I am concerned, as many others are, about climate change, peak oil, and the economic ups and downs in the world. Every generation seems to have its challenges. During my parents’ childhoods, the challenges were the Depression and World War II. Now we face the depletion of resources and the degradation of our planet.
Whenever I despair, even a little, about these issues, I rein myself in and focus on whatever small thing is in front of me. The problems are so very big that I often feel overwhelmed. Pulling my thinking into the immediate work in front of me helps me reorient myself to hope rather than despair. It doesn’t seem like much to take the small steps right in front of me but, amazingly, it is. There is no large undertaking that is not accomplished in small steps, one at a time.
It is important to take the steps we actually can take rather than berating ourselves for the steps we cannot manage. If I feel overwhelmed, I need to look for the smallest step that I can manage without feeling stressed. After that step is completed, and after taking a moment to celebrate its completion, I can then look for the next small step. As I do this I build, at the same time, both hope and whatever I am specifically working on.
Think about how many human beings are on this planet. Many of them are also taking small steps. We may not see them, but we can be sure that they are there. If we can let go of all that is not being done and focus instead on adding our own small steps, we can become calmer, more peaceful, more hopeful, and that state of mind allows us to move from one small effort to the next. As we offer our small steps and others offer theirs, we will all weave together solutions to our challenges.