How to Defeat Resignation

Aug 10, 2011

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:

  • Give more money for famine relief
  • Give blood
  • Call my mom and chat
  • Be with my dear friend who is suffering heartbreak
  • Ask you to listen to Bill McKibben’s heartening interview on climate change – yes heartening.

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

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

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