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Mug vs. Heart

College Students were put through a blind test to discover how long it would take for them to bond with an object.

The Students were allowed to hold a coffee mug for 30 seconds or a full minute and some were not allowed to touch anything at a staged auction. They were then told to bid on the item up to a certain amount at an auction.

Students who held the mug for 30 seconds always bid right up to the stated allotment to get that mug.

Students who held the mug for a full minute universally went over the stated allotment in order to own that mug. Once touched, the mug became something they had an investment in maintaining, even though the mug was worth less than a dollar and even when it was explained to them that the other bidders were participants in the test – the students still wanted the mug. They were willing to go into debt to get that mug.

I am pausing here to tell you the story of my friend Rachel Corrie.

I met Rachel when she was 3 years old and was starting at the same pre-school play group as my oldest daughter. Rachel was the youngest in her family of three children and she was a petite, happy, little girl.

Her loving spirit always embraced you and her exuberance for life and activity could not be missed.

Rachel and my daughter went all the way through the school system together, did birthday parties, camp, soccer, and loved art projects. Rachel loved to talk and write and my kiddo was a great listener.

Rachel loved.

In college, Rachel went to Palestine to learn about Peace and Conflict. She sat down and ate at the Pharmacist’s table and enjoyed the company of his wife and children. Days later in her bright yellow vest she saw a Military equipped bulldozer getting ready to level the Pharmacist’s house, with his family sleeping inside.

Rachel ran up to the soldier and talked to him. He got into the bulldozer any way. She ran in front of the machine and ran up the scoop and looked the operator in the eye and the scoop flipped her down and the bulldozer ran over her and she was gone.

World leaders called and spoke to her parents and millions of dollars poured in as consolation and which has now become a Community Center in Palestine and a Foundation.

An International play and a book have been put together from her journals and her parents work and work for Peace.

The Pharmacist and his family are safe and well.

Rachel held a man and his family in her heart and shared their food and home. She held this family in her heart.

It matters not to me whether her actions were right or wrong or powerful or simpleminded.

What I know from all my studies and reading and living of life, is that Wars and Conflict seem to always start over something as mundane as a MUG that we have held onto for more than a minute and will go into debt to obtain it.

Many parents tell their children not to touch anything when they go into a store. Maybe they say that about other people too?

How do we share with our children our values? How do we talk about war and conflict?
How do we teach peace?
How do you sort out what is valuable to you? What is your MUG and what is your HEART Value?
Are you sure?

Related Posts:

Jeremy Day at Insight Writer is doing a group writing project on Values
Book Review:Moyers on Democracy
Book Review: Hats Off to Two Wonderful World Changing Men and the Books About Them

23 Responses to “Mug vs. Heart”

  1. Carol Ann Says:

    To hear this side of the Rachel Corrie story, makes me feel differently about her reason for putting herself in danger’s way. You have pointed out the fact that she did it from her heart and whether or not it was right or wrong, I can embrace her feelings.
    Again, another inspiring bit of information!

  2. patricia Says:

    Carol Ann,
    Welcome and thank you for your nice comments – email and here.

    I can personally vouch for the fact that this gal was a lovely heart person…Still a kid but had so much to teach us about being a loving person from about age 3 on…

  3. Liara Covert Says:

    What matters is that people act. To move beyond judgment , hope and fear requires a period of adjustment. People can leanr to just be.

  4. Jannie Funster Says:

    After that story I am almost too dumbfounded to think of anything else but I’ll try to turn to your questions.

    We share our values to our children in our words and deeds.

    We talk about war and confilct in terms of far-off places, usually, when we need to talk about peace and love right where we live.

    My heart. It longs for more and continuous connections with humans and nature.

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..Taking Blog Stock

  5. patricia Says:

    Liara,
    It would be lovely if people just learned to be…I agree, maybe if they just talked first would be helpful too…

    Jannie,
    I cried after I wrote this piece and it took me days of editing and rewriting to get it this close to what I wanted to say.

