Earlier this week I received an email from an activist elder who expressed anxiety around the upcoming climate talks in Paris* and her fears that our world leaders will not do enough. She wrote that she can’t focus on inner balance when action is needed, then apologized for sharing her sadness.
Her experience touches a core struggle for many: How to be in peace when awareness and concern are in the forefront, dealing with big pain, then recoiling around an expression of sadness.
It makes me think of something I heard recently that immediately put me at ease:
“Free yourself of needing to be angelic!”
This proclamation came from Joanna Macy, one of my guides in this work of cultivating connection, during a workshop I took with her a couple weeks ago**.
What did she mean?
She meant: it’s OK, and actually COMPLETELY NORMAL to feel angry, sad, unsatisfied, worried, and helpless when you allow yourself to face the reality of the tumultuous issues of our time. Injustice, inequality, disrespect, abuse, and deception are rampant in all realms - human relationships with self, other, the environment; business; government, etc etc.
These feelings arise because we as human beings are, by default, connected to our world.
If we are truly connected, our connection feeds love; where we love, we are vulnerable to pain.
The postcard collection contains many messages expressing this pairing of pain and love. Take a look at our online collection.
The path to experiencing joy is not a pure ride of happiness. It involves acceptance and digestion of pain & grief.
My hope is that the re-connecting work we do via breathing, time outside, workshops, and other practices I offer through Postcards to the Earth, boosts us with love, support, and refuge to balance our fears, insecurities, and pain.
For these next 2 weeks, notice if there is someone (or something :) in your life who needs you to listen and be with them. And if you need this yourself…peek inside and see if you can find a way to ask.
In service of the true path to pure joy,
*Paris Climate Talks: learn more here and here
** More about Joanna Macy
PS – Do you know anyone who might be comforted or supported by this letter? Please share it in the spirit of this web of interconnection!
PPS – Looking for a speaker? I’d love to speak about environmental stewardship through connection, embodiment, and the themes you’ve been reading about in these letters. Thank you for sharing this work!