Are you a healer who is trying to bring love and light into this world? If so, you might feel the way I do sometimes… in those moments of clarity about how big the forces of harm have become and that the darkness may last for the rest of your life and beyond.
I write these words in solidarity with all who see rising inequality and the slow decline of civil society in the Western world. These words are meant to resonate with every person who knows that species are going extinct on a daily basis as the Earth’s climate continues its spiral away from the stabilities that made civilizations possible in the last 10,000 years.
The world we know is dying around us. Yet we are healers and so we feel it more deeply than most. Also it is our craft to bring nurturance to the suffering, sustenance to the hungry, and kindness to the emotionally harmed. When this is our call to service, we cannot retreat away from the pain — instead we are drawn into it where our healing energies are most desperately needed.
The changes happening now are large, slow, and have been drawing out for decades. They will not come to a quick completion and it is even likely they will still be ongoing after those of us alive today draw our last breath and expire. A special kind of self-care is needed for the healers who focus on wounds that last longer than a human lifetime.
I know this personally as I raise my young daughter while being a person trained in the atmospheric sciences. I know full well that the geologic age of planetary stability that made civilizations possible — the Holocene as it is called by scientists — has now come to an end. The Earth is being driven far from the range of parameters that enabled the human population to explode beyond its carrying capacity in the last 200 years.
So the future my daughter will grow up in is one of turbulence and transformation on scales that are scarcely imaginable. Truly beyond the human scale of perception. What will happen to her when she is 40 years old and the rising seas have started to displace tens of millions living in coastal cities? What will become of grocery stores and tanker ships as extreme floods and droughts cause crop failures in parallel on multiple continents? How will people govern themselves as fragmented agendas drive conflict across media systems controlled by the rich and powerful?
The healing I do is in service to life on century timescales. So I must know how to endure, with loving kindness in my heart, to serve future struggles that will never feel my fingertips offer a soothing caress. My work is dedicated to those being born and not yet born.
Please know that you are not alone, fellow healer.
There are now millions of us awake to the pain as the majority of humanity continues its slumbering nightmare of devastation upon the living systems of the Earth. We may each of us die before humanity becomes awake. And still, it is our spiritual responsibility to continue the careful work of loving all that is good and beautiful on Earth.
I struggle sometimes to carry this burden. Yet I also feel deeply privileged to have such an education given to me that I am able to see the world as it is and still find ways to contribute to making it better. Unlike the entrepreneurs in business who strive to become materially rich (while increasingly hollowing out their inner capacities so they can numb themselves to the harms they help perpetuate), I am not looking for quick returns. There is no short-term profit in being a healer as the world dies around us.
But there IS long-term value in preserving and promoting life. So here I find myself in harmony with the wisdom of ages beyond my own. It is a biological fact that every living being today has common ancestry with countless millions of other species whose history stretches back 3.8 billion years. If I am to be an awake-and-aware being as part of this grand tapestry, I cannot help but feel pain at the unraveling across parts of it now.
Yet I can also feel deep kinship with my fellow earthlings. And here is the closest pathway to the divine one can grasp. So I continue to serve life even as it causes me pain.
Feeling solidarity with all healers,
Onward, fellow humans.