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So very much unfolds during daily life these days and yet our major sources of information choose to present minuscule slices of our global, national, and local stories. Most of the time news outlets we refer to as mainstream – because they are so readily available in all parts of Canada and the US – present the most shocking events, here and abroad, and increase their shock value through superficial methods of reporting. By taking a break from our major news outlets, we soon discover that the world outside our doors and on our village and city streets is really very peaceful most of the time, and peopled with compassionate, hopeful women and men who want a better world for everyone – our citizens and non-citizens – children, elders, veterans, and non-human companions.
The Joys of Civil Discourse
This better world is often far closer than we think as this quietly intelligent interview with Bernie Sanders by Amy Goodman just a few weeks back conveys:
What I value about this interview is its civility, its comprehensiveness, its goodwill, and its fact-based information. Companionably listening to two well informed individuals who share their thoughts and feelings about current challenges here and abroad, one through thoughtful, well articulated questions, the other through answers reflecting both experience and theory, not only feeds our optimism regarding the journey ahead but also reminds us that we are not alone, that our numerous crises are calling us to account, and that we have meaningful work to do in the world, work that will give us joy, satisfaction, and the power of partnerships and coalitions to prevent the folly of unjustly killing not only people but non-human species and our shared planet, Earth.
People of all stripes are heeding the call to organize at local, state, and federal levels to protest injustice and to support social programs, sustainable environmental policies, and socially just policing methods. The time for counting on a leader to “lead us out of the wilderness” is past. The time for coming together as the protectors of one another and our Earth home is upon us. Many of us are rising to the occasion. Many, however, because of depression, are not.
Consciously Connecting with Nature
When depression threatens to rob us of our agency, an effective strategy is to walk outside, to look up at the stars or the sun or the clouds, and to give thanks for every tree and animal, every mountain and valley, every creek and ocean demonstrating the wholeness of Earth’s many ecosystems. Once our specific place on the Earth has worked its magic and regulated our nervous system so that we feel both calm and connected , we can return to our homes, however grand or humble, to become informed by a variety of non-mainstream news sources that more accurately reflect our diverse points of view. Many such alternative sites in service to an informed citizenry and civil discourse are listed on Ithaca College’s Indy Media page: http://www.ithaca.edu/rhp/independentmedia/usindymedialist/
Knowledge is indeed power, and power exercised in the name of love, compassion, and justice is power that fuels agents of positive change. The current climate of fear and bullying will not yield to depression, but it will yield to our intelligent use of work stoppages, street marches, truth and reconciliation campaigns, and the like. We’ve learned so much since these tactics were employed in the fifties, sixties, and on into our contemporary world. The bitter lessons of violence have left too many empty places at our supper tables. The bitter lessons of avoidance have led to a rapacious consumerism that destroys souls as well as ecosystems. The bitter lessons of addiction have left us empty and despairing. It is time to move beyond ineffectual reactions to embrace, with our neighbours and family members and friends and coworkers, the privilege of creating the world we want for ourselves, our children, and all life on earth.
Heeding the Call to Intelligent, Compassionate Action
In this new year now only one eventful month old, let us heed the call to intelligent, compassionate action to preserve our democratic processes, our neighbourhoods, our schools, our parks, our forests, and our rights to a peaceful and just world. And when depression threatens to keep us on the sofa, in the bar, at the mall, or at the gaming table, let us walk outside and feel the blessings of the natural world engulf our senses. We can always count on the non-human world to give us authentic information. It is our home and we, with our fellow Earthlings, help to form its generous heart. Together, we can keep this magnificent Heart beating.
Happy 2017. . . . May intelligence, discernment, and resilience be with you.
Until next time,
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, email@example.com, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.