"It so easy to get caught up in all the bad news about the environment," I tell my Earth Circle companions. "It seems like there's a new problem every week, and it's hard to stay hopeful." I tell them about "ocean jellification," which I just learned about this week. Those apparitional and seemingly delicate creatures you see in on display at the aquarium are surprisingly resilient. They can grow large enough to take down a container ship and shut down a power plant. Jellyfish are unaffected by the rising acidity of the oceans and the giant floating garbage patches, both situations which are causing their natural predators to weaken and diminish in number. Jellyfish populations, on the other hand, are growing exponentially, further compromising the ability of other ocean species to adapt and thrive.
I shake my head. "I feel so sad and helpless when I read these stories. I want to be knowledgeable about what happening on our planet, and yet it pains me to hear about it. I want to feel hopeful enough to keep doing what must be done to heal our relationship with Earth."
We have gathered here in the park for this Earth Circle today, under a bright blue sky, to share our blessings for the Well-Being of our Mother Earth. We are here, also, to support each other in our journeys to be powerful, positive forces for conscious change.
I was inspired to offer this circle when I first woke up to realize just how debilitating and disempowering inaction is. I hear so many people say that they'd like to do something, but....
"I can't afford a Prius....
"I live in an apartment so I can't install solar panels.....
"I don't have space for a compost bin."
Or, like me, they say "I'd like to do something, if only I knew what to do that would really make a difference."
Recently, I went to hear Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Town movement, speak from his book "The Power of Just Doing Stuff." He shared stories of people around the world, "just doing stuff;" ranging from simple things like starting a community garden bigger efforts like starting a local wind farm. Viewed independently, no community garden or single wind farm is going to resolve the many environmental problems on our planet. It does generate, however, the kind of hope and creativity that, collectively, can and will.
This Earth Circle, then, is my way of Just Doing Stuff, starting right where I live and with the tools I already own.
Back in the circle, it occurs to me to share further, "At home, we've been watching a TV channel that is a constant stream of images of beautiful places around the world. While watching the channel yesterday, a most simple and startling thought came to me: 'Earth is still beautiful.' " I sigh. "I am here today because I want to remember and believe that Earth is even more beautiful than I know and far more resilient than I currently give her credit for being."
It occurs to me that, while most activists are fueled by outrage, it is the Beauty of Earth that fuels my work. No jellyfish takeover or giant trash dump has ever inspired me to Love Earth in the way that a walk through the forest has. It is time to turn my attention away from the ocean garbage patches and dead zones and train my eye on the Beauty in the world.
"Ask for what you want," I coach my children. "The more you complain about what you don't want, the more you attract it into your life." Time to heed my own advice. And to learn from hummingbirds. Seek out the sights and sounds which soothe my soul, and savor the sweetness of it when I do. Seek and ye shall find. Earth is still Beautiful.