I am currently following a training with Chris Johnstone & Madeleine Young to facilitate Active Hope Circles. This training will come to an end before the summer and it is my intention to start hosting regular Active Hope Circles in Amsterdam in the near future .
I shared the “Cairn of Mourning” practice together with one fellow trainee last week.
This practice in essence consists in spending some time (ideally outdoors) reflecting on the following question: What is being lost in our world that you mourn for?
As strange as it may seem for the uninitiated, having a space to mourn and share our pain for the world is perhaps the most powerful way to wake up and feel our interconnectedness, to start healing individually and collectively and to free us to take meaningful action or to continue doing so without burning out.
In this post, I wish to share with you some of what came up for me in this particular Cairn of Mourning practice I did recently. Sharing this is a gift to the Life within and around us. So here goes, prepare the tissues …
I mourn the loss of fresh air, clean water and healthy soil. I mourn the loss of purity of air, water, earth that we as humans have caused through our industries adding toxicity to all that is offered to us, sustaining our Life. I mourn that instead of appreciating and taking care, being guardians of these amazing elemental offerings we suffocate Life including our own human bodies made mostly of water, air and earth. I mourn the loss of vitality, the destruction of habitat, the disappearance of species happening at an unprecedented rate, almost 1000 times quicker than before we humans appeared. I mourn that these species aren’t properly mourned, that they disappear in a huge silence in the midst of our frenetic lives often unfolding in corporate towers through all sorts of digitalised devices.
I mourn that our activity and way of life has destroyed most wild mammals, 83% are the latest statistics I remember. I mourn that our once beautiful oceans are now overfished and full of toxic plastic that will linger there for hundreds of years. I mourn the loss of over half of the world’s colourful and magnificent corals due to the warming ocean, the loss of 90% of big fish and countless others.
I mourn that we spend more time on screens than outdoors. I mourn that we are so busy and disconnected that we barely take the time to pause and feel deeply what is happening to our world. I mourn our loss of freedom, we have become slaves to systems and modes of consumerism that do not serve us and are largely destructive. I mourn the many humans who suffer the consequences of “modern” lifestyles, the poor, the oppressed, the displaced, the indigenous people, the victims of climate change, of conflict, of discrimination.
I mourn the loss of wilderness, the loss of untouched natural spaces where one can go and not hear a human sound or the sound of some human-made machine for days. I mourn the melting ice, the flooded regions, disappearing under the rising oceans, the many lush and ancient forests being burned away, the desertification of so many regions losing their natural fertility due to rising temperatures, the loss of habitats, the loss of beauty, the loss of softness, the loss of feminine values, the oppression of the feminine, the disrespect of women who are sacred givers of Life, the loss of value we place in care and nurturing, the loss of treading lightly on this beautiful planet that is our mother, the source of all Life. I mourn the loss of life, the destruction of Life that we are causing directly through violence and wars or indirectly through the modern industrial lives we have created and come to think of as normal.
I mourn with all the fellow humans who have the courage to stop, to feel how much they really care. I mourn the loss of intimacy and community and places to mourn as well as places to celebrate, give thanks and rejoice through song and dance.
I mourn that we suppress and numb feelings of helplessness, despair, fear, sadness grief when faced with the state of our world. These feelings are natural and healthy, they make us human. Feeling them allows life intelligence to flow. It takes a lot of energy to suppress and numb then and cuts us off from our power to respond appropriately to the challenges we face.
I mourn the loss of meaning of what it means to be alive, to be a human at this particular time, to belong to this world.
Our mourning is natural and healthy. Our tendency to resist pain is dangerous. Through numbing our pain, we cut ourselves from our life energy and our ability to respond appropriately to the challenges we face.. It is very draining to suppress difficult emotions & overtime causes dysfunction and disease. When we allow ourselves to feel it all, Life flows again in us and all around, our hearts break open, we get in touch with the depth of our longing and from this incredible creativity can arise.