Something to think about?

In the reality of … rising homelessness, war refugees, addiction, climate refugees; increasing hatred at work, school board meetings, local community gatherings; escalating polarization among family members, religious communities, cities / towns / villages, many are experiencing grief at a profound, often inexplicable level.

It is a grief that is different than the grief experienced after personal loss (death of a loved one, limb, ability, relationship, home, job). It is a grief that rises when hearts are heavy from the hurt and pain due to witnessing hate, racism, injustice and discrimination in our local community, on the news, in person, in social media.

Francis Weller, in “The Wild Edge of Sorrow,” writes that it is “difficult to walk down the street and not feel the collective sorrows of homelessness or the economic insanity revealed in commercialism and consumerism. It takes everything we have to deny the sorrows of the world.”

So if you’re wondering why you’re feeling more tired; your body is hurting; you’re experiencing confusion, unusual anger, impatience, loss of sleep (or inability to sleep), headaches, resentment at life’s ‘little things’ etc., (and you’ve not lost your job, a relationship, a loved one etc), it could very well be the consequence of collective sorrow – corporate grief.

What to do about it? Three suggestions: … we can “turn off” for a bit of a break – retreat from social media, don’t enter conversations that cause distress … we can become a supporter, ally, listener, financial contributor of people/causes that touch our soul … we can talk to someone we trust, as simply ‘naming’ the grief/feelings can release some of their grip on us.

And if/when mental health concerns surface, we can … speak with a health care professional … focus on balancing the sorrows of the world with moments of gratitude, experiences with nature, gentle moments with ourself while enjoying a craft / art / music / hobby / reading.

Focusing on all that is happening in the world can be a double-edged emotional sword. It can both trigger past grief, cause fear and sense of hopelessness and lead to deep emotional trauma … and it can promote into action. Action via peaceful protest … contacting political leaders … becoming involved in the political process … learning about Restorative Justice programs in the community … speaking out by writing letters to the editor in local newspapers, being witnesses to the truth … and more.

Corporate grief is real. While sorrows of the world have always existed, today’s social media world and the exploding world of AI bring those sorrows in our living rooms, on our phones, even on our watches. It’s up to us as to how we handle the sense of corporate grief that is palpable, visible, here-and-now.

May we be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the reality of corporate grief and then take steps to do what we can to move us beyond a sense of helplessness and hopelessness; be part of the witness; and do what we can to raise consciousness, bring truth to the lies, and work towards change within ourselves – not so we stop being compassionate beings, but so we can be / continue to be concerned about, care for, advocate on behalf of those people and situations without being crippled by the communal grief.

© June Maffin

<Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash – used with permission>