When we face things in our lives that feel overwhelming, how can we ever find a way to do and be enough?
At times like these – when the environmental challenges we face are on every news channel – I can feel myself shifting between hope – and anxious overwhelm.
…There are so many people trying to make a difference: hope.
…And so much still to do: overwhelm.
When I’m stuck in the latter, I ground myself in the sea’s beauty – I soak it all up.
I know that I need to draw strength from it before I can take action.
As I did on Friday morning before heading off to participate in the global climate strike.
What do you do to manage those feelings of overwhelm?
Often, when those moments come, I bring my mindful attention to nature.
I draw myself a Sea Soul Blessing card – and ask the sea to support me to move forward.
This simple pause shifts my thought patterns, allowing me to take a different perspective. It focuses my attention on one area instead of many – and starts to reduce that feeling of overwhelm, of never being able to be or do ‘enough’.
If you have the cards – and feel yourself moving towards overwhelm – you might like to try that too.
Or, you might prefer another ritual that grounds you in nature, wherever you are…
…You could try breathing and feeling the air move in and out of your body, watching the movement of leaves on a tree, or the clouds shifting across the sky.
You might choose to notice the ground beneath your feet, the gentle pull of gravity that holds you here – on the earth, in this precious moment. A reminder of our connection to everything.
Sadly, for those of us who love the natural world, ‘environmental anxiety’ is becoming more common.
The more we learn, the more there is to fear. And yet, the route to enact positive change is often unclear – our actions apparently insignificant.
This particular combination of factors means that we feel responsibility, but we also feel powerless – which is a classic recipe for stress and overwhelm.
Exploring all of this, I’ve been deeply inspired by Andréa Ranae. Over the last week, I’ve been participating in her 5 day challenge for people hoping to make positive change to the world around them – in many different spheres.
The particular areas in which we felt most drawn and able to enact change were different, but many of us shared a sense of responsibility, anxiety and overwhelm. For some, it was hard to take the next “right” action – the overwhelm led to inaction. For others, there was an inability to stop taking action – when there is so much to be done, how can we ever do enough?
Compassion and being enough
Andréa encouraged us to explore an alternative concept of acceptance: instead of attempting to accept ‘you are enough’ – can you accept that what you do as an individual can never be enough – and find a way to let that be OK – with love, grace and compassion? And then – knowing that to be true – try to make a difference all the same?
It’s a powerful question.
And a constant challenge – for me certainly, perhaps also for you – to find compassion for ourselves as we move forward, inadequately, imperfectly, in human struggle.
But it is compassion that prompts the forward movement.
And the forward movement that moves us from overwhelm towards hope.
However small a step we take today, we keep moving. And as we move forward, each of us gets to decide what is “enough” – for us.
Based on what we know about our lives, our capacity, our resources right now. On what matters to us most. On what we truly have the energy and skills to change.
We do what we can, tending to ourselves as we go.
Sometimes, what we can offer feels very small. Sometimes, we have the energy to play big. Sometimes, we simply need to rest. And then rest some more.
Our vision of “enough” changes as our needs and capacities change.
Andréa shared her perspective that we make a difference to the world simply by being in it – a fact that is both a gift and a challenge. We can’t deny our impact. Nor should we sit still and let others bear all the weight. But the full weight of responsibility – of being or doing enough, for the environment or any other struggle that we and the world are facing right now – is not yours or mine alone, it is ours.
“It’s not YOUR job to do enough, it’s OUR job to do enough.”
You are but one human. As am I. The responsibility for making change, of protecting and preserving the natural world is not solely yours to hold. Nor mine. It is ours.
My hope is that Sea Soul Blessings offers a space in which you can find compassion for yourself in this struggle, in those feelings of overwhelm – and be inspired to take small actions towards positive change, for you and those around you.
In whatever form you need to do that right now.
In the knowledge that this is a journey that we take together, as best we can.
If this approach to activism, and life, resonates with you, I recommend following Andrea and connecting with her wonderful work.
May you be enough – with us
This conversation reminded me of one particular Sea Soul Blessings card – one that always helps me when I draw it in the midst of this struggle.
May you be ENOUGH
The sea tends to its boundaries. It offers ample opportunity for all, and yet is beholden to no one. In understanding its innate sufficiency, it releases you of any need to prove your own worth. It invites you to revel in being exactly as you are.
May you shed impossible expectations and unhelpful comparison. May you tend to your own beautiful boundaries. May you celebrate the magnificently adequate.
You being here is part of my “enough”.
Whatever doing or being “enough” looks like for you right now, I am grateful you are here.
Knowing what I know about my life, my capacity, my resources right now. About what matters to me most (of all the many things that matter to me). Knowing what I have the energy and skills to change – Sea Soul Blessings is my “enough”.
To support you and others, I’ve created a set of tools, inspired by nature, to help you to find your own self-compassionate “enough” each day.
And I’ve committed to donating a proportion from every single sale to environmental causes (you can find more details of that here).
The vision I’m working towards is to ultimately donate 50% of our net profits to environmental causes.
That means that any time you buy a gift from us for yourself or a loved one – you’re not just helping each other, you’re also directly helping the environment.
For now, this personal vision of “enough” takes place alongside a commitment to making small consistent changes in my home life, step by step (not every change that ‘could’ in theory be made, but the changes we can make right now); going on climate strikes with my children; writing about it; encouraging and strengthening us all to act; and beach cleaning whenever I can.
However imperfect, inadequate, incomplete that vision of “enough” may be.
Knowing that what I can do can never be enough, I am trying to do something.
I hope you will join me.
Because we are not making this journey alone – we are making it together.