Refuge In Community

Megan Hollingsworth

Photos: The Jungle of Calais, Copyright 2015 Cherri Foytlin


And then thunder
the echo
bombs kill babies.

what do trees know?

Wind carries screams
vacant streets
nightmares for dreams.


We have none so far.

Childhood flees a wartime mother’s home,
in her arms
where all conflict begins and ends.

And you?

You wept flat on your back
under a storm cloud, free,

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.

Knowing there is nothing to grasp or oppose,
I take refuge in sangha; in community.

Of the three refuges, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the third, Sangha, remains the most practical and critical. Countless members of the global community continue to be made homeless every day in what Will Falk calls the oldest refugee crisis, noting that to not appreciate members of other species and deny them their basic needs 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 believes 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. Such misfortune has shattered the trust of nearly all indigenous minds and is the mistrust being rectified, healed at Wounded Knee and other soils still bleeding of motherless children.

To mend, is to practice trustworthiness. To trust ourselves is to trust others. As always, the primary task is to nurture community by showing one another what community looks like when it is understood that community includes everyone and everyone is at a loss when a single one is left out.

The revolutionary medicine is appreciating ourselves and one another. This is Agape and the original miracle cure for all ills. Regardless of what commitments have or have not been penned, individual compassionate actions ensure peaceful conflict resolution and collective healing.

The global situation can feel overwhelming, as can each piece told in one refugee’s story. Fortunately, individuals can be helped. The grand task of helping everyone is not impossible when everyone who can help extends themselves to someone. And, when we look deeply enough, the totally incapacitated one is helpful too. For we all eventually learn through experience that it feels much better to give than to receive. Those who are incapacitated open the way for giving and, thus, give the greatest gift of all.

“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

Included in the relevant links section below are several essays reflecting on COP21. Of these, please at least read George Lakey's at Waging Nonviolence. George reflects on his recovery and healing from despair, symptomatically manifest in lymphoma, at age 39. George shares how the primary lessons of that experience apply globally today following what to many appears to be the "death sentence”. 

George writes of a year devoted solely to digging in and changing behavioral patterns arising from and giving rise to toxic thought patterns. He notes that he pulled through with the help of friends - old and new members of his immediate community.

Let there be a death sentence and with this a universal decision among us, the 100%, "to go for accept the good news...the pace of change is not even."

Together, we are the rapid, resolved response.

Let us breathe in the diagnosis and explore how planetary death feels. Then look at what is possible and what is already happening on the mend. The solutions for reversing global warming are known and many are in practice. There is much in place just waiting to be scaled up. There is genius in design at Biomimicry 3.8 and precycling action. On circular economy, James Greyson at Blind Spot Think Tank writes, “[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 specialist, reflect for me that the melanoma was symptom of a deep internal discord. I too landed in the arms of community, which included milk thistle growing throughout a mountain garden. The physical cleansing I found in that community was, for me, clearly also spiritual.

The behavior changes as and according to the inner work accomplished.

The winged, the legged, the crawlers, and the stationary all cheer, “Go for it. Please do! We are here. We are here”.

With a young child in my care, I find the only failure on my part would be to quit doing what I can to help. What else is there to do but give all there is to give while we are here together?

“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

Relevant Links

Refuge and Refugees

Post Paris Climate

recent Extinction Witness posts

BRIDGE the GAP 4.26.2016
Drought Inside Out 3.1.2016
Winter’s Frugal Hope 1.26.2016

©2017 Extinction Witness
a project of Empowerment WORKS, a 501c3 non-profit organization

site by NacreData L.L.C.

Empowerment Works Logo