Maybe if I write quick and start small I’ll find my way back to this beloved blog. I’ve needed to put all my writing energy into my book for the last few months, and that is still the case, but all-book-and-no-blog leaves me feeling a bit unmoored from my full writer’s voice. It becomes hard to find my way back.
Anyway, here’s one thing that’s been on my mind, as the results of our collective (yes) greed continue to hemorrhage into the Gulf of Mexico:
If we allow ourselves to feel this, we open ourselves to grief. We must have the courage to grieve.
If we don’t grieve, we remain numb.
To the degree that we are numb, gnawing anxiety, anger, and depression corrode us individually and collectively.
If we choose to remain numb, we cannot act.
If we cannot act, we cannot change.
If we cannot change, we die. And, more tragically (for doubtless our annihilation would be a gift to nature) we destroy a planet full of living things with us.
I know I need to grieve. I can barely watch the images of the oil spilling into the water, creeping over the beaches and marshes, drowning birds, killing the life that remains in an already desperately polluted Gulf. I find myself turning down the volume on NPR stories that upset me too deeply. But instead of bursting into tears, instead of taking minutes, hours–maybe days out of my toxically busy life would be at least the beginning of a fully awake response to what’s happening–I sublimate it in order to function. And then the sadness, fear, and anger move into my bloodstream and I wake in the morning to a strange, dull ache under my breastbone. Am I thereby entering into the shared reality of non-stop, low-grade Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder functioning that “civilized” culture has become?
It disgusts me to hear almost exclusively of the human cost of this; what of all the animals and organisms innocent in the face of this apocalypse? Why must we inflict ourselves on the world in such a violent way, when we are capable of so much creativity and healing?
I could go on, but what’s the point? I know we’re all overwhelmed. I know we know we need to change, and so many of us are trying, with our pathetic little “baby steps.” We all feel the fury at British Petroleum and Big Oil–as we listen to NPR, in our fossil fuel-consuming, carbon contributing cars en route to our massively energy consuming homes.
I know we can’t afford to get stuck in overwhelm or sorrow. But what is lost and what will be forfeited from not truly grieving all this?