Emotional Embodiment as an act of Activism during times of Crisis: Examining how to deal with the Australian Climate Crisis & move forward in meaningful ways

January 8, 2020

3 Comments


Listen on iTunes | Listen on Spotify | Subscribe to the Podcast


The first night my daughter spent away from home was due to a bush fire evacuation.
As a home-birthed babe, we’d been happily cocooning for weeks together.
Then an (arson lit) fire started on our street & we had to evacuate.

Since then, she’s witnessed firsthand another bushfire (at her grandparents’ house).
Now her whole country is burning. And she’s not even 6 months old.

What kind of future is she facing?

bushfire_3

Kind messages asking about me/my family have been flooding in these past 2 days as Australia makes the world news. Thank you to all who have reached out.

Yet… It was actually 2months ago (November 2019) that my home was directly threatened by bushfire (see picture) & we were evacuated. We had 3+ fire crews literally in my backyard at 2am fighting flames.

World News is highlighting this “current event” which is trending right now, but this has been going on in Australia for MONTHS (and building for years).

Others around me try to cheer me up – wishing it will rain (yes, rain is needed) & sending prayers.

But I don’t want to be cheered up right now. I don’t want well wishes.

I’m sad for mother earth.
Terrified for my daughter’s future.
Heartbroken for the animals.
I feel impotent in the face of the problem we humans have created for ourselves.

You might be feeling something similar OR you might be somehow numb & disconnected from the ongoing global climate crisis we’re all facing.


Today I want to speak to the challenges & opportunities embodied women are faced at times like these. Because these are the times – they will only continue – and we must all develop the personal practices & capacity to ride the flames & floods that are coming our way.


Yesterday I reached out on Instagram to ask what we were feeling as a community. The responses mirrored my own heart.

Sadness, fear, worry, concern, a fear that if we engage and feel we’ll start crying and never stop.

Yes to all this. And YES to feeling it all.

I WANT to fee SAD, TERRIFIED, HEARTBROKEN & IMPOTENT.

I don’t want to wish these feelings away – they are my FUEL.

They are the sensations my body gives me to inspire me to ACT. These sensations are the truth of what’s alive inside me.

Yes, it’s an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes it’s not convenient to be overwhelmed by these feelings. Certain people around me feel uncomfortable & unsure what to do when all of a sudden I start to tear up.

It would be so much easier for me to push it away.

Especially when emotional “outbursts” are met with those around us guarding their own hearts, offering empty words or trying to “fix our feelings”.

The practice of emotional embodiment isn’t about fixing, containing or rejecting the vulnerable feelings alive inside us – it’s about embracing them fully.

One of the KEY actions we can take in response to this climate crisis is to rebel against the cultural norms that would encourage us to be polite, contained, numb & docile.

Disembodied abuse of the Earth is what’s got us here.

If we continue to stay-busy, avoid-feeling, eat our emotions & turn off the news because it’s “too sad”, then we’ll continue to contribute to the problem.

Put another way, if you are NOT willing to feel whatever you’re heart & this earth is feeling – fully, deeply, intimately & honestly – then you are adding fuel to the do-nothing-fire.

WE’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR FAR TOO LONG.

It’s not pretty to grieve all that Australia (California/Amazon/Earth) is loosing.
It’s not comfortable to talk about why white Australians have been mismanaging the bush & ignoring the fire management strategies of first nation Australians.
It’s not easy to admit you feel immense guilt for your reliance on coal/fuel/gas.
It’s definitely not easy to disagree with those around you & have difficult discussions with loved ones who don’t see what you do.

Especially when the way forward is so murky and unclear.

When we feel something uncomfortable, our mind wants to know the HOW. What’s next/what can I do/how can I help? And in the face of a crisis this overwhelming – the solution just seems so far away.

But we’re never going to find the solution from a state of numb dis-embodiment.

We need our hearts broken & awake in order to make the political AND local changes that are needed.

I’m furious that this is the world my daughter will inherit.
I’m so sorry that I’ve done this to Mother Earth.
I don’t know all the answers.

But I know that unless I allow my heart to break – unless I embody the personal crisis this climate crisis is revealing to me, then humanity is fucked… & my daughter with it.


bushfire_2

(My backyard on fire in November 2019, Queensland Australia)

Practically, each of us has our own strategies for avoiding this feeling. I myself notice when I feel sad and emotional, I quickly turn to see what’s to eat. Hoping to distract my pain with a quick fix of something that makes me feel good for a moment. But the sugar only leaves a lingering taste in my mouth, reminding me that this food – likely packaged in single use plastic – is just part of the problem.

The culture I live in avoids pain at all costs.

We numb by eating our emotions.
We close ourselves in our safe little bubbles with the news turned off pretend ignorance.
We wish it away & pray it away.
We get busy because “our family is more important and all that matters”.
And in doing so we avoid feeling, disconnect from our body, and lose access to the richness our sensations are sending.

Question to consider: What is your avoidance strategy?

