TURBULENT and emotional times
Last week I posted my thoughts and opinions on the turbulent journey we are facing. It was not an uplifting nor light piece.
Today I want to bring hope and light to the page. I believe we have to react with hope and faith in order not to normalize what is happening in our government. Hope coupled with faith helps me hold my personal beliefs strong and founded on solid ground.
But like me, you’ve probably been asking what can I do? how can I help? who needs me to come along? and more. And we’re watching for the light.
WHAT WE CAN DO
FILTER THE NEWS
One thing we have done in our home is agree to limit our intake of news programming by the media. We all are aware that today’s media networks tend to over hype the news they bring us. Media networks, like each of us, have a political preference which impacts their programming.
Here’s what we’ve decided has permission to come into our home daily:
- PBS NewsHour will be the first TV news we see each day. We appreciate the intelligent presentation of news items. Most often one or more opinions from authorities on the subject are included.
- We then watch the late local news, usually on an ABC affiliate.
- Other news arrives in digital from the New York Times, NPR News, NPR Alerts, and The Oregonian.
I am the only user of social media in our home. Stepping back from Facebook and Twitter to a low profile has drained a lot of the vitriol from my life.
I urge you to think about eliminating how much negative information you read. It has helped us meet a more normal balance of emotional health since the election.
VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Many opportunities awaited us before and after the election. These opportunities allow us to give back some of our bounty to the marginalized in our community. I have researched and found several organizations accepting monetary and other donations.
- Look for organizations in your community providing help to victims of domestic violence. Offer your time or financial support. Domestic abuses heighten in times of turmoil and tension in the rest of our world.
- Planned Parenthood is always in need of volunteers and financial support.
- The ACLU stands ready to protect all of us. Why not become a member? If there is a chapter nearby, volunteer to help in some way as a writer, teacher, mentor.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center functions to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination. The Center operates from donations. Legal fees are not charged to those they help, so donations are important.
- Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization. Reach Out and Read operates to incorporate books into pediatric care. The programs encourage families to read aloud together. Reach Out and Read appreciates financial donations. Check out their volunteer page and find a way to find a program in your area and a list of ways you can take part. You can help by donating books, leading a program, reading to a child. What better way to give hope and promise of a future.
- Volunteers often work with English as a second language students, both children and adults. Students learn to read and write English and converse. Check with schools and community colleges that might offer such programs.
- Our local church home is one way we connect with the marginalized in our community. Often we help prepare meals for the hungry and work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses. Our congregation welcomes a homeless family a place for temporary shelter.
This list offers suggestions only. Each community has its own needs, and I’m certain you will be able to find a way to give back. By giving back, our lives are enriched. In the current political climate, we may find more people living on the margins than before. To counteract our own feelings, we must act and offer some type of help.
ARTICLES FOR READING AND USING IN MOVING AHEAD
The following are articles which crossed my desk via my computer. I found them helpful. Some of the suggestions above came from the Nicholas Kristof article.
- A 12-Step Program for Responding to President-Elect Trump by Nicholas Kristof;
- Don’t Normalize Donald Trump by Emily Temple of LitHub reviewing an interview with David Remnick, Editor of The New Yorker;
- Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America, a collection of essays by some of America’s bests writers, published in The New Yorker;
- 25 Nonfiction Books for Anger and Action: A Reading List for Resistance, published by LitHub with this description: “[H]ere are 25 books which help illustrate exactly what’s at stake under the new administration and demystify how you can—and why you should—resist.”
- Ed Cyzewski’s Newsletter shared here, a message filled with love and understanding.
- An email from Angela Januzzi of TarcherPerigee | Penguin Random House suggesting these books during these trying times:
- PICK ME UP (October 4) by bestselling artist and designer Adam J. Kurtz: ♦ Interview about why creativity is too big to define & its relationship to mental health on The Creative Independent is here. ♦ Beautiful Buzzfeed piece on 9 activities to “pick you up.” ♦ Free gorgeous pieces from the book, time-lapse videos, and more content, are here. ♦ And more media coverage (VICE, NYLON, Design*Sponge) here.
- Additionally, Julia Cameron’sTHE ARTIST’S WAY: 25th Anniversary Edition (October 25) is now out, along with THE ARTIST’S WAY MORNING PAGES JOURNAL: Deluxe Edition(November 8). ♦ And here’s New York Magazine’s interview with bestselling mentor of creativity Julia Cameron from earlier this year. ♦ Or read her Quartz piece here on why the recovery found in creativity belongs to people of all ages, and artistic expression and its solace does not belong only to the young.
- I recommend subscribing to On Being with Krista Tippett. My subscription brings hope, solace, and inspiration to my inbox. The staff consists of some remarkable writers. Visit On Being just once, and I’m betting you’ll get hooked. I did.
- In times like this, I turn to some of my favorite writers: Eckhart Tolle, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Buechner, Julian of Norwich, and others.
WHAT WE CAN DO AS WRITERS
I believe in the power of writing. Writing sends our feelings, opinions, and beliefs on a variety of topics out to others. We have to continue to write. Search for publications looking for essays, short stories (fiction or nonfiction), poetry and submit something giving hope to future tomorrows.
