I could not let today go by without honoring Mother Earth. It’s sort of like remembering the birthday of a dear friend.
A fellow blogger’s repost inspires me to continue passing the message along. Perhaps you will too. It’s from 350.org which is an international movement working toward ending fossil fuels and building a world of renewable energy for all. There’s no better time to unite our momentum toward healing — the planet and ourselves.
We cannot go back to the old normal. It’s broken.
If you love Mother Nature as much as I do, give her a gift. Unite with thousands of individuals and organizations worldwide by signing this open letter in support of the five COVID-19 #JustRecovery principles:
Put people’s health first, no exceptions.
Provide economic relief directly to the people.
Help our workers and communities, not corporate executives.
Create resilience for future crises.
Build solidarity and community across borders – do not empower authoritarians.
It’s a tall order I’ll admit but one worthy of working toward.
While watching a map of the coronavirus spreading worldwide, words that kept popping into my head were the Silent Spring. Do you recall that early 1960’s science book by Rachel Carson? Six decades later as humanity is self-destructing with mass disinformation and the manifestation of Hollywood’s sci-fi biowarfare films, is it surprising to see our planet nearing a screeching halt, a silent spring if you will?
Does the air appear cleaner to space scientists during this international shelter in place? I’ve noticed starrier skies without light pollution and fresher air with less traffic. Have you? Covid-19 is a formidable teacher. But, will humanity listen? Will humans get beyond their discomfort with silence to be quiet enough to really hear the message?
I disconnected from sensationalized reporting years ago, but, as coronavirus numbers climbed, some well-meaning friends unintentionally bombarded me with media doom. After declaring that every negative message had to be balanced with a positive one, I now receive more messages of humor and hope. Taking control of what I allow in my thoughts helps control my outlook. See what you think of this message that I’m offering for your pondering too:
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans
Stop. Just stop. It is no longer a request. It is a mandate. We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt We will stop the planes the trains the schools the malls the meetings the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison. Our obligation is to each other, As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, to bring you this long-breaking news: We are not well. None of us; all of us are suffering. Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause. Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan. Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India. You have not been listening. It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives. But the foundation is giving way, buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you. We will bring the firestorms to your body We will bring the fever to your body We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs that you might hear: We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy. We are the Messenger. We are the Ally. We are a balancing force. We are asking you: To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all; To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy? To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now. Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness, listen for its wisdom. What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness? As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Stop. Notice if you are resisting. Notice what you are resisting. Ask why.
Stop. Just stop. Be still. Listen. Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well. We will help you, if you listen.
With ephemeral traits hallmarking the gate to past and future, have you considered gifting a hibiscus for the New Year?
Once it’s Gone, it’s Gone You know the sayings, “Out with the old and in with the new,” or “Here today, gone tomorrow.” True for so many things — like each year, our youth, good health, and hibiscus flowers. “Hibiscus flowers?” Yes, lovely hibiscus flowers last only one day.
“Appreciate what you have in this very moment,” the flower bewails. It’s spectacular bloom will be gone by night.
For Yesterday or Tomorrow Yet as short-lived as hibiscus blooms may be, this plant offers medicinal properties to improve health and hopefully extend longevity! Tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa has been known to lower LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure as well as aid digestion, weight management, and the immune system.
Considered a feminine flower, and often symbolizing young women, hibiscus was given in Victorian times to recognize the receiver’s beauty. No wonder Hawaiian females tuck anti-aging hibiscus flowers behind their tender ears.
However, in 1988 the Hawaii legislature traded her in for (a younger model?) the striking yellow Hibiscus brackenridgei to become the new official state flower.
Youth, good health and hibiscus flowers can be fleeting. Savor them while you can.
Medical Disclaimer: Sorry to say in today’s world it’s necessary to note that this content is informational and educational in nature only. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice and should not be solely relied upon. Under no circumstances is wRighting my Life responsible for the claims of third party websites or educational providers. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional before trying anything you have read on this blog or in links to other sites; otherwise, it is solely at your own risk. The information provided in this blog is only from personal experience. While I offer what has been beneficial to me, everyone is unique and may experience different results.
