I have the BBC app on my phone, and have it set to receive notifications whenever there is breaking news. And lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of notifications. There has been so much violence lately, reaching all around the world and affecting people everywhere. It has been shocking and scary. I have been filled with sadness for the people I don’t know who have lost their lives, filled with grief for families who have lost their loved ones, and filled with concern for our world in general.
But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that after a while, the shock lessens. Each time my phone buzzes with news of another attack or chaotic event, I find myself less and less affected–despite the fact that with each event, more of the world is affected.
I think this is an experience that many people can relate to. The thing about having consistent chaos in our lives or in our media is that we can quickly become desensitized. Instead of seeing lives affected, we see numbers of death tolls rise, statistics shift, another something somewhere that somehow feels less impactful or heartbreaking.
So what do we do about this? How can we prevent becoming acclimatized to violence or tragedy?
I don’t think the answer is a quick one. There is no app to download for it or formula to make sure we are still fully feeling and engaging with the events of the world. But something that I have learned at Spirit of the Land is that connecting with people and the stories of their lives is an excellent place to start.
Learning to garden, observe the seasons, and recognize the shifts and patterns in nature has helped me connect to the land that I have mostly ignored (or rather, been pretty oblivious to) for much of my life. As such, my responses to disasters, environmental issues, and the nature that surrounds me have changed. Because I am learning to be more connected and aware, I cannot easily become desensitized. I think this works the same way with people; in our lives, we can see many personal examples of this. When something happens to a family member or friend, regardless of how many other things are happening in the world, we feel it deeply. While I am not saying that we need to be deep friends with everyone in the world, I do think that falling in love with the world and the people in it has a lot to do with the cure to desensitization.
Sometimes when we hear about war-torn areas of our world, or consistent shootings, or really any recurring violence, that is all we know of a people or a place. A challenge I have decided to take upon myself, and a challenge I want to issue to all of you, is to get connected. To get to know more about these places and people that are experiencing these difficult times.
Lately, I have been thinking about the Middle East a lot. You know, the war-torn area that we don’t hear much about beyond the terrible events that happen there. But what do we really know about it? How connected are we? And if we are not connected, how can we help but skim over headlines and become
But if we stop and connect…if we stop to learn more about it, have our hearts opened to a place and a people, things change. The numbness that once existed suddenly dissolves, and we are just a bit more connected.
For me, this has been happening with the Middle East. The beautiful pictures in this post are pictures from there, that have helped me connect and see what the media does not allow us to see. I hope they can help you connect a little bit more, too. (All images from a user I found on instagram, everydayafg. Check it out for more stunning images!)