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.
By the time some readers see these words, Valentines Day will have become a distant memory. Nevertheless, the entire month of February has been designated American heart month, and for twenty-eight days we have permission to pay attention to the human organ, the heart, yet throughout the entire year, we have little or no permission to pay attention to the psycho-spiritual “organ” we call “the heart.” During the month of February, however, it is acceptable to think about the physical organ by focusing on heart disease and to cautiously entertain the psycho-spiritual organ on Valentines Day by way of eating chocolate, having sex, and sending flowers.
By popular request, Parts 1-5 of the recent “What Collapse Feels Like Series” have been condensed and reprinted here.
What Collapse Feels Like, Part 3 of 5: Resilience Begins With The Heart: All Roads Lead To Grief, By Carolyn Baker
We say that we want to become resilient, but we continue to shut off the heart as if resilience is something that gets engineered in the head. In fact, if resilience doesn’t begin with the heart, we can never become authentically resilient.
In the light of David Whyte’s poem and the information overload that many of us felt at this conference, I was intrigued by the use of the word “hungry” and “craving” which many participants expressed when they described their longing for spiritual and emotional processes that would facilitate their holding megadoses of new and disturbing information. The attendees at the conference represent only one segment of the collapse-aware population, but as a result of my experience at the conference and traveling throughout the country and working with individuals nationally and around the world, I hear the exact same longing expressed repeatedly and almost verbatim wherever I go. If anyone has any doubt that this aspect of confronting collapse is crucial, they are not listening.
Today is Memorial Day, created many years ago with the intention of honoring the fallen in battle. While we hold them in our hearts alongside the horrors of war, what must also be remembered and cherished on this day is the earth community in which we are innately and organically embedded. Whatever you believe about NTE, which is really of little importance in the larger scheme of things, we are losing this planet by way of the actions of our very immature, uninitiated, unwizened species. If you can, go out in nature today and reconnect with some aspect of it. Hold it close to your heart as you would your child or a beloved. These are the good ole days, and this is as good as it is likely to get.
Community Grounded In Grief In The Age Of Limits, By Carolyn Baker With Introduction By Orren Whiddon
With The Age of Limits our purpose was twofold, to speak the words… Decline, Collapse, and Die Off. Words that are truly devastating in their scope—and to create a conversational format based on face to face human interaction, without the deceptive anonymity of pixels on a screen. In these ways The Age of Limits was a great first year success as attendees stepped into the conversational space to share their own experiences and understanding of the emergent collapse, stepping outside of the emotional refuge of quantitative analysis, blog posts and comment streams to engage one another on a human and personal level. As this engagement progressed, as our temporary weekend community matured, people began to take risks and reveal their private emotional processing of collapse…and their own part in it. And this process of risk taking, of emotional self revelation, became itself one of the powerful currents of the event; a point well illustrated by our video of attendee interactions, and an outcome that was not anticipated by myself as the organizer. Lesson learned.
What in the paradigm of industrial civilization causes not only such grizzly violence of epic and epidemic proportions, but what in that paradigm causes us to so blatantly and blithely ignore the global warming-generated drought that is shriveling at least one third of this country? Are the two issues related?
…our world is not broken, it is dead. We are alive, if we choose to be, but the hierarchical systems of exploitation that structure the world in which we live — patriarchy, capitalism, nationalism, white supremacy, and the industrial model — all are dead. It’s not just that they cannot be reformed, but that they cannot, and should not, be revived. The death-worship at the heart of those ideologies is exhausting us and the world, and the systems are running down. That means we have to create new systems, and in that monumental task, the odds are against us. What we need is not naïve hope but whatever it is that lies beyond naiveté, beyond hope.