I personally know grief, a deep or seemingly bottomless chasm of despair. I've spent time in the abyss of darkness that grief offers. I was introduced to grief formally, when I lost my sister to road violence, then my brother to addiction and my childhood friend to cancer. I also met grief as a child when my local bushland (wonderland) was bulldozed overnight for a shopping centre. Grief is grief is grief.... it cannot be compared or measured, only expressed.
I have felt grief engulf who I thought I was at my core with a force so wild, untamed and alive arising from my soul. When grief takes hold of you in this way, you begin to see through the eyes of nature - and it's the part of nature that needs saving.
In my work I have sat with hundreds of people and their families and loved ones at the end stages of life. I have sat with the waling of the younger members of my own family and more recently, over the past five years, those coming forward with their ecological grief and despair. In all this, I am humbled, grateful and empowered by the rawness and honesty in these shared moments of truth.
When we can live with grief it gifts us with the ability to resist remaining passive and still. It empowers us to see what we most love and what we are willing to fight and live for...
As a collective species we are the part of nature that needs saving, and for those who are willing to enter into grief, you will be gifted with looking through natures eyes and feeling her wild, untamed life force.
You can take the unimaginable experiences of your life and process them through your body with grief. In time they transform into being of service to the world. You can speak from the voice of authority. Not in the traditional sense of "the expert", but as one who has embodied the lived experience of grief, backed by an immense, untamed life force and truth teller.
I'm so grateful for the people working on setting up spaces for communal grieving, for the people willing to sit patiently with others as they express their unique expression of grief. I'm so thankful for our Indigenous communities in stepping forward with their wisdom to guide others in the honouring and letting go required when grieving. I'm so heart-warmed to know I'm not alone in living with grief and that there are so many others seeing through the eyes of nature as the part of nature that needs healing.
I view grief as the most natural response to the way our species is partaking in ecocide. Underneath the rage, the terror, the hate, the anger, the paralysis, the denial, the hopelessness lies the grief. Silently awaiting to take your hand and lead you to love. This is the type of love required to give ourselves, our communities (including non-human) and up into our biosphere to find the way to live together that most values life.
“Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force…. It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled, and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from the soul.”
We are emotional beings, we are a product of evolution, and we are connected to all other living species on the Earth through our local, regional and planetary systems and eco systems. And as a result our emotional states are worthy of close attention and are just as important as the science of climate change and of the science of biodiversity. These are the Earth emotions.
Photo - "The Hope Bomb" taken in Hyde Park, Sydney, 2019 - School strike for climate justice
‘Burn-out’ is a term that is often used. It can be caused by taking on a lot of projects at one time, by being in a constant state of high-anxiety/stress, loss of external control and experiencing/witnessing traumatic events. After a prolonged period of a heightened state of stress, the body literally starts to work differently, changing your body’s hormone systems. It can result in your immune system weakening and a range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, frequent colds/flu, weight loss or gain, shortness of breath and hypertension.
Burn-out is a natural response to all of the above. Burn-out is your body telling you need to support yourself, get help where needed or take a break. Burn-out doesn’t always occur straight after an incident or period of high-stress, sometimes it is a delayed response and will only be felt months later. This is why it is so important to have a sustainable, reliable, supportive culture in place.
Source- XT Resilience Statement