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A Small Victory—No Room for Old Patterns

During my time at COP22 I had a seemingly small but actually huge victory. Small, because no one, other than one person, was aware that a personal battle was being fought and won. Huge, because it made a huge difference to my thinking. I re-evaluated an old pattern.

Like with a lot of old patterns, this pattern’s reoccurrence is often fraught with unawareness. That was the case in this situation, until I heard something that grabbed my mind. During my re-evaluation of the pattern, I recognised that I am not the set of hurts that make the pattern. I am separate from the pattern, and from a short distance I can look at it.

I was at the conference with Lisa Rasmussen, from Australia. It was the second week. I had a virus and a runny nose and was feeling unwell and slow, so I wasn’t too enthusiastic about being there. My attention was waning. I really wanted to go back to our hotel, to sleep. Lisa kept encouraging me to stay a little longer, saying that maybe we should go listen to this panel of women.

I was feeling worse by the minute. (This was what the pattern was telling me, as I imagined myself looking pathetic and miserable.) I had the feeling of being dragged into the lecture room by Lisa. My “thoughts” were totally buying into the feelings; I was restimulated. Lisa, in a gentle way, knowingly or not, was pushing against my pattern, and I had no idea she was doing that.

We went in. I sat on the floor against the wall, so I could lean back on it. I coughed and sneezed and blew my nose, making sure that Lisa and everyone could see that I was not well.

The panel was made up of women from a women’s international collective on the environment and climate change. Hearing them speak about climate change made me lean forward from the wall and sit with a straight back. I listened to women making smart statements, like, “Women need to be active at every level of decision about the environment and climate change. We women know how to, and we need to, organise, mobilize, and act. We are resourceful and flexible in our thinking.”

My attention shifted from the “poor me” scenario to the panel, and I enjoyed what I was hearing. I noticed I was not feeling unwell. It was quite the opposite—I was elated. I took notes, was smiling to myself, and was grateful that Lisa had made me stay. I did not feel sick. I stopped sneezing and coughing; my attention was up and out.

Then I had my little victory. I understood that although I was truly physically sick, the feelings attached to my state of health were all early. Not one bit of “boo hoo, I am so unwell” was in present time. It was amazing. The switch from feeling drab to bright and alert happened as soon as my mind got to hear something smart and progressive.

Then I had this thought: When I was a young person, early hurts attached to when I was unwell. I would feel those hurts when I was physically sick and would use the situation to get some attention from my parents. In other words, my restimluation made me sicker than I really was. I am sure this is the case for a lot of people.

When I am with people who are boldly putting their thinking out, figuring out how to make connections, and ending the divisions that separate people, there is no room for old patterns. Caring for the environment requires me to be visible and bold and to have allies who push me. I believe I have that.

Arohanui (“Much love,” in Maori),

Hemaima Wiremu

Otaki, New Zealand

(Present Time 187, April 2017)

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00