Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Charity begins at home
Does planet earth need healing? I'm not so sure. It seems to me that the mother of all things takes good care of herself. She recycles the ocean floors through subduction while the weather circulates and recycles the atmosphere. Periodically, she erupts, bringing the fertility of aa and ash to the surface. Earthquakes are Mama Gaia's version of an osteopathic adjustment. Every now and then she develops a big fever, detoxes herself of nearly every living thing, starts fresh.
The earth prevailed beautifully for several billion years before any of us were here and I assume she will continue to do so long after we're gone.
This is not an excuse to be wasteful, greedy and/or stupid. Our cleverness, coupled with the fact that our species has overpopulated, is creating an environment in which we and many other species are suffering. I'm alarmed when I read about how much garbage is in the ocean, about the melting ice caps and glaciers, the species that are dying off. Holy cow.
That said, in a billion years there will be no trace of us left on earth. Our existence is but a blink in the eye of Mama Gaia.
In the meantime, we are here and we've not only been wildly successful as a species, but we've created a hot mess with our large brains, opposable thumbs and intense fertility. There are lots of people who think we need to clean up our mess. We surely do - or else.
There are many who believe it's up to we humans to go beyond cleaning up, beyond changing the way we live. There are those with what I believe to be overblown ambitions: stop global warming, heal the planet, save the planet. There are many variations on this idea, all of them - if you ask me - ridiculously grandiose. We are so sure of ourselves! We are an optimistic species with a "we can do it!" attitude. It's a blessing and a curse.
As optimistic and grandiose as our species can be, we are also prone to self loathing. I know a lot of self-blaming people. According to them, everything toxic or damaged on the planet is our fault, everything. Everything. Really? Are we that powerful? You tell me.
I believe both the grandiosity and the self loathing keeps us from doing as much good as we might.
In addition, the thought form in which we believe our species to be separate from what we call "nature" does a lot of damage. We are part of nature, not separate, not above it. We are not a supernatural species, I assure you.
Do we call hives "bee made," or dams "beaver made?" Are nests "bird made?" Why is it that when we shape our environments, we call it "man made?" I think separating ourselves from the world is a gross distortion of our place on the planet. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We are a part of planet earth, believe me.
A part of feeling separate from "nature" involves the idea that we are the dominant species on the planet. We say we dominate, but do we? I think cockroaches have got it coming and going over us, and don't even get me started on bacteria and viruses. It's our minds that say we're on top of the food chain. We are not.
I'm on about this today because I've been working a lot lately with people who wish to save the world.
Some are environmentalists who are sleep deprived, malnourished and miserable from their ninety hour work weeks, but who can somehow not understand that their bodies are not separate from what they wish to save. Disregarding the needs of their bodies will not save the planet, no matter how hard they work. I say it over and over, but they can not take it in. When they finally become so miserable or are in so much pain that they can barely focus, sometimes they come to see me. They're reluctant, but sometimes they just have to. When they at last come to me, their bodies, laid out on my treatment table, reverberate at the same frequency as clear cuts or strip mines. It makes me sad especially when they think one massage is going to reverse all the damage.
At least the environmentalists I know eat well. I also occasionally see people who work in the justice system, all of them doing righteous work to help make the system more fair, equitable. They are wonderful people who can not wrap their minds around the idea that fair and equitable includes allotting themselves sufficient time for rest, sleep, and fun. In addition to sleep deprivation, these people usually don't eat well. Their bodies on the treatment table resonate like the toxic remains of a landscape after fracking. It's not pretty. Their hearts are always very heavy.
I do what I can to help these truly valiant people. They're wonderful - with a blind spot. What they do to their own bodies is reprehensible. They would never treat their work for the environment and justice so poorly. This kind of thinking is not only accepted throughout our society, it is celebrated. The body is expected to put out without question, like cows in factory dairies, strapped all day into the milking machines, like polluted oil fields, like children working long days in horrible factories. The sad irony of the way they treat themselves while working for the greater good escapes them completely.
By ignoring the needs of our miracle bodies until we are stressed out, broken down, or chronically ill, will we heal the planet? You tell me.
May you treat your miracle body with respect, love, and may you be in awe of all your body provides. May it be so!