Compassion for Earth is Vaccine Against Epidemic of Indifference

by Junno Arocho Esteves

Contemplation and compassion are the necessary components of an integral ecology that ensures both the care of the environment and the common good, Pope Francis said.

“Compassion is the opposite of indifference,” Francis said Sept. 12 (2020), during an audience with members of the Laudato Si’ Communities. “Our compassion is the best vaccine against the epidemic of indifference.”

The Laudato Si’ Communities in Italy were founded by Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti, Italy, and Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, a grassroots organization that promotes the preservation of local food culture and traditional cooking to counteract the rise of fast food chains and food waste.

The current pandemic, the pope said, has shown that the health of men and women “cannot be separated from that of the environment in which they live.”

“It is also clear that climate change not only upsets the balance of nature, but also causes poverty and hunger; it affects the most vulnerable and sometimes forces them to leave their land,” he said.

The pope said that nature today is no longer admired or contemplated, but rather “devoured,” and that humanity has become voracious in its consumption of natural resources.

Humankind is “sick from consumption. This is our disease. [We are] sick from consumption,” he said. “We are scrambling for the latest ‘app,’ but we no longer know the names of our neighbors, much less know how to distinguish one tree from another.”

“Contemplation is the antidote to hasty, superficial and inconclusive choices,” he said. “Those who contemplate learn to feel the ground that sustains them, understand that they are not alone and without meaning.”

Francis said. “The world needs this creative and active charity, people who do not stand in front of a screen to comment, but instead, people who get their hands dirty to remove degradation and restore dignity…. we are all creatures, and everything in creation is related.”

Excerpt from online publication Earth Beat: Stories of Climate Crisis, Faith and Action

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Our Teachers In Nature

by Elisabet Sahtouris

Looking at living systems over time, I came to understand that they all go through a cycle that’s very like our psychological maturation cycles. We start with a unity, we’re undifferentiated, we come into the world new. And then individuation happens. We have many experiences. We branch out in many directions. And humanity, as it diversified and had more and more people, created more and more conflict. Exactly as the early Earth differentiated into bacteria and then they developed different lifestyles and they became competitive. They invented technologies in order to carry out their hostilities. They created enormous problems including global hunger and global pollution. And they had to solve those eventually by negotiating differences, moving on around the cycle, and working out cooperative schemes that ultimately led the ancient bacteria that ruled for the first half of Earth’s life to form a new kind of cell as a community of different lifestyle bacteria working together. That’s the nucleated cell that we’re made of, that all these trees are made of, that all the beings in the waters are made of. Everything we see around us is made of this wonderful big cooperative cell.

Photo gifted by Liz Pimentel-Gopal: Black Sands Beach Marin County (SF Bay Area)

Now humanity is going through the biggest event since the time that bacteria formed the nucleated cell because we’re now trying to form the body of humanity around the globe. Seeing that other species matured out of a youthful competitive phase into a mature cooperative phase means everything to us now. The Darwinian story only goes to the adolescent part where there’s hostile competition. You take all you can get. You fight your enemy. You try to out-do him or try to bump him off and that’s what makes you survive.

But that’s not what sustainability is all about. Sustainability happens when species learn to feed each other instead of fight each other. You get mature ecosystems such as rainforests and prairies where you have far more cooperation than you have hostile competition. You can still have friendly competition, but that’s very different. So I see humanity doing exactly this right now. We of the western culture who divorced ourselves from nature saying “We’re separate. That’s nature out there. Let’s see how we can exploit it to our purposes.” Interestingly, we’re the species who invented the concept of entropy and we’re the one who creates it, who deteriorates eco-systems while the other species are building them up. So we have a great deal to learn from nature and by recognizing that our conscious experience is of other beings, is of teachers in nature that we can learn from and gain hope from. If bacteria could do it without benefit of brain, can’t we [do it] as humans with big brains?

