Activism: Both Outer and Inner Are Needed

Last night in my usual wee-hours awake-window, I googled “pandemic forgetfulness” to see if I was the only one. Nope, apparently an unusual degree of forgetfulness is a phenomenon that’s affecting many people. (Strange dreams are another widely documented Covid phenomenon, but I had already read about that in addition to experiencing it.)

The first article I visited from my search results was written by a woman who experienced not just the scatterbrained absentmindedness I’d been noticing in myself over the past year (I mean, above and beyond my usual degree of scatterbrained absentmindedness which admittedly is considerable), but an actual full-blown amnesia episode. That must have been quite scary but it sounds like she got some profound realizations from it.

Other articles from my search results confirmed that an increase in basic scatterbrained absentmindedness had become a fairly widespread pandemic phenomenon. This gave me permission to put away my low-grade nagging worry that I might be suffering from some early-onset dementia. (I still might be, but I choose to believe I’m not, and the articles helped bolster my chosen belief.)

Anyway! In this post I’m highlighting that first article (by the woman who experienced the amnesia episode) because she says something about activism that I can really relate to:

“Brother Toby of the Starcross Community, a monastic spiritual sanctuary, wrote recently that we need both strong, young, yang-oriented activists on the front lines of vital battles being fought now … and quieter, yin-oriented seniors to hold what Swedish economist Dag Hammarskjöld called ‘sanctuaries of peace.'”

I deeply appreciated reading this. Not that a person can’t do both forms of activism (and not that it is necessarily age-specific; I know lots of very elderly folks who continue to be very “outer” in their activism), but I’ve been noticing in myself a sort of inward-turning direction, while I see other people really being so much more out-there-in-the-world, and I’ve been giving myself a hard time about it. Reading this reminded me that the inner landscape is every bit as valid and necessary a front of activism as the outer.

(And I’m looking for the original quote from Brother Toby, and if I find it I will share it here.)

Further Exploration:

“Pandemic Stress Leads To Forgetting and Remembering: A frightening episode of Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) results in reflection” (Donna Baier Stein; “I know I’m not alone in experiencing stress levels that sometimes feel hard to bear these days. Strange dreams, anxiety attacks, insomnia. We each have ways of coping with COVID-19’s psychological impact, but earlier this summer my brain found an unusual retreat from the mayhem.”