003: Handling Overwhelm with wisdom from the film Joanna Macy and The Great Turning
Green Team Academy Episode 3
Handling Overwhelm with wisdom from the film: Joanna Macy and The Great Turning
[1:00] Handling overwhelm is the foundational skill, the foundational challenge of being an eco-leader
[2:45] Introducing the film
[3:05] Gustav Young: Running through each life is a question
[3:30] Excerpt 1: The biggest gift we can give is to be present to our time
[4:15] Excerpt 2: Dealing with the pain of these times
[5:55] Don’t be afraid of your heart breaking open. The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe.
[7:45] So, that’s what I wanted to share with you! A framework for handling overwhelm
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Gustav Young had said that running through each life like a thread is a question that you come to answer. The big question is more important than the answer by far
How do we be fully present to our world when the suffering and the prospects for conscious life forms are so grim. How do we look straight into the face of our time, which is the biggest give we can give, to be present to our time. It’s so tempting to want to just pull back, like a turtle inside its shell. It’s so tempting to close your eyes. Busy yourself with other things. How do we be with our world without going crazy. I think, For the past 40 years, that’s been the question that’s pursued me. I’m actually grateful for it. When you find a question like that, it’s good news.
Dealing with the Pain of these Times
In every myth, the hero or heroine are called to look the monster straight in the eye and not turn to stone.
We need each other in ways that we never have before. Because All through human history there was this tacit assumption that life would continue on this planet. Oh yeah, there were wars, there was poverty, there was plague and pestilence and death of course and illness and old age and all that. But always there was this tacit assumption that life would continue. That the work of our hearts and hands would go on for future generations. And that’s what’s lost now. And that loss of certainty for the ongoingness of life is the pivotal psychological reality of our time. So my way of dealing with the overwhelm is to look it straight in the eye and and say, there you are again. To realize that we are suffering with our world. And not try to pave it over or apologize for it. And not see it as a personal weakness, a personal craziness. But almost to bow to it, you are suffering with your world. It’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s the most wholesome, healthy thing in the world too. Don’t be afraid of your heart breaking open.. The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe. It’s that big. I want so much to feel sure. I want to be able to tell people don’t worry. It’s going to be okay. But I realize that that wouldn’t be doing anybody a favor. First of all, we can’t know. But secondly, if somehow, we could be given a pill to be convinced, don’t worry it’s going to turn out ok. Would that elicit from us our greatest creativity and courage. No. It’s that knife edge of uncertainty where we come alive to our truest power. So we do ourselves the favor. We honor ourselves to live with sufficient realism and dignity to know we’re right with that knife edge of uncertainty. We don’t know how it’s going to come out. There are no guarantees. Then we realize, wait. There aren’t any guarantees anyway. There are no guarantees when you fall in love that you’re going to have a lasting relationship There are no guarantees when you go into labor that you’ll have a healthy delivery There are no guarantees that When you put seeds in the soil that there’ll be sufficient rain and warmth for a bumper crop. There never has been guarantee for human life. And it’s in that uncertainty. And this crisis is like an exquisite wind and fire of uncertainty, that is the nature of life. All the wise ones tell us that. That’s where we come alive.
Thank you for listening!
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