In-Sourcing Blog

We can’t allow ourselves to despair

Forgive the redundancy. I’m writing once again about keeping a positive attitude in the

face of worldwide chaos and the grey cloud of gloom that greets us as we open the

daily paper. It’s been a difficult month for those of us who take a hopeful and positive

stand about the future. But we must find a way to overcome the rising tide of despair

lest we lose heart.


The events change but the litany of horrors continues. Hostilities in Gaza and Ukraine

are overshadowed by genocide in the Sudan. A judge in Alabama issues a ruling that is

more fundamental Christian sermon than legal language. House Republicans vote down

the immigration bill they themselves offered months earlier. Cumulatively, the news can

be more anxiety producing than the overwhelmed mind can tolerate. Seemingly every

dinner party, conversation over coffee, fleeting eye contact with a stranger reading the

NY Times across the aisle on the Metro train, all conclude with a shrug of resignation,

the worsening headlines reflect the state of the world.


And so I ask myself the same essential question: how do I find happiness and live a

normal, decent life in the face of the chaos that knocks at the threshold of my insulated



My answer is fundamental to my way of life and the foundation of my practice. I am

grateful for all that is good in my life. I am mindful to expand my gratitude to the things

we often take for granted: a place to live, food on the table, dear friends and loving

family. Gratitude shapes my entire outlook on life.


When you think about it philosophically, our very existence is entirely gratuitous. Every

breath we draw is a gift, every moment of existence a blessing awakening us to a new



Of course I know that however bold and positive my intentions, I cannot singlehandedly

change the world. What I can do is acknowledge the problems… and direct the energy

that keeps us alive to the inner spirit where the motor whirs. That is where change and

positive results take hold and create purpose and meaning.


When my anger subsides and I am sitting quietly in my heart space, I take comfort in a

truism of life that has become increasingly clear as I grow older, and my perspective

widens; the same corrupt presidents and premiers who offend me with their egregious

ethical breaches are my most unforgettable teachers! When I trace the origin of the fear

and ignorance that leads them to their offensive, strident, polarized views, I try hard not

to see them as inherently evil but as victims of disorders that were learned. I want to

believe in a basic good that exists in all of us. Otherwise, what is the option, an

apocalypse that scorches the world.


I am not a religious person. (To be candid, I would be curious to see a statistic

balancing the massive loss of life in defense of one’s faith versus those “saved” by its

precepts.) But I do embrace a concept of my Jewish upbringing known as Tikkun Olam,

or “repairing the world.” It is based on the idea that we bear responsibility not only for

our own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large.

I’ve translated Tikkun Olam to my own daily meditation, concluding every session with

the phrase, “May I be a source of healing for all beings.” That is my bulwark against the

tide of hate, my commitment to making the world a better place. As best I can; however

small the gesture. And that is my answer to my conjectural cry of despair.

Give of yourself. Reach one person with a message of love, be it formless and



Choose to remain optimistic. Choose to uncover your own light, even if it merely flickers

in the fog. For humanity, for our planet, there is no other choice.