It was my turn.
And I couldn’t wait to get it over with. We have been doing self-discovery exercises all weekend, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the whole process. I hadn’t slept all night, and I wanted to go home. This was supposedly our last task.
When I walked up to the wall, I suddenly felt anger and sadness. A speech flowed out of my mouth about how impossible, unbelievable, and absurd it is that we don’t act on the state of the world right now. We have all the knowledge. We have the technical means. Why don’t we do anything? Why does nobody seem to care? How can anyone sleep peacefully while they destroy life everywhere? I was filled with despair and hopelessness. Maybe it was less of a speech and more of a tantrum. Perhaps no one even understood what I was saying between the sobs. When I was done, I broke the piece of wood in two.
What seemed like another one of those ineffective self-help tools turned out to be a healing moment for me to accept the grief and frustration that come along (I think for everyone) dealing with planetary issues.
As Roy Scranton in Learning to Die in the Anthropocene says,
“The greatest challenge we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront our situation and realize that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the difficult task of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.”
For me, that was the moment that started my new reality.
Instead of being frustrated with how things were, my focus shifted to what I could do. Instead of blaming the system, I began to see that I was the system