11 August 2012

When Lack of Hope Meets Self-Doubt...

… the result is not pretty. The result is how I'm feeling these days, just a week before I head to San Francisco, by train, to be trained along with 999 other people by Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project.

If you're a regular reader, then you know what I think of hope. It's not an action verb, but a lot of people hold onto it as though doing so is actually doing something to mitigate the climate change emergency. With so many hopesters in the world still, I don't hold out much hope anymore that we're 
going to turn this juggernaut around in time.

And we're still not seeing any action on the part of governments or the big banks and fossil fuel industries. I guess they're going to squeeze every last drop of oil, lump of coal and molecule of gas out of the ground before they admit there might be a problem with their "profit over planet" mantra.

But at least I used to feel okay about the few modest things that I do. This blog, my website on transformative sustainability education for teachers, workshops for educators and community members.

Now, just as I'm about to be trained to give even more presentations to even more people, I'm losing my way: my sense of direction and my nerve. I'm thinking, "What's the point? We're hooped anyway. What can I possibly do now that will have the slightest fraction of an impact?"

In other words, depression is setting in. And it's not pretty. It's not enough to have a partner who is also a climate change activist. Our activities are so different, it's like we're living in different worlds. Most of our friends and all of our relatives either "admire" us (and take no action) or think we're nuts for all the work we do (and take no action), which creates a crazy-making loneliness and lack of connection. What if I get to San Francisco and discover that I really am crazy, and that even Al Gore and the other "goracles" don't understand how incredibly deep and acute and rapid our changes and cuts and transformations must be?

A dear friend and life coach recently helped me see that my joy in living has been eroding away. Sure, I still delight in the tiny bird outside my window, a luscious sunset, or a yummy meal that I've thrown together in the kitchen. But I used to spout the aphorism "Happiness is not a destination but a way of travel." Now, both our destination and our way of getting there make me miserable.

I want to recapture the joy and light in my life, even while carrying on the hard, desperate work of telling the world what no one wants to hear. (Can you say Cassandra?) And so, I'll sign off with my signature of old. It's who I used to be, and who I want to be again. If we're going down, I want to go down ablaze (and I don't mean literally), not all grey and downcast. Not dancing on the graves of tomorrow's children, mind you, but helping today's children celebrate the life they still have in them.


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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?