Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Listeners, what was your biggest insight -- your "ah-ha!" moment -- of the year? What was your largest moment of revelation? Was it personal? Political? Creative? What inspired it in you?
How interesting Stella
My comment is in the form of a poem.
I see it in your eyesYou are turning counterclockwiseAs we wait, the earth is turningWe stumble badly but we are learning
But you insist on having a winningWhile all on earth are blithely spinningBut I can see it in your eyesYou are still turning counterclockwise
While all the planets they are turningAnd all the stars they are burningAnd here on earth day by daySome give in, some have their way
But I can still see it in your eyesYou are still spinning counterclockwiseYou are spinning quickly as you turnWhile the planets spin and the stars do burn
So no matter where we are goingNo matter that the earth is slowingYou may be wrong, you may be rightBut you will spin counterclockwise day and night.
On January 2 it was revealed to me that a late period at 41 years old wasn't necessarily early menopause, and that it is indeed possible to become pregnant by accident. By April, it was revealed to me that I needed to give birth at home. On August 20 I did just that. I will forever be grateful for certain accidents.
You're such a sweetie, Brian. Luv, U!
To Edward re: Reconstruction--if I understand your question correctly: During the period of Reconstruction, the federal Constitution was amended to grant citizenship to former slaves and voting rights to all African American men AND the Confederate states had to write new constitutions that followed suit in order to gain re-entrance into the Union and Federal troops and the Freedman's Bureau agents stationed in the South enforced those laws. African Americans were able to vote and hold office for the first time and were in fact elected to Congress and Southern state legislatures. This did not happen automatically with the Union victory in the Civil War. With the end of Reconstruction--which resulted first in withdrawal of federal watchdogs, passage of Jim Crow laws, and the second KKK, African Americans were shut out of the electoral process until the Civil Right movement, Voting Rights Act, etc. See Eric Foner's Reconstruction for more info.
Let's see, I found out about some horrible thing having to do with ME, I was thrown for a loop, but I picked MYSELF up and persevered, and in the process found out how truly awesome I am. And I want everyone to know that.
I started to have Aesthetic Realism consultations recently, and after the fifth one I stopped having guilt about my father. I never thought this was possible. Aesthetic Realism is the philosophy founded by Eli Siegel based on the principle that "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites," and I had been given an assignment to comment on "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" in relation to a man or a woman and an object. Working on this is changing the way I see and feel about myself, all people, and the world in a way I am most grateful for.
If that woman says the Rosary, she'll be back in the Church soon. This year I became all the more aware that abortion is the primary source of problems in the U.S.
To Edward from Queens: You are correct about the implication that there WERE African American senators during Reconstruction (the period right after the end of the Civil War in 1865). These were: 1. Hiram Rhodes Revels, Republican Mississippi 1870–1871 1827–1901, 2. Blanche Bruce Republican Mississippi 1875–1881 1841–1898
to deborah in greenwich village:
the golden rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself
you have the second part wrong:it is NOT how YOU treat yourself, it is how you would like OTHERS to treat you.
To the woman who called regarding her realization that there are parts of herself she'll never know because she hasn't had children: I am a young woman who recently had the same realization -- that there are parts of myself I do not know now and won't know until I have children. There are situations and challenges and a certain love and connection that is not accessible to me at this point in time. I think that Brian's commentary was kind, genuine, and important. However, I also believe in sitting with your revelation in a way that does not bring shame or regret, but that simply acknowledges what you've discovered, and not that its wrong or worse off than if you did have children, but that your feelings exist and are true to you. Thank you for being honest with all of us. Your honesty with yourself is inspiring.
I had a moment while listening to a guest on Charlie Rose. The idea that we unconciously use selective memories to create a narrative of our life, which in turn shapes how we remember, is a powerful one. It prompted me thinking about the sense of self and of the authenticity of long cherished memories.
Regarding the racism question . . .I think that we either find ways to justify our actions or we choose to ignore the consequences of our actions & choices.
I can see parallels between the bigger biases such as attitudes towards slaves or attitudes towards Jews in the way that many of us continue to purchase cheap products knowing that overseas many people are working under very opressive conditions manufacturing theses or to continue to eat meat knowing about the horrid warehousing conditions that the animals are raised & people have to work in or the way we can pass a homeless person in the street or subway wearing rags with bruises & calluses on their bodies, etc. We are continuously editing what we will or will not ponder or act on.This is important to remember before demonizing populations or leaders from the past.For the most part cicumstances will dictate actions and we should keep this in mind before judging others.
I believe that the concept of race is, in itself, a form of racism: a colonial conceit used as the means to an end, ie. the exploitation of one group of people by another. All human beings share the same DNA, and any "racial" differences are adaptive (evolutionary), not fundamental (intrinsic). Ethnicity creates cultural difference, but we share the rites of passage. My insight: life is fleeting, be tender to one another. We pass this way but once.
