Sunday, May 30, 2010

Desiring change.

*picture from Greenpeace*

I'm really sad and overwhelmed about the oil spill. I was on my bike and looking at all the cars... And this state of mind is fed by other things that disturb me. Like I saw this really horrible video with cows standing in for the objects of men's pent up rage in a dairy, so I haven't been able to use milk for my coffee (the only place I was using it). I've been drinking soy milk with my coffee and wonder if it contains neurotoxins. I've been avoiding using single-use plastics. Lululemon is curing women's scourge of "camel toes". Like women don't already have enough body image issues? And these are just the things I'm fuming about right now.

"The environmental movement, however misconstrued, is an attempt to integrate mind and body, to balance our wealth generation and consumption habits with the body that is Earth."
-Matthew Sanford, 'Waking'

I know that I am an activist at heart, and I don't want to hide under a protective 'om'. But there was a time when I avoided the news. It just seemed too horrible. I thought it interfered with a positive vibe I was attempting to cultivate within myself.

I've been educated to think of myself as a consumer in a system that already exists. And this is how I act. Rather well behaved. When I don't like something about myself, well I can always buy something to fix it. But how can we make meaningful change in this world? There is trouble in the system currently in place. Or is the trouble really us? Our complacency.

When I was little I remember watching commercials on TV about not polluting or being a "litter bug". To this day, I get mad when I see someone throw their trash on the ground. But to realize that throwing something I've used into a trash receptacle is really not enough. Can I recycle? How can I make less trash? Should I have bought that in the first place? Can someone else use it? Our economy is largely based on people buying things... Useless things? Things that become trash.

Will our world heal itself? Or does it need our help?


Elize said...

Hi Brooks, really lovely post. I relate to your feelings well, and go through bouts of non-news reading when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Hang in there. Those feelings of sadness & overwhelming-ness can happen to encourage us to go inward, encourage us to connect to source & there we find creative ideas to effect change.

I liked Jay's article over at elephant journal- I think ultimately, DNA & life (as we define it) will be fine. I think the world that we know, however, is changing and may change drastically based on our actions. How do we effect change? I don't have lots of answers but I do think this:
*be more of ourselves. Keep being Brooks-y :) (I think you wrote a post about that?) My understanding of you is through writing, and I know you teach yoga. Those, and other things that you do that connect you to Bliss...
*keep learning, specifically about the planet and all that is in/on it. This goes for other peoples as well as other creatures and places... the more we understand our interconnectedness, the more chance we have of acting in a conscious way, since all of our actions affect others.
*connect to Self/Source/God. that's where creative answers/ideas come from...

Thanks for writing this, it clearly has got me thinking, and thanks for being you :) much peace!!

Eco Yogini said...

it needs our help.

seriously- the article in the Onion that I liked in my "marée noire" post on thurs is a must read for feelings of being overwhelmed.

Blessings Brooks!

Brooks Hall said...

Here is EcoYogini's post. And a link to the Onion article.

Unknown said...

more bikes. im always surprised people dont take advantage of a bike friendly city with bike paths on more than half the roads. plus its free & super fun

Frenzy36 said...

Awareness is a good thing. My company recently is powering it's entire plant's steam from landfill gases. Normally they'd be using Natural Gas and the Landfill would be burning off their gases into the atmosphere. But now we are using 100% of those gases (and believe me its alot!)

btw - In working with those trash people you can't find a more eco-concerned group. I was surprised. Yes they have a job to do but they really are trying to minimize bad effects. So another example of change permeating through

Carrie said...

loved it I totally believe in yoga activism

April said...

I definitely agree that the earth needs our help... and every drop of help it can get - because there are so many people not willing to care... or who assume someone else will.

I tend to get the most down about animal-cruelty related news - so I read the headlines but lately I don't watch the videos. The oil spill is of course sickening - especially when I consider how rarely the effect it has on ocean life has been brought up.

Just yesterday my husband had an argument with someone that was convinced it wasn't possible for sharks to become extinct.

These are trying times for sure...and the Onion article is exactly the sort of logic my mom used when she taught me not to litter as a child. She would say - what if everyone threw out just one gum wrapper?? touche

A Green Spell said...

I think it is so interesting that you mentioned how conscious you were of litter as a young person, and that now you think: It doesn't matter where we PUT it, it matters that we don't MAKE it in the first place! (Trash, that is!) I was just thinking about this the other day when I saw trash on the street. I thought, "Ten years ago, I would've been livid that someone threw their trash in the street, and now I'm livid that we live in such a disposable society."

The things you described about your feelings on this issue perfectly mirror my own.

Thanks for sharing.

dragonfly said...

I think we are all activists in our heart, some of us just live in denial. I think as more people 'wake up' to the reality of our magical breathing, living body the harder it is to succumb to the mass media messages regarding junk food and junk disposal.

And before anyone thinks I'm being way too airy fairy, I have worked in wildlife conservation for 10 years and the more I am in the field and in the media and in the schools, the clearer this all becomes to me, to the point that I am slowly easing out of my overtly eco-activist life and more fully into my shadow life as a yoga teacher.

The more connected we become to ourselves, the more connected we become to eachother and our world. Yoga is / can be an important part of that for many people, it is not the only way but it can be a valid eco-activist path. It helps us not only to do less harm but also to hopefully cope more mindfully with the despair that comes when harm is done.

YogaforCynics said...

I think the key is to use the "om" to inform your activism--so that it's truly based on conscious awareness and compassion rather than rage.

Please note that my article that you link to agrees with the "earth will take care of itself" argument only in a very ironic, satirical sense. Looked at in terms of geologic time, the earth was here long before us, and it'll be here long after us. Nothing we do will have much affect on that, in that sense--but that's really not relevant to any practical question, and thus it's ludicrous for defenders of the oil industry to act like it is. In the sense of a world that is a home to and nourishes us, and which is essential to our survival--which, in practical terms, is the only sense that matters--it of course needs our help. And, if we don't help, we're in big trouble.

Claudia said...

I relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed, it really is, and I think the world will heal itself, and that yes we can help, however I do not think that overwhelm is the way. I actually believe that something positive will come from the spill, although not much, as it is pretty horrible.

Namaste_Heather said...

Brooks, I can relate to you exactly, from watching the news to creating more trash, to feeling overwhelmed. It is so sad, but more importantly, we must act - if only in our corner of the world, we must! Thank you for an inspiring, thought provoking post!

Tiffany Hutchings said...

Excellent post on such a difficult topic. If I think too long about the Gulf oil spill, I literally feel like I'm driving my body towards an anxiety attack (and I've never had an anxiety attack before). It's so hard not to feel overwhelmed.

I just started reading Michael Stone's Yoga for a World Out of Balance. He begins the book talking about how spirituality really isn't just about the individual, since we're part of the wider world. I agree strongly with this and look forward to digging deeper.

Thanks very much for sharing.