A profound solution to calming and dissolving climate anxiety in these perilous times.
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In this book, author Lynne Sedgmore integrates presence, climate activism, and the alleviation of climate anxiety in an innovative and unique synthesis and new term - Presence Activism.
By offering a profound solution with new perspectives, Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety is steeped in a presence that moves activism beyond metaphors of war, enemies, and destruction, as well as the illusion of separation, into the visceral knowing of presence and interconnection, thereby making presence an important part of the way forward for current and future activism.
Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety introduces new processes of the Presence Flower and the Anxiety Flower to solve the anxiety issues we face, and to develop and expand our own personal internal coping mechanisms, responses, and capacities.
This book is a compendium of different perspectives and experiences of presence, as well as a powerful conceptual and thoughtful analysis of the fields of presence, climate anxiety, and climate peril.
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Review of Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety By Lynne Sedgmore Strengthening our resilience to become better activists Communities across the world are facing acute issues, notably because of the environmental crisis which is having a profound impact on the health and well-being of escalating numbers of people. For any person engaged with the environmental crisis – especially activists challenging and responding any form of injustice - I strongly recommend Lynne’s book, ‘Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety’. Her writing emanates from a solid foundation of research, deep inquiry and a tremendous breadth of personal experience. I especially appreciate how she addresses vital questions about how people can be their best selves in the face of adversity. Questions like “how can I remain highly resilient, focused and effective?” I feel her book addresses such questions very poignantly. Furthermore, I believe these questions are relevant to people wondering how to sustain their energy - and do more than just ‘keep it together’ - in striving to bring about meaningful change, especially when it can all seem so difficult or overwhelming at times. Lynne frames the innovative model, which she introduces and explains in her book, through the image of a flower. Each of the petals, and the way the flower is arranged, provide interconnected and additional layers of insight. She first uses the image of a flower to bring to life the notion and experience of ‘Presence’. This is a hopeful window into what we can all do. Then she deftly goes on to make use the image of a flower to explain something very different - how people encounter ‘Anxiety’ and what to do to address it; I believe this really matters in our world today. What particularly resonated was the centre of the flower and the first ring of petals: this provided me with a compelling explanation into how strengthening our inner world, including our level of ‘knowing’ or Gnosis, can enable us to move to the next rings of petals; and, in so doing, to become better, more resilient activists in our external world. I connected with Lynne’s illustrations of how to strengthen our inner world. As a result, I was hooked by the rest of the book. This is partly because one of the paths highlighted was meditation. Meditation is something I have benefited a great deal from and I therefore ‘got it’ at a practical level. Overall, Lynne’s book brings together ancient wisdom with emerging learning from disciplines such as neuroscience, to provide activists with a way to be attuned to their authentic selves, strengthen their resilience and align their energies to take ‘right’ action. Presence Activism is helpful for people that are searching for a balance to bring about transformational change whilst being kind to themselves and others. It is very timely. It provides activists pathways and insights about how to be more confident, energised and at peace with themselves. Lynne’s writing style appeals to me: she combines her thoughtful remarks and views on an issue, with inspirational insights from many other people. The book is well supported throughout with references. I love these though appreciate they are not to the liking of all readers. Whatever your preferences, I believe there is something of great value for every activist in this book. ~ Ian Williams – Co-Director of Caplor Horizons Charity, Non-executive Board Director.
An inspiring read: Presence really IS everything As one of Lynne’s students over two years I leant deeply deeply about presencing within her profound teachings. I learnt to viscerally practice and feel deep in my being and heart the core essence and Gnosis of personal presence for myself. For me it is a feeling of suspension, deeply rooted and connected to my higher self and my innate power within. Lynne’s new book Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety contains a central valuable message - that being present is our deepest form of activism, our root from which we can create change and be the difference our mother earth needs. This powerful book embraces the journey of presence and affirms that it’s a lifelong practice. Lynne provides lots of guidance and support on how to practice presence on a daily basis. One of the fundamentals I haven taken is to practice presence more consciously, so I can deepen and be exactly who I need to be for myself and others; both personally and professionally. I relate to the idea of presence flowing from within to the external, for me it can be a magical ripple effect. I know when I am out of presence as the ground beneath feels destabilised. I really like the process of finding my own portal to bringing myself back to presence and my breathing. I particularly enjoyed Lynne sharing her own journey of professional presence. I found it insightful and it confirms for me the importance of being aware of my own vulnerability regarding how other people see or respond to me. This book has helped me to be confident in truly being my “authentic self”, this concept or what Lynne calls “sense of self” has been deeply liberating for me. I feel more able to stay open to other’s reactions and criticisms rather than remaining in fear. I love the Presence Flower, a simple guide to learning how to be present. In my view this model is fundamental to have as an internal guide and process when thinking about climate change, climate anxiety or any type of adversity that someone may be experiencing in whatever form. A daily practice of the Presence Flower, I absolutely believe will change anyone’s experience of anxiety, all you need is a willingness to go where it is uncomfortable and allow the practice to bring an internal peace. I like how the book has focused on presence and its powerfulness and value, and that presence truly can be an antidote to climate anxiety. I wonder if the presence flower could be used in a range of professional areas such as drug and alcohol, addiction….just a wondering thought. This makes me think about how I can bring presence into my own professional practice, and start a revolution in its simplest form. Before reading Lynne’s book, I could not really relate to being an activist as I saw activists as fighters, who created more harm through their actions. However, reading this book I can see that I am activist in my daily living with the choices I make in terms of buying local produce, recycling, and creating change for myself personally and professionally, and by being open to being present. Who would have guessed there is an activist within me, who also actively practices presence. I highly recommend this book, it is a MUST read for anyone, the Presence and Anxiety flowers are deeply insightful and will change your thinking and thus, your life. ~ Julie McNally : Service Manager, Oxfordshire Children's Fostering Service
Review of Presence Activism: A Profound Antidote to Climate Anxiety by Dr Lynne Sedgmore Nic Phillips 23 September 2023 I began this book with my own questions and worries in mind. The worry we won’t reach old age, that society will have descended into chaos. The worry that no one is doing anything to protect the planet. That people are only theorising about what could be done. The difficulty we have thinking on a global scale compared to on an individual scale. What difference can we make? Why try? Followed by, so what is Presence then? Is it like Mindfulness? It turns out I wasn’t far off the mark. Lynne draws from the wisdom of many world religions and philosophies to explain the concept of Presence as an underlying thread which unites us all. She then deftly turns to how we can weave that thread into our lives. Lynne is forthright in her approach. This is no-nonsense, modern spiritual practice with no frills. This is spirituality integrated with the everyday, not something you only do on a weekend retreat or dress up to perform. Lynne offers practical suggestions for coping with climate stress, bringing a career’s worth (several, in fact!) of experience to apply to an ever-present existential threat through a spiritual lens. The methods of accessing Presence – the Presence portals – will be already familiar to many who have practiced meditation practices from Buddhist through to Christian meditation. I found familiar practices in common with Yoga - breathing, sensing and relaxing the body, witnessing it without attachment; the concept of Allowing - acceptance of where we are at in the present moment and of our limitations. As Lynne shows by aligning the Chalice Well essences with her essences of Presence, different systems can be applied to make your own connection. This could be the sacred animal to you that represents joy, or strength, for example. Or a system of crystal correspondences or mantras. Use whatever tools are at your disposal to personalise and signify your own gateways into Presence. Each of the methods in itself is simple, so simple in fact that we might wonder why we’ve not all been consciously doing them more. However, these aren’t just quick-fix coping mechanisms, but a programme of self-improvement. Reading this book will not magically solve your climate anxiety, it requires you to put in the work. But it gives you the tools to do so. Your journey may require some breaking down of preconditioned ideas. For example, I know in principle that we are all connected, one and the same through nature, as Lynne comments, but to actually grasp the truth of it requires the removal of years of insidious societal conditioning. Trust and letting go of the need for the control is another hard one to master, the opposite of this being fear, the fear of lack of control. Pairing the Anxiety Flower with the Presence Flower clearly shows the antidote to each of these states of being. Besides being a practical guide, this is a real resource library. Lynne brings together viewpoints from experts in the climate crisis and points to notable sources such as Mikaela Loach who examines where climate peril intersects with colonialism, white supremacy and capitalism. Whilst not allaying my initial fears – things really may be as bad as you imagine – the book sign posts to the actions that others are already taking. Lynne explains the weight of the issues at hand and encourages self-forgiveness in slipping into climate denial, anguish, or depression. All of these things she describes feeling herself. She also details her personal experiences of Presence and the transformative effect that can have, both internally and in effecting change in the world. Lynne’s descriptions of experiences with Presence, and with various perceptions of the Self, show what a truly remarkable person she is with true insight that has helped her live such a fulfilling life. She believes in being leaderful, being of service to help others achieve for themselves. And this book certainly accomplishes that aim. At the very least you should come away with new perspectives on the modes of being that are possible in everyday life when we take the time to consider them. ~ Nic Phillips Artist
We are in climate peril, and time is not on our side. Presence Activism is the book we all need right now, in this present moment. Lynne Sedgmore herself walks the delicate balance of powerful mystic, with her rich and depth-filled presence wisdom, that edges up with her fierce, informed activist warrior, dramatically mirroring both the poignantly regenerative and the ragingly ferocious edges of Mother Earth right now. Rich with resources to motivate and mobilise the reader, Lynne gives us a map (a high-octane GPS!) to deepen and expand our presence to move beyond our overwhelming anxiety and crippling fear; into activating our courage, putting the climate and ecological crisis on everyone’s lips, and to taking action. Both a clarion call and a prayerful practice, Presence Activism supports all of us in our greater understanding of our interconnectedness with All beings, and how to move the Kincentric mindset out into doing the work of rebalancing life on Mother Earth. ~ Sandra Bargman, author, inter-spiritual Minister, actor, climate reality leader, podcast host of The Edge of Everyday
I sit here with a steady flow of tears for the raw beauty, truth and beautifully articulated wisdom you have expressed in Presence Activism. For many years I have been shedding and working with Presence, without knowing that this was what was happening to me and my service out in the world. Reading from Presence in each chapter I felt a different sense of learning, and depth of emotion. This book, your teachings, the flowers and the wisdom petals bring together a rich garden of abundance that can feed our souls, help our minds understand and soothe our breaking hearts. I know in my bones that this book will enable many therapists and healers to understand another level of anxiety and despair. Many of us are seeing so much of this right now. You give supportive meaning and a clear perspective on how to move through, how to be with, and to be present with all that is. Thank you and Blessed Be. ~ Angie Twydall, Founder of the Sanctuary of Sophia, Priestess and Healer
Lynne has offered the world a precious treasure through her message in this book. Her integrity and commonsense is a healing balm in the face of frequently anxiety inducing data concerning the very real critical climate emergency that we find ourselves living through. The suggestions she makes for activists, and those held in a space of distress or grief around our changing ecosystem, are simple and rooted in a deeply considered and heartfelt space of compassionate witnessing that Lynne so deeply embodies through her work, teachings and publications. I feel blessed through every encounter with her as an author, fellow priestess and lifelong mentor and living example of change making for the good of all. ~ Bliss Magdalena Qadesh, Founder of Stroud Goddess Temple and PhD Researcher, Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol
In this beautiful, passionate and timely book, Lynne Sedgmore explores the deep connection between spirituality and activism. Spiritual awakening is the most urgent need of our time, and this book points the way to a harmonious future in which we may become able to live in harmony with ourselves, and with the natural world. ~ Steve Taylor PhD, author of The Leap and DisConnected
