Does the News Make You Disheartened and Afraid?

Are you disheartened and afraid after the recent horrific shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio? Take a minute to refresh yourself.

The news this weekend was overwhelming. People responded with grief and anger and a variety of other emotions. All those responses are appropriate. But it’s easy to take too much of that in. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be healthy enough physically, mentally, or emotionally work the changes we want to see.

To help you if you're feeling disheartened and afraid an image of Fred Rogers and Officer Clemmons with their feet in the pool and Mr. Rogers's words: "To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember by mothers words and I am always comforted by realizing there there are still so many helpers--so many caring people in this world."
Dr. François S. Clemmons [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]

Mr. Rogers said there’s comfort in looking for the helpers, and he was right. So, take a minute and look for the helpers. Let’s get started:

A Step Toward Cleaner Oceans

Irish Teenager Wins Google Science Award for Removing Microplastics From Oceans

“He used magnets to attract microplastics from water. The project found that a magnetic liquid called ferrofluid attracted the tiny plastic particles and removed them from the water. After nearly a thousand tests, his device successfully removed about 88 percent of the microplastics from water samples.” Read more.

Community Donation Event

While shopping for sandals for their vacation, her daughter asked to buy shoes for a classmate. It inspired her mother. And her mother inspired their whole community.

“A 9-year-old girl who asked if she could buy a pair of shoes for a classmate who couldn’t afford his own inspired her mom to take advantage of Payless’s going-out-of-business sales and buy out all 1,500 shoes at a shuttering location to donate to other kids in need.” Read more.

Truly Make Believe

A woman with dyslexia helps herself by helping others. And her mission grew into Truly Make Believe.

“For most of her life, Rachel Oehlert has struggled with dyslexia, often becoming confused when looking at words on a page or seeing letters as backward or upside down.”

“When her nervousness about reading aloud in grade school continued into adulthood, Oehlert, 24, of Thornton, Colo., thought she needed something radical to jolt her out of her fear.”

“In 2016, she came up with an idea. She bought a princess costume with some money she had been given for her birthday, then arranged to visit a children’s hospital bedecked as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.” Read more.

 Beaux & Paws 

A 12-year-old boy designs bow ties for shelter pets.

“Darius Brown was diagnosed with developmental delays when he was 2, but a hobby creating bow ties has helped him flourish — while benefiting the animals he loves, too.”  Read more.

I hope you don’t feel so disheartened and afraid. I wish I could say such horrific events aren’t likely to happen again. Unfortunately, we all know that’s not true. But, if you and I look to the helpers, we can beat the helplessness of feeling disheartened and afraid. And we can be helpers, too.

How to Hang onto Hope When It’s Impossible

If you look up National Day of Hope, you’ll find many different days—many different cases where hope is needed. The month of April has been designated the Month of Hope by Mothers In Crisis. Why so many? Does that mean that hope is in short supply? No. Those expressions of hope are reminders. Reminders that hope is something we must practice in order to hold onto. In good times and bad, hope is both a salve and a propellant. When times are bad there are ways you can hang onto hope when it’s impossible.

sunlight bursting through dark clouds, one reminder to hang onto hope when it's impossible. Read on for ways to help you practice hope.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu

Lean In

Lean into the tough moments. Accept the suckitudinousness and get through it. Bad things happen. You can’t stop them. Ignore them at the expense of an opportunity to grow and learn. Usually an ignored problem comes back, magnified.

Yes, there are some situations you should run away from, but if your life (physical, emotional, financial, etc.) isn’t in danger, face the situation. It isn’t that hope doesn’t exist when times are bad, it’s that you lost your hope. But you can hang onto it, or even find it again. Here are some steps that will help.

Hope is the thing with feathers 
 That perches in the soul 
 And sings the tune without the words 
 And never stops at all.

 Emily Dickinson

Evaluate 

Learn from the bad times. How is this like a time in the past? What did you do then? Will that work this time? 

What can you learn that will help you in the future? Write it down. The wisdom you gain in this step, will make the next time easier.

Get rid of the crap

Don’t let negatives from yourself or others sit and fester. You wouldn’t let a pile sit in the middle of your home, would you? Take the metaphorical or psychological crap out to the trash.

