Category Archives: Response

Response: Being like a Bee

bees

The bees kept on coming.  Doing what bees do.  Being what bees be. They nestled into and alighted from the sun soaked blossoms, completely unaware that the Brussels sprouts so carefully seeded and tended in hoop covered rows from autumn, through winter into the accelerating spring warmth had technically failed.  Traces of sprouts had appeared, but none had matured.   All had withered away.

Never in 13 Ozark growing seasons have I met anyone who has successfully cultivated Brussels sprouts.  Too hot?  Too buggy?  Too rocky?   So many possible impediments.

Somehow untouched by this viewpoint, my avid gardening partner, Carol, planted seed for a veritable Brussels sprouts forest in her raised beds last fall.   It was with her healthy-leaved, flower-rich plants that the bees communed last Sunday, while we pulled up bittering lettuces, toughening kale, and seeding cilantro to make room for warm weather friends — tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash.

There was no question of letting the “failed” Brussels sprouts remain for the bees.

Indeed the only question that lingered was the question of our human “being” and our  human “doing” in the face of individual and shared 21st century challenges.   You know the list.

Our major religions all speak of Love.  Our heroic myths tell of strength, courage, devotion and daring.   In the presence of the bees (who seemed so sure and easy in their mission and their being), I wondered for myself and for us as a species, will I/we commune with and respond from the flower the Heart?   To what extent will I/we pollinate life with bravery, insight, resolve, and compassion?    I hope we will respond on par with the grace and confidence of bees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response: Homegrown Headlines

black bass lakeThis morning, April 23rd, the day after the official Earth Day I unfurled the Arkansas Democrat Gazette to images of the Paris Agreement signing.   (Yes, I work in a technology store, but we still get an old fashioned newspaper for our customers to read while waiting. LOL).

While the Paris accord carries its own significance, what ignites my faith in human beings is creative local responses to the urgent need for more Earth loving.

My Facebook newsfeed overflows with both stark climate news and courageous homegrown, grassroots reactions to ecological threats.   I’ve considered keeping a list of these Heart-Full efforts, as a testament to the human spirit.  So far I’ve settled for remembering this expanding web of Earth-caring in my daily prayers and meditation.

This Earth Day week here in Eureka Springs, as the last of the Ozark redbud blossoms were fading, I was fortunate to encounter in person quite a few folks  who are passionately pursuing an array of climate conscious activities — everything from bee keeping, to free solar power consultations, to lobbying for energy policy changes, to planting native flowers, to organizing a community discussion of Pope Francis’ encyclical.

What about your Earth Day experiences?   What invited your attention, action or appreciation?

Of course, many Earth-honoring moments escape the headlines; being principled decisions initiated in the privacy of the Heart or the home or being actions undertaken in the unnoticed vicissitudes of everyday life or off the interest list of major media outlets.

Publicized or not, each Earth-caring  response matters.  Each in a sense, is its own actualized  “Agreement”.  A vibrant pact between Earth and the Human Heart.  A covenant so intrinsic to our human Being, that when remembered, it eliminates all need to remind ourselves that every day is to be lived as Earth Day.

 

 

 

Response: Sacred Symbols vs Status Symbols

healing mandalaA healing sand mandala was exquisitely created and then ceremoniously brushed away last week in the ballroom of the Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs.  It was a profoundly generous labor evidencing the power of ritual and symbol, as well as the impermanence of form.

I felt fortunate to break away from work and visit briefly on the second day. The room was stuffy with summer heat, but an obvious peaceful enthusiasm and curiosity filled the sun-lit space. A friend who had been witnessing the mandala’s creation for several hours that morning and the day before said she could feel her heart absorbing the mandala’s healing spirit.

Her comment stimulated my wondering at the potency and depth of a symbol’s influence if that symbol comes from a culture other than one’s own. Is the response of a westerner to a mandala rich with Buddhist iconography markedly different than that of a Tibetan whose culture organically conceived the symbol and projected it into sacred art to be infused with meditation and prayers over centuries?   Similarly can a generations old, cherished family crest still evoke intended qualities of character and responsibility in our modern day?  Or is the question more the Heart’s ready receptiveness? Or simply a general willingness to respond to symbolic human wisdom regardless of history, culture, geography or form?  What has your experience shown you?

Given that we live in a global society that bombards us with materialistic status symbols, perhaps what matters most is finding and interfacing with those symbols that evoke Self-Centering, Earth-Loving, Wisdom-Seeking, and Inspired Action   Whether a statue of Kuan Yin. A bouquet of daisies. An image of a solar warrior.   A child’s drawing of the earth.   Some experimentation may be necessary to determine which symbols radiate sufficiently compelling magnetism to counterbalance and even outweigh the ubiquitous pull of advertisements for smartphone, cars, perfumes . . . things and desires which entice us away from Ourselves, instead of drawing us into the sweetness of the Heart’s Healing Gifts and Spiritual Message.

Response: Being Emotionally Real About Climate Change

dead growthI came across an intelligently compassionate article this week called The Great Grief: How to Cope with Losing Our World.  I read the first paragraph with theoretical interest, but was quickly drawn into author Per Espen Stoknes’ acknowledgment of the psychological toll exacted by living amidst climate chaos and ecological destruction.

My greatest take away from the article was the invitation to consciously grieve the losses wrought by the accelerating changes engulfing Earth. An invitation to be emotionally real both as a practice and gateway to emotional health in these extraordinarily challenging times.   Have you done this?

There’s so much to face.   Death. The destruction of cherished places and potentially our entire home.   The ongoing contradiction between our collective desire for ecological sustainability and our insatiable appetite for consumer goods and expanding GDP.  Immediate worry for the poor and displaced. Powerlessness. Despair.  As well as the Heart’s inherent desire to serve and be joyful.

If I’ve learned one thing this past year it’s that offering oneself the hard but healthy gift of sitting with and giving voice to one’s losses is an act of Heart. Winding through the pain precipitates changes, perhaps paradoxically. Pooled tears can give birth to resilience, clarity, and transformative strength and can resurrect an Inner Lightness – a Lightness of Self-Knowledge and Faith in Oneself.

These are significant Heart gains. Gains gifted by grief.   Gains amidst destruction. Gains that we can count on in responding to our planetary crisis precisely because they reside neither in technology nor politics nor economies but rather in ourselves.