I came across an intelligently compassionate article this week called The Great Grief: How to Cope with Losing Our World. I read the first paragraph with theoretical interest, but was quickly drawn into author Per Espen Stoknes’ acknowledgment of the psychological toll exacted by living amidst climate chaos and ecological destruction.
My greatest take away from the article was the invitation to consciously grieve the losses wrought by the accelerating changes engulfing Earth. An invitation to be emotionally real both as a practice and gateway to emotional health in these extraordinarily challenging times. Have you done this?
There’s so much to face. Death. The destruction of cherished places and potentially our entire home. The ongoing contradiction between our collective desire for ecological sustainability and our insatiable appetite for consumer goods and expanding GDP. Immediate worry for the poor and displaced. Powerlessness. Despair. As well as the Heart’s inherent desire to serve and be joyful.
If I’ve learned one thing this past year it’s that offering oneself the hard but healthy gift of sitting with and giving voice to one’s losses is an act of Heart. Winding through the pain precipitates changes, perhaps paradoxically. Pooled tears can give birth to resilience, clarity, and transformative strength and can resurrect an Inner Lightness – a Lightness of Self-Knowledge and Faith in Oneself.
These are significant Heart gains. Gains gifted by grief. Gains amidst destruction. Gains that we can count on in responding to our planetary crisis precisely because they reside neither in technology nor politics nor economies but rather in ourselves.