I started this blog with the premise that happiness is a choice. And it is. But sometimes sadness is a sign that it’s time to take notice of something important. If you feel what we call ‘negative’ emotions, explore them. Don’t stuff them or ignore them. They can teach you something.
I’ve been feeling a powerful desolation; I imagine it as a stream that’s run dry. Imagine your feeling of deep joy is a cool, clear lake. It’s fed by many streams: one of your streams might be partaking in music or art, another may be time with family or friends, or reveling in ideas and good books, or running – who knows. We’re all different, and our lakes are filled by different streams.
One of my streams is connection with what we label ‘nature’ – that which is wild, beautiful, harsh, untamed, and ineffably tantalizing. It’s an arbitrary and misleading label because really, we are natural, and nature is within us as well as around us. There is no separation… but in my middle-class, affluent, wired life, there’s the illusion of separation.
I feel disconnected. And disheartened. And tomorrow, I plan to share a field journal entry that evinces this.
I thought I shouldn’t share it. I thought you wouldn’t want to read it, or it would bring you down. And I want, rather, to inspire people to make a positive difference in the world.
But perhaps sharing the down moments of despair is a way of inspiring those who want to make a difference. Not every moment is a high, one of elation or accomplishment. Sometimes there is darkness, and sometimes the lake is dry.
And this is why Jane Goodall emphasizes hope for those who care about the planet and the biosphere. She noticed an entire generation (my generation) who got the message that the world was f*(k3d, that the rainforests were disappearing and species were going extinct and there was nothing we could do about it, except maybe recycle (which seems to have nothing to do with the problems we learned about) and don’t personally kill whales. And I’ve seen, in my campaign to reduce my plastic consumption, that the biggest critics of my message were people my age. They cried ‘hypocrite!’ and ‘ineffective!’, ignoring the message that our planet needs help, and we can do the helping.
Hope is important. The choice to be happy is important, especially as we strive to fight the influences that make the world a worse place.
It’s also important to acknowledge the dark times, the down times, the dry times.
And I hope, somehow, this entry and my future entries help you.