Our experience of moral pain for our world springs from our interconnectedness with all beings, from which also arise our powers to act on their behalf. When we deny or repress our pain for the world, or view it as a private pathology, our power to take part in the healing of our world is diminished.
Macy, Joanna. “Foundations of the Work.” The Work That Reconnects. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. LINK
This quote is from Joanna Macy's "The Work That Reconnects." She goes on to talk about how that pain can be unblocked and lead to constructive integration of grief into life. Likewise the Fierce Lament exhibit and series of events, which I'm excited to be part of, holds a space for acknowledging grief for the state of the environment.
|Fierce Lament Curator |
and Artist, Camille Gage
We talked about childhood experiences of nature, and looked at some readings about the role of grief in discussing the environment and envisioning positive change, and Camille led an interactive activity about a favorite wild place.
In preparing the readings for the event, I was interested to run across this writing by Jan van Boeckel about children's experience of ecological grief and how art might help them navigate their conflicting emotions. He says:
Children are often rather aware of the ecological crisis that is taking place and that manifests itself most dramatically right now through global warming. A common response to this is psychic numbing, a mild form of cognitive dissociation. Art as a therapeutic practice – without being labeled as such – can help children cope with the “idea of crisis”...
and highlights some of the ways art can play a role:
An important aspect of art is its ability to deal with contradictions and ambiguity. For example the effort to find a future perspective and meaning in one’s life and to simultaneously acknowledge the immensity of the challenges we are faced with. The scope and magnitude of today’s environmental crises is hard, if not impossible, to grasp.
van Boeckel, Jan. “Arts-Based Environmental Education and the Ecological Crisis: Between Opening the Senses
and Coping with Psychic Numbing (Published in Drillsma-Milgrom, B. & Kirstinä, L. (E Ds.) (2009).
Metamorphoses in Children’s Literature and Culture. Turku, Finland: Enostone,
Pp. 145-164. ).” 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. LINK
Even without crossing into the specialty of art therapy, art may be helpful and therapeutic to children as it has been to humans throughout time as they face difficulties and fears.
I appreciate the Fierce Lament exhibit and participation in this event as a way to spend more time thinking about the role of grief as part of our sense of interconnection with the world around us.