Mandela is 90 today!

July 18, 2008

It is wonderful to be alive at the same time as this great man.  Previous generations had Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  I am still amazed at how well loved Mandela is, not because of him but because we so often choose beauty, power and money over substance.  

Mandela stood up for what he believed in : equality and social justice.  He suffered for his cause.  When punished with a prison sentence he tried his best to use that time to develop his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength.  When released by his captors, he chose forgiveness and reconciliation over persecution and retribution.   He is not a saint but he had vision and could see what would move humanity on; a long term view.  In his personal life he has had the painful public breakdown of his early marriage and the death of a child.  Still he continues, through his charitable work, to do all he can for the good of humankind.

How many of us are really prepared to work for equality and social justice, at home? abroad? worldwide?

How many of us will use a time of suffering to develop our character?

How many of us will forgive our oppressors when the tables turn and we have the power? Turning the other cheek rather than an eye for an eye.

Like many I struggle with these truths but feel it is worth aspiring to.   What do you think/feel about it?


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Shirley Anstis is a counsellor, author and former magazine editor with a desire to live well and support others to do the same. She uses counselling, mindfulness and therapeutic writing to help her clients to work through their past, connect to their present and step into their future.This means connecting to our thoughts, feelings, imagination, body, mind and soul. The aim is to live happier and more fulfilled lives as we remember to be living beings, not just doing beings.