Despair as Liberator

Photo by Don Moseman

Like a lot of non-profit visionary leaders, I’ve been having “a moment.” The economic downturn, changes in the game, it’s having its way with me. One friend literally dreamt of two twisters headed toward a house of InterPlayers AND a plane crashing into the nearby woods AND the house slipping off its foundations into a nearby field. (I think it was intact).

I have few moments of real despair. How lucky is that? But as a non-profit visionary leader, “NPVL,” I recently experienced a big lurch of DESPAIR. Different from depression, despair is that  unmovable well of powerlessness. The gap between one’s vision and the needed resources can look like a chasm. The body does not like this (understatement). Anytime we hit a big UH-OH where we sense failure, doom, gloom, fatigue or hopelessness, the right brain goes crazy. The left brain gets super serious. Our fightin’, flightin’ amygdala and all her little evil twins jump up and down, scream, stab at things, and lose it. (Fortunately, all InterPlay possibilities).

Thank heaven I have more than a right brain or reptilian brain! I’ve got a whole brain, incredible tools, a GREAT community of practice and the special ingredient….a relationship with a higher (HELLO ARE YOU THERE?) Power… (oh, there you are…). Even with tools, FEAR and DESPAIR refuse no dancers. They got me. A pain stabbed my chest.

“Can it be so bad?” I asked. Checking things out with others, they answered back, “Yeah. Hard here too.” Reassuring, but the stab persisted. When it awoke me at 3:30 AM, I went to the altar of Google and entered DESPAIR. Despair, Inc: Demotivation posters appeared, the evil twin version of those corporate posters with motivational sayings. Finding the one on DESPAIR, it said, “It’s always darkest before it turns pitch black!” The laugh that erupted in me was the kind closest to tears. Hysteria? Relief? Truth!  Don’t ask me why pitch black was liberating or funny, but the fear bubble popped when I saw the light, also known as the pitch black. I had no other choice but to release my dread. Wheeeeeee.

Back at the ranch, the InterPlay team is in action using tools, connections and great body wisdom awareness to bridge the chasm. Lucky!

I attended the Applied Improvisation Network Conference in Portland, taught and connected with incredible people who, like me and you, are committed to applying the power of human creativity, interaction, and playful engagement. Perhaps you’ll connect with them too. Lucky!

I got to help launch the first gathering of the Portland InterPlay community, rounded up by Cassandra Sagan. Lucky!

I am strategizing ways InterPlay can move more of us from “I” to “We” in healthy, resourceful ways. Lucky!

I am planting seeds for greater multicultural and global InterPlay connections. Lucky!

I am hoeing the row for a garden where we can mentor 18-25 year olds. Lucky!

Besides all of this I am guided to Listen as much as possible. And to increase my gratitude and affirmation. And always always, to take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.

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