Sunday, November 10, 2013

Moving on from Despair

I haven’t blogged for nearly 3 weeks partly because of our local bush fire emergency that sapped my energy, partly because I haven’t felt I had anything worth posting, and for the last ten days I've been enjoying a warm break away from the mountains,with lots of belly laughs with my daughters and grandchildren, reminiscing and photographs.

Here is an exquisite one that greeted me when I returned home.

I am eager to allow the unfolding of my voice, in a new way-I feel an urgency to do this.In my third chapter, I often ask myself the question “have I reached my potential?”, or “have I used all of my talents?” And by writing here I am in some way having a relationship with this unknown place.If I pay attention in deep silence, I know I will be further awakened into a new chapter of my life within no time. As a result I can then be a facilitator for others in discovering their own voice, their uniqueness. This can be anything from growing a flourishing garden, to co-ordinating a community service, or continuing to work in a job you love in the work world.

But first we have to choose life. Begin the conversation. The point is, says David Whyte, is to “start close in”, and approach our life with a frontier attitude, though he acknowledges it is difficult to take that first courageous step. 

Today I want to focus on choosing to move on from a feeling of DESPAIR about the world, to a more optimistic one.Despair can keep us from action. If we are engaged in different forms of social media, listen to the news, or read newspapers we are constantly bombarded by images and stories (injustice and violence)that can numb us,or tug at our heartstrings (animal cruelty). And just now, the terrible disaster from the typhoon in the Phillipines, where children have been torn from their parents arms -I cannot imagine how this would feel.

From my own experience, some activities that move me on from the energy of despair are regular opening to stillness in my heart, being in my garden where I am in awe of its beauty and creatures, consciously recalling parts of my life in detail that were joyful, or phoning a family member or friend to ask about their day. I also CHOOSE to remember all the mentors and teachers who have shared their wisdom, encouraging us to approach despair from a different vantage point, to transmute this energy into a more creative outcome, i.e. being with like-spirited souls, or visioning an optimistic future.

It takes dedicated effort.In discussion with my daughter this last week about a number of Facebook posts that we found hard to digest, she acknowledged her despair, about not wanting to be “here” as she felt so deeply for the animals and people. Another way to approach despair, advises author May Sarton, is to make myths of our lives, believing it is the only way to live without despair, so I have returned to reading Bedtime Stories for Elders: What fairy tales can teach us about the New Ageing, by John C Robinson, to help my process.

I chanced listening to Lisa Wilkinson’s ‘lecture’ in the Andrew Olle Lecture Series the other day, the second female journalist to deliver it in 16 years! Towards the end she despaired time and time again, on the topic of women and girls in the media. I was moved by her story. You can read her full lecture here where she ends on a positive note, honouring so many talented women.

With heartfelt appreciation if you have read to this point. I do hope there is some little gem here for you.