Doing What We Love And Making It Count

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Life is better when we can love what we do

Spending Our Energy Wisely

Ah, June, the month of the monsoon? Wait, what? Crazy weather seems to be the norm everywhere these days; who expects an atmospheric river rain event and howling winds in June? Given the drought situation we’ve been in for years now, I’m actually quite grateful for the rain and will welcome as much more as we may be granted. Still, it was a daunting night, with a continual rattle and thump of fir cones on the roof and gusty shrieks that sounded like lost souls. Despite a power outage due to blown down trees, the only casualty here was the overnight loss of all my peony blossoms, which were torn to bright shreds by the tempest.

Peony blooms are so fleeting at best, and given my extremely limited garden space, I’m considering replacing the elderly plant I inherited with the house. After all, it’s not one I would have chosen (I prefer single peonies, and this one is a deep red double that bees have a hard time getting to the heart of). Given the truly awful subsoil on this little lot, I’m thinking another trough or large container will be a better choice than trying to coax a new plant to thrive in such ridiculous dirt. Besides, the peony is smack against the house wall, a place where no plant belongs, and a large container will both allow air space between foliage and wall and prevent seepage from watering to get into the crawl space. Years ago, I would have spent many laborious hours (and years) trying to amend this subsoil (the lots here were all scraped clear back in the 60s). These days, I’m more aware of my limited energy and more clear about what I want to spend it on.

Micro Activism Makes A Difference

Many years ago, when I wrote for the Seattle Weekly, it was suggested that I could develop a Seattle Black Finger Award to call out terrible pruning and bad planting throughout the city. When I said that I much preferred to promote positively, the idea was dropped (after some push back) but it helped me clarify my own tendencies. I’m thinking a lot about where I want to invest my energy these days, not only in terms of soil amending but in amending—or trying to amend—so many ecological and social issues that I’ve lost track. To keep myself from spinning out, I’ve been reading a truly helpful, wise, and sane little handbook called Micro Activism; How You Can Make A Difference In The World (Without A Bullhorn), by Omkari L. Williams. The author leads activism workshops and trainings and is the host of a podcast called Stepping Into Truth where she interviews activists from all walks of life. The book is short and concise, yet though I’ve read it through once, the second reading still offers a lot to ponder.

Today’s ponder is a section on figuring out what we stand for; the author suggests making a list of every cause we care about. If you’re like me, that list is huge and might feel as daunting as a power outage (especially for those of us running on low wattage these days). After making that list, Omkari says to pick one, or at most two issues and set the rest aside for others to tackle. I’ve said this myself many times over the years yet I keep getting sucked in to various issues despite my good intentions. However, when I start grouping issues under sub headings, it’s clear that supporting and defending the natural world/environment has been and remains my top concern. A close runner-up is supporting and defending the Queer community, also a long time concern.

Go Forth In Joy

One of my favorite sections of the book asks the reader to create a statement about an issue that you are strongly against (her example is “I am against child abuse.”). Now craft a positive version (hers is “I am for all children living lives of security and joy.”) She then asks which statement feels more motivating in your body, not just intellectually but in your heart and gut. For me, stating that I am for healing, healthy environments all around the world brings a strong feeling of positive energy and willingness to continue the work. Similarly, saying that I am for all people living safe and joyful lives feels good, but adding that I stand for safe, joyful Queer lives feels more motivating.

Yes, I also care deeply about safe, joyful BIPOC lives and Elder lives and women’s lives and that’s also strongly motivating, but having so many beloved Queer family members and friends in my daily life who experience various gut wrenching, heart breaking kinds of harm just brings that part of the Beloved Community home to my heart in a very powerful, direct way. Ack! With so much to do, who can choose? The author points out that with 8 billion people on the planet, many others are already working skillfully and hard on every single issue we can come up with. Nobody can do it all and many of us can barely manage to deal with what we’re dealt. So here I go, stumbling forward once again, knowing I am not alone, I don’t have to fix anything/everything, and that my best move is to reach out and connect with others on this path. Together we can do far more than any of us can do alone, even if all we can do seems small. Onward, right?

This entry was posted in Care & Feeding, Climate Change, Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, Plant Diversity, Pollination Gardens, Social Justice, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Doing What We Love And Making It Count

  1. Shannon says:

    Thank you, Ann. Your writing is so great and I love getting your posts. I especially liked the last one on cottenwooods! ♥️

  2. T. Jensen says:

    Thank you for a most informative and on point column. I so enjoy your knowledgeable and perceptive writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *