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Walking Through Times of Despair and Discouragement

I am sitting at my desk staring at my computer. I want to write a note to you that is cheerful and upbeat, and I am struggling to match that kind of letter with authenticity.

The truth is I have been feeling especially discouraged lately.

Here in the USA, we have just come through a grueling impeachment process to remove our president from office.  And on top of that, we are in the midst of a presidential election year… I find I am listening to candidates make their case for why we should vote for them while not feeling confident that either of the major political parties will endorse a candidate that speaks for me.

Then I read about world events, which included the coronavirus outbreak which is affecting thousands of people across the world… the fires in Australia that are affecting thousands more people and millions of wildlife… global warming and its effect on all life… the depth of pain and suffering across the world… and the first year anniversary of my dear friend Jenny’s death – which may seem very small by comparison and yet holds deep grief for me.

Some days I feel utterly weary and worn down…

What about you?

Last week I felt so deeply discouraged by all of it. I allowed myself to be called to the couch, which to me means I stop trying to be productive and I stop trying to do anything other than BE. It meant I took  time for a long cry and a good-sized dose of my self-empathy practice. It was a relief to let go of my desire to have a positive outlook, and to thoroughly dive into my sadness and discouragement.

It was cathartic.

Later, when my wife, Kim, came home, I told her about my day – and then made a request that we spend time that night working on a project we have put off for nearly a year. A project that was deeply important to me but one I have let take a backseat to other priorities over and over again. We spent two hours on it that night and nearly finished it. Two nights later it was completed.

How could I have put something off for so long that mattered deeply to me – and only took a few hours to complete?

During times of deep despair and discouragement, I think we are called to put more focus on self-care, nurturing, and tenderness. To be lovingly attentive to the small yet profound things that support our wellbeing, such as keeping our agreements to ourselves and tending to daily activities that support our inner peace. To remember to hold empathy for ourselves as well as others. To remember that when our own inner emotional tank is full, we have more to give. More of everything to offer – love, kindness, compassion, attention, presence, and so much more.

I hope you will join me this month in reveling in our feelings, in finding nurturing ways to express pain, and in taking extra time for activities that support warmth and tenderness. If you would like support and companionship in this, you might consider three of the NVC Academy’s ongoing programs:

In peace…

Tags: challenges, compassion, Peace

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