As we move toward summer in the northern hemisphere we’re surrounded by indicators of both our planetary crisis and the healing that’s occurring. On the crisis side, we’re experiencing air pollution in the northeastern U.S., hearing about California’s drought, and noticing news reports of ongoing struggle between those who support climate action and those who support fossil fuel extraction. On the healing side, yet another leader of a major religion, this time Pope Francis, has offered an influential teaching on the urgency of climate action, renewable energy jobs are increasing in the U.S., and I’m continually meeting people who are engaged daily in healing trees, strengthening sustainable agriculture, or supporting youth in their connections to nature.
Where do you stand as you observe the two sides of crisis and healing? Do you wonder about what your own best contribution can be, or whether you’re contributing enough? I’ve been talking to people lately about clarifying your healing purpose by discovering it at the meeting point of sorrow and compassion. This is a process for letting your sorrow become your song. At this point, where the problems that cause you the most pain merge with your compassionate desire to help solve them, you’re almost guaranteed to find your purpose. If you consider the life stories of people you admire, you may notice that often a sorrow or grief compelled them to act to address its source. In fact, just about every caring person who achieves something admirable is, deep down, motivated by compassion for the suffering in the world.
If you question whether you’re contributing as best you can to creating a world of Mutual Flourishing, take some time to list the kinds of suffering on planet Earth that trouble you most, and then consider why they cause you pain. What makes them feel so terrible to you? Do you have a deeply held value that these problems dishonor?
Next, consider whether you already are contributing to healing, balance, or repair in 1 or more of your areas of sorrow. If you feel noticeable desires to contribute in new ways, note them.
To go a step further, ask yourself, what is my purpose in relation to the life community of plants, animals, ecosystems, and the Earth? How am I called to contribute to healing and restoration? Am I fulfilling that purpose? Gather together what you learn in a few phrases or sentences that begin to articulate the healing song you feel called to contribute to the world. In so doing, you contribute to both re-storying and restoring your own life while you help with the re-storying and restoring of life on Earth.
Read on for information about a free workshop and a wonderful new book.
Free workshop on May 10: My colleague, Tabitha Jayne, who specializes in making nature connection simple and direct for anyone who wants to experience it, is offering a series of free online workshops to those who purchase her new book, The Nature Process: How to easily and effortlessly step into your natural power and be the change you want to make in the world. Tabi’s book is designed to help you not only connect deeply and effectively with the natural world, but also to allow that connection to release blocks in your life, improve your relationships and your work, and help you thrive in all ways. You can find the book in both electronic and hardcopy forms here, along with workshop details: http://www.tabithajayne.com/shop/?ap_id=Chara
If you’re looking for something inspiring to read, I’m loving Marc Bekoff’s Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence. An esteemed ecologist who’s not afraid to take on moral and spiritual topics, Bekoff writes of a needed paradigm shift in our approach to the Earth, “one that values compassion above all.” Bekoff continues: “Rewilding personalizes what conservation projects try to accomplish…rewilding demands that we employ humility in our interactions with other animals and their homes…I see the process of rewilding as, most of all, a personal journey and transformative exploration that centers on bringing other animals and their homes, all ecosystems, back into our heart.”
As we move forward in this lovely month of May, I hope you’ll consider how your sorrow can inspire your song, and how rewilding represents the healing we seek for ourselves and the Earth.
To Mutual Flourishing for all life,