When Ed mentioned the recycling effort he is leading at church he sounded so heavy, he had the voice of Sisyphus, the Greek hero condemned to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity.
I could easily picture the situation. Itâ€™s the end of an event at his church and he notices that there are lots of recyclables in the trash. He doesnâ€™t want to be shaming people or tutting over the trash, but he canâ€™t help but groan. Maybe it sounds petty, but he feels mad and despairing about the lack of participation in recycling.
What seemed to really sting Ed was that this project was testing his hope for the future of the planet.
This year Iâ€™ve had a surprising number of similar conversations with other people about their own recycling efforts. Anyone working to change just about anything probably encounters Edâ€™s dilemma at some point.
We need to nourish our hope and sense of meaning and connection as much as we need to take action.
Whenever we take on something that is bigger than ourselves we need the support of the forces that created us. Feeding our sense of connection and meaning with to the story of life is as essential as recycling.
Take a moment to fill up.
Spend some time outside. Connect with your loved ones.
Reconnect with the universeâ€™s fundamental desire to be in movement, to be flowing and evolving. Dance around your kitchen. For some mysterious reason â€œWho Stole the Kishka?â€ is my go-to polka music when I need to stir up a dance in my house.
Read things that inspire you. Ed and I met at a theological book group exploring how we perceive and name the wholeness of the cosmos.
What if our efforts to spur recycling, or to work on any big change, also included filling up on meaning and connection together? Does that give you more energy?
p.s. This weekend I am presenting alongside theologian Ilia Delio at the Wisdom Ways Fall Soul Conference. Her work is helping me connect my meditative movement practices to a larger evolution of thought. Because it can be hard to figure out how to live what is so inspiring on the page, I will be there to echo her work through movement and creativity.
Overwhelmed or stuck? I also work with individuals.