I work with newborns who daily inspire me & who - if we fully took in who they are - could change our world. And yearly, I look for concrete sources of solid hope to give their parents for the future. Yesterday, I met Marcin Jakubowski, PhD who designed & is building the Global Village Construction Kit - 50 tools using open source technology that enable us to fabricate a village, inc. all necessary farm tools from tractors to brick presses, etc. See two min video at http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/ So we really could meet our own needs creatively & comfortably in a way that doesn't further deplete our earth. Wow!!
after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder at the end of my sophomore year of college, i was terrified that i would never be able to make it back to the person i was before my brain changed and started lying to me. i didn't think it would end, i didn't think anyone could help or care or understand. songs i loved made me cry and i was physically unable to have a normal conversation with anyone, including people i'd known for years. but that was all false. it was chemicals and not me. i'm never going to be the same person i was before i broke down but that isn't a bad thing. before then, i trusted my thoughts to be true, i thought i understood the reasons that people, including myself, were the way that they were. now i have a distance, some phantom source of objectivity that came directly from realizing that things are hardly ever what they seem.
I am need for an INSIGHT (actually info). The discussion of the causes of the American Civil War brings up a Q that I always had. Why do people/writers say "...the first black senator from State X since Reconstruction..."? Why "Reconstruction"" instead of "the Civil War"? "since Reconstruction" implies that there were black senators during Reconstruction. Can anybody provide me INSIGHT on this matter?
Rather than having an insight or revelation, I would like to be provided with one in regard to the Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame tragedy. First, with complete respect for qualified freedom of the press, I'd like to know why Robert Novak was permitted to print classified material -- knowingly endangering the life of a CIA operative -- without being brought up on charges. Secondly, I'd like to understand why Dick Cheney was never seriously considered subject to impeachment charges for condoning treason. (Former President Clinton was impeached --or was he? -- for private peccadilloes....which didn't exactly endanger national security.) I'd so much appreciate some clarification. I hope everyone in our country will see "Fair Game."
My biggest insight came after I was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. I was told my entire right kidney would have to be removed and I that chaemotherapy would not help me. I turned to God and leaned heavily on him to help me deal with this crisis. My big discovery was that regardless of what the outcome of the surgery, regardless of how horrible a time I was having, I still had an underlying sense of peace that everything would work out okay in the end, somehow. It was like God was coming along side me and sitting next to me, quietly, offering his huge support and comfort. And now the epilog: on Dec 1 I had the surgery and nearly 10 days later received a call from my surgeon telling me how surprised he was that the tumor in the kidney contained no cancer! Yes, I'm healed, yes I'm ecstatic, but even my joy and jubliation is on an even keel because I know I can face even deeper waters than this because God will be right there with me, offering me comfort, regardless of the outcome of the situation.
Many lessons this year, but as my biggest maxim, believing in the golden rule got a deeper insight.Do unto others as you would do for yourself. I use to believe that people would want to treat others well because they would want to be treated well. That's not true! People don't treat themselves well and therefore treating others badly. It's a slippery thing! I thought if one truly believed in the golden rule that would make you a kind decent person. Not so! On the flip side, I realized it is much more difficult to be a good person and take the higher ground, do the right thing, be a 'good person'. It's definitely harder and less rewarding in the short run. Thus the other maxim: No good turn goes unpunished. Yet, I still believe being a good decent thoughtful person is the only true way to live. After all we are all in this together.
I realize this little essay is full of clichés, but life does keep repeating lessons, so clichés happen.
Thanks Brian for being such a mensch, and bringing all of 'us' together.With gratitude,Deborah
I'm a news junkie and have even recently started a humorous news blog (www.TripleFolly.com). Through my exasperation with the failure of the administration and Congress to actually do any of the things we elected them to do, I realized a very important thing. All of "our" supposed representatives in government are all Republicans. They are all millionaires and their personal interests lie with the Republican cause. Some of them work as Democrats, but that's just like a vegetarian working in a rib shack. 9-5 They espouse principles that they themselves don’t believe in. That's why the pace of progress on middle-class issues has been slow to non-existent.
There is a difference in how slaves were treated in this country and in Latin America. In the US there was a contradiction between the ideology of equality and the actuality of slavery. A way to solve it was to define slaves as less than full humans. There was a different attitude in Latin America. There the attitude based on European (Spanish) hierarchy was that people are assigned their place by birth. There was no concept of common rights, so slaves did not have to be viewed as half a person
I lost my dearest friend in April from cancer of the bladder then spreading to the spine. My life turned around 360 degrees. By taking one day at a time, taking one step at a time, doing one thing at a time, belonging to a bereavement group where we shared our experiences, failures and successes, it made me aware of others. I want to be constructive and positive. I lost my job but am hopeful to find another position. Am starting to research how to help spreading the word about cancer of the bladder thru the Bladder Cancer Advocay Network, Sharing out to other people is key to avoid depression. Have a great 2011.
The Supreme Court's (5-4) decision in the Citizen's United case CONFIRMED for me what I'd long suspected: this "free" country is nothing more (nor less) than a plutographic oligarchy of MONEYED elites who will do whatever it takes to further concentrate and cement economic power.
