I wrote this at the end of 3/2003 after the beginning of the war in Iraq.
|A thousand and more rose buds surround me, waiting for the moment to unfold and live their short, fragrant time in the world. A flock of Canadian geese fly overhead in perfect formation at the same time a hummingbird hovers in front of me debating whether my colored T-shirt is capable of providing nectar. An ancient oak stands its wise sentry over my pasture and grazing horses, while the remaining soft reflection of last nights full moon hangs in the pale blue sky of new morning. Behind me, a majestic snow covered volcano stands watch over this part of the world, its contained potential fury a testimony to nature’s benevolence - and ultimate power.
I am in awe of my surroundings, and at the life that has led me to this tranquility. As the world around me has broken apart in war over the past month, displaying all its sad pieces on television broadcasts, newspaper articles and internet reports, I moved to this glorious place. And I cannot help but wonder what has brought me to these blessings and position in time. Why am I not a terrified child in Baghdad?
Although my home was built by human hand, and the arrangement of plants and gardens surrounding me is also the product of human design, the majestic mountains and Oak trees, the birds and blooming wild flowers are by the hand of God, Mother Nature, a Higher Power - call it what you will. But as you label it , recognize that creative force as being stronger, wiser and more powerful than man. Recognize also that it lies at our core, and understand it is what forms our essence. Know that it is what we have lost sight of.
Our days are filled with constant images and false perceptions that draw us further and further away from this center of intelligence, compassion, wisdom and love. Our lives are bombarded with commercialism, competition, stress and striving; we are drawn to attach ourselves to, and draw into our lives, things that are ultimately shallow and meaningless. How desperately we need to wake up and detach ourselves from this false illusion of what life is.
Standing amongst the reminders of truth offered for the taking in this world of nature, I come to realize that I am a part of the whole, as is the terrified child in Baghdad. I am also part of that which encompasses the soldiers, the dictators, the businessmen and the military elite. I am, at my most basic self, connected to every living thing, and person, on this planet. I am the geese flying above me, the hovering hummingbird and the ancient Oak. This, I do not believe, is naive, this is not fantasy; this is what I have come to understand as a truth. For me. So why am I surrounded by this beauty and calm, while that child is enveloped in chaos and horror?
I believe it is so I can come to realize, and live, a sense of responsibility to bring through my actions, this perspective into my daily life, and into the world; to invoke through my personal thoughts and actions, eventual change. Only a shift in perception by mankind will bring peace to that frightened child. I am not so naive as to think that this change and shift can or will happen quickly - we did not create this chaos, anger and illusion overnight, and we will not reverse it that way either. The history of mankind is testimony to that.
I cannot preach, dictate, or judge others with my newfound awareness, for I do not believe that is what this understanding asks of us. It asks only that I personally live this truth as I see it, awakened by my blessings and the surroundings I find myself in. There are others doing the same I know, and there is great comfort in that fact. Our situations are different but our awareness the same, and it is in that fact that the strength lies.
I believe it is a sacred responsibility not to take for granted the life circumstances I have been given. Perhaps, in a previous incarnation, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum - it was I who was the child, living through a different but no less sad and horrific war. And in that lifetime were planted the seeds of empathy and understanding that give me the ability to hear and appreciate the quiet but profound lessons that the energy of mother earth is offering in the gifts that surround me now.
I find some comfort too in the thought that perhaps in a previous incarnation, that terrified child in Baghdad was the one surrounded by fragrant roses and hovering hummingbirds; I must believe there is an ultimate balance.