I know mine is eating. And it doesn’t work. It makes me feel heavy & it doesn’t make those uncomfortable feelings go away. When I stop avoiding I stop wasting my energy.


So how can we feel it all & not let it consume us in a negative way?

This is a really important consideration because
A) We need to be functioning humans. Most of us don’t have the luxury of locking ourselves away for a weekly crying AND
B) This is IMMENSE. When we tap into our bodies feelings we are experiencing not only our own pain & hurt, we’re potentially tapping into so much more.

Your beliefs & experience on this are your own, but it’s possible your body is also tapping into:
+ Intergenerational stories & experiences – For example, I feel a lot of shame to be part of white Australia who, in about 100 years, has destroyed a country that first Australians successfully cared for, for thousands of years
+ Mother Earth’s pain – When I tap into mother earth I feel her heat and anger, but just underneath that surface, I feel her love for me, for us & that breaks my heart even more. This makes sense to me as in the model of feminine embodiment coaching we find that emotions tend to be layered around our hearts in a predictable order. On the outermost crust, we generally find armour and numbness, followed by the next layer – fire, which includes feelings like anger, blame, guilt, shame, rejection, betrayal. Hasn’t our world been in the armored-defensive and numbness for too long? Are we now entering the heat, the fire? Beneath this, I feel her truth, that she infinitely loves us.
+ The Collective – our community, our animals & the immense pain, suffering, blame, ignorance, coming together & tearing apart that’s happening.

So how can we feel it all & not let it consume us in a negative way?

I can only answer this with a story. 10 years ago when I was a regular woman (read: I was dis-embodied) I would maybe have donated $50 or $100 to charity to help out & consider my part done. This year, as the woman I am today (read: embodied) I’ve donated over 10x that already & taken many many more steps (see bottom of this article for the full list) to support change on multiple fronts and will continue to do so.

The key difference has been my own personal practice.

I believe feminine embodiment is an act of modern-day activism.

Owning the full force of your emotions, sensations, feelings & body is cultural reform. This is where everything begins (in our own body).

When we are dis-embodied, the feelings, emotions, sensations & realities we are faced with can feel overwhelming, unsafe and hopeless. We engage with the world from a place of not-enoughness within ourselves, and so we find that our actions can never be powerful enough to create change. As a result, we need to hold onto all the love we can, sacrificing our own beliefs, views & opinions. Staying complicit & quiet.

When we are embodied, the feelings, emotions, sensations & realities we are faced with are friends, part of the spectrum of sensation that we’re capable of riding. We engage with the world from a place of knowing & experiencing the somatic reality that I AM ENOUGH, and from here our actions are enough. We can have a hard conversation or debate and engage in risk because there is enough love within us, for us. This is the definition of power.

I’ve painted a binary image here – you either are embodied, or you’re not. The reality is that we exist along a spectrum of embodiment that fluctuates at any one moment in time.

So how can we feel it all & not let it consume us in a negative way?

An embodied woman doesn’t know the meaning of negative. A feeling, experience or crisis – like the bush fires – just IS. And what it invokes in your heart is the reality of it for you.

My heart is sad. So deeply sad.
My heart is angry. So hostile and full of indignation.
My heart is guilty. So ashamed I haven’t done more.
My heart is worried. So concerned about what will be left of the world for my daughter.

I don’t want to wish these feelings away – they are my FUEL.

They are the sensations my body gives me to inspire me to ACT. These sensations are the truth of what’s alive inside me.

Let these feelings IN & let them lead you.

My experience has shown this personal devotion leads to great political, economic & environmental action. Just this week I’ve written to my member for parliament, voted with my dollar to 5 different charities & booked solar power to be installed at my house. I’ve started debates with ignorant-climate-change-disbelievers online (who am I??!). Not because I need to “fix” the hurt & guilt I feel, but because embracing ALL of my emotional spectra I embrace ALL my power as a woman.

These 3-dimensional actions are ABSOLUTELY what count at the moment. But in order for them to happen with any safety, security & POWER within me, they need to be alchemized & met in my body first.


So HOW do we meet & alchemize the immensity of what we’re feeling (our own & the intergenerational/earth/collective)?

We do it, one moment at a time. Today I found 15mins to sit with these feelings & enter them fully.
My heart broke & continues to break. And it brought me home to my body.

Interestingly I also noticed a happy side effect… When I next saw my daughter, my heart was 100 times bigger with love & adoration for her.

When we allow our heart to crack open to feel all the pain & anger – we allow our heart to crack open PERIOD. Not only do we let in more of the uncomfortable and undesirable emotions we also allow all the desirable & comfortable emotions too. Bliss.

Questions to ask yourself:
1. Have I let my heart crack fully or am I avoiding this?
2. Where do I avoid expressing my opinion with loved ones in an effort to avoid uncomfortable conversations?

The trick here is to NOT move into action just yet.

So often, when we’re in the experience of emotional embodiment, we can want to “fix” it.