    I believe it is so important to talk about these things in the here and now and not let them slip away…

    You hearts longing is so good and so connecting

    Thank you for your comments Liara and Jannie – I value all the sharing in these comments.

  6. Robin Says:

    Hi there Patricia – it must have been horrifying having this happen to someone you were so fond of. I’m so sorry. Hopefully mankind will sort this mess out at some point. – R

    Robins last blog post..Guy Finley Followed By An Illustrated Meme.

  7. SnaggleTooth Says:

    Such a tragedy, but a Great post! The power of holding something as personally important- the length s gone to to attain it- the price- from money to human life- What a fitting tribute n comparison you discuss.

    My mug is I fight tooth n nail to hang onto my mom’s n her mom’s few things I have in paid storage. I’d like a larger living space to put them in- a piano, n some other furniture. Lately it’s all I can do to scrape up the rent- somehow I’ve managed so far- They’re only things- with attached sentiments…

    SnaggleTooths last blog post..n-Ice

  8. patricia Says:

    Robin,
    Very hard to loose this lovely person and so hard on her parents, but then life giving to the Peace movement and rebuilding community. I sure hope we can get this stuff “straightened out”

  9. patricia Says:

    Snaggle Tooth
    Thank you for the good words on the post. It took a long time to find the right words to share about and I have very strong feelings about conflict, life and death issues and why we are still at war…

    I too and working at letting go of my mum’s last things…she was not much of thing person so after 22 moves with my father she had gleaned out a box or two for each family member and nothing more. She lived life simply and hated to dust!…We are attempting to make copies of her pictures and share them with people and family – very time consuming – but the best part of her memories are the stories we can attach to those pictures.

    Thank you for sharing and I wish you well in paying the rent and enjoying the memories the items hold for you.

  10. Lance Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I think you have to touch other people – with your heart. It is one of my core beliefs – that connections with others is one of those things that so important to our existence here on earth. It’s where true compassion comes from. Am I passing this on to my children? I wonder sometimes how much of it they’re “getting”. Do we talk about it enough? Are we openly displaying this enough? Are our priorities projecting what we want our children to hear? This really generates lots of questions for me. And that’s okay.

    Thank you for sharing this story…

    Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  11. Ruth Says:

    When it happened, I remember not reading enough details to understand why in the world she’d do something like this. But then in college I became involved in following Middle East politics and peacemaking and heard the real story.

    Now one of my roommates is working with CPT in the West Bank and I continually pray for her safety. Because I know the heart that calls her there is the same one that called Rachel. And that she’s not the sort to step aside if she thinks she might be able to keep someone’s house from being bulldozed. She’s the sort who speaks up at checkpoints and gets between settlers and schoolchildren. I’m glad she’s there because I think she’s so right for it, but I don’t want me or the world to lose her.

    Ruths last blog post..What Are You Valuing More Than Your Goal?

  12. patricia Says:

    Lance,
    I am so pleased that you are not concerned about all the questions the post generated – that is music to my ears – I love questions! I so appreciate your thoughtfulness, courage and compassion you share in all your posts.
    My youngest is nearly 23 and I hope I have taught them well, we not only had Karate lessons but we went to Nonviolent Communications workshops too and problem solved some mighty big issues. I found I had to work on these things an needed to learn mediation and conflict resolution skills over and over again myself….it is on going learning

    Ruth,
    The work goes on and hearts are so vulnerable – the middle east is such a problem area for my thinking also
    I hope you friend will not depart this world too soon so she can continue to stand between.
    Thank you for sharing.

  13. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia – This is such a moving post, I’m at a loss for words. I think of what my “Mug” is, and realize its nothing tangible – but instead, memories I have in my heart and in my head of loved ones who have passed – truly priceless memories.

    My heart goes out to you and your daughter for the loss of Rachel. She left this world way too soon.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..SEO – Are We Getting It All Wrong

  14. Blogger Dad Says:

    That is very powerful, Patricia. Also a very sad story. Thank you for sharing.

    How do we share our values with our children?

    We share with our actions. Our actions will show the values which we hold dearest.

