We can all take responsibility for creating nontoxic environments for our loved ones and within our communities. Good smoking policy, including taxes, can help create a healthier world where children can grow and flourish.
In an era when every human problem is chalked up to genes and brains--we should pause. The broken genes and broken brains story is false in its interpretation. If the story is a story of genes and brains, it is a story of toxic environments. We need a science of healing and of healthy living, not a science that makes living with social and environmental toxins tolerable.
We often measure our actual lives against invented standards that we never quite meet--or, at least, the meetings are too brief. We buy into the idea that there is some "good enough" and if only we could reach that, we could rest. If we think about our very best days, it is pretty easy to find value in them. But what if we could learn to see the value, not just in our best days, but also in our least capable days? What if we could claim our days, all of our days, and count them as valuable?
If you have enough birthdays, tragedy will visit you. It is my most heartfelt hope, that on that day, you will have the presence to sit with your own grief, to make an honored place for it at the table of your life, to look into its sad, human face, and to allow yourself to find in that tragedy richness, connection, and a way forward that honors what has been lost.
Looking back over the past 25 years, I find a deep sense of gratitude for small kindness found in unexpected places. And, I wonder, if you took a moment, and looked with care, if you might find some too.