I also learned that Clarence Thomas has not asked a question of a petitioning lawyer since 2006. That CONFIRMED my pet moniker for him: Clarence "What Scalia Said" Thomas.
I just had a revelation: many in Brian's audience are quite inarticulate.
My biggest revelation for 2010 is that the "delete" key is my best friend. I don't have to respond to the far-right political messages people send me. I don't have to read and respond to others' diatribes. It is okay if some people don't like me. I have students who are now begging me to give them higher grades, not because they were earned, and I finally feel that I don't have to apologize for doing the right thing. They already know. Delete.
What Lea was saying about people taking advantage of other people made me think of something I have encountered here in NYC: Wealthy, supposed progressive people who hire nannies from impoverished regions of the world and pay them a lower rate than they would pay a local. This was the one I liked the most: a friend of ours who is a top level business executive (I mean top, top level not a vice president or even a senior vice president) commented to my wife "I would love to be able hire an American nanny, but we can't afford it." My immediate thought was, 'well, if you had not spent hundreds of thousands renovating your own brownstone with the best materials, if you gave up that vacation home and if you sent your children to public school like we do, you could afford that nanny instead of hiring a Latin American who you can easily take advantage of.
People who take advantage of people, including Thomas Jefferson, seem to have a way in their minds to justify it as though they were doing it in a better way than others might, or it is ok because they are somehow enlightened (in many ways our friend is enlightened and we have seen it through many of the causes she supports), either way, it is not right.
My name has been changed as with my location.
responding to the lady who spoke on north/south revelation... <<wtf>>
i am not religious - but what about "ill gotten gains"? i do not understand what "her" issue was. did "becoming aware" of the fact that the south "was richer" in assets in some way change her opinion of the war or its outcome?
i really thought my head was going to explode as she spoke - i was waiting for her to go deeper in her comment but she didn't, which might be why she is so "impressed" by this piece of information. i was waiting for the conversation to go towards "money always/doesn't always lead to winning" or "the grandeur of the south was/wasn't worth enslavement" or some detail - beyond "gee, they were rich and they lost it".
can you help me understand why someone would be so impressed with this information?
Regarding the commenter on air who is using the rosary and connecting it to her heritage, I would like to add, as a yogi, that she is doing a practice that brings people peacefulness, because they get to a state beyond the mind. You could consider it less an issue of "religion" or heritage than the science (empirical observation) of the mind and how much power we have to affect ourselves. The practice of repeating something with focus has even been shown in medical studies to reduce stress. Love that she is doing it without needing to change her religious view.
I’ve realized that the USA I grew up in is gone forever. We are rapidly on our way to becoming Brazil or Mexico. There will be the super rich and the rest of us, whose role in life will be to serve the rich for whatever crumbs they throw to us.All our politicians, from Obama on down have sold out to the highest bidder.This will not change unless all political campaigns must have public financing and only public financing--NO EXCEPTIONS.Ain’t gonna happen. Hope you all enjoy kissing some too big to fail banks ass for the rest of your life!
The 2 confederate states that were not captured by the union during the civil war, was texas and floida, both had to do with the election of former president Bush in 2000. 911 were attacks on the northern states, causing a power shift back to the south, from people and corporations leaving and moving south.
My husband and I are at the "precipice years"- at 42 and 35, all of our parents are still with us. After listening to a younger, engaged couple badmouth their parents, we realized that we've been able to rise above so much history and hurt to include our parents in our celebrations and continue to create memories. We realized that they love us more than they want to fight with us or each other. While it's not "all is forgiven, everything resolved"-it works for everyone because we don't crowd each other, insist on leaving sarcasm, pettyness, and politics at the door and appreciate the importance of the opportunity to move forward, on neutral ground, together. And I can't stress how important Scrabble can be at family functions.
In order to understand a political philosophy, take it to its final conclusion. COMMUNISM: If everyone was compensated equally …and there is a grantee of employment, why would anyone work or innovate? COMMUNISM imploded. Communist countries starve: North Korea, Cuba, etc. FASCISM: If all dissenters were killed and all their possessions confiscated, how would the society continue after they have conquered the world? They would have to steal from and kill their own, eventually …which is what happened in 1944, 1945. The TALIBAN: If Art and Entertainment were not permitted and all women subjugated; -all dissenters killed, how would the society replenish itself? They would die out eventually. REPUBLICANISM: In order to maximize profit, all labor would be so minimally compensated that workers would practically be slaves. Wealth could only be inherited, as it would not be taxed. The small elitist base would continually shrink. Elections would be perfunctory, as the outcome was already determined. Most likely, you have been watching the fun, the follies and the three stooges marathon of the “Tea Party Convention”. Lets consider their wishes and their dreams. They want:• Reduction of taxes. • Less ‘Government’.• No oversight of private enterprise.• No SEC, no FDA, no FCC, -no regulating Commissions. • No abridgement to carry concealed weapons.• No abortions. OK, let’s take their concerns to their eventual conclusion. • Let’s abolish all taxes.• Let’s abolish Government, I think that you can see where this is going.