Presence Activism provides a hard-hitting overview of the polycrises that humanity is facing while providing a path to move beyond climate anxiety and despair toward skilful action grounded in Presence. Lynne shares practices and insights drawn from her front-line experience as an activist in the field, spiritual teacher and leader of community groups. She shares her own personal story and journey from an activism driven by anxiety and frustration resulting in burnout and despair, to one of effectiveness, ease and renewed energy. Her models of the Presence Flower and the Anxiety Flower provide a non-linear guide on where we can take action, dissolve our barriers and attend to the challenges of the future by coming from the best possible place - the ‘here and now’. An indispensable book for all change-agents. ~ Steven D’Souza, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry, author of ‘Not Knowing’ trilogy
The crises we are in are the result of thousands of years of the systematisation of a lack of presence in our culture, institutions and economics. Grounding our activism in presence feels essential to me, thank you Lynne for providing us with this helpful guide. ~ Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder Extinction Rebellion
This book does three things particularly well. It serves as a guide to the inner attentiveness that each of us must hold to if we are to recognise and respond in a reasonable way to multiple crises and anxieties. It links together many recent and contemporary writings on presence, activism and climate anxiety with sympathetic readings that emphasise their meaning for the heart as much as the mind. It has an immediacy that appeals directly to the intuition, ‘calling’ directly to those attuned to its message. This enlivening book is an enjoyable read and will also be helpful for those on other paths of climate, social and ecological activism. It contributes to both a vibrant contemporary feminism, and the resurgence of modern stoicism. ~ Jonathan Gosling, Emeritus Professor of Leadership, University of Exeter, Principal Consultant, Pelumbra
Passionate, engaged, idealistic and emotionally intelligent, Lynne Sedgmore’s Presence Activism inspires and gives profoundly practical advice. With a background in high profile mainstream leadership and feminist spirituality, Lynne absolutely understands humanity's predicament and the mix of activism and deep personal change needed to transform and heal the global crisis, and move towards sustainability, social justice and a renewed appreciation of our beautiful planet ~ William Bloom, author of The Endorphin Effect and Psychic Protection
A masterpiece! Lynne’s profound wisdom, lived experience, academic research and her compelling Presence Flower will inspire you to take action for a sustainable future, while preserving your wellbeing. Lynne offers a refreshing approach to activism and calls us to action in a viable way. She supports us to navigate the challenges of overwhelm, despair and hopelessness through a deep sense of connection, direct awareness and compassion. She invites us to be fully present, embrace the actuality of the now and refuse to look away from the pressing challenges of our time. This book is testament to the light of Lynne’s soul, heart and life-force, her profound understanding of the human experience and her unwavering commitment to earth and human survival. I wholeheartedly recommend it for those willing to take the transformative journey towards a future where embodying presence and activism go hand in hand as a force for positive change. ~ Kay Louise Aldred, author of Mentorship with Goddess, Making Love with the Divine, and Somatic Shamanism
This is a deeply insightful, practical and compassionate book on how we can adapt, cope & move humanity during this urgent climate crisis. Lynne's writing and research is extremely thorough yet accessible, and the topic she addresses can help all concerned souls to experience presence without feeling depressed or helpless. It is a profound spiritual call to action with kindness and hope. This book is very useful for activists, teachers, scholars and students looking to restore their inner courage and optimism in spite of the challenges. Read, reflect and experience. ~ Professor Atul K. Shah, City, University of London, author of Inclusive and Sustainable Finance
Group Relations, psychoanalysis and ancient spiritual wisdoms are entwined in this labyrinthine book. Lynne takes us into the foundations of our current situation of “Climate Peril”, fearlessly looking into our potential extinction, then embracing it with both assured unknowing, and unshaken noetic knowing. This is a guidebook to planetary relationship and human flourishing that is both self-revelatory and socially-illuminating. We have done this to ourselves, how can we live with the consequences? Presence is articulated in a way that ignites curiosity about the world and how we can live in it. Lynne’s Presence Gnosis will provide many executives and leaders a frame for an awakening that can transform our social order in profound ways. The psychoanalytically informed community will find resources for activism and an openness to what is yet to emerge. If you have fallen asleep, this book is gentle reminder to awaken. A masterclass from a Living Luminary. ~ Dr Leslie B Brissett, Group Relations Programme Director at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (UK)
