Doesn’t it feel as if the world is at a boiling point? Dramatic changes in our environment are displacing human communities and nature’s ecosystems. Wildfire is now a given and expected to worsen in coming years. The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, broke our collective hearts; and it reflects the ongoing strife, and all-out war, that happens across the world, every day.
It’s tempting to stay focused on the heartache and raise our fists to the sky in anguish. Yet if our goal is to shift the direction from where we’re going, we won’t get anywhere staying in this mind frame. As author Robin Wall Kimmerer said in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, “Despair is paralysis. It robs us of agency. It blinds us to our own power …”
But there is a critical shift needed for our society to come into our power. We must embrace a tool that for so long we’ve been told cannot be trusted: our hearts.
Our left-brain focused society holds science on a pedestal. Solutions to our issues are to be derived from clinical solutions, broken down into numbers and documented by the facts only, ma’am. Keep emotion out of it. Don’t trust your intuition, let data be your guide.
Make no mistake, I’m an ardent fan of science — I was raised in this culture, after all. It’s a powerful tool. Yet it often leaves us adrift of knowing which way to go.
The troublesome phenomenon of catastrophic wildfire is being made worse by our tendency to want to place blame. We are all complicit, it is our heritage of what was done to the land years ago and ignored by several generations. But now we demand our governmental agencies to figure out the solution, and yesterday. That pressure must be unbelievable. No wonder there’s infighting, p. 11.
A key reason we don’t know which way we’re going is that we’ve become separated from the land in matters of the heart. Do we seek solutions to wildfire because we love our land or because we fear for our lives?
This month’s business feature by Alex Hoeft highlights Vibrant Planet, a company using smart-tech to make our forests more wildfire resistant, p. 23. But another key part of their mission is to foster resilience in the forest, giving thought to health of the land, which will come back thousandfold. Cofounder Scott Conway says in the article that it’s not just the number of acres that matters, it’s “what you did in that acre.”
The Feel Good this month, p. 48, about a very special Incline Middle School student, will leave you in tears, with its strong testament to the power of the heart and how “kindness is a superpower.”
On a personal level, I’m about to solidify how tantamount matters of the heart are. This month, I’m getting married for the first time (!!) to a man who I’ve known for 20-plus years — but it took that many for me to appreciate how big and wonderful his heart is.
When your mind spins out of control over personal, community, and global issues, take a moment and put your hand over your heart. Let the physical action connect your mind and heart. Then seek answers.