Here we are at Episode 031 of the Seeds of Tao Podcast. Josh is back for the World Report, focusing on People Care this month. What a fantastic time to air this episode with the global pandemic going on. People Care should be the topmost priority right now. To start the blog post I’d love to quote the fantastic David Holmgren, he says that Care for People, “means accepting personally responsibility for our situation as far as possible, rather than regarding external forces or influences as controlling our lives. The permaculture approach is to focus on the positive influences and opportunities that exist even in the most desperate situation.”
Caring for the people does not mean jumping off our couch and going off to save humanity. Effective people care starts with the self. The healthcare professionals right now around the world are not racing into hospitals to save every patient with COVID-19 without thought of their own safety. They know, more profoundly than most, that in order to help those patients, that they need to be alive and well themselves. They need to have their head on their shoulders, and the appropriate protective gear around them.
Likewise, we must be strong in our health, mind and emotions to be able to truly create the change we want to see in the world. Right now people around the world are finding themselves with a new challenge. Their hustle and bustle and constant distractions from their emotional baggage and negative internal dialogue has stopped… forcefully. And they’ve been thrown into an atmosphere of panic, fear, and uncertainty. When there is space allowed to start paying attention to the internal dialogues and notice the damage, things may bubble up that aren’t sunshine and rainbows.
Now is the time, unlike any other, to start to really create the positive, resilient mindset we so need these days. We need to become as emotionally resilient as the food forests we’re striving to grow. Now is the time to upgrade yourself.
When Josh and I started Seeds of Tao, we were very confident in the order of operations, as it were, to create real impact, and it all starts with the self.
All over the world right now people are being told to be responsible - to stay inside, only go out for necessities, wear masks when going outside, and don’t be within six feet of other people. But there’s a whole other level of responsibility that is especially needed right now, that’s being responsible with your emotions.
We’ve been astounded and heart broken as we see reports coming in from around the country of the increased number in childhood abuse cases. When things get stressful, it can be a natural reaction to take our emotions and throw them on the people around us, our parents, our spouse, our friends, and our children. But throwing our emotions around is incredibly destructive and terribly irresponsible.
Sometimes this looks like the posts on social media where one person is shaming another for leaving their house, or perpetuating grim news. There are so many ways we can be irresponsible with our emotions, and feed the cultural pain body.
But there are really simple and effective ways to manage your emotions. Here is one example to help you stop unloading your emotions on your loved ones at home…
When you feel complete overwhelm or anger, or any other negative emotion really strongly, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down EVERYTHING you want to say about that situation or to that person. Completely unload. It can be in a letter to that person it involves, or more free flowing journal-entry style. But get it all out. Then take a second and check in. Is that everything? When you’ve completely unloaded, take the paper, rip it into tiny pieces, and throw it in the trash. ONLY THEN can you go have that hard conversation you need to have, or walk over to eat dinner with the family. This allows for you to adequately express yourself, which is INCREDIBLY important, in a safe space, and then move on from it. I can’t tell you how many times our clients, and ourselves included, have done this only to be surprised by the lightened burden we feel afterwards.
How do we find the silver lining when the world is in chaos? Or for some, even when the world isn’t in chaos. Some people go straight to a gratitude list, which is great, but it’s not the metaphorical band-aid for all emotional struggles. There is a give and a take with our emotional energy. There are energies we take on, and energies we give off. We want to maintain a balance of letting go of negative energies, and the bringing on of empowering energies. Let go, and empower. This is the magic combo.
What does letting go look like? It could be like in the previous section’s example of writing down the negative thoughts and then throwing them away. Maybe you go take a drive and express yourself in the care, alone to get it all out. Or perhaps you write it in a journal specifically set aside for the negative thoughts that come up.
What about empowering? These techniques are my favorite, for obvious reasons, and which one works best for you really depends on the person. Some of our favorites include vision boards, not filled with pretty pictures ripped out of magazines, but rather with our measurable goals we’re working on. Affirmations that really speak to your soul are fantastic, especially if they target the areas where you feel weak. Other empowering techniques could include aromatherapy, self-care, writing a story about your ideal situation in 6 months, working towards a goal you are passionate about, completing a project you’ve been putting off… the list goes on.
At the end of the day, be aware of the energies you are holding onto and giving off, and then balance those out with let go and empowerment techniques to reap big rewards in the emotional resilience bank.
In this time of uncertainty and fear, we hope that you truly take care of yourself, not just physically but emotionally as well. The world needs powerful permaculture examples, so put on your metaphorical mask and scrubs, and get to work.
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