Dropping In: A Fire Inside
This summer we have already seen record-breaking temps around the USA. Toward the end of June, It reached 116 degrees in Portland Oregon. The previous record was 107 set in the 1960s. It was not a subtle leap, it was an excessive blast. The heat of summer brings with it fears of intense fire seasons. In the last 5 years, I have experienced more smoke in the PNW than the rest of my 30 years combined. These external infernos can easily be paired with the internal. The fire of Anger.
Who is to blame?
Where is the problem?
How can we protect ourselves and future generations?
When I first started to become aware of environmental impact I had no idea the snowball effect that would follow. Becoming attuned to something I was unconscious of pretty much my whole life was a daunting task. I have shared in the previous Dropping In posts that I became angry. There was a fire burning inside of me. How could we be treating the planet this way? How could we be putting so many beautiful species at risk? Why would we deplete the soil, cut down the forests, and pollute the water?
Projection is a word that I recommend taking some time to learn about if you haven’t already. It is something we commonly do as human beings. We project what we don't want to see in ourselves onto others. My journey into environmental awareness rippled out into a lot of projection on others. As I started to wake up and make changes, I started to be upset with others that weren’t. But I was missing a very important perspective.
The anger I was projecting on others was also an outlet for the guilt I felt inside. I had been unconscious for so many years. My awareness was now more attuned to my imperfections. It is nearly impossible in these societies today to not make a harmful impact, let alone be constantly benefiting the ecosystems. The mind is so good at finding the data to make enemies to triumph against. We have to be careful, subtly aware, of our sideways projections.
Yes, there is much action to take in the world. Endless important information to share. Billions of dollars are required to invest in a new direction. But for each of us individually our number one task is to get right with ourselves. Can we forgive ourselves for our imperfections? Can we have compassion for our ignorance and where we continue to fall short? A beautiful bonus to this self-love is that it can make its way out to others as well. Anger can often be compared to slowly drinking poison and expecting the other person to be harmed. This is what happens when we are not practiced, lacking wisdom, and just being reactive.
With another sensitive fire season starting, I am encouraging anyone reading this to continue Dropping In so that you get more attuned to the layers within human emotion. This fire inside can become an energy source to utilize, or it can burn us up from the inside. No one else can decide that but ourselves. Making time to practice self-observation and awareness every single day is how we become more attuned to what is going on inside of us.
For this Dropping In practice, I focus on 3 specific details.
You check in with the mind to see where it is. Is it busy? Is it thinking about things that need to be done? Is it pondering on what is next, looking forward to the next delight? Or is it calm, quiet, and present? Can you feel the energy in your skull? Maybe there is pressure in your temples or the frontal lobe. What can you notice?
You check in with the body to feel sensation. Do I feel pain? Can I feel strength? Are there points where there is tingling energy? Maybe pressure or weight. How is my posture? Where do I feel the most intense sensation within my body? Feel the lungs expanding. The air going in and out. How many sensations can I experience dropping into my body?
You check in with your emotions to become aware of your current interpretation of life. The layers to this practice alone can be focused for a lifetime and still have more space for growth. Our emotions are so complex as human beings and yet I judge we spend very little time paying close attention to them. At the end of the day good and bad are judgments of pleasurable and un-pleasurable. The truth is these judgments are malleable and through a deep connection to self we can become more in control of the interpretations. Am I happy? Do I feel fear, sadness, anger, or another emotion? What is present for me in this moment of dropping in?