The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.
Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made
is star-stuff too?
– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –
dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.
Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
our pain for the world
For many of us, our joy at the world is tempered by a deep despair at what's happening to it at our hands. No other species has the capacity to destroy the world as we do. The scale of the destruction can feel too much for our hearts to open to. This fact haunts me; and perhaps it does you, too.
We have to keep opening our hearts; we have to not close down. That's what makes us human. To do otherwise makes us machines.
And I also know that pain can be the prompt to action. In other words, our despair can motivate us. Tonight, I shall go and hear Polly Higgins speak on ecocide (and perhaps report back).
Meantime, here is the wonderful Joanna Macy on despair:
'Where does despair fit in? Why is our pain for the world so important? Because these responses manifest our interconnectedness. Our feelings of social and planetary distress serve as a doorway to systemic social consciousness. To use another metaphor, they are like a "shadow limb." Just as an amputee continues to feel twinges in the severed limb, so in a sense do we experience, in anguish for homeless people or hunted whales, pain that belongs to a separated part of our body—a larger body than we thought we had, unbounded by our skin.
Through the systemic currents of knowing that interweave our world, each of us can be the catalyst or "tipping point" by which new forms of behavior can spread. There are as many different ways of being responsive as there are different gifts we possess. For some of us it can be through study or conversation, for others theater or public office, for still others civil disobedience and imprisonment. But the diversities of our gifts interweave richly when we recognize the larger web within which we act. We begin in this web and, at the same time, journey toward it. We are making it conscious.'
From the article Working Through Environmental Despair, http://tinyurl.com/myfdfms
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- our pain for the world
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