connect with your cause

connect with your cause

I’m a really private person. Yes, I like to talk with others, but it usually depends on the day, topic, relationship I have with the other person, etc. When I stop and think about it, I’m more reserved than I thought I’d be as an adult, considering I minored in Theatre Arts and played music in a live band in my twenties.

But I’ve also come from a background where rigid beliefs were held by my family and passed down, most of them rejected by me at an early age. Yet, I felt a sense of shame for rejecting those beliefs which transformed into an outward defiance from assuming I wouldn’t be accepted by those around me. After all, my family isn’t accepting me for who I am, so why should I assume others will?

I no longer think or feel this way. I stand in my truth and validate myself. And I hope to do the same for others. But I think partly what makes it difficult for me to want to give myself to a cause or volunteer for an ecological organization, for example, is that people who have their causes can many times hold their own set of rigid beliefs around those causes.

I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with people who, even for the sake of a good cause, think it’s their way or the highway.

Can we connect with causes (such as recycling, sustainable farming, etc.), that ignite us, while trusting we’ll be given space to be ourselves, not a cookie cutter version of other people passionate about the same cause? I think I’m entering a phase of life where I’m ready to give more of myself while being myself. I’m no longer afraid if someone validates any of my beliefs because, more than ever, I’ve learned to validate myself, while remaining open to hearing other points of view.

Just because we connect with like-minded people on our causes doesn’t mean we have to be identical in every belief, even within that cause. What are we so afraid of? As long as we’re promoting healing and well-being for our planet, that’s the important thing.

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, it seems there are so many causes in need of our attention. Where to start?

By taking small steps. What areas interest you? Make a list, Google them, start reading, and let the process unfold. Maybe we give an hour a week or a month. Whatever we can do… but, at least for me, the overwhelm from all the causes out there is lessened if I’m doing my little part to make the world a better place.

Cliche? Yes.

Truth? Most definitely. 

Over the course of her life, Joanna has given much thought to the moral and psychological challenges presented by nuclear weapons and energy production. If you visit her website, you’ll see the books she’s written and what she’s been involved in. What struck a cord for me is her workbook Coming Back to Life – The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects. 

This workbook is a form of group work designed to foster the desire and ability to take part in the healing of our world.

It works off the premise that,”instead of privatizing, repressing and pathologizing our pain for the world (be it fear, grief, outrage or despair), we honor it. We learn to re-frame it as suffering-with our compassion. This brings us back to life.” In other words, we’re no longer overwhelmed by what is going wrong in the world and we can do our part to change something for the better. See the image below, illustrating the cycle involved:

 

Starting with gratitude, these consecutive stages reflect a natural sequence  common to psychological growth and spiritual transformation. The Spiral is like a fractal, governing the overall structure of the workshop while also arising in its component parts. Within a given workshop, we can move through the Spiral more than once, and become aware that with every cycling through, each stage can yield new and deeper meanings.

 

Taken from Coming Back to Life – The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects, here are a few questions to think about:

If there was NOTHING to stop you, what would you do as your unique contribution to the healing of our world?

What are the resources you already have to bring this gift of yours to the world?

How would you stop sabotaging yourself from doing it? How would you overcome this?

Click here to check out Joanna’s website and click here to buy her book if it strikes a cord with you! (The link connects to goodreads.com, but, if you Google the book, you can find it other places, too.) I plan to buy the book. There are group workshops to take part in, too.