Mixed Nuts What do you think about when you think about squirrels? Ravaged bird feeders? Acrobatic acts? Rabies? The park? Nuts? Well, yes, nuts. That also comes to mind when I think about the December holidays.
Not just the type of nuts we eat — like roasted chestnuts, walnuts on that sumptuous apple pie, or honey coated peanuts in the snack dish, but nuts as in gathering frantically like a squirrel, and nuts as in foolishly excessive holiday behaviors. It’s a bountiful season for sure, but will it fill us up or leave us feeling exhausted, robbed and empty?
Filling Up More than Stockings Each of us can choose to step back and celebrate in simpler, more meaningful ways. You can create a holiday celebration of choice and one that enriches, rather than depletes, you or loved ones — physically, emotionally, and financially. Take time to think about what Christmas really means to you.
Is it that important to try and create the perfect Christmas of yesterday, or a happier one now? If so, dig deeper and ask yourself why.
Will taking on additional activities amidst an already crammed schedule affect your ability to give others your undivided, in-the-moment attention…or leave you feeling distracted, tired and resentful?
Is it worth it to over-spend, searching for an ideal gift when expectations and disappointments often cancel out efforts of holiday goodwill?
Are your actions obligatory or from the heart? Compulsory sentiments and gifts noticeably lack holiday cheer for both the giver and receiver.
Will you honor your self-care with adequate rest, nutritious foods, exercise, asking for help, and being financially responsible? Or will you set yourself up to sour your holiday mood?
Do your actions make sense? Do they seem a little nuts to you? Be honest.
Enlist Creativity If you own a bird feeder, you’ve witnessed a squirrel’s analytical creativity accessing it — including those supposedly “squirrel proof” feeders. Be as innovative.
If others are involved, ask each person to select the one thing about the holidays that makes their heart sing. Avoid the inner critic’s beleaguering to add just one more thing then another because you’ll be right back to the overload you tried to lighten. Determine what is absolutely necessary then sew those pieces together to broaden smiling faces around a more joyful holiday. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover it’s not a holiday of lack but one of overflowing abundance from the spirit within.
Apply Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh‘s sentiment to the holidays… “Once you identify your deepest intention, you have a chance to be true to yourself, to celebrate the kind of holiday you’d like to have, and to be the kind of person you’d like to be.”
Trudging through Tradition Several years ago I happily exchanged some traditional activities for what means most to me. Quieter gatherings, tuning in to nature and the gifts she generously offers day in and out, gladden my spirit. (This is not to say I don’t host or attend holiday parties. But I keep them manageable, not falling prey to Madison Avenue’s message that I must decorate my house with a thousand lights, bake cookies, and overextend my bank account purchasing lavish gifts.)
A friend, looking frazzled and slumped in her chair, told me yesterday how overwhelmed she felt filling out 300 Christmas cards! Three hundred cards? Who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed? But, was it really necessary? It’s important to connect with others and tell them how much they mean to us but if it adds a layer of stress it doesn’t make sense to me — it’s nuts.
All in a Nutshell Make the holidays what you want them to be and create cherished memories. Don’t worry or fret. Otherwise you may become like the red squirrel whose coat turned grey from stress. 🙂
By now, you know my feelings about the overuse and addictive characteristics of social media, particularly as it hampers one’s interest in human to human communication and experiencing the natural environment. I offer Christina Farr’s article in the hopes it will help those of you trying to detox and return to a more serene, content and manageable life. As a society, we do have the ability to take back our lives. Have you noticed a recent wave of people saying, “Enough is enough” and unplugging to stop the progression of anxiety, depression, chaos and confusion that social media has introduced into their lives?
While Christina offers her personal experience of attending a formal camp to unplug, you can reduce stress and create a more rich and satisfying life by asking yourself a few introspective questions like:
What is truly important to me? Personal time with friends and loved ones, or how many likes I’ve received?
If I had one day left on this planet, what would I do — would I post on social media or respond to that inner nudge to do something I always wanted to do like mountain climb or learn to play a musical instrument? What have I always wanted to do but spent my hours on social media instead?
