The Sound of Pedestals Crashing

The sound of pedestals

crashing to the ground

is deafening!

 

Well.

Sort of.

You know what I mean

(It’s just a metaphor)

 

Why-oh-why-oh-why

did we erect all these (damn) pedestals

in the first place???

 

 

A Few Relevant Quotations (inevitably)

“Anyone who idolizes you is going to hate you when he discovers that you are fallible. He never forgives. He has deceived himself, and he blames you for it.” – Elbert Hubbard (quoted in the novel Seduction, by Catherine Gildener)

“In my early years at Omega, [an organization she co-founded] when I was in my twenties, I found it disconcerting when teachers started falling off their pedestals. Like discovering over dinner that a renowned relationship expert was getting divorced, or hosting a retreat for peace activists and finding out they were very angry people. Or meeting the depressed happiness researcher. Or the monk with a big ego. At first this upset me. But as the years went on, it liberated me. It made me more tolerant of all people’s inconsistencies, and it made me more compassionate toward myself. It showed me that no one is living the exact life you think they are, so if you compare your life to another person’s, you’re usually comparing it to a fantasy of your own making. Seeing the imperfect humanness of my teachers side by side with their genius has helped me stop expecting perfection of myself. My close encounters with the wise ones have helped me relax and lighten up. I’ve let go of the goal of perfection and taken up the goal of authenticity.

The end of authenticity deficit disorder is not a glamorous new personality. It’s less exciting and more wonderful than that: You become more fully yourself. You become more present, more awake, more alive. You uncover a natural intelligence that knows what you need in order to fulfill your destiny. You look less and less outside yourself for validation and direction. Your life becomes who you are, not what you do.” – Elizabeth Lesser in Marrow – A Love Story (an utterly wonderful book!)

Previous postings about pedestals on this site

Pulling Down the Pedestals <March 2009>

Science. Scientists. Scientism. Pedestals. Religion, too. & cherry-picking <Oct. 2017>

Feeling the Joy, the Gratitude, and … the Grief

<June 2/19>

Most people, or so it would seem, are unable to contemplate or consider (or, um, admit out loud / publicly) the possibility (the likelihood) that our species is headed for extinction – likely maybe a good deal sooner than we know. (Note: I am utterly convinced that MANY public figures know this as well as I do. But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to admit to it!)

To me, this seems odd, as I’ve been contemplating the possibility (the likelihood) for decades. Truly! I became an environmental activist in the mid-to-late 1980s. The notion that we were likely headed for the cliff/a brick wall inevitably came to me pretty early on in the game. (When you see the forces of #JustDoNothing all around you? Among your fellow citizens, among governments, among corporations? Well. It offers a bit of a clue.)

So, I spent decades trying to stave off the inevitable … not that I think (now) that there was ever really a chance not in my lifetime, anyway that we could have done this. That realization did also arrive, inevitably. No regrets! They were great years. 🙂 One does, one can become resigned to extinction. But also, fully committed to efforts to stave it off. Paradox? Maybe…

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

How can I help articulate this, so as to be helpful to others?

Early in my career as an environmental activist, I felt a lot of anger. I think grief was hiding there, under the anger. But I didn’t realize that then. (I was so busy being angry. & thinking I could change everything. & everyone. & “save the world.” You know. Of course, more could be said about all that. I’m trying to stay on point here.)

Luckily, early in the game I also learned – partly through intuition, largely through the great grace of friendship with some awesome activists who’d been at it much longer than I had – that one needed to balance one’s activism with time in Nature.

That time in Nature was healing. Sanity-restoring. Re-energizing.

This was a huge gift. Life-altering. Helpful. Essential!

One could drain one’s energy bank, but have it replenished by, say, going on a canoe trip. Going for walks in the woods. Cross-country skiing in a beautiful, quiet wood. Etc. (Even a regular walking habit.)

I know now I could not have done all the environmental work I’ve done in the past thirty-some years if I had not learned to be

  • a little bit outdoorsy &

  • a lot grateful for the beauty and wonders of this incredible planet we spring from.

