Thriving through apocalypse

So. How do we survive apocalypse?

I’m not gonna play around as the white [manly-enough] privileged dude to pretend that I’m the one to tell you the answer to that.

And, I’m a psychotherapist, so yeah it is my responsibility to support folks in surviving whatever or whomever is trying to kill them

And, I’m a queer psychotherapist, so y’all, Listen Up!

This is a PSA for all who are wondering what the heck we can do when our guts are screaming CODE RED like we might never get to drink coffee again

(sorry if you hadn’t thought about that)

Or eat pizza, or ice cream (don’t worry those aren’t going anywhere)

I’m just saying this is a PSA for all who are wondering

Like, what’s the protocol for apocalypse?

What the [eff] are we supposed to do?!!

If you’re really wondering,

you know already

Between us, I think we already have what it’s gonna take

And lots of us – WAY more of us than the news will ever let us know –

Are already doing what it’s gonna take

And, I know lots of us are feeling lost and kinda – a lot – scared

So this poem’s for us

(In addition to a PhD in clinical psychology I’m also a pastor’s kid so I know sometimes I get a little preachy but just humor me and roll with the ideas)

I’m gonna try to synthesize – sum up and highlight important parts of – some of the wisdom that brilliant indigenous folks have been conjuring up for millennia, and more recently adrienne maree brown gathered into her books emergent strategy and pleasure activism

on how to survive the end of the world

OK first I need to rephrase my question cuz I’m all about surviving

But I am All About thriving

How can we thrive through apocalypse?  

How can we school that apocalypse so good that every filthy rich wall street magician turns his multiple mansions and estates into gardens run by school kids growing veggies and herbs they deliver to homes for the elderly who are out to pasture in dream homes where they can pass along their stories to the youngsters who bring them dinner?

  1. Think about what you love, and what will give you pleasure in the long run. Do it.
    1. In moderation, in the ecosystem congruity with everything else that you love doing, live saying ‘yes!’ and ‘no’ always in the service of ‘yes’ to what is life-giving
  2. Notice what feels like it really works. Notice what makes you feel like you can do it, like you’re capable and competent, ready to learn, connected with others who are learning.
    1. Try and do those things – that make you feel capable and competent – for other people too. When you don’t feel capable and competent, stop! Say no, in service to your ‘yes’ to what helps you know you can do it
  3. Pay attention to what you pay attention to – do you want more or less of it in the world? If less, pay attention to it less; if more, you know!
  4. Listen. To what makes it easier, to what makes it harder, that can be the same thing, we learn as we go. It’s about adapting, and we might learn the same thing, many times 😉 Let everything teach you.
  5. Think of yourself like an oak tree, covered in trampoline – whatever doesn’t help you grow, let it bounce off; what does, absorb it in, let it go down to your roots, which are intertwined with lots of others’ roots
    1. If someone hurts you, they hurt all of us, and they need to repair the damage they did to the ecosystem
  6. Because all of us need all of us. Independence is a complete illusion born of imperialism. Interdependence is the way this entire universe has always – will always – function.
  7. Which is pretty handy, because if you ever feel out of ideas, connect with somebody. Brainstorm, imagine every possible solution and then create some more possibilities.
  8. As you’re doing all of this, make sure to make time for reflection, writing, document your data.
  9. When you find solutions, practice them; when you’re exploring solutions, experiment, mess around see what works and learn from what doesn’t.
  10. So I know this piece got a little abstract but I hope I could condense the basic tenants of emergent strategy that adrienne maree brown has gathered and presented for us. The last overarching theme underlying everything is, live with intention. What we do, how we live, how we relate to other people, matters. Do it on purpose.

I’ll close with a quote from the book: “The future is not an escapist place to occupy. All of it is the inevitable result of what we do today, and the more we take it in our hands, imagine it as a place of justice and pleasure, the more the future knows we want it, and that we aren’t letting go.”


Published by kris gebhard

Kris (pronouns they/them) is a clinical psychologist, poet, percussionist, and gardener currently residing in Chicago, IL.

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