I didn’t want to let the last day of April slide by without reposting, with revisions, an article I wrote three years ago and a poem I composed years before that — it will be self-explanatory. If this nation and world had made better progress and if they had not repudiated the spirit of Earth Month, then, I would not even need to post this article. This current administration has only set us back by giant steps. The bottom line is not the bottom line.
Here is my three-year old post:
In Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, she brought to light the problems of environmental destruction. She methodically laid out the processes of pollution that were occurring, and her book essentially changed the way most Americans thought about using chemicals in a wholesale manner to deal with inconveniences. Enough attention accrued that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed by Congress, almost unanimously, virtually the direct result of Carson’s work.
Yet, today many people refute the spirit of Carson’s work. Fracking dumps dozens of chemicals into the earth, chemicals that destroy life beyond renewability. Some are harmful and even fatal to us. The administration has auctioned off over 100,000 acres of public land at the end of 2018 for fracking. No lies can cover up the destructive nature of this process. If nature goes, we go.
The imagination and knowledge to use alternative energies exist; the problem is not enough profit and control for oligarchs. If the motivation is the bottom line at the expense of life, that is insanity, stupidity. Oh, I know the arguments, and my counter will always be the same: if Nature is destroyed beyond renewability, then we should not benefit by any products, processes, or methods that destroy her.
Large corporations and their scientists are engaged in the same sort of practices today that Carson’s work exposed as deadly to the environment and humans over 50 years ago. How can this be? Convenience? Profit? They make pseudo-humanitarian claims, but these are shallow lies.
Carson said in Silent Spring, “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” The same logic applies to any practices destructive of the environment.
Like fracking, which is the very sort of situation that Carson examined: dumping immense quantities of poisons into the environment, especially polluting underground waters, that cause currently unmeasured consequences.
We have options. We need to use them. Capitalism unchecked by Nature and the Heart is worthless, destructive shit. Nature shows us the reality of our actions; our Heart reveals our motives. Harmony is possible.
The Moon at Half-Mast
I offer a long poem today, written immediately after viewing the devastation of the deep well Horizon oil spill.
(June 22, 2010, Pensacola, Florida)
Nearly full moon viewed in azure blue sky
Before sun had set — all Moon’s features
Clearly visible, clearly weeping.
The flag, our flag, flown at half staff
(half mast on a ship — which is the position
From which I viewed the moon
As I looked up past a sailboat mast)
A symbol of sorrow, mourning,
Community recognition of someone passing
Someone of significance, importance --
More so than the common man,
For those who have served their country, our country.
The moon, our moon — not just America’s — grieved
This day as she stared in horror, mouth agape,
At her waters she so faithfully controls,
Waters of the Gulf of Mexico,
Waters of Southern coastal United States, our states,
Appropriately salty waters, now being raped,
The vicious, belching, bellowing, black gush of
Appropriately named crude oil
Spewing, violently forcing its destructive blobs and blankets
Of life-destroying gunk on this majestic milieu
Of marine flora and fauna.
She, Moon, could not respond with frenetic action,
Like that which she viewed with her silvery face
Of the buzzing clean-up engaged in by tiny man.
She could only do three things --
Two of which she performs rather flawlessly
And the third she awkwardly and silently conveys;
Faithfully, she uses her mass and orbit
To keep this globe, our globe,
On its crucial twenty-three-and-a-half degree axis,
And she then uses those same attributes, her attributes,
To steadily, faithfully, and effortlessly urge the sea tides
To ebb and flow.
Neither natural nor effortless, though,
Are the silent sobs with which she now convulses,
Expressing the destruction and loss which people, we people,
Have caused her to witness;
She now wails and laments:
Wails over the brown unsightly blobs
Bobbing over the face of the surging blue sea;
Laments the answering, oily sheen
To the flawless silver radiation she casts in beauty;
Wails for the tiny shelled creatures and wavy, curly sea grasses
Now gasping poisoned breaths;
Laments the powdery white shores
Now pock-marked brown and gummy;
Wails over the majestic pelicans, gulls, osprey, heron
And every sea bird that gently communes with her --
All those, threatened now with a greasy, flightless end
Or a perplexing, gnawing hunger;
Laments the little fish, the dolphins, the turtles,
The rays, the crustaceans — so many creatures --
Puzzled at the noxious, smothering net
Now enclosing and settling upon them, around them --
The cycle of life disrupted by this unnatural death.
And through the salty and now oily tears
Of her devastated domain she cries with the undulating sea surface,
“Not I, Not I, Not I, Not I
Did this, Did this, Did this, Did this!”
And the waves answer,
“Who did, Who did, Who did, Who did?”
And what do we, we humans, say?
Moon glows at half mast over the sea.
I can’t help but share a few more thoughts based on my series I have written. In some ways, the events of the day around this planet seem to reveal how crucial it is to choose Heart as our primary operating system.
