Grief and a pine marten


How supported do you feel?

Do you sometimes walk barefoot and consciously, body-heart-mind-fully connect with the ground beneath your feet?

What do you love about the place where you live? About the planet you inhabit?

As I was walking in the wild wind of East Clare today, rivulets of the clearest water flowing down the sides of the path, birds chirping away, I asked myself those questions.

I thought about my love for the Earth, and how it’s become tainted by a desperate longing for a miracle, for the news, the data, the research to be wrong so that this love story would stop breaking my heart.

I remembered how I speak about support during a biodynamic craniosacral session. I invite clients to feel the support of the plinth underneath their bodies. I enquire what gives them a sense of support in life so that they can tap into this resource whenever needed.

Support comes in many guises: a strong presence that often goes hand in hand with a grounded ness, a safe and even loving connection with the ground, the land beneath us; the love of a special one; a sense of belonging to a community of friends we love, can rely on and deeply relate to; a bolstering, the tacit or vocalised love and backing of our family members as well as our lineage and history which can encourage and fuel our lives, our dreams…

All these containers within containers remind me of Russian dolls…and are all equally important, even if of different sizes.

Support could also be the unexpected reaction of a pine marten I saw scampering a few feet away from me in broad daylight and who suddenly stopped and turned around to stare me in the eye as I said ‘hello, you’re so beautiful, wow’ in my sweetest, calmest voice…

The mystery of this simple relating with a rare and protected wild creature renewed my sense of belonging and of hope, ignited my wonder at the living treasures of this land.

Support is also this reassurance, often taken for granted, that what and who we love in life is protected, secure, safe.

I never learned about this in school and yet it is so essential: do you really feel the support of the ground beneath your feet, what do you love about life on Earth, what resources you when you walk and play in nature, how in love are you with this beautiful, depleted planet, what would you do for her if she were seriously threatened like she is now?

The pine marten also showed me my grief as I recognised the frailty of wildlife and our failure at protecting so many species that have gone extinct.

When I read, listen and see every day the ongoing disappearance of so many animals and plants, when the catastrophic consequences of global warming are so much more visible, my sense of support is deeply affected.

I am wounded, my heart hurts. I park it, numb it, continue to do my little bit and buy eco-friendly food, clothes, cosmetics, detergents…and bring my disposable cup and glass bottle of water everywhere with me but it’s nowhere near enough what needs to be done.

Yesterday I decided to completely stop buying plastic-wrapped organic fruits and vegetables in supermarkets.

Why do they wrap up good farming practises with fossil fuels? No matter how biodegradable they tell you the plastics are, they’re still polluting and killing wildlife while they break down.

That number in my head…200!!! 200 species a day going extinct. The sixth massive extinction is happening right now!

I feel myself vacillating like the flame of a candle in the breeze every time I read about yet another chunk of Amazonian forest being sacrificed for the sake of profit.

I hold on tight to stories of resilience, resistance, organisations that help to protect: Earth guardians, Earth angels…the new heroes and heroines of our times. I love them.

I love my work too and know the increased awareness and sense of safety about inhabiting one’s body will also ripple out in their lives and their more empowered presence in our bigger container, our home planet.

Even if my clients don’t speak of it, the general turmoil and uncertainty in the field affect their emotional and physical bodies. It is no accident that a favourite place or activity in nature is very often chosen to evoke a sense of support and resource during a session.

But we don’t talk about it. Just like 16-year-old Greta Thunberg so poignantly says in her TED talk, “ When I was eight years old…I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans, who are an animal species among others, could be capable of changing the Earth’s climate. Because if we were, and if it was really happening, we wouldn’t be talking about anything else important… If burning fossil fuels was so bad that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before?… Why wasn’t it made illegal?…So when I was 11 I became ill, I fell into depression, I stopped talking and I stopped eating…later on I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD and selective mutism…”(https://www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_case_to_act_right_now_on_climate?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread&fbclid=IwAR0nv2Ev4PMdAI5EcsrHIHtStDhkYOzr12s6P0y9pherFX_kd48XsY3Qygo#t-117994)

We are much more affected by this than we are willing to talk about, I know I am.

Why have we chosen to self censor ourselves around it as if it were taboo to mention it, like a ghost of the past, a war we cannot speak about for fear of offending others?

Are we so ashamedly helpless, powerless and fatalistic that we feel there is no point voicing our deep concerns, our profound grief for the planet we live on and all the lives it sustains?

Why does it take brave young souls, like Greta’s to remind us that yes we are at war, a world-wide war, the most insidious and ravaging of all as it is destroying the very fabric of life on Earth, our thin layer of air, our protection, our life-support system.

Yesterday I was also moved to tears by another amazing TED talk: Per Espen Stoknes, how to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming:

He spoke so movingly about the air which is, "....our earth's skin, a fragile wrapping inside of which we are all connected, all of life is nourished, protected and held, mediating between the blue ocean and black eternity.

With the global warming of the weather there are good reasons for feeling fear and despair. Yet, we may first grieve today’s sorry state and losses and then turn to face the future with sober eyes and determination. The new psychology of climate action lies in letting go, not of science, but of the crutches of abstractions and doomism, and then choosing to tell the new stories. These are the stories of how we achieve drawdown, the reversing of global warming. These are the stories of the steps we take as peoples, cities, companies and public bodies in caring for the air in spite of strong headwinds. These are the stories of the steps we take because they ground us in what we are as humans: earthlings inside this living air."

(https://www.ted.com/talks/per_espen_stoknes_how_to_transform_apocalypse_fatigue_into_action_on_global_warming?language=en&fbclid=IwAR2yHt8o2kyXzbU3MrPDldxBtLUxNAhvJVbHHJztxMET43l3kRwbF-raENE)

In the last few months there seems to be an acceleration of actions calling for our governments to act: from the Extinction Rebellion movement to the school climate strikes and many other creative, ingenious initiatives raising awareness and demanding action on social media and elsewhere.

A ground swell of voices is rising and today, Friday, thousands of school children around the world are on strike to highlight governments' inaction and making demands for climate change.

I had visions of crowds of demonstrators demanding no plastic wrappings outside our supermarkets yesterday evening and maybe this is part of my dream for a better future…for actions must follow words indeed.

I hear my inner voice saying: “this is is ridiculous Sophie, what are you talking about? How are you going to go about it? Do you realise you could just be on your own standing there with your placards?”

Well it’s high time we reasoned and shut up our self-censoring inner voices to free ourselves and radically shake the status quo, join the ranks of those who dare to speak out and stand up, act.

Because, as Greta so succinctly puts it, “When we start to act hope is everywhere…So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then and only then hope will come…”

So who will join me with a placard out side my local supermarket?


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