How Earth Will Be Restored

This Memorial Day mourning, as the rain falls outside my window, my heart is very heavy, yet my soul is light. My heart aches for the man-made devastation being heaped upon our Gulf of Mexico specifically, but our Earth in general. The ongoing bloodletting deep under the water, paired with a violent chemical assault from above has forever altered life as so many of us know it. It’s been six weeks since the Deepwater Horizon buckled under the weight of BP’s blatant safety violations and disregard for the consequences of its cost-cutting measures, in pursuit of profit-generation at all cost.

Six weeks later, and still not a day goes by that I don’t pause in disbelief at the immeasurable loss we have and will continue to sustain. When I say “we” I am not referring simply to residents of the gulf coast, but to our global ecosystem. Many of those in Tony Hayward’s generation possess a very perverse way of measuring success in life. When we conduct analyses in our business to determine the dollar value of human lives and decide that saving money today is worth loss of someone else’s life tomorrow, we have veered so far off the path of humanity that there may be no recovery.

When “damage-control” means that hiding the truth (and quickly destroying our oceans) is worth more than the fine that might be incurred if we clean up after ourselves in a way that would preserve our ecosystem, and the health of us all, we are heading straight for global disaster. For all these reasons my heart weighs as heavy as the clouds above, swollen with their toxic precipitation.

And yet my soul is light. When I rise up and look above those clouds, and all things ethereal, I know that I am not alone. I know that the coming generations have both the desire and the ability to change things. And I know that through this kind of utter devastation these will be called to action, will stand up and say “enough”. It is time we earn back our place at the top of the food chain – by recognizing we cannot remain there if we destroy all life below us on that chain. Every person on this planet can do something today about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

To all the like-minded individuals across the world – join me, stand together in unified message: we do not own this planet; She is not here for the taking. She simply is; She allows and She gives, but She does not owe us this life. We need only look back over the millennia to know that She will take care of Herself, even if that means wiping the slate and starting again.

The decision to restore Mother Earth is not a daunting one. Every day we make a choice between our greed and our Earth. Individual choices combined will change this course of events. Will we create less waste today? Will we recycle? Will we drink from reusable bottles and eliminate plastic waste? Will we compost? Will we walk or bike to work? Will we carry reusable bags along with us to the store? Will we turn up the A/C or turn down the heat? Will we choose to consume more fresh products and fewer packaged, prepared meals? Will we choose to “sail” rather than “motor”? Will we choose a fraction less personal indulgence or consumption every day in order to save our Earth?

Decide today that you will take action right where you are to heal the gulf, to heal our Earth. No decision made in favor of our planet is small. Your actions combine with mine to create global and immediate change.

These choices, made individually, consistently and on a global basis, will move to heal our planet. No matter how corrupt or far reaching large corporations are, or how entwined they become with governments who cater to them, if consumers simply eliminate the need for their products, then there will be no profits to use in the sale of our lands and waters. We must unite and agree that change begins at home. Simple choices every day will save our Earth.

Will you join me? She’s counting on us. What will you change today, tomorrow, every day?

Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are. – Nkosi Johnson

Compassion for Criminals?

Just after I announce I’m using the blog for wedding plans I’m compelled to post something else. I’m awake at 3:30 this morning because at 1:30 a KPD officer knocked on our door alerting us that 3 guys had broken into vehicles belonging to us and our neighbors.

Interesting I suppose. More interesting was what I realized when I got back in bed, trying in vain to sleep. Ten years ago, the day after paying my car off, someone broke into it and tried to steal it. I was mid-twenties and was at first scared, then pissed. The mere thought that someone else feels entitled to something I worked very hard for (aside from the government, apparently) has always enraged me.

Tonight though, I was first curious (how many guys, what did they look like, what kind of car, etc.) and then as I processed further, I started to imagine their lives. Were they kids from the trailer park down the street? Maybe they were living in a cramped home where families merged because they couldn’t pay their bills and had to live together to afford housing. Maybe their parents had lost their jobs and were one step away from homelessness and the kids were trying to figure out how to help.

You see, I believe we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time. If kids are not provided better resources, then it becomes more challenging to create better solutions to problems at hand. I also believe that most people are driven by love, even if it is severely misguided.

