WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Earlier this week, Erica Neal of Yellow Swing Garden shared a gorgeous meditation on the power of storytelling in shaping sustainable living. Erica's essay—the first in a fresh series from her on holistic homesteading—has given me a dose of hope during these rocky days. Writes Erica:
When we set out to accomplish a goal with story in mind, we set intentions. We envision progress and challenges along the way to a stunning destination. We generate or gather imagery and language that invokes passion. And most importantly, we create a space in our memory that can recall these vivid dreams when our hope needs help. Even a dream as simple as sustainable living deserves the support of a vibrant, intentional story.
Erica's words were just what I needed to hear this week. Newly unemployed and unsure what I am doing and where I am going to live next, I've been searching for ways to ground my passion in action. I feel like I have so many opportunities in front of me, so many places I can go and things I can do, that I've found myself struggling to make a decision. I'm overwhelmed by possibility but I'm also afraid of making the "wrong" move.
That's why I so treasure Erica's essay. She inspired me to take a deep breath and to think about the story that I am telling about myself. I know that my story will evolve as I do. I know there will be many things I can't control that will shape my next steps. I know, too, that creating a narrative for myself takes me out of the nebulous fog of what next? I've been floating in and plunges me into a story I am an active agent in. At its heart, storytelling is a way to be our own permission—to dream deeper, dare bigger, and do more—in spite of the everyday trials and tribulations we might be struggling with.
That's why I sat down one early morning and wrote my sustainability story. I won't share ALL of it with you (when I've got a fire in my belly, I'm not a good editor) but here's a little of what I poured onto the page:
I want to continue to tell stories and create art that inspires positive environmental change. I want to grow into my role as an environmental activist and deepen Loam's reach. I want to make something—art, love, a fresh-from-the-farmers'-market meal for friends—every damn day. I want to find work that helps me embody hope and gives me a space to support others in their pursuit of sustainable living.
When I sat down and sketched out a story of who I want to be and what I want to do, I found it easier to inhabit the present. The restlessness in my belly isn't so damning when I can recognize it as part of my journey of becoming.
In that spirit, Erica and I want to invite you to share your sustainability stories with us. What are your big dreams for living lighter on this earth? How do you want to grow into your work as an environmental advocate? What places do you want to protect? Whatever it is that moves you, share your sustainability story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org over the course of the next few weeks. We'll compile our favorites into a post that we hope will serve as an inspiration board for our luscious Loam community.
Here's to dreaming and doing, today & everyday.