise that being in nature is a life affirming metaphor that crosses cultures. When it comes to resolutions for the year, my personal health issues are on my mind as is the health of the planet. Small gains towards peace and health are possible, word by word, positive action by positive action. Peaceful mindsets – not fighting ones – will heal the world’s trouble spots. As our world’s health goes, so we go.

I’m blessed to witness how conflict management improves lives, including my own. It’s been years since I’ve used ‘neutral’ to explain mediators’ work because ‘impartial’, as in balanced, is more accurate. Winning and losing doesn’t figure in my work or in my plan for my life, however long I live.

My wish and resolution for 2013: even though there are many types of carnage, may the words and worlds of nature and peace flourish for all, like trees growing from cracks in the wall.

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