The curse and gift of eco-awareness
“As the ecological mesh that holds us, falls apart, As the animals leave us, As our hearts grow heavy with grief, As the trance that has bound us to this world unravels, What then?”
Recently, at a workshop run by the 4 Idiots, I surrendered myself to my ecological grief. I allowed myself to sit with the gaping bleakness; the tangled suffocation of frustration; the deep and paralyzing fear for my children; the guilt and shame of my complicity to the devastation of the earth.
Through myth, song, connection with nature and ritual we sat with the darkness. And then we gently stirred the metaphorical embers and set a fire of compassion and courage in our hearts as we imagined what the future called for.
We’re talking about a future in which we will almost certainly see the collapse of civilisation as we know it as temperatures rise, the ice caps melt and cause sea levels to rise, methane is released and adds to the greenhouse effect leading to further temperatures rises, soil dries up, forests burn, more plants, animals and insects die, more species are wiped out. We can expect unrest, food shortages, water shortages, huge levels of displacement and migration, and likely war. And in the worst case scenario, human extinction.
To those of you hearing this reality for the first time, I’m sorry. Not for writing the words as I believe the truth is necessary, but for what is to come for you. The burden of eco-awareness is great especially in those early days as the carpet is swept from under us and we try to regain our footing in this new paradigm. But being awake to the truths of the environmental crisis is both a curse and a gift.
It’s a huge burden to bear that can sit heavily, especially when mixed with a sense of isolation from those who are yet to hear and acknowledge the depth of the problem. It is also a gift. Of authenticity, clarity of purpose and above all – presence – a renewed commitment to being in the moment and appreciating each new day that we wake and get to live a little more. This gift has emboldened me to make some big life decisions that will bring presence and connection into our family life with greater ease. So that we might enjoy the life that we have, with the people and the earth that we love, as deeply and meaningfully as possible.
By making space for our difficult feelings around the ecological crisis – the anger, despair, fear, frustration, guilt, shame and desolation – we also make space for something else. Something beautiful and precious and full of awe and wonder. We make space for life, and a willingness to truly live it.
If you are feeling effected by the climate crisis, please don’t be alone. The Climate Resilience Community is a Facebook group I started recently to help members strengthen resilience and feel empowered amidst the chaos. It is a space to share freely what is coming up for you, develop emotional wellbeing practices and to be part of a meaningful community who understand where you’re at.
I also offer emotional resilience e-courses and 1-1 climate grief therapy. Find out how you can work with me here.
For additional therapy options you can contact the Climate Psychology Alliance here.