Disabling despair by Roger Delmar
Today is Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days. “I am a judge—born, raised and proud of being a Jew,” RBG said in 2018 when she received a lifetime achievement award from The Genesis Prize Foundation at a special ceremony in Tel Aviv. “The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish tradition. I hope I will have the strength and courage to remain constant in the service of that demand.” Now it’s our turn. “Disabling despair” is a good place to start.
by Roger Delmar, Port Townsend, Washington
What crazy times we are living through. If the Trump years were a novel written by some highly imaginative author, it would have been a best seller. The framework of American democracy is progressively being dismantled, isolation and masks have become the norm, and we’re now living within world encompassing climate disruptions. A gnawing, crushing whirlpool of despair swirls, ready to pull me under. How do I navigate around that whirlpool and not be sucked in?
Kathleen Dean Moore in her book, Great Tide Rising, points out three practices that resonate strongly with me. I think them worth sharing.
Her first practice seems counterintuitive. Allow yourself to grieve, don’t snuff it out. Feel the fear and anger that are often imbedded within grief. Sense all of it, let it into awareness, let the tears flow if they come; and quite paradoxically, when grief has fully run its course, despair can soften down like a fog being melted away by the morning sun. Words can’t fully explain it, but it works.
Then, Moore says, take action—get involved in something you can do that will make a difference. Call a friend, write your Congressional Representatives, donate to a worthy cause, get involved in Vote Forward or a similar project. At its core, I think it’s a way of putting into action that oft-quoted line about ‘being the change you want to see in the world.’ Any and all acts of speaking out, standing up for our truths, or acts of kindness and compassion, fill the bill here.
And lastly, Moore says, get out into the natural world. Walks in the woods, listening to the music of a rushing and bubbling river, the smells and sounds of the ocean, watching the joyous flitting of birds at a backyard feeder, or anything else that puts you into an unspoiled piece of the natural world has an enormous healing impact on our psyches. Mother nature is the world’s best healer.
I found these three practices really help. Try them out!
And just as I finish writing this, I hear the news of the death of RBG. It feels like another gut punch. Despair snarls at me. Better practice what I’ve just written, starting with feeling the grief at the loss of this remarkable woman, the Notorious RBG.