Having immersed myself in a variety of issues over the years (this went more or less from water>waste>pesticides>ozone layer>toxics reduction>cancer prevention>energy conservation>climate change>lead>nukes … though not anywhere that neatly 🙂), I kind of learned a lot about the true, deep, relentless, thoughtless, rapacious assault on the planet our species has been waging … for a very, very long time. (Indeed, it does go back a very long time.)

Perhaps only during the last phase of my years as a purely environmental activist (anti-nuke-focused), did I finally cotton on to

  • how incredibly corrupt our governments are (Yikes! Truly well out beyond the pale…. 🙁 🙁 🙁)

  • how deeply they collude with industry/corporations (& this includes all the government bureaucracies, I am sorry to say … & more latterly, the universities got bought up too 🙁)

  • how truly, thoroughly, deeply, inexorably f**ked we are on more levels than I had perhaps previously quite been able to fully take in (it is not “just” climate change we are rassling with), & finally

  • the hard truth that the people who really run things here on Planet Earth are a very nasty lot indeed. I have come to use the word evil … a term I arrived at only after many years in the trenches. (some musings on psychopaths here)

I had known all along the way that there were very few signs we really had any intention of changing our behaviour (Few signs?? Hmmmm. Maybe no signs??). I did change my own in a variety of ways! But while one person can make a difference (& the changes felt good, & right, inside) one person’s choices (even a whole town’s choices, a whole country’s!) cannot put the brakes on such a massive, rapaciously destructive juggernaut that is operating on the global scale.

Being this person who worked passionately but also became a faithful practitioner of gratitude (lots about gratitude here) – and walking, I dare say: the quiet & solitude & reflective time also help a lot – I somehow learned to confront the grief under the anger. Not confront it. Face it. Feel it.

When you stay stuck in anger, &/or in determined workaholism (surely a very serious epidemic among us??), I think one is subconsciously trying to avoid the pain. The grief. Which, in my opinion, is not a particularly helpful strategy. Not a very wise one. My take, anyway. (Though I have no doubt done, & continue to do! some of this myself. Well, we’re all just human, hmmmm?)

I have no recipe for how to learn to feel your own grief. Grief is such a messy thing!

Not sure where I picked up this graphic. On Facebook, likely.

Not sure where I picked up this graphic. On Facebook, likely.

I think we have to learn to do some un-plugging from the human parade of insanity that passes for “regular” life these daze, in order to cope with the strangeness of human life on the planet at this time.

  • Turn off devices/social media

  • Go for walks/hikes/canoe outings/whatever…

  • Learn to love the natural world

  • Learn to be thankful for all this grace, beauty & abundance

  • Develop purpose?

  • Sing. Dance. Hang out with friends. Laugh. Have fun!

I also think you have to really appreciate it – life/Life & this planet, I mean (i.e., not just take it all for granted) – before you can properly grieve the losses that now seem to be surrounding & engulfing us, that we are now almost literally drowning in.

I don’t know. I’m such an oddball (yes, I know I am, & am just fine with that! 🙂), how can I possibly really communicate what I mean??

Never mind.

More articulate souls than I have said plenty of wise things on the topic of grief.

I’ve done some postings about grief over the past few years, & provided links to each of these people (& others). The Collections posting has a number of items about grief (along with other topics I’ve written about, e.g. near-term extinction). Also quotations: grief here, near-term extinction here.

Me, myself? I grieve. Absolutely. Actively. I also give thanks. (Often. Daily.) My heart breaks. Often. (Daily.) & even though I’ve been immersed in this stuff for a long time (the issues, the activism, the grief), I can’t really get my head around it – our (I believe) inevitable (maybe even semi-imminent) demise as a species. Not really.

I mean, I know it is coming…

& yet it’s so hard to really take it in … isn’t it??

All I know to do is

  • Continue loving Nature/the Earth (is Nature for you?)

