There is great wisdom in keeping our attention local and thus, possibly, more manageable.
Rather than feeding our minds with disaster stories from abroad, our bodies with heavily processed foods packaged in factories, or our homes with new toys shipped from all over the globe, we benefit greatly from grounding in local, paying most mind to our community’s deepest felt needs, feeding ourselves with local produce and opting for reused or natural additions to our homes.
Now, though, it appears some of the concerns of the world we only witnessed in news stories have knocked on our door. How do we respond?
As these words fall on the page, smoke yellows the sky, obliterating what would have been a perfect day for a run or to enjoy a late summer stroll on the beach. Instead, we find ourselves indoors with windows shut in wonder at the fires to the south that are now literally taking our breath away. With so much metaphorically up in the air as well, it is understandable to be experiencing fatigue and overwhelm at it all.
If nothing else, we are seeing our interconnection with the land and each other. When the earth’s lungs burn, we find ourselves short of breath. When a virus arrives and affects access to stores, restaurants and even friends, we can’t help but feel the ripple. In these ways at least, we can no longer be nimbies.
The smoke is on our doorstep, masks on our faces. The list of potential stressors may be long.
Instead of soothing ourselves temporarily with the salve of consumerism, what are some low impact ways to de-stress?
Calm your environment by doing a deep clean and declutter of your space. Set things aside to gift to others, put out on the curb for free, sell online, or donate when thrift stores resume service.
Create a zone for crafting that can stay a little messy, but invite creativity to flow. Use items found in nature to beautify your surroundings. Relieve anxiety with an epsom salt bath infused with lavender flowers or oil.
Take up a quiet practice of meditation, breathing exercises or journaling. Make a flower arrangement. Bake cookies. Watch the sunset once the smoke clears. Put together a vision board of the world you’d like to see at your front door: old magazines are a great resource.
Gift a friend a bag of quarantined clothing or any fun treats you no longer need. Give someone a shoulder massage. Edit some photos you’ve had on your computer for ages. Read a fun adventure story.
Talk to someone who you feel great around. Write a poem. Preserve some of the summer’s garden abundance. Buy groceries for someone unable to. Sew a mask from clothing discards.
Donate to a family who has lost their home in the fires. Sing in harmony on a Zoom call. Your imagination is the only limit.
It doesn’t take much to make the deepest part of us truly happy. More often than not, we are seeking feelings of connection and peace that purchasing power can only temporarily fix. We can begin to soothe our naturally arising feelings of angst with simple, earth-friendly acts in our own backyard.
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program. For more information, email info@LetsTalkTrash.ca or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.