I watched a short video from Teal Swan talking about the horrors happening in Gaza right now. (Her video is at the end of this post). She said something that really struck me:
“Be the antidote.”
It encapsulated the lesson I learned after years of being consumed with anger, grief, and despair over the state of the world. When I was overwhelmed by all the injustice I was learning about in my college sociology classes and then in my own research.
I started to become obsessed.
The Weight of The World
The conflict between Israel and Palestine was, of course, going on at that time too and I remember feeling so helpless. I wanted so badly to stop the brutality on both sides. I wanted so badly to be a voice for the Palestinian people because the media within the United States were not showing the full picture. The stories I was hearing tended to make Israel seem completely innocent when that was far from the case. But it wasn’t only this issue I was feeling rage about.
It was the destruction of the rainforests
The G20 summit
Human rights violations
etc. etc. etc.
Each new fact, a new blow.
I spent so much of my time online debating and fighting people who seemed completely ignorant. I was on a crusade against “the other side.”
My nervous system could not handle all I was learning. I was completely burned out, depressed, and feeling powerless and miserable. I had victories in my self-righteous comment battles, but overall, I felt defeated. Because I could not stop what was happening. People didn’t seem to see that the real root problem of hell on earth was our inability to recognize that we are all one. That whatever we do affects others as well as ourselves. That we can’t separate ourselves from the earth because we are nature. If we kill the planet, we kill ourselves. If we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. We become what we are fighting against.
It turns out I was blind to this as well.
The Turning Point
This all changed around 2014 when I decided to stop carrying the weight of world’s the injustices on my back. I stopped trying to stop everything. I realized I needed to become what I wanted the world to be. I needed to become part of a solution. I needed to join in the effort to create the world I envisioned.
I remembered learning about permaculture somewhere in my research. Permaculture is a set of principles based on living in accordance with nature rather than fighting against it. These principles apply to sustainable and resilient farming practices, building and designing homes and communities, and even our relationships with other people. It was all based on the wisdom of nature.
While I was on this path I met amazing people doing impressive things to create a better world. People who cared about the same issues that I did and held the same values of empathy, creativity, and personal growth. They also wanted to create a sanctuary and nonjudgmental space where people could be themselves. Where everyone is encouraged to develop and share their unique gifts.
That’s what the world could be!
It wasn’t perfect. This was also a period in my life where I experienced a lot of personal pain and heartbreak. But that was because I was finally taking risks and learning about myself and my place in the world. I needed to learn those lessons because they helped me uncover (and continue to uncover) my most authentic self. It all enabled me to get much clearer on what I wanted in my life and what kind of gifts I wanted to share with the world.
We each get to do this.
Find what has caused you the most pain in your life and become the antidote to that. It’s a lifelong journey that no one is perfect at. It’s a practice of love and gratitude. It’s devotion to the world you want to leave behind.
Don’t let the grief and anger consume you until you’re paralyzed with powerlessness. Become the antidote to hate and fully embody love and understanding in your own life.
Become the antidote to revenge and fully embody forgiveness in your own life.
Become the antidote to indiscriminate violence and fully embody unconditional empathy.
Let your pain become your purpose.
Be the change you wish to see.
<3 Nicole Ivy