We can also look for writing programs in our communities aimed at helping young writers. One example I found is Girls Write Now, a New York-based program. Review their site. Perhaps those of you in large cities will find something like this to use your writing skills. WriteGirl in Los Angeles is seeking mentors to work with girls and young women. Mentors may be either male or female
Whatever you choose to take part in–peaceful protests, a Veterans program, reading to children, donating food and dollars to the hungry, providing warm clothes for the coming winter, and other ways–remember the message to deliver is one of love and hope.
We are in early days yet and although things may still look dark, I cling to the hope that the system of checks and balances put into place by our Founding Fathers holds strong.
Ours is a great country. We have had our struggles in decades past but no one ever said America was not a great country until someone said, “Make America great again.” She has always been great, and she still is.
Think on these words, if nothing else:
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance.
It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in
waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be
righteous as well as strong.
Sherrey, I echo your experiences and feelings about politics. Thanks for this substantive analysis of how things have changed. We need to support one another through the uncertainty and turmoil. I appreciate hearing your perspective and look forward to reading Part 2.
trying times indeed Sherrey – and thank you for your suggestions. We have to be on alert world-wide. Much that we held to be true and of value is being challenged or being turned on its head, while not allowing ourselves to be swamped by it –
Hello Susan! It’s been a long time since we’ve crossed paths. We are challenged to stay informed about our value and truths long held, and at the same time keeping our feet from being muddied in the swamp. Well said!
Sherry, I am enjoying your publication and your inspirational thoughts. One thing I have noticed though is a lack of faith. The Bible tells us that God puts people in power and He takes people out of power. Therefore, whoever gets in is not only (or ever) only the people’s will, it is God’s will. As such, we should not complain but do our best to serve, to uplift and encourage one another. Just thinkin’
Hello Dorothy, I glad you’re enjoying my posts. I’m a bit surprised that you feel there is a lack of faith incorporated here. Perhaps my references to my faith are not as explicit as you feel they should be. My personal preference is to follow the guidelines my father shared with me in projecting his faith. He always felt that a subtle approach to others when discussing or sharing your faith was the preferred method, especially for those who were listening.
I agree we should be in the act of serving, and in these days our work should be in uplifting and encouraging one another. If I have written or referenced anything that has not implied this, I would like to know as it was my intent not to tear down or criticize anyone but to share ways to find solace and direct our hearts toward service.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feelings and opinions. Please continue to join in the discussions.
Beautifully thought out Sherrey. Your list is amazing. You’ve put a lot of time into creating this post.
My personal plan includes personal conversation with the other side. The item in this Pandora’s box that I initially found most troubling is the rampant racism and other intolerance that’s been unlocked by the Donald’s “unfiltered authenticity” (thanks to Malcolm Gladwell and Kathy Pooler for this phrase). While I was initially horrified to see its extent, I have come to realize that we can only fight that which we can see. Oh, my, are we seeing it! But now we can deal with it. The best way I see to do that is to engage with people we know in the other camp and gently discuss it, with non-judgmental curiosity. No sermons, just open-minded questions. I think we’ll all learn a lot. Change happens one heart at a time. Threats and shame may change behavior, but seldom hearts.
Sharon, thank you for your praise and support. You have a great idea and concept in the plan to talk in personal conversation with the other side. I find the rampant racism and other intolerances particularly despicable in that a candidate for the highest office in the land would spew such vitriol during his campaign. Great point that we can only fight that which we can see. Keeping open minds is so important right now. I appreciate your comments so much. You’ve given me more to think on.
Great post, Sherrey. Such good ideas that everyone should think about.
Thanks, Joan! I appreciate your kind words.
Sherrey, you have some good thoughts and suggestions here. I am all for freedom of the press, but I believe many of them that lean far to the right and to the left, tend to stir up trouble. I’ve thought a lot about this election and to be honest, wasn’t crazy about either candidate. I usually don’t discuss politics, but I think for many people it wasn’t so much of a vote for one candidate as it was a vote against the other.
Anyhow, I distracted myself. If people would talk openly and honestly without trying to change one another’s beliefs, I think we could achieve so much. I’m reminded of the lyrics of 60’s song, “Come one people, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another.”
And, as Christians, as hard as it may be, we should pray for our leaders. Something I do don’t often enough,
Joan, you have made some very good points in your comment. We were raised that your politics is a private matter so I’ve never talked much about mine. This year I felt was the worst year ever for having an “almost good” choice to vote for; therefore, I did exactly what you said–I voted against one of the candidates.
Thanks too for the reminder of that song from the 60’s. If we’d only follow those instructions, we’d be a much happier, harmonious country. And yes, as Christians, we should be praying for our leaders and our country. We rarely include those two things in our morning prayers.
Great post Sherrey! Love the article read references here, and yes, I too have to start limiting the amount of media news I’m taking in. Great advice. 🙂
Debby, thanks for the enthusiasm for this post. The articles are all good ones, at least I think so. Some I’ve even gone back and read a second or third time.
Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂
I too am limiting media intake. I’m also fact checking as I hate to read FAKE news. And I certainly don’t want pass such news on.
Very good suggestions, Sherry.
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