Earth Day is April 22nd and the theme for this year is Restore Our Earth. Since 1970, Earth Day has been a day to mobilize people around the world to address the environmental crisis.
How we as individuals and society address the current and ongoing environmental crisis is something that I think about often. At times it can feel overwhelming, but I try to think about the ways I can help: whether that’s through making behavioral changes in the way I interact with products or by volunteering, or by donating, or by increasing my environmental literacy. After identifying areas that I think are pressing and that I can play a role in, I document it and I work on making my changes.
Since I was in high school, I have made changes, playing my role in combating the environmental crisis. Some of these changes were drastic and others were small. I think subconsciously these behavioral changes that I have made over the last two decades have rolled over into how I address issues in my personal environment.
As you know, I am a strong proponent of journaling to keep track of internal and external experiences. Something I started to keep track of several years ago, was my mayday signs and how I restore my environment.
Same way environmental experts have been observing the mayday signs of our planet for a long time, I like observe if my personal environment is heading down the wrong path. I often think that my external environment is an indicator of my internal environment. For me, overcommitting, feeling overwhelmed, and dropping the ball are outcomes that show that I need to take a pause. To me mayday signs are signs that I am heading towards burnout.
For example, I love being organized and one of the ways I show myself self-love is cleaning and organizing. When my room starts to get messy, my color-coded closet loses order, and my books are not in their genre specific order, that’s when I know it’s time to step back, reflect, and restore.
Maybe for you, mayday signs are that you are quick to anger, quick to cry, you withdraw, or you overeat. This is why observation and reflection are important. You need to observe yourself and take note of your reactions.
By noticing my mayday signs, I can then begin to set up my environment so that it supports the needs that I have. That might mean setting aside time each week to rearrange my closet or putting my journal by my bed so I can ensure I journal each morning and night. But the first step for me is recognizing what throws me off. Identifying my mayday signs and then identifying how I need to set up my environment. These steps allow me to think about restoration.
In an ideal world, I am on top of things, and I don’t ever hit my mayday signs, but life happens (like a global pandemic, race war, and political instability). When life happens, I am gentle with myself and I course correct.
As we enter Spring, a time of renewal and rebirth, I hope that you take the time to reflect about your mayday signs and come up with a plan for restoration.
I wrote a book chapter about Octavia Butler and how her science fiction writing is well-suited to discuss sustainability. Check it out if you are interested in learning more about her and her works.
I am self-publishing a guided journal. I am working with a graphic designer, a copyeditor, a small team of beta readers, and a marketer. This is a labor of love and I am self-funding this entire project. I hope to have it ready for purchase during the summer. Be on the look out for an invitation to a virtual launch party. I will periodically update you in this newsletter on the progress, but I wanted to let you all know that it’s coming. Hopefully, this is a first of many books and journals to come.