Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How We Shape the World

As the internet posts this blog for me, I will be in the middle of my week-long retreat in the mountains of Massachusetts at an event called Rites of Spring, presented by the EarthSpirit Community. This will be my 10th spring celebrating the natural world with them. Except for the battery in my travel alarm clock, my flashlight, and the lone bulb at the top of our rustic cabin, I will be eschewing electricity. As wonderful as it is, I sometimes forget how little we need, and on that mountain, I have discovered I do not fear the dark.
I like to challenge people to do two things. The first thing is to spend a day vigilant enough to note and be aware of every electronic and technological device you use while you are awake: coffee maker, toaster, computer, mp3 player, television, stove, refrigerator, air conditioner, vehicle, ATM, credit card machine, Nook or Kindle, microwave, cell phone, laptop, garage door opener, etc. Have gratitude for those resources that make our lives easier. But to cease to be aware of them means we have taken them for granted.
The second part of the challenge is tougher. Can you go one day without these items? Without all of them? Which ones would be easy to give up? Can you unplug yourself from the electrical world and immerse yourself in the natural one for a day? Can you sit in a shady afternoon with a book instead of a computer? Can you put pen to paper instead of typing at a keyboard? Send someone a hand-written letter. Spend the day in your garden instead of watching television. Play outdoors with your children. Fix something around the house you’ve been meaning to get around to. Talk a walk and listen to the birds and life around you. Listen to your own breathing. Be present in your day.
If you don’t think you can do it, not even for one day, explore why that is. Do you work too much to give yourself a day off? Do you find yourself bored without occupying your time with games and cable? Are we too far removed from the living things of a silent world? Do you find the stillness unsettling? Where is that discomfort within you? If you can push through that the natural world will reveal itself as a pulsing, breathing being. It’s priceless, and I would willingly live in a world of darkness if it meant more of the wild would survive. Our ancestors lived without for centuries. I have found that most of my ancestors lived long lives.
A lot of the energy we use comes from fuel sources that have a finite end. We have culled the forests at a greater speed than we have replanted. Fossil fuels will run out. Why are we putting money into developing new technologies like smaller cell phones and larger, flatter televisions instead of working towards solar technology that is more cost effective for the public? Why have we, as a culture, not swerved away from letting big business tell us what we should want? Why aren’t we demanding less game systems and more reliance on green energies? If someone told you that giving up your cell phone, for life, would save the world, how quickly could you hand it over?
People say that it’s hard to think about the future when they live week-to-week. I am one of those people, and I understand how difficult it can be. But we don’t get to not care. That’s the bottom line. For me, it simply means that where I do spend my money matters more. The world beneath us is our Great Mother. Every advancement we make, and have ever made, has been at her expense. We have to care.
Just because our reality isn’t pretty doesn’t mean we get to close our eyes or turn away from it. Just because we close our hands, doesn’t mean we do not bear responsibility in allowing big business to destroy our home from beneath us. We choose personal comfort over survival every time we turn our heads (hear that, lawmakers?). When we do, we tell the next generation of children that we don’t care enough to leave this a better world than we found it.
We think singularly. We want to leave the world better than we were brought into it, with more things, and bigger ones at that. And if we care about others, we care about our own, first, and sometimes, only. The way we think is wrong. Every crying child should be of concern to us, because it could be ours. Every case of pollution should be of concern to us, because someday it could be where we live that is polluted. Every oil spill and flooded town should concern us all. What happens when all the fresh water is contaminated? Who will we blame when there is no more water to drink? Our fresh water is not endless.
I leave you with some time lapse photos from NASA, showing areas of the world over 30 years, de-forestation and dwindling water tables and all (click the link below). I have gratitude for the visuals, even with the realization of how polluted our space is because of the space program. You can also plug into the search, the name of anyplace in the world to watch the change. It’s sobering, and real, and paints a picture louder than words. One we need to open our eyes to. This is how we've shaped our world.
How much more will we change the landscape of the world in another thirty years? Can we stop the pattern-on-motion now? The world we live in is based on our grandparents and great-grandparents’ choices. What world will we leave our grandchildren and great-grandchildren? What will they think of the choices we made and what we left behind?
When I come home from the mountain, from the friendships and the necessary solitude, I will find the hum of the fridge too loud, the crank of the fluorescent in the kitchen too jarring, and the smooth surface of the pavement will be unsteady beneath my mountain-climbing feet. But I will hold the wonder of that mountain in my heart, and I will see the life of that world alive within this city.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.