We are in a very dark place. Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, we are currently experiencing institutional failure after institutional failure. Human tragedies stacked upon each other in such quick succession that we are growing numb.
It started with the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Then there was the growing awareness of the sorry state of race relations and police brutality leading to nightly protests, leading to more police brutality. Now, we are literally on fire. Several whole towns have been completely consumed, reduced to smoldering embers, lives and property lost. Add to all of this the environment of fear, disinformation, manipulation, disempowerment and a toxic political climate. If you engage in social media, hopefully you are well aware that your digital breadcrumbs are being tracked and continually used against you by corporations (advertising), politicians and other bad actors.
We are drowning in fear and despair. It is the one universal truth. Something we all have in common.
If you feel pain in this time, you are a normal human being. If you feel your heart breaking in this time, you are a normal human being. If you feel defeated in this time, you are a normal human being. If you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning in this time, you are a normal human being. If you cannot see how we are going to survive as a country in this time, you are a normal human being. If you feel terrified about what may be coming next in this time, you are a normal human being.
These problems we face are larger than any one of us, and they have been a LONG TIME in the making. None of it is new. People have been talking about the threats of climate change for at least 50 years. Strangely, the problem has not simply resolved itself. Nobody has come out and waved a magic wand and made the problem go away. I’m not even sure that we would notice or accept the wizard with the magic wand unless they were displaying the right cultural signals anyway. There will be no savior to solve our crises. There is only one option.
YOU MUST ACT!
You are the catalyst: to drop a pebble in the pond, which creates a ripple, which encourages others, which builds into a wave, which leads to actual real change. Realizing you have this power is the first step. Don’t worry that you haven’t done so until now; there is no time to waste. You can change your life, your orientation and the lives of all those around you by recognizing that you already have the power to change the world.
Martin Luther King Jr was not born into greatness; he worked his entire life for the cause of racial justice. If that is your passion, start working.
Similarly, if your passion is related to the environment/climate change, or democracy, or education, or creating more livable cities, or world peace, or LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE, start working. Find an organization and start volunteering. Make your intentions known to others. Always be listening and learning. Trust yourself and your ability to contribute to something bigger.
We are ALL the superheroes we need. There are no others. Don’t wait until it is too late, because that time is coming at all of us quicker than you think. You only have one choice: do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Choose wisely.