“Integrity vs. Despair”

Carol A. Hand

The mean(ingless)-stream media circus continues
Celebrating the latest ignorance and cruelty
Seas, air and land poisoned by hubris and greed
Drones and bombs shredding lives and livelihoods
Millions of refugees searching for shelter
I feel the earth crying out to awaken our hearts
It’s more than enough to foster sorrow and hopelessness

***

crouching child

***

As a woman of little importance I still have a choice
to resist that temptation
for the sake of my grandchildren and yours
As a simple teacher and storyteller I can give voice
to the suffering and wisdom of my ancestors
to the fleeting fragile beauty present, now, everywhere
to clear visions of the peaceful world that could yet be

***

***

Each one of us who resists despair
adds a bit of light to the world

***

Note:

The title, “integrity vs. despair” is drawn from Erik Erikson’s theory on human personality development. It’s the eighth and final stage, according to Erikson, that begins when people come to terms with their own mortality.

 

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46 thoughts on ““Integrity vs. Despair””

  1. Wonderful and concise as always…I’m watching the circus and the collapse unravelling before my eyes from the momentarily “safe” Canada and my heart aches with each new “news” and changes made to the small advances Earth and humans have had in the past decades…more and more countries falling under famine and wars due to climate-change caused droughts, more biodiversity disappearing while more inequality is raising…all this along with my now chronic health issues have had me far from my blogs except the occasional post. I’ve found peace in my home with my little family of humans, animals and plants and at work where while not perfect, I am at least surrounded by good people with good intentions…
    Since I was very little, I learned to seek refuge not only in nature but also in the knowledge of the big and small things: knowing that this too shall pass and other systems and structures and patterns will come…that suffering and destruction, even death are part of life and sometimes they give birth to new, amazing forms (revolutions?)
    I’m currently taking a great course online, you may enjoy it too: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/journey-of-the-universe

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hearing from you and reading your posts are always such gifts, Silvia. Despite the circus, last week I would have said I felt safe in my somewhat progressive little city. But today I just can’t. Poisoned oceans, air, and land and wars everywhere tell me that no one is safe anywhere. Honestly, yesterday I found myself wishing for a community I could run to with like-minded people to build what could be. Of course, that didn’t work for me in the past. Instead, I try to remain present, hopeful, and productive in the tragic gap between what is and what could be. I edit my book manuscript, plant seeds indoors to transplant when spring arrives here hopefully at the end of May, and try to be patient and kind.

      I am writing a story of hope and resilience despite trauma and oppression. For now the fire in my heart when I edit tells me it’s important. I would love to enroll in the course you suggested, but I’m a bit overloaded editing, teaching, and grandparenting. I do look forward to reading what you post on your blog, though. I send you love and healing thoughts, dear friend. I am grateful to you for the work you do. It’s so important. ❤

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  2. A GREAT post. Quote: “The mean(ingless)-stream media circus continues
    Celebrating the latest ignorance and cruelty
    Seas, air and land poisoned by hubris and greed
    Drones and bombs shredding lives and livelihoods
    Millions of refugees searching for shelter
    I feel the earth crying out to awaken our hearts
    It’s more than enough to foster sorrow and hopelessness”

    We can dream, we can pray, we can wish (upon whatever) but what is to be, is going to be. The course for the downfall of this particular global human civilization is set and locked. There is no magic known to men, demons or deities that can alter what is to come. Man chose to put greed in charge of his, and his earth’s, welfare. The result is endemic corruption in all places of power and that corruption will eat man and his world until it starves itself out. This isn’t going to happen overnight: little movements, little innovations among the great morass of growing chaos will slow down the implosion; giving hope to some. They will eagerly point at such events as if they were earth saving, but all they will be is another leaky lifeboat to cling to until it too sinks beneath the waves. These are my visions, but they do not lead me to despair at all, for after this great tribulation (in which people are NOT victims, but free-will participants having chosen this path) there is a truly bright future for mankind and for this world. That too I have seen. Meanwhile I’m choosing to disconnect more and more from the ruling Matrix to focus on taking full responsibility for what I think, say, and do, giving help where needed, wanted or possible… ‘Think cosmically, act locally’ as a slogan has never meant as much to me as it does now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Sha’Tara. I do agree with your assessment. All we can do is be present, compassionate, and constructive without any illusions that what we do will save anyone else or the world. Perhaps we will touch others with our example to do likewise, but if we do, we’ll probably never know. There are blessed souls who radiate love and kindness despite all the greed and chaos. I saw two yesterday, and even though they didn’t know it, their presence touched my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Micki. I love your blog. I wasn’t able to “like” the post I just read because I’m not on Facebook, but the poignant review of your book is thoroughly engaging. 🙂

      Like

  3. Is Erickson not talking about a person examining her/his own life? Not sure why he sets up despair against integrity unless it is specifically about personal despair over how one is/has lived and then, unchallenged, prevents change. Not sure how the broader context of the social order/disorder fits. I think that despair can be valid as a desperate stage that leads to hope and thus to constructive social action sooner rather than too late. Is there not always a yin/yang thing going on? As Arlo Guthrie once remarked, “You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” As always Carola, your reflections are thought provoking. Thank you for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for raising important questions, Bob. Erikson’s theory is based on personality development across the lifespan. His theory was unique in that it viewed aging as an important stage in ongoing development unlike other theorists in his time. And yes, the final stage was an opportunity for older adults to look back over their lives. It can lead to gratitude, hope or despair. I like the Guthrie quote. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the poem . It gives hope for humanity and human values, I think although small , an individual effort do counts to make for a change, like your poem did to me 🙂 Will check out the theory as well, something new to learn about .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A strong poem and drawings (so pure). Thank you.
    You made me remember a day when I had to go somewhere I hadn’t been before. A woman passed me by and said hello. I asked why, because I thought she had mistaken me for someone else. But she answered me that she just thought that I could use a friendly hello. I wish you a lovely day, Hanneke

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments, Diana. In all honesty, I can’t take credit for the phrase “a woman of little importance.” A long time ago I read a book that was transformative – “A woman of no importance: A novel,” by Allen Crafton and Robert E. Gard (1974). It’s a powerful story about the far-reaching legacy of a simple woman who merely lived her life lovingly despite disappointment and adversity.

      I also need to tell you how much I admire your skill as a writer. The process of editing/revising shows me how much devotion and effort it takes to create. And you do it exquisitely. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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