Needless to say, there would be no military, no police, no fire departments, no veterans pensions, no Homeland Security, etc. We had such an experiment, 200 years ago, … Tombstone, Arizona.
[As a result of relative lack of water and quick wooden construction, Tombstone experienced major fires in June 1881 and May 1882. The second fire was particularly destructive and signaled the end of the classic old boomtown-mining city. After the mid-1880s, when the silver mines had been tapped out, the main pump failed, causing many mines to be flooded with deep groundwater, and Tombstone declined rapidly. The U.S. census found it had fewer than 1900 residents in 1890, and fewer than 700 residents in 1900.]
It has been proven that Republican Political Party philosophy is a flawed and a failed concept. • By definition, the average Republican Party voter has below average intelligence.a) Half of all humanity has a below average IQ.b) Predominantly Republican states average below average IQs.c) By definition, the average Republican Party voter has below average intelligence.d) In American History, the contemporary Republican philosophy is a failed concept.e) History has shown that implemented Republican philosophy leads to failure. Absolutely.
Sadly enough, America is run by large corporations and individuals who are motivated by greed.
I finally learned this year after 3 years of being bitter and wanting so bad to be understood.... "that I have to give what I want in return". I realized that I never took real time to listen and understand others with no other agenda at all - Just be present, listen and be open to understanding.
regarding the caller who regretted not having children because she would never discover parts of her personality that would have been revealed if she'd had children, I also haven't had children, but I have always thought that my personality is exactly why I haven't had children. I think there are people in the world who are meant to fulfill other functions in life, and that we should assume them with as much responsibility and love as, say, being a mother or father, or being a priest or artist or anything else. I don't believe in regrets, and I hope things that were said on this thread will persuade that caller that she hasn't "missed" anything, but that it only behooves and awaits her to discover and recognize the beauty in her personality that she has been given.
I have finally, in middle age, come to realize that there is nothing. Only people who have children have a real purpose and obligation to raise them well. The rest of us, those of us with no family, really exist from day to day waiting to die. I see many clinging to notions of God to fill the void, but this year I realize there is nothing, it's all random, and if I die tomorrow, there will be no impact
My biggest insight came after I had an out-of-the blue brain hemmorrhage! THE INSIGHT WAS: I am actually and ARTIST!!I've realized that I had never had the nerve to face the fear of possibly being a starving artist and had never been willing to risk being that in order to develop my talent and emerge as an artist. This is huge!!!I am currently making big steps to leave my career in Human Resources and the corporate world to embrace my life as an artist. It feels so exciting, freeing, spiritual and like I've come through the fog to the light! I'm so happy - and wow! Who thought that a brain hemmorrhage could actually turn into a blessing? I am so fortunate to have come out intact and able to move forward more meaningfully in my life. Lying there in the ICU wondering if I was going to make it out okay, or at all, it was crystal clear what I needed to do with the remainder of my life. Love was the only other more important thing...though myself as an artist and love are really interrelated. I am inspired and AWAKE!
P.S. A 2nd big revelation this year is that I do not need a credit card to get by in this modern life! So exciting.
I finally figured out, at 52 years old, what really matters in life are the simple, free, easy and renewing pleasures. walks in the woods with my dogs, a nap on the couch, cooking good wholesome food, laughing with my family, books, music, and quiet peace. Turning off all the chatter, computers, noise and tuning in to the beautiful silence...ahhhh. and it's free for all of us.
I have learned many things this past year (and, actually, the past 4 or 5 years - I've got enough material to write several "This I believe" essays) but the biggest epiphany I had this year is that true love - true care - is selfless and doesn't look for any kind of returns.
I am desperately seeking an insight. My love of seven yrs just left me. I am getting congnitive problems in my 50s, and I am alone. My revelation is that my insecurities have left me alone. But I feel so much the need for a positive revelation with which to move forward, and a way to carry it out, and a way to find help with this process. Wishing a better 2011 to you and the world.
After a serious bike accident, I appreciated again as I did during 9/11, how NYC is great because of great citizens such as Renee Moya (jogger), FD EMTs and the Bellevue staff (Dr Hadley, Dr. Tejwani, Dr Rothchild, the xray techs, Chris the nurse), and all the other nurses and other Bellevue staff ready to help a stranger. These people show that NYC is a caring and workable community during tough times for both the community and individual. It is a great a great comfort to know all these smart, compassionate people are ready and willing to help others during an emergency. Thanks to all the NYC emergency workers, police, FDNY, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, transit workers and citizens for all you do every day regardless of the weather, season or situation.
We were discussing economics in Second Life and someone gave us a speach by John Talor Gatto that explains all of Western history for the last 200 years, how public education has been institued to create a reliable supply of docile consumers to purchase the trinkets produced by the industrial revolution.
Schools, Mass media have manipulated language so we only are capable of thinking about satifying our matterialistic desires.
School do not educate students to be self self sufficient, autonomous adult citizens , but to keep us in an infantile mode subseviant to the government and comercial interests.
