The pain awareness brings

One of the things I knew I wanted to work on in my time away from Jenson is the anger I hold inside me.

An anger that I know drives a lot of my feelings of frustration towards others. But an anger I know is really an anger I hold against myself.

And it’s an anger that I feel at myself for having heard but not listened to the environmental crisis that we’ve known about for decades.

I remember learning about greenhouse gases at secondary school, so I can’t claim to not have known about what was going on.

But I didn’t act.

I’ve been aware for years that most rubbish goes into landfill or is burnt.

But I still chose to fill up my bin indiscriminately with single-use plastics and things I’ve cast aside after limited use.

I’ve known about the injustices that go with the earth’s exploitation – slavery, poverty, bribery, corruption.

But I still selected products that I wanted (the mac I use for blogging a prime example) regardless.

When I think about these things, I feel incredibly sad.

I feel the pain I’ve inflicted to the world.

And it makes me cry, to feel incredible sadness when I sit with this pain.

I know this pain is available to me because of the awakening and connection I’ve had to nature in the past few months.

I feel how nature – trees, flowers, grass, woods, stones, mountains, insects, animals – are all alive.

They don’t live at the same frequency as us – they grow slower, communicate differently – but that doesn’t mean they’re any less alive or worthy or important.

And it’s our folly to think otherwise.

In treating them all as second class citizens (or not citizens of this world at all) we’ve arrived at this knife-edge of human viability, faced with irreversible climate change and mass bio-diversity loss.

In knowing this, I sense why other people might not be able face into this pain.

Because doing so requires us to take responsibility for what we’ve done – at an individual and collective level – and that is hard.

But in writing this, I recognise that I’m taking on responsibility for the whole of humankind and our collective responsibility for getting into this mess.

And this responsibility is not mine to hold alone. To try to do so is destructive and paralysing.

It’s too much for me to feel.

It’s not mine to hold alone.

It stops me from being as effective, strategic and powerful as I could be in taking action.


In realising this, I know I need to sit with how I’m feeling some more.

I need to contemplate how I might I step out of this anger and burdensome responsibility, not to cast it aside, but to stop myself being overwhelmed and unable to act.

I know I need to practice self-forgiveness and compassion – even just holding my hands at my heart daily and saying ‘I forgive you‘ will be a start to this.

I also wonder how I can use this insight – the pain this work brings – to find a way of helping others to look into the situation without paralysis and overwhelming pain or avoiding any responsibility at all.

And I know I need to dance daily to work negative energy out of my body. To shake off the anger and the frustration and to step into the joy that this work can bring – being whole with nature, living a sustainable life at all levels, feeling the joy that deepened connections to all life forms brings to my life.

This isn’t work that will be done in a day. It’s work that will take time.

Being aware of what is going on is the first step.

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There’s no planet B

Our planet…it’s the only one we’ve got. And although I’ve written about ways to save our planet before, I feel compelled to write again about the predicament we’re in.

If we don’t halt greenhouse emissions within just shy of 11 years, we’ll be subject to chain reactions that will change the future of humanity forever.

Famine

Drought

Cities under water

Natural disasters at an even greater scale

And yet, I don’t see anything changing in our economics, in politics, in many people’s day-to-day actions.

And I get it.

It seems like it’s too big an issue – that we’re living in a slo-mo sci-fi movie where the issues are so huge that it’s debilitating. And small scale action seems pointless.

But it’s not.

We can all make a difference by adopting changes in life on an individual level:

  • Going vegan (or reducing our meat/dairy consumption).
  • Reducing what we buy – stopping going in for fast fashion.
  • Changing our habits – whether that’s ditching cellophane or starting to compost
  • Reducing the amounts of flight we take (I’m guilty of this one!)

There are so many ways to make a difference – this article by Virgin highlights some steps you can take to reduce your impact.

But we also need wide-scale change at a political level too:

  • Changing how governments measure success – from economic growth to removal of C02 production
  • Investing in ways to solve climate change, new tech and cultural hacks
  • Considering how to reward those whose lifestyles are kinder to the environment

We can be involved in the above by contacting our politicians and letting them know that we want them to take the environment seriously. If enough of us raise our voice, we can make a difference.

Will you join me?

I’m counting on it, because we have no planet B