05/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Audacity of Caring

It is Holy Week, traditionally a time of high contrast, as we look at darkness and Light, death and rebirth, and, the fact that miracles can arrive in unexpected ways. Over the past 8 days, we've been bombarded with images. Some have been heart-warming. We've seen the Obamas on tour in Europe and Turkey. We've watched, from behind the scenes, when our First Lady was brought to tears by a school of girls, as she told them "...You are jewels...of this world." The world saw Michelle put her arm around Queen Elizabeth and the diminutive monarch respond in kind. Michelle makes her own choices. Of course, every time any of us decide to step outside the collective circle of protocol, be prepared for kick-back. Could you believe the international chit-chat over the fact that Michelle touched the Queen? Yes, I understand protocol. Nonetheless, in a world like ours, let's hear it for the Audacity of Caring.

An Opposite View. Juxtaposed against the aforementioned, we've been exposed to other pictures. We've witnessed the devastating: scenes of New York's upstate first responders, dealing with the killing of more than a dozen people gathered to become good citizens; scenes of a horrific earthquake in Italy; news coverage of domestic violence ending in a Washington state father killing his five children and himself. The good, the bad, the ugly co-exist.

A Choice. How do you choose where to place your focus? More and more studies suggest that the imagery we see carries a profound effect. Negative and violent images create a physiological and psychological trauma. Hopeful, positive imagery creates a healthy inner state. As for the young, the more the young child is bombarded with virtual stimuli, the more difficulty there is developmentally. See the work of Joseph Chilton Pearce for more on this.

Complicating matters even more, the rapid-fire rate of change is leading to fatigue and overwhelm. So much so, that one of my readers, RKGreen, forwarded a piece that explains a lot if you are noticing yourself having too little steam at the end of the day.

Essentially, we are told that nearly all the education of today, will be replaced tomorrow with something we cannot begin to fathom. Talk about the need for adjustment! The fact is that we are sitting smack in the middle of the biggest shift in consciousness that the world has ever known. Each and every day we are being required to leave who we think we need to be to be loved and appreciated at the door in order to move into the new frontier. The reality is that demands like these send people racing to the hills like screaming 'me-me-meemies'. If the meltdown is big enough, it leads the most fragile to places like that civic center with guns and bullets, and leaves us with 57 lives lost due to gun violence domestically since March 10th. It also leads to Korean missile testing.

So, this is the world we co-inhabit. Change, change, change, faster, faster, faster, with no end in sight. No small wonder that a well-toned young woman's arm around a regal waist makes such an impact. Amidst the impersonal, and faceless, we need all the signs we can get of a world remembering that we are here, together, to bring comfort in the storm, to support in personal ways, those who've become entrapped in their assigned, and suffocating roles. In this Easter week, and time of Passover, let us remember that we are here to remember that we have a choice, and each moment brings the chance to live lives that bring us together in beautiful ways. We, too, can choose to express our own audacity of caring. We can choose to do so in a myriad of ways. We can even choose to not take ourselves, and our packaging so seriously!

Right about now, you might be ready for an alternative, a new choice that will leave a smile on your face, and recharged to meet your day. Take a peek at what follows, that Anne Naylor sent my way. Notice the people in the crowd. What choices do you suspect they are making? What would you do in such a scene to boost your spirit?

As my next column will not come out until Wednesday, April 22nd, I'd love to hear from you today. Let me know how you are. What is your choice, your focus, your hope?

Much joy your way,



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Dr. Cara Barker is a Jungian Analyst, author, artist. She has a Facebook group entitled "The Heart Whisperers," and will next appear in Longbeach, California for the Super Seminar II at the end of May.