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June 13, 2022

A note from Hildy about the state of the world

My Friends,

Given the circumstances of the past few weeks and months, I wanted to send a note to check in with you.

How are you doing?

During the early days of the pandemic, my friend Tom Dawkins noted that in normal times, people use “How are you doing?” as a greeting, not really expecting a reply. (Technically, he used the Australian expression, “How are you going?”) “Now, though,” Tom told me, “people are asking - and they really want to know.”

And so, as the sad news just keeps mounting, I’m asking because I really want to know…

How are you doing?

If you're like me, perhaps you’re feeling exhausted. Bereft. Unable to focus. Hard to get motivated. Perhaps even crying easily.

This past few weeks and months have been so difficult. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. That makes it even more frustrating for those of us who have dedicated our lives to alleviating suffering and creating a more humane, healthy, equitable world. For you especially, I want to know…

How are you doing?

It is so important to acknowledge that all of us, everywhere around the world, are going through really tough stuff. We barely get past one horrific news story, and the next one is on its heels. We are living with economic uncertainty, environmental calamity, fear for our personal safety and the safety of those we love.

And we are all feeling it. Amanda Gorman's recent poem Hymn for the Hurting begins with the words, “Everything hurts.” That sums it up so succinctly. Every time we think we can’t possibly hurt more or be more exhausted by it all, we are sadly proven wrong.

It is our humanity that makes us hurt so badly. It is the compassion of our better angels that creates those tears. It is our disbelief that people could act so horribly to each other, our deep knowledge that we can do better.

It is why you do the work you do. It is why you follow our work here at Creating the Future, to get a sense of what is possible, to try to make things better. The sadness is, in its own strange way, part of our strength as changemakers. As the ending of Amanda Gorman’s poem tells us, “Only when everything hurts may everything change.”

The work now is not just about whatever issues you are addressing in your day job. It is first and foremost about taking care of yourself. In the phrasing of Catalytic Thinking, it’s about noting that your own conditions for success may simply be the ability to keep going.

That work is about staying as healthy as you can, in mind, body, and spirit. The first step may just be to cut yourself some slack. We are all in mourning, all grieving a loss that instead of lessening, seems to compound week after week.

If your brain isn’t able to focus, if you’re forgetting things, if you can’t find simple words, if your motivation is shot – that is normal. Stop expecting yourself to be okay. Give yourself more rest than you might need in “normal” times.

None of this will make the global situation better. But it may just give you the strength to keep going, to keep doing the work.

If it is helpful, use whatever resources you find at our website. That’s why it’s all there. The archives of our eJournals, the encouragement of conversations found in our blogs and our podcasts.

If you feel up to it, find healing in other people. (And if you don’t feel up to it, don’t punish yourself. That’s part of resting!). That could be as simple as picking up the phone to tell the people you love that you love them. Those are the voice messages people keep forever. You can give that to them. Because they're hurting, too.

None of this will magically make the global situation better. It won't stop the war in Ukraine, the shootings in America, the anguish in Palestine. It won't stop global warming or the results of centuries of colonialism.

But hopefully, it will give you the strength to keep going, to keep doing the work our world needs from all of us right now. Hopefully taking that pause, you can ask the people you love - and maybe even a stranger in the grocery store…

How are you doing?

Which is what we are asking you. If you have a moment, hit reply to this note. Let us know how you are doing.

Because we really want to know.

With deep appreciation for your commitment to creating a better world,


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Teach people how to change the systems they find themselves in,
to create a future different from our past -
all by changing the questions they ask.

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