A handful of insights this week from friends.
During a walk with one good friend this week, she exhorted me, out of concern for my emotional wellbeing, to quit writing to the local "newspaper" (the term is used lightly) about climate change. (It tends not to be a nice experience.) "You create change in people through example, by what you do, not what you say," she said.
At that moment it became very clear to me. I am trying to get other people to take the time and care enough to write to the paper about climate change (in defense of the future and the children and the planet), so I guess I'd better keep writing to the paper. (Talking about climate change, as I mentioned last week, is one of the most important things we can be doing right now. Praying would also be good.)
Another friend wrote: "And then I got to thinking, what would this planet be like if we all believed in our own beauty? And when did we get so disconnected from how wonderful we are? So... if we are, in fact, all connected — the earth, the cosmos, the plants, the animals, you and I — then when we look at the awesome beauty outside of us, perhaps we can use this as a mirror to see our own divine beauty. Just a thought...."
And at that moment, I realized that our culture certainly does not view humanity as connected to all other life on this precious Earth, but nor do we think of humanity as beautiful or worth saving (worthy of saving?). We have been so steeped in our own individualistic, neurotic need to be beautiful or feel worthy that we can't think beyond ourselves.
Another friend said, in conversation about food security and the climate change sh!t hitting the fan and social breakdown, "Oh, I don't think it'll get that bad. After all, during the Depression and the world wars, people looked out for each other." Ah, I thought to myself, economic crises and times of conflict are similar in that they both hold promise of improvement. When it comes to global heating and climate disruption, once the positive feedbacks kickstart the tipping points and lead to points of no return, there will be no "improvement" for centuries or thousands of years.
And finally, a cherished friend told me that he feels he's close to achieving what he set out to accomplish on the climate front (and his accomplishments are many!). That helped me realize that one of the reasons I feel like I'm flailing is that I have never defined exactly what I set out to achieve. (I should mention that I'd confided in another friend that I've been feeling like I'm sinking. You know, under the weight of all this knowing and caring. He said, "There is no sinking allowed." That pulled me back up!)
So, folks, you're hearing it here first ... I cannot "save the world," but I want to achieve transformation in the education system. If I accomplish nothing else in this second half of my life, I want to help children everywhere acquire the skills, understandings, and habits of mind and heart that they're going to need in order to create the best possible future out of the chaos we're bequeathing them. I want every school district everywhere to ensure that their students learn how to grow food, build soil, collect rainwater, and generate energy.
That's all. (Ha!) But at least it's a focus.
Thanks, dear friends, for your wonderful insights!