Magnificent Design & Exquisite Resilience
By Lindsey Dyer
I am madly in love with the Earth. This love began a long time ago; some of my most formative memories include time spent in nature: climbing mountains, star gazing, camping under the redwoods, planting seeds in community gardens and swimming in the ocean. This love expands beyond our ecosystems into our human communities around the world. I love humans. I love our stories, the languages we speak, the music we make, the culinary traditions we innovate and preserve, the art we create, the relationships we forge…all of it, I love it all. It is this passion for the earth both natural and cultural that has informed my path: a life of travel, stewardship, a passion for community and an insatiable curiosity for experiencing beauty and culture.
When I reflect on the reasons why I meditate, practice yoga, exercise and commit to healthy habits, in large part, it is because I know that when I feel great physically and emotionally, I feel most alive and I pay attention. In paying attention, I am conscious and aware of the beauty all around me. I observe changes in the seasons, (albeit nuanced in the Bay Area), I get out of my head and connect more deeply with friends and colleagues, family members and strangers and generally appreciate the interconnectedness of life.
It is this love for the world that has catalyzed a decade-long career in sustainability. First as a teacher and now and working to support our transition to clean energy. Due to the nature of my work, I often find myself considering the question, “what inspires behavior change?”
First, a quick definition : Wikipedia defines it this way, “In ecology, sustainability (from sustain and ability) is the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely. In more general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes.”
All of us to some degree recognizes the effect of climate change on our communities. Whether it is temperatures rising or ‘weirding,’ unusual weather patterns, fruit trees flowering early, late or not at all, the impact on animals, insect populations and our ecosystems; science has concluded that there is an imbalance and the choices we make as individuals, as nations and as members of the global community can either drive us toward greater imbalance OR bring us closer to a more balanced, sustainable and ultimately regenerative place.
For any informed citizen of the world, if and when you start to dig into the facts surrounding climate change, it can be overwhelming and similar to other aspects of life that inspire overwhelm, the easy thing to do is shut down and do nothing. It is common to ask oneself the question, “What can I do? I am just one person” and ultimately do nothing at all. I know I’ve been there.
This brings me back to the inquiry, what inspires behavior change? In my experience designing and facilitating sustainability-based experiences for people young and old, one effective way to inspire change is by inspiring connection. If we do not feel connected to the places we inhabit, what would motivate us to change our behavior? Even if we understand the facts intellectually and tell ourselves we should change our behavior, I believe the motivation has to come from within. This internal motivation is tied to our connection to place.
On an early morning drive up to Mount Shasta, flying solo, I launched a new podcast entitled, Pale Blue Dot on The Liturgists Podcast. As a podcast junkie I was immediately enchanted by the hosts, I loved their voices, their sense of humor and their commitment to exploring the mysteries of life and being human.
This podcast shared the perspective of astronauts from around the world who have been to space. For most astronauts, they had a paradigm-shifting experience while in space. The most profound experience was not seeing the Moon up close or bearing witness to the galaxy, but rather looking back at the Earth while in space. From this very unique vantage point, the astronauts agree that it was the first time they experienced the magnificent design and exquisite resilience of our planet. They spoke about the fragility and vulnerability of the planet and how amazed they were that this planet we call home, floating in space supports so much magnificent beauty, diverse populations and of course human innovation.
For these astronauts this experience connected them deeply with the earth and upon their return they lived differently.
While not all of us will be taking trip to space anytime soon, we can make an effort to forge a connection with this incredible planet we call home and in doing so, it may motivate us to live differently, one choice at a time. It matters.
Here are a couple tips on how to start falling in love with the planet:
1. Take a walk, leave your phone at home. Practice making observations through the senses: I see, I hear, I smell, etc. What do you notice? Rinse and repeat daily.
2. Pick up your journal at the end of the day and write for a few minutes on the beauty that you observed that day ~ could be nature-based or a human-interaction.
If you live locally in the Bay Area, consider joining an Expansive Voice experience next Thursday, July 27th. We will gather together in a wild place, practice yoga and make art with the intention of inspiring connection.
Register for FREE on Eventbrite!
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Spaces are limited.
Follow my adventures on Instagram: ladylindsdyer, and my musings on Medium Lindsey Dyer