Feeling Helpless When Things Are Out of Our Control – Globally and Personally
I see the outpouring of compassion and concern for Ukraine all over social media. It’s heartwarming to see, yet it is horrifying to be sitting safely in our homes knowing the gigantic level of suffering occurring across the globe, or the country next door. Our vulnerable population is being attacked and what can we do? The more we read and watch the news, the more horrified we feel. While most of us aren’t in the position to be boots-on-the-ground to help, we can certainly provide support to those that are.
Donate - Even if you have just a few dollars to contribute, it can make a positive impact. I chose to give to Together Rising a non-profit organization that has partnered with World Jewish Relief and Direct Relief, who immediately responded with an initial $250,000 to Ukraine. Both organizations are uniquely positioned to help because they were already embedded in the Ukrainian communities. This most recent donation allows them to provide the most urgent needs including food, medical supplies and medical care, and psychological support. Even donating a few dollars can support these organizations in making a profound positive impact. You can check out Together Rising at togetherrising.org/give. (I was able to connect with their donations page after a few clicks using the Foxfire browser.) Of course, a quick online search will lead you to many organizations. Donating is a powerful act; do your homework so that you know where your resources are going.
The power of prayer – There are different types of prayer, and whether your prayer is to a particular God or Deity or is more of a meditation, I believe that it is the intention behind the prayer that is powerful. Even if you are feeling helpless in the face of world crises and events, offering a prayer or meditation for peace and holding that sacred space can be impactful.
What about other times in our lives when someone we care about is in crisis and we feel helpless? I recently came across a brilliantly crafted Facebook post that compared the crisis in the Ukraine to an abusive relationship to explain the current conflict. There is profound similarity between world events, community issues, and personal relationships and challenges. From the macro to the micro, there is commonality and connection across our planet. I’ve copied the following post in its entirety. I am grateful for Keonte McDonald’s poignant words:
Part 1 – “Russia and Ukraine in Simple Terms” - as compared to an abusive relationship
Ukraine used to be in an abusive relationship with Russia, feeding him, letting him use her car & giving him whatever he asked for until she built up the confidence to call it quits back in 1991.
Since then, Ukraine has been working on herself, becoming a strong independent woman with help from friends like France, America, Poland etc. offering her support, loaning her money, & helping her find her way.
Ukraine has been enjoying being single for 30 years & looking forward to continuing to grow & create new friendships.
Now Russia being the toxic Ex that it is wants her back and doesn’t want her meeting new people or creating any new relationships.
A couple of weeks ago Russia started sitting in the front of Ukraine’s house & when her friends ask him what he was doing there, he said “Oh nothing, just getting a little bit of exercise in, that’s all.”
After her friends told her that Russia was potentially getting ready to do something bad to her, he said “They’re lying, they just want you to be scared of me & that’s not what it is”
Yesterday Russia broke into Ukraine’s house, beating her up & “taking advantage” of her while on Livestream & double dog daring any of her friends to do something about it & if they do want the smoke, Russia got that thang on him. - By Keonte McDonald
McDonald’s analogy was followed by this equally powerful Facebook post. If you can identify the author, please contact me so I can credit them.
Part 2 – “Russia and Ukraine’s Breakup, Keeping it simple” – Author Unknown
Earlier this week Russia broke into Ukraine’s house, pushed her around and broke a bunch of her stuff, laughing about it. Of course, she called 911 to get help. The officer taking the report said he’d try to help her but don’t count on 24/7 protection. For one thing, apparently, she is not an official member of the neighborhood security club. You have to pay dues to get someone to come over and punch him in the nose. And even though she is very pretty, she’s never been invited to join.
Meanwhile, her family members are furious about what is going on and have had some major meetings. It’s affecting the family business, and everyone stands to lose out if they keep fighting. Grandpa has said repeatedly he would have a stern talking to him. He also cut him off from doing business with just about everyone they know.
Some local friends got together too. Russia is big, burly and has a gang of thugs backing him. The friends really don’t work out that often and barely have gym clothes much less any real muscle development. They’re around but just doing a watch and see. Really not sure what they’ll do next.
So now Russia is hanging out in the vicinity most of the time and letting everyone know he still wants Ukraine to come back to him. Says he’ll do whatever is necessary and if he can’t have her, nobody can. - Author Unknown
Whether it’s on a global level, or closer to home, it’s incredibly heart wrenching to feel helpless when others are suffering or being unjustly victimized. So what can we do? Here are suggestions.
On a personal level:
Provide emotional support - You can’t get anyone to change their situation if they are not ready, but you can be there to listen and provide encouragement. If they are ready for change, you can help them to feel safe and secure and to call for assistance from professionals.
Gather information about available resources that can help – People are often unaware of the available resources or even how to navigate the system. You can help in mapping out a plan and leading the way. Research what is available and provide the information to the people you care about.
Become an advocate – There are many established organizations that can use your help. Simply Google the topic you are interested in. The world needs your passion and enthusiasm!
Consider helping people closer to home -- Who in your life could use your support but may not want to ask for help? You can provide a meal, care for animals, babysit, run an errand, provide transportation, etc. Even reaching out with a phone call, email, text, or card to let the person know you are thinking of them will let them know that they matter.
On a community level:
Join a community organization that is providing help for a cause you believe in. There are many community organizations needing volunteers including walking shelter dogs, visiting nursing homes, fostering animals needing a home, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, providing a foster home to children, youth programs. . . the list is endless.
Is a needed resource missing in your community? Reach out to friends, neighbors, and other members of the community to solicit help to meet this need. It is likely there are grants you can apply for, to gain the financial assistance to get a program up and running. You can truly effect impactful change!
Share information and education about a cause that is important to you. The more awareness around the cause, the more support and action you can create in others.
Provide financial support – Even small amounts are helpful. Do your research to ensure your money is going to a legitimate organization.
Donations - While local organizations often welcome and need donations of food, clothing, etc., some larger organizations will spend more money transporting goods to locations in need. Check with organizations you trust to see what is most helpful in that moment.
On a global level:
Provide financial support – There are 100’s of agencies and organizations doing amazing things in the world. Research the legitimacy first, then contribute.
Volunteer to provide help if you have the time and ability to travel. -- Join the Peace Corps, military, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, or the many other organizations that have boots-on-the ground.
Hold space daily for prayer or meditation.
Whether you want to help on a large scale or simply send prayers, meditations, and good vibes, you are still doing your part to raise the vibration of the planet, one person at a time, one moment at a time.