Excerpt is taken from Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris‘ online article titled After Darwin (2003) and read at Awakin Santa Clara on June 21, 2010.  Elisabet is an evolution biologist, futurist, speaker, author, and sustainability consultant to businesses, government agencies and other organizations

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How Many Holy Moments?

by Richard Whittaker

[Here’s one of the stunning stories shared by Rachel Naomi Remen in a recent circle.]

This story is about a guy who runs a large emergency room in San Francisco. Emergency room doctors are not soft and mushy. 🙂 Whether male or female, it requires a great degree of toughness.

It was a very busy night in the emergency room. It was so busy that they got him out of his office to go down and actually get in the trenches and help. He wasn’t there for a couple of hours and they got a call from an ambulance coming in. They were bringing a woman in active labor — very active labor — in. They were concerned that the baby was actually going to be born in the ambulance as they were transporting her. They wanted the team to know that this was coming.

So he went out to the ambulance bay, to meet the ambulance, and he brought two nurses with him. They had the packs for the delivery, in case they were needed. The ambulance arrives and they bring up the gurney with this woman on it. And he gets her to come down to the end of the gurney, does an examination, and yes, this baby is just about ready to be born.

He says to her, “You know, I’ve delivered probably about 300-400 babies in the time I’ve worked as an emergency room doctor. Your doctor’s on the way, but if he doesn’t make it before the baby comes, I’ll deliver you. So you’re here. It’s going to be alright.”

He barely finished talking and the baby’s head began crowning. The nurses stood up (they’re so heroic!) on either side of him. One had one leg of the woman on her shoulder. The other had the other leg. And he’s standing there, and he delivers a little baby girl. Right in the ambulance bay. And it’s perfect — it’s a perfect delivery. There’s no chord around the neck. She’s breathing spontaneously. He puts her on the back of his arm like he’s been taught. He puts the back of her head here, and he lowers her below the placenta to get the most of the nourishment before he cuts the chord, and as he’s doing this, the baby opens her eyes and looks deeply into his eyes.

In that moment, he sees that there’s a look of what appears to be wonder on her face. And suddenly he’s able to step past his usual way of seeing things — because he’d been congratulating himself on what he calls his ‘drop-dead skills’ to be able to deliver under these terrible circumstances — and he suddenly realizes, as she opens her eyes, that he’s the first human being that this little girl has ever seen.

He feels his heart go out to her in welcome, from the whole human race.

A lot of his ways of seeing things just sort of fell off — his cynicism, his irritation, his sense of what he was doing, even, fell away.

For a moment, tears filled his eyes.

He was stunned by the tears.

But it didn’t make him incompetent. He continued… He cut and clamped the chord, put her on the mother’s belly and turned her over to the pediatric resident, as usual.

But he told us that he felt totally changed by this experience.

He said, ordinarily, he would have been there as a doctor, but not as a fellow human being. He’d be there as a technician. He might not have even noticed the baby open its eyes, or what it meant when she looked deeply into his eyes.

There was a feeling that had come over him. And he didn’t recognize what the feeling meant for two days. But he finally got it, what this feeling was. The feeling was one of gratitude — for being the one who got to stand on the threshold of this world and welcome her.

He said he wonders how many other moments of inspiration and meaning he’s missed in the emergency room. He says he’s missed them all.

He thinks of that moment, when the baby opened her eyes, as a holy moment. And he began to wonder: How many other holy moments are there in this work? And what does it take to be able to look at them?

As he was telling us this story, he said, “They’re everywhere. Everywhere. There are holy moments everywhere in this world. Being a physician is a work which has a meaning that goes way back in time, but we call is by another name. We call it lineage. It’s a lineage of service to life. And we are doing this with our eyes closed. I have a front-row seat on life! So do you.

Don’t sit there with your eyes closed.

It’s not the amount of time something takes — although that is a factor — but it’s about being able to experience a moment of that kind of time, right in the middle of the fray.

Reading taken from Richard Whittaker’s ServiceSpace Blog. Richard is the West Coast Editor of Parabola and is the founder/editor of Works & Conversations Magazine.