Turn on Your Creative Juices

In a time of destruction, create something.” 

― Maxine Hong Kingston

Ask yourself, what would it take to turn this into a positive or a gain. What’s the craziest way you could accomplish that? Work from there, you’ll see things from a new perspective.

Let People In

Supportive people are out there. Maybe they are friends or family. It could be there’s an organization or group that can give you what you need. Ask for help. They don’t know what you need until you tell them. Let them give you the support you need.

Care for Yourself

If you’re not getting the rest or nutrition or fluids or exercise you need, you will have a more challenging time. Give yourself the love and care you need to deal with the issue.

Find beauty, joy, or laughter. Do all three. These things soothe and recharge the soul. You’ll be stronger, healthier.

A purple iris, the flower of hope and one more reminder to hang onto hope when it's impossible. Read on for ways to help you practice hope.

Give Up And Move On

It’s okay. You’re not weak. Sometimes there are bad situations that won’t get better. You move on and do your best not to go to that place any more. You got this!

Follow Your Heart

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

― Shel Silverstein

During challenging times, we often overthink. We feel there’s an obligation, a should do, a right thing to do. If there’s the right thing to do and the thing that makes your heart sing, follow your heart. Happiness lies on that path and no other.

Hang Onto Hope

Let hope soothe your soul when it’s weary of the day-to-day battles. Hang onto hope so it can propel you to better days. Remember, when you hang onto hope when it’s impossible, anything can happen. Anything can be. What’s your best way to reconnect with hope when it seems impossible?

Finding Hope

People were killed and people were severely injured last week. Is finding hope in the midst of this turmoil and suffering even possible?

People are killed and severely injured every week, you say. How is this different? Hate crimes. Yeah. Hate crimes happen every day, too. It’s a sad, angry, scared, confusing world.

This crime was big and public and it hit the news. Caring, compassionate people are hurting, grieving, scared, and angry. Many have lost hope. Some are lashing out with angry words. They think it is a sign of compassion, a sign of solidarity, a sign of right. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it crosses the line. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I don’t condone behavior based on hate or anger from anyone, for any reason. I try to feel compassion. But yes, I’m angry, hurt, scared, and confused, too. I wanted to strike back. At the same time, I want to hide my head in the sand. I want to hope it will all go away. And I tried. I tried staying away from social media. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out words I’ve drafted for future blog posts and tried to post them. I tried to pretend all was well. But I couldn’t do it.

I wrote angry, hurt-filled, blaming words that I thought I would post. But I couldn’t do that either. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I turned to my center, searching for love, understanding, compassion, hope. Severely challenged by recent events, by all the hate and anger that surrounds us, I couldn’t find any hope until Kitt Crescendo responded to a post by Catie Rhodes. Catie asked folks to comment with whatever music they were listening to today (Sunday). Kitt responded with a comment that when she gets discouraged by the events surrounding us, she turns to this song:

There it is, my compassion, my faith in people, my hope. Look at the lyrics:

“The Change”
Lyrics by Tony Arata and Wayne Tester

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Some of you are likely going to comment that I’m avoiding naming the event, the place, the type of hate crime, and the criminals. Yes, I am. An ugly truth is that this isn’t the only hate crime that happened last week. It’s the one in the news. Hate crimes happen every day against people for their gender, their race, their religion, their otherness. Hate crimes range from angry, hurtful words to damaged property, or injury, or murder. No hate crime is less than or greater than the other. No hate crime is the right thing to do. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

So I will rise above my feelings of hate and anger. I will remember to show love and mercy to all people regardless of their gender, race, religion, or otherness, even regardless of their behavior. I believe bad behavior (which this goes way beyond) must have consequences. But I also believe that only through love and mercy will we ever find true equality and peace.

Written for a different hate crime, this song reminded me. I believe that love and mercy still exist. I know there are people like me who will hold love and mercy in their hearts no matter how much anger and hate is flung around the globe and at home. And knowing that, I know hope is never gone.

With heartfelt thanks to the lyric writers, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester, to Garth Brooks, Catie Rhodes, and Kitt Crescendo. Keep spreading love and mercy!