Thursday, May 28, 2009

What the World Needs Right Now

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing the poet Mary Oliver speak at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. After delighting the crowd with a few poems, Mary amused us by responding to inquiries from the audience. When posed the hard-hitting question, "What does our world need right now?", she let out a heavy "Whoa," then paused, swallowed, sighed then answered.

"Community is what our world needs right now."

I couldn't agree more, Mary. Community, unity, harmony, compassion, global vision, integral values, what the world needs is to be included in the mind, the heart and soul of humans. Mary Oliver went on to explain that she believed that only through creating tolerant, kind, supportive local, national, and global communities will we as a species be able to begin to heal ourselves and our planet. We can no longer afford to look upon each other as enemies to be dominated. Now is the time to mature into secure, aware, integrated beings. I hope we can do it. I think many of us are.

I also recently heard author and philanthropist David Eggers say during his TED speech that the goal of his work at the non-profit 826 National is to create happy communities and thus a happy world. Through the 826 writing and tutoring centers, where kids receive free one-on-one homework assistance, they can then go home and enjoy themselves and "that makes a happy family, a bunch of happy families in a neighborhood is a happy community, a bunch of happy communities tied together is happy city, and a happy world, right?'


It relieves me to think we can start at home. Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking on the huge, worldwide scale. Thinking I need to be fighting the big fight makes me feels like I'll never be doing enough to help create the change that is needed to redirect our collision course with ourselves. Acting here, where I am, feels good, feels possible. And the small things do matter: biking to work, buying local, eating local, growing a garden, volunteering at a local school or non profit, giving a smile when one wasn't needed or expected, generosity of words, thought and action all make a positive difference. That in turn ripples across our planet.

We are here for each other. United we evolve.

Snow Geese ~ by Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

No comments: