by Rev. Carol Windrum, guest blogger
With the ten to twelve year window looming before a possible cataclysmic climate change, the burden of sorrow and worry can become too heavy. Several words come to mind as I seek ways to be a positive energy in the world: awe, grace, community and action.
The first time I was invited to chew a single grape at a mindfulness retreat, it was as though I had never really tasted a grape before. With no distractions of noise or hurry, the slow enjoyment of sweetness, juice and texture was overwhelming. It was a gift offered from the universe. Taking the time to simply be in awe of the wondrous presence of sun, air, water, and dirt all combined in that single grape was a miracle. Too often I think I'm too busy to receive the gifts of nature all around me. So coping with harsh realities, there are still miracles present every day, in every breath, which can nourish my soul. In this consumptive and hurried culture, we are not encouraged to STOP and be still with nature. A Native American saying offers great wisdom for these times: "Don't just do something, stand there."
I'm the type that tends to think everything is up to me. In a way, that is a kind of idolatry, placing me at the center of the world, most important change agent that ever was! Taking myself down a peg or two is a good reminder that I am not responsible for every piece of plastic in the ocean or every jet plume in the sky. Grace can give me space to breathe and be kind to myself.
There are several groups that I belong to who are working hard for climate justice. I am inspired by many who have become experts on climate related issues. Their motivation isn't status or money or power. Their motivation is a deep love for our planet and all it's inhabitants, human and non-human. Their knowledge and passion give me positive energy! I am humbled to be with them and inspired that I, too, can make a difference. Without community, I would be in total despair. And, we do more than our fair share of playing even in the midst of the challenge...I remember the Emma Goldman quote: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." So working hard and playing hard with community feeds my soul!
And out of the community, I am refreshed to take action. Sitting around complaining and worrying gets old and sucks the life out of me. Action=Hope for me. So I try to identify small and large actions to take, not knowing if they will help turn the tide, but knowing that I owe it to myself and this awesome creation to try. And there are plenty of examples of others taking action that prompt me to step up. Most recently I am energized (and challenged) by 16 year old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student who is striking for the planet and has inspired thousands of other youth to strike as well. She is claiming her power and calling on me and others to do the same. Talk is cheap, action is what is needed. Deep gratitude to Greta and the millions of other activists around the world. They remind me that we are truly "in this together."