The other day, I told someone that I was at the point where I worried about spontaneous combustion. I was only half joking. Deluged by the continuous flow of disappointing to heartbreaking news, anger and anxiety seem to constantly bubble just beneath the surface. Loss of sleep, unhealthy eating and drinking, snarky comments on social media are just a few manifestations signaling a collective sense of fear, despair and loss of control.
Many psychologists will tell you that control is an illusion. We attempt control by worrying, but in truth, worrying doesn’t solve anything and certainly doesn’t put us in control. Another word for worry is awfulization, which is a made up word for how we project and invest in the worst case scenario. And hoo-boy, is that easy to do these days.
We’re all too familiar with the worst-case scenario for our country so it doesn’t serve to give it more airtime here and add to the negativity (You can read Justine Andronici’s piece in this edition, Trump’s Abuse of America is Getting Lethal for more insight) . Instead, is it possible to flip the switch and dwell more on the positive? To gather energy from the good we see, project and invest in a best case – or at least a better case scenario?
You might say: “Ok, Pollyanna, how do you suggest we do that???”
If you watched the first presidential debate, you have my sympathies. I did not, but followed on Twitter and with a group of like-minded friends who had more fortitude than I. But perhaps we can look at it for a lesson in how we manage through this moment.
There were two people on stage: one was clearly driven by fear and using fear and chaos as a tactic. The other demonstrated strength based in his sense of love and purpose – even in the face of near total loss of control of expected circumstances. We saw shining moments of humanity from Joe Biden, despite and likely because of his personal experience with a number of worst-case scenarios. That alone should inspire us.
In less than a month, the ballots will all be cast. Many of us have already made our choice and are determined to use the remaining time to work on getting out the vote. Right now, it’s critical that we do so because of all that we love and to stay focused on that, rather than fearing the loss and falling into the depths of hate. I’m reminded of this:
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
Siddhartha Gautama, The Dhammapada
Know that we are a caring community. Whether you physically live in Lambertville/New Hope or have more of a virtual/spiritual connection to our organization, we care. As unwanted as many of the experiences in these past few years have been, they have also been times of great learning and growth, of making new friends and being a collective force for good. As an organization, we went from zero to 60 in very short order, and we will continue as an organization as long as you need us. Whatever the outcome, together, we will again roll up our sleeves and get back to work.
With much love,
PS – Be sure to fill out the survey in this edition about where ILNH goes from here, pending various scenarios. We want your input!