Ever feel positioned in the middle of a tug ‘o war, with one side (perhaps your mind) pulling you toward action, and the other side (the heart?) pulling you toward despair?
It’s hard to stay in the middle, assuming a “both…and” stance toward the environment that gives permission for engaging both in action and feeling despair. Yet both sides are equally true and symptomatic of the current climate crisis.
In an attempt to de-polarize these seemingly opposing forces, we recently held a community gathering that honored them both. The event consisted of a grief-circle and a letter-writing campaign.
The circle offered information about the dire global warming trajectories and gave people time to share their reactions. Needless to say, the tissue box was passed around.
The letter writing involved taking action to help elect officials who will be committed to addressing climate change as a legislative priority. While hand-written letters that invite citizens to vote may seem antiquated, research shows that they do make a significant impact when election time comes. Personalized letters are much more effective than phone calls, e-mails, texts or post-cards in getting out the vote. Our gathering generated over 300 letters.
The event demonstrated the elasticity of the human heart, how it can simultaneously express grief and receive inspiration, how it can ache so painfully while continuing to pump and mobilize us.