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After the quilting exhibition we retired for some lunch and much needed rest. Then we headed off to the photography museum. D’s partner is into photography (she’s an artist) and had free passes and recommended the exhibit. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had an environmental theme, displaying photos from a UN competition for photos to promote change or examine the impacts we are having on the earth, I guess. I wandered through this exhibit by myself and had a very emotional reaction to it. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been able to tap into the “why I do what I do” in my day job. A real refuelling, as it were. There was great commentary and some awesome quotes headed up a lot of the display walls.

I began at the wall that quoted an Old Chinese Proverb: If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed. Blew me away. What a great summary of my year. And perhaps of some aspects of my personality!

I also was really moved by an excerpt from the introduction to Earth where these photos must have been taken from, by Kofi Annan, where he says, “… For the consequences of failure will fall hardest on those who have done the least to cause climate change – on future generations and the poorest nations.”


And this one by Thomas Fuller from 1732:

“We never know the worth of water til the well is dry.”

This exhibit was a bit of a dual religious experience for me. Both for reenergising my environmentalist passions – reminding me why it is what I do. And why I chose my profession in the first place. And that of course the work is not nearly done, we’ve barely begun to start it. And if I am so unhappy in my day job, see Chinese Proverb above.

And starting at the point of the above, my cousin and I  had another amazingly deep and intense conversation both on the environmentalism (she has a passion for public health which slots so well into a lot of the aspects of what I am driven to work on) and on personal burn out. Which fits the dual response to the quote about the well being dry. So funny to come so far and find someone who I so well understand and someone who so well understands me.

And I found myself quoting a Jewish quote I love to say to myself: It is not up to you to finish the work but neither is it up to you to start it. I paraphrase, Wikipedia tells me:

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it” (Avot 2:21) attributed to Rabbi Tarfon. Also attributed to Rabbi Tarfon: “The day is short, the labor vast, the toilers idle, the reward great, and the Master of the house is insistent.” (Avot 2:20)

And on the same page, just above it, Hillel:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” (Avot 1:14)

Which may all slightly contradict themselves and all still hold truth.

These days have been filled with a lot of deep conversations about truth, and living your life honestly, on what it means to be a feminist and on when to cut yourself a break.


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