The tide was exceptionally low, exposing a rock face usually submerged. And there on the rock clung a purple (or ochre) sea star, the first I’d seen. Locals here on Lopez Island were excited to hear about it; sea stars in the Salish Sea have been scarce since they suffered a species-wide viral disease in 2013, their numbers only recently growing again. This summer they are returning.
I go visit the sea about once a day, often with Tim. Sitting on a driftwood log staring at the waves and watching birds helps us reconnect—with each other, with ourselves, with what’s real. It reminds us of what is fleeting and what remains. At the end of an hour we’re calmer, more focused, more hopeful.
We need all the sustaining juice of nature we can get, for the challenges of the human world at this moment are great. More news surfaces each day about the concentration camps near the southern border. Immigrant children continue to be ripped away from their parents and caged in squalor and deprivation. The horror is such that any parents who kept their children this way would be hauled off to jail immediately for child abuse. Yet the government is perpetrating this suffering in our name, with our tax dollars. This country right now is at a turning point. How will we respond?
How to be of help?
In the midst of such heartbreak, how can one individual respond? A question I ask myself is, What is one constructive thing I can do today?
An easy thing to do is to call Members of Congress every day and speak up for closing camps and defunding this abuse. Find your senators and representative here.
Be on the lookout for protests and nationwide actions, such as the Families Belong Together day of action on June 30 and the Lights for Liberty actions on July 12. Or see this web page for more protest ideas.
In local communities and on social media we can help foster respect and inclusiveness. Put your effort toward building bridges wherever you are. Every corner of the world needs more such kindness.
Donate to organizations that assist migrants and refugees. RAICES is doing terrific advocacy for immigrants at the southern border, and you can donate here.
If you’re a praying person, this is a time to pray in whatever way is yours. Some might do it by gentling their own hearts—working to ease fear and hatred out of their own beings. Love is an inside job, after all. Some might want to be a channel of welcome, extending respect and thanks (in spirit) to each refugee for arriving here. A simple Buddhist meditation is simply to wish happiness to each person. A Christian prayer asks for the will of God to be done here on Earth—for clarity and respect to be shared among all people.
My own favorite way of praying is to open to the Great Mystery with the assistance of a spirit helper, and you can find out more about that way here.
Connect with nature
Take time to connect with nature. Breathe. Accept the gift of oxygen delivered to you by plants and trees and phytoplankton. Eat mindfully, thanking each being on your table for its gift of life. And take time to sit or walk in a yard or a park or a woods or a beach, to feel the warmth of summer sun and the push-pull of summer wind, to thank the flowers for their colors and the bees for their buzzing visits. All beings are at their busiest during this season, growing new life. Allow that living spirit to flow freely through you as well.
The work of building a more just society is long-term. So refill your spent coffers with nature’s summer bounty. Heal your own broken heart and gather your stamina with forest bathing or beach combing. Soak in some peace from the natural world so you can pass it on to human neighbors. The work of compassion will require everyone’s hands and every possible clear heart.
Wishing you a summertime of restorative love, effective action, and rich new life.
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