Springboarding from your comment about the implications of slavery on racism to the woman who had only seen the civil war in terms of race, not economics--- i took a trip to Ghana this summer and had the epiphany that it wasn't racism that caused slavery. They sold slaves to other Africans and still exploit some workers in a way that looks like slavery to me. But when they were sent to an all white continent to assume subservient roles, then the racism was guaranteed. A double whammy
My biggest insight was a sentence I wrote about a month ago. My biggest challenge is acting on it.
"one of the hardest steps to accepting who it is you are, is letting go of what you apparently are not but thought so much you wanted to be."
"slavery vs. racism" question -- for those who know or benefit from slaves or abused, underpaid workers, this is an easy question to ponder.
Not to preach but all of us should be pondering this very question with every purchase, from WalMart to Trader Joes and our local vegetable market.
People who have absorbed Martin's message of winning over our enemies with love are needed on 125th St. to educate certain Black booksellers about the consequences of selling hate speech. Don't they know that "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and "The International Jew" by Henry Ford are produced by white supremacist groups who'd be delighted to see Blacks and Jews fight each other? Show them ugly cartoons about Black people when you see ugly cartoons of Jews, and explain gently that hate speech promotes prejudice, discrimination, ghettoization and genocide. Please help.
My biggest insight this year is that this great country that I grew up in is no longer a democracy. It has gone down the path of facism through many means, but the most powerful and influential mean has been the media. The takeover of the corporate media starting with the destruction of the Fairness Doctrine during Reagan. I wonder when we'll all realize it.
I've always had a difficult relationship with my father. My father is retired and now lives in West Africa and is unable to travel because of his health. The last time I visited him was 10 years ago and I vowed (inwardly) that I would never see him again. So despite my mother's pleading, I have not There was a family emergency this year that shook me to my core and without thinking I immediately overcame my 10 year grudge and bought a ticket and went to visit. It was such a revelation to rediscover the power of love and the freedom of forgiveness.
A lot of lessons came from over the summer. I ost both my job and my grandmother within 2 weeks of each other. This was also compounded by the fact that I didn't know until I was searched out by the police. I had to call my Mom to tell her about her mother's death over Skype-one of the hardest conversations I've ever done. I've had to simultaneously make funeral arrangements and try and find work-both things which were entirely new experiences for me. The biggest revelation for me was despite out best attempts, skills and resources, sometimes the best-and only thing we can do-is to throw out our perception and our previously-planned courses, and just to move with what's happening until our feet find ground again.
I learned that New York might not be the place for me even though I grew up here. I left for five years to go to college in Vermont and then moved back to New York last year and I've found that being an adult here is vastly different than growing up here. Not only that, but it has gotten so expensive, I'm not convinced it's possible to be middle class and raise a family here.
I have learned that you need to be your child's advocate. For the last 2 years we struggled with a diagnosis of ADHD with our 11 year old daughter. It did not feel right to me. All of the medical and educational experts told me to just face the facts. Just deal with it. I kept fighting until this summer we found that she had a major hearing loss. After I insisted her hearing be tested. She had ear surgery in Nov. All of the symptoms of ADHD have disappeared. My lesson is believe in your inner voice. PS: It's sunny and blue sky's in Central PA.
I kept thinking big and thinking about the future, and I started to see the meaning of our cultural dependence on oil as the root of our society. I have watched the economic collapse in recent years and now, after seeing "Collapse" I have a better understanding of the ramifications of our dependence on oil in our society.
My revelation shook me to my core. So much that it's hard to talk about. Here's another person writing about my largest revelation of 2010.
A man cried in my office this past while and it was perhaps the holiest moment for me this Christmas season. He gave me permission to tell you about it. As you know, most men are not given to tears, but this man was crying because he had read a disturbing article in “The Nation” magazine about the downward trend of empires and how America is likely doomed to a forthcoming fire of violence, chaos, poverty and war. His mind and his heart pictured the human pain involved, particularly the horror that his three year old daughter might experience and he (multi-talented and disciplined man, smart IBM dude, person of authentic Christian faith, a good provider who does more than his share of child care and housework, an obsessive soul given to occasional fits of anger if his wife doesn’t do the dishes or give him enough sex) wept like a baby. He imagined in profound empathy the atrocities that have forever been a part of the human scene and he cried out “How do we stand it?” His mind and heart were filled with terror and he could not picture ever having a moment of calm again. He sat and quietly cried, then wiped the tears away, composed himself and muttered “I’m just being silly.”
I asked him “How are you being silly?” He said, “Oh, you know, none of my friends think the way I do. I’m the only green person around who worries about what we are doing to the earth.” I said, “No, you are not being silly. And you are not the only person who worries about the state of the world, although you are doing it with amazing empathy for people.” I said, after a moment of silence, “Maybe the only thing that is silly about you is occasionally making your wife pay in spades for not doing the dishes or not giving you enough sex, though I do know that we must have our love and we must have our order. But perhaps you can see the real reason you get riled up about the dishes and sex is to distract you from this much greater pain and your sublime sorrow for humanity, which should include your wife who is fumbling along like the rest of us.”
