How to Defeat Resignation

There are days – weeks! years! – when it is so tempting to despair.

To slip into resignation like an old shirt, dingy and stained, far from flattering, but oh so easy. Comforting in its utter lack of responsibility.

:: Perhaps you look at the government of your country and wonder how people elected to serve could be so short sighted and venal.

:: Or the famine in the Horn of Africa is too much for you to bear witness to.

:: Or the latest report on the state of our oceans frays your last hopeful nerve.

:: Or something closer to home freights your heart: a sick beloved, frightening debt, an injury that just. won’t. mend.

The temptation, at least for me, in these oppressive moments, is to shrilly talk about what should be done with the economy / London / Africa / so-and-so’s health until I collapse in resignation.

I caught myself doing a “Things are so horrible!” rant at Bob yesterday when poof! mid-sentence, I stopped. (No small feat for me. I do so love to rip a good rant.)

I thought, “Complaining is not helping anything. It just exhausts me.”

Then I asked the most wonderful question Susan Piver taught me,

What kind of good can I do in the world today?”

Shazam! Resignation alchemized into desire.  Powerlessness into action.  Disconnection into connection.

Today my answer to  What kind of good can I do in the world? is:

Resignation is poison. The opposite of resignation is desire in action.

What desires will you put into action today? Please share!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Julie Daley - August 10, 2011

The desire to love, vulnerably, fully, openly and honestly. The desire to be real with those beautiful souls I have the honor of being with today. The desire to be truth in action. The desire to love this body that allows me to do all of these things on this day. The desire to tell you what an amazing being I know you to be.

Reply
    jenniferlouden - August 11, 2011

    Your most recent post about the earth is serving me right now.

    Reply
Doll Creelman - August 10, 2011

For today:  to be fully present with each person I spend time with! My to-do list is massive but I owe it to others and myself to remain in the moment.  Wonderful post Jennifer!!

Reply
    jenniferlouden - August 11, 2011

    Doll what a lovely way to serve.

    Reply
Kristy - August 10, 2011

I love this, Jen–finding a way to morph powerless into action, as you say.

One of my desires that has been verging on resignation is around the need for carving out some personal time for rejuvenation, feeling overwhelmed and some despair that it’s so hard to choose “me” time when faced with so many other, seemingly larger obligations.

So here’s my desire in action: I carved out a three-day weekend this fall and am scheduling nothing except self-care and reflection time. And naps. Definitely naps.

Reply
    jenniferlouden - August 11, 2011

    Wait, not until fall???? WHAT?? Seriously, when I read that I freaked a bit. Can you take a day off this weekend? Nights to go to be early?

    Reply
Padma - August 11, 2011

I will stop worrying about how disorderly and chaotic the whole world is and  start acting on bringing order with love – even if it is only in a tiny corner of my small life that makes a difference to my immediate circle of influence.  The ripple effect is magical and will spread in its own way and in its own time.  My positive state of mind will puncture the negative cloud hovering above us.  Enough people puncturing the cloud, it will soon dissipate.  So, I will keep sending love to all the suffering, whereever and whatever it might be, without judgment and with unbridled compassion.

My desire in action is Love All, Serve All, Help Ever, Hurt Never in Thought, Word and Deed.

Padma Ayyagari
http://www.areyouchanging.wordpress.com

Reply
    jenniferlouden - August 11, 2011

    Padma, thank you, so lovely for my heart to read that.

    Reply
*8Things: Soulcare, with a side of funny. | Magpie Girl (Rachelle Mee-Chapman) - August 11, 2011

[…] How to avoid giving up. (Savor and […]

Reply
Marianne Elliott - August 12, 2011

I’m always SO grateful for Bill McKibben. That man gives me hope. As do you. Love you!

Reply
Christa - August 14, 2011

The desire to make physical space for my writing and creating! Spent all day – and it will likely take a couple more – moving out stuff from 2008 and beyond, and the energy is starting to move…. All thanks, I’m sure, to time in Taos with you and Michelle. I keep hearing your voices, encouraging me to get to it, and I am!

XOXO

Reply
    jenniferlouden - August 15, 2011

    get to it get to it get to it… 🙂

    Reply
Peter - August 14, 2011

loving it 🙂

Reply
Susan Gallacher-Turner - August 15, 2011

Great perspective…why do I focus on the problems(by complaining or relating them)? Because somehow I think that’s solving them…but as you so wisely point out, it’s just exhausting.  Desire, to me,  has always seemed linked to selfishness.  But again, as you so wisely point out, it creates the energy needed to act in creative ways that may ultimately solve real problems. 

My desire into action today:  clean and clear my space and my mind(literally, I’m cleaning the house) hoping in the process to open my heart and mind to new, fresh ideas and make friends with my desires in a new way.

Reply
Cheryl - September 8, 2011

“What desires will you put into action today?”  If it were a desire it would be that my Old Man Cat Sid would be young and healthy again, but since desire does not equal reality, I will spend this time comforting him and helping as best as I can to ease him from this world to the next.  Be at ease and at peace my little Sid Vicious, you have been a most wonderful friend these past 16 years.  I love you Old Man.

Reply
Beth - September 9, 2011

This post comes at just the right time.  Already dealing with a frighteningly low income and the fear of how to keep up with staggering heat bills this coming winter, I have just found out that I will be losing my job in two weeks.  I will have to give up my home and my beautiful lab.  But all is not dark and hopeless.  I will be moving in with my beloved and we will start the next phase of our lives together.  I will cope with my loss and change (never easy for me) by throwing myself into volunteering, for I know that by helping others I am helping myself.

Reply
    jenniferlouden - September 9, 2011

    what a gift you offer me today, Beth, I will reflect on your courage often and use it to help me own! Is there anyway to take your dog or give him to someone you know so you can visit him often?

    Reply
Jaysmommee - September 9, 2011

I enjoy the ‘savor&serve’ newsletters very much.
Some days are easier than others.
When in a funk, it’s hard to stay positive…

Reply
    jenniferlouden - September 9, 2011

    yes it is, try finding 5 good things you love right now – for me the sun in the trees, the taste of my morning tea, the connection to you, the clean dogs, and the love in my heart for my family are all here right under the morning busyness if I stop to feel them

    Reply
Setuszynski@sbcglobal.net - September 9, 2011

I long to sell my house, which has been on the market for three years.  Instead of entertaining those insidious thoughts of despair, I will contact my agent and urge him to show my friend’s house, which has not had a single showing since listing.

Reply
    jenniferlouden - September 9, 2011

    yes yes yes! and is there anything else you can do to help the process along? work from openness so the process is the fruit.

    Reply
Leave a Reply:
Get Your Bother On: A Guided Journal to Discover What’s Next AVAILABLE NOW!Buy Now!