I think that Damian Ewens knows a thing or two that is relevant right now.
Damian is founder of Ocean State of Mind, a mindfulness-based science and research initiative supporting ocean conservation and human health. He draws on his background as an educator, entrepreneur, and systems builder to use mindfulness practices to strengthen the human/nature connection.
“That journey has led me to start thinking about how do we help an individual human take stock of who they are, what they’re feeling, and bring some sort of control back to their lives,” Damian said. “And nature has a huge part in that. I think a big part of our disconnect in society is that we’ve also pulled away from our relationship with the natural world.”
Damian sees the connections between COVID-19 and the worldwide protests against racism and oppression. “There’s some really important conversations and changes that are happening in our country and around the world around the topic of race,” he said. “And we have to get those relational things right if we’re truly going to be able to walk forward as a species. Coronavirus has sort of put everyone on notice.”
My own efforts to develop a mindfulness practice have been pretty pathetic. I am easily distracted during daily life and easily triggered when the stresses rise, as they inevitably do. On a much bigger scale, I fear that happening in our world, as our attention lurches from one moment of outrage and despair to the next. How do we (individually and collectively) sustain intent as we walk forward?
“My bet and my sense is that if we go back to our own intuition, and if we learn to listen to our own wisdom that’s inside of each of us right now, that’s the path forward,” Damian offered. “That includes the really challenging internal deep dives that folks of privilege like myself have to do to shift these institutional, systemic pieces of injustice that are all over the place. So it’s not a rush back to the normal; it’s a recreation of a more just world where everyone has opportunity.”