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Earth Touching

by Thich Nhat Hanh

New cells are born every day and old cells die, but they have neither funerals nor birthdays

Here is the foot of a tree.Here is an empty, quiet place.
Here is a small sitting cushion.
Here is the cool green of the grass.
My child, why don’t you sit down?

Sit upright.
Sit with solidity.
Sit in peace.
Don’t let your thoughts
lift you up into the air.
Sit so that you can really touch the Earth
and be one with her.
You may like to smile, my child.
Earth will transmit to you her solidity,
her peace, and her joy.
With your mindful breathing,
with your peaceful smile,
you sustain the mudra of Earth Touching.

There were times when you didn’t do well.
Sitting on earth, it was as if you were floating in the air,
you who used to wander in the cycle of birth and death,
drifting and sinking in the ocean of misperceptions.
But Earth is always patient
and one-hearted.
Earth is still waiting for you
because Earth has been waiting for you
during the last trillion lives.
That is why she can wait for you for any length of time.

She will always welcome you,  
always fresh and green,
 exactly like the first time,
because love never says,
 “This is the last”;
because Earth is a loving mother.
She will never stop waiting for you.

Do go back to her, my child.
You will be like that tree.
The leaves, the branches,and the flowers of your soul
will be fresh and green
once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

The empty path welcomes you, my child,
filled with grass and little flowers,
the path among the fragrant rice paddy
that you walked on,holding your mother’s hand,
is still impressed in your mind.

Walk leisurely, peacefully.
Your feet should deeply touch the earth.
Don’t let your thoughts lift you up into the air, my child. Go back to the path every moment.
The path is your dearest friend.
She will transmit to you
her strength,
her peace.

Your diligent awareness of your breathing
will keep you in touch with the earth.
Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet,
as if you were massaging the earth.
The marks left by your feet
will be like the emperor’s seal
calling the Now to come back to the Here;
so that life will be present,
so that the blood will bring the color of love to your face,
so that the wonders of life will be manifested,
and all afflictions will be transformed into
peace and joy.

There were times when you did not succeed, my child.
Walking on the empty path,
 you were floating in the air,
because you used to get lost in samsara
and drawn into the world of illusion.
But the beautiful path is always patient.
It is always waiting for you to come back,
the path which is familiar to you,
the path which is so faithful.
It knows deeply that you will come back one day.
It will be joyful to welcome you back.
It will be as fresh and as beautiful as the first time.
Love never says, “This is the last.”

That path is you, my child.That is why it will never be tired of waiting.
 Whether it is covered now with red dustor with autumn leavesor icy snow—do go back to the path, my child,because I knowyou will be like that tree,the leaves, the trunk, the branches,and the blossoms of your soulwill be fresh and beautiful,once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

Poem by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

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Living Your Wholehearted Legacy Now

by Kristi Nelson

In the end, we all want to have lived lives that mattered. We all want to have left a lasting imprint on the hearts of those we loved and on the world as a whole. We all want to be remembered for the best of who we are and wanted to be.

Opportunities abound to fulfill these deeply human longings. They abound in every single moment that we are alive. But we often miss making the connection that now is the only doorway to then. We miss seeing that the choices we make at every juncture of our current moments and decisions either lead us toward or away from the possibility that we will have touched what we wanted to touch in ourselves, others and the world…in the end. We forget that living fully today is the only way to be remembered as we most fully want to be remembered when that great unknowable culmination of life finally arrives. We forget to remember that it is worth everything to live wholeheartedly in all the moments that we can.

Gifted by Clément Falize

When we befriend the fact that our lives are excruciatingly sacred and temporary, we are better able to take stock of what matters and to discern where wisdom directs our attention and choices. We long to say yes and dive headlong into life as the precious, passing invitation we know it is. Yet, facing and befriending the idea of our mortality seems to be the one thing that many of us most heartily avoid

We cannot live lives that truly matter without consideration of the things that truly matter — and our impermanence is one of these. The moment we begin to bring awareness to the basic idea that we have, and will have, a legacy, we begin to create one. With our attention. With our choices. With our actions. Acknowledgment of legacy itself brings home the realization that we will not live forever and that we are shaping and living it now.

