As I learn to trust and follow my excitement along this journey through space and time, I find myself opening to the eternal “yes” of the present moment. Opportunity abounds, all around us, existing within the potential choices we select each day. Which locks do we open with our universal key of curiosity and which do we pass by? The realization that the choice is always ours, despite our rationale and excuses to the contrary, helps us to remember our personal power. My latest pull of excitement led me to devote a week, fasting on a 4′ x 8′ wooden platform, high up in the canopy of a giant red wood named Neptune.
An Active Story
At first, I felt as though I was going to write about the specific story unfolding in the area, however I find the idea of ‘objective reporting’ or ‘sticking to the facts’ incomplete and impossible as my exposure was so limited. I heard many stories and I acknowledge the truth and simultaneous incompleteness of each – complete to the individual, not necessarily to the whole unfolding picture. I also wish to respect the desires of many individuals to keep sensitive information excluded. With that in mind, here is the only story I can really share – the one through my personal experience.
Opening to opportunity has simultaneously opened my eyes to a multitude of worlds that exist all around. This specific experience showed me the vast number of dedicated individuals working tirelessly within the world of activism. Whatever causes each person is devoted to, whether I agree or not, I am able to find inspiration through coming in contact with people who are truly passionate and dedicated to their efforts. I am inspired by individuals who are able to come together in community, for a common purpose, and stand tall in what they believe in. Giving a voice to our standing brothers and sisters are people who call themselves “Tree Sitters”.
The story I was exposed to feels like a common thread unravelling across the Gaian tapestry. An area of wilderness is taken (often from Indigenous People’s), sold to the company that is most “efficient” with resource extraction (least cost), the ecosystem is pillaged and destroyed (paved, blown up, poisoned), and the local people are left to deal with the unknown consequences (anything from polluted water to increased cancer rates and geological shifting). And yes, there will always be consequences.
Perhaps during a time in the past, when the world seemed inexhaustible, when we believed we could be insulated from the consequences of our actions, this story would appear irrelevant. The pervasiveness of this theme, coupled with the surmounting evidence of the interconnectedness of All on this planet, is calling forth a new understanding and a new state of being within humanity. However that manifests is up to each and every one of us within the collective.
Tree Sitters move into an area of forest that has been designated for clear cutting. Platforms are built and trees are tied together with rope to house those with a desire to protect. The idea is that with people up in the trees, the logging company is not able to cut them down due to the potential harm that could result to the sitters. Government permits to clear cut have a time limit (around five years) and, in addition to legal action, the tactic is to wait out that period of time should another resolution not be reached. There are also groups that search for funding in the event the logging company is willing to sell the land instead of clearing it. I heard of victory stories – forests turning into community forests after a sit – and defeat stories – trees being cut down and sitters simply removed and arrested. I believe that any wilderness we can protect from the “money machine” that aims to consume all in its path, fueled by the insatiable desire for growth, is preserving invaluable seeds that will sprout when the machine eventually consumes itself.
There are, however, always many sides to a story. Wrapped up in this dichotomous opposal are the loggers and people who depend on salaries, as well as each of us who use, in this case, tree paper products. If our current story says people need jobs to survive, why not imagine new creative jobs? What about paying people to help an ecosystem thrive? As one tree sitter said to me, “why is clear cutting the only way we have to interact with a forest?” And after hearing how clear cutting operations are carried out (it sounded like something from a horror movie) I am further inspired to spread the giving mentality and story of the more beautiful world we are creating.
Taking a Stand for Infinity
To stand and say no is a powerful act. To stand and say, “no, this is wrong” – with the implication that those perpetuating such actions are also wrong (using guilt as a weapon) subtly reinforces the deeply embedded beliefs that contribute to the destruction in the first place. Each person is only doing what they believe is good for them – to use guilt or shame to say otherwise only further entrenches the original stance. To call someone an enemy creates an enemy. To see someone as an “other”, in whatever form that may be, creates potential for doing harm. To view the world as separate from us, as a “source of resources”, is what allows us to commit such violent acts in the first place.
When we place a monetary value on an ecosystem we are reducing it to a number. The infinite cannot be reduced to a finite without a major injustice in my eyes. Our old, reduction focused and mechanistic perspective says a particular forest is worth three million dollars. Even the effort of arguing for saving an ecosystem based on some “cost/benefit” analysis is a reduction and still contains the assumption that the Earth is here strictly for our benefit. “Let’s not cut down the forest because there may be plants in it that are useful medicine we haven’t discovered yet.” To move beyond the illusory split between the human and natural realms we must come to understand the benefit of an ecosystem as it plays into the Whole. We must continue to hold each other in the emerging story of interconnectedness – that all parts serve a purpose to the whole system and a loss of one part affects all. Let’s save a forest for its bountiful playground, its diversity of flora and fauna, its inspiring beauty, its inescapable rapture, and its infinite depth of complexity. We save nature by falling in love. As one part of this global ecosystem, what will humanity’s role be as we desire to give back to the whole?
All for One
The solutions that exist today are solutions that include everyone. As the convergence of crises continue to mount, more and more people will begin to look for another way to interact with the world and each other. Do not waste your energy being angry at the rich and powerful. Bring conscious love and light into your daily rituals. The change required is a shift in consciousness and the co-creation of a new story of the people. Humanity has been exploring its gifts and is now learning to imbue intention and conscious will to discover a more purposeful and fulfilling role on this planet. Continue to grow into love for all that you interact with and your heart will open your path before you. The solutions exist everywhere, they simply require us to grow into them.
“One step at a time, coalesce and combine, everything is happening right on time”
— Phil Osophical
Stay rooted and stand tall in your truth,