Humility, Caring and Wisdom Make a Better Future Possible

In the face of uncertainty, nature brings solace and sustenance. (Photo: Tory Johnson via Unsplash)

By David Suzuki | Common Dreams

In the face of uncertainty, nature brings solace and sustenance. Research shows time spent in forests — and even just looking at trees or photos of them — boosts immune systems, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood and ability to focus, and increases energy levels and sleep quality.

As we consider the natural world, we must remember that how we talk about it matters. Steven Nitah, former elected chief of Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation and a four-time member of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly, says shifting our language can help shift our understanding. “We need to re-do land use plans. We need to rebuild those plans as land-relationship plans,” he says, urging us to re-imagine and re-orient our relationship with nature — to manage for abundance based on reciprocity and to recognize our responsibilities to the land, water, and air.

As a society, we continue to exceed biological limits, which increases our species’ collective exposure to risk. With climate disruption, our refusal to contain carbon emissions has put our well-being and survival at risk.

In his essay “The year America melted down,” Omar El Akkad observes, “Mask-wearing has become politicized, just as school shootings became politicized, just as climate change became politicized, just as an instance of communal survival at the expense of personal profit inevitably becomes politicized.”

Individual rights only matter in the commons, though, and so must include responsibility.

Things that shouldn’t be politicized are, but El Akkad argues battle lines continue to be drawn around issues that pit individual rights against responsibilities to uphold the common good. Individual rights only matter in the commons, though, and so must include responsibility.

In times of compounded crises — a pandemic, crippling racism, rising inequity, and escalating climate risk — we can no longer afford to listen to advocates of narrow self-interest or those who falsely claim that favoring the wealthy and powerful will send benefits trickling down to the rest. In Canada, the most affluent 0.5 percent of families now hold 20.5 percent of the wealth — some $2.4 trillion — and income inequality continues to grow. 

If, as El Akkad says, polarization is rising between those who champion individual rights to profit and those who believe in the collective responsibility to people and the planet, we must make explicit choices to work toward equity, inclusivity, and a more balanced relationship with the natural world.

We have the chance to invest in and create a better future. Why wouldn’t we choose this path? What stands in our way?

To envision new ways and to act differently, we need to co-create stories of what is possible and worthwhile.

In her book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, ethnobotanist, professor and Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages us to recognize the world as a gift. Humility, she says, will help us make better choices.

“We need to unearth the old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones, for we are storymakers, not just storytellers.”

Stories have always helped humans make sense of the world, and Kimmerer says they’re strong tools for restoring the land and our relationship to it. “We need to unearth the old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones, for we are story makers, not just storytellers.” We have the power to tell different stories that help right our relationships and better enable us to work for the good of all.

Although everyone can benefit from the wisdom in Indigenous Peoples’ stories, Kimmerer cautions against wholesale appropriation. We must take inspiration from the old stories and build more balanced narratives about relationships between people, place, and planet.

The choice isn’t as complex as some might have us believe. We can choose humility, caring, and wisdom based on knowledge gained from Indigenous Peoples, scientists, and experts, and shoulder the responsibilities to each other and Earth through our actions — creating a better future for all. Or we can continue on as we have, knowing that the crises we face will worsen.

Humanity’s ability to take the first path lies in the values we choose, the stories we tell ourselves, and the strength of the relationships we are willing to build with each other and Earth.

David Suzuki

David Suzuki, an award-winning geneticist, and broadcaster, co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990. He was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia and is currently professor emeritus. Suzuki is widely recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology and has received numerous awards for his work, including a UNESCO prize for science and a United Nations Environment Program medal.

We Desperately Need to Abandon the ‘One Size Fits All’ Approach


Getting Into a Tight Squeeze

“Truth is multi-faceted and can’t be squeezed into one or two concepts. We need to leave room for expansion especially for the things we cannot explain or understand right now.”

We have a local store where I live that sells clothes. My husband bought a belt from them recently. He is a very slim chap and when he got home he was horrified to discover that the belt did not fit him.

I bought myself a smashing pair of leggings that said ‘one size fits all’. When I got home, they did indeed fit me except for one little detail — there was no room for a derriere! Comically, when I wear them the front pulls up A-Okay but there is a major underpants revealing sag to the back end.

Perhaps in the location where these items were made, the bodies of the people are a tad bit smaller? Either that or my husband and I have entered megalithic proportions.

All jokes aside, this concept has been threatening me too many times for it not to have some underlying, sound metaphysical synchronous advice. As I sat yesterday — absorbing a rather dichotomous talk show that got me thinking — a little message popped into my head and said, ‘one size doesn’t fit all‘.

Related article: How Weird, Little Synchronicities Can Actually Be the Bomb!

Throwing the Baby Out With the Bathwater

The above adage simply means to lose valuable ideas/things in an attempt to get rid of what is not wanted or, in other words, rejecting the essential along with the inessential.

For example: You may absolutely detest conspiracy theories and every time you catch a whiff of one, you dismiss it as utter nonsense without doing any research into the matter or checking in with your innate wisdom or gut instinct.

There is undoubtedly a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to conspiracy theories and there is certainly ample speculations to throw out. However, to lump them all as ridiculous, shields any endeavor at viewing something from a different perspective — even if doing that inevitably leads you to still toss the idea out.

When you do a little investigative work before kicking something to the curb, you have then covered your derriere instead of leaving it exposed! The ‘one size fits all’ has been sized up.

Bombshells and Tin Foil

The same could be applied to a lot of spiritual information out there.

Let’s face it, the internet is being bombarded with YouTube videos, articles (like this one *blush*), books, coaches, radio shows and all sorts of other ways we can communicate with others about our personal philosophical truths and existential theories about life, death and everything in between.

The problem arises with being ‘overloaded’ with information and, for want of a better phrase, not knowing your ass from your elbow.

There is so much information out there — a lot of it can be quite contradictory not only to others opinions but sometimes we find someone who contradicts their own thesis (albeit covertly) — I sometimes feel I need to don an aluminium hat to shield myself from a possible meltdown!

Related article: Do You Need to Call a ‘Time-Out’ For Yourself? 7 Things You Need to Be Aware Of…

Take a Knee and FEEL Your Truth

On our path to ascension (or spiritual awakening or whatever else you want to call it) it’s only natural that we strive to know more and find out as much as we can — it can be an exciting trip down the rabbit hole to venture out into the world of the alternative — but never lose sight of the fact that intrinsically your soul already knows and all else is merely reminding you of that.

That’s why any teacher, guru or master usually proclaims that if anything they teach doesn’t resonate, you should not take it on board. This may be for many reasons, two being that:

  • this is not true for you or,
  • you are not ready to take it on yet (have you ever read a spiritual book that didn’t gel with you at the time of reading? then you pick it up years later and…bingo! You hit the wisdom jackpot because you have now grown into your ears, so to speak)

We can easily flip from one article to the next, one talk show to the next — absorbing a plethora of energy and data — just remember to give yourself much needed time to integrate any new information.

This is where you can commune with your over-soul and glean your personal truth by sitting in stillness and asking for integration and clarification.

Gift yourself with time to mull things over because one size certainly does NOT fit all. Truth is multi-faceted and can’t be squeezed into one or two concepts. We need to leave room for expansion especially for the things we cannot explain or understand right now.

CRDCherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She also has just recently launched her official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates).

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday. To view her articles, click HERE.

This article (We Desperately Need to Abandon the ‘One Size Fits All’ Approach) was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.