Updated: Nov 3
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Do you experience hopelessness from reading the news?
It is sickening to witness senseless loss of life due to conflict or the devastation wreaked by natural disasters. When the news is so bad, it takes its toll on us and lead to hopelessness… even when we’re reading and watching events unfold from a safe distance and from a position of privilege.
I gently invite you to keep the following ideas in mind as you consider the happenings in the world right now.
When terrible world events happen, they can remind us to count our blessings… but they can also lead to feelings of guilt when we forget to do so.
I want to remind you that you can feel multiple things at once.
You can be sad, angry, dismayed, and worried about the horrible conditions that people are enduring. At the same time, you can feel proud of getting a project done, excited about a new movie, or angry that you stubbed our toe in the middle of the night.
You are allowed to hold space in your heart for those who are suffering and, at the same time, be fully present to the joys and annoyances of your everyday life.
That said, I am not advocating ignoring what is happening in the world… but how you engage with the news is critical.
When considering the plight of others, do not extend pity to them.
People do not need pity. They need empathy.
Pity is a safe emotion that allows you to stay separate from others. To have empathy, you must be willing to feel what they feel and imagine yourself living what they are living. The key here is to feel not only their distress but also their resilience. Allow yourself to fully witness their suffering AND the indomitable strength of their spirit. Acknowledging both aspects of awful situations changes how you internalize the news. When you focus solely on the distress, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness. But, as science has shown, when you focus on the suffering AND the resilience, your own resilience is strengthened… just by witnessing it in others. This also lifts the energy you put out into the world... and there is no doubt that the world could use a shift in energy right now.
In some situations, it might be difficult to imagine any resourcefulness or resilience… but they are always present in some way. One of my favourite quotes by Mr. Fred Rogers is:
Finally, I want to share a lovely practice that can help you find inner peace, while also changing the energy you send out to others. This may be a bit too "woo" for some of you, in which case, feel free to ignore it.
This is a loving-kindness practice.
Sit comfortably. Place your hands and forearms out to the side, palms facing up. Close your eyes. Breathe softly.
As my wonderful meditation teacher, Tony Murdock, says, imagine a luminous cloud over your head with moonbeams of light falling down on you from that cloud, like a gentle rain.
Envision these gently falling moonbeams of light filling your whole body with a soft and soothing light. As it does this, imagine yourself being filled up with whatever it is that you need: peace, comfort, love, compassion, gratitude, kindness, etc.
Sit and breathe and focus on this for several moments.
Then, keeping your eyes closed, bring your hands and forearms in front of you, with palms facing forward/away from you.
Bring to mind those who are suffering in the world. It can be a group of people.
Imagine sending that soft and soothing light to them and filling them up with it. Envision filling them up with whatever it is they need: love, safety, compassion, peace.
Sit and breathe and focus on this for several more moments.
Then, picture the entire planet and repeat the process of envisioning filling Earth up, along with everyone and everything in it, with that soft and soothing light.
Sit and breathe and focus on this for a few more moments.
Finally, return to focusing on yourself. Be sure to continue filling yourself up with that soft and soothing light.
Sit and breathe and focus on this for a few final moments.
Then, allow the light to move back up into the luminous cloud overhead.
Take a deep breath in and, as you do so, gentle tense your whole body.
As you breathe out, release the tension in your body and slowly open your eyes.
Thank you for reading!
LORA Concepts Inc.
workplace engagement & well-being
p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.