At the ripe old age of 40, I realized how evil is GOSSIP. My loose tongue has caused me problems all my life, but still I let the gossip slip. I always admired the people who didn't join in the gossip, but somehow could not help myself. However, this year I put my daughter in school, and it's like going back to school myself in the sense that so many of the parents engage in bashing each other's kids. GOSSIP everywhere you turn. My husband pointed out that people gossip as a way of bonding, so I have decided to seek other ways to bond, and to keep my mouth SHUT. It hasn't been easy, but it has been an eye-opening experience. I now listen to people dissing each other and can't believe I ever let myself be part of that nonsense. Plus it is a good feeling to enter a room and know that I have never said anything disparaging about anyone in the room.
For me, I fundamentally rethought torture. I'm a pretty conservative guy, and supported most of the aggressive tactics on the war on terror--including torture for interrogation. I believed that what Bush and Cheney were doing was necessary for fighting terrorism. Then I heard about this book called "None of us were like this before" and once I learned how ineffective torture was (and is), how much it cost US support and allies--and in the end how much it damaged our brave men in uniform, then I totally reconsidered my views. Now I've questioned those belief, and am even somewhat ashamed by them.
"one of the hardest steps to accepting who it is you are, is letting go of what apparently are not but thought so much you wanted to be."
I realized that we live in a fascist state. Wall St. IS our government. Shocking but true.
My father and husband always call me a Pollyanna. I thought I was just an optimist, a glass half full person. This year I realized that I am a Pollyanna. Not a realist, not an optimist, but someone who hopes for the best or puts a good face on everything even when all the facts say there is no good face. I'm not sure I'm sad about this realization. I think being a Pollyanna makes my life a little easier to handle. I am now not a Pollyanna deny-er, but an unabashedly proud Pollyanna.
I came to New York to challenge myself as an artist; ten years later I look back and see all I've done and learned in New York but also realize there's a bigger world out there. In January this year I lost my brother out of the blue and that changed everything. I've been faced with my own mortality and with the preciousness of time in this world to really live and feel a need to not waste a minute of it. decided to move back to my country and continue my journey in a completely different reality. I will miss New York terribly because this is where I feel like I belong and the one place that has felt like home, but I now know it's time to move on.
I learned how very much I wanted to stay alive. In April 2010 I received a new liver, thanks to some incredibly generous (and unknown to me) individual. I was lucky enough to be able to have the transplant at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston) because according to my doctors up at Montefiore, I wouldn't have come up on the NYS list until January 2011, at the earliest. In the 9 months from cancer diagnosis to transplant I spent 24/7 working on getting it done. And realized how very much I wanted to live. Not that I was afraid to die but that whatever else I was NOT READY TO DIE. An insight that made me so very happy that it helped me get through the ordeal.
Tamara Glenny (second comment in this thread) -- perhaps a bit off topic but do u think cathy black's hearst pedigree makes her the ideal education czar, as bloomberg bets?
I was laid off in early 2008 and outside of some Census work and a few short freelance gigs, have not been able to find pernament work.My insight: even if I run out of savings and become homeless, it will not be the end of the world. I'm at peace with whatever happens.
My biggest revelation this year after making a conscious effort to see more art both locally and internationally is that .... not everything's been done yet. Each time I think "oh, I'm sure that's been done already," I see an inventor put a new twist on something and make it more useful or an artist tackle an issue with a new vision that is so unique. It gives me hope that the world is constantly reinventing itself and bringing more creativity to anyone who's interested to go see it.
This past year, so many things happened that I wasn't able to change. It's one of the lessons age teaches but hard for me -- the work I did was all about helping people change, finding answer to problems that seemed overwhelming. This year, two health issues developed that can't be reversed and both my vision and walking have rather drastically been affected. In the world, so many things I can't change. Learning to live with these things, learning to understand that not being able to change things is as much a part of life as the ability to change things has been a great lesson.Once accepted, somehow these things lose most of their negative. force.
My biggest insight this year has come from going out and doing. instead of walking in the same direction as i have in the past i now open myself to new directions. i have come to realize that by so doing i have come to find my true self, new friends and new ideas. I look forward.
The saying "What goes around comes around" doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get back favors from the people you do them for. The good you do does return from you but not necessarily frin the sources you expect. Sometimes the gifts you receive come from other sources
I live in Northern NJ and my biggest insight has been the reality that in today's economy I cannot afford to retire and stay here. I have approx. 15 mores years of work-life, and then I'll need to consider moving out of the Northeast to afford retiring.
My revelation was:You should never internalize anyone else's frame as a permanent, authoritative judgment on the value of your soul.-No matter who that person is.
("Frame" being my word for: psychological profile, worldview, ruleset, ethos, etc.)
I learned that I am truly fortunate...I have a place to live, a stable job that I like, a truly loving partner, family and friends. After a couple of tough years facing mental illness, I feel truly happy with my life right now...maybe the humility of recession has shown that to me.
