WE CAN BE HEROES, FOREVER AND EVER – DAVID BOWIE
We recently took the kids to see Thor: Ragnarok. It was really entertaining, so many funny little bits, and we all had a great night out together watching it. A few days later I got to thinking about our attraction to all things superhero-related. Comics, films, computer games…they’re everywhere and appeal to the young and the not-so-young alike!
I’m guessing we are drawn to their superhuman powers and super-extraordinary abilities to ‘save the day’. We enjoy watching the goodie defeat the baddie, light overcome darkness and the world being set to rights! Deep down inside, I suppose, we kind of crave a superpower all of our own that we could use to help others and make us the hero like those we watch whizz across the silver screen in a blaze of glory. Our favourite modern superheroes deliver freedom, justice and hope in a fantasy world that resembles our own and in our own world that’s at times dark and confusing this holds huge appeal and is a source of escapism.
Following our recent cinema trip I listened to the boys chit-chat in the car on the way home. As well as discussing the ‘epic’ scene featuring The Hulk’s butt, they were also enthusiastically discussing in great detail what superpowers they’d like to have and how they would use them. Inevitably there was talk of invisibility, the ability to fly, to read minds, to be super-strong – pretty standard really! But what struck me most was the plans to use their powers for good – to help others and make the world a better place (*heart glowy moment*).
Over the past few weeks this has all been swimming around in my head, little thoughts about superheroes, superpowers and super-caring-about-the-world knitting themselves together to form a blog post about how we can all be superheroes in this time and place, in our reality, here and now and into forever.
You see, as these thoughts whirled and looped and played about in my mind, I came to think about how our planet, our earth, is in grave danger of being thrust into non-existence. She is on the brink of disaster, caused mostly by us to be completely frank, and is reaching out a hand for us to grab hold of. She needs us to hold on tight and pull her back from that ledge, because once she tips off that precipice, that’s it, there is only darkness – GAME OVER (this is where the kids would say ‘Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn’ for comic effect).
This is no joke though. This is not a movie or computer simulation. This is real life. For years and years we have been developing new industries, learning more about how to make things, produce things quicker, get them to market, sell more, make more money to then reinvest it in making more stuff. And so the cycle continued and continues. Recent television documentaries such as Blue Planet 2, have shown that our oceans are in serious trouble. Marine life, much of which we still know so little about, is literally drowning in plastic. We are choking our seas with our waste products because we have become a world that throws away so readily, without thought of the consequences. If we continue on this path, I cannot imagine how the world will look for my children’s children, if it survives that long at all. Scary thought. What is the legacy we are leaving for future generations?
I agree that big business needs to be held more accountable for their emissions, for their continued use of plastic and other harmful materials which cause damage to wildlife, waterways and our precious air. But, we as consumers also need to stop looking the other way and realize that by demanding more stuff to be made faster and cheaper we too are part of the problem. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our children and our planet to be more considerate, less wasteful. When something breaks, try to fix it, not replace it. This one earth that we have cannot be replaced, we need to try to fix her, before it is too late. It is the responsibility of each one of us – not just the government and big corporations. We all have a part to play in this mighty game of life.
So…how do we become modern-day superheroes and save our planet from being swallowed up by pollution? There are all the obvious things like buying less, especially avoiding items that are wrapped in plastic! Think quality over quantity – this applies to clothing, jewellery, food, household furnishings and so much more. Sign the petitions requesting big business to change to more environmentally friendly packaging. Say no to plastic straws! It is possible enjoy your G&T by drinking it straight from the glass, I know, I’ve tired many many times and it’s grand! Walk, cycle or use public transport for shorter journeys instead of hopping in the car if you can. This would massively reduce congestion in cities (which we all whinge about even though we are part of the problem!), and therefore our own stress levels, and would go a long way in lowering air pollution. Learn to mend stuff. Switch off the lights when you leave a room. Fix that flippin’ leaky tap…drip, drip, drip. Recycle as much as possible. There’s so much we can do to live more sustainably and consciously in our day-to-day lives that would really make a difference and help turn things around. Do a 2-minute beach clean. Help plant some trees with a local conservation group. Sow some wild flower seeds in your garden and watch as the bees and butterflies come to visit.
