I’m pleased to welcome John Strohl to BoomerWarrior. In this post, John is responding to an article recently published on BoomerWarrior dealing with the emotional consequences of climate activism. (Rolly Montpellier ~ Editor, BoomerWarrior).
Avoid Climate Activist Meltdown
A number of people I know are scared, exhausted, depressed, anxious, over-worked, and vastly unappreciated. The people of whom I speak are uniformly eco-warriors, fighting to change the harmful paradigm that holds sway over most of the planet on a daily basis – the predatory capitalism and all that goes with it to make life miserable and unthinkable. Climate activism does have emotional consequences, and avoiding climate activism meltdown is essential to maintain one’s sanity and effectiveness.
One of these people (Climate Activist and creator of BoomerWarrior), in trying to deal with his difficulties, recently quoted from Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, the opening sentence of which states:
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
I agree with this. More importantly, I believe in this. This is the key concept – belief – or faith. It’s what you are willing to stake, everything you are, know, and do. That is what you believe in. As the old saying goes, regarding your stated faith, someone can push a wheelbarrow across Niagara Falls on a rope but “it’s not faith unless you’re in the wheelbarrow.” The wheelbarrow is climate change, and you have no option. You are “in the wheelbarrow” as is every other living thing on earth.
The problem is that we’re all in this wheelbarrow, and not only is faith scarce but denial is prevalent. Here are some other things, some corollary principles, that I believe can help avoid climate activist meltdown:
1. What’s supposed to happen does
What’s supposed to happen does. What’s not doesn’t. This is approximately equivalent to the Viking observation that our thread was woven into the tapestry of life long ago. Being afraid of death serves no purpose and makes no difference. We just need to “do” and “be” what we naturally are drawn to. Which goes hand in hand with “each and everyone of us is exactly where and who we are supposed to be at any given moment.”
2. We are all energetic beings having a physical experience
We are physical energetic beings. This in no way means that we are impervious to the pain and panic of our physical world and times. But it does mean that there is something more, something greater about us than anything this physical plane can mete out. Think of this as a stage of metamorphosis in our development.
3. You get what you focus on
Generally, you get what you focus on, what you believe in. This is a simple statement but it is quite literally at the root of everything we have and are. We create the world around us every moment of every day, as a matter of forging into physical space the thoughts and concerns of our deepest conviction, whether they be fear or fantasy. Whatever you “be” or you “are” is what you will get more of because you are attracting that energy to you by “being” that way.
4. We must know the enemy
We must know the enemy if we are to have a prayer of beating him or her. That said, we must not focus on any latent fear, uncertainty or doubt that may appear in relation to that knowledge. We must hold our desire for good at the center of our being, because that is the focus that will prevail in our forging of source energy (of which we too are made – the forging of desire and thoughts of our parents). Source energy is the universal “I am/We are” that unifies us all and is in everything. Do not think of electrical energy. Think of another plane of energy, the energy of being, the very energy of existence itself. Think of the Akashic Field. This is perhaps, our greatest test of faith.
5. Life on earth is facing a breakpoint change
I believe, that we in this physical plane, this particular place and time in the tapestry of life, are facing something that can best be described as a breakpoint change for life on Earth with special impact for humanity, and as such, because we affect everything, the planet. This is inviolate. Nothing we can say or do will change this. Such epochal change has happened at regular (and decreasing) intervals since life began. It is happening again now.
We happen to be the individuals of choice who are here, now, in the final days of old paradigm – “old viable” for the last epoch. We also have a unique opportunity. Never before in Earth’s history has any species been in a position to have this awareness, and to act upon it. Within that exists the opportunity to influence, either positively or negatively, what emerges as the “new viable”. Think about this. It has happened a number of times before (each epochal shift) and it is happening again… now! You are part of the opportunity. Act accordingly.
6. Emergence to affect social change
I believe in emergence. Margaret Wheatley has a great paper about using emergence to affect social change. According to Wheatley, this is where our real power lies. By becoming informed and impassioned, and talking to others, we form networks of common interest. As these networks develop, communities of practice emerge, which in turn seek out others. Systems of influence emerge, quite suddenly in some cases. As Margaret says “The third stage in emergence can never be predicted. It is the sudden appearance of a system that has real power and influence. Pioneering efforts that hovered at the periphery suddenly become the norm. The practices developed by courageous communities become the accepted standard.” Again, in her words,
Emergence is the fundamental scientific explanation for how local changes can materialize as global systems of influence. As a change theory, it offers methods and practices to accomplish the systems-wide changes that are so needed at this time. As leaders and communities of concerned people, we need to intentionally work with emergence so that our efforts will result in a truly hopeful future. No matter what other change strategies we have learned or favored, emergence is the only way change really happens on this planet. And that is very good news.
In a nutshell, if you get enough people, focused on the right things, working in cohesive morphic alignment, the crystallization of synergy occurs and you immediately get a result that is greater than the sum of the parts. This is emergence, this is an absolute reality, and this is our opportunity.
We get what we focus on, and I am focused on creative, abundant, ecologically functional emergence… but I do know where the problems are.