REFUGE IN COMMUNITY
And then thunder
bombs kill babies
what do trees know?
Wind carries screams
nightmares for dreams.
We have none so far.
Childhood flees a wartime mother’s home,
in her arms
where all conflict begins and ends.
You wept flat on your back
under a storm cloud
trees washing you clean
while oblivion whistled
Note: The Verge was written summer 2013 with thoughts on conflict in Syria and U.S. intervention. A person can experience rapture while others are being slaughtered because it is possible to clear the mind of all thought under any circumstance. However, one who experiences embodied rapture also has a body capable of rupturing, a body that naturally feels a rupture when other bodies are being slaughtered because all bodies are so connected. So long as the battle rages and children are slaughtered in war, I am rapture in a ruptured body.
“We’ll also need to accept some good news,
which is that the pace of change is not even.
Predictions of doom usually assume a steady pace,
but in fact there is often acceleration
when masses go into motion.”
~George Lakey, Beyond Paris and the temptation to despair at Waging NonViolence
Ecology teaches that all of us ~ animals, plants, fungi, and the rest ~ are part of one community, a global community. This Community is something humans know indigenously and some humans forgot along the way, so the science of ecology has blossomed to teach, remind. And of the three refuges, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the third, Sangha, remains the most practical and critical.
Knowing there is nothing to grasp or oppose,
I take refuge in sangha; in community.
Right now, myriad members of the global community continue to be made homeless every day in what Will Falk calls the oldest refugee crisis, noting that to make refugees of plants and other animals is to create human refugees. To remove every plant from the field except those I wish to eat is not only cruel, it’s my suicide. As to clear the forest and plant oil palm trees is not only genocide, it’s the cutter’s suicide.
And the cutter cuts and the taker takes because this is what he thinks he must do to survive. Letting go of what I perceive to be security is quite difficult unless I've experienced true security. Unless I know community. When I know community and someone comes knocking, I am inclined to let him in. If he does not know community, he is inclined to take advantage of me in the most grotesque way. This misfortune has shattered the trust of nearly all indigenous minds. This is the mistrust being rectified, healed at Wounded Knee and other soils still bleeding of war. So, as always, the primary task is to create community by showing one another what community looks like when it is understood that the community includes everyone and everyone is at a loss when a single one is left out.
There is conflicted opinion on what has come out of the Paris Climate talks, the sum of which seems to be, something was accomplished, let the work begin. Included in the relevant links section below are several essays reflecting on COP21. Of these, please at least read George Lakey's on avoiding the temptation to despair. George reflects on his recovery and healing from despair, symptomatically manifest in lymphoma, at age 39, 39 years ago. George shares how the primary lessons of that experience apply globally today following what to many appears to be the "death sentence" coming out of the Paris talks.
George writes of a year that he devoted solely to digging in and changing behavioral patterns arising from and giving rise to his thought patterns. He notes that he pulled through with the help of friends old and new; members of his immediate community.
So, let there be a death sentence coming out of Paris and let there be a universal decision among us (the 100%) "to go for it....to accept the good news...that the pace of change is not even."
Let 2016 be the year of rapid response.
Breathe in the diagnosis. Explore how planetary death feels. Then look into what is possible and what is already happening on the mend. There is much in place just waiting to be scaled up, such as genius design at Biomimicry 3.8 and precycling actions to cut waste risk throughout the community. On the circular economy, James Greyson at Blind Spot Think Tank writes, “This [precycling premiums] would be a way to act across ecological, resource, waste, and climate issues with the power of (corrected) markets” making obsolete the force that government represents.
I too received a cancer diagnosis. Mine was melanoma at age 19. I too had someone, an Internal Medicine doc, reflect for me that the melanoma was symptom of a deep discord within. I too landed in the arms of community, which included milk thistle growing throughout the mountain garden of the Sequatchie Valley (Tennessee). And the physical cleansing I found in that community was, for me, clearly also spiritual when one day a thought came while tending the soil: This world is full of the sorrow you keep. Enough now, please smile. After intensive grief ritual a decade later, that smile, a simple joy like contentment, was restored to my being.
