My dad stands at the helm and gulps down the last bit of his beer. Then, he casually tosses the red and white Budweiser can overboard.
I sit in the back of the boat and wonder whether this can, like 5 others before it, will soon disappear under the waves… Out of sight, out of mind.
The year is 1970 -- the year of the first Earth Day. I’m 7 years old, and I’ve already been taught: DO NOT fall into this water -- the Potomac River near Washington DC -- or else you’ll get really sick!! But apparently, it’s okay to toss trash into it.
Fast forward 10 years. My dad and I have just finished a cruise on the Potomac. He hands me a bag full of beer cans and says, “Rick, take the trash and put it in the dumpster.”
Over the course of 10 years, people who considered themselves environmentalists... alongside people that just decided to care more about clean air and clean water… had changed awareness enough, and laws enough, to make it so that my father wasn't tossing his beer cans overboard. He had a container now… a container that held the trash that needed to go somewhere other than where it would be toxic to life and the eco-system we all share.
It's now been nearly 50 years since that first Earth Day. Because millions of people have changed awareness and actions, dolphins are breeding in the Potomac River for the first time since the 1880s! Wow. Yes. And Thank You…
As I look into the history of people tending to the physical environment, I'm drawn to individuals like John Muir, and so many others, for inspiration. Some were people who had great power and prestige, and some were people who you wouldn't think had any power at all...
And yet, their heart said, “I need to be a part of protecting and cultivating a world that has and maintains beauty -- natural beauty.”
These days, as I feel into the emotional world that we all share, I notice the “beer cans” of emotional energy being tossed into our streets and into our social media feeds. I notice the “acid rain” that pours down and damages the vitality of “Tree People” -- those humans who could be strong and rooted and capable of providing so much… yet are diminished by rampant emotional pollution.
Look, there are emotional by-products of being alive as a human being. What I'm inviting is for those of us who are sensitive... those of us whose awareness has already been raised... and those of us who are in the midst of a “forced opportunity” to sense the intensifying stress and discord all around… to say:
“You know, our emotional world is feeling pretty toxic right now. I'm having a hard time breathing. I don’t feel confident -- as I take each drink of emotional energy -- that I'll get my needs met in a way that isn't going to make me sick to my stomach!”
My invitation to us is to become… Emotional World Environmentalists. Together.
That doesn't mean that we have to go out and protest today. It does mean that we carry in our awareness a sacred desire to change the trend… and grow the good.
Sometimes that might be out loud with vulnerable words and actions. Sometimes it will be deeply internal, tending to our own emotional well-being.
Sometimes it will be 10s of us… or 10s of thousands of us… coming together to speak and to share... to celebrate… to cry.
I do feel being an emotional world environmentalist asks of us that when we notice a situation that needs an emotional clean-up, and we have the physical and emotional capacity to do the labor, that we help clean it up!
We also need to get savvy at handling the emotional crap that flows from just being a human in the world. I know it is possible to process emotional waste in healthy ways that do not damage ourselves or the environment that we share with others.
To me Emotional Freedom for All embraces living as an emotional world environmentalist. Having carried this as an identity for myself over the last few years, I assure you that the fruits it can yield are really juicy and delicious.
Episode 1 ~ Emotional Freedom for All Podcast