Eco-conscious Beings and Our Feelings

By Courtney Elmes


If we are extensions of the world, and the world is an extension of us, it makes sense that we feel hurt as Mother Earth hurts too. For something that gives us life, sustains us and that we merge into after death… to see this being destroyed and disrespected on a daily basis is bound to take its toll. This is the stark reality of the times we face today with the climate emergency. 


So, how do we move through our feelings of mourning for ecological loss, into a place of faith and hope?


The first step may well be diving into what we are feeling, rather than trying to avoid them or sweep past the uncomfortable, nitty-gritty stuff. The practice of yoga can oftentimes be about sitting with the discomfort, and indeed the not-knowing. One way of acknowledging this discomfort can involve naming what our emotions are – an effective coping method in itself. 


Many names have been given to these specifically eco-conscious range of emotions: Eco-anxiety (extreme worry about harm to the environment caused by human activity); Eco-paralysis (the inability to meaningfully respond to climatic challenges); Solastalgia (the longing for a beloved home); Earth Grief (felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses due to manmade destruction).


Saying all this, not all emotions related to the current climate are bad. 


With the realisation that the old world is crumbling, the potential for a new one emerges. How will we turn it around? What will our role be? In Indian philosophy, we are believed to be in the Kali Yuga – the age of darkness, full of conflict and sin. Following this, will emerge the Satya Yuga – where the human mind will be of its highest capacity. Soliphilia is a term depicting the need for us all to take responsibility for a bioregion and our interconnectedness… recognising the web of interbeing, and taking up a position of doing something on our behalf to make the wider world a better place.


Climate Psychology is an emerging field, along with Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy. Many people, including myself, are now offering ‘Climate Circles’ or ‘Climate Cafes’ to enable people to relate to one another and offer a safe sharing space to process these emotions. People coming together in sangha (community) is a huge way to support one another. This along with other ways of managing our emotions, such as our sadhana (practice) for resiliency, taking on an active role as practicalities, music for healing, and prayers for sending out intentional energy, can be used as tools against what can otherwise be an intensely overwhelming prospect. 


An example of these healing methods coming together, ultimately helping move through our deepest and toughest energies-in-motion (e-motions) was our Sacred Earth YTT in 2018. Our group was planting avocado trees on La Granja’s land… one of us started to sing a mantra as we did so; we all joined in. The next day, we were told by Neil (the land steward) that water had come seemingly from out of nowhere and started flowing down the trenches that had been dug out… he was convinced it was magic (it had been dry for months).

Images: planting my first ever tree! (avocado) on Neils farm. Digging with Embla. Infusing the avo tree with loving intentions; imagining it growing and thriving. Plants respond to energy. 



Miracles do happen and, heaven knows, the Earth is in need of one right now. 



May our faith, discipline and hearts carry us through these trying times, to a brighter future for us and all generations to come.




You can find weekly Climate Circles here:





Courtney Elmes 
Courtney Elmes, aka ‘Coco’, is a dedicated Sacred Earth Activist – a mantle she took up and something that particularly awoke within her after taking Awakened Spirit Yoga’s Sacred Earth 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training back in the Mayan lands of Guatemala in 2018. She now works in creative climate communications, with a focus on community, artistic storytelling and emotional resiliency. Embracing the ancient tradition of yoga as a way of life, visiting the birthplace of the wisdom showed her how this was done well. She especially enjoys developing her practice of herbalism and flow arts. Living from (and always coming back to) a place of loving kindness, she is most at home when surrounded by lush forestry.  Find her on instagram @liberationoflove.
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