As I write this the temperatures in the Midwest are dangerously low. The Weather Channel website is reporting actual temperature of – 48° in Minnesota with wind chills in North Dakota reaching – 60°. These are unusual for the past few decades, but were normal winter temperatures in the past. When the planetary systems were not in chaos. And now they are. We no longer know what to expect — and it could take centuries before new climate patterns are stabilized and re-established around the globe. Those patterns will depend on what we choose do to. We humans, who have the ability but have not, as a whole, taken the responsibility for the impacts of our curiosity and our desire.
In today’s environmental headlines, I read:
- studies indicate seas may be rising faster than previously thought
- extreme rainfall events are connected around the globe
- sea stars are dying from ocean warming and infectious wasting disease
- the future of chocolate may be unsustainable
- sudden disruptions of food production has become more and more frequent
- microplastics in waterways are impacting mussels and surrounding ecosystems
- urban-based raccoons are suffering from obesity and diabetes
- sea temperature changes contribute to increasing droughts
There are so many issues to take on nowadays and too many of us in the spiritual communities want to close our eyes because it’s disturbing, unpleasant, unsettling, and creates too many inner ripples that we don’t want to deal with.
I get it. I don’t really want to feel the full impact of realizing that the U.S. government is still ripping children away from their parents at the border with Mexico. I don’t really want to feel the full impact of Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians with no cause other than, perhaps, vengeance for the past. I don’t want to open up to the immensity of the crisis facing the Rohingya people of Myanmar.
I don’t really want to deal with the broader implications that the current president of my country is a serial sexual assaulter and brags about it. I don’t really want to deal with the implications that just last week, a 27-year-old man threatened a mass shooting because he was a virgin and never had a date; a 21-year-old man took five women hostage in a bank and executed them; a 39-year-old man began shooting at UPS and took two women hostage, a 21-year-old man shot and killed his girlfriend, two members of her family, and his parents. Last week.
All these are troubling to my mind and my spirit. I know that if I believe that we are all interconnected, I am complicit in some way with all these situations. Each time I act unkindly, each time I speak of someone with disrespect, each time I think of responding with violence – even though I don’t act on it, I am having an impact through my energetic fields and rippling out into the fields of others.
I know I have the responsibility for taking care of my small part of the world and tending what is most valuable to me, just as each of us must follow and care for the small piece of the world that is most valuable to them.
I wrote yesterday about my call toward taking care of the land. That’s my personal vortex, the energy draws me in, enlivens me, enrages me, and offers me a reason to get up in the morning to participate in the world.
Invitation ~ Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.