Evelien's Quest for Inner Sustainability

Published on 8 April 2021 at 16:17

Dear reader,

In the process of wrapping up my inner sustainability project for my internship at Otherwise, I felt that I could share some words with you about my journey.
Remember the questions I had when I set off on my quest:
What does it mean to feel connected to the earth? What do we gain from it? In other words: what are we missing in times of disconnect?
Of course I still do not have all the answers, but I do have plenty of thoughts to share!

I had the pleasure to speak with many of you and ask you the same questions.
Time and again I heard from people: ‘when I feel connected,
I feel safe,
and nourished
so I can go out and give.’

Often I found people who see this connection as a source we can tap into,
something they had already found,
and often something they went looking for -
when they felt lost,
or unhealthy.

In the activities I facilitated (talking circles, nature journals, audio guides) I also saw this well of potential, especially in the communal nature of these practices.
As we had all found ourselves lost before,
and had decided to go looking together.
I kept realizing how there is so much to gain and stimulate in togetherness, often in the simplicity of telling stories and having them heard.

Isn’t this what we lost as a society when we trampled the principles of tribal living?

I still sit with many questions, but it strikes me that there are two main elements as parts of the answer - two main elements that catalyze the growth of interconnectedness and inner sustainability.
1. Coming together in circles, as by a fire, and binding our stories together;
2. Allowing ourselves to feel lost and in need of reconnection.

It is much like tending to wounds.
Perhaps this is the hardship of our times:
We sit with so many wounds - and are born into them almost naturally - that we even fail to see them. It seems to me that it is usual for us to wound the earth because we as a species forget to tend to our own hurt.

With this idea, I move forward with a new central question.
How do we expand our circle to those who need it, but don’t realize they are lost?
How do we help the wounded and traumatized who have turned away from their own hurt - and perhaps toward a path of wounding?

I hope to sit with you all around the fire again,
looking for these answers as we have before.
Know that when you feel uprooted 
you can always just start digging
and know that there will always be stories to listen to.