Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety


Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety

By Lynne Sedgmore 

My deep concern that the world is on an inevitable trajectory of climate disaster and societal collapse motivated me to write my new book, Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety. It offers a profound solution to dissolving climate anxiety through a new approach to activism.

I want to support existing and future generations to live calmly and skilfully in the face of the threats affecting us all through cultivating presence. Many activists are seeking a more sacred and powerful activism, moving through and beyond burnout, into inner peace and deep resilience.

We all face new challenges and dilemmas every day. Waking up daily to a myriad of very real manifestations of climate peril can generate debilitating anxiety, overwhelm or denial. To get through these complex and perilous times we need to move through and beyond climate anxiety. We need to be resilient enough to cope effectively, today and into the future.

Presence Activism provides a hard-hitting overview of the polycrises that humanity faces alongside offering an innovative process to move beyond climate anxiety and despair into skilful action grounded in Presence. 

Presence Activism offers three premises vital to effective climate activism :

  1. When we are fully present we have no choice other than to act to protect, to save, and to nourish  our planet. We have a natural uprising of a love of the land and of all beings because we feel interconnected and want to do no harm. I am keen to encourage right action on climate issues, however large or small. We can all do something if we choose to! Presence Activism is a practical guide on how to be an effective Presence Activist in the world.
  1. Presence is the antidote, and the most profound way through which we can cope with our climate anxiety in the face of climate peril. I offer two new models, The Presence Flower and the Anxiety Flower to solve the different facets of anxiety that anyone may experience. These encourage readers to develop and expand their own personal internal coping capacity. My two original models provide a guide for everyone to see and dissolve the different aspects of their anxiety so they can attend to the challenges of climate peril, and attain their fullest potential.
  1. When we find our unique path of being deeply seeped in presence on a daily basis and Presence becomes a habitual state of being then we find the capacity to act, and our actions are effective through Service, Right action and Healthy relationships. They are nonviolent  because  we are not able to harm anyone. It is important that we do whatever we can. I share practical actions and solutions that everyone can adopt. They are drawn from my front-line experiences as an activist in the field and as a leader of mainstream organisations and community groups. 

I am very concerned about the growing levels of anxiety in the world, especially amongst young people. I am a grandmother of two young girls, aged 17 and 20, both of whom suffer from anxiety. I feel it is vital to understand and explain the high levels of climate anxiety many people, especially Gen Z are suffering today. Throughout my life I have had to overcome my own tendency to ignore or deny climate peril, and to work through my own relationship with fear and hope while living on a planet whose existence is seriously threatened.

In the Presence Flower model there are five layers moving outwards from the centre. Presence Gnosis, how we viscerally know presence. Two Presence Impacts of how we embody presence in the world and how it illuminates our internal perceptions. Seven Presence Essences that arise and unfold to support us in our lives: these are Joy, Peace,Trust, Strength, Resilience, Love and Flow. It also includes Presence Results which articulate three ways we can embody activism, and three ways we perceive ourselves and reality. There are six Presence Portals to access presence.

The Anxiety Flower assists in understanding, mapping and working through different aspects of anxiety. It illustrates all the resistances, reactivities, constrictions and blocked energies that get dissolved when we relax, embody and illuminate through the potency of presence. I have included anxiety energies from other peoples’ experiences, as well as my own. Not everyone will experience all of them, yet most of us will have experienced one or more of these at some point in our lives.

To be free from anxiety, it helps to identify all our anxious behaviours, thoughts and actions. The Anxiety Flower names and acknowledges the difficult energies, suffering and qualities that need to be dissolved to alleviate our suffering. These are : Grief, Tension, Suspicion, Defeat, Overwhelm, Fear and Stuckness.

Throughout the book I draw upon my own personal journey from an activism driven by denial and frustration resulting in burnout and anxiety, to one of effectiveness, ease and constantly renewed energy and flow. I write through the perspective of three important threads of my life; being a leader, being an activist, and my spiritual explorations and insights. I share my experiences of the presence of some of the most fascinating spiritual, political and business leaders from all over the world, including the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, Mandela, Kofi Annan, Mother Meera, the UK Royal family and Prime Ministers.

Presence Activism is designed for anyone concerned about our world today. I hope my book reaches and supports anyone interested in the climate peril facing us all, as well as those wanting a practical way to work with their anxiety. I want it to inspire and inform climate activists, and activists of all causes, and ages, across the world. I worked hard to get the right balance of alerting readers to the threat of climate peril alongside encouraging right action and sufficient capacity to respond appropriately, and to be present. I had to manage my own overwhelm while writing the book.

I have received positive endorsements and encouragement from a wide range of healing, psychotherapeutic, teaching, academic, leadership, health and coaching professionals. All of whom want to use my book and models to support the people they work with.

Available from August 2024 Presence Activism can be bought from Amazon and other online  bookstores in paperback or as an ebook.

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