The headlines are apocalyptic. Delta disaster, insurrection, mask mandate madness, and perhaps the worst — children contracting Covid. I haven’t even included climate change that is worsening and gun violence that is escalating. I feel helpless.
This daily parade of horror includes hurling insults, pithy one-liners, pointing fingers, and brazen lying by politicians and pundits. Some days I only want to pull the blanket up and bury myself from the drama. I feel hopeless.
I engage in some of the online public discourse. I try to reason with anti-vax former friends. I post scientific information and hit the like button on those same items I come across. Mainly I exist in a bubble of like-minded people who bolster our position and tear down the opposition. I feel exhausted.
The opposition is what scares me most. How can we be living in a time and space where people are opposed to science and public health measures? How can we take seriously any politician who pretends that 1/6 was normal? How can we fathom people who say the virus isn’t realand who won’t wear a mask? I cannot square these positions in the face of science, compassion, and data. And continuing to try to square it will only entrench me and my opponents. I feel defeated.
Friends, in these perilous times, it is up to those of us who can and will, to take a breath.
Three Things I Can Do
- Reactions are toxic. It is often an amygdala response — a hijack of our emotions that leads to saying something in anger, frustration, fear, or loathing. I take a breath before responding. That can cool the spike of emotion. Emotion can be good — it propels us, gives us hope, and energizes us. But reactionary emotion is usually negative.
- Being present is incredibly powerful. Fear can quickly overwhelm us when the headlines scream. Fear often comes from an experience in the past that we project into the future. What’s happening right now in your space? I get present to my surroundings. Right now I hear the gentle hum of my fan. I hear a bird chirping. I see the leaves rustle in the breeze. I see the screen filling with words in front of me…