How do I feel inside when taking a walk in nature, looking at someone in the eye and seeing their smile versus hearing constant pings on my device?
Is my time better spent helping someone through volunteer work or trying to impress and compete with the virtual lives of others?
What makes me feel content? What makes me feel anxious or depressed?
Make a list if you need to. Let it look you squarely in the eye and you’ll know what you need to do to truly live a meaningful life. Here’s how Christina handled her social media addiction:
Social media detox: Christina Farr quits Instagram, Facebook
Christina Farr used to spend 5 hours a week posting and interacting with friends on Instagram. She quit cold this summer, and her life changed dramatically for the better.
Seeing these rounded hay bales in expansive green fields began to stir something deep within a few years ago that felt strangely comforting.
I hadn’t observed this prior to practicing Qigong where I first felt a gentle, circular energy flowing between my hands. The movements soon enriched my gardening activities and evolved my thinking about continued life which led me to the Tao and a spiraled understanding of nature and our connectivity to the universe.
Yin-yang‘s circular energy symbolizes life’s continuum and oneness; that nothing is 100% black or white, right or wrong; we need one to have the other. Hours accelerate around the clock transforming day to night through the calendar of winter to spring, summer to autumn, season to season, year to year, era after era, wrinkled newborn to withered senior. This energy of oneness incorporates ourselves, others and the universe.
It is said that with Qigong (or Tai Chi) practice, you begin to view all of life as part of this circle. I have and am grateful for it. I see the circular trees, the ever lasting round sun and moon, the flowers that know to return year after year, the rounded hay bales at harvest. I use to fear death as a finality of life. But Qigong, gardening, and being in nature have taught me otherwise. This freedom from despair over my eventual death or that of loved ones is healing. Perhaps that is why the hay bales are like Mother Nature’s hugs, offering a soothing kinship with nature and all that is around me.
“What will people think if they see a mature woman on them?”
“Do you really think someone is going to arrest me?”
And so the dialogue went between my inner critic and the lure of a childhood thrill when seeing a swing set in a new neighborhood last Sunday afternoon. Quickly, it reminded me of this photo (appearing in my last post) and my carefree, youthful feelings of riding as high as I could on the swings.
Looking around to see if any neighbors were out — no one was, I walked up the hill toward the swings, paying attention for any signs indicating “adults not allowed.” The trodden, bare ground under each of the six swings stared up at me. Oh, yes, I remember now — stomping down the grass, pounding to push-off and ride higher and higher.
I sat down. Good, the swings can hold me. (I’m not overweight, but I’m not a slight child either.) I began to push-off. Again and again. Higher and higher. Soon my hair blew freely behind me, like the woman in the photo, cooling the perspiration off the back of my neck from a hearty walk through this new neighborhood. Gosh this felt good. Exhilarating, like when I was a kid.
As previously mentioned (Busy Body Meditations), I do better with movement meditation than attempting to force myself to sit still. Swinging on those swings was an in-the-moment, mindfulness meditation for me, unleashing pure light-heartedness.
Is there an activity you loved as a child but seems long forgotten? Have you given yourself permission to feel the thrill once more? Go ahead, tickle yourself with that sense of delight and see how much lighter you’ll feel.
Summer 2018 Rainy. Grey. Humid. Rainy. Grey. Humid. Flooding. Scorching heat. Rainy. Grey. Humid. Flooding. Scorching heat. Bugs extraordinaire. Make me run inside for shelter. AC. A spurt of sun appears. Some tomatoes wear tough rain jackets, many others split on the vine while unlucky peppers turn soggy rather than red and basil’s aromatic gifts are non-existent this year. The grill waited to be fired up but the fire and enthusiasm in me drowned out.
What to make of this autistic summer? Although many people disagree on the “causes” of autism and of climate change, they both exhibit blatantly foreboding signs:
Climate change – an increase in the frequency and strength of extreme events (storms, floods, droughts) that threaten human health and safety.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characteristics – social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
Six full days at best I could work in the yard this summer, and grill on two. Tall grass is as unkempt as the autistic’s personal hygiene. Weeds are poised to take over. They know I will not be tugging at them in the rain or with mosquitos biting my neck. Arms. Legs. Scratching for relief. Scratching. Scratching. Where is the relief? Summer use to be a break from the long, cold, stressful winter but Mother Nature’s fighting, hitting, kicking, biting, throwing objects from her autistic corner. Does she feel cornered?
