Thousands of years ago, humans could navigate seas by using the stars, the formation of the waves and the birds they witnessed on their journey. They were in tune with their world at a deep, intuitive level. Elders were viewed as wise and given the utmost respect. Tribal rituals showed gratitude to Mother Earth and celebrated Her.
Our ancestors knew how to engage with their environment. They shared the wisdom that Mother Earth was their life support machine and that Her preservation was necessary for their survival. It must have seemed so obvious to them that trees were an extension of their own lungs, and that being part of a small community was paramount if they wanted to experience a deep sense of purpose and belonging.
Today, facts about the climate crisis are put forward by scientists in complex models and endless statistics, only to be denied or ignored by politicians. Amongst many things, our ancestors knew intuitively that trees produced something they needed to survive - they trusted nature, rather than thinking they were better than it.
It seems bizarre then, that this is now a topic for debate. Perhaps statistics and models create a safe enough distance from the reality so as not to trigger us into despair? In the same way that we rarely get to see the suffering of animals in the production of meat, where our waste goes or how energy is produced. Perhaps we would be too traumatised if faced with the truth behind these things. And yet, I think we do know, or at least have a sense. The System however, has conditioned us to be skilled deniers. It does not serve the interests of the current capitalist machines (and the super-wealthy few at the top of them) for workers and citizens to engage deeply, or worse, fully understand the environmental impact of our economic models.
I think we knew this moment in our history was coming. We seem to have forgotten, at least consciously, that we are nature. We don’t spend “time in nature”, we are it. That feeling you can’t put your finger on - the resting anxiety, the gentle depression you feel in quiet moments – perhaps this is your deepest intuitive self, yearning for healing. Buried deep beneath those layers it’s voice can be heard saying, “you are nature. Heal your environment and you will heal yourself”.
And so with a shared grief for what we have lost, and as Mother Earth groans with pain at the wounds we inflict upon Her, world leaders stand at podiums telling us they will do “all it takes” to look after us. They will do this, they say, by seeking to sustain the very economic models that have led us to this point of crisis. Gaslighting entire populations has become the new norm. Transfixed by their grasping for increased power and using each new crisis to exert more control, they deny the rights of millions of people to begin collective healing. We are witnessing traumatised leaders, ruling a traumatised world. No wonder so many of us feel confused and doubt our experience of reality.
If you were to allow yourself to fully embody the realisation that the economic models we are told keep us safe, are actually systematically destroying the very thing that keeps us alive, perhaps it would be too much to bear. Perhaps it would strike a panic at the heart of humanity that would overwhelm us. And yet, aren’t we all feeling this panic already? Our interconnectedness as a species has been highlighted by the rapid spread of this virus. As many more of us become more conscious to the pain we are inflicting upon ourselves, we first feel powerlessness. For us, this is a form of torture, the physiological effects of which are being felt by millions of us across the world. Our interconnected nature means that these feelings are spreading like a virus, too.
We all have the capacity to wake up to this. Not one of us is separate from nature. We all have that deep yearning to be reconnected with our essence – love. Love for each other and love for Mother Earth. Perhaps for many, these insights are buried deep beneath the layers of personal trauma, along with social and economic conditioning. This has left us detached, dissociated and cut off from our natural instincts. We have been told that only the powerful can save us from their ivory towers.
As we sit in our homes across the world, we can use the opportunity to venture within. To sit with our deepest selves. To reconnect with our intuition and to allow ourselves to fully acknowledge where we are in our history as a species. To weep for our shared trauma. To honour our individual and collective suffering, and to grieve for what we have lost as a result. If we are to heal, we must be prepared to feel.
Alongside our grief, we have an opportunity to welcome a new dawn for humanity. An age where we judge our success as a species not based on our economic output, but on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Not based on the size of our house, but on how healthy we leave the environment for future generations. And not based upon power and wealth, but on the strength of our communities and the understanding that when Mother Earth is in good health, we all are.