The choice is no different; however, the stark contrast between our two primary energies of Heart and Ego has drawn to a head. It’s probably not the end-of-the-world type disaster, but the current prevailing winds of humanity show that a huge majority of folks just aren’t happy. Racism, oppression, prejudice, and associated attitudes and actions manifest the underlying unhappiness. Choose love, for love eliminates the often disguised Ego fear that drives so much current discontent. Choose happy — much simpler.
Ultimately, change occurs when individuals make up their souls and minds that Ego has no place in controlling and guiding healthy relationships. It has no place in setting policies or writing legislation.
I know that, and I share what I can to promote love, peace, and understanding. Martin Luther King knew that; I share his “Letter…” in previous writing. He worked for social justice in the public sector. Maya Angelou knew that; I share her poem “On the Pulse of Morning.” She worked for healing justice in our collective soul.
Elvis Presley worked for light and love in his music, at least in songs like “If I Could Dream,” which I referenced at the start of this work. People feel Heart depth. And as Queen Latifah sings in the musical Hairspray, “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Or any of thousands of publicly talented people and millions of those who are content to just be happy in living Self and personal truth and respond for justice’s sake when the situations present themselves.
Various artists, thinkers, and activists do such in many expressions of Heart. None of them or me is flawless or blameless, but what matters is each of us continues to assess Self and live in happiness.
Each of us may work to ensure freedom and enjoy fellowship; we should all be doing, thinking, feeling, processing, experiencing, acting, and reacting based on Heart energy.
Simplicity. Sitting at lunch counters. Having meals together. Writing some blog posts. Helping when we can whether through teaching literacy or rejecting racial slurs. Acting in reality like the Others are me; they are. Greeting one another with a friendly, easy “Good morning.”
Some Concluding Thoughts on Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (along with some references to Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I know some people think that I do not have the right to write about the sorts of issues I do, especially racial injustice because I am White. I don’t need any trite advice like that. I don’t need to be told I cannot understand, sympathize, empathize, or identify with fellow human beings. Their cultures may be different, their skin a different color, and their language, religions, and social/cultural contexts may be different, but we are not essentially different. We all have Ego and Heart.
Such attitudes do absolutely nothing except damage to the cause of the fellowship of the Heart, a union in which we maintain our unique identities both individually and culturally yet work together in love and light, creating and living purpose, facing challenges, simply being happy in our personal truth, enjoying equality, freedom, and mutual dignity.
The issue in all of these matters is choosing to operate with Heart as our driving force. Ego has its value but not here. Heart-energy must be employed in the development of policies, legislation, and governance, if we want true equality and freedom. Heart-energy must also guide us individually, if we want personal significance, fulfillment, and happiness.
Yes, government must ensure certain Ego practices and rules do not destroy others, do not favor one group over another, do not systemically embed racism in a nation. The individuals who propose, debate, compromise, write, and enact legislation need to be operating in Heart-energy. Laws borne of Ego that are unjust laws must be disobeyed, protested, and nullified. This Earth is experiencing a major shift in understanding our interconnectedness, and without Heart being the driving and designing force in shaping ourselves as individuals and our interactions with one another, little hope is to be had for the sort of nation envisioned by leading founders of this nation.
Maya Angelou and Martin Luther King lived in this spirit. They did not sit still, bowed under the marginalization, rejection, abuse, and hopelessness into which a white-engineered society cast them. Faced with centuries of oppression in a society under a government rigged to keep things exactly as they were, Maya and Martin worked their magic, produced hope, and instigated change, each in their own way.
With full knowledge of the way things were, they chose to express their personal truth and purpose, knowing that whatever others thought, whatever the consequences, whatever their success or rejection, they were doing the only thing they could honestly do: live true Self.
Oppression, burdens, and hardships may elicit a variety of responses from us humans: we may succumb, wilt, and be crushed. We may learn to live with bowed backs and downcast eyes, ignore the brutishness, and accept it as normal — and this is true over a wide spectrum of human experience, not only racial issues. On the other hand, we may choose to live in Heart energy and radiate light and love as we discover self and create purpose.LM
One choice is easy but dismal. One choice is challenging but bright. I’ll have challenging, bright, and love and light, please.
Faced with our history, can we possibly reverse the nightmare of our prejudice, bigotry, genocide, greed, and destruction?
Yes! Maya appeals to that Heart desire of dreaming good things, positive, high-frequency energies of freedom to live with those natural, inherent rights of mutually respectful, mutually beneficial principles: “Give birth again to the dream. / Women, children, men, / Take it into the palms of your hands. / Mold it into the shape of your most / Private need. Sculpt it into / The image of your most public self.” All have dreams.
None need ascribe to anyone else’s dream or truth. Heart-generated and -energized dreams give new clay to give new forms, new shapes, new dimensions to this world. When we can live, work, and respect one another in the spirit of the common good, we “[S]culpt it,” sculpt life, sculpt a new history using new material.
