Perspective, Interconnection, & Hope

We have just celebrated Earth Day 2016, and so I have been thinking more than usual about the interconnected web of which I am a part. Teaching “earth-friendly eating”, I invite participants to consider how food choices matter – to personal health, the health of others, and to the health of the earth. But in addition to the connection between our current lifestyle and both personal and planetary health, I have been feeling the need to focus on a larger perspective as a way to cope with the current atmosphere, which seems to be so filled with fear, strife, and issues of concern.

This search for perspective prompted me recently to re-read physicist Brian Swimme’s wonderful book The Universe is a Green Dragon – A Cosmic Creation Story and to re-visit the writings of theologian Matthew Fox, including his A New Creation Story.

Swimme says: “Most amazing is this realization that everything that exists in the universe came from a common origin. The material of your body and the material of my body are intrinsically related … Our ancestry stretches back through the life forms and into the stars, back to the beginnings of the primeval fireball.” From the perspective of an unfolding universe, the sense of “otherness” that leads to so much strife and violence in the world can be lessened.

This recent post from Daily Good was inspiring: “ … no one exists independent of all others. Reverence is a glad acknowledgement of these realities…If there are any prerequisites for reverence they are only this: the capacity for wonder and love. And an awareness in the heart, of the dignity and worthiness inherent in this earth, this life, this moment.”

Swimme’s parable (p. 81) reminds us that we each have an important role to play in supporting the health of the Earth and all life that calls it home: “The Earth suffers under the weight of accumulated misery and pathology, all of which has its ultimate source in acts of egocentric craving … Each individual person has the power of participating in the transformation of the whole Earth. The evil that reaches you after so many millions of years of existence can be absorbed and transformed. You have the power to accept the suffering, to refuse to pass it on to another, to forgive, to end the needless torment, and most of all, to transmute evil into energy for the vitality of the whole.”

The singing group The Alternate Routes puts it this way in their song Nothing More: “We are love … We are one … We are how we treat each other when the day is done. We are peace … We are war … We are how we treat each other and nothing more.”

This feels hopeful to me … or as Mary Popova (quoting Rebecca Solnit) writes in her essay Hope in Dark Times: “… you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes … Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand.” As in dietary behavior change, slow and steady in the right direction is what counts.

And while working on this positive change, let’s enjoy these delicious and deceptively nutritious Chocolate Cherry Nut Treats. They are gluten-free and contain no added sugar, plus they are loaded with plant protectors, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids and fiber.

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