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Mothering › Green Living Articles › Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge

From the devastation in Japan, to the threat of wind-carried radiation, to the predictions of our coast being next in line for a massive earthquake (including one prediction within the next week), I am feeling more than a bit on edge.  Living on an island is an interesting feeling – it makes me feel like we are somehow separate from the vulnerabilities of the mainland, our safe haven from the world at large.  This week has changed that.

Now I am supposed to be dosing our family with iodine, eating a whole lotta seaweed, stocking up on extra food and water, bolting furniture to the walls… And I just can’t bring myself to take action.  I look at the photos streaming in from Japan and New Zealand, and I KNOW that in a moment our lives could change forever, and yet I sit here in -

Denial. Perhaps it is denial.  Maybe I just can’t go there in my head and it feels safer to just stay in our comfortable daily reality.  Each day I think to myself: “I should go buy iodine today”, and then I don’t.

Reasonability. The authorities assure us that the radiation threat, if it does reach our coast, will not be at significant levels.  True, an earthquake could come next week, or it could be one hundred years from now, that’s the thing about earthquakes – we don’t know.  Why live in fear now?

Guilt and Inadequacy. Ok, there’s a good dose of this.  I was so deeply relieved to connect with another mom this week who is in a similar state of paralysis.   But why wouldn’t I take preventative measures if I can?  Why not do everything I can to protect my children?  I don’t have a good answer for this, beyond the next emotion:

Affirmation. We have two healthy, well-nourished children who eat seaweed every day for lunch simply because they love it.  We live on a small farm with a large stash of preserved food, abundance in the garden, and livestock.  If we were to run out of water, we could boil water from the nearby creek.  We are in far better shape than many families in our region to cope with a natural disaster.

and last but not least -

Trust. I don’t know what lays ahead for our family, our community, this world.  None of us do.  I can run through my range of emotions and responses from practicality to guilt, but for me it comes down to trust. Trust in myself, my family, our land, our local & global community.

If and when disaster strikes, small or big, we simply take the next step forward, whatever should be required of us in this moment.  We watch with fascination the stories that emerge from disaster of ordinary humans who do extraordinary things in support of one another.

Love and light to all those in the world struggling with adversity, big and small.  Here’s to the extraordinary ordinary within each of us, and the unknown territory we walk each day.


How are recent world events shaping your experience as a parent?  I’d love to hear from some of you.

Mama Renew

About Sarah Juliusson

Sarah Juliusson, founder of Mama Renew, is a gifted facilitator and writer on the journey of birth & motherhood. She brings two decades of experience supporting families through pregnancy, birth and motherhood to her work. Sarah is mother to two growing boys, a playful crafter with cloth & wool, student of traditional food preservation, and a diva at heart. Join the conversation on http://www.mamarenew.ca & on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mamarenew

Comments (5)

I enjoyed this article very much, thank you. I have been resisting iodine and other natural remedy dosing on some level I don't completely understand. It has been on my list, but I haven't made it a priority. In other ways I feel a big energy push welling up inside - to get out into our garden, make more decisions to simplify our family's complexity and money expenditures. I have been motivated on a few practical levels - I did finally take a look at our Will and we are working to update it, especially as it relates to guardianship for our kid. I also finally convinced my guy it was a good idea to move our emergency kit outside (though it is still deep in the closet and will remain there till I figure out a solution). More than anything though I feel a deeper call to support and get behind politicians and active folks who are working hard to make political and economic space for alternative energy. Despite the common skeptical perspective on politicians there are some amazing MLAs and MPs in my area that are working to strengthen farm, agriculture and develop alternative energy projects. We need bigger solutions than a bottle of iodine can deliver. The Japanese nuclear plant had a history of safety violations. Our Harper government is currently finding ways to reduce 'red tape' ie. government oversight in industry. Shifting consciousness and shifting the political sphere together.
Thank you for this beautiful write-up Sarah. I appreciate you sharing your inner thoughts and feelings on the topic. While I am not yet a mom, being very close to becoming pregnant I have had much of the same feelings that you've described. I have made a conscious decision to steer clear of the media and the news - it's devastating and spending my days in tears isn't going to help anyone. Staying strong and sending out love and light (and money!) to those that need it is where I am focusing my efforts. If the need should arise (I don't feel we are there yet) to take some serious precautionary measures against radiation then I will do so but for the time being I refuse to live in fear. My life or the life of someone I love could end at any moment over the course of my lifetime so I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Trust is so important, especially right now. We are getting the same mixed advice in the USA. I already buy Iodine, it actually has some great health benefits and is good to have on hand to purify water. We can't control or change anything that has happened in Japan so worrying and fretting is not the answer. I really enjoyed your article. You expressed what so many people around the globe are feeling. We to have water from a nearby river we can boil and we'll just have to trust in the process of life. We can send our healing energy around the globe where it is needed and see the radioactive clouds dissipating with out harming anyone. If enough people put energy into this it could happen. In our blogfrog Intentional Conscious Parenting Community we have a place parents can come and share their thoughts in a non fear based way. We'd love to have join us. http://theblogfrog.com/1355013/forum/86401/processing-nuclear-disaster-consciously.html Namaste, Carol
Hi Sarah, Thanks to Rick for putting this on fb! I am grateful for your heartfelt refelctions. I too am working with calm and trust after the rash of emotions when news and pics came in from Japan last weekend. I'm simply working at Walking Gently Over the Earth, drive less, work on my new food garden, going wild food foraging this weekend, being in the moment whenever I remember to, worry less, love more and most of all take time to be in the presence of grace?. Peace and Love to you and your family, Jan Lehde, MIAM in Nanaimo ps After hearing that Stress is the #1 health concern in NE Japan, I was heartened to see a album on fb this morning of animals being rescued and reunited with their humans. Nothing like hugging a pet (other than small children) when life is difficult, very difficult. I have also read that eating seaweed is a good thing. But WE knew that?
Hey Rick. I had no idea that the radiation was heading your way. Shocking. Strangely, some respected environmental journalists, George Monbiot, still support nuclear energy see http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/16/atomised/ Yes, they can say nuclear energy is all safe and well...from a distance.
Mothering › Green Living Articles › Living on the Edge