  • Continue being profoundly grateful for my many blessings

  • Being as present as possible for each moment as it is happening

Pema Present Moment.jpg

  • Make no assumptions about what will happen next

  • Continue making use of myself to my fellow humans (there are so very many ways to do this!)

  • Hang out with folks I love, respect, admire … have fun with!

  • Allow myself to grieve & cry – howl from time to time, if need be. Feel the feelings.

& now??

It’s time for a beer!

So, off I go.

QED.

Janet

p.s. there are many postings in the near-term extinction (NTE) section of the Collections posting about dealing with the reality we are facing, or, really, immersed in, engulfed by. I write these things ‘cos I feel compelled to. I always hope they may be of some use to other humans too.  

p.p.s. the thing about grief is – or rather, one of the things – is, it’s messy. It isn’t neat. It does not, will not, conform to anybody’s tidy little ideas or charts or graphs about it. As that graphic up there shows. The other thing is, I think you have to open the door to it. You have to let it in. Not use all your energy shutting it out (which I believe a great many people do). I think you have to surrender to it. Allow it to have its way with you … as it were. I don’t think you get to have your way with it. It works the other way around. That’s what I think, anyway. It’s a visitor that will only enter in if invited. Allowed. Surrendered to. & seemingly so very few of us will allow it.

It's time, humans!

“There is some strange intimacy between grief and aliveness, some sacred exchange between what seems unbearable and what is most exquisitely alive.” – Francis Weller in The Wild Edge of Sorrow – Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief  

“Facing grief is hard work. … It takes outrageous courage to face outrageous loss. This is precisely what we are being called to do.” – Francis Weller in The Wild Edge of Sorrow

** more quotations about grief here

** near-term extinction quotes

** walking quotes

** gratitude quotes

** courage quotes

A Hill Worth Dying On

<June 1/19>

I’ve been an activist for more than 30 years (best I can figure, it all began for me 35 years ago now). Have worked on many issues over these decades. At one time I felt so strongly about the (to-me) horror of burning household garbage, I’d have chained myself to something in protest. (Yes, we lost the battle on that one, as on so many others, & yes, I still consider it an abomination.) I did chain myself to some fellow activists in a climate justice arrest gig in late 2009 (& for the record, it was a very fun experience!)

I became very passionate about particular issues, at different times along the way. 30 years ago, I began focusing almost exclusively on environmental issues. But I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase “a hill worth dying on” until recently.

One key thing is I do believe our species is pretty much on its last legs. Our days are numbered, now, I am convinced. Of course, no one knows precisely how it will go down – or exactly when. But I think we all have a sense (viscerally, perhaps?? Subconsciously?) that the state of our air – water – Earth is more than a little on the (really-really) dire side … hmmm??

So. Here I am, now, very (very!) active on the vaccine issue, & not much interested anymore in the various issues I spent so many years working on so passionately (e.g. pesticides, nukes), or even getting arrested protesting (climate change).

Why do I say now that this is a hill worth dying on?

Well.

Now that I know how very much harm is being done to our children … something I spent 63 years being entirely oblivious to … & utterly convinced that we’re cooked anyway, as a species….

Toast.jpg

I’d much prefer to spend my time working on an issue that has the potential to actually help people – especially families with young children – who are right here alive & right in front of us, right now.

The autism epidemic is a scary, sobering, heartbreaking (heartwrenching!) thing. & of course vaccines contribute not just to autism but to many other conditions & illnesses.

These are very challenging times to be alive (ya think??). So many things are making so many of us feel stressed out – on a routine, daily basis. Imagine how much stress there is in your life if you have a child who has been seriously damaged (or who died!) as a result of vaccine injury.

Very sobering to contemplate how truly horrible this must be.

Now. Who knows how much time we have left?

Who knows how it will go down?

Nobody knows this.

We can only make wild guesses.

 

A person has to have purpose, no? For me, having been an activist for so darn long, it’s virtually part of my wiring by now. I wouldn’t know how to live my life without raising heck about something I care passionately about!

So.