Whenever we embrace the vulnerability that comes with being alive — that inherently accompanies living gratefully — we are reminded that time is limited, so we should treasure what we have now. Holding this perspective is how legacy is created — not missing an opportunity while opportunities are available to us. How might we best embrace vulnerability and avail ourselves of life’s many opportunities? By learning to lean into — and trust in — life.

Trust in life is a lesson with which many of us may wrestle in many ways, and it can support us in holding the wholehearted perspective that is the foundation of legacy. What does trust in life mean for each of us? Surely the idea lands differently into each of our lives… Trusting life is a powerful perspective and practice. One we can commit to hold, allowing all of what surfaces in its exploration. Like mindfulness or grateful living practice, it is not when every moment is a perfect expression of our commitment that we consider ourselves to have a “successful” practice. Success is in noticing one moment more awareness, one more centimeter of possibility, one more instance of trusting life. Success is earned in returning again and again to the invitation and opportunities that the practice extends to us to live more wholeheartedly. 

It can be very difficult to know how to live with the recognition that both so much and so little is promised us in this lifetime. It is challenging to remind ourselves that we navigate our lives, always, in the sublime truth of mystery. How do we hold awareness of the preciousness of life and its impermanence simultaneously? How do we offer our trust in life knowing that everyone will die and that difficulty and hardship are inevitable? How can we survive the balancing act of living in this way, much less cultivate and let it guide us? Gratefulness is an extraordinarily potent answer to many of our deep and far-reaching questions, inviting us to heed its invitation to live gratefully in the fullness of every moment…starting with the very moment that is here for us now.

Kristi Nelson is the Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living. She has spent her adult life immersed in the rewarding work of non-profit leadership, fundraising, and organizational development. In 2001, Kristi started a values-based fundraising consulting and training, and leadership coaching company, and in this capacity worked with organizations such as the Institute for Jewish SpiritualityBuddhist Peace FellowshipSpirit in ActionWisdom 2.0, and The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, among others.

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In Giving I Connect With Others

by Isabel Allende

I have lived with passion and in a hurry, trying to accomplish too many things. I never had time to think about my beliefs until my 28-year-old daughter Paula fell ill. She was in a coma for a year and I took care of her at home, until she died in my arms in December of 1992.

Paralyzed and silent in her bed, my daughter Paula taught me a lesson that is now my mantra: You only have what you give. It’s by spending yourself that you become rich.

Paula led a life of service. She worked as a volunteer helping women and children, eight hours a day, six days a week. She never had any money, but she needed very little. When she died she had nothing and she needed nothing. During her illness I had to let go of everything: her laughter, her voice, her grace, her beauty, her company and finally her spirit. When she died I thought I had lost everything. But then I realized I still had the love I had given her. I don’t even know if she was able to receive that love. She could not respond in any way, her eyes were somber pools that reflected no light. But I was full of love and that love keeps growing and multiplying and giving fruit.

I think I like the Dalai Lama even more than Antonio Banderas.

The pain of losing my child was a cleansing experience. I had to throw overboard all excess baggage and keep only what is essential. Because of Paula, I don’t cling to anything anymore. Now I like to give much more than to receive. I am happier when I love than when I am loved. I adore my husband, my son, my grandchildren, my mother, my dog, and frankly I don’t know if they even like me. But who cares? Loving them is my joy.

Give, give, give — what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.

It is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.

Isabel Allende in NPR series This I Believe

Passage taken from Awakin Santa Clara readings.

Novelist Isabel Allende was born in Peru and raised in Chile. When her uncle, Chilean President Salvador Allende, was assassinated in 1973, she fled with her husband and children to Venezuela. Allende has written more than a dozen novels, including The House of the Spirits and My Invented Country.

