Considering Climate

Where are you with climate change? Does reading that question generate anxiety, irritation, a feeling of guilt, even dread? I ask because it generates all those things for me at least some of the time.  

And that inevitable response makes me ask myself how these strong and very unwelcome feelings might be suppressing my capacity to think well and clearly about this very challenging and urgent topic. It’s a constant tugging in my mind that I don’t know what to do with. 

So when I think about it, this is roughly the sequence. 

“I know climate change is happening.” “it’s huge and unstoppable and unbearable to think about.” “If I start to think about it that will make me feel anxious, guilty or even hopeless.” “I can’t bear to be made feel like that, it’s too difficult.”  So I don’t think about it.  Over and over again, round and round.  

Is this a kind of denial? And are these feelings causing denial?

Probably. And very understandably. Let’s be kind here. Because often denial is our way of pushing away something that’s too hard or painful to deal with in that moment. It’s a way of escaping from a reality we can’t manage at that time, or possibly ever. We refuse to absorb the facts because they hurt. We choose to ignore, avoid or divert ourselves from facts that feel unmanageable. It’s denial as a useful kind of self-protection.

Naturally, we are making assumptions throughout this. And it’s those assumptions that generate the feelings of dread, anxiety, guilt – even shame, which truly is unbearable. It’s a cycle.  And if we don’t break the cycle, we can’t get to breakthroughs.  Which is what is really needed in order to feel liberation from the cycle, the endless looping round.

The Work that Reconnects
Recently I had the opportunity to spend time thinking about this with my TTT colleague Linda Aspey. Without going into all of it (how long have you got?!) I’ve realised that some of my key assumptions are not true. For example, I do have some agency, I am already doing some useful and successful things and can do more. Which gives some hope.

And knowing that means I feel less anxiety and dread, and is helping me to decide what more I might do. One thing is attending Linda’s next workshop, The Work that Reconnects on 9th May – maybe see you there?

Given that our world seems to have shifted on its axis since 24th February, it feels like we need as much clear thinking and connection as we can possible create. If you’d like to listen to some freshest thinking on creating trust and connection in groups and teams please do tune in to my conversation with Tara Nolan on her podcast Game of Teams – and please let me know what you think.


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