Psychospiritual growth is not an isolated thing. The world we exist in affects our ability to grow.
A dynamic circuit exists between the inner world and outer worlds; identity and modern political consciousness; human activity and Earth systems. Here are some thoughts that I hope encourage reflection on your place in the circuitry–specifically, how climate change is messing with our heads. Literally.
There is a strong relationship between mental well-being and the instability of the world’s weather patterns. Climate change, which is at the root of severe weather (such as the hurricane superstorms), undermines our fundamental stability in our place- or location-based lifestyles. When people are displaced by environmental catastrophes, they are done so in an often haphazard manner. They seek initial shelter in temporary structures as they consider the permanent structures that they must return to/rebuild, or vacate. And the place to which they return, is changed. The people’s association with the place is changed. Climate change doesn’t let our minds rest.
In India, monsoons appear in ancient Sanskrit poetry and Bollywood films. In other words, the monsoon season is part of life and culture in India. Monsoon season governs what people eat because it is part of the cycle of crop cultivation. Infrastructure has been built to handle predictable amounts of rain. But in the past few years, the climate is changing; significant downpours happen during monsoon season and droughts happen outside of the season. The unpredictability of the rain affects food supplies, economies, and the way and quality of life.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina wiped out entire neighborhoods in 2005. The city then changed rapidly through climate gentrification, which happens when people with more monetary means leave areas of climate risk and catalyze a demographic shift through rising property value in areas less at risk of extreme weather. Individuals (often Black people) who grew up in recently gentrified neighborhoods are being treated as outsiders by the new arrivals—often white people.
Glenn Albrecht, an Australian environmental activist, acknowledges the psychological experience of pain when “the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault.” Albrecht calls it “solastalgia.” The term applies to situations of climate change, environmental destruction, and ecological imbalance. It is a reflection that our human psyche is touched by a relationship with Earth, that we yearn for a healthy balance with habitat, that part of our human condition is driven by an “ecological unconscious.”
Consider India, New Orleans, and many places where people live while forces greater than them alter their community landscape.
It is devastating to see that the effects of governments across the globe respond with splintered actions (some mitigating climate science, prioritizing industry and resource consumption, and establishing short-term policies that don’t have long-term goals and live-ability in mind; others acknowledging the enmeshment of human civilization and Earth’s systems). The resulting destabilization of a place-based lifestyle, if that place falls in a high risk zone for the effects of climate change, leaves people hypervigilant. Having an emergency plan, that is, evacuation procedures and resource contingencies, as a fact of life puts us in the mental space in which we are always on edge.
And, consider the place might not be there to return to at all.
Hi there! Thanks for reading. I’m a writer, editor, and transpersonal guide who explores psychospiritual growth.
I write my own story. In that light, my writing is service–the stories I share about my own psychospiritual growth, the process of self exploration & self transformation, and the way culture affects us are my gift to the world.
I share the knowledge and processes that anyone can implement to achieve inner peace. This is a transpersonal point of view and embodied transformation through creative writing.
And, I explore the deep stuff–what we do when we recall past life experiences; how we engage the archetypal resonance of embodied experience; when to call the “weird stuff” you’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and when to call a mental healthcare practitioner.
- If you are a mental healthcare professional who would like to work with me on your journey of psychospiritual growth or integrating transpersonal psychology with your client practice, go here
- If you are a GenXer who wants to learn about a transpersonal worldview and write your own story in a group setting online, go here
- If you are interested in my work with language and changing the mental healthcare narrative through transpersonal psychology, I invite you to read the curated pieces from my portfolio that are on this website and reach out
BTW: I love tattoos and coffee.
Curious about seeing the world and the mind as multidimensional? What does that mean for science?
- Check out Public Parapsychology. Learn more about what psi is and why psi belongs to everyone. Join other seekers and citizen scientists who are exploring parapsychological phenomena for the benefit of understanding the spiritual nature of the material world.
- Also consider joining The Parapsychological Association. Support an organization of professional scientists and independent researchers who are pushing the boundaries of our current understanding of the mind. Programming and publications include excellent resources for mental healthcare practitioners and healers who support individuals with transpersonal experiences.