This week Awesome Stories brings you Bhutan’s success, depression, and kindness.
The Humanizing of Depression
What hurts you blesses you. Darkness is your candle. ~ Rumi
This article by Parker Palmer touched me deeply. Like Parker, having gone through a long bout of depression, I relate to his take on finding meaning from the experience. During the depression, I could barely function and certainly didn’t have the perspective to find meaning or any way out. Thankfully, mine passed with time. He and many others need the help of professionals, medicine, and more. I hope with courageous people like Parker who are willing to talk about their depression, we can remove the shame and misunderstanding. And boy could I relate to the part where people seem afraid of you and want to avoid you due to the depression. I wonder if it is because so many of us feel depressed or down and are fearful that being around someone else who is depressed will bring us down into a deep dark place. Coming out the other side of depression, we find ourselves more compassionate and unafraid to be with people who are depressed or not upbeat. Our culture is obsessed with positivity, yet expresses so much fear, anger, and violence. As Parker Palmer exclaims when talking about someone experiencing depression, “Welcome to the human race!” Maybe it’s time we stop being afraid of death and darkness. They’re a natural part of the human experience.
I admire Bhutan’s commitment to conscious growth balancing economic growth with social development, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation. They are the worlds’ first (and only) carbon negative nation, absorbing four times as much CO2 as they emit. This was accomplished with enlightened leadership from the king and prime minister. First, they created a new measure of growth called Gross National Happiness built on four pillars; sustainable growth, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance. For example, by law, 60% of the land must be forested. They are currently at 72%! As they build their economy, then plan to do so in sustainable ways like partnering with Nissan to use electric cars and buses. They also plan for net zero waste and 100% organic food production. I hope more countries are willing to make such strong commitments to sustainable growth.
Kindness on the Nightshift
There are so many ways this story could have gone wrong. Instead, it becomes a heartwarming story of kindness reciprocated by strangers in the night. Richard Whittaker tells an engaging story of scrambling to find a room late at night and dealing with a host of challenges during the check-in process. Clearly, the staff was overloaded. Gradually, Richard shifted from an outsider and stranger who wanted a room to a person engaged in the well being of the staff. His engagement and kindness were returned in a touching way. Read the whole Nightshift at the Marriot story for the happy ending.
May we embrace the full range of our human journey from kindness and joy to death and despair.