I also truly believe that one of the things we can do to develop our planet-saving superpowers is to GET OUTDOORS AND PLAY! We can increase our ability to really see our world and grow a desire to protect her. By getting outside, enjoying the mountains and hills, walking by the seashore, laying back in a field and watching the clouds, we begin to fall in love with the glorious nature all around us and soon we stop taking for granted all that we have. How lucky are we to have such a beautiful earth to enjoy?
We are surrounded by so much richness, more valuable than anything we could ever purchase online or in a shop. And best of all it’s TOTALLY free! It doesn’t cost a penny to go for a walk in your local forest or park, to hike a mountain – it’s yours for the taking whenever you fancy. In reality, when you begin to experience being immersed in nature, you will soon discover that you receive wealth beyond wealth that you never even knew existed.
Among the trees there is freedom. As the wind whistles through the branches you will hear it whisper to your soul to awaken, to truly listen, to dream and find truth, authenticity and gratitude. As you walk in the heavy rain on a mountainside, you will wonder at times if you are totally bonkers for sure, but you will also experience the cleansing and replenishing force of nature at work within you. The noise of a stressful life will be drowned out by the sounds of nature and suddenly the big picture will come into focus. Perspective will be restored. The gifts this planet offers to us so freely and abundantly are endless if we only take time to seek and pursue, to venture outside, to chase adventure and stillness in our hearts. Only when we do step out, can we fall in passionate love with this perfect present that we have been given so freely and then learn to look after her in any way that we can.
A few weeks ago I stood in on top of a cliff looking out to sea. The only sounds were my breathing and the crashing waves far below. As I gazed towards the horizon I experienced a sense of bliss. The moment was luxuriously tranquil and restorative. There was nowhere else I would have preferred to have been in that instant. I was gloriously caught up in my surroundings and perfect truth. I am so grateful for these valuable, healing times, they seem to come when life is toughest.
Last time we were walking through the forest at the base of Slieve Donard in the Mournes, my middle son turned to me and said ‘Mum…it’s official….I’m a tree-hugger’ as he wrapped his arms around the nearest tree. I laughed a lot at this, but as we continued on our journey I realized he wasn’t just being funny. He actually was loving being in the forest surrounded by the crunchy leaves of Autumn. After our hike, we walked silently back towards the car and he put his arm around me and said ‘I know I moaned about getting out of bed this morning, but I really needed that!’. He’s 9, and he knew through his own experience that spending the day outdoors was so beneficial to him. When I hear words like this, the guilt of dragging them out of bed while it’s still dark out rapidly evaporates and my heart gladdens with the knowledge that we are raising superheroes.
Or maybe they’re raising us!?
As 2017 comes to a close I am amazed that another year has passed so rapidly, but what a tremendous year it has been! Am I richer – yes and no! My bank balance remains much the same as ever, but my heart is glad. I’ve experienced so much of the outdoors this year with camping trips, hiking, canoeing, beach bbqs, waterfall chasing and so on. I have pursued the delicious freedom that comes with connecting with our natural surroundings and I have not been disappointed. I look forward to 2018 with great anticipation for the adventures we have planned and also for those spontaneous moments of outdoor pursuits which always stitch the golden threads into the tapestry of life.
This post is in part a reminder of our responsibility to care for our world, to be the generation that says NO MORE, enough is actually enough, to make a difference, to care for our world so that we can enjoy it. And, it is also in part an encouragement for you to step outside, to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little and to experience what is on offer beyond the confines of bricks and mortar and office life. Awaiting for you is freedom, abundant life and pleasures beyond your wildest dreams. That’s an invitation worth accepting is it not?