Earth Day 2021…Reflections

Greetings on this Earth Day, 22 April 2021. For many of us, every day is Earth Day and we do our best to make a positive impact to repair and sustain Earth Mother, she who gives us all everything we need to survive and thrive. Some of us are fortunate to have plenty while others live and struggle daily worrying from where their next meal will come, how they will pay their bills, if they will ever have a place to call home besides our cities’ shelters and areas where tents or other makeshift structures are allowed. Citizens and governments can work together to bridge the chasm between those to have and those who have not the physical means to survive, based on one’s circumstances.

While discussing issues about disparity and racism with a friend, she highlighted that we are all of one race, the human race. It had crossed my mind throughout the years as to why I had to always select a color, among other characteristics that really should not matter, except for perhaps a census or medical records. Progressing the global mindset from categorizing humans into different, even disparate races, a practice that began in ancient times, to realize and act like we are the human collective would be a good start. Realizing that everyone, and by this I mean humans, flora, fauna, the lives in our waters, forests, and so on, embody an energy and are living beings would be another step to honoring all life on our Earth and working to repair the damage and envision a better hope for sustainment for generations to come. Our ancestors surely did not foresee the widespread destruction, intentional in cases, that is killing our Earth Mother. Education about the resources that sustain all life should be at the forefront of discussions regarding reparations, yes I said reparations to Earth Mother for bad human behavior that is killing us all. We have been endowed with plenty yet while our needs are met, we want more…more things that do not benefit our lives but end up in the landfills once they no longer seem to meet our temporary desires. This excess of garbage we have the means to stop.

I do not want to be all gloom and doom on any day. My wife Kathy and I are supporting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation tomorrow by volunteering at Clagett Farm to pot saplings. The weather is supposed to be nice so it should be a good experience working in the soil, helping to secure the future of our forests. I have always loved trees and their energy that gives life to everyone and provides shelter for so many beings. As a Junior Scout, I worked hard to sell cookies so I could attend Meadow Mountain Ranch summer camp in my Colorado Rockies. The mountains and woods called to me, then and now. I read a poem last night when perusing a book this friend recommended that connected with my soul.

My help is in the mountain
Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.

Earth cure me. Earth receive my woe. Rock
strengthen me. Rock receive my weakness. Rain
wash my sadness away. Rain receive my doubt.
Sun make sweet my song. Sun receive the anger
from my heart.

Nancy Wood, Unnamed Poem under “Healing the Whole,” in Earth Prayers from Around the World – 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth, eds. Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1991), 97.

Letting Go…Felt Like a Loser

I know my blog is about positivity and all that; however, life is not always a bucket of love filled with beautiful flowers. Sometimes life is trashy and makes one feel so low, like a real loser. It happens and that is okay. We pick ourselves up, often with the love and kicking support of a best friend, or more than one as at times it takes a village to get us back up on our feet and seeing rays of sunshine. Hard times make us tougher and teach us how to activate that protective shell, which can be a detriment when we need to feel and love fully.

I am working through Zen as F*ck – A Journal for Practicing the Mindful art of Not Giving a Sh*t by Monica Sweeney. It would offend the more sensitive folks but it has become my backup journal to my regular blank pages of random, or not so random, recordation of my thoughts. Anyway, the pages I fell upon this morning involved on one side to write down “What is something someone said about you or to you that made you feel like the contents of a dumpster?” This one was easy, even after so many years…why…because it hurt so badly that so far, only one other shocking life event has ranked right up there with the one from 1996…yes…1996. I was serving on Active Duty in the US Army, nearly halfway through my twenty year career, and had completed my training to become a Warrant Officer, a technical expert in my field. Here is what I wrote: 1996 – Divorce Trial Judge, Manhattan, KS…He told me I had done an admirable job in taking care of my family but due to my career I was unfit to be a mother and primary care giver, custodial parent, for my young daughter. Therein I lost custody of my dearest little one, my Alexandra. My best friend with whom I grew up…Care Bear…saved me from myself and giving up on my career I loved by resigning my new commission and quitting, which was my dumpster trash thought after being shredded to a pulp of anger and savage pain in court. On to the light.

On the next page my assignment was to then write down “What’s one thing someone said about you or to you that made you feel incredible?” Two circumstances actually popped into my head so I wrote them down. Both had to do with my work in academia, with my two Master Degree programs – MS in 2001 and MA in 2020. In September 2001 my US Army senior advisor gave me a glowing rating and recommended me for PhD work in Russian Studies. The latter did not happen for several reasons, among them our prevailing focus in the Middle East…that is OKAY. In October 2020, my amazing thesis professor loved my Literature Review and complimented my overall work, as she had during the other two courses I took with her. The connection here is not lost on me. These are the thoughts that prevailed above many others because they are TANGIBLE achievements, ones that I can hold onto FOREVER and that NO ONE can take from me…period. I WON and cannot lose these awards and rewards for my diligent work. The third step of this drill was to “Scribble out the first one with abandon. Circle the second one [two in my case], say it out loud, and take in all its goodness.” I scrawled over the entry from 1996 with my pencil at random and circled my 2001 and 2021 entries in blue, of course as blue/teal are my favorite colors…okay I also really like purple/lavender.

The author summed this up as “cherry-picking” one’s feelings. She is on to something in terms everyone can appreciate, even those who may be offended by her frank and raw approach, which good/bad/indifferent, it suits me. Cherry-picking one’s feelings is easier said than done; however, if we try it, we can achieve progress. It is about one’s perspective, adapting and overcoming the ilk in life. Growing up I loved Erma Bombeck and her approach to life. I still love Erma and as books tend to move around over the years, I bought a volume with four of her “best-loved” works at my favorite used bookstore out here, Wonderbooks in Frederick, MD.
The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank;
If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries – What Am I Doing in the Pits?;
Aunt Erma’s Cope Book – How to Get from Monday to Friday…in 12 Days; and
Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.

So, this post really is about the positivity in one’s ability to at least try and let go, adapt and overcome adversity. I try to remember that too many people have been through worse events. I have my adult daughter and grandson, although they live halfway across the country, in my life and inner circle of love and friendship that keeps me spinning in a glow of warm yellow light and blue sky. Namaste.