My capacity to care is loosely based around my capacity to cease judgment.
Although it is nearly impossible to “not judge at all”, I have noticed in me an ability to not listen to the judgmental voices playing in my head and what comes of that when I do.
For example, my partner pulled a muscle in his back causing him to partially debilitated and in great pain. He hobbled around the house attempting to help me with the daily chores and cooking. Finally, the physical pain became so great that he needed to stop altogether and take care of himself.
All the while my mind went a little something like this:
“Gosh, look at him. If he only worked out a little more and strengthened himself, this would not have happened.”
“Ugh, now I have to do everything around the house because he is hurt!”
“I think he just wants to get out of helping me.”
“He must not be in THAT much pain because he was able to work all day.”
And on, and on, and on….
By: Denell Nawrocki, MA
In today's hyper-connected world, it is easy to get lost in the craziness that is media.
We have access to constant updates of the world's affairs, and in an instant, can learn about what is happening half-way across the globe.
But I have a question:
Is it really necessary to know EVERYTHING that is happening in the world?
Do you know as much about what is happening in your own local community?
I understand the desire to remain informed and up to date on the current affairs of the global community. But what I have noticed is that we are concerning ourselves more of what is happening OUT THERE, in OTHER STATES OR NATIONS than what is happening in our own towns.
Yes, the plight of children in Africa is a terrible thing, and yes, the bombing in Syria or the on-going killing of endangered animals in Borneo are also equally as terrible.
But what about the homeless families living in your local area?
What about the grove of old trees in that open space that have been voted to be cut down in order to build another parking lot?
What about how your local hospital is disposing of its unused medication
(most likely being through down the drain into the local water table)?
What about the elderly people who are essentially left to die in nursing homes,
with no family to visit and talk to?
What about the critically endangered lizard that lives in the local marshes that is on the verge of extinction due to the new freeway being proposed to be built?
Our brains are not wired to taken in the plight of the ENTIRE WORLD.
In fact, we are genetically wired to live in bands of communities no more than 150 people- think back to our neolithic brethren- and to have concerns that reflect that amount of people.
We are meant to be aware and concerned about the locations of our home.
We are not meant to take on issues that are not near us,
and do not directly effect us.
It simply is not in our hard wiring.
And that is why people are stressed. And overwhelmed. And full of fear.
Because they are trying to help the ENTIRE PLANET... no just our band of 150 community members.
Next time you feel the urge to gluttonize on the slow decline of our global community environment as portrayed in the news media, I invite you to notice where your focus is.
Are you focusing on causes that you have no direct link to?
Are you focusing on events that do not effect the course of your life AT ALL?
Are you focusing on pain and suffering that you will never actually experience
in your own personal world?
The way we can begin the process of actually ACTING on our CARING CAPACITY, is by focusing on what is right in front of us; by focusing on our local communities.
It is within our local communities that we have a real chance of making that change we wish to see across the entire globe,
It MUST start locally. It MUST start with what is happening in your backyard.
It MUST start with what you are actually capable of.
Are you passionate about environmental rights?
Volunteer for a local land management agency, and influence how the land around your town is being protected or used.
Are you passionate about sociological injustices?
Take time out of your day to purchase some food for a homeless person, help them find a job, or some other aspect of basic human needs.
Are you passionate about racial/gender/sexual rights?
Give talks or lectures at local community spaces about what you know to be true in order to influence those around you.
There are so many ways to help the world, and it becomes easier to see this when we change our focus.
Global focus is good every once in a while- in very small doses. But it can be paralyzing.
Focus on what you can do now, in your community, near where you live.
I am 100% positive there is a cause that needs to be supported.
That needs YOU to support it.
So I invite you to focus your energy on what is actually possible.
And once we all are focusing on our local communities, the change we wish to see will manifest.
And it will be beautiful.
"We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all."