I made several donations to a political cause I’ve recently become particularly keen on. I’m glad I made those donations, and I’ll probably make more in the near future. However, since doing so I’ve been inundated daily with emails from likeminded causes and candidates, all of which seem to share one common message: Be afraid!
I can’t really blame the writers of those emails for choosing this message. If I were involved directly in politics I’m sure complacency and disinterest would be as common a foe as those members of the other party. How do you get someone to care enough about something that can seem rather distant from their day-to-day lives to send you money? I’m sure I’d find myself reasoning: These good people are only complacent because they’ve taken for granted what could easily disappear with the single stroke of a politician’s pen. I’ll let them know how real that threat is, stir them from their comfort and calm, and move them to action!
Admittedly, the last few years have awakened me to the reality that certain things I took for granted, like democracy, were not forces of nature but the result of human choices, choices that apparently can change. I’m glad for that awakening, unnerving as it has sometimes been, but I’m still not a believer in the effectiveness of fear and anger as motivators. I have created nothing of value from either. No matter how agitated I am, no matter how riled to action I feel, I cannot begin to create anything worth sharing until I’ve returned to calm, until my mind is as still as the page is blank. The ideas will come soon enough, and then I’ll start following the best idea, and with a little luck find myself happily riding its momentum.
But first the calm. Calm is the friendliest mental position I can assume. It doesn’t require anything of anyone, including me. I know essays and stories are not the same as elections and governments, but creation is creation is creation. I had only become complacent about democracy because I forgot it was a creation. It was once just someone’s great idea, one that might have been borne from frustration but had to be realized from within a mind committed to the supremely friendly notion that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. How calming that must have been when the dreamer first dreamed this idea, to see that the best way to get along is to know that everyone matters.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.
Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence.
You can find William at: williamkenower.com