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.

‘May her memory be a revolution’: Supporters say Rosh Hashanah brings special meaning to Ginsburg’s death—USA Today

Protesters return to Portland streets after pausing due to smoke—UPI

Nearly 11,000 people have been exposed to the coronavirus on flights, the CDC says—WaPo

September 19, 2020

Disabling despair
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.

Cultivating Peace – Advice from friends and poets by Mimi Simmons

First thing this morning, Mimi sent me this post with a note: I woke up early and wrote this while watching the sunrise. I can’t think of more perfect words with which to enter the spirit of Yom Kippur, which starts tonight. Yom Kippur concludes the Ten Days of Awe that began on Rosh Hashanah—days of reflection, remembrance, repentance, forgiveness of oneself and others. May this day be one of blessing for us all, and give us strength and faith to meet the challenges of the days to come.

Long-concealed records show Trump’s chronic losses and years of tax avoidance—The New York Times

Hurricanes near U.S. coast forecast to worsen and multiply due to global warming—WaPo

Napa County brush fire rapidly grows to at least 1,200 acres, forcing hospital to evacuate—CNN

Septebmer 27, 2020

Cultivating Peace – Advice from friends and poets
by Mimi Simmons, Washington State

As news from our troubled world brings reports of more conflict and suffering daily, we all work at staying centered. Decades ago, above the phone where it hung on the wall, I tacked a greeting card that said, 

Home is a place inside of me where all is well.

Every day I make my best effort to return to that place, to dwell in that place. That is my true home, 

the seed of the beginning and the end,

as Wendell Berry calls it in his poem The Wish to be Generous. A much-respected minister once advised,

instead of praying to God, pray from God within.

I aim to align my whole self with that place. From there, I feel calmer and more steady. From there I can 

take my stand on the earth like a tree in a field. 

And be a patient willing witness. Again, advice from Wendell’s poem. I work in the yard, 

give myself to what will answer with blossom and fruit 
and Let the radio keep its death toll and speeches,

advice from Deciduous by Elizabeth Austen. And I find joy. A friend affirms, 

I won’t let them steal my joy.

Yes, we authentically feel our sadness, then we do something, reconnect with nature. Thank you for that guidance, Roger Delmar in Port Townsend.

I so appreciate this Beloved Community of people, of all stripes, who are attempting to negotiate these troubled waters with universal love and enduring peace.