By Natalie Pax, Phase II Fellow
One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or despair—thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl. Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach…
It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts—adding, adding to, adding more, continuing…
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés
In stormy times of climate change and ecological destruction, it can prove difficult to not feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of issues facing life on earth. Changing weather patterns, high rates of animal extinction, and a continuing loss of natural ecosystems worldwide can create a feeling of helplessness and overall despair, especially when your interests are so intrinsically entwined with the earth - such as in agriculture.
I’ll admit that I have fallen victim to the looming despair and resulting feelings of helplessness about the current (and future) state of the earth and the life that depends on it. It’s important to note that one person—no matter how passionate and determined—is not going to “save” the world and all of the issues we face as humanity in the modern era. However, that does not negate our individual and collective power in contributing towards a future that we know is better—for the earth, for people, and for all living things.
There is beauty in each act and in continuing acts that have been set in motion for a better future, just as Clarissa Pinkola Estés described in her quote above. Every seed that is planted and nurtured, every human heart that is touched, and every act of service that one can contribute is meaningful and worth celebrating. We all have unique abilities and skills to contribute, and our impact is magnified when we can unite with others in causes that are meaningful and powerful.
While it’s okay to recognize the weight of the issues facing our earth and communities in the current era, it is immensely important to celebrate the small successes and let any positive contribution carry us forth in our efforts towards a better future.
As I adjust to the changes of moving to a new city and community and beginning a new job in Staunton, VA, I remind myself that I belong here, just as every living thing on earth belongs to the web of interconnected life. I will choose to celebrate the small things: the warmth of sun rays in the morning, the smile of a stranger, the sprouts of green life that signal the beginning of Spring.
Despite the looming uncertainty of the future, I will choose to seek the sunlight in stormy weather, and amplify its rays.