It’s hard not to turn on the news or go on social media without being reminded of acts of devastation around the world. Even in one’s own circle, much pain and tragedy abounds. Often people go to why questions- “why me?”; “why now?”; “why do people act this way?”; “why is this happening in our world?” As human beings it is natural to search for answers and often to want to lay blame. Some of this searching is essential for important changes. Indeed, Einstein reminded us “we can’t solve problems with the same level of thinking that caused them in the first place. “ But we have to be careful not to get stuck in this cognitive loop, feeling powerless because these problems feel so big. Another danger is to be filled with hate or bitterness and see the world as unsafe. From this threat-focussed place, we are more likely to be reactive and do more harm than good. Also, when we are poised for danger, we miss out on the goodness right in front of us, the beautiful side of humanity.
Instead, I’m reminded of the power of asking “what now?” “What can I do now to take care of myself and my family; to recognize the impacts of living in our modern world and the need to work through our feelings and maintain our emotional and physical health and wellness?” “What can I do now to model the values that the world needs like love, acceptance, tolerance and compassion?” “What ways can I reach out to those who have been personally impacted to show my support and stand in solidarity?” “What ways can I be intentional about the influence I have now on clients, co-workers, neighbours and friends and the ripple effect of my words and actions?” “In what ways can I advocate for change- social media posts, letters to local papers and politicians, signing petitions and joining or starting advocacy or education groups.” All of the grassroots movements started out of the transformation of the anger and pain of a concerned group of citizens coming together for a common cause.
I dream of a world where people can accept themselves for who they are and feel that sense of acceptance and inclusion throughout their life. I dream of a world where people’s inner peace and self-acceptance protects themselves and others from lashing out against those whom they perceive as different or threatening. I dream of a world in which anyone who is struggling in some way can get the help they need so our communities are stronger, safer and move loving. I pray for an end to senseless violence, to discrimination and hate propaganda. So the question I will keep myself, and that I invite you to reflect on, is what can we do NOW to work towards making these dreams come true?
If you need a safe place, where anyone and everyone are welcome, join us Thursdays for our walk-in counselling clinic. Call ahead or check our Facebook page for summer hours. We also have a men’s and women’s group and provide support for adults and children.
Nicole, June 2016