“Emotional embodiment: inhabiting the sensations of our body through breath, awareness, movement & sound”

Last night I was crying & my beloved was trying to offer words & engage me in a conversation. His intention was good according to our cultural beliefs that pain = bad = should be avoiding. He was trying to distract me with conversation & shift me out of tears. Distraction by engaging the mind (who’s favorite question starts with a “how can this be different…?”) is NOT I needed at this stage. What I needed was to FEEL.

Feeling is a lost skill.

Allowing ourselves to not label an emotion.
Not define it or its meaning.
Not instantly jump to action.
But just to sit and feel.
To let the experience of inhabiting the subtle textures intensify be our success.

Sometimes feeling requires a solo-space, or an agreement to not try to ‘fix’.

In our household, the code words to shut up and hug are “I’m allowed to feel what I’m feeling”.

When we FEEL ourselves we feel the beauty we are. It’s intense and full of I AM ENOUGH which is our POWER.

From here we can take action.

image
Before we speak about the actions that we can take specific to the Australian Climate Crisis I’d like to speak to those who are in disbelief.

Like me you might have come across people who don’t believe these ongoing events (California, Amazon, Australia) are evidence of climate change….

You might have read some conspiracy theories about the government lighting these fires…

You might see haters online saying that solar & renewable energy just isn’t realistic/possible….

You might see your own family suggest that it’s a certain political party who are responsible…

And these people might be your family, your friends, random people online or at the bus stop.

When we are disembodied & thus not in our power, we might quietly disagree and turn to a more polite subject. Or we might take the pain, shame, rage & impotence we feel within us and throw it around not caring who we burn.

I’ve seen a LOT of this going on.

Discussion lacking compassion or not happening at all.
A Me VS You mentality.
An unwillingness to hear, explore, discuss.
Focusing on drama & hypotheticals instead of facts.
In the online space – name calling.

This is ALL occurring as a result of our collective dis-embodiment and de-evolution as a species.

When we are tapped into the infinite love & beauty we are as a human – our enough-ness & our power we intrinsically recognize that this exists in ALL other people as well.

Even the ignorant ass who’s denying climate change is a real thing & is calling me names on the community forum I’m engaged with – even this douche is a human that is capable of so much beauty, power & action. But he’s not realizing it. He’s stuck in disbelief, disconnect & hopelessness. Why? Because he’s not willing to meet his heart & feel. Maybe he doesn’t know how. Maybe like me it was a skill his culture never taught him. Yes he is complicit in staying unskilled. Yes he is contributing to the problem by tenaciously holding onto his current reality. But this is what our head-first culture has created.

It is an act of cultural rebellion to feel what you are feeling & embody it FULLY.
It is an act of huge importance to let those feelings fuel you into ACTION.


The action you take will be different to mine. But here are the 3-dimensional actions I’ve taken:

1. Donated cash – I choose to donate to save animals (https://www.wires.org.au/donate/ways-to-help) & to volunteer fire fighters (https://quickweb.westpac.com.au/OnlinePaymentServlet…)
2. Changed my super to Australian Ethical which is a long term vote-w-my-dollars move to sustainable investments https://superjoin.australianethical.com.au
3. Wrote a letter to my MP expressing my desire to reduce coal dependence, increate renewable commitments & return to Indigenous management of land care https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/fire-back/
4. Signed this petition to put the Indigenous community in charge of land management

5. Committed to installing solar in my own home next month

6. Wrote this post & shared my views even when I know they are different to many of my loved ones & might offend some (happy to have those discussions lovingly as embodied women do)
The way we spend our TIME & MONEY is a reflection of what we truly value. If you haven’t contributed something, you should.


It is an act of cultural rebellion to feel what you are feeling & embody it FULLY.

It is an act of huge importance to let those feelings fuel you into ACTION.

I hope you will join me in both of the above as we continue to watch Australia burn.

 

3 Comments on “Emotional Embodiment as an act of Activism during times of Crisis: Examining how to deal with the Australian Climate Crisis & move forward in meaningful ways”

  1. Dear Jenna, this is the most important article I have been reading for a long time….still feeling overwhelmed by the clarity of your words, feels as if were standing right in front of me, standing tall, speaking out loud…thank you so much.. feeling that this is a key of coping with life.. True for all moments we experience as difficult…love, Gabi

  2. Thank you Jenna for this article. I read it right through and I’m usually a “scanner”. I could feel the immense passion in your words and this took me. I feel the same.. my husband berated me for wanting to get passionate about all of this and this is what I told him also. I’m so emotional about what’s going on right now, but it has definitely shocked me out of any residual apathy I was holding. I’ve always eaten organic, used green beauty, tried to minimise our plastics, have had solar on our roof for a good 5 years now and tried my hardest to vote with my dollar… but that extra stuff. Being an activist… the fire in me, it’s always been in me but has been suppressed because it’s “too much”. This has inspired me to be “too much” now… the world needs us to act. Thank you again x

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *