Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What can we do?

Wow. If you're feeling anything like me, you're hesitant to turn the TV on as the events taking place in Japan unfold. A part of me wants to stay informed, perhaps it's the mature thing to do to keep tuning into the news and watching the decimated landscape again and again. But how does that help? The fear mongering created by constantly re-broadcasting the tsunami and earthquakes devastation makes for good ratings, but it can make us, the viewers, feel scared, paralyzed and helpless as the scenes seem bigger than anything we can face. So what can we do?

Look Away: I decided a long time ago to never look at car accidents when I was driving by as being distracted could only make things worse. I could slow down traffic or bump into someone if I wasn't paying attention and thus cause another accident. I knew something had happened obviously, but seeing it up close, the detail, the wreckage, wasn't necessary. In the case of what is taking place in Japan, I feel that this is a good time to look away. We know what's going on. Limit it to the periphery of your vision and instead, focus on the ways in which you can actually help in the recovery effort and healing. For example:

* Reach out to friends in Japan. If you know someone there, send them an email or a call letting them know you're there for them. See if there's something they need or just be an ear as they go through such a difficult time. ATT, Verizon and Vonage are offering free phone calls to Japan through the end of March.

* Donate to the Red Cross. Every organization out there is helping to facilitate the donation process. Discover Card is letting you donate your Cash Back Bonus to Red Cross, and if you text REDCROSS to 90999, you make an instant $10 donation which will be reflected on your phone bill.

* Look for ways to help in your community. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the world news that we forget about what is happening in our own backyard. Look for fundraisers taking place where you might be able to volunteer to help raise money or gather goods that can be donated to Japan.

* Lastly, pray and be grateful for your own safety and the safety of others. Stay in a mindset of gratitude and hope. The world is hurting right now, but you have the opportunity to help heal and restore peace by being a vessel of strength and compassion as you move through your day. Together, we can create little moments of grace around the world, and help to give it some much needed relief.


  1. I've been donating and looking for ways to help. I'm just astounded by how patiently and quietly they endured it. Japan is amazing. Their people are amazing.

  2. Penelope you're so right. I had the pleasure a few years ago of meeting Iwao Takamoto, the creator of Scooby Doo. He asked where I was from and when I told him Idaho, he said, "Oh, I've been there." He spoke well of it, the beautiful landscapes, his time working in the fields as a young man and how he had struggled to keep his tools sharp to do a good job. Then it dawned on me that he was referring to time he had been at the Japanese internment camps. He spoke of his exile as if it were a summer camp to a remote town. Pretty amazing!