    How do we talk about war and conflict?

    I don’t know. When I see my son, so innocent and happy, playing with others, it boggles my mind that the world is so messed up. But I also understand a bit better the human nature which makes things so messed up.

    Even children, as they start to find their way, grab, hit, claim things as “mine”. It is not some evil intent, but simply animal nature. The best we can do is instill our values and our love with enough discipline to overrule these impulses.

  15. patricia Says:

    Barbara,
    Thank you for your moving comments and memories mugshot, Rachel did leave this world way to early, and she left us a great deal of work to accomplish

    Blogger Dad,
    Hey nice to find you here this morning – thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think we have to teach our children by our actions and by talking in conversations – not in the heated moment but in general and then to specific. Rachel’s mom taught me so many parenting skills and how to language and model conflict and problem solving to me – Mom and daughter inspirations.
    Lots of broken hearts!

  16. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. This was a very powerful post. At first I was saddened… then angry. What a shame this beautiful soul had to leave this way. The only way I can see to teach peace is to practice it.

  17. patricia Says:

    Davina,
    It makes me sad too, but then I think of how many folks it has inspired to help others be peaceful and teach peace…

    Rachel’s actions also brought up a great deal of anger and nastiness – especially from Dick Cheney and George W. Bush…

    that she was a loving person is not controversial.

  18. Diane Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Your story hits a chord within me one that runs deep. One that has been deepened since 911 about violence and emotions. One that has been deepened within me having four boys and having many say boys will be boys. And also that has deepened within me through working with children for over seventten years.

    It brings with me the question:
    What more important a thing or a life?
    How you interact within your own precious family unit?
    How you interact with this ancient dilema of human violence which is not over.
    I remember watching the World Peace Conference as I saw it on the board there was woman who actually was truthful about her countries inability to teach peace within their nations walls. Most others stepped around the truth had some great ideas but did not take responsiblity for the actual and prevalent teachings longstanding in their schools and other places within homes. A generational tradition of not holding life precious and sacred and responding to others with dignity. i could go on and on….

    Teaching children, men and women non violent means to resolution are definately the seeds of the better outcomes for all societies. I wish the embedded behaviors were not so daunting. As practice makes this devotional life style to these kinds of changes have to be accepted first.

    The world seems to change slowly and surely.
    People have to become more of the change every
    small place on our planet.

  19. patricia Says:

    Diane,
    Thank you for for thought full comments…and questions. I heard a journalism professor say this weekend that the news media is in a Belt Way Runt and they need to get someone there – like Nina Tottenberg who will ask the questions and then wait for a truthful answer…
    The bare bones of life is to peel away the masks and find the truth – the dirt – of the situation and then call it what it is…

    We have to teach our children to be peace makers day by day. The exciting thing is that so many teachers are taking Dr. Rosenberg’s trainings and incorporating it into their classrooms.
    There are even family camps emerging…
    I think this is what is meant by “being the change you wish to see in the World.” (Ghandi)
    Thank you

  20. Diane Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I love hearing this.

    Funny last night I watched Gandhi’s Life Story again. One of my favorite autobigtaphies is his.My eldest and I had a long conversation today about terrism and how can it be eradicated his question how to do that or will it always plague mankind. I shared your story about your friend with him also.

    I hope to view this doctor’s work that you write about here. From what you have shared with me so far I feel he really hits the mark.

    Thank you,
    Diane

  21. patricia Says:

    Diane,
    I truly love watching the movie about Gandhi – and I have a biography that we used in a class I taught and I have nearly worn the book out…
    I truly believe that Dr. Rosenberg could solve the crisis between Palestine and Israel and his team of certified trainers…but all the politicians don’t really want it solved?…

    Thank you for your comments

  22. Julian Says:

    What an amazing story. If only there were more people like her in the world.

    Julians last blog post..How To Sleep Better

  23. patricia Says:

    Julian,
    There are many people in the world like Rachel – just about each and everyone of us holds something in our heart
    Thank you for coming on by and making a comment