Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An antidote to despair

At times, if we are honest about our own feelings in response to ever-widening crises, we may feel despair. There are antidotes, however - one often noted is that the antidote to despair is action. Take some action - a good beginning is educating oneself on the issues facing us now (climate change, species extinctions, loss of biodiversity, not to mention severe human rights abuses, extreme poverty, etc.).

One important path out of temporary hopelessness is to pay attention to beauty - see it along the sidewalk, in the morning and evening sky, at the water's edge...and if you're fortunate enough to be outside of a city, or near a park within a city - look "in the green world". Maybe studying and watching birds might work for you...

There are other ways and means of coping with despair. Joanna Macy, activist, Buddhist scholar, pioneering deep ecologist, writer, ecophilosopher and teacher has developed methods of "despair and empowerment work" with her colleagues and workshop participants. "Given the widespread suffering of our time, as well as the dangers confronting us, sorrow arises, and fear and anger. "Pain for our world" is a normal, healthy response; but cultural, political, and psychological factors lead us to repress this pain--at enormous cost."

To learn more, see Joanna's website at: and her books, at:

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