Does your daughter feel confused about her future?
Would you love to see her living her life on purpose?
What do you feel the benefits would be? Do you imagine that she would be passionate about her work and contributing to her community? You probably realise that living her life on purpose will mean she values her health more, avoids excessive use of drugs or alcohol, and is generally mentally healthy.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the state of the world… by the statistics and stories of violence and abuse against women… by the slow slow slow move towards gender equality in leadership and economic participation… by the fast rates of environmental destruction… the ever increasing bizarre weather events…
I feel overwhelmed for the young people I work with… in one day this week I taught a lesson about the last two years consecutive coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef and how close we are to this reef dying our altogether… in another lesson I taught a Year 8 class about globalisation and showed them the “Story of Stuff”… this is a great little video outlining how our consumerist culture destroys natural resources in often Indigenous communities, “creates jobs” for these displaced people who no longer have access to abundant natural resources, that these “jobs” are often in factories and warehouses that manufacture items using toxic chemicals, that these toxic chemicals go into our environment and into landfill when 99% of the consumerist items bought end up in the landfill within 6 months from purchase, and how all of this is promoted by a government that’s in bed with the big transnational corporations…. one student’s response was… “we just need to bash the government”…
These kids get bombarded with this stuff all the time at school… I flicked through a geography textbook once in the photocopy room and it there was information about different world crises on every page…
How can you feel like you have purpose when the problem seems so big and one person’s role seems so insignificant?
There are three options to deal with the overwhelming nature of our current world crises…
1. Head in the sand…. keep buying lots of useless stuff… believe in the lie that economic growth is the most important thing for societal wellbeing (you’d be forgiven for this as it’s the prevalent worldview and most people exist as if in consumerist trance…)
2. Freak out…. panic… buy a property in the middle of nowhere… grow your own food… buy some guns in case people try to steal your food when the apocalypse comes… or read everything you can about the upcoming disasters facing the world, get seriously depressed and addicted to drugs or food or sex or anything that helps…
3. See with new eyes… what?... commit to some kind of personal spiritual practice to cope with the feelings of despair, overwhelm and anxiety…. adopt a spiritual view of the world that says that everything is connected and start to realise that every single action you make does affect the whole… embrace a different view of power… that although you may not be able to “bash the government” you can take action… you can protest (be inspired by the young people leading #MarchForOurLives)… you can change how you shop… you can sign petitions… you can get informed and vote… you can start believing “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has” (from Margaret Mead) … you can HOPE… yep, HOPE… know that the outcome is certainly uncertain… but still HOPE…
Sometimes I choose Option 1. It seems a hell of a lot easier sometimes – but it keeps me numb.
Option 2 is barely a choice, it’s just what happens for me when faced with this information sometimes.
And Option 3, it seems like it has the best outcome right? But it takes some commitment and it requires a conscious choice. It takes a daily meditation/ yoga practice to maintain a sense of presence. It takes a commitment to myself to keep myself healthy so that I can take inspired action – I’m focused on this at the moment because lately I’ve been doing too much and I’m a bit run down. It takes courage to speak out about what I believe in.
And it gives so much. Yep, the feeling of knowing that I’m doing what I’m here for. Simple as that. This feeds everything for me. And the profound connection with those I work with who also work for the same cause.
See Options 1 and 2 happen when I feel separate. And Option 3 is only possible through a belief and knowing that we are profoundly connected – to each other and to the Earth.
Anxious to Awesome will inspire your daughter to live this kind of life.
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