How do we all stay well in the face of this difficult world?
It can be so-o-o-o confusing.
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The news has gotten overwhelming, and it is getting hard to maintain a centered balance point. Climate, war, gun massacres, inflation, the price of gas, racial injustice, and even a supposedly coming “economic hurricane” as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase called it—all this mounts in the psyche of the individual, and it is hard to not become despondent, or even depressed.
As difficult as it is, it is times like these when we need creativity, art, and beauty. Not as an escape, but as a counterbalance to the ugliness. I am always suspect of those who escape into their inner world through meditation; it sometimes feels like a betrayal. “We need you to engage, not escape,” I would think to myself. I still have this concern.
Nonetheless, there is an increasing need for all creative, thoughtful people to take care of ourselves. A recent poll indicated that for most people life isn’t that bad, even though they think the world is in a very bad place. One primary highlight stood out to me: While only 17% of the US population is satisfied with the direction of the country, 85% are satisfied with their personal lives.
This dichotomy between personal experience and perception of the world has to do with media and the way it glorifies horror, and this leads many people to a skewed view of reality. Some, recognizing the cost, simply turn it off. Such a turn off, however, creates isolation and a lack of awareness about the world. For those who care, it quickly becomes unacceptable.
For me, these bad perceptions of the world make me numb. The images and the stories become overwhelming, and while I can say, “my life is fine” along with the 85% in the poll, it really isn’t fine because I have lost touch, become ungrounded, and gone numb. In that place, I become passive and overwhelmed, I put my head down to focus to get work done, and life becomes a dull trudge. This is not living well; it is merely getting by.
I’d like to hear from readers what practices you use to stay vital. For myself, I am using a grounding exercise before I read the news. (The one I use comes from Karla McLaren’s book The Language of Emotions, and it is quick and simple.) This exercise anchors me in my body so that I don’t fly off on some intellectual or emotional tirade. That doesn’t mean I don’t think or feel—it just means that grounding helps me not become possessed by that thought or feeling. I can take the information in without becoming overwhelmed.
Any practice that works is helpful because by staying in my body, I am able to accept what I read and let it inform creativity. Art can come from the turmoil, and beauty from the ugliness. But to do that, I can’t be possessed. I can’t be dissociated from myself; I need to be in my whole self to make sense of it all. After reading the news, I write a poem. Or I write a response article. And then I put the news away for the day.
How are you staying well in the face of this difficult world?
Changes we can Handle: Positive Articles about the Changing World
The articles listed below show some hope for the future. They reflect development and idea we can use to make that future better, more abundant, more creative, and more joyful. These links go to Medium.com. They are also available in the paid version of Intertwine.
Some Dire Warnings: Difficult Things to Think About
These articles are trying to make us all aware of the changes and challenges ahead, especially regarding climate change and the impact of future technology developments. They are things we need to be thinking about. These links go to Medium.com. They are also available in the paid version of Intertwine.
Poetry is my refuge in this crazy world. Here are some of my recent poems. These links go to Medium.com. They are also available in the paid version of Intertwine.
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