While collectively the externalized internal discord looks like releasing heavy metals from the ground and polluting the waters, clear-cutting forest, and on, it's noting and mending the internal discord that ultimately changes the outward action, because the outward action changes as the inner work is being done.
To mend, we must show others that we are trustworthy and place our trust in others. Just as beaver knows how to build a fine dam, human beings know how to build shelter that reflects kindness toward everyone in the community. The revolutionary medicine is appreciating ourselves and one another. This original creative cure works miracles. Regardless of what governments have penned, the power to change course remains in the actions of individuals who choose to go for it, to live well in light of death. According to Cherri Foytlin, the revolutionary medicine thrives in the jungle of Calais, where art is everywhere among humans grateful to be alive and able to help one another.
Let Cherri’s offering from her visit to Calais remind of the friendship so desperately wanting in every homeland soil. Human poverty in the wealthiest nations fuels global abject poverty and homelessness, provoking the oldest refugee crisis to its peak. Human hands are capable of crafting exquisite furnishings, carefully and genuinely produced, each one with a unique twist, none being replicated precisely. Who really wants a thing whose story is unknown at best and awful at worst? No one wants to buy cheaply made products produced with slave labor and everyone buys what they can afford. Change consumption and giving patterns. If you can, relieve one U.S. single parent and one working family of financial stress in 2016 and you will have helped countless international refugees of all walks.
Let suppressed power be remembered, true power being the eagerness to live not toward any goal but friendship, to carry on in rapture simply because we are so in love with one another and everyone - the winged, the legged, the crawlers, the stationary - who cheer, “Go for it. Please do! We are here. We are here”. And let it be understood that carrying out mass suicide is no ultimate death, only the rebirth of another round in suffering that will play itself out again, and again, until trust restored breaks the chain of unnecessary violence.
With a child who celebrates his sixth birthday this month in my care, I find the only failure on my part would be to throw in the rag. What else is there to do but give living well all I’ve got while we are here together? When I die, let my forehead be flat to the ground offering gladness, gratitude, and peace.
“Life is good,” one brother said.
“We are alive and together,” added the other.
COP21 and the Invisible Jungle of Calais ~ Cherri Foytlin at Bridge the Gulf
Refuge and Refugees
- Contemporary Session Prayer ~ Take Refuge at Unfettered Mind, Pragmatic Buddhism
- Christian. Conservative. Tree Hugger. ~ Chris Berdik and Tik Root, Politico
- Pinyon-Juniper Forests: The Oldest Refugee Crisis ~ Will Falk, San Diego Free Press
- 2015 likely to break records for forced displacement (study) ~ UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency
- The Siege of Miami ~ Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
- Why we need to stop thinking so much about climate change ~ Brandon Keim, aeon
- Create Habitat for Monarchs ~ Monarch Joint Venture
- Enhancing Habitat for Bees ~ Xerces Society
- Remove Lower Snake River Dams to support Salmon, Orca and more ~ Dam$ense
- Indonesia’s palm oil fires: Interview with Friends of the Earth Indonesia ~ Jeff Conant, Medium
Post Paris Climate
- Beyond Paris and the temptation to despair ~ George Lakey, Waging Nonviolence/Living Revolution
- Bill McKibben’s Takeaways from the Paris Climate Talks ~ Reinvent
- Why emotional intelligence is key to tackling climate change ~ Faith Kearns, The Conversation
- Twelve Days That Cooked the World ~ Candice Bernd, Truthout
- Making the case for people-powered transition ~ Zhiwa Woodbury, Truthout
- The Elders welcome COP21 climate deal ~ The Elders
- The Historic, Unprecedented, Landmark Climate Agreement ~ Peter Glick, The Huffington Post
- Paris talks ‘a fraud’ says James Hansen ~ Oliver Milman, The Guardian
- Freedom Rider: Rich Countries Subvert Climate Change Talks ~ Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
- Paris deal: Epic fail on a planetary scale ~ New Internationalist
- November 2015 Earth’s Hottest Month on record by a huge margin ~ Angela Fritz, The Washington Post
- If it is happening, it is possible ~ Project Drawdown
- Making circular economy scale up, who will lead? ~ Blind Spot Think Tank
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