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Distress

Distress

What are friends for?  Well sometimes ‘the world is too much with us’.  And we need a steadying hand on the tiller of life.  Steering our way through all that life brings us isn’t always easy.  Think of it like the unsinkable Titanic… we’re sailing along fine, our bodies and minds were well built through our upbringing… whoops we weren’t expecting that iceberg!  Nobody told us our hull was made with imperfect steel!  Gloop, gloop we are sinking.

The World Is Too Much With Us

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

In real life many people are feeling this now.  Icebergs are (for instance) climate change, species extinction, bad politics.  Lots of things there to get depressed about.

For myself I know I don’t have that long to go.  I’m 66 years old.  So the things I worry about concern me more for my children and my children’s children than they do for me.  But worrying is itself a problem.  Worrying depletes our ability to cope.  However real the problem worrying just makes it worse.

Here’s why.  If you are worried about something two things are possible.  You can do something about it or you can’t.  If you can’t, there’s no point in worrying- it will only make you ill.  If you can, then there are two possibilities:  you can either do it yourself, or you can ask someone to help you.  If you can do it yourself then get on with it.  If you need someone to help you then ask!  Simples.  But no point in worrying, which simply wears us down and diminishes our ability to act.

I am taken back in time to the early 1980’s when I became active in the then Ecology Party, and had a significant role in changing its name to the Green Party in 1985 .  In October 1983 we joined a March to Hyde Park with (I know) a million other people. Starting in the Embankment it took eight hours for the people to pass into Hyde Park. Wikipedia says it was 300,000.  I stood for an hour and counted them and I know this was the police deliberately underestimating the number.  Protest has to be contained.  Either way it was lots of people.

What propelled them to do this?  Fear.  Fear of nuclear war.  Commonly people were having nightmares about this.  I did.  At the peak of the Cold War US vs Russia it felt like a very real threat. 

After that march many of us felt the futility of protest.  All my friends who were there felt the only real solution was to build a better world ourselves.  The task of influencing governments to change was perhaps hopeless. What I see today takes me back to those times.  If we are hopeless, de facto we have no hope.  If we want a better future we have to create it.

Only through our positive actions can we avoid disaster.  We may not succeed.  But if we don’t try – we won’t.  I have always said good change is slow (and I believe that).  But lately I have come to believe that time is running out for us.  Not for the planet (which will do fine when we are all gone). But for the human race. But panicking ain’t going to help us. 

Calm careful consideration, gentle action (or better still inaction) might.

Sleep easy at nights folk for the world needs you to do your best tomorrow.  If you are worried you’re not alone.  But notice how little good worrying does you or the world.  Put a smile on your face and work at the solutions.  That’s the only option we have.  Thirty years trying and I ain’t giving up until I have to.  But being distressed is something none of us need.  It doesn’t help us or anyone else or any other living creature in this beautiful planet (what remains of it).

Joy to the world is the best solution.  If you’re still troubled talk to friends,

One thought on “Distress”

  1. Thank you for these thoughts Graham. So I’m just getting on with co-creating the more beautiful world that I hope all interbeings both now and after me can share. No longer troubled. I have clarity in my purpose. I know what I can be and do… so I am. Regards as ever. Alan

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