First, fear is an alert.
To use fear with awareness is to determine how feeling scared can be healthy, a gift, the door to creative solutions, and the ultimate alert system to draw your attention to what is truly important for you right now. In a fog of emotionally-hijacked, constant fear – anxiety – we have no chance of identifying what is actually in need of our focused attention or what action to take. The consequences for this kind of fog are global and devastating.
The climate of our planet is changing radically. While the cause(s) are in debate, the consequences are not. The increasing rate and intensity of storms, drought, flooding, wild fires, dust storms, melting glaciers, and loss of land – including entire islands – have all registered alarm around the world. With the alert system activated, i.e., with millions of people fearing for their lives, we are being called to pay attention to what is supremely important and to take immediate action.
Yet, there are millions of people who deny not only the presence but the impending devastation of climate change at this rate. This denial is a consequence of emotional hijacking gone global. Individuals deal with emotional hijacking by running for cover and denying (flight) what is happening and living in avoidance, or are left feeling completely immobilized (freeze) – unable to move in any direction, while others indulge in alcohol, drugs, or food to numb the fear (flight). These attempts to find relief only result in building false armors of protection and do nothing to change or alleviate the source of the fear. When millions of people participate in these freeze and flight responses to climate change, the consequences for all of us include the loss of millions of lives and the potential for ecological collapse.
We can no longer hear the alert for all the noise.
Because the ability of millions of people to discern real fear and pinpoint its source has been short-circuited due to overload, our entire society and our very lives are in jeopardy. While we are being distracted by pleasing the scary boss, by donning various “costumes” to feel attractive and accepted, and by stuffing and starving our physical bodies to numb our constant anxiety – the intricate systems that support human life on this planet are breaking down without abatement.