The following piece was published originally on Kay MacDuffee’s blog Open Heart Press
Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life,
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world,
so worthy of rescue.
I keep this poem on my desk in plain view. I have a good memory but it’s a short one. And this directive to just start with the basics needs to be drilled into my soul.
Over the decades I have considered myself an ‘environmentalist’. That was kind of my religion. Back then it was radical, particularly among my age group. Today that brand is easily carried by throngs of citizens of the world. I am happy to say it caught on.
What I know now, that I didn’t then, is that the drivers of that need to ‘save’ any number of Earth systems must come from a place of love and compassion rather than from the energy of anger and blame.
No matter how ‘wrong’ and hurtful to our planet we view the actions of others, it doesn’t help the cause to lash out in hate and judgement. We can still support our causes from a place of love for what we believe in. It is so very much more powerful. And so much easier on and in tune with our own human system, pumping out oxytocin rather than adrenalin.
Think of the energy of a forest — soft, enduring, strong, supportive. This is what we are protecting and this is what we must emulate. We evolved within the forest environment over many millions of years, and we carry an average of 15 percent tree DNA within us. Time spent in a forest is the best Rx for healing and calming an overwrought body, mind and soul.
The hateful polarization that seems to be engulfing and strangling our world at this juncture can only be driven by the individual that chooses to take a side. To make another wrong. To refuse to honour the choice or view of another. My way or the highway.
If our goal is peace on Earth — and it must be if we are to survive — we will never make it that way. So sing, dance, love, play, create and find your joy. Walk in the woods, on the trails (take a bag for picking up litter), on the beach – barefoot – and let Gaia know that you love her just as she loves you.
Your thoughts become your words.
The word manifests your deeds.
Deeds become habits.
Habits harden into character.
Your character gives birth to your destiny.
And that creates the destiny of the planet. No small thing.
So guard your thoughts with care. Let them spring from love born out of respect for all beings.
That is how to ‘give yourself to this world’.