A thirty year pursuit for passion, purpose and peace on a planet in crisis has taught me that at the heart of Climate Work is Soul Work.
Existing during an EXISTential crisis demands that we ask ourselves:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What is mine to do?
We don’t do climate work to save the planet. We do it to save ourselves.
I have come to know passion, purpose, and peace as an inner experience through engagement in regenerative climate action.
I marvel at our human capacity to turn a blind eye to some of the devastating things happening all around us and directly beneath our feet. At times I have felt envious of those who can look the other way, not look at all, or LOOK but simply not SEE what I see. I have often thought it would be an easier and more enjoyable way to exist on the planet.
But in a time of Great Awakening I believe Mother Earth, Gaia, will do her part to ensure that we all be given a chance to wake up to the abuse our resource intensive lifestyles and disregard for the more than human world have inflicted upon her. Perhaps her voice will rank loudest among those shouting “Me Too!”
While waking up to Gaia's pain can feel uncomfortable and deeply unsettling, sometimes to depths we have not known before, tuning in and responding can be our way through, forward, to a fuller, richer, lighter experience of being. It can lead to a kind of thriving that is not at the expense of planetary thriving but in alignment with and supportive of it.
We are waking up to the fact that none of us exist in silos separate from one another. War, catastrophes, and global pandemics happening on one side of the planet directly impact us on the other. Fires in California cause poor air quality in New York. War in Ukraine can be felt at the gas pump in rural Wisconsin.
While technology is a double edge sword, it has made the notion of national borders and boundaries seem almost ludicrous to our youth who have grown up 'friending' and 'following' kids a half a world away. Through observing and interacting with one another they are quickly learning to walk the same walk, talk the same talk and dance the same moves while thousands of miles apart. Social media and online platforms have effectively transformed us into global citizens no matter how hard we fight and hold tight to our national identities.
As a healthcare provider I know that true healing comes when we go to the root of a problem and treat it there. The same is true for our planetary woes in all of its current forms. It’s too easy to look outside of ourselves and point fingers. Real planetary healing will come when we pause and look deep within ourselves to understand the source of this existential crisis as it exists within us. While our collective external actions matter a whole lot, we also must acknowledge that the world outside of us is a mirror that reflects back to us aspects of ourselves. If we like what we see then we'd be wise to appreciate that within ourselves. If we don’t like what we see then we need to turn inward to address the problem and change it for the better. Climate Work is an inside/outside job. Both matter and only when we address both will we create conditions that are ripe for personal and planetary thriving.
I believe we are all intended to die a noble death whether or not anyone is there to witness our passing. A noble death follows a life lived fulfilling one’s reason for being, answering the questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is mine to do? I think the most painful death is the kind that happens when we are living outside of our purpose. It happens in those moments when we busy ourselves with idle talk and aimless walk to fill a void that feels easier to fill than to face. When we discover our purpose all of the other meaningless ways we busy ourselves tend to lose their grip on us allowing us to prioritize the one.
When I watch my daughters fascination over Marvel characters, I have to think that they, we, are hardwired to want to discover our own inner superhero. We intuitively know that it is there, laying dormant inside of us waiting for the right moment to emerge and act. Through the characters we gain access to our own inner superhero. We are living in a time when we all must be superheroes fighting the fight of our lives for the survival of our species.
Saving humanity, ourselves, in a time of existential crisis requires heroic action. Heroism in the age of information and technology constantly vying for our attention may look like something as simple as demanding of ourselves to sit still for 10 minutes each day and anchor into the question “What is mine to do today to be in alignment with who I really am and what I am really here to do?” And then spend the rest of the time waiting for a response and for insight as to how to act on it. This is the work of mystics and sages all over the planet throughout time, across cultures, embedded at the heart of all of our world religions and deep spiritual traditions.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What is mine to do?
Our inability to answer these questions is also at the root of our widespread epidemic of anxiety, depression, and the incessant need for bigger-better-faster-more-NOW which grows more rampant with each passing day. Answering them requires less thinking and more asking and listening. It requires moments of quiet...stillness...silence. You don't have to hide away in an ashram or monastery, but you do need to make a habit of carving out a bit of time each day. Having a designated sit spot or quiet space in your home will help your body know what it is supposed to do each time you return there.
Once you get still and quiet, ask yourself: "What is my part in our planetary pain?"
Next ask: "In my vision for a thriving planet, who am I being and what am I doing?"
What is the gap between your answers?
What support do you need to cross it?
What’s your plan and who will help you implement it?
I ask myself these questions often because it is in the asking, awaiting the response, and acting that I have found my way to an internal experience of peace, purpose and 'a sense of place' in a world where more and more people are finding themselves increasingly displaced by conflict, scarcity of resources and climate catastrophes. When it becomes an ever more present reality that we could be next, we can either cower in fear or rise up an act. If you haven't taken the time to sit with and feel your own feelings about what is happening to life on our planet, then start there. The act of feeling can provide you with powerful fuel for acting. Then you have a choice to sit and wait for climate change to happen to you OR you can get busy contemplating "What kind of life on the planet IS worth fighting for?"
This is where Thriving Planet, THRIVING YOU come in! Let's go for broke! What is the freaking vision you have for this planet and for your kids, grand-kids, future generations that lights you up and sets your heart ablaze? What forward thinking planetary vision makes you get out of bed and cast your eyes on the day ahead saying "FUKYAH!!"
Do you really get excited to amass more stuff? Or does the stuff get in the way of being who you really want to be and doing what you really want to do? "WHO AM I BEING and WHAT AM I DOING on a planet that is THRIVING?"
If you are trying to ask and struggling to hear or want support to dive deeper into these vital questions, I'm happy to help! DM me so we can talk about it! Don't wait. Our future is counting on YOU!