THE OPEN GATE

Point Arena Spiritual RetreatThe golden fields just beyond the gate’s metal mouth, is tempting me with her lush grasses and the smell of the near forest and her moist soils. The open gate invites me to explore the outer reaches of my own sense of belonging, my own familiar field of understanding. The wind whispers with messages from afar. The fresh ocean air feels like a welcome friend bringing cookies and a prayer. Meanwhile, California is on fire, people are shooting each other all over the world, our political puppets are unbelievable satire, and my dear friend just diagnosed with breast cancer. How does one stay optimistic with such temperature’s rising? Maybe the first step is to be honest about where we are wasteful, to make new promises to consume less plastic (or better yet no plastic), imagine a new field of simple living where we care more about how we feed ourselves in balance with and respect for our dirt, our water, our air, our limited resources, our neighbor, our family and our animal friends.

I ask, where is your open gate? What new possibilities can you imagine in that new field? What can you let go of so that your one room is lighter and only full of the things you really need?

I look around at the disparities; an unusually arctic summer here along the Northern California Coast while the wildfires in most of California are raging. Our coastal creeks that usually meander to the ocean are drying up for the first time ever in my lifetime. Where did the water go? Are my eyes gritty and red because I am empathizing, or is it something in the air? For years we’ve talked about the pending chaos of global warming, the conspiracy theory, and Monsanto’s evil grip. The Earth is rumbling from within while we busily go about our day, in our cars, on our cel phones, and the internet.

I am reminded of a recent trip to a museum at the Skunk Train in Fort Bragg, with my grandson, Chance. The museum was in a beautiful 2 story Victorian home. All of the rooms in the home, except for one, were filled with all of the white man’s industrious accomplishments of cutting down the redwood forests, building roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, trains, even lighthouses so we could….do what? Build houses, factories, metal tools to make saws to cut down the trees, boilers,…basically gobs of tools and materials to make cities, ships, cars and trains. While only one small room held the artifacts of the local Pomo Indians. This room held all the things that the Pomo’s needed to survive in a balanced way on their landscape. There were a few baskets, some arrowheads, and a grinding stone, some shell beads and fishing poles. That is all they needed. It was such a harsh contradiction, I still can’t stop thinking of it. Are you in the room of living simply, or are you in the industrial room with its chemicals, metals, tree killers, or various other methods of mass production (or destruction).

I remember my favorite children’s book, “The Lorax”, by Dr. Seuss. In it he tells the story of a man named, Onceler, who came to Lorax’s wonderland of plants and animals, cut down the Truffala trees, made a factory. He was so successful that he cut down all of the trees. Without the trees the other plants and animals went extinct or had to leave to find a new home. Even the Lorax had to leave his native home, and so the Onceler was left alone in his dead kingdom. He attempted to make amends by giving away a Truffula seed with his words, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothings going to get better, it’s not….Plant a new Truffula, treat it with care, give it clean water, and feed it fresh air. Grow a forest, protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and his friends may come back.”

We all play a roll in this story. Whether we are the business owner, tree cutter, clothing buyer, factory worker. I know it is a harsh truth, knowing that our industrious ways are toxic to the earth. How do we get off the tread mill? How do we reduce our consumption? Where do we take a stand and what for? Or maybe we simply start by slowing down and opening the wild gate of our imagination? We each need to open the once closed gate of our deeper conscience, walk through it and start taking a stand for sustainability, respect for the earth who feeds us, respect for each other.

I am reminded of the adage: “If you put a frog in warm water and slowly increase the temperature to boiling, the frog won’t notice and will eventually succumb to the heat. On the other hand, if you put a frog in near boiling water it will jump out immediately.” So, are we slowly cooking? I think the answer is, Yes. What is it going to take for us, for me, for you, for us humans (as a collective), to not just realize that global warming is real, but honestly inquire that if we are the frogs in the slowly increasingly warming waters, what to do? Where is the open gate? Where does it go? Truth or Dare?

I DARE YOU…

I dare you to not buy any drinks that are in plastic for one month. Bring your own mug, mason jar or bottle (not plastic). Mason jars are great because they can be hot or cold.  We even make Wool Mason Jar sleeves  or better yet, make your own wit one of your old socks. And if you do go out for a coffee, tea or juice to go, have them use your mug or jar. If you can make it a month, keep going. Let me know how it goes and what you notice.

I dare you to write to your favorite beverage maker that if they continue to bottle their beverages in plastic you will be forced to no longer purchase their goods. Share your letter and address with friends and family and ask them to write letters too.

I dare you not to buy any fruits or veggies that are packaged in plastic for one month. And if you cant do that then I dare you to keep all of the package materials in your living room for the month so you can see how much plastic you generate. I know that sounds gross, but lets be realistic.

I dare you to plant a tree and watch it grow.