After working for a decade in a failing company, I finally concluded this year that hope is not a plan. I allowed the recession to scare me into staying long past the point that I actually contributed anything of value to our business. Action begets action and hoping for better times doesn't change anything. I still worry that I did the wrong thing by leaping into a job where I make a third of what I did before, but this year I realized that the key to "momentum" is "moments" where we leap into the great unknown.
I was profoundly shocked at the woman with the "revelation" about the "real" causes of the Civil War. I am so thoroughly sick of all the excuses and misty nostalgia for the practitioners of an unconscionable economy, who further, set up their own government in order to preserve that. When you fly a Confederate Flag, how is that any different from flying the flag of an enemy government? i am sick of the distortion of history that says anything different from the fact (noted above by another poster) that the ideal business model in the USA is the cheapest possible labor. This country was built on a foundation of endslaved and cheap labor from the beginning, with only a brief hiatus in the twentieth century when there was a healthy labot movement. We are heading quickly back to the norm now.
My husband died suddenly this year at age 51 from a heart arrhythmia caused by sleep apnea. My insight is that sleep apnea is so much more serious than people think, so if your doctor tells you to get a CPAP mask, get it.
My biggest insight has to do with how challenging it is to lose one's eyesight. I have a friend, Doris, whose eyesight has faded over time. She lives alone in a fourth floor walk up. She listens to your station all the time, which keeps her spirits higher than they otherwise would be. She is 90 and has amazing compassion for those in need around the world despite her own challenges. I have learned so much from her about how to live, and am grateful for my eyesight and all that means for the richness in my life.
I realized that aged 52, NYC is not a friendly place for those seeking employment, particularly if one is interested in making a career change. I believe there is no opportunity for those over 50 to create a second career unless it is entprenurial . I accept that there is no shortage of 30 somethings who are ready willing and able to take jobs, leaving those over 50 blowing in the wind in our great city. I realize it may be time to move and I am attempting to be humble in the face of this new economy.
I find that we are deliberately kept from knowing and experiencing our better selves so that each of us is blinded to our own subjugation.
When planning a negotiation -- or argument/debate -- I have concluded that it is not even worth articulating one's *own* position. It is far more profitable to get inside your opponent's position, as deeply as possible. Then one's own strategy will be clear (and one's own position just might change too!).
Another interesting exercise I thought of yesterday talking with my dad, about "history," is to reclassify history as all the stuff that happened BEFORE today's oldest person was born. Everything that comes after that isn't history but merely current events. The point is to remove all the givens we rely on, when considering the Vietnam War, WWII, etc., and view events as part of an ever changing continuum (especially with the US government's 25, 40 or 70 year embargoes on classified material!) rather than merely historical bookends or chapters in a book.
My greatest insight this year came when I realized that I was feeling sorry for myself about a lost career. I had to take a job that was not in my "field" and I saw that I was not making the most of the job I had for self pity about the job I wanted to have. I stopped that nonsense and am now embracing the job and career that is in front of me. I am a much happier woman and every day I count my blessings that I am employed & forging a new path in my life.
after years of legal ambush by my son's father over avoiding his parental obligation while pretense of caring for our son to everyone but the boy and mother, I've learned that children of absent parents and family ills can still overcome all odds and become very decent, intelligent and sensible beings full of love and joy for what they have, so long those that really love and care for them (i.e. the remaining parent and extended family) remain decent and loving and continue to pass on good example. Yes, they do survive and can do brilliantly despite our hardships.Happy new year....it iwll be a good restart!
After decades of living alone, and after a year of adjustment, I have learned to love living with someone. We've renewed our lease!
I realized that "heaven" is not only possible, but it can only be here and now. The key to "heaven" is making your heart happy.That requires a 2 pronged approach: Don't accept things in your life that make you miserable, no matter why you feel you must keep them there. Don't keep a job in the name of security, which is an illusion. Don't continue to do something if the only reason you are continuing is because "you promised". What the world needs more than someone responsible, or prudent, is you modeling living with joy.The other side is "there is nothing good nor bad, but thinking makes it so"... I once got a job for 2 1/2 times what I had been making when I got hired, and was ecstatic, until I found out a colleague doing the same work was making 50% more than me. The same job and circumstance that had made me so happy became intolerable. For everything in my life that I am not happy about, there is someone who would cry with gratitude to be in my situation.
My biggest revelation was that there are really people out there that base their political views on not helping other people, every man, woman and child for themselves. This really surprised me as they were young in their mid-twenties and just truly thought social welfare in all areas was wrong because people should be able to help themselves. I was saddened by this, and then I learned many many more people feel this way.
I also learned alot about Afghanistan this year. I read alot about the people, what has gone on for decades and the history of the country. I am saddened by what people do to humanity.
It wasnt all bleak, but I am always saddened to hear what humans do to other humans.