Autistics struggle with severe anxiety, sensory dysfunction, and deficits in social communication. Half are considered aggressive toward others, and nearly one-third of autistic adults are unable to use spoken language to communicate.
I hear the thunderous banging and wailing. Her words trail behind the clouds…the rain, and tears of desperation. I see her utter frustration.
The climate use to be rather predictable. At least until what we’ve seen recently. Now, it too has a culture of anything goes. What is going on? Like the bad diet, little exercise and unremitting stress that provoke diabetes, haphazard behaviors and practices are radically affecting our globe.
I feel October coolness in August, August heat and humidity in June. Downpours flooded out July, and April buds bloomed (then froze) in January. These dizzying peculiarities are akin to the human body expressing more and more serious symptoms to get our attention…our care. And sagacious change…for survival.
Across the USA, fire seasons are two months longer than 50 years ago.
“We have to recognize that by some measures, dangerous climate change isn’t some far-off thing we can look to avoid, ” Mann said. “It has arrived.”
Until last year, for example, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) averaged a hurricane hit once every eight years and only in the most northern island of Anegada (which is Spanish for “drowned island” by the way). Yet in 2017, a triplet of hurricanes within two weekspummeled most of the BVI archipelago — first category 5 Hurricane Irma, then category 4 Jose, and finally category 5 Maria.
A year later the BVI is still trying to regroup. Many landowners can’t afford escalating insurance rates and can’t afford to rebuild. Supplies are unavailable for months. Hurricane Maria, by the way, was the deadliest hurricane in Puerto Rico since San Ciriaco in 1899. Think about that — the deadliest hurricane in 119 years. How can these warnings be ignored?
And like diabetes, it’s not just the weather change that affects us. It’s the complications ravaging intricate bodily systems that lead to amputations…stroke…heart disease…blindness…neuropathy…complete kidney failure. But, unlike diabetics, there’s no transplant list for Mother Nature to receive clean air, pure water, or more land.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study indicating that many storm-related deaths are from lack of access to medical care weeks and months after the storm. Have you considered the devastating global effects of climate change? Once clean air, water and acreage are eradicated, where will displaced populations go? How much food and water supplies will be lost? How many will be infected with West Nile or Zika viruses when the mosquito infestation multiplies from increased flooded areas?
As with diabetes, ignoring the realities is catastrophic. The only solution is to change our ill ways and practice healthier behavior. Put safeguards into place. Now. Not after our legs have been amputated. Not after the storm blacks out the power grid and its ability to provide proper medical attention, food refrigeration, or AC for that matter. Puerto Rico is the neon warning of what’s to come if we remain unprepared…
Admittedly, I’ve been caught up by global warming. Particularly after enduring a very wet, grey summer and attending Josh Fox’s masterpiece performance of The Truth has Changed.I didn’t want to believe things are as critical as they are. But, it’s not fake news folks. All you have to do is see and feel what is going on outside. There’s more to think about now than do I need a raincoat or sweater today?
Just take a look around and you may agree — this summer has been the exclamation point on climate change. I fear the daily torrential rains, flooding, high humidity and disease carrying bugs are replacing the usual summers I’ve loved in the past. Spring has been moving out the last few years. Summer is packing its bags too. Seems the oppressive grey gloom of winter is pirating the calendar and the full sun we use to have — one-fifth of the year.
Yet, seeing the global disrespect and exploitation of Mother Nature’s generous resources, I’m not so surprised by her increasingly loud protests through worldwide wrath.
Like a machete disfiguring a beautiful maiden’s face, we have ravaged her fertile soils, cut down her shade-giving trees, poisoned clear waters, and shamefully killed off wildlife — all for selfish convenience or greed.
Assuming Mother Nature will complacently stand by is as unrealistic as pretending there are no consequences for bad behavior. She is literally fighting for her life.