My Election Commitment. Join Me.

By August 31, 2016 5 Comments

Hrs of Action=Hrs of Worry 2

Today, I’m inviting you to join me in a commitment.

As some of you have read about here, for the past several months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, worried about what’s happening in our U.S. election.

In July, during one of my nights awake, something interesting happened.

As I stared into the night sky, suddenly a string of words – a thought – arose in my mind.

It came from a soft voice I’ve heard before. That voice is always quiet but firm, matter-of-fact. It never needs more than a few words to say what it has to say. And, interestingly, it shows up more when I’m praying or meditating more frequently.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve come to pay close attention to it.

That night it said this:

“Make the hours of your action equal to the hours of your worry.”

I understood that to mean:

Tara, however many hours you are going to spend ruminating
about the dangers of what’s happening, or venting about them,
spend at least that amount of time doing something that
could make a positive difference.

It suddenly felt clear to me that this is what it means for me to be responsible about what is happening in our country right now. And it also felt clear that this was one of the only ways I was going to find sanity around it.

So then and there, I committed to make the hours of my action equal those of my worry.

The “worrying” side of the ledger includes anything I do around the election that will have no practical impact on its outcome: lamenting or ridiculing what “the other side” just did. Consuming media that largely does the same. It includes any form of preaching to the converted. All of those go on the unproductive side of the tally.

On the other side is volunteering, donating, fundraising, speaking up in ways that I think could matter, and listening in ways that I think could matter.

None of the “worrying” activities are bad. They each have their functions – some educational, some therapeutic. But in this critical time, I believe there is no excuse for making them one’s primary form of engagement.

Here’s a summary of what’s on each side of the tally, for me.


Like so many of the kinds of positive action we talk about in the Playing Big model, the things we do on the “making a difference” side of the ledger may feel a little uncomfortable or scary at first, but ultimately are much more fulfilling, fun and interesting. There is lots of new learning – about yourself and other people – that comes from the activities on the “action” side. Not so much on the other side.

I also encourage you to look at the beliefs you hold as you are taking action – or the beliefs that may hold you back from taking action. For women, “playing small” narratives like these often get in our way around political involvement:


Today, I want to ask you to join me.

In making the hours of your action equal to – or more than – the hours of your worry.
In playing bigger in how you contribute to what is happening in our collective conversation and society right now.

Share this with your friends if you’d like them to join, too. Forward to a friend who you’d love to see speaking up more. Share this challenge with your community on Facebook here, or on Twitter here.

This is going to take all of us.


Tara Sophia Mohr

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Thank you for this! What a great way to look at how we can make a difference in any area that “concerns” us. I have been concerned and somewhat active off an on over the past several years regarding food choices that people make, how most of the time it is very unconscious and how important the food we eat is for our physical, mental and spiritual health. I also had that “voice” let me know what the best approach is for me, and I’m taking action!

  • Hi Tara…Please continue to work to encourage your generation of women. There are many great organizations that promote our causes and are in need of fresh ideas. We need more women to be on city and local Advisory Boards as well.

  • selena says:

    Great insight as always Tara. Years ago I unplugged my television and put it in the closet. I then realized I felt happier, spent more time in the library and bookstores, more time walking in the park and writing and stopped eating foods that were unhealthy. It’s amazing how much the media influences our thoughts and our lifestyles and how we spend our precious time. Resulting in my spending more time inventing solutions, rather than mulling over the same problems. By the way, the television is still in the closet gathering dust.

  • Ivy says:

    Thank you for putting words to something I’ve been practicing for a few years as part of self-care. Some time ago, I was drawn to ask myself after a round of bitterly complaining about some political something; “So what are you going to do about it?”

    This has been so healing for me, as I get to release myself from being personally invested (read: angry) about things that I am not doing anything about (Other than voting. Of course, voting.) I focus instead on the places where I can make a difference, and mostly tune out the other things. My primary passion is the environment. Local politics and local activism are my scale of care. Realigning my career to these values has been a wonderful shift for me. This is what I can do, and what I can change. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished in the last few years, even if it is all very small in the geopolitical sense.

    I do still vent about global things that I am not doing anything about. But at the end of each vent comes the unspoken question, …and what are you doing about it? If the answer is “nothing”, I gently direct myself back to focusing on where I CAN and already DO make a difference. If the answer is “I want to fix all the things!” then I ask myself what to focus on first, and what I can take off my plate to increase the time I can give to that fixing.

  • Sharon says:

    Your message, “Make the hours of your action equal to the hours of your worry,” has given me instant relief and a tangible way forward from what was becoming a chronic case of anxiety about me, our environment, our society and the inhuman system we’ve tacitly nurtured. Thanks.

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