I want to thank everyone who has been reading my posts. Writing this blog has given my a huge energy boost. As a single parent who works full time at a job that is interesting but not my vocation, it is inspiring and energizing to have the privilege to share my thoughts and art with other people around the world.
Working in a public library has given me access to many materials, and I enjoy watching documentaries as well as fiction films, and read a wide variety of books. In the last year or so, I have been researching health, diet, the environment, philosophy, and personal growth. Thanks to the books and movies, I have learned a lot. And I have some questions that I want to share with a larger community to see what other people think about important issues that impact all of us and that will continue to impact present and future generations. Please bear with me while I ramble through my thoughts, trying to develop my ideas…during short intervals of a very busy work day!
It would seem that the mainstream American way of life is destroying our natural resources, the health of adults and children, our air, water, and our living environment in general, physical, emotional, and spiritual. The choices that have been made over the last century have a huge impact on the entire world, as technology, global economies and populations have developed and expanded. In fact, every choice we make has global impact. Which means that as we try to work towards balance, towards slowing down to a healthier lifestyles, we will be influencing the quality of people’s lives in China, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Brazil, El Salvador, etc. The people who make our clothing, toys, electronics will also have to adapt if we stop purchasing unneeded fashion accessories, electronic gadgets and toys. I watched a very interesting documentary called “The Other Side of Immigration” about the Mexican experience of living in the United States and those family members who still live in Mexico. While money earned by Mexicans in the U.S. allows them to buy trucks, pave roads, build schools and supply those schools with learning materials is rural Mexican villages, many children grow up without one or both parents. If our economy were to change, Mexicans, like many other peoples, would be forced to invest in their own countries and infrastructures from within. I suppose that good and bad comes from any choice or change – as light is always accompanied by shadow.
At the end of my post, I will list a few of the documentaries I have watched that have helped me to learn about the effects of plastic and other chemicals on our environment and our health (especially that of our children) (dvd “Bag It”), how the FDA tries to strangle small businesses attempting to bring locally owned and operated organic and healthy foods to our tables through over-regulation and even terrorist acts (dvd “Farmageddon”), and others.
It seems obvious that slowing down our lifestyles, spending more time cooking real food (slow food movement in Italy), spending time with our families and friends, doing work that suits our talents, eating local foods, not buying more stuff that what we really need, and avoiding using unsustainable products such as fossil fuels and plastics would make our lifestyles more respectful of our own health and the environment. But I am worried about the consequences of our choices as we realize our past mistakes. All of us being short-sighted in our personal ego points of view, as is normal for each of us, we are not able to predict all of the consequences of our behaviors, even those that are well-intentioned. In a recent book called “Wheat Belly”, cardiologist Dr. William Davis says that about 50 years ago, geneticists and engineers worked together to create genetically modified wheat to help cure world hunger. It did not occur to them at the time that dangerous health problems might result from people consuming that genetically modified grain. So many generations of genetic modifications on wheat have made it virtually impossible to trace which modifications might bear ill effects and which are harmless. Dr. Davis believes that consuming genetically modified wheat is responsible for the huge health problems we have been experiencing in recent years – inflammation causing obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.
And so I am just musing on how we can begin to heal the world while taking into account that everyone and everything is connected. My thoughts are striking out in different directions while I write this post. One thought that pops up is that we can’t expect government or large bureaucracies to help us to grow and solve our problems because life is a constant flux and rules, hierarchy and dogma get in the way of life by holding it to expectations and conformity. Still, I am happy that government helps me to get clean water and sewer service, public schools, libraries, electricity, and other infrastructures that I can’t provide for myself and that make my life easier and more comfortable. As I continue to ponder, I wonder about being responsible for my personal choices, since that is all I can claim to control in my life – and even then, there is so much I cannot fathom. My mind is drawn to the concept of Buddhist surrender: all that is bigger than my personal self must know so much more than I do and can envision the bigger picture. Let me allow my dreams to infiltrate my conscious mind and bring me wisdom from a place that sees better than I ever will. I wish we could all surrender at once and see what happens! I have this vision of the entire universe as a body, swimming with cells and systems that constantly grow and evolve with each thought, each choice, each bite of muffin or curry. As artists and creators, all of us expose the world to our desires and change it in every instant. Every desire modifies the shape of the world and the shape of everyone. Why is the world so sick of us, of our creative play? Is it because some of us do not know how to play as animals or more so-called primitive cultures used to do – taking only as much as they need? Is it the wonder of being human that intentionally roils the oceans and pours them back on us in tsunamis?
Since my musings are about finding balance, my question bounces back to me, and I wonder if balance is contradictory to the human state and condition. When Cain killed Abel and set out to roam the world and build cities and civilizations, it seems he was personifying the ego and abandoning that true Self connection that his brother Abel manifested. Can we get back to Abel? Is that what the turmoil in our world symbolically comes down to? Living simply, taking only what we need, living in connection to the divine within that instructs us consciously to take only what we need and give only what is needed? Abel’s legacy is beautiful culture and countless civilizations, the consequences of whose existence just might destroy us all.
I want to believe that humans can surrender their will to a higher power and become even more powerfully creative, taking into account the whole Universe. It is fascinating to think about, and I really do hope that our awareness will grow faster than our ability to destroy ourselves. Like the director of the film “Bag It” explained, our Earth will survive us, no matter what we do to it. It would be sad – full of plants, birds, fungi, insects, and other creatures – but no one with the awareness to enjoy and cherish them.
Recommended films and books:
Bag It: dvd by Jeb Berrier
Farmageddon: dvd by Linda Faillace
The Other Side of Immigration dvd directed by Roy Germano
Garbage Warrior: dvd with Michael Reynolds, visionary architect
Wasteland: dvd directed by Lucy Walker featuring Brazilian artist / photographer Vik Muniz
Triage: dvd featuring Medecins sans frontieres doctor James Orbinski (about his experiences in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Rhwanda
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (book) by Susan Cain
In Praise of Slowness (book) by Carl Honore
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow Up (book) by James Hollis PhD
Many Lives, Many Masters: the True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past Life Therapy that Changed both their Lives (book) by Brian Weiss MD