And so I began…
How did it happen that I am writing this blog, but more importantly, how did it happen that I have gotten involved with climate change after pursuing, living and giving my heart and soul to the spiritual journey? Initially I did a lot of meditation in mainly Buddhist settings; communities and retreat centers for ten years and then after meeting my guru, I gave my heart and soul and every cell in my body to him (I don’t mean sexually) and the community that formed around him; to consciousness evolving, to men and women evolving; to spiritual practice for over twenty-five years… and then it all collapsed very quickly. It seems to be a pattern – definitely not always – but very often. In this case, the guru was not where he thought he was or where we thought he was and his ego got more and more enlarged. But you can imagine how powerful it was that many of us stayed with him so long.
Now over three years later and after living with my elderly mom for three years – she died almost a year and a half ago – I have become involved with the crisis of our planet that we are all involved in whether we like it or not.
So what happened? Why now? Last autumn about a month before the Paris talks on Climate Change in 2015, I saw a video on Facebook called “Planetary.” Just to say, it’s not like I have not been aware or concerned about the environment for a long time – it really goes back to my high school days when I read “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, and of course unless one has blinders on, it’s impossible not to be aware of the devastation happening on our earthly home. I also saw “An Inconvenient Truth” and other films, but I was, as I said, involved for so many years with the spiritual dimension – I hesitate even to use that expression now as I don’t separate the so called spiritual and worldly life anymore, but that is how I saw it then.
So I saw this film – this was after my mom died and after the fall of the spiritual community – and I was very affected. Nothing new in a sense was expressed, but it was like some veil had been removed and I knew that I had to get involved and put my head and heart in places I had not wanted to go. I had always hated to see images of lonely polar bears in melting ice islands…I hated seeing any of the animals that had graced our land for so many eons of years disappearing, but I had not done anything before except to give some money to organizations. But this time I knew I was going to have to go to places, dive into the facts in a way that was just too much, but I had to go there. In the meantime, my good friend Uli was getting concerned and also had seen the movie “Planetary.”
So two movements happened. First, Uli and I started to organize a small film event showing “Planetary” and another film called “The Creative Universe.” We found a venue at a Church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, advertised, even made a poster, and got around 70 people to come. We had discussion break-outs between the films and it was clear in the break outs that many people were concerned, but many also felt pretty powerless to change anything. The other movement was reading a book that I really didn’t want to read but I felt I had to. It is called, “A Rough Ride to the Future” by James Lovelock. I will speak more about this book later but basically James Lovelock is an English scientist, inventor, 97 years old and has been studying climate for over forty years. His assessment is that we are in for a rough ride and doesn’t hold back in giving us all the facts.
During these months, I became aware that because the situation is so immense, overwhelming and ungraspable – outside of anything that has ever happened before – one can easily, in one way or another, not wholly face into its enormity. Many questions arise when we do start. It surely is not easy.
For awhile now, I have envisioned starting this blog site as writing and communication have become such an important part of my life. This began when I helped care for my elderly mom. During the last three years after she had a stroke, I wrote an essay every two weeks and continued to write for a year after she died. Living with my mom was powerful. We got very close. The writing I did, in many ways, expanded that experience and brought me to a greater depth and perspective which I shared with others on the blog site I started with a friend called When the Table Turns.
Just as I shared my journey with my mom, I now feel compelled to share this new journey as I grapple with climate change on the site, “Spotlight Planet Earth.” I want to share what I am learning, doing, questioning, even struggling with as well as sharing books, films, people, podcasts, blog posts that particularly touch me.
It will definitely be an evolving blog site with the sense that I am not so different from many others who have not wanted to really peer too deeply into this overwhelming arena and who are perhaps not so sure what we can do to effect change…and yet are definitely concerned.