by Carol Hohle
Website Designer & Crusader at InspiredtoGive.org
This site is going to talk a lot about “spiritual muscle” — that inner resolve and source of inspiration that enables us to do what we do and to keep on working for the greater good. Everyone needs spiritual muscle. Volunteers, activists and community organizers especially need it. And, the good news is that everyone has it … it’s just that we need to be more aware of it and keep it toned.
Thich Nhat Hanh, well-known Zen master, was quoted in The Guardian a few years ago saying “Activists have to have a spiritual practice in order to help them to suffer less, to nourish the happiness and to handle the suffering so they will be effective in helping the world. With anger and frustration you cannot do much.” [And, I’d add exhaustion too!]
Josh Fox, director of Gasland, spoke profoundly about spiritual muscle and its qualities in his recent documentary “How To Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.”
The film begins with Josh dancing a jig in his beloved creek. He’s celebrating a modest victory – fracking in his region has been banned. His creek is saved. He’s rescued his little part of the world and would like to live out the rest of his days there and be happy.
The thrill is short lived as he realizes he can’t close out the rest of the world and the work that needs to be done to make the world a better place. Feelings of sadness begin to overwhelm him. But in the middle of his sorrow a moment of insight breaks through. He asks himself, “What are the things climate change can’t destroy? What are the parts of us that are so deep that no storm can take them away? Let me think on those things.”
With that simple, inspired idea Josh becomes energized to find out what values can be re-imagined to make today a better day and place. He starts interviewing individuals and communities that are turning the corner of isolation and depletion and building anew. He discovers a set of principles/values underlying their actions and maintaining their sense of well-being. They include spiritual qualities such as Resilience, Courage, Innovation, Love, Creativity. And, he exposes the counter forces attempting to keep us isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world.
The documentary is a tapestry of hope and comfort. It offers a template, a set of ingredients, for building the spiritual muscle that must be a part of the work in shifting our own and humanity’s collective values and behaviors to live more lightly and lovingly on Earth.
How to Let Go of the World
is screening in theaters around the world
and streaming on iTunes, HBO and Amazon Prime
There are other stories on this site, people like Josh, who are tending to their spiritual muscle and making an important contribution in their communities. Check out the blog category “People Making a Difference” and join the conversation here or on our Facebook Page.
How do you maintain and build your spiritual muscle? What keeps you resilient?
Leave your reply/comments below or on our Facebook page.