By: Janette Dalgliesh – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Every day, sometimes more than once a day, I try to show up on Facebook and be helpful.
But yesterday, Facebook and my mind were both full of the Australian fires.
The emergency services app for my state of Victoria kept pinging its warnings to me, though thankfully they were the ‘small grass fire, under control’ type. The ‘you are safe but keep watching’ type.
I couldn’t feel remotely useful, in any way shape or form. I had nothing useful to add to Facebook.
This is nothing to do with bog-standard personal-doubt am-I-good-enough feelings of helplessness. Those I get regularly.
Those I can handle like a boss.
This is deeper and harder and more tribal.
My animal body sees a story in my feed, about fireballs 100m (100 yards) wide, and immediately my brain says “you’re tiny and insignificant and nothing you do will change anything”.
If I were in that fireball scenario, my brain is correct.
I’m not in that scenario, heavens be thanked.
But thousands of people are, and it would be hugely insensitive to pretend it’s not happening.
Finding the energy to post something useful to Facebook was hard, when Facebook itself was full of the apocalypse.
How do I show up and be useful, when I feel so very tiny and useless?
First, I have to acknowledge that my rage and grief are real, and give them space to be felt and honoured.
Rage, because this entire situation was preventable. Not last year or the year before that, but decades ago. We had the chance to prevent this. All of us did. But nobody fucking cared enough to make climate change a priority, or to listen to the Indigenous land care experts who’ve been living on this crazy continent for 40,000 years.
Grief, because I love this land and I see it changing beyond recognition. Some of it is lost forever. Australia as we knew her is gone and she isn’t coming back. Not in the way she was.
My chosen default is a fierce and defiant joy.
I made a commitment to joy a decade ago, and I’m buggered if I’ll let this catastrophic season destroy it.
But really – WTactualF?
Where is there joy in ANY of this??
I couldn’t get there immediately.
I had to take time to sob my heart out, a tiny scrap of humanity trying to find her feet in a maelstrom of emotions.
I couldn’t find joy. But i could find love.
And where there is love, there is the potential for joy.
It might look like gratitude and relief, for now.
it might look like grace and kindness.
It looks like brave firefighters coming in from overseas.
It looks like locals organising huge food donations to evacuation centres and isolated villages.
It looks like people from all over the world sending help and money and support.
Here’s the thing.
You and me?
We’re not as helpless as we might be feeling right now.
You can be sobbing your heart out AND helping at the same time.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
You can donate food or money or supplies.
You can show up and make sandwiches for firefighters.
You can join prayer circles or work magic.
You can write to politicians and let them know, your vote at the next election WILL prioritize the climate emergency.
You can share donation links with your networks.
You can get involved in climate change activism, and take some of the load off the kids who are tackling it with wildly beautiful levels of courage and determination.
So in the end, this is what I posted to Facebook, along with some ways we can all be helpful.
And – as with any public post – I included a ‘call to action’, just as the marketing gurus say I must.
Today my CTA was simple.
Find ONE way you can help. Do that. As you do it, find a tiny piece of love and joy in the action.
If you can, repeat the process. Find another way to help. Do that. Find the love.
Yesterday morning, my hubby went off to work with a big bag of pantry supplies, our tiny contribution to a big emergency food delivery for an area where thousands have been evacuated and are stuck in shelters.
Yes, it felt tiny and not-enough. But it also felt like that tiny crumb of love I’d been looking for.
In the Ifa tradition of Nigeria, there is a saying: “fire always makes a way for itself”.
My friend Jacqui Gates pointed out to me that water always FINDS a way for itself.
Drip, drip, drip, until there’s a whole gorge carved into a mountain.
The ways we help, the ways we keep our devotion to love, the ways we persist in flowing love even when we feel small AF?
Those are the drips that can carve rock.
When the world is full of rage and grief, the tiniest bits of love and joy shine all the brighter. And they find the ways.
I found my Facebook post.
You’ve just been reading it.
[To find links for ways you can help, search Facebook for the hashtag #behelpfulnow ]
Janette Dalgliesh has a simple mission in life – to wreak more joy in a world which sometimes seems to have forgotten how. A keen student of astrology, brain science and Law of Attraction, she serves her people through astrology, life coaching, teaching and writing. You can find her partying on Facebook, or at her website Resonant Joy.
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