Living true to Self is the birth of the new dream and is the new clay. Discovering Self is not selfish. Spiritual awakening is the basis of governance that all may take advantage of natural and expansive rights and freedom if any choose to. If none do, the government should still be based on Heart-energies, Heart-principles.
The past pall of Ego over our history dissipates in the light of Heart: “Do not be wedded forever / To fear, yoked eternally / To brutishness.” The propensity to accept war and destruction as natural is a lie. It does NOT have to be that way, and scheming, duplicitous political and governmental dealings for personal gain, even national, at the cost of others’ freedoms is brutishness — against Nature.
How do we break free from those things which seem inevitable in an ego mindset? “The horizon leans forward, / Offering you space to place new steps of change.” Change for peace, equality, and a new history. Change that redefines Ego-led lives with Heart-energy. Redefines history. Redefines values. Redefines relationships.
Reform won’t do it. Reform looks at the past and tries to patch up or improve what is often an inherently faulty system. New horizons stretch before us.
Do we buy these ideas? Believe them? Do we fear them? Is it all too drastic? Listen: “You may have the courage to look up and out upon me, / The rock, the river, the tree, your country.” Anyone can: “No less to Midas than the mendicant.” Equality enjoyed in terms of opportunity and freedom to choose regardless of socioeconomic status or regardless of history: “No less to you now than the mastodon then.” Throughout history, Spirit and Spirit’s nature has offered the testimony of freedom, equality, and hope for harmony. Any principles, legislation, or persons who limit those qualities pervert the history we create.
How does it start, though? How could a new energy be introduced that changes the course of history? The rock, the river, and the tree say, “…look up and out / And into your sister’s eyes, / Into your brother’s face, your country.” Recognize that a nation, other nations, governments, institutions, corporations, or any aggregate of people are made up of individuals to be treated and related to as such. Valued in fellowship. Valued in compassion. Valued in communication. Valued in a shared future of hope.
Therefore, the change, the redefinitions begin with you, with me, individuals. Is this too complicated? No, it’s choosing Heart over Ego to operate our lives. We have Ego and that great power helps to shape and give distinct personality to each of us. We should value that; however, Heart energy makes it possible to recognize personality and individuality and then to forge ahead into a higher experience.
And that does not take much, really. Look into one another’s faces, knowing who we are, and “say simply, / Very simply / With hope / Good morning.”
Who abused the Indigenous People, and why did they do it? A number of ethnicities are listed, but the why is the most significant fact. The tribes forced to leave opened the way for those “Desperate for gain, starving for gold.” Ego doesn’t hesitate to destroy, abuse, or even kill for those things that have nothing to do with the deepest yearnings of us all, those qualities that we ultimately desire. Sometimes, egotists maintain they do what they do for peace, love, and the common good. They don’t; they are simply greedy.
Avarice produces a debt, so the tree says these named groups arrived “on a nightmare / Praying for a dream.” To some of these groups, money and gain became the dream, and enslaving and oppressing others proved to be useful tools; however, the ends never justify the means. No one gets to achieve their dreams — no matter how horrible their previous situation was — by oppressing, destroying, or killing others or Nature herself.
At times, things that seem positive, like seeking wealth and being highly motivated to pray for some dream, can become a nightmare if the motive force is Ego. Exploring, discovering, and knowing who we are at Heart-level will shape the dreams and prevent them from becoming nightmares.
The tree offers the invitation: “root yourselves beside me. / I am the tree planted by the river, / Which will not be moved.” Heart-energies, highest frequencies don’t change and don’t give out when times are tough. Nature reflects that.
Then, the three elements of Nature here harmonize in their testimony to those seeking to know Self: “I, the rock, I the river, I the tree / I am yours…” Ego will sow discord, and sometimes we need discord to shake things up. When we recognize discord within and need to discover Self, we will not find false witness in Nature. We must listen to her.
In fact, they say, once again, “your passages have been paid.” Passages, journeys from our history painted mostly by Ego, have cost us. Heart in us waits to be discovered, invited, and engaged to be our operating system, one that will set beauty, love, light, peace, creativity, and progress on a solid footing, nurtured and flowing with the right energy. Heart in us is the payment.
We have means to access Heart. We need not be bogged down: “Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need / For this bright morning dawning…” Discovering self and creating purpose to pursue those things yielding happiness, fullness, and significance give us hope.This hope isn’t vague.
It’s personal — “for you.” Heart allows us to explore our own past and view and evaluate it in truth: “History, despite its wrenching pain, / Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, / Need not be lived again.” Don’t deny. Accept, and then release it. Allow Heart to lead onward and upward.
When we discover Heart, we can dream good dreams, dreams that become purpose and vision and health, dreams that become personal and then, in turn, benefit, bless, and work together for all. Maya, I think you agree with that, don’t you?
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!