Once You Knew

Idle No More NC

A friend recently introduced me to the poem, Hieroglyphic Stairway, by Drew Dellinger.  The beginning of the poem grabbed me, because it speaks to my experience:

it’s 3:23 in the morning

and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do

After participating Friday evening in an Idle No More round dance at the Bark House in downtown Nevada City, I spent the weekend watching  films at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival that takes place here every year.  Many of these films showed remote or familiar places of natural  beauty.   Some focused on environmental dangers, including climate change, fracking, species loss, and toxic pollution.  Many told the stories of courageous individuals taking creative action to preserve human communities and the natural world.  After introducing and watching the films at the Vets Hall on Sunday afternoon, I went home and slept for twelve hours.

It can be overwhelming to be confronted with so much information and so many opportunities for action.  When the festival celebrations are over, most of us return to our day-to-day lives.  How can we incorporate what we have learned into a way of being that will enable us to be a part of the change we want to see in the world?

This is a spiritual issue.  How can we develop the capacity to face the extent of global destruction without becoming paralyzed?  How can we find inner peace and take care of our personal responsibilities while doing our small part to bring hope and healing to the world?

I’ve found this to be a lifelong challenge that involves ongoing personal transformation as well as social action.  There are many spiritual paths, many faith traditions that foster spiritual awakening and moral development.  For me it begins with entrusting myself to the Love that brought the universe into being and following wherever that Love may lead, as Jesus did.

I don’t always know what to do.  But I do know that I am not alone, that people in my community and around the world are also awakening to the multi-faceted global crisis and taking action that will make a more hopeful future possible.  And I know that Love is sustaining us even now and can work through us for the well being of the whole.

Regardless of how things turn out for us as a species, our great great grandchildren will look back on this pivotal time.  Will this be the time of descent into environmental collapse and global chaos?  Or will this be the time of “the great turning” toward more compassionate and sustainable ways of being human?

Regardless of the outcome, the question will remain:

what did you do


3 thoughts on “Once You Knew

  1. THX Sharon…you are eloquent and well-thought! I appreciate you and thank you for your work. Once I became conscious I’ve continued to move in a direction…sometimes the path touches down…for example, the bottom of Broad St., at the bark house, last Friday…and I remember that I’m ON a path, and it’s still moving forward. Peace, Sister.

  2. I love the quote “We’re only borrowing this Earth from our grandchildren.” I don’t remember who wrote it and am sure I messed it up some, but that’s the gist of it.

    When you stay in someone’s home as a guest (which is, as the temporary visitors we are)… When you stay it’s always with pleasure that you leave the abode a bit cleaner, a bit warmer, and a bit fresher than what it was when you arrived. It’s just the way things are done for the whole person. But there are many people who are not only not whole, but pathologically greedy as well, and these people tend to rise to the top of many corporations based on their “profit only” motivation. Everything else is sacrificed.

    Looking at where our species is at intellectually, I realistically don’t expect that we’ll stop quite a bit of destruction and the degrading of nature. And then the oceans are going to swell and rapidly expand under an unexpectedly quick warming. Wall Street, ironically once the symbol of where the sea was blocked from entering New York, will become the sea bottom, for a time some of the buildings poking above the surface like strange mechanical islands. Florida and Louisiana will pretty much disappear, while California’s bread basket might become better known for seaweed harvesting.

    Our grandchildren will suffer and wonder with an amazed sadness at why more of us couldn’t’ve had the common sense to have recognized what we were bringing about. But the Earth wont cry. Mother Nature will adjust as she always does, and life will carry on, with or without us. I think it will be with us though, and our great-great-great grandchildren, as it may be, will adapt and survive. Hopefully with a continuing awareness of cause and effect. Hopefully with a dread of letting corporations go international and stateless, paying no taxes while raping the land for only the benefit of having huge larders full of money.

    For myself the first step is to control the Right. To revoke the Citizen’s United decision, describing that what a “person” is in our Constitution is a living, breathing, being. The Right is mindless and usually without valid reason, and we’ve got to reverse them first.

    Cut off the head. The body will follow. Defeat Citizen’s United.

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