How do you focus your efforts?
Hi everyone. Russell has said on this site that in order to be effective and not get burned out, we need to focus our efforts on one issue. I am having great difficulty with this, as there are so many things happening that are just wrong. It seems every day something else happens that makes me crazy! I sure could use some words of wisdom on this! Any takers?
Great question. Although I gave that advice, I certainly haven't been able to follow it! There are a number of issues that I follow and that I try to support...and I think that's fine. I think the key is to not get so caught up in so many issues that you become overwhelmed, exhausted, or paralyzed.
For myself, my choices are dictated by considering the following:
1. In what issues/domains might my efforts have the most impact, in terms of both breadth (how many people can be helped) and depth (to what extent can the individuals involved be helped). Of course, this could be applied to issues of animals and the environment as well.
2. Who does it seem is the most vulnerable - how pressing is the need (and I know there's a lot of very pressing needs out there right now).
3. A balance between global, national, and local. I'm making sure to donate to my local food bank now as well to organizations like the ACLU, so that the hungry people in my community don't suffer because many of us have our attention pointed elsewhere.
Finally, I'm giving a lot of attention to self-care these days to counter the stress of all the stuff that's flying across social media. More walks in nature, time with my family, snuggles with the dogs, that sort of thing. Hope this helps!
Yes stillwaterpoet's post really resonated with me - there's so many sources of suffering that I sometimes find it hard to know where to start without getting overwhelmed. I definitely try and focus on a local level - supporting my clients with addictions and my colleagues who operate in a very demanding environment. But I have also tried to connect more at a political level recently through petitions and writing to my MP (not that the latter seems to have made much of an impact, but heigh ho...). I'd like to find peaceful ways to respond to the current global injustices, which is one of the reasons I joined here.
I also agree with your emphasis on self-care, Russell. I definitely notice that my ability to respond skillfully to these kinds of challenges really depends on how much effort I've been putting into keeping up my meditation practice and taking care of myself.