There are so many ways that the reality of climate change seeps into my life. One is an increasing mindfulness of my personal impact upon creation, and the quest for difference-making ways of living I can integrate into my spiritual practice: becoming aware of where things actually come from and what it takes for them to be available to me, recycle more, use less, moderate the household thermostat, eat local, support helpful political and social initiatives, think less in terms of "me" and more in terms of the "we" that includes my son's generation and the more-than-human world.These days my prayers, especially at table, are often simply about noticing what is present and available to me (food or communion elements). Then, I take time to mindfully observe who made these gifts possible, and what it took to do so; farmer, fisher, mine-worker, rancher, trucker, forest, field, tree, stream or lake, oil well, gas pipeline, the life of a particular animal, sun, rain, and more. One by one, I follow the path for each feature of the meal and give thanks for the gift that has been provided. But, I also consider if, next time, my consumption should be different; not inducing guilt or pity, but simply noticing what might be better next time, and then offering a deep vow to move, even slowly toward such redemptive possibility.However, I've noticed another difference that climate change has made in my life. It is less about practice or tangible products, and more about a sort of shadow lowering across my being. It is a great deal like the overwhelming, un-nameable, fear I felt as a child when my elementary school would have all us children move into a deep basement for a "fire drill" that we all knew was less about fire and more about monster bombs that could obliterate our lives. The shadow is more a deep sadness for what may become that tempers any joy of what could be, a frustration about what I cannot do myself and yet the wider community seems not to want to do, a crushing fear for the devastation that my son may know in his lifetime, a lie that my actions do not matter and that I shouldn't waste my time trying. This shadow seems to creep across the hills and vales of my existence until life is simply not the celebration it could be, but rather some pressed down struggle to find futile purpose and hope for the future. This is the worst part of the climate change experience for me.Most of the time, though, I am able to keep the shadow at bay. By prayerful attentiveness to Spirit's activity, watching my son play, taking my camera out into the woods to photograph something wild, playing a tune on one of my Native American style flutes, being with my wife -- the lies of this shadow are undone by the light of possibility and the truth of my willingness to be even just a small part of the solution in this world.
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