Every Day Is Earth Day
It was International Earth Day on Monday 22 April and climate change is very much on my mind, not only because of news of the extinction rebellion demonstrations but because the weather was unseasonally hot over Easter and it hasn’t rained properly where I live in weeks. It is more and more obvious our weather patterns are changing. I sit writing in my garden, feeling both blessed, by the beauty and abundance of life around me, and disturbed, by the lack of rain and the inaction of those in power and the carry-on-as-usual attitude in which I reluctantly participate. I can’t shake a constant underlying anxiety which fuels my wish to do as much as possible, but I ask myself, what does that mean?
When I watched David Attenborough’s latest programme on BBC iplayer, Climate Change: the facts and I heard how 11,000 bats died in one night, I experienced overwhelming pain, a sudden upwelling of emotion so intense it was frightening. I feel this regularly when I witness evidence of how humans have caused harm and destruction to other creatures, habitats and ecosystems across the globe. I also experience a resistance to feeling what arises as it arises because I don’t fully understand it and I have learned to fear what I do not understand. The pain feels like ‘mine’ and also not ‘mine’ simultaneously; It is not sentimental, superficial or anthropomorphic. I also believe I am not alone in this experience which is one reason for sharing. Another is to add to the multitude ways in which we can all contribute to the changes taking place in our world which are no less than an evolutionary shift in human consciousness from fear and separation towards love and interdependence.
While watching the scene of the dead bats gathered, babies nestled in the arms of their inanimate parents, I challenged myself to consciously feel what I felt in that moment without trying to understand or judge or stop it out of fear. I let go into deep sobbing; the tears flowed; I felt an agonising wrenching in my heart and solar plexus as waves of grief crashed through me, threatening to drown. After only a few moments the feelings ebbed, the sobbing eased, the tears slowed, the wrenching stopped and I could breathe normally again. I then felt wrung out, but clear. This pain is ‘mine’ and it is also everyone’s and that of all beings on Earth and including Earth. There is so much for us to grieve for, so much loss of habitat, life, species, beauty, diversity, possibility. Change always means some kind of loss as space is made for the new. If we do not allow ourselves to feel this, we can get stuck in fear, self destruction and complacency without realising it. I believe one of the imperatives for facilitating change is to feel our emotions fully as they arise, to share them with supportive others if necessary, so that our energy is clear and available for creative thinking, collaboration and action. This applies to our personal challenges as much as global ones.
I didn’t feel able to join the demonstrations in London last weekend, while I appreciate the message of the demonstrators and I share an urgent need to act now. The evidence before our senses every day in addition to the science, is unequivocal. We ‘carry on as normal’ at our peril. And, I know its hard to know what to do personally when governments and others in power ignore the urgency of it; but we can’t blame governments if we also do nothing.
I think a huge and necessary contribution comes in the form of questioning what we bring to the world by default, in the form of our attitudes and beliefs, thoughts and feelings. We all add to the mix of energy, usually unconsciously, which collectively co-creates the events we see happening in the world. Making more conscious choices both in lifestyle and emotionally, allowing and expressing our emotional responses, and getting in touch with what we might offer from a place of inner balance will contribute massively to the creative energy needed for solving the complex issues we now face.
I am convinced that in addition to our advocacy and empathy, the Earth also wants our smiles and laughter, our singing hearts and dancing feet, but not at Her expense, which our enjoyment so often is. In addition to the practical changes (see previous blog post, empowered action…) we can make in our every day choices that support the well being of humans and earth, let’s also find ways to cultivate the deep soulful contentment that comes from a visceral knowing of our connectedness and interdependence with all of life. If we can also experiment with feeling fully our emotional responses to world events, we can liberate some of the energy it takes to live in fear and avoidance and divert it to accessing our capacity for love and creativity. I believe, in essence, that humans are moving from a primary motivation of fear which separates, judges and fights to a motivation driven by love which connects, accepts, and integrates. We are in a process and we all have something to offer. We can start by recognising that every day is Earth day because we cannot be here without Her and we cannot thrive without a balanced biosphere.