As I write this, it is one of the days that I love about Winnipeg... right now it's -44C with the windchill, but the sky is incredibly crisp and clear, allowing the sun to soak into the air and everything it lands on. The intense and bright white light
of it just seems to infuse everything. As I was looking outside, I remembered a story that often comes to mind on days like this...
About 15 years ago, I was working in Ottawa, supporting a project to train 100 new travel counsellors to
handle the reservations for a large global oil company. One of the new counsellors we hired, had recently moved here from Saudi Arabia, and prior to coming here, had never been exposed to cold winters. And so with his knowing only that the appearance of the
sun always meant heat, he was a bit shocked and surprised to walk outside into a very cold day, immediately after witnessing (and feeling) all the bright and warm rays of sun streaming through the window of his home.
As I was thinking
about this today, it occurred to me that the heat we experience on this planet, doesn't just come from the sun. Instead there is an incredibly complex living system of interconnected "life" that creates our climate and our weather, and that allows Winnipeg
to be very cold on the most glorious of sunny days.
The planet moves and spins and tilts, the moon wraps around it, the winds stream and arc and swirl, the currents and rivers flow, the soils and plants and trees and animals consume and
move and emit, and a massive exchange of life and energy continually occurs, all working together in a choreographed ballet of symbiotic service.
Charles Eisenstein offers a brief glimpse of this complexity in a recent article...
"Vegetation produces volatile compounds that promote the formation of clouds that reflect sunlight. Megafauna transport nitrogen and phosphorus across continents and oceans to maintain the carbon cycle. Forests generate a biotic pump of persistent low pressure
that brings rain to continental interiors and maintains atmospheric flow patterns. Whales bring nutrients up from the deep ocean to nourish plankton. Wolves control deer populations so that forest understory remains viable, enhancing rainfall absorption and
preventing droughts and fires. Beavers slow the progress of water from land to sea, buffering floods and modulating silt discharge into coastal waters so that life there can thrive. Migratory birds and fish such as salmon transport marine nutrients inland,
sustaining the forests. Mycelial mats tie vast areas together in a neural network exceeding the human brain in its complexity. And all of these processes interlock with each other."
In other words, our planet is as alive as we are.
And everything we do to control how it manifests, without intuitively understanding the nature of it's "aliveness", inevitably has a domino affect on all the trillions of interconnected systems.
We poke it, and trample
it, and cut it, and fill it, and pave over it. We take all its freely given resources and manipulate them into "something better" or "something useful" or "something convenient" or "something we can sell", without much, if any awareness at all, of the significant
and complex downstream effects of these actions.
There's miraculous wisdom and intelligence in life and nature... even my single body is comprised of 7 billion billion billion atoms somehow cooperatively working together! And yet we rarely
appreciate or give respect to that intelligence as we interact with it. We forget that we are as much a part of it, as it is a part of us... and we forget that "it" knows a lot of stuff that we don't.
Our habitual use and control of life
as a sort of inanimate resource, and as something that can't be harmed by us any more than it "appears" to already harm itself, is a great misunderstanding that gets in our way of being able to work with it instead of against it.
do we do?
How can we possibly be smarter and kinder in service to life when it's all so complex and incomprehensible, AND when we live in a society that operates with little or no awareness of our integral (symbiotic) connection to it?
How do we affect change when we're just tiny specks in a mighty river of momentum of economics, politics, industry, consumer mindsets, consumer habits, educational systems, and social structures? How can we have any idea where to start, and what needs to be
fixed and how?
Is it possible that the answer may be that we don't need to know?
What if instead, we simply began to notice and trust in a greater intelligence in life, that somehow auto-corrects itself and runs itself
more efficiently and effectively whenever we live in harmony with it?
And what if being "in harmony" was simply being in LOVE, and being "out of harmony" was simply being "in FEAR"?
What if any action that comes from
a feeling of love... of any kind, in any measure, somehow ripples out in ways we can't intellectually understand, but in ways we can intuitively trust? And what if any action that comes from a feeling of fear, somehow ripples out in the same way?
What if there was miraculous significance in every loving moment... perhaps when we're inspired to smile at a passing stranger, or cuddle a puppy, or laugh with a coworker, or appreciate some music or art or a rainbow, or give a voice to the voiceless,
or choose to walk instead of drive, or dance, or forgive, or seek to understand, or even take a moment of personal rest from exhaustion?
Without habitually going into our intellect to seek proof or contradiction of this "power of love",
I'm sure we can all, in some way, intuit that love begets love, and fear begets fear. We can also intuit when any of our actions come more from a feeling of love or fear.
And with love being every human being's intrinsic preference...
perhaps we can trust the intelligence in just that, and lean more toward love, whenever and however it occurs to us... discovering the next brief moment of love and care within a billion little ways to fall in love with life?
Love in service
of love, and life in service of life.