3 min read

How to Think About the World Right Now

I remind myself of all of this every time the darkness starts to feel a little too big. A little too heavy.
How to Think About the World Right Now
Photo by Cherry Laithang / Unsplash

I've heard more stories of helplessness about the world this year than I ever have, and that makes sense.

We're more aware of grief, violence, bigotry, and poverty than we ever have been.

And it's causing a lot of distress. More arguing. More vitriol. Less mindful discourse.

Add to all of this our really interesting habit of wanting to ignore the goodness that's still here. To silence it.

Almost like we get so overwhelmed by the darkness we start rejecting the light.

We tell anyone who delivers any light, "Don't you see all this darkness? We're being consumed by that right now. That's the task. Keep your light away from us."

Like it feels wrong for light to be here even though it's what we're supposedly fighting for.

I question who this serves pretty often.

I think what's really happening is a fight to not bypass the shit that's going on.

And that conversation is necessary.

But being consumed by it isn't helping. It's creating helplessness.

And helplessness isn't helpful.

To regulate, I've been reminding my nervous system of my privilege.

Mainly the privilege of being safe.

Because personally, right now, I am.

In this moment I have all of my limbs. I have my breath. I have access to food. I have a roof over my head. A desk to sit at as I write this.

I'm not the most resourced, and my safety isn't guaranteed. But I am resourced.

And I am safe enough in this moment to sit down and write just like you're safe enough in this moment to sit down and read.

You and I, right now in this moment, are safe enough.

I think many of us are starting to see how much of a privilege safe moments are.

Most of all, I remind myself that within this safety, I have options.

  • Some of those options give me access to the light.
  • Some of those options give me opportunities to share it.

I keep reminding myself the idea isn't to create less safety and fewer resources for myself to honor others who don't have them.

I can't contribute to the fight for others lives if I'm too busy fighting for my own.

So the idea isn't to hate my privilege. To martyr and take myself down.

The idea is to contribute to bring others up. Because I want them to have these privileges too. And to feel safe enough to recognize them.

Because, and I'm going to say this one more time:

If we can't recognize that we're safe, we're certainly not going to be contributing to other peoples' safety. We'll be too busy fighting for our own.

From the looks of it, fighting each other.

To martyr one's privilege and to use it are two different things.

So I won't let myself say there's "nothing" I can do.

I am too privileged to believe there's nothing I can do.

Right now, I am resourced. I am safe. Which means I have options.

So of course there are things I can do. Contributions I can make.

My contributions aren't enough alone to repair everything that needs repaired, but it's like a chore list for a really, really big house with a lot of rooms and about 8 billion roommates.

I do the dusting for the rooms in this wing. Someone else handles the dishes for that wing.

We all do our part.

We support one another in discovering their part.

We remind one another to do their part.

We support one another in remaining safe and resourced enough to keep their options to contribute.

We contribute by creating more resources, more safety.

And we remember that each part is to help bring some light into the room.

Otherwise the hopelessness and helplessness seep in because that's what darkness is designed to do.

It forces us to sit still. Frozen. Unable to see where we can take a step. Exhausted from thinking so much about it and coming up with nothing that feels safe enough. Good enough.

I remind myself of all of this every time the darkness starts to feel a little too big. A little too heavy.

And every time I remind myself of this and make my contributions, I feel more hopeful. More helpfull. Less helpless in all of this.

I feel like I'm using my options well.

  • Some to give me access to the light.
  • Some to give me opportunities to share it.

Your contribution is small. It's one step after another. But that doesn't make it nothing. It's everything.

So pick your contribution. Make it.

And yes, keep your light along the way so you don't get stuck in the hopelessness and helplessness of all of this.