We are very happy to offer Part Two of our guest post from Dr. Carolyn Baker, who will be joining us on Tuesday, September 11th at 7pm as a guest speaker for our free webinar series. Reserve your spot now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/871451129
Carolyn is the author of several books, including “Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition,” and “Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse.” In today’s second part of her guest post, she talks about techniques that build emotional and spiritual resilience. Visit her website at www.carolynbaker.net for more great writing. As always, please comment and share.
Developing Emotional Resilience
The Transition movement has provided us with a treasure-trove of resources for cultivating logistical resilience in our communities through awareness-raising, reskilling, and creating self-sufficient and sustainable communities. Anyone not involved in this kind of logistical preparation is only half-awake, yet many individuals believe that no other preparation is necessary. Might that not, in fact, be one characteristic of trauma? It may be that the hunger for one more gold or silver coin, one more case of freeze-dried food, one more bucket of barley, one more permaculture class, or one more emergency response training is yet another means of avoiding the emotional healing and preparation work every human being needs to do in order to navigate the accelerating unraveling of the world as we have known it.
A Few Ways Of Developing Emotional Resilience
1) Understand that industrial civilization is inherently traumatizing. Make a list of the ways it has wounded you and those you care about.
2) If you are involved with a Transition initiative, start or join a heart and soul group where the psychology of change (see The Transition Handbook) can be discussed in depth and group members can share feelings about the acceleration of collapse as well as share how they are preparing for it emotionally.
3) Become familiar with your emotional repertoire and how you deal with your emotions—or not. Imagine the kinds of emotions that you and others are likely to feel in an unraveling world. How do you imagine yourself dealing with those emotions? How would you prefer to deal with them?
4) Think about how you need to take care of yourself right now in an increasingly stressful world. What stresses do you need to pull back from? What self-nurturing activities do you need to increase?
5) Who is your support system? If you do not have people in your life with whom you can discuss the present and coming chaos, you are doubly stressed. Find people with whom you can talk about this on a regular basis.
6) What are you doing to create joy in your life? Do you have places in your life where you can have fun without spending money or without talking about preparation for the future?
7) What are you doing to create beauty? Life may become uglier on many levels, including the physical environment. How can you infuse more beauty into the world? Use art, music, poetry, dance, theater, storytelling and other media to enhance the beauty of your community and your immediate environment.
8) Consider creating a regular poetry reading salon in which people come together perhaps monthly to share poems or stories which express the full range of human emotions. Many communities have found poetry sharing events to be incredibly rich venues for deepening connections and their own emotional resilience.
9) Spend as much time as possible in nature. Read books and articles on ecopsychology and take contemplative walks or hikes in which you intentionally engage in dialog with nature.
10) Engage at least twice a day in some kind of mindfulness practice such as meditation, inner listening, journaling, guided visualization. Still another tool for mindfulness and community deepening is sacred earth-based rituals which can be done individually or shared in a group.
It is important to remember that challenging experiences are not necessarily traumatizing experiences. The collapse of industrial civilization will be challenging for those who have been preparing for it; for those who haven’t, it will constitute massive trauma. The less attached we are to living life as we have known it, and the more open and resilient we are—the more we are utilizing the myriad tools that exist for preparing our emotions, our bodies, and our souls for collapse, the more capacity we create for navigating a formidable future.
My 2011 book Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition is chock full of re-usable tools for creating and maintaining vibrant emotional resilience. It is also ideal for use in Transition heart and soul or study groups focused on creating emotional resilience.
I do not assume that a world of increasing crises will be a world devoid of cooperation or community building. In her brilliant 2009 book, A Paradise Built In Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise In Disaster, Rebecca Solnit notes that in most natural disasters, human beings, in most cases, unite in a spirit of cooperation to support each other. While I certainly concur and reviewed Solnit’s book in an article entitled, “Disaster: The Gift That Keeps On Giving,” I am also well aware that cooperation is not the only response to trauma. Furthermore, the collapse of industrial civilization is most likely to play out in an irregular, “lumpy” fashion in different locations at different times. How it plays out and over what period of time will dictate how humans respond. One thing is certain: Responses will not always be benevolent, caring, and cooperative.
Thus we must prepare for a very uncertain future by consciously cultivating emotional resilience. This involves addressing the myriad ways in which we have been traumatized by the current paradigm and training with intention for encountering situations in the future which may be even more emotionally challenging in a world unraveling.
Thank you, Carolyn!