How can we feel hope right now - with environmental, social, and economic crises ever looming?
What’s the alternative? The alternative is despair, numbness or perhaps panic, anger, depression, or anxiety.
And then we work to fix ourselves. We read self-help books, go to psychologists, meditate, and try and figure out what’s wrong with us. We think that we’re unhappy because we’re doing something wrong as individuals. Why aren’t we happy?
And then we think that possessions will make us happy - our dream house, our dream holiday, our dream partner, our dream career, our dream bank balance, etc. etc.
Isolation and loneliness are epidemics in our society.
But when we have hope, a different experience of life emerges.
Hope doesn’t mean certainty. Hope doesn’t mean going on with ‘business as usual’ just casually hoping that everything will work out. Hope means taking action towards a more beautiful world, all the while accepting that we can never be certain of the outcome.
What’s the point?
Because when we take action we feel powerful. When we take action we feel connected to a global movement that is collectively working towards a better future. We are literally ‘moved’ by something greater than ourselves.
You don’t hear about this global movement in the mainstream media.
Why? Because the media is owned by corporates, and corporates want us to feel isolated and depressed – because then we’ll buy more stuff. Economic growth is seen as the absolute goal.
Information is power – because it inspires action. Education about our global situation – beyond what you see on the news – is therefore essential.
Where do you get this information? Start here…
The Economics of Happiness
That Sugar Film
I went to a panel last week with the makers of these documentaries, a local political journalist, and a local political comedian - Mandy Nolan.
Once upon a time I was an economics student. I got the top marks in my cohort at uni all the while thinking “this is the biggest load of shit I ever heard”. I decided not to be an investment banker but to ‘follow my heart’, to not care about money and to live in a happy bubble – not paying attention to world economics, politics, or events.
That was 15 years ago.
And I did live in a happy bubble. I studied things I was interested in. I travelled the world. I went to meditation retreats and yoga courses, sat with shamanic teachers and I worked on my ‘shit’. And yes, all of these things are valuable and important.
We don’t want to take action with a sense of fear and urgency – that’s what got us into this mess. But we also don’t want to become too complacent.
Now, 15 years on, I’m engaged in social and community work. And I’ve realised that the whole financial and economic disaster of the world – didn’t just go away while I wasn’t looking. In many ways it got worse.
And it affects people’s lives in tangible ways. I used to tell myself, “well none of that political stuff really affects me. I’m just going to keep living in my happy bubble”.
But it does. Food costs, living costs, education costs, healthcare, lack of community spaces, fracking of our waterways, prevalence of mental health issues in our society – in particular our youth, the list goes on....
For young people to process the emotional enormity of our current world situation is a big ask. (Click here to read my blog “How to help teens face the despair in the world”).
Information about environmental crises are presented to kids at school as facts and figures to learn, but the emotional processing of this is skipped over.
It’s easier to ignore and addictions, including to screens, are a beautiful escape.
And then, we think there’s something wrong with the individual. The number and range of labels and different psychological conditions is ever growing.
Yes, individual responsibility for our wellbeing is important, but if we only do this while neglecting to look at the bigger picture – we’re stuck.
Do you think that each individuals buying eco-products, organic food, and solar lights will solve the issue of climate change? Yes, it’s action we can take and it’s a great thing to do if you’re rich enough to afford it.
But is it going to create the change necessary? No.
Thousands of tonnes of identical products get transported back and forth across the planet every year. Why? So big business earns more profit. And free trade agreements means this is not regulated by any government, anywhere.
This is overwhelming stuff. And being able to open to these emotions and be mindful of them is necessary to be able to take inspired action.
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