Words on motherhood, spiritual ecology, and being creative with how we stand in our truth
PHOTO BY ADAM LOFTEN
ESSAY BY KAILEA FREDERICK
I used to think that creating change was as simple as truth telling and speeches and long heart felt nights with new friends who felt just as passionate as I. Caffeine was my fuel and the label of a “good day” was given only when my productivity somehow managed to match my never ending to-do list. My identity and self worth was largely wrapped up in my ability to produce and title myself, from yoga teacher and UN Climate Youth Delegate to climate justice activist and project manager. It felt good to be seen and to impress. Like so many of us, personal value only made sense when others expressed interest or praise. A year ago, all of this abruptly shifted when I found out I was pregnant. I was on a trip, thousands of miles from home, over worked, under slept and attempting to keep a raging cold under control. I was alone staying at a strangers’ house when I looked down into a positive pregnancy test and for the first time in years I felt the gentle peace of quiet sweep throughout my soul. Suddenly the lists didn’t matter, there was nothing left to do, not even cry. Life took on the quality of one- moment- at- a- time, and so I walked myself back to bed, got under the covers, and felt the last echoes of my childhood fall away. I called my boyfriend to share the news and then I went to sleep.
When Kate asked me to be a columnist for Loam’s monthly missives, I thought that I would pick up from this point here in my story. In the last year I have been grown into a mother. My capacity to carry literally increased by 40lbs, and tested by never ending growing pains. I have felt and continue to feel all the feelings, sometimes in just one day. Loneliness, excitement, sorrow, fear, embarrassment, forgotten, love, patience, the list goes on. I have asked if I will ever be me again, and then laughed at the silliness of that question, only to ask it again the next day. I have worried and wondered how change comes about and have been filled with anxiety when I think about the world my son has been born into. Some days all I do is mother and other days I am back at my computer, in meetings discussing the recent UN Climate Change report, and planning a conference on spiritual ecology and education. In short, I am a modern mother who desires political and environmental justice and dreams daily of our collective liberation. My theory of change has always been rooted in the idea that there is more than one way to contribute and that more often than not, those who create lasting change are often quiet and invisible. This has only been reinforced in this last year, when in the exhaustion of pregnancy, I suddenly tuned into the low yet steady hum of people going about their every day lives, without the big trips and big presentations. Resistance and resilience, I have been learning looks so many ways and getting creative within the steadiness of work and home life is its own type of vital contribution towards a healthier world. This is what this column, “Reimagining Activism” is dedicated too. For those who wonder if their actions are too small, for those who hold down a 9-5 and are curious what their place might be in our greater social movements, for those who are questioning the current culture of activist spaces, I write for you. This column is an open letter to our collective struggles and discoveries, an ever shifting dialogue on the subtle ways that change comes about. Shifting culture is made up of the consistent ritual of every day life. Shifting culture takes everyday people, like you and me.
I see you, I recognize you, and I thank you for showing up.
PHOTO BY ADAM LOFTEN
is a mother and First Nations woman dedicated to supporting individuals of all cultures in remembering their ties to the earth. Growing up off the grid in Maui, Hawai`i forever imprinted in her the importance of reciprocity through indigenous worldview. She feels raised by wild spaces and intimately tied to Honua, our island earth.
She is a Spiritual Ecology Fellow, and has served as a youth delegate twice to the United Nations Climate Change conferences (COP). Her work on the front-lines of international climate justice has forever connected her to the lives of those most impacted by climate change and extractive based industry. Her project, Earth Is `Ohana seeks to serve as a personal dedication to the many stories that have and continue to shape her.
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