I was scrolling casually through Instagram this week, and I saw Xavier Rudd on IG TV. I really like his music so I paused for a moment to see what he was saying. It was a call out for donations to assist with the catastrophic Australian Fires. A bunch of other beautiful, hipster-artist fashion blonde people spoke out as well.

Then the clip panned to the video of the fire.

A Koala was helplessly burning to death. While other people tried to pick the traumatized, injured creatures up and run them out of the blaze.

It was too much.

I instantly shut down and shut it off. 

If I don’t look, I don’t have to deal with it.

Right?

Do you want to change the channel too? Look away, hope it gets better, figure someone else will do something, then push it out of your mind?

We all have enough on our plates with our own lives right?

Let’s be honest, tons of terrible things are happening all over the world to people and animals all the time. There is suffering, violence, and helplessness every day.

Burning tree AUSTRALIA Dean Lewins photo credit

So why did the animals in Australia affect me so much? 

As I managed my emotional energy this week around how sad I felt, I also was curious why I was feeling this so much⏤when there are so many things happening all the time.

As always, I tuned into my body. I allowed tears, even if they weren’t logical. I let myself feel, and felt the sensations in my own body without judgment. Without trying to analyze or understand anything I simply allowed.

This is how I listen to my own voice.

As the energy moved, I felt inspired to donate. It wasn’t a thought to appease my emotions. It was an inspired idea from within, it was me listening to the directive of our collective voice.

Then, I felt like I needed to share this. So, I posted on Facebook and wrote this article. I don’t need validation or anything like that, I want to do my part and maybe someone else will be helped by me sharing and then feel lit from within to follow their own guidance. It becomes it’s own kind of wildfire when we all do our part.

I wanted to show others how I discern from just trying to make my uncomfortable emotions go away, hello big glass of wine, to moving through emotions to hear the direction that I am being called to do.

The sadness was a symptom for me to pay attention to.

My life is in a blessed place right now. So, I can chill? Right?

No. My cup is full, so I need to give from my overflow. I don’t have to give, I want to and it is natural.

I want to be used for the betterment of others and life.

I want to participate.

I don’t want to just make sure my own needs are met, and the needs of those around me.

It is no longer comfortable for me to be a bystander, but I often feel paralyzed by all the things that are wrong in the world and I don’t know where to start. Which is why I rely on my body sensations and heart centre.

While sadness is often judged as bad⏤how often have you heard or said, “Don’t feel sad.” I followed my sadness, listened to the intelligence of my emotions, and did something small. Now I feel soberingly centred. Not deeply sad, nor happy. Just really, really HERE.

Australia Koala

The Tap, the Knock, and the Brick 

There’s a saying about paying attention to divine guidance.

First there is a tap.

Tap. Tap.

It is noticeable, but not in your face. You might not hear it if you aren’t paying attention.

Then there is a Knock.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

You hear it. And you either stop what you are doing and attend to it, or you ignore it.

Well, then there is the brick through the window.

You are forced to pay attention!

There is glass everywhere. You might cut your foot.

There is a hole in your house.

You need to fix the window and pay money to do so.

It’s a big deal and you are forced to look at it.

It’s also emotionally jarring enough to jolt you out of your comfort zone.

By now, you cannot ignore the message.

In our individual lives the messages are unique to us. There are occurrences in life that make us pay attention to something, and the more tuned in we are the sooner we will hear the tap. And if we still are dragging our bum we at least act on the knock. 

What makes humans kind of annoying is our propensity to collectively ignore the tap, and the knock. We can be a tad self-absorbed. 

What this fire woke me up to was the global brick through the window.

If you know me and my work you will know I found peace and trust in life through learning indigenous teachings of connecting to the earth, learning how to “hear” guidance from life itself, and how all things are connected therefore we are never alone. Which is very soothing. But it goes both ways. We are all connected so I don’t need to feel alone, but also we are all connected so I need to pay attention to my relations across the globe. 

And how life used me, was by tapping me with sadness. The emotion had a message for me, and I listened.

It turns out this man, Victor Steffensen, heard the tap, and the knock way beforehand, and no one acted on the message Nature was sending us.

A year ago, while conducting workshops in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, Mr Steffensen predicted the crisis that has now killed three people and destroyed at least 25 homes.

Victor Steffensen is calling for a new workforce of ‘fire practitioners’ dedicated to managing land through traditional burning techniques. (ABC Far North: Marian Faa)

“I was looking at it and thinking ‘this is a timebomb, it’s going to go off’,” he said.

Mr Steffensen has been teaching traditional Indigenous burning practices for the past two decades.

He said this week’s bushfire crisis sent a clear message to politicians that current land management practices are not working.

“We can’t keep doing this,” he said.

“It’s really frustrating to see country get torched like that when you know they’re not doing anything about it.”

Mr Steffensen said the dangerous conditions resulted from a build up of fuel loads and decades of mismanagement.

“People are too scared to burn because of how dry it is,” he said.

“There are grasses that are up to the roof and landscapes that have no vegetation except for large amounts of rubbish.

“The bottom line is that we need to start looking after the landscape.”

When you pay attention to yourself, you can be used as well for life to send you messages to act. You don’t need to know why. You can trust that there is a divine plan being orchestrated and just play your part.

You being you really is all you need to do. Listen, and act. Don’t spend time in despair and helplessness for too long. Ask, “What can I do?” Then listen to life.

Where I donated:

Australian Organization: https://www.kkt.org.au/

Canadian Organization: https://www.ifaw.org/ca-en

For Further Insight:

http://theconversation.com/strength-from-perpetual-grief-how-aboriginal-people-experience-the-bushfire-crisis-129448

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-14/traditional-owners-predicted-bushfire-disaster/11700320?pfmredir=sm

For information on how to hear your own guidance go to jennasmithcoaching.com.

Image: NYT