October 30, 2018
What can I do to avoid burning out or ignoring the escalating evil in America?
Regardless of what happens in the future, I want to be able to look back knowing I did what I could to try to turn back the rising tide of hatred in our country. I often feel angry when I learn about the latest unwholesome changes taking place in America. How can I effectively manage my anger and turn it into productive action?
When I am angry with someone – anyone – usually he/she/they have no idea that I am angry; my anger hurts me while he/she/they obliviously continue wreaking havoc with his/her/their destructive actions.
There are plenty of destructive actions being taken and valid reasons to be angry right now – the current political situation is clearly escalating towards a holocaust-like situation. Just one example: the immigrant children being separated from their parents and families, which is an act of immeasurable cruelty. Many of these children are being forcibly adopted and will probably never be reunited with their families – this is *genocide and it is heartbreaking!
But a detailed list of the cruel and destructive actions being taken by this administration is long and horrible.
So what can I do to keep from burning out, or becoming so overwhelmed by anger or fear that I can’t cope and choose to put my head in the sand? What can I do to resist?
As a writer/artist I can write, I can draw, I can record songs and videos that protest. But I also need to keep from burning out. I need to refill my energy when I feel depleted and overwhelmed.
Here are some possibilities for creating the balance we need in order to be able to take the actions we believe will add something positive to the world we are in:
- Balance your time – don’t become obsessed with the news to the point where it overshadows all other parts of your life
- Allow yourself to hibernate and regain your energy
- Spend time doing things that bring you joy
- Read a book that engages your imagination
- Call a friend, visit a friend
- Walk in the woods, by the ocean, through a museum
- Volunteer at the nearby animal rescue or homeless shelter
- Join a good club or non-profit organization
- Paint, draw, sing, read poetry – be creative in your own way
- Laugh with friends, make a point to open your heart and make new friends
- Go to the church/synagogue/mosque/monastery/gathering of your choice
- Cook a meal for someone else
- Clean out your garage, help your neighbor(s) clean out his/her/their garage
- Listen to podcasts or Ted talks that inspire Here are a few recommendations:
- Brene’ Brown: The Power of Vulnerability Some key points in her talk: She describes the blame so prevalent in our politics today as “…a way to discharge pain and discomfort.” Her recommendations: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee…; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror…; to believe that we are enough.
- Living Brave with Brene’ Brown and Oprah Winfrey Some key points in her talk: How to stay open to meaningful feedback that can make you better as a leader. Changing the negative narrative that keeps you from accomplishing your goals. Overcoming the negative self-talk of “Who do you think you are?” so that we can become so full that we are “overflowing enough to share with everybody else.” Oprah strives to “own the fullness without ego or arrogance, but with an amazing sense of gratitude.”
- How to Make Stress Your Friend: Kelly McGonigal Some key points in her talk: “When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage.” “…chasing meaning is better than trying to avoid discomfort.” “… “Go after what creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”
- How Great Leaders Inspire Action: Simon Sinek Some key points in his talk: The importance of knowing your purpose and why you get out of bed in the morning is a critical factor in reaching your goals. All inspired leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate from the inside out: why, how, what. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
- Maya Angelou’s Top Ten Rules for Success Maya’s Rules: 1. Just do right, 2. Be courageous, 3. Love, 4. Laugh, 5. Be a blessing to somebody, 6. Turn struggles into triumphs, 7. You are talented, 8. Learn to say no, 9. Always do your best, 10. Keep rising
Do anything that helps; anything that reminds you that there is still goodness and beauty in the world; do anything that reinforces the goodness in you; do anything that refreshes you so that you have the strength to resist, the strength to be courageous, the strength to speak out against the destructive forces in our government; be kind to yourself and refuel your spirit often; and remember that you are enough!
*UN definition of genocide:
Article Two of the convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such”:
- Killing members of the group
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group