Taking Action in the Midst of a Hurtful World

Taking Action in the Midst of a Hurtful World

I received a 2019 calendar in the mail this week from one of my favorite SF non profits, Project Open Hand, and I suddenly realized that we’re approaching the close of the second decade of this century, this millennium, and I was blown away. I began to think about what I imagined the world would be like a 5th of a way through this century and my mind wonders to the floating cars and the Jetson’s like lifestyle that we don’t quite have yet.

Yet, when I ponder what has changed in my lifetime, the most important changes I see are social. The open discussions about gay marriage, the growing Black Lives Matter movement, the consistent backlash to inflammatory remarks by Trump, all show me that we continue to grow, evolve and expand as a society. I know there’s still rights to be fought for so many marginalized and oppressed people AND, at the same time, the conversations I have with my kids and their friends show me that more change and acceptance is on the horizon.

I acknowledge that I live in a liberal area, that I openly talk about transgender rights and race and economic disparity with my kids, that the environment they’re growing up in is shaping their views on human rights. (And I’m glad they’re developing open, loving minds, that can accept people for who they are and who they want to be.) I could brush off the positive possibility as just something in California, but it’s not. I’m seeing more and more people speak up, more people share and open up their own experiences to the world so that we can connect and learn and grow as a human society.
With the US elections just yesterday, (I hope you voted) it can be a mixed experience to look at where we are as a nation and a world. It can be upsetting to see the hurtful actions and policies and politicians gaining ground. We can access the news from almost any part of the world at all times of the day, which means we can be pulled down into the violence, the disrespect and the general disregard for human life. Unless…. we are conscious about what media we consume. When we consume without awareness, it can seem like things are always bad; that hate, violence, famine and government corruption rule the world, or even worse, we can become numb to the injustices of our society.

I’m personally deeply effected by the media I consume. I can drop into a pit of trauma and despair. I can feel helpless and like anything I do is useless. I can forget about the change and acceptance I see and feel on the horizon. And I can give up. On the other hand, I feel out of touch with the world if I cocoon too much or limit my media consumption to the stories of the silenced being heard, the poor being fed and the outcasts winning more and more rights. It’s a super fine line between staying informed, vigilant and inspired for me.

I want to stay informed.

I want to stay inspired.

Because without these two combined I can’t act, I can’t stand up and say this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s suppose to be. I can’t march, or write my representative, or help more people register and access voting. So, I’m learning what my balance is between inspired and informed, between being exposed to the positive happenings in the world and the human rights violations, violence and policy. I believe in using my voice and my votes for change, and to do that I must discover this balance.

Now I’m curious about you……What’s the balance for you? Do you have one? Have you ever disconnected from the media because of despair? How do you handle the stress of disappointment, or the rights of other humans being denied just because of who they are? I’d love to explore this more, so please share your thoughts.

Together, let’s stay informed AND inspired so we can keep using our voice and votes without losing hope.