Nick David Wright

Living well, laughing often, loving much.

Posts Tagged ‘living

Helping people

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I recently watched the movie “Unbreakable” again and a certain bit caught my attention.

Bruce Willis is explaining to Samuel Jackson that everyday he feels depressed. Jackson responds that he believes Willis feels this way because he is not fulfilling his destiny by helping people.

This little exchange in the movie struck a chord with me, because I often battle with depression about the direction my life is heading. I often feel as though I am wasting my life. And I’ve recently been wondering if I didn’t feel this way for exactly the same reason as in the movie.

Not that I’m a superhero or anything, but I love helping people.

It can be as simple as helping a customer find the product they were looking for, but the excitement of it can — I kid you not — give me goosebumps. I look for ways to help people everyday. But I want it to be more of my life than it is. I want to be the kind of person that when calamity strikes, I can hop a plane and be there helping people. The recent situation in Haiti comes to mind.

I also think this is why I have such a love/hate relationship with photojournalism. That profession has such a powerful potential to help, but it also has a great potential for harm as well. I wanted to use my photography to help, even if it was just giving someone a pretty picture to look at on the front page.

But that’s not really what sells newspapers. So more often than not I found myself shoving my lens into folks’ disasters, into the face of their grief. And yes I understand that in some macabre way that can actually help by raising other people’s awareness of a crisis, but it’s not something I feel good about.

So I thought, well if I went to Haiti to photograph the disaster I would focus on the recovery efforts instead of people’s loss. But what I realized was that I’d much rather be the person hauling cases of bottled water to people in need instead of the person photographing the person hauling cases of bottled water to people in need.

The problem is that I don’t know how to do this. The kind of life I’ve chosen to live doesn’t earn much money, and I prefer it that way. But that means that I can’t just hop on a flight to haul cases of water. So how can I make my dream of helping a reality?

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Written by Nick David Wright

January 18, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in Thoughts

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Hot Air

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The metal cart banged on the swinging door of the cooler as the stocker emerged from the chilly room onto the sales floor.

A group of shoppers turned at the noise, and noticed the bundled-up young man.

“What are you wearing a coat for?” One of them asked, grabbing the collar of the garment.

“It’s cold in there,” he replied.

“Are you a pussy? I wouldn’t need a coat to work in there!”

“Well if I was as full of hot air as you, I wouldn’t need a coat either.”

Written by Nick David Wright

January 15, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in Fiction

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Heroes

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I was captivated last January when a commercial airline pilot managed to safely land an incapacitated jet in the Hudson river saving every single life on board. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became an instant sensation. The news media was all over him. And he is very reluctant to use the label they’ve bestowed upon him … hero.

I recently read his book, “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters,” in which he wrote about his experiences as a pilot, in particular the day he ended up in the river. He demurs from the title of hero saying heroes are the people who see a burning building and choose to risk their lives in order to save others. He says that he was just doing his job. But he fails to see that he made his choice when he sat down behind the controls of that aircraft and put the fate of more than 150 people in his hands.

The story of Captain Sully stirs strong emotions in me and many others. And it isn’t hard to figure out why. We live in a world where we are constantly barraged by the news media. And the news media apparently thinks that the great majority of the news we need to know is bad news.

Wars, murder, crime, corruption, greed, accidents.

It is depressing.

We need good news. But good news doesn’t sell as many papers. Good news doesn’t pull in the viewers (so they think). Good news doesn’t win pulitzers.

And we need heroes. In these bleak times we need to hear about them. We need to know that there are still people out there doing extraordinary things for the benefit of others.

Captain Sully does not want to be known as a hero. What hero does? But I think we can find at least 150 folks that disagree with him.

Written by Nick David Wright

January 13, 2010 at 5:00 am

Purusharthas

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The past decade of my life has been dedicated, more or less, to the pursuit of the answer to one question: What do I want out of life, and how do I get it?

I believe I have a fairly good idea of what it is that I want. But I have been struggling with the second part of my question, how do I get it?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about balance between the various aspects of life. I have begun to suspect the answer to that troublesome part B lay in that direction.

I have swung between the extremes. Working so much I have no time for anything else, working so little I have no money for what I desire. And I’ve been thinking very hard about how to find my middle road.

Recently I received the February issue of Yoga Journal in the mail. In which is printed an article titled “Aim High,” by Hillary Dowdle. The focus of the article is the yoga principles known as purusharthas.

The purusharthas divide all the aspects of life into four categories, which according to the article, “offer a yogic perspective on how to engage skillfully with the world.”

The four categories, or “aims of life,” are: dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (the pursuit of liberation).

At first I was a little unsure what I thought of the four aims, but I have come to think that they are a wise division of life. I had only been making two distinctions in life, I was treating dharma and artha as one and the same with kama and moksha.

I have yet to grasp all of what the extra divisions mean, but the breaking up of dharma and artha will have an impact in how I approach life.

The article in Yoga Journal was a well-timed breath of fresh air.

Written by Nick David Wright

January 11, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in Yoga

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Buildings

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The older man was a devout church-goer. He had inquired many times about the faith of the younger man, only to be met with vague, deflecting answers.

The two met again one day and the older man again invited the younger to attend church.

“I don’t think I will,” said the younger.

“In my experience,” said the older, “the people with the most successful spiritual walk are at church every time the doors are open.”

“In my experience,” replied the younger, “the people with the most successful spiritual walk are those that realize that ‘church’ has nothing to do with buildings.”

Written by Nick David Wright

January 8, 2010 at 5:00 am

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The Fisherman

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Here’s a story I’ve always liked, I have no idea who wrote it:

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?” “Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer. “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!” “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again. The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman. The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!” Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?” The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

Gotta love it.

Written by Nick David Wright

January 2, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in Thoughts

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Exclusion

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Christianity today is a religion of exclusion, i.e. what we don’t do, who we exclude.

But reading the words of Christ it seems to me that he intended to create a faith of people who were inclusive. He said “Love one another,” and he lived it while hanging out with the “dregs” of society.

Christ came not to condemn (John 3:17), and yet Sunday after Sunday so-called men of God thunder messages of condemnation from their pulpits.

I think it is very important to note that Christ’s only recorded words of condemnation were aimed squarely at the religious leadership.

How have we as followers of this man fallen so far from the ideals that he taught?

I was impressed by a monologue found at the end of the movie “Chocolat;”

“I think that we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do. By what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we create and who we include.”

Written by Nick David Wright

January 1, 2010 at 8:00 am

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