“It’s good to be exposed to politics and what’s going down here, but it does damage to me. Too much of it can cripple me. And if I really let myself think about it — the violence, the sickness, all of it — I think I’d flip out.”
–Joni Mitchell, from Rolling Stone Magazine, 1969
I think about this ALL the time!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was choosing to face some gloom, because not doing so would be contributing to the problem rather than the solution, and the toll it took on me was considerable, I just about flipped out.
See, I feel like, if I’m going to be helpful I need to be well-informed. But man, getting informed, reading as much as I can on issues, reading more than one source, reading competing ideas, it all adds up to a lot of exposure to ugly details, terrible injustices, radically horrible attitudes and ignorant ideologies.
And yet, even if you bury your head in the sand, your ass is still sticking up in the air and vulnerable to getting mightily kicked.
I do believe that spirituality can help, I keep doing my meditation and yoga in hopes that being more firmly grounded in the present moment and less susceptible to regret and fear will help, but I still can’t avoid becoming overwhelmed by the unforgiving harshness in the world.
So, what’s the solution?
How do people like career activists and humanitarian aid providers do it, day in and day out in some of the most desperate situations?