The thing I began to realize is how the years have changed my focus. Rather than getting angry I realized I was feeling compassion in trying to imagine where these guys came from and what drove them to the end of our cul-de-sac to pilfer through vehicles for some loose change. And it reminds me that we are all one. I am them and they are me. We are just in very different places and, at the moment I had to choose, I chose to ask a more quality question to come up with a better solution in life. They chose to take a different route.

Next time someone upsets you, I challenge you to stop and try to create a scenario in your head that might drive you to do the same thing that is bothering you. Reacting with compassion will allow you to recognize our oneness in the universe and to feel more connected with others. This awareness will truly shape your thoughts, which in turn will positively change your life.

What if…

Presidential elections are an exciting time in our country, this country of free speech and equal rights, when each one of us has a vote that counts exactly the same as every other persons vote. Regardless of age, gender, race, income and a myriad of other factors that differ among us, on election day (provided you go to the polls) your vote counts the same as my vote.

It’s also a time of change. Elections are our opportunity as a people to voice our opinion on how our current administration is doing, by either giving them (or their party) continued reign, or by ushering in a new regime. Either way, change is upon us, because elected officials listen very closely during election years and at least make attempts to speak the language of the voters.

There may well be a lot of things wrong with the system and with politics in general, but by and large (provided we exercise our rights), we direct our own future during these crucial times. So it’s important to be sure we make informed, intelligent, rational, *non-emotional* decisions during elections. Unfortunately, the trend I notice is that election times bring out the worst in us, incite arguments amongst friends, fights between otherwise clear-headed individuals, and the worst judgment and condemnation by individuals that we will see, before the next election rolls around.

I just want to offer a few of my thoughts on raising our awareness and maintaining the peace and civility that make us human:

  1. Every one of us is doing the best we can with the resources we have. We don’t all begin with the same resources and we don’t progress through life at the same speed and so understand that, what has shaped your perspective may not have entered another person’s awareness yet. Also, your perspective may lack all the evidence as well. None of us have all the same information, so keep an open mind to the possibility that you are not yet informed enough to make a sound decision.
  2. Fundamentally, we all want the same things. I’d wager few of us would deny that we strive for a better world for our children, for safety and harmony in our streets and in our schools, for understanding and acceptance of our own flaws and mistakes, for grace and forgiveness when we mess up, which we all inevitably do. So why are we so quick to judge others? I think it stems from number three.
  3. People often operate, or at least react, from a place of fear. People fear failure, success, being judged, being wrong, scarcity (this permeates many aspects of our lives – we all wish for abundance), uncertainty, etc. If we can “prove that we are right” then we offer ourselves momentary certainty. These things we fear are impossible to eliminate, so, rather than face them and risk encountering them, we try to protect ourselves by flinging accusations and ill will at others, which for a brief moment, helps us feel better about ourselves. This is generally followed by a terrible period of guilt for what we have done or said. We need to find a way to be comfortable in uncertainty.
  4. People respond in kind. If you want to ensure being judged, judge others. If you want to ensure your opinions and thoughts get ridiculed, offer the sentiments up first to someone else. But if you want to be accepted, loved and respected, try taking a deep breath before you respond or react to *anything*. Imagine if someone made a biting remark about a candidate you favor – you took a breath and said “Interesting, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Tell me more.” Can you see how the rest of the conversation would be markedly different?
  5. The candidates will only give us what we are willing to accept. As long as we perpetuate the mud-slinging on our individual levels, the candidates will continue to do so. What a beautiful thing it would be if we could have an election where every candidate stood on their own platform and “rowed their own boats.” Imagine Obama and McCain spending the next 2 months telling us only what they believed in, and outlining their own plans to make this country a better, safer, more healthy place for all citizens. Imagine if we didn’t have to spend time discerning the contrast between the negatives, but could focus on the best of what each candidate can offer us.

Yes, perhaps I live in my own Utopian mind, dreaming of and wishing for such a place. But perhaps, if each one of us took a breath and practiced a single extra moment of patience, kindness and understanding each day, we really could transform our country, overcome this negative energy, and slowly drive the restoration of this great nation, just by loving each other.

What if…