Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change

I'm excited to be participating in BAD again this year, though eking in my submission SO very last minute.

Given that I'm currently immersed in a course that, while deceptively about business, has really everything to do with relationship...

... my perspective is that this seems to be a question about the state of our relationship to our environment.

Ancient Asian medicine recognized that humankind is not exempt from nature. We live and die between heaven and earth, and our internal climate exists in direct relationship to and is affected by the external climate.

Optimal health was achieved by maintaining a balance between the two, and when the balance was disrupted, food, herbs and manual stimulation were applied accordingly to heal the relationship, bringing the body back into harmony.

Specifically, the variations in geographical climate: high windy mountains, salty sea air, low desert plains.. whatever it may be.. affected the populations who lived in these places, and offered upsustenance that would best nourish the bodies of those climates. For a person who lived in a damp, cool climate to eat hot, spicy foods regularly (most available in a hot country) would be inappropriate, as this would eventually throw their internal climate out of whack, and would manifest as illness.

We're spending a lot of time these days, witnessing the effects of global climate change... talking about who and what is to blame - in some cases, whether it really exists - and how to slow it down. Like most of our attempts to effect change on the larger external factors, this feels overwhelming, and for some, possibly hopeless.

And like in any other area that we hope to make change, especially relationships, we overlook shifting our focus inward. So, to pose a question, how then do we heal our relationship with the environment? How do we heal our relationship with that which sustains us, and which we rely on for our very survival?

I see our relationship, in more recent times, as though we were a small child. We've taken what the earth has provided us, without any concern of how we came by it, and always hungry for more.

We've developed technology to ensure a steady stream of food to all, going beyond basic necessity to indulging our tastes for foods that only grow hundreds or thousands of miles away, or are out of season. Not only has this served to have a huge impact on the environment, but also estranged us from the essential relationship with our only support system... in body and mind.

Healthy relationships require maturity. And awareness. Particularly self-awareness. Willingness to take responsbility for our part in the way things are. Ability to be adaptable. The question facing us is quickly becoming less of how can keep the earth in the state that we are accustomed to, and more about what changes do we have to make in order to live optimally within the environment we are moving into?

I love how this is coming together in my world. That the solutions I need to heal my own personal life, also apply to the world at large... and that the work that I do grows directly out of an age-old philosophy of regaining balance. 

Chinese medicine is about identifying the 'patterns of disharmony' afflicting a person... shiatsu addresses the imbalance of relationship between the meridians... and then, using the larger context in which the person lives, bringing them back into harmony. It's telling that many patterns of disharmony use weather-related terms in description: Heat, Damp, Cold, Wind, and even the meridians have elemental associations.

Whether climate change is man-made or part of the earth's natural cycle, one thing is sure... adaptability is the key for us.  Repositioning ourselves to be in better harmony through what we eat, how we live, how we care for our own beings will go a long way to being able to weather (haha) the changes to come. Taking responsibility for ourselves is a huge step in furthering a mature relationship, no matter who or what it is with. Our relationship with ourselves is representative of our relationship with everything, including the earth.

Where to start?

  • Can you take some time to imagine your own body as a human being you are in relationship with? Like a friend? A parent? A total stranger?
  • Sinking into your heart, can you imagine what the quality of that relationship is? What is their part in it? What is yours? Do you feel love? Compassion? Indifference? Impatience?Frustration? What comes up for you?
  • What would you like the quality to be? Can you feel it?
  • What would be the next steps to take that would bring you closer to truly embodying that quality?
  • And now, try this using the earth as a being you are in relationship with.

Feel free to share in the comments below what your experience is.

And to see more participants in Blog Action Day, be sure to go to!