Each year every media outlet presents recaps and lists that aim to show the best and worst of the year that was. When it comes to the political and social discourse, many consider this year, 2010, to be among the most contentious and rancorous in decades. Indeed, there exists plenty of evidence to suggest that a major element of our global ecology may be dying, namely the human climate.
No matter how much we feel we care about our planet, to be confronted with the parts of ourselves that we may have amputated can be more alarming than anything else.
Our human climate consists of weather systems which regulate and are regulated by levels of emotional safety, willingness and capacity to deal with adversity as well as diversity. And by diversity I refer not only to differences between and among people but also to the coexisting dualities we all have inside ourselves and the wide range of mood and orientation we either face or deny. Ironically, although we have gained much greater access to information, our capacity to metabolize emotion has not caught up. Many of the most intelligent people tend to live under the illusion of how logical and rational they are yet remain immune to realizing that, without emotional consent, our thinking will be compromised, paralyzed or missing in action.
Collectively, we have so been caught up with the need to measure up to standards that we don't always understand that sensitivity, for example -- a crucial tool for the empathy and caring that society desperately needs -- has all too frequently been seen as a shameful weakness and a sign of the incapacity to face the music assumed to be manageable. In stark contrast from the treasure chest of knowledge related to the stages of child development including trust and reliability, much of child rearing has gotten more mechanical and hurried as we need more and more the reassurance that our children are growing according to whatever standard is ruling us today.
We have, in many cases, become so alienated from our confusions and our desires and the depth of our feelings, that we don't recognize the connections between bullying and having been bullied, between lack of funding for services and a war based on lies, between emotional safety and courage. We have become alienated from developmental psychology which actually teaches us about the power of impulses, of ambivalence and the tendency we all have to need to manage the bunches of emotional cells inside us and in all relationships -- big or small, actual or virtual.
Often our points of view become packaged and practiced before we come to learn. And so, learning anything that goes against our self image loses importance. At a time when we need as much truth as we can bear and to "grow" the mechanisms for connecting to our world without so much hatred and so much splitting into silos of good and bad, many among of us have clung to the nostalgia of what we think we know, even if that system has no resemblance to the truth.
Our need for a community that creates sustainable human supports based on acceptance and guidance rather than shunning or authority can only exist when we dare to attempt to invent what isn't yet there.
The idea of a human climate and its urgency has frequently evoked a smile of mild interest lacking in either curiosity or vivid connection. What's more, for many ecologists who have talked about every creature and plant as being irrevocably interconnected, the very idea of addressing "the human climate" has met with striking silence. It is, however, surprising and dismaying until we realize that ecologists too can be afraid of both change and truths when they are at their most inconvenient in pushing for internal change.
For anyone who feels good about his or her contribution, it can be the most bitter of pills to consider that the best of us has the worst of potential or history or duality within.
All of this is enough to make some of us cry out loud -- and over the last two years, many have been very loud -- but, in reality, most of us have been conditioned not to do so. Notwithstanding, our sensitivity is part of the human heartbeat. If we can invent ways to relax with our own flaws, we might begin -- just begin -- to make gains in getting along and finding ways to defend ourselves from those as of now addicted to fighting.
There are many in the world of psychology who remain silent, who have known enough about the land of our shadows so as to welcome their admission. We know too well that everyone faces terrible loneliness when left without our own authentic heartbeat. We will be deeply estranged if forced to hide the authenticity of our gifts as well unless we can help ecology truly admit our connection with all of ourselves.
The promise in this potentially happier story is a deep sense of relaxation and intimacy when we can be released from lying about who we are. Right there (or here), in the shadows, immense passions are hiding. They are waiting, not just to scare us, but to connect us to an ecology that tells the truth.
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