I’ve been trying to focus on one topic for this blog and I can’t. I can’t focus.
Then I realized, isn’t that the main topic of our everyday lives? Researchers say that now goldfish have longer concentration than human beings. I’m not surprised.
I think we are all struggling to maintain our composure against a tempestuous, never ending tidal wave of information and sensory input that ratchets up in speed and quantity by the day. Especially this year.
We begin our lives with simple, singular input, and then stimulation and information intake increase over the weeks, months and years of our lives. At some point we reach overload, and that’s where the problems begin. Despite what we may think, we do not have limitless capacity for intake. Isn’t it time that we become acutely aware of our individual capacity to absorb information and take control of it?
I believe I am a citizen of the world. I believe that what I do impacts the climate, and the planet. I believe that being kind to my fellow man has impact far beyond my neighborhood. But the constant impact of fires and destruction and tragedies around the world makes me feel powerless. It’s too much, too large a scale, too big for me to impact. I know that we should all care and contribute to causes. Who can argue that every penny won’t help recovery from the Australia bush fires? But the constant drumbeat of the planet’s woes is exhausting and debilitating.
So, here’s what I think: just like “all politics is local” I believe all emotions are local. Local change becomes regional change becomes global change. And that my friends is manageable.
I am taking the first step in regaining my focus. I’m looking around me to identify what I can impact, who I can care for, and how I can positively impact their lives. I can impact the displaced people I can see sleeping under the bridge on the other side of the river from my elegantly appointed loft.
I can volunteer at a shelter that welcomes them. I can support my local YWCA.
Imagine if we all did that? What if instead of watching news from the other side of the world on our cell phone we saw the homeless person in the doorway, or fed the family at the shelter? It’s not a rose-colored approach to the world; quite the opposite. It’s reaching deep into the world directly around us.
Some may say I’m old fashioned, I say I’m healthy. Some may say I’m ignoring reality; I say I’m finding a way to impact it. We all know what’s going on around us, and we are becoming exhausted because of it. I say it’s time to shrink our view while intensifying our efforts. Instead of becoming paralyzed by the scale, let’s become activated by possibilities.
Let’s work to become focused, realistic, and healthy.
Let’s remain informed, while becoming proactive. If we each concentrate on making our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities better, won’t our world become better as a result? Sometimes bad luck can be turned around.
For example, let’s take someone who might otherwise not be able to attend to our region’s beautiful events. Call your local YWCA or women’s shelter, and ask if there is a person who may like to attend the Literary Festival or Documentary Film Festival. A family that would like to attend the Tall Ships celebration. Would someone like to go to Yankee Homecoming and enjoy the Greek Food Festival with you? Call out to a stressed distant relative. Even donating to Habitat or My Neighbor’s table has an impact.
These tiny acts of kindness may bring warmth and joy to those who attend with you and remove them from the difficulties of everyday life for a moment. It may give them that the warmth that comes from the infusion of new ideas and the friendship of a fellow human being.
When you look at the activities coming to our beautiful region this spring and summer, enjoy it but also look at it as an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day. You will make a difference in your part of the world and be delightfully changed because of it.