Her most recent books include Zorro: A Novel and the final installment in her celebrated children’s trilogy, Forest of the Pygmies.

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Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation

by John Lewis

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

About the author: John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published in the New York Times on the day of his funeral.

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Kindness is Free

by Olutayo Ifedayo Victor

No one noticed or even cared when the richest man in my community died. Everyone went about their normal way of life. It was as if nothing had happened at all.

Poem gifted by Frances Freais – inspired by Summer 2020 Service Space Internship’s kindness challenge

On the day of his wake, there were only nine people in the ornate hall rented for the event, even his sons and the clergy of the community failed to show up. He was a man feared for his ruthlessness, and once boasted that: ‘Kindness is shown by the weak, to the weakest folks.’

He left a terrible legacy and people were happy after his passing.

Interestingly, two months later, another man died in the same town and I remember getting back from school and it was as if the world was ending. I’ve never seen such a crowd of mourners. Hundreds of people gathered in the heavy rain wailing, and it was the darkest day in my town.

Okafor was a wretched man who had lost his legs to a disease as a child but what the man couldn’t make up with his legs, he did with his sunny smile. He pivoted his weight on a skating board on which he hurtled around with his popular broom and cutlass. Okafor swept the entire streets of the community for free and cut the grasses, and all he cared about was a little alms or gifts from the people. He was always there cheering school children, encouraging and telling them jokes. Wherever Okafor was there was so much joy and laughter. He was the man without legs who helped school children cross the roads and the one who assisted the elderly with their loads. He was the guy without legs who inspired the young footballers to work harder so they can bring the state trophy back home.

Even when he was dying from tuberculosis, he showed so much life, and spoke glowingly to people, encouraging and assisting them. He was a pennilessness man who gave more than any millionaire in the town. Okafor wasn’t really noticed when he was alive but his importance was discovered after his demise. His burial was attended by thousands. Even the king of the community came and so did some politicians. They were puzzled and thought Okafor was a wealthy man but were shocked when they realized they’d come to the funeral of a homeless man who possessed nothing.

Few months after his death, the bushes along the roads grew back. The snakes terrorizing the people returned. During a heated debate in the community hall which was often cleaned by Okafor, a snake fell on the head of the market leader, making everyone flee. An elderly woman who Okafor often help cross the road was killed by an overspeeding motorcycle popularly called ‘Okada’ in my country. Okafor had left a big vacuum that needed to be urgently filled. And I was one of the people who volunteered to help. A half-day of cutting at grasses made me realize that Okafor did what he did out of sheer love and kindness and not for the offerings given by few people. His effort was well beyond the pittance he received. And it was as if the death of a man without legs threw the entire community into total chaos and breakdown.

Since I’m too young and don’t have the extreme physical energy possessed by Okafor, I started an ‘Okafor Memorial Group: OMG’ whose sole job is to replicate the kindness of the late cripple. Made of thirty-one children, we delegate ourselves to handle choirs according to our ability and energy during the weekends. We’ve also raised some little donations and are working with the community leaders to build a library in the honour of this unlettered man. And we’ve been so successful that I know Okafor where ever he is will be extremely proud of himself and us.

Olutavo Ifedayo Victor

Asked why he showed kindness to everyone around him, Okafar would say: “I shaw kaindnas to da pepl, coz even a lion shows kindness to its kind.”

And these are words written on the library walls; a reminder of the kindness of a man who’d lost everything yet gave the world so much kindness.

About the author: Olutayo Ifedayo Victor, from Nigeria,  wrote the essay at age 14 for the Goi Peace Foundation 2019 International Essay Contest for Young People. His essay won the 1st prize in the “Children’s Category”

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Where Should One Find Happiness?

by Prof RR -Rajagopalan

Mulla Nusruddin was walking on the road and he saw a man sitting on the wayside, looking very unhappy and dejected. Mulla asked him, “What is bothering you?” The man replied, “I have nothing of interest in my life. I have money enough so I do not have to work. I am seeking happiness, but I have not found it in anything so far.”

