Grief seems to evidence itself in behaviors of activists around me. Rather, it’s a choice to avoid that feeling that informs how an activist’s life unfolds.

When conducting business, talking to clients and meeting with prospective clients, I don’t pay attention to their internal psychodynamics. Still, I’m frequently astonished at the unique ways that clients think. My job involves guiding clients to achieve an overview of their project, business or business plan in order to translate it into a website navigation structure that provides both introduction and detail. Together we discover the right category names, sequence them and provide a cogent pathway for a visitor to walk. I marvel at the challenges this task presents to certain ways of thinking.

Compel a person to think both big picture and narratively when that person is used to thinking detail and/or associatively, and you can hear the gears grind as if they’ve never driven shift. With time, we finalize a plan, the staff creates a website and the client is happy. Working with people to put their best face forward, I see one of their best faces. I get a front row view of people’s dreams.

Evenings and weekends, I’m in a different world.

I find few small business people or entrepreneurs in political activism. No shop owners. Few business owners. Activists don’t dream in the way a person starting a business dreams. Activists yearn. They display little expectation that their desires will be achieved.

I sense that partly what compels an activist to engage in battles they rarely expect to win is an experience of certainty of loss. In other words, in the lives of activists is the sorrow they seek to address. In the heart of the activist is grief not grieved. There is a paradox here.

As activists, we seek to observe and experience in the society around us a transition to a more caring culture. We work hard to achieve this next step in the evolution of how humans treat humans. Yet, in our own lives, we are often stuck where we’ve felt personally aggrieved. We might be stuck in fury, stuck in sadness or just be stuck avoiding fear. Stuck, we seek unstuck by becoming activists. Only as activists, we often don’t expect to experience the change we seek.

Grieving, accepting the loss, forgiving …. one of two things might happen.

We might withdraw from being an activist, going into an endeavor with what seems like a more achievable dream, like the clients I see almost every day.

We might learn to love the fight. We might become activists that can see the changes as the changes happen. Leftists have difficulty seeing the change they seek. Their eyes are veiled.

Grieving might lighten up the Left.


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