WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
During a Permaculture Design Certification course that I took earlier this year, one of my teachers—the rad Brock Dolman—described the erratic weather, cycles of drought and deluge, and species extinction plaguing our planet as symptomatic of the world working through a fever. Climate change has raised the temperature of our precious planet and just like we do when we're feeling feverish, the world is sweating off the sickness.
Brock's analogy has been on my mind lately. I've been striving to take things slower and truly experience my life; the delicious, everyday joys, the energy activism brings me, the wild sense of spirit that courses thru me during my morning walks along the water. As I navigate new paths in my career, I've realized that my hunger to heal the world is the unifying thread. And I'm finding that by doing what I do when I'm sick and in need of mending, I'm better able to tend to our good earth.
Herewith, three simple ways to heal the world. Healing is truly a communal process and I really believe that if you can bring to your everyday life the same compassion, gentleness, and generosity that you carry with you when you (or maybe a loved one) is working through a bad cold, you'll make the world a little better.
DO WHAT YOU CAN & BE GENTLE WHEN YOU CAN'T
I've only been super sick a couple of times in my life but when I'm knocked out, the littlest things are draining. So I do what I can (sleep, read, sleep) and be gentle with myself for everything I can't do yet. It's a philosophy I've interwoven into my own everyday activism and it's made the hard work of healing the world far sweeter.
It's easy to feel despondent when we're struggling to create the kind of radical institutional change our world needs. But when we place the power to build a better world in our own able limbs—when we do what we can, for as long as we can—it fortifies us against the inevitable frustrations inherent in fighting for just policies and equitable systems. Love fiercely. Grow a garden. Make less trash. Make more art. These are world-healing practices you don't need to wait on anybody to bring into being. This is not to say fighting for change within institutions is futile—it's hella vital (and it makes a major difference). Only that it's important to balance political action with personal growth so that we can thrive even in the face of daily difficulties.
Being sick pushes you to slow down. It's like your body pulls out a "STOP" sign until you sink into bed with a cuppa tea and a dogeared book of Grace Paley. When so much is happening—in our communities, in our country, in our climate—it can feel counterintuitive to slow down. But if we can remember that the world is sick—and that we are sick too—slowing down is second nature. Do fewer things but with greater heart. That simple maxim has truly transformed my relationship to our land and to my life.
CARVE OUT SPACE FOR SELF-CARE
When you're feeling feverish, self care is Option A & B. I've found that limiting my morning news intake, stenciling "MAKE ART" into my schedule, and spending sweet evenings doing little more than making a simple skillet dinner to savor in my summertime backyard are healing acts that sustain me as I work to heal the world. Self-care isn't a distraction from the "real" work. It's a bridge that brings us into deeper engagement with sustainable activism. Take the time you need to feel at peace, full of joy, and energized. You'll do more to mend the world when you're tending to your own sweet heart.