10 Things We Need to Change in America — Part 2

Are you ready for the second five? Well okay then. Here we go:

6. Prevalence of Violence. You experience it everywhere: our films, TV programs, computer games, news reporting, misogynistic rap music. You can find it as the basis of our shock culture, youth culture, gun culture. You see it in the way we talk to one another. Think it’s the same in other countries? Nope.

It’s true that we don’t have the glaring atrocities and genocide of some other countries. But the U.S. ranked a low 88th (out of 158) in the Global Peace Index 2012 listings. That puts us in the lower half worldwide. Want more proof? The United States has less than five percent of the world’s population while we have almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

What you can do about it. Cultural change begins with each of us, one at a time. Start with your relationship to yourself. Treat yourself with the love and nurturing you deserve  as if you were a spiritual being in physical form. (Inside Information: You are!) Then let that love and respect ripple out to others.

Clean up the ways you talk to yourselfyour inner “Self Talk”. Practice forgiveness. See EVERYONE’s humanity. Don’t allow violence to creep into your life via negative input, of any kind. Take action: vote to reduce poverty, inequality, and unemployment, (research shows that these are often the breeding grounds of violence). Be more active in your own community. BE the change you seek.

7. Over-worked & under-loved.  According to Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College and author of “Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure“, we Americans have the longest work hours among all industrialized countries.

We have now surpassed even the Japanese who had previously been seen as the workaholics of the world. But the real kicker is that in whatever time we have left after all that work, we apparently don’t know how to nurture ourselves and develop real, honest-to-Pete quality of life.

What you can do. Take back control of your life and your lifestyle. Identify your true purpose (Tim Kelley’s book by the same name may help). Then re-evaluate your priorities and your goals. Dial back on consumerism and competition. Knowing how to multi-task when needed is great. But you don’t need to do it all the time. Your nervous system isn’t intended for that. Instead, learn how to soothe and rejuvenate yourself.

Simplify your life. It’s important to BE just as much, or more, than it is to DO. Many Americans have yet to learn that one. Rather than always striving to “keep up” or “get ahead”, put your focus on joy, satisfaction, creativity, fulfillment, authenticity, and loving relationships.

8. Stressed to the max. While stress can be a function of working too much, our stress in the U.S. derives from oh so much more than just overwork. How bad is our collective stress level?The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that 80% of all health care expenditures in the U.S. are stress related. The American Psychology Association says it slightly differently by estimating that 75% to 90% of all doctors’ office visits are stress related. Either way you slice it its clear: stress is making us SICK!

What you can do about it. There are many causes of stress and many things you can do to overcome them … far too many in fact to adequately cover in this brief space. That’s why I write this blog  to provide an on-going discussion of these well-researched, time-proven approaches to reducing stress.

In addition, I write about the many things you can do to enhance your overall lifestyle and the quality and satisfaction level of your life. But if you want a quick, insider’s tutorial, Wellbeing Lifestyles provides an effective, low-cost, and easy-to-follow eBook entitled: The 7 Keys to Eliminating Stress: Your Guide to True Wellness & a More Fulfilling Lifestyle©. Right now we have a special offer of under $10 for this impactful, 93-page eBook.

9. Disregard of the feminine. Men, fear not. I’m not advocating that women take over. Having a matriarchy would be just as disastrous as extending the patriarchy that we’ve had for the past few thousand years. This isn’t about actual women and men, anyway. What I’m talking about is in the realms of the archetypal and the perceptual.

It’s about all of us, women and men, coming more into balance within ourselves. Of course, there are countries worse off than we are in terms of disregarding the feminine. But we can be a real pace-setter here. And oh, don’t we need this right now, especially in terms of our politics. The truth is, the world needs the feminine sensibility right now  before we do ourselves irreparable damage.

What you can do. There is a growing body of research indicating that the shift away from the feminine, and a balanced perception of the world, historically coincided with western culture’s shift from the oral to the written tradition. In other words, our left-brain functioning which controls writing and reading began to dominate.

But now you can change that. In order to bring yourself more into balance and equally utilize both hemispheres of your brain, and thereby enrich your life and your relationships, you can shift from a mainly left-brain, logical, literate orientation to include a more balanced right-brain, feeling, intuitive worldview.

Here’s how. Enjoy more of your life experience through your senses, all five of them. Learn to allow things to happen through intention and right action (the feminine) rather than trying to forcibly make them happen through strategy and manipulation (the masculine). Focus on inclusivity and community rather than power and hierarchy; on mythos and nature just as much as logos and technology. Include more truth, beauty, empathy, compassion, and intuition in your life experience. Oh yeah, and honor women and children.

10. Lack of care for the environment. Based on a recent Gallup Poll (April 13, 2012), it appears that Americans are less concerned now about environmental issues than we were in 2000. It would seem that bread-and-butter issues related to the recession and economy, and to the up-coming Presidential election, are most at the forefront of our attention.

But the bad news is that, overall, we are in worse shape environmentally than we were 12 years ago. And, if things continue as they are, we are headed for some real problems, in fact, some flat out disasters. Especially in the following areas: (listed alphabetically) climate change; deforestation; energy use; invasive species; mining; nuclear power; pesticides; pollution (air, water, marine, solid hazardous waste); population explosion; waste management.

What you can do. The good news is there’s a lot you can do! These range from the micro, like recycling and replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED lights, to the macro, like contributing money and volunteering with environmental groups. Probably the most important thing you can do is to stay informed and VOTE for environmental protection and improvements.

According to the folks at About.com, following are some more things you can do. Have fewer children. Use less water. Eat responsibly (locally grown food; organic meat and produce; less meat and fewer animal products). Conserve energy and switch to renewable energy.  

So America, are you ready to be as good as your promise?

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