Last week I was working hard to clear my RSS feed of unread posts. I follow quite a few bloggers and some of them are rather prolific in their posts. 1 or more per day. Some are heavy bloggers, others light. Some fun, some permaculture, some cooking and basically a wonderful variety of information. Some days I can’t handle the heavy posters. I mean, how much doom and gloom can one handle? I KNOW the climate is going to hell in a handbasket. I KNOW our economy teeters on the brink of an all out and likely permanent collapse, or at least never to be recovered in the same way, and I KNOW that we are also on the slippery slope down the post peak oil slide. Some days I want information on just how screwed the world is. Other days I need to forget this so I can continue to function.
I finally caught up reading one of my favourite info posters and the info, plus that from a friend of mine led me to have a bit of a brain meltdown. It’s taken me 2 days to admit it but…
I am afraid.
I am afraid for my family that when everything comes to the collapse point we will not be ready.
I am afraid we won’t have enough food.
I am afraid we won’t be able to heat our house (and it gets pretty cold here in winter).
I am afraid for friends and family who aren’t on the eco-bandwagon.
I am even afraid for those that are eco warriors because that’s what fear does. It starts with 1 thing then immediately dredges the mind to find anything else possible of which to be afraid. My fear trawl was clearly highly successful. :(
However, one thing this time has been different. Last time I didn’t cope so well with my fear. Last time I needed to hide from them and I needed a major distraction. This time I must say I am likely twice as afraid. Like truly, my stomach is in knots. :( However, as I said, it’s different. Or, more to the point, the way I’ve handled it has been different.
Fear is powerful. It is almighty powerful and fear can motivate us to do things we would never contemplate with an unafraid mind. Fear can be just like the sun. The sun is powerful and too much of it can burn. It can burn skin and plants and when that is long-term it can have terrible consequences. However, the sun can be a wonderful tool and it can be harnessed. We harness the sun every day to grow fruits and vegetables. We harness it at our house to heat our hot water and it can also be harnessed to produce electricity. Fear too can be harnessed. If fear can make us do things we wouldn’t do when we’re not afraid then surely we can harness that extra power to do the things we normally do but with perhaps, even more power. I managed this today. I have no idea how but I was able to use that fear to boost motivation. :)
I’ve been working on plans to make over my veggie patch. I want something larger and more productive. I want something where I have a better composting system, more space to grow and a better system of rotating beds. I also want to fit some perennials in and basically maximise production whilst adhering to permaculture principles and basically have a thriving soil annual and perennial garden there. It’s anything but that at the moment. I am ultimately excellent at dreaming up big plans but not so good at planning out and even less so at instigating. Finishing off projects I am terrible. :( This time I used my fear to get me started. Big time! :D
A friend came over last Thursday and brought with him what I think is a wonderful gift. 2 bags of nice fresh horse manure, a bucket of worms from his compost and muscle power. :) Between the 2 of us we installed a bath worm farm and moved in the first of its residents, poisoned out weeds (I know, it sits very heavily on my heart but with very deep-rooted weeds and running silver poplar roots there was little choice :( ) then sheet mulched before laying down a bale of rotting hay, 3 bags of coffee grounds (thanks dad) and then some compost and after a heavy watering in I’ve covered it with shade sail. The entire pile is about 2.5m long and about 1.2 wide I reckon. I need lots more nitrogenous and carboniferous materials to go in there and ultimately I want that pile a metre or even more tall but I’m stoked with that for starters. :D
After the compost was completed we moved in several very large thick red gum sleepers left over from dismantling the old piece of decking that was here when we moved in and used them to set up a terrace line to keep the sloped land and flat land separated for easier garden building. I even sheet mulched another area and released my existing compost to begin building up more soil and garden beds. :) The cat litter compost bin was moved to its new location and I finished digging the poopy soil out today. It’s been moved to where the orchard will be and it’s cleared another area ready for sheet mulch and more layers.
For me, this has been a truly practical use for my fear. The power of the fear has been put towards a solution for the fear itself. I cannot stop a financial crisis and if anything our lifestyle will contribute to it. I can’t halt climate change although I am fighting as hard as I can to do my part. I cannot ease the peak oil crisis either as the amount of fuel we use is truly negligible in the scale of things (although being frugal with it also helps fight climate change). However, what I CAN do is build upon my own resources, prepare myself as best I can and then, when things really do go pear-shaped I will be able to place less burden on a collapsing system and possibly even be in a position to help.
Trying to stop being afraid of something this big is for me simply not possible. To be a parent is to have your heart walking around outside your body. My heart is divided into 3 plus my husband so not being afraid for how they will all be through the tough times to come is not possible but preparing and being ready for it will help alleviate the fears as well as prepare us to face what comes.
And to climate change, peak oil and economic collapse nay-sayers, we will be better off financially by a big way and leading happy and healthy lives so nothing to lose there except maybe a few sleepless nights (when digging compost isn’t possible) to alleviate fears. ;)