Ukraine on the Brain

My thoughts and feelings are all over the place and I’m focusing my energy on not judging myself too harshly because of it. Over the past few weeks, it’s been hard for me to harness my attention long enough to get anything done, such as writing for this blog. But, alas, here I am. Sitting. Contemplating. Writing.

But, wait. I need another cup of coffee …

[20 minutes later]

…and so it goes.

Well, friends. I’m going to stop fighting it. I’ll be distracted and I’ll share what I can about my distraction, among other things. Maybe some of it will make sense. Maybe something will resonate with you. Or, maybe not. Either way, here I am, grammatical errors and all.

I have my to-do list. It’s right here in my phone. I’ve read it several times today. I’ve even started working on a few tasks. I start then I switch over to the YouTube tab on my laptop and watch a little more Ukraine footage. For a few minutes, I can’t look away. I think, “how awful,” or, “how incredibly sad,” or, “they are so brave,” or, “is it me or is Zelenskyy super attractive?” I feel desperately sad right before I feel outrageously angry and then, quite confusingly, a little turned on. I remember that whole business with DT trying to coerce Zelenskyy into framing Biden and his son (remember that?) and I want to kick and scream, for all the good that would do. Feeling things isn’t the same as DOING things and this is what’s thrown my brain into utter chaos. What can I actually DO????

This sense of helplessness, of smallness and insignificance – it’s not unfamiliar. I felt it right before I went vegan (and regularly since then) when I thought, what can I (little, old me) do about the billions of animals that are unceremoniously tortured and killed for no good reason? The only thing I could think of was to at least take some personal responsibility – at least I can do that. I can refrain from participating in torture and death. It’s something, isn’t it? It’s something … but, it’s definitely not enough. Not doing shitty things is not actually doing good. It doesn’t exactly make me a hero. It was just a place to begin.

Can anyone out there relate to this? Are you feeling a little distracted or extra sensitive, maybe since Russia invaded Ukraine? Do world events, largely outside of your control, tend to throw you off balance? I’d like to share a resource that is helping me address my current experience. Cup of Empathy is one of my favorite Nonviolent Communication resources. Marianne is a gentle soul and an excellent teacher. Check out her website and YouTube Channel for more information. Here’s a message I received from Cup of Empathy a few days ago:

A few reasons why it can be hard to deal with world news:

There is something abstract about it, because for the majority of us it is far away, and yet at the same time, we get live footage that is violent and very real. This might trigger a response of fear, and for some who might immediately repress this, a certain numbness.

The term ‘war’ is associated by the brain with high stakes and high unpredictability. This triggers the brain to explore all sorts of worst-case scenarios. This is not necessarily bad, but it can be exhausting when it starts to go in a loop.

There may be feelings of guilt around being relieved not to live where the violence is. And feelings of guilt for Russians towards those in Ukraine.

I’ve noticed both myself and many others to be affected by this.

A few steps you can take:

Put your hand wherever you notice the feelings the most and then take a moment breathing in and out a few times.

1) Check your feelings, do you feel:

  • tense? where in your body?
  • sad? where in your body?
  • powerless? where in your body?
  • angry? where in your body?
  • numb?

2) What is your abstract NVC need? Maybe it’s:

  • hope
  • safety
  • peace
  • empowerment
  • optimism
  • positivity
  • harmony
  • to be heard
  • or maybe something else?

For those of you familiar with my work, you’ll no doubt notice some similarities between what Marianne says and what I’ve said. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a foundational part of Conversations with a Friendly Vegan. Mindfulness is naturally interwoven in NVC.

You may also like...