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Mindful : August 2017
By Sharon Salzberg Illustrations by Melinda Beck Love Everyone I have a good friend who looks at me like I’m crazy whenever I talk about loving everyone. “Are you kidding me?” she asks. “ Love every- body? I have enough trouble loving the people I already love! And now I’m supposed to love people I don’t care about, not to mention people who do terrible things?” I get her point. We live in a world punctuated by horrifying acts of violence, in which entire groups of people are marginalized by virtue of race, class, religion, nationality, sexual prefer- ence, and gender identity. How is it even possible to imagine loving them all? And what about the truly difficult people in our daily lives—the colleague who takes credit for our ideas, the spendthrift relative who’s always asking for a loan, the neighbor who cut down our tree. Not to mention the random thorns in our side who spike our blood pressure and pull into parking places that should have been ours. There are days when we can feel good simply about staying calm. Jacqueline Novogratz, bestselling author of The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, recounts how the story of her beloved blue sweater, given to her by an uncle when she was a little girl, inspired her to start Acumen, a nonprofit social venture fund that addresses global poverty. One day while jogging in Kigali, Rwanda, Novogratz spotted a small boy wearing the blue sweater— still bearing her name tag—that she’d donated to her local Goodwill a decade earlier, more than five thousand miles away. “I’ve held that story as a metaphor for how interconnected we are, how our action and our inaction can impact people → Sharon Salzberg is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and author of nine books, including Real Happiness, and Lovingkindness. August 2017 mindful 73 insight