Updated November 3, 2010 with a link to “The Story of Stuff” – an eye-opening video about the cycle of consumerism and how it affects the entire planet.
I recently bought myself a house and moved into it 2 weeks ago. The lawn needs cutting and I don’t have a lawn mower (… yet). So I’ve been considering calling someone in to cut it for me, but first… I need to do something. The grass is long. It hasn’t been cut in at least a month, and we’ve had lots of rain. Neighbors have cut their own lawns twice since I moved in. Unfortunately, the weeds that are intruding are also long. I figured it’s easier to dig out weeds in grass when you can see them. So this morning, I got on my hands and knees to dig them out. My plan was to get the weeds out, put some new grass seed in, and next Spring, I should have the perfect looking lush green lawn that we all strive for in the city.
Now… as a new home-owner, I don’t yet have any gardening tools. My digging tool is a long flat-head screwdriver, my gardening gloves are yellow (P)latex, and my weed pail is the one in which I buy my kitty litter for my cat. So, I’m on my hands and knees, digging away and filling my pail, when I began to notice something unusual. A few inches away from where I punched my digging tool into the sod, earthworms were reaching their heads high into the air and literally lunging out of the earth. And scooting themselves across the top of the grass onto my pavement driveway only inches away. What’s going on here? I’ve never seen earthworms move so fast, and there are so many of them. I could open a fishing bait shop, there’s so many.
As I thought more about this unusual sight, I began to put myself into the earthworms shoes (so to speak), and I began to imagine what I was doing must be like for them. Down punches a long metal pole with a sharp edge. Cutting a worm in half here, barely missing another over there. Roots that formed the mazes and labyrinths of their homes being yanked out by gi-normas hands, tearing their world apart. Light and heat, where there was once only secure cool dark.
“I’m sorry”, I said, as I carefully moved each worm back from the pavement to a patch of bare loose soil, where there was once a weed. Where I placed the worm was never in the same place it originally came from. No big deal… Then it occurred to me. I didn’t just destroy each worm’s home. I also took the worm far away from where it used to live… away from its family. Can you imagine …. a space of 6 inches to a worm might just be like the distance between Canada and Japan, on a distance relativity scale.
So you ask, what does this experience have to do with the call of nature? Well… as I was on my hands and knees pulling those weeds and displacing those earthworms, I was thinking about how I should really be at my desk, working on the huge backlog of action event photos I’m supposed to post on my web site. And I was also thinking about whether I should go to this “most of the day” workshop I’d been invited to that was about to start 2 blocks away from my house. A symposium workshop hosted by The Pachamama Alliance called: Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream. The purpose of the workshop was to address the questions of “Where on Earth are we going? And what can we do about it?” A workshop to explore how each one of us can “…. bring forth an environmentally, sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on Earth.” I’d been thinking about whether I should attend all week. Finally, about 15 minutes before the workshop started, I decided yes, I “should” go. Work can wait a few hours.
Now get this…. after the workshop, I was able to sit and chat with Marilyn, who had originally invited me. Marilyn told me about her morning, which apparently was quite stressful. Marilyn was running late and was supposed to help Maja, the presenter with room setup for the workshop. Marilyn described how in the half hour before the workshop start time (the same time I was pulling those weeds), she, Maja, and two other attendees joined hands, called in Sacred Space, and asked the Spirits to help others to find it in their hearts to attend this very important event. Their call worked, because their message was delivered to me. In the behaviour of the earthworms as I destroyed their environment … in a seemingly small act of pulling weeds.
The basic message I heard at the symposium: We are in an age of consumption, and all that we consume has an impact somewhere on this earth. The destruction of nature. The displacement of people from their homes because the nature around them was destroyed. The disappearance of trees, pollution of water. Animals becoming extinct because their habitats can no longer sustain them. Climate change. This message was communicated in a video called The Story of Stuff, a description of the BIGGER picture of how stuff is made, bought, and discarded … and how this all got started, and how we are all encouraged to maintain this cycle. Have you ever heard the terms planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence? Wow!
So… what are we going to do about it? How can we fix this mess we’ve gotten Planet Earth into? Each one of us as a role, and the role each one of us plays can be as small or as large as we want it to be. Even the tiniest act has a ripple effect. What am I going to do about it? I really don’t know, but I’ve taken the first step, by sharing what I learned today with you. Now its your turn. Nature is calling out to you for help. Will you listen, and will you act?
What is “The Awakening the Dreamer Initiative“? (Changing the Dream of the Modern World)
Note: I had trouble accessing this web site with Internet Explorer (might just be a glitch on my own computer), so I recommend Mozilla Firefox.
Notice Quiet Nature (a blog by Sherry Robinson)
Story of Stuff Project (provides access to many more videos similar to The Story of Stuff video mentioned above)