Many activists are spiritually driven so when things don’t improve, or even worsen, they may suffer deep anxiety and trauma. Lynne Sedgmore’s book examines how we may become unbalanced and close down to protect our core essence. Using beautiful mandalas of Presence and Anxiety Flowers Lynne lays out various facets of portals, energies, essences, gnosis and senses of self. She examines how anxiety unfolds through various triggers, and provides a clear process to reconcile spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical realities. Through sharing her own life journey, key insights and lessons learned, she demonstrates how presence guides and illuminates us through shadow into light. By stepping into presence we see how to lead and inspire others, and to face the greatest peril humanity has ever encountered. ~ Dr Michael White, ocean and climate scientist, author of The sea turtles of Rakahanga and Tongareva, President of Hakono Hararang Tongareva Atoll
We have to be present in order to make change, and that is a skill. In addition, in our current context, honesty, empathy and compassion have become survival skills. We need to hone these skills, and to do so in times of breaking will require enormous strength and courage. In other words, we have our work cut out, this book helps us to reflect on the urgent question of how to go forward. ~ Claire Farrell, co-founder, Extinction Rebellion
Lynne has skilfully applied the ancient spiritual practice of presence to help activists and others cope with overwhelming feelings around climate and ecological crisis. Climate grief and anxiety has become a major issue, especially among young people. She explains at length, how anxiety affects both body and psyche, resulting in overwhelm and burnout. Her interpretation of different aspects of presence, offers practical steps to enable others to connect with their spiritual core. This can restore balance, strength and clarity in choice of actions. Similar to the martial arts practice of non-attachment and non-doing, presence allows the right move to spring from an impartial awareness. She explores different activist movements and their approaches to change. She has researched and offers a range of sources to back her approach. An empowering and useful book. ~ Rachael Clyne, psychotherapist, poet and author, Singing at the Bone Tree, Girl Golem, and You’ll Never Be Anyone Else
Lynne Sedgmore is a wise spirit, an elder who offers us a rare gift of practical-mysticism in order that we can be activist-contemplatives, able to be present to the climate peril we face. This book is a must read for all activists and all humans who care deeply about the planet, each other and their own well-being. ~ Dr Simon Western, Chief Executive, Eco-Leadership Institute
We are living through a once-in-a-civilisation moment ripe for rebirth. Such a metamorphic moment invokes dissonance and anxiety, distracting us from the quality of consciousness needing to be born through our thoughts, words and deeds. Amid anxiety it's easy to succumb to the frantic patching up of symptoms unfolding from the myriad crises, overlooking the deeper underlying causes. This urgent text deals with the root problem at source, our consciousness and presence. This invigorating book aligns the inner-outer nature of our humanity. It is packed full of practical wisdom, drawing upon Lynne Sedgmore’s many years of practice and encyclopaedic knowledge. Lynne is a timely wisdom-weaver who captures the practical art of cultivating the wisdom required for activating regenerative futures. ~ Giles Hutchins, Regenerative leadership specialist, UK, author of Leading by Nature, Regenerative Leadership, and The Illusion of Separation
Activist or not, this remarkable book asks how we can ensure our own resilience whilst facing the overwhelming anxiety of climate peril and unprecedented existential catastrophe. Through the practice of ‘presence’, Lynne Sedgmore offers us another way to align ourselves to the challenges of the ecological emergency; a way that respects our innate interconnection and our natural alignment to our purpose and our potential. A way that is beyond confrontation and opposition, and the metaphors of fighting and war. In a world all too full of concern and apprehension, Presence Activism has inspired me with hope for the future! ~ Jon Cousins, ‘Green’ Mayor of Glastonbury in 2016 and from 2021–’23
In her illuminating book, Dr. Sedgmore skilfully explores the transformative potential of embracing presence as a transformative force. She unravels the notion that presence is a potent antidote to anxiety. She also lays the vital groundwork that empowers activists to cultivate unwavering resilience amidst the perpetual flux of our world. Through the pages of this timeous and important work, Lynne's lifelong commitment to inner growth finds vivid expression. This book offers readers an invaluable roadmap to embody presence and to forge a path towards a more grounded and purposeful existence. ~ Elmor van Staden PHD, contemplative leader and IT Executive, South Africa
Some of the most violent places I've been were peace marches. Some of the most exhausting were climate change events. We so much want to affect positive change in the world. I love what Lynne is reminding us, that when we act from presence, challenges become spiritual opportunities and our actions become grounded in reality. Her book is practical and mystical, embodied and deeply interesting. ~ Julia Paulette Hollenbery, healer, teacher, and author of The Healing Power of Pleasure