This has become the hill I will die on.

& that’s alright with me.

QED.

Janet

p.s. you know, I just came from an event where a pretty powerful documentary about climate change was shown. ‘The Human Element.’ Discussion started up afterward about what people can do on the climate front. I’ve been paying attention to this issue since back in the days when we were talking about “the greenhouse effect” – not yet using the term climate change (i.e., late 1980s). I did my fair share in my personal life to limit my carbon footprint (also not a phrase we were using at that time, btw - but in any case, using less energy, making less garbage, driving my car less & using public transportation more, choosing not to fly for quite a few years in there, etc.). A big thing that I noticed at the film event was utterly absent, was any discussion of the likelihood of human extinction. Talk about an elephant in the room!?

Elephant in the room!.jpeg

Something else that, to my way of thinking, really ought to be talked about publicly – not swept under the carpet & ignored – is grief. Encouragement to actually feel the grief of our situation – and to express it. We likely need a whole lot of “grief work” to help us out with this.

Dahr Jamail: ‘   Climate Crisis Forces Us to Ask: To What Do We Devote Ourselves?   ’ &lt;May 6/19&gt; Great lecture with climate update from DJ    here   .

Dahr Jamail: ‘Climate Crisis Forces Us to Ask: To What Do We Devote Ourselves?’ <May 6/19> Great lecture with climate update from DJ here.

p.p.s. & so, since in my view, there is nothing I/we/you can do to stave off the coming disaster (climate change is like a humongous nasty horrible monster on steroids. Does anyone really believe this creature can be stopped?????) … we are done.

Climate change timeline.png

BUT. Vaccine injury is still preventable. One person, one family at a time. Every family/parent one talks to about the risks, one has the potential to prevent future injury. Prevent a disaster.

Hence, my current preoccupation.

p.p.p.s. I might add that I do write quite a bit about near-term extinction (NTE), & about grief & have been doing so for some years now. Nor am I alone in this. If you go to the Collections posting on this site & scroll down, you’ll find headings on both ‘Grief’ & ‘Near-term Extinction’ with postings on both topics. Included are links to other resources, graphics, & quotations. Feeling (& expressing) our grief are not things we are encouraged to do in this culture, it seems. We likely need a wee bit of help with this, is my point. (My next posting will focus largely on grief.)

p.p.p.p.s. There are many postings about the vaccine issue on this site. All are gathered up neatly under the heading ‘On Vaccines’ on the main page of this site. (Scroll down below the Quotations. I do tend to get a bit carried away with those. 🙂 )

p.s. # 5: It occurs to me that maybe not everyone has connected the dots about how/why things are liable to go so badly sideways (maybe soon). It’s fairly simple, really. For one thing, there’s climate change. & that changes everything … even if you don’t “believe in” it!

** You can read a “monster” humdinger of a climate change essay here.

Let’s face it: we can all see & feel the climate changing around us. More & bigger storms. Torrential flooding, forest fires, rising water levels. Late Springs, like the very cold & rainy one we just had here in Ontario. There will be difficulties & challenges growing food to feed us all. (I believe this will start soon. Some of that flooding in the U.S.? Not sure how far-reaching the impacts will be. You could check it out, of course. Even here, in Ontario. Soooo much rain. Wet fields. Challenges to growing crops.) The equation is a simple one. Humans need food (& habitat) to survive. Climate impacts are going to hit both of these hard. We need food to eat. Food is going to become (is already becoming) more & more challenging to grow. That’s all. It’s simple. It’s not rocket science; not at all. Just requires connecting a few dots, is all. (This posting mentions a # of other things that are involved. It isn’t “just” climate change – although frankly, climate change alone is bad enough even without the other stuff!? But it’s about synergies, right? Unpredictable synergies that we cannot control. Unintended consequences. The history of our species, hmmm? Sooooooo many unintended consequences.)

** Quotations about NTE here. Quotations about grief here. Quotations about vaccines here.

RFK Big Pharma controls America Yay Mothers!.jpg