I’ve worked hard over the last year to find a sense of optimism and hope regarding the state of the world, especially regarding the climate emergency. I have found it is essential to diligently work through grief, despair, and paralysis. But for some of us, we are processing much more than just the state of the world: in facing the climate emergency, we are also facing our childhood trauma head on. How can we heal and find our unique voice and contribution to the collective? What role does compassion play passion play in the process of transmuting our grief and pain into committed action?
Chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors, and uncertainty – among other factors commonly perceived as negative – are not necessarily our enemies. Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out once again in his latest masterwork, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, that we live in a “Black Swan” world where unpredictable events that have maximum impact on our lives happen necessarily and, well, unpredictably. These events are “Black Swans” in Taleb’s prose. In our complex, modern lives, these factors – chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors and uncertainty – are not a matter of choice; they exist and in ever-increasing quantities. We will run into them, or they will run into us. So, instead of positioning ourselves against them, why not use them as “friends” or at least as “allies” in our development of self?
Clients often come to me in a state of agitation, impatience and panic (real or existential, sometimes both), wanting a “magic solution” for their current dilemma – which is, in fact, a microcosmic representation or symptom of their overall life dilemma. And while I really do have a “magic solution” to share with them, it’s never what they expect, and like any good magic trick, it takes practice to master. The magic solution? Gratitude.