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Underbelly: 10 Things - Right Action

Underbelly: 10 Things - Right Action
By Wendy Kelly • Issue #10 • View online
#77 in a series of wild and precious things to remind you to do the right thing.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated the idea of “right action”. I understand that it is the forth of the eightfold path to enlightenment and what an enlightened person would do naturally when acting mindfully.
There is the concept of the fruit of the spirit in Christianity. This is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Very similarly to the idea as I understand it in Buddhism, these qualities begin to take over your spirit as you become more adept. You don’t try as much as you become.
And so, mash that up with a week of randomly learning about world/historical atrocities with a week of seemingly not doing much of anything/canceling those plans I had :)
My question is: How do we know when we are doing the right thing?
2. Quote
Da Mayor: Always do the right thing.
Mookie: That’s it?
Da Mayor: That’s it.
Mookie: I got it, I’m gone. — Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing
3. Prompt
It’s been warm this week, too, so my mind is drawn to the movie Do the Right Thing and also to the story The Stranger.
Both incorporate heat in the crescendo point of the story — they are also stories where doing the right thing isn’t always obvious at first.
The idea this week is to really consider whether you are actually doing the right thing or are appearing to do the right thing.
I think the key is that if you take time to get quiet and still, do a bit of deep breathing and reflection, you might know.
The article I linked to above also lists several barriers to doing the right thing…I think it might help to list them here, both so it’s obvious that doing the right thing isn’t always the thing everyone else is doing:
  • Your community would rather you not “do the right thing”
  • Your friends/work colleagues/family either don’t care or actively hope you don’t take right action.
  • Your culture helps you look away, redefine something your gut tells you is wrong.
  • You look away, pretend not to see what is right in front of you.‘
I think were things get tricky is where we decide to do the right thing even when it upsets everyone and at first at least, no one is happy with what you are doing.
And, at the same time, right action isn’t always upsetting people, is it? We are social animals. Getting along with each other is a hugely important part of a healthy life.
So — try a bit of free writing on this quote and see what comes up for you:
“Image is what people think we are; integrity is what we really are.” — John C Maxwell
4. Quest
One of my favorite quotes comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise: “Until the great mobs could be educated into a moral sense some one must cry: “Thou shalt not!””
I think it sums up how challenging it really is to figure out what the right thing to do is — more often than not.
There aren’t a set of easy to follow rules. I think that’s likely why many (most) spiritual practices ask us to sit quietly. Sometimes we get caught up in the aesthetics/ritual but at the heart, the ones I am aware of ask us to sit quietly.
Our bodies will often give us clues that we are/or are not doing the right thing.
{and, just a head’s up — if it’s been awhile since you met with a counselor/therapist, consider it. If you have been but had a bad experience, don’t forget that counseling is relational. Professional counselors will always do their best to help you find a good fit with someone who “gets” you :)}
So — my ask this week is to try for one hour to really tune into what your body is telling you at any given moment. And try to discern whether or not you are, in fact, doing the right thing.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
And, if you have walked through one hour in tune with your body and aware of whether you are doing the right thing…try to keep going. Or try for one hour each day…
6. Video:
Do the Right Thing | Radio Raheem's Story of LOVE and HATE
Do the Right Thing | Radio Raheem's Story of LOVE and HATE
7. Podcast: Debunking that everything happens for a reason
Bonus Episode: Debunking "Everything Happens for a Reason" with Kelly Corrigan - Kate Bowler
8. Poem:
Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen - Poems | poets.org
9. Hero: Cindy Blackstock
“There Are Many Others”: 215 Bodies Found at Canadian Residential School for Indigenous Children | Democracy Now!
10. Connect:
Let's Start Something.
Underbelly is growing :) It has always been my intention to offer more support, meditations, resources, curated books / people to learn from, etc throughout the week. From this week, you can support Underbelly through membership. Jump in as we grow together, learning how to nurture ourselves in love. The Monday newsletter will always be free, but members will receive a deeper experience with resources related to the week’s theme.
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Underbelly: 10 Things

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