My biggest revelation of the year was that the stresses we put on our kids really effect them in a profound way. I have a very close person in my life who has a son who landed in a psych hospital because he got so overwhelmed by all of the obligations put on him. His need to be perfect got the better of him. I have learned that "Good" can be good enough...perfect doesn't exist, and the sooner we let our kids know that being their best doesn't mean being perfect, the healthier they will be.
This country's economy cannot flourish without free to cheap labor. The cheaper the labor, the bigger the profit. Slavery having been outlawed a while ago, this economic downturn, as well as others is serving as a readjustment of wage expectation.
The snooze button the American Dream is broken and we've all woken up to the grim reality of a nightmare.
I volunteered for my local Congressman (who lost) and can easily blame Citizen's United and the power of money and spin that this election was influenced by. But I learned that it is important to not let yourself become negative or cynical ( at least too much) I also worked on local environmental issues and through that and other volunteers in the election , I have met really great, smart, positive people and we had some significant local successes. So my insight is that although there are setbacks and it is a long hard struggle, don't let this suck your determination,it is very worth to keep organizing, keep working, keep speaking out on issues that are important, keep our democracy alive--and using an old term --Truth to Power!
We must invest in and greatly improve education in this county or we'll continue to be blessed with evolution, global warming, and birth cerificate etc. deniers.
My biggest insight or revelation was an ideological one, which was I didn't have to vote for a Democrat. For the first time, I didn't vote for a Democrat for Governor. I was totally disenchanted with Andy Cuomo, particularly with regard to his position on "frakking" and his pro-business tilt. So, I looked at the platforms of the Green Party and the Libertarian Parties, found myself comfortable with the Greens, and voted for their candidate for Governor (especially since with more than 50k votes the Greens received a guaranteed place on the ballot for the next state-wide election).
I feel liberated from my former ideological self. In effect, I found myself in a reverse tea-party moment. (LOL, I did vote, as a middle finger to the tea party, straight Democrat for every other elected office!)
This year I learned that the most I can do to help the world is to do what I love, which is writing and interacting with people. For my whole life I thought I had to be in some career like politics, or environmental activism, or social activism, to do good, and that working on my writing was selfish and didn't help the world in any way. Then I took a risk, quit my job (big risk!!!!) and went to grad school for English. I am so happy when I write and read, my heart feels like it expands and becomes huge and encompasses the whole world. When I feel like that, I know that I am doing much more good for the world than if I was sitting in an office entering information or answering a phone, and being miserable.
I realized that at 62 and unemployed, my working life is over.
Meditation the easy way--spending time alone, looking at my thoughts without judging them or getting involved in "figuring things out"--has given me more insights and inner peace than I ever imagined. Doing this for 10 min. a day, only 4 times a week, has made an enormous difference to my relationship with myself and others. I have more compassion for others and ability to withstand daily frustrations. "Everyone has 10 minutes" says my teacher, which is absolutely true. Be consistent in this activity, whether you "want" to do it or not, and you will reap amazing benefits. If everyone in the world did this, I am convinced we would have PEACE, which is my prayer each day.
my father passed away last year and it was the first time in my life that i realized i am an adult. i'm 30 years old and i have been living in the US without my family for the past 7 years. but that one incedent made me realize that i am an adult now. i'm on my own.
and it's scary as it is encouraging.
This country is, for lack of a better word, screwed. Much like only Nixon could go to China, only Obama can gut Social Security and the remaining social safety net. There is not one positive promise that he has kept from the campaign.
Next election cycle I am probably not voting. If you must vote, vote Republican. If we're going down the highway to hell, we might as well make it go quickly.
It doesn't matter what the administrationwants to do - the big money seems to bein control.
Mike Manhattan Beach Brooklyn
My biggest revelation for 2010 is that the joy comes from me not from someone else or something else.
My partner embarked on a transition this year - from female to male - and after identifying as a lesbian for most of my life, I realized that a lovers' gender is not as important to me as I once thought.
Income inequality in the United States. I've been a magazine editor since 1980. At the last full-time (non-freelance) job I had, in 2008 (at Hearst), I was allowed to pay freelance feature story writers $1 a word. That was the SAME amount of money we were paying writers at Harper's magazine (not a wealthy publication) IN 1983, 27 years ago. THIS IS NOT TRIVIAL. It illustrates what has happened (or not happened) to middle-class incomes and why this country's economy is in such dire straits.
Brian, there are lots of things you do really well.
A show like today's is not one of them.
The oligarchy in this country has become as irresponsible and as cynical as that of Mexico or other parts of Latin America.. The politicians have become as inept, arrogant and as corrupt as those in Latin America.. My insight this year is that even though I thought we were heading to a repressive government such as that of the military dictatorships of Argentina/Brazil in the 1970's, I've now come to realize that we are on a high speed rail journey to a Mexican version of democracy, violence and corruption with a touch of 1970's Southern cone military repression of any challenges to the oligarchy.
Ah - Ha No matter who is President of the United States , Corporations and Republicans greed, fact spinning and outright lies will prevail over Justice, Common Sense and the Truth ,Every Time .
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.