The Development of a Naturalist: Self-induced Overwork

IMG_1198There have been a number of times in my life where the amount of work voluntarily taken on could be considered counter-intuitive. In the 1990s, I began my college education as a single mom with two young children at home while working full-time plus a seasonal job. In the 2000s, I returned to college with a new major while still working full-time, part-time and raising my then teenage daughter. Today finds me completing a masters thesis, in a full-time IT position, working part-time as a naturalist/office manager, developing a blooming independent naturalist trade, while on the precipice of teaching two courses at  a local community college. And although the obligations of child rearing now have passed, the duty to help an aging parent has replaced it.

Clearly, 2013 is gearing up to be the most challenging year of my life. Yet most of this explosion of work is my own doing, having devoted my life to protecting, defending and enlightening others about the natural world – no, OUR world. This is, really, the root of all that ails our planet – the human tendency to separate ourselves as distinct entities of planet Earth. Clearly this behavior is another example that Homo sapiens may not possess the advanced intelligence and wisdom with which we’ve crowned ourselves.

The challenges that face our planet, her systems and species come from so many anthropocentric sources that it can become overwhelming and, quite honestly, depressing. And my Type A personality drives me to attempt addressing all these issues (which is, quite likely, another example of the inflated human ego). At the same time, the sheer diversity of Nature is staggering yet fascinating making it difficult to draw a line. First, nothing in the natural realm is isolated but functions in relationship with countless other systems and entities. Secondly, I find so much of these complex webs fascinating – I want to learn and “play” among all of it.

Yet this drive truly does not reflect an over-blown sense of my own abilities more than a deeply rooted connection to our natural world combined with maternal-like instincts to protect and defend.  But one cannot intensely study Nature without re-awakening some of the innate wisdom that every species possesses:

  • Live in the moment. Attend to the now, lest you sacrifice your future. In other words, don’t become too distracted or you may become prey.
  • Focus on the world directly within grasp. The greatest effect you can have is upon that which you personally interact.

It could be that 2013 will be the pivotal year, where the decade-long goal of devoting all my professional life to nature education and research will begin truly to manifest; a point where the work for nature can support my financial obligations as well as fulfill personal aspirations.

The “end” of the Mayan calendar signaled a shift of energy, not some apocalyptic event. Perhaps I am riding this new energy shift? Is the balance of all this work finally tipping where my naturalist career will be my only focus? Instinct tells me to grab hold of this wave of energy and travel it into a new reality. If I’ve learned one thing in my ecological studies it is that one should never battle the forces of energy but to let that energy feed and sustain.

And away we go……!!!

2 thoughts on “The Development of a Naturalist: Self-induced Overwork

  1. Save some of that piss and vinegar……I know a thing or two about that “energy” thing…..I have been pissed off (the source of most of my eco-energy) since the late 60’s…keep up the good work and let others give you a hand now and then…

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