A year ago, in March, just before lockdown, I had fallen into deep despair about the state of the climate. I had allowed myself to absorb the gravity of the situation and the impact on my children and people all over the world, as well as other species with whom we share the planet. I sat at my kitchen table with my husband, and I wept. That was my moment when I fully took it all in. I grieved for the loss of the planet as we know it and all its implications.
When COVID-19 and lockdown hit us here in the UK (I’m American living in Leeds, Yorkshire, England), I remember thinking, “Ah, this was predicted. Here we go, climate breakdown and social collapse.” In that moment I recognized that I was no longer despairing. I had accepted the worst dystopia. And in that moment, I began to experience life differently. I began to experience a merging of my sense of self with my sense of the world and decided that rather than shut myself off from the pain and suffering, I would live into the fundamental interconnectedness among all living things. I allow myself to experience the deepest pain of the rainforest burning, as if my own limbs were burning. And through this experience of being present to the pain, I am also connected to the living and the joy and the potential expansiveness of being present to a range of emotions.
This won’t surprise some of you who have known me for a long time. My mission for my life and my business has always centered on cultivating that sense of interconnectedness.
I am grateful to Eric Holthaus, Author of The Future Earth, whose book I heard about on Dan Jones’ podcast, “Climate Scientist”. In that interview, he put words to this idea that I couldn’t find the words for:
“Listening is the most transformative change that anyone can make. I’m not the point anymore. The point is not what I am going to be doing. It’s going to be trusting relationships to provide for you in this reciprocal way. We are in the middle of a transition from a society that is in transition from individualism to a society that is transitioning to reciprocity and care and mutual aid. It’s important to inhabit that world and show others what that’s like.”
“We need to act with the transcendent love of visionaries…Listening is an extremely important skill right now. The way to have hope is to think that the future is going to be pretty different from where we have come from… Doing nothing is being harmful when you’re being called to change and you do not change….The IPCC report [states that staying within the 1.5 degree threshold] will require transformative change in all aspects of society. Apply that to your own life.”
Let’s live into this world together. Let’s hold each other up as we experience the pain of the world. We will need each other in the years ahead. Let’s practice, let’s get comfortable with the full range of emotions. Let’s be resilient, transformational and world-changing together.
We just got back from taking a break from it all, hiking, playing on the beach, avoiding all news. The view at sunset was simply breathtaking, impossible to capture on my iphone camera.
The wisdom I received at the hilltop was that perhaps we are at the peak of uncertainty. It feels this way. It feels to me that the next few days will determine so much, from the state of western democracy to the level of preventable death and the depth of our grief. Whatever happens, we will need to find a path back down from the peak. We'll find the people we need with us on our journey and we'll put one foot in front of the other, and whether it's muddy and miserable or sunny, easy and glorious, we'll continue on our journey and find our way.
#womensupportingwomen #bestill #stubbornlyoptimistic
This is me on my first day of Kindergarten. School was scary until it became natural.
1 year ago:
I glance over to the passenger seat, to my left.
It hits me, like a fist in the chest, that it's been 6 months since I drove on the left side of the road.
Driving on the left side, I breathe easy. I swing by a close friend's house, or visit my mom. I listen to familiar music or my local NPR station or play games with noisy kids in car seats without feeling stressed. Like a fish swimming, it's effortless.
On the right side, each ride invites courage. I feel fear but choose to keep going. Each trip has purpose. I CAN buy food for my family. I MUST take my child to the doctor. I WILL make it to this event...I will make the effort....I will make friends...I will find a spiritual home....I will drop my kid to a play date...I will be rooted.
Driving on the right side reminds me how much potential is still in me, in all of us. How much more stretching is possible. How much more adventure is available. How much more open I can be. How elastic my heart has become, opening wider every time I plop myself somewhere new and discover my people, my soul friends. The right side teaches me grand lessons. Lessons we all know, but don't always experience. That people are people. That human beings all want to love and be loved. That ultimately there is only oneness. This, this is what I love about traveling, living abroad. Like a shofar blast, each journey on the right side screams, wake up! Be present! Live!
But sometimes I glance over to the passenger seat and wish that, for that moment, I could drive on the left side, to feel familiar, to see the friends who know me best, and to hug my mom and dad,
I posted this on Facebook in January 2017 and am sharing with you all now, one year later. Driving on the right side of the road feels natural now and living here feels much more effortless. For those of you who are in an earlier phase of life transition and relocation (dislocation).
To get from 1 year ago to this new state of ease, I did the following:
1. I put myself out there all over the place to see what would stick. I got feedback. I got rejection. Lots of what I tried didn't work. But the work/relationships/communities that did work have stuck. And they are really good!
2. I took on the attitude of fearlessness, even if I felt fearful. I invited people to do stuff. I drove places I was scared to drive. I said yes to things that were scary.
3. I allowed myself days to be sad and lonely. I mean, we just uprooted our lives. Wouldn't it be weird not to be sad sometimes?
4. I let go of perfection. I mean, I did a lot of things wrong. A lot.
5. I lead with relationships. Genuine, authentic relationships and expression have always led to personal and professional opportunities. I will share more about these opportunities in posts to come. But focusing on building genuine friendships and relationships has been the single most important factor of feeling as though I can exhale.
What helps you exhale?
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