Recently I went to mid Wales and had the joy of walking up Cadair Idris on a hot, clear day (on the short and steep Minnffordd path in case you're interested). It was in a whole week of hot dry weather - not really what I expected in Wales - these kinds of days when the climate disaster and biodiversity catastrophe feel full in my face.
I want to say that I can make a difference; I want to know that each action I take, and have taken, will add up to something. That all my recycling, composting, growing veggies, eating less meat, having holidays in the UK and driving a little less are helping the Earth to deal with all the ways that I and other humans have messed things up; specifically taking fossil fuels out of the ground, burning them and creating CO2 and heat, lots of it. And not to mention all the pesticides and 'poor' farming practices that put profit - and humans - before everything else. Oh, and all the creating of buying things we don't need. (And maybe even using the computer to write blog posts! )
I'm not sure it is making a difference though. I cannot tell how my little pieces add to the bigger pieces. Perhaps I should give up my good actions, and get a hot tub, eat loads of burgers and go on a cruise. I could say f**k it, I'll take that flight to Greece this summer and have a windsurfing blast in Vassiliki, my favourite spot for many years. I could even buy a tiny bit of land and think 'I'm safe now, that's all ok, never mind the others...'.
Please don't think I have an answer to all this. What I do have though is a shifting/shift in perspective - and the beautiful mountain helped me with that.
I see and feel that I have lots of life. I mean, huge amounts of life, inside me and outside me. It's just everywhere and I can't ignore it. My body is full of cells and energy and it keeps wanting to get up and do things, to walk, dance and even to take one step at a time and climb up a mountain, just because it is there. Around me I hear the birds, the crickets, the flies and bees. On my desk are flowers from my garden, and I make many spaces for them to grow. I do my best to honour the place where I live and the places I walk and work; to be present to the other beings - all the life. Even if we humans destroy this beautiful planet in its current form, I'm pretty sure that life will continue in some form. The mountains feel to me like huge beings who watch over and see what we do.
That gives me hope. I will encourage others to find hope in the Beauty and Life around us, and inside us. We are all life, and life wants to live and to grow, to be present and to evolve into the next things.
How do we do this consciously when it is so painful to see things disappear and shift? My way is to make space for the grief I feel, to allow it, and to note it - not to push it away. When I walked up Cadair Idris I found myself in tears and chanting loving words to the mountain on the final ascent; offering my heart and love to the place. (And leaving no trace behind me, and picking up others' rubbish as I came down.)
I allow the beauty, the land and spirit to fill me up. I take actions that support me and others to change our ways. I spend time in 'deep connection' with the land and other beings, make ceremonies with the land, honour life and let it know that I care, that I see, that I am present. All these help me. What about you?