Mulla Nusruddin on his donkey

In a flash, Mulla lifted the man’s bag and began running. The man ran after Mulla, but could not catch him. Mulla knew all the by lanes of the area and soon he was back on the road ahead of the man who was looking for the thief. Mulla placed the bag by the side of the road and was watching from a hideout.

Presently, the sad man turned up, looking even more unhappy due to the loss of his bag. As soon as he saw his bag, he ran towards it, shouting with joy.

Mulla came out and told the man, “That is one way of producing happiness.”

Background: This is one of the many tales of Mulla Nusruddin, also called Nusreddin Hodja. Mulla stories are found in many countries and cultures, especially in the Muslim world. In some stories, Mulla appears to be very foolish, in others very wise. But there is always something funny about a Mulla story. Not only that, most stories have layers of deeper truths too, if we reflect on them.

We do not know whether such a person ever existed, though Turkey claims to be the Mulla’s native place. UNESCO proclaimed 1996-97 as the Year of Nusreddin Hodja. Possibly, the Sufis created this character in order to convey some truths to people.

You will find innumerable Mulla stories on the Internet, but they are not all of the same quality. The three collections of Mulla stories written by Idries Shah, the scholar of sufism, are dependable.

Excerpt taken from Prof. RR’s blog

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Just a Garden Away: A Song About Returning to the Basics

By Aaron & Chaya Ableman

Song offered by Aaron to Awakin Oakland on April 16, 2020.

A gift to Earth’s Day 50th Birthday

If the earth can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!
So, what else to do but build a garden?
Raising our youth in a bed of soil and seeds,
reading leaves like books on the art & zen,
Turning this kitchen to a survival lab,
This closet to a film set, dressed in drag;
with a spaceship, silly star dance on a lily pad!
Quarantime in the house is like fear vs love, breakdown vs breakthrough,
Covid 19 vs 2020 vision, in vs out, world’s upside round.
Sirens in the distance, so loud they drown symptoms!
Health is our greatest wealth, like it’s always been!

Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth
Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth
Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth

Where did this all start? A bat-sonar, cartoon, sci-fi rap
song, halt the humans; Wuhan got ya all in check?
A pandemic to destroy or heal something deeper in us?
A call to service or a dog whistle to foment more mistrust?
Maybe it’s a blue sky where there once were factories?
Maybe a true cry for healthcare & democracy?
Whatever the news source says, it’s a tragic-comedy,
An invisible portrait of the human specie
A race against itself, though capable of love throughout the family tree…

Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth
Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth
Just a garden away
Humming songs to the earth

Where do we go from here?
The choice is clear:
This is the only battle we can surrender to win!
Why do we still feel like we have something to prove?
A map of the earth shows wildlife have nowhere else to go
With no protection for the most vulnerable:
The insects, the winged ones, the four-leggeds, the endangered,
The farmers, nurses, homeless and all folks of service.
Did I forget I am because you are? I’m literally made out of you!
Same breath, same blood, same pains, same muse.
Social distancing only brings us closer to our spiritual witnessing!
And reaping what we sow is the gift that keeps giving.
At least we’re still rapping & singing I guess. Even though our cries change over time,
the melodies, memes, and feelings remain …
That’s why I’m teaching my child how to rhyme,
Breathe like a tree and reinvent the system to honor life once again.
That’s just the rhythm of the garden … hope you can tell a friend

Even if I’m far away, I’ll hold you in my heart 
I’ll sing: just garden … just a garden away … it’s a start! 

We invite you to listen to Aaron’s  Awakin Call Nutritious Pop Culture: Igniting a Global Youth Movement!
Aaron Abbleman: award winning actor, author, and artist. Growing up under the guidance of a farmer/author and public health care nurse, Aaron has studied with indigenous elders and notable spiritual leaders including the 14th Dalai Lama. His life and work have been heralded in publications such as HBO, LA Times, CNN, NY Times, and MTV

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