Thursday, September 07, 2006

Guilt

I have been thinking about guilt a lot lately. Guilt over not being able to do all that I think I *should* be doing. Babysteps, right? I recently joined an email group. In this group there are daily suggestions to reduce your impact on the earth. Overall, I do very well. We compost, we don't purchase new, we use environmentally friendly products, we are mostly vegetarian....

The other day the the message was to bike/walk/or use mass transit. I was driving to work. I felt such tremendous guilt that I was not using another mode of transportation. I have to remind myself that I really do very well in so many other areas. In fact, until about 8 months ago, I was biking to work (4 miles) daily. Now, of course, my OB won't allow it. There is not good mass transit to the school, and the school is very close to my hospital.

I think we need to think about what we *do* do. Not everything is possible at all times. I remember that I will indeed be biking to work again soon. We do drive a car that runs veggie oil and Jonathan rides his 115 MPG scooter most places. So, although I have been driving lately, we have been doing very well in most other areas.

Just because one thing does not work how and when you would like it to, it doesn't mean that you should give up on it all. Simply do it when it is more feasible to do so!

9 comments:

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

It's always easy to feel guilt, but you're right--celebrations of what we do right are as important, if not more important, than guilt. We can't live our lives feeling constantly burdened by what we're not doing, because we could always be doing more. I think you're doing an exceptional job, and I consider you a role model!

Chelee said...

I can totally relate with the guilt issue you bring up.

Have you read the book, Not Buying It? There are a lot of thought provoking parts in it.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Emme, I know you're really busy right now, so if you don't have time, it's okay, but if you're going to get me a guest post for while I'm in Europe, I need it by tomorrow at 3 p.m. :)

You can email it to me at sally dot parrott at gmail dot com.

Sally

Emme said...

sally, I emailed a "guest post" to you. I hope you received it! :)

Emme said...

Chelee, I have not read it. I will have to put it on my future book list. I am curious as to what is thought provoking...

The Farmer (Brooke) said...

Hi Emme
I enjoy your blog and find myself wishing that your family lived nearby. You would be a perfect fit for the type of community we are trying to work toward here.

I'm FROM this area as much as anyone can be FROM anyplace these days. My ancestors on both sides moved to Cape Breton in the early to mid 1800s and they all lived off the land in one form or another. In the earlier days it was more obvious what was meant to be FROM a place or OF a place. The realization that where you're from does not simply mean where you were born or grew up or just live. It is the realization that you are a result of the LAND. Conventional wisdom has led our society to belive we are seperate from nature. There is nature and then there is people; and that all that happens is an interaction between us and nature or us and each other. To realize that we grow from the land as all things do, gives me (at times) freedom from the epectations of the lost but very powerful society around us, and a great respect for that from which we arise. How can that society that I call lost have respect for nature when for the most part they know not where their food comes from or what is involved in getting it to them?

It appears as though you have this understanding and that your lifestyle reflects that understanding. Let guilt only be a gentle prod to move you in the direction you know is right. It need not be heavy. You do what you can and believe me when I say I know it can be difficult at times. I may have just lost a friend who has been one of my closest for over 25 years because of the path I've chosen. It hurts, but to compromise my understanding and the direction I would like to show my family would be far more damaging and soul crushing. Your blog more than makes up for any loose ends you feel you need to tidy up in terms of leaving a smaller footprint. It's good and it's right.

So I guess I'm not saying "don't feel guilty"; rather remove the apparant importance of the guilt and recognize it as a tool which measures the difference between what you are doing and what you want to do. Likely you already know all of this and I'm just babbling on (babbling is in the nature of brookes), but I've never even really made some of these statements to myself. My thinking this morning is in reaction to your writing. You are having an effect simply by moving in the direction you know to be true.
Thanks for that.

No Dharma but the LAND
Brooke (the farmer)

Emme said...

"To realize that we grow from the land as all things do, gives me (at times) freedom from the epectations of the lost but very powerful society around us, and a great respect for that from which we arise."

What a profound statement this is! You really hit it on the head that we are not only from someplace, but OF somplace.

I grew up onthe shores of Lake Superior (and hope to return soon). The lake has a magnificant power and demands respect from all who live near. I saw the lake as a living and breathing entity. I had such a connection there that I feel is missing here. I think it is important to "wake up" and breath what is around us. Love the land, water, sky - it provides for us!

Thank you Brooke!

Stream said...

I think you'd really enjoy a song called "Solid Ground" by DougieMacLean on an album called "Real Estate". You can get it here:
http://www.ruralimage.com/acatalog/REAL_ESTATE.html
Dougie is from Scotland but performs often here in Cape Breton ususlly in the fall during the Celtic Colours Festival.

http://www.celtic-colours.com/core.php

"Solid Ground" is a song that gets to the heart of the matter for me. I often play it when I'm dancing our youngest, and the kids have learned that not all tears are caused by sadness or pain.

Solid Ground

(Music & Lyrics by Dougie MacLean)

Down the Buckney den the burn crashes down from the Autumn spate
The gentle hazels rustle as they bend and sway
as they laden wait

My fathers they have walked this road
and now I know
And yes didn't they know
There is no great and heavy load
And now I know
And yes didn't they know

Fa la-a la la la-a
We stand on Solid Ground on Solid Ground
Fa la-a la la la-a
We stand on Solid Ground

Across the Arlick face the amber sun beats down to tint the vivid green
I hear it wide and loud, feel it wild and proud, the way it's always been

My fathers they have looked this way
And now I know
And yes didn't they know
No clever words we have to say
And now I know
And yes didn't they know

Fa la-a la la etc.

Where is the honest truth? Where is the open soul?
Where is the simple smile?
A couthie word or two for the passing stranger who may rest a while

My fathers they have said these things
And now I know
And yes didn't they know
The joy that shared friendship brings
And now I know
And yes didn't they know

Fa la-a la la etc.

It's the Land. It is our wisdom
It's the Land. It shines us through
It's the Land. It feeds our children
It's the Land. You cannot own the Land.
The Land owns you

Brooke (the Farmer)

Emme said...

beautiful song. I am going to have to look for it. I love the last lines:

It's the Land. It is our wisdom
It's the Land. It shines us through
It's the Land. It feeds our children
It's the Land. You cannot own the Land.
The Land owns you


This is something that most of us have forgotten. We have to remember. The land feeds us, the land owns us.