Fire in the Belly
Updated: Jan 27
“There are those who try to set Fire to the world We are in danger There is only time to move slowly There is no time not to love.”
I find the best kind of motivation is a beautiful vision of what could be, a glimpse of the world as I want it to become.
It seems we're steeped daily in a bitter brew of fear, anger and guilt over the problems we face as a culture and as a species. While those emotions might be fully appropriate responses, I'm not sure they're capable of galvanizing the kind of lucid action we actually need. The kind of action that comes from a straight-up love of the world. It's subtle, this difference in what moves us, but I think it may profoundly affect the results we get.
In holistic nutrition there's an approach that advocates not worrying about the foods we should be eliminating from our diet. Instead, the focus goes to upping our consumption of delightful and nutritious whole foods each day until the "bad" stuff gets squeezed out and simply falls away. I know the reason I opt for (mostly!) real, whole foods is because I love them - they're beautiful, tasty and satisfying; they make me feel like I'm treating myself well and they still resemble something that came from the earth so there's that recognition and connection. Fear of what junk food might do to me is a catalyst of a different kind, a more tenuous one. What happens if food scientists can assure me the new chicken nuggets carry no health risk at all? My reason for choosing whole foods (and the quality of life that goes with that) evaporates.
The same goes for more global issues. A trip up and down the grocery aisles with the ills of our industrial food system in mind can be paralyzing. But to plant a garden, grow some sprouts, or seek out a producer of clean, local protein starts things rolling in a better direction.
In the face of climate change, fear and panic could send us running to any and all options that appear low-carbon. That may lower our CO2 footprint (a very good thing), but would it actually bring about a better world? Might we throw every oil & gas worker and meat eater under the bus in our zeal, or lose sight of precious things like water and soil? Instead, if we're guided by a love of all the things we hold dear and remain keenly focused on the kind of existence we yearn for, our actions may be wiser and the resulting world more beautiful and enduring.
I know that, for me, impending doom can't light a fire in my belly nearly the way a sweet vision can. Charles Eisenstein frames things this way:
"I disagree with those environmentalists who say we are going to have to make do with less. In fact, we are going to make do with more: more beauty, more community, more fulfillment, more art, more music, and material objects that are fewer in number but superior in utility and aesthetics."
That will get me out of bed any morning!