07 October 2012

Look for the Gift, and the Better Feeling Thought

First of all, I owe two newish friends an apology. Last December, when I thought they were all "Oh, we only think positive thoughts," it turns out they were simply taking a break from years of very focused climate change activism. 

We just shared a vegan (Canadian) Thanksgiving feast with them at the home of another wonderful friend and activist, and after predicting that we wouldn't be even mentioning let alone discussing climate change with our "only positive thoughts" guests, it turns out we spent much of the evening talking about the Arctic meltdown and especially the urgency of getting ourselves growing food in order to be resilient in the face of agricultural meltdown. It was one of the most positive – and hopeful – conversations I've had in, well, possibly years! 

I share all that to introduce two things I've learned this week that are helping me enormously. Tonight, one friend kept saying, "Let's bring it back to the better feeling thought" (a concept that might be from The Course in Miracles, but I'm not sure). It was a reminder not to wallow in the bad news but to accept it and focus on solutions … and we found ourselves coming up with all sorts of doable (fun and feasible) solutions for developing food security for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. 

The other cool lesson I learned this week (again, from one of my Thanksgiving dinner companions) comes, I believe, from a workshop on cultivating peace offered by James O'Dea (someone I met years ago through my involvement with the Seva Foundation): Look for the gift in every conflict. 

Look for the gift in every conflict! I told you a couple of weeks ago [It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times] about receiving an email completely dissing Al Gore and, by inference, me – from someone we thought was like-minded. (Luckily, I received it after my first Climate Reality presentation, and not before.) Well, when my hubby and I started asking ourselves what the gift in that weird little conflict was, we came up with wonderful ways to improve my presentation. So now I'm going to explain what a hero Al Gore is and why, right at the beginning of the talk. And then I'm going to present solutions. Right near the beginning. 

That way, people will be thinking the better feeling thought as they look for the gift (communities coming together, a return to simpler times, a focus on alternative ways to grow and share food) in the climate change impacts they'll be witnessing during my slide show.

What do you think? What's your better feeling thought about all this?

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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?