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Discouragement found me yesterday

Creeped into my bones and laid its head on my heart

I cried a lot and let myself be

I just felt my pain

It wasn’t fun

I was patient

I didn’t have to explain

I just was.

I read about quarantine fatigue

And caution fatigue, terms used

to describe the exhaustion and low energy

associated with the COVID constraints

I found Joanna Macy’s book

Her words soothed me

Music brought me back home

“There’s no way that we personally can fix the mess our world is in, but the process of healing and recovery at a planetary level can happen through us and through what we do. For this to happen, we need to play our part. That’s where power-with comes in.” - Joanna Macy

Macy uses the term “Power-with” which is based on synergy, “where two or more parties working together bring results that would not have occurred if they had worked alone.”

“When you act on behalf

Of something greater than yourself,

You begin

To feel it acting through you

With a power that is greater than your own.”

“This is grace.”

“Today, as we take risks

For the sake of something greater

Than our separate, individual lives,

We are feeling graced

By other beings and by Earth itself.”

“Those with whom and on w hose behalf we act

Give us strength

And eloquence

And staying power

We didn’t know we had.”

“We just need to practice knowing that

And remembering that we are sustained

By each other

In the web of life.

Our true power comes as a gift, like grace,

Because in truth it is sustained by others.”

“If we practice drawing on the wisdom

And beauty

And strengths

Of our fellow human beings

And our fellow species

We can go into any situation

And trust

That the courage and intelligence required

Will be supplied.”

(Edited into verse by Tom Atlee from an interview in YES! magazine and approved as a poem by Joanna Macy.)

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Appreciated you sharing about fatigue. I struggle with accepting being in a contracted place. I just enjoyed being with family, and now I’m back to masking, etc. It was validating.

  • You are validating battle fatigue. This is a summer like no other. I liked your mention of grace and the greater good. I am looking for my sources of grace. I was led to be here today. I look for the good. I am grateful. I have the vision to find grace to carry on.

  • I have gratitude journals. I’ve worked at having gratitude for everything and building that up.

  • I worked with a productivity coach who recommended writing down 100 gratitudes. First you write the big things then you get to little things, like pens and things. It gets one to appreciate the minutiae of our lives.

  • I was reminded of being in a hotel room by myself and realizing everything in that room was created and put together by some human being. It became a room full of love as I sat and honored each person. Very powerful.

  • I was discouraged yesterday, comparing myself to what other people had accomplished and also from being told how to do things. I am working on five different projects. If I gave up four, I know I could get further. I am not willing to do so, so I am my problem. The reminder of active hope and of power-with tells me to keep working at what I am doing and live in acceptance and appreciate the people who are on my path with me.

  • I read about expectancy yesterday. It was a good reminder to make space for it. Expectations are ladened with baggage.

  • You have such a gift for writing and selecting readings. I appreciate the breadth of your choices. I appreciate this group’s honesty. I don’t feel so alone, I hear how other people have chatter as well. Yesterday, I drove past a place that has become an industrial park. There had been an old tree there which fell over 6 years ago and left its roots exposed. It lived for 4 more years before the industrial park cleared it out. That tree was a symbol that things can be so difficult but that spark of life has resilience.

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