As many of you know, I am all about story.
At the heart of narrative therapy is listening to the problem stories of people’s lives.
Right now, I am hearing stories of young people being crippled by eco-anxiety, feeling despair at the future that unfolds for themselves and future generations. I am hearing stories of despair and sadness at the unfolding crisis on our planet and frustration through lack of climate action by our leaders. I am hearing stories of the sense of powerless people feel over the melting ice-caps, the loss of biodiversity and the extinction of species.
According to Joanna Macy, we are now seeing and understanding what is happening in the world through the lens of three main stories or versions of reality. The Business As Usual story is the one that has people living the way they always have, with economic growth and getting ahead as its goal. The story of the Great Unraveling acknowledges the disastrous consequences of living by the Business as Usual story, through the collapse of biological, ecological, economic and social systems. The Great Turning is the story being created by those who recognise the Great Unravelling and are rising to create a different future for our planet. Joanne argues that there is truth in all these stories. They are all happening right now. And we can choose where we put our attention.
While the ‘doom and gloom’ problem story is getting lots of airplay, as a narrative therapist, I am also interested in shining the light on the alternative story. For it is in feeling despair and sorrow for the planet, that we can speak about our preferences for living. It is in losing hope that we can speak to the kind of future that we wish for. It is in feeling the pain that we can speak about the values that are so precious to us.
In 2020, my goal is to uncover the alternative stories of people’s lives around the climate crisis, unearthing the ways they are surviving and thriving, living out their true values and taking action. The intention in collecting and publishing these stories is to give richer attention to the Great Unravelling that is happening across our communities. Perhaps these stories will bring back hope to someone who has lost theirs and cannot pull themselves up out of the pit of depression or anxiety.
I am looking for people just like you to share your story. I would love to speak with you about your relationship with the planet, how you are standing strong in the face of uncertain times and explore opportunities for developing superpowers for future actions.
Just to be clear, you do not have to have a big story, you may not feel you are changing the world or even coping all that well with the climate crisis. I envisage that my reflective interview questions will be a therapeutic and healing process for you, as we give voice to the downs and unearth the ups together.
If you are interested in participating, please get in touch and I will send you some questions inviting your written response, to become part of a narrative collective document on Facing the Climate Crisis Together.