Healing Our Culture's Abuse of the Earth, Part II


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Healing Our Culture's Abuse of the Earth (Part 2 of 2)
by Patricia Dines
Sonoma County Peace Press, June/July 2011, Page 9

(c) Copyright, Patricia Dines, 2011. All rights reserved.

In the previous Peace Press, I explored the idea that we could use the psychological abuse model to help us steer away from global eco-collapse.
I define abuse as a mindset where people see themselves as innately superior, take whatever they want with no concern for the cost to others, refuse to take responsibility for the suffering they cause, punish anyone who doesn't fall in line, and won't re-examine their approach. Often this dark behavior is cloaked by charming manipulative stories that hide the truth until it's too late.
Doesn't that sound like the way people behave in so many of our culture's arenas, including the way we treat the sacred earth?
So how can we heal this shared abuse mentality to rescue ourselves and the planet?

I see these key steps:

1) Honestly observe our own behavior in abusive systems.
I feel that abusive dynamics are sustained by three players -- the abusers, the abused, and the enablers. We probably all play each of these roles at times.
So, for example, we're like abuse victims when we allow our best interests to be harmed, believe that we're powerless to stop it, accept the story that we don't deserve any better, and go along with the program to avoid conflict.
We're like enablers when we ignore cries for help, allow innocents to be injured and scapegoated, accept charming stories and refuse to see vital truths, piggyback on abusers' unearned luxury, blindly obey hierarchy no matter how it behaves, and require others to do the same.
And we're like abusers when we build our own wealth and status in ways that heartlessly steamroll the well-being of others. We're also abusers collectively by being part of this culture's excessive consumption as it undermines the earth's essential life-giving ecosystems.
2) Decide to shift from abusive to healthy ways.
For each role we play, we can embody the healing antidote. So, where we are victims, we can connect with our inner wisdom, find allies, and learn to stand up effectively. Where we're enablers, we can see past the abusers' con games, learn from victims' truth-telling tales, and help create better ways. And, where we're abusers, we can take responsibility for our actions, clean up our messes, stop benefiting from abuse, and nurture the victims. These acts of consciousness might seem daunting, but in my experience they bring unimaginable blessings of heart, insight, and meaningful progress.
3) Learn healthy skills and weed out abusive thoughts and behavior.
By working on ourselves first, we better understand the healing process and its challenges, and develop the skills needed to engage in constructive, emotionally-healthy alliances.
There are many books that describe healthy (functional) approaches, such as Bradshaw's The Family. I'd say the key principles include:
a) Caring about others' authentic feelings, needs, and perspectives as equal to our own;
b) Seeking win/win solutions that meet the authentic needs of all players in a dynamic;
c) Taking responsibility for the results of our actions; and
d) Practicing these principles every day until they become our new normal.


4) Stand up for healthy rules in our families, groups, communities, and government.
I believe that applying these principles in our larger arenas can produce breakthrough positive results that we now consider impossible. Simply withdrawing our consent changes the abuse dynamic, and when we create safe spaces for win/win collaborative problem solving, we help unleash the creative solutions needed to generate effective change. This can also bring us more joy!
Patricia Dines has been a writer, public speaker, and educator for over 25 years. For over 15 years, she's specialized in empowering constructive action on community issues. For more about her work, see www.patriciadines.info.

FOR PART I of this article, go to www.patriciadines.info/a_PPHealing0411.html


Patricia Dines has been a professional writer, public speaker, and graphic artist for over 25 years, serving many thousands of people through her books, newsletters, articles, workshops, and more. For the past 15 years, she's specialized in environmental and community topics, bringing forward useful information that inspires readers, deepens their understanding, and empowers constructive action for a better world.

One of her current key projects is the Ask EcoGirl column, a syndicated eco-advice column with a geeky superhero twist. She also offers her "insanely useful" Ask EcoGirl booklet series, with nutrient-dense information on being green, and provides ongoing eco-information and actions on her Facebook page.

In addition, Ms. Dines is the Editor and Lead Writer of The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about everyday toxics and easy effective alternatives. She also writes regularly for NorthBay biz magazine and other periodicals, and has written seven books on local organics. She's been a guest on various TV shows, where she's shared her cheerful eco-info and tips.

For more information about Patricia Dines and her offerings, including her past articles and how she might serve your periodical or organization, see <www.patriciadines.info>

This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2011. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 06/03/11