I admit that I have often dismissed the work of the environmental activists - not because I don't believe it's important - just that it wasn't as important to me. I started my activism with Greenpeace then moved to PETA ready to release captive animals at every opportunity. I loved animals deeply and their pain brought much misery to my heart. But when that love finally awakened toward my own species my activism shifted with it. I came to the conclusion that if humans could learn to live together peacefully, it would indicate that they had also learned to live with themselves peacefully and this would naturally extend to the animals and the planet. So now I wander around preaching the gospel of nonviolence and stepping up for nonviolent direct action when called upon. So when I read the blurb about the panel discussion on Saturday night, including Julia Butterfly Hill, I considered returning early to the hotel for respite from the tiring day of workshops. But since I had planned to meet with a friend after that panel discussion, I opted to stay and search for her.
As I listened to the panel discuss nonviolence and fierce passion in the environmental movement I found myself caught off gaurd by the grace and wisdom of Julia. She spoke with fierce passion, but that passion came from a conviction rooted as deeply in her soul as Luna, the tree she sat in for 700+ days, is to the Mother Earth. Julia also provided the closing words for the conference on Sunday. Her intelligence and her presence in the moment make her a powerful speaker. She never lost sight of the audience and I witnessed the changes in her as her consciousness danced with ours, bringing our energy closer to her own. Her reflections from the time spent in Luna touched me deeply. She commented on how we clear-cut each other with our speech and action - and that as she looked around from her perch she realized that the clear cutting of the forest was a physical representation of this reality. I would take that analogy even further and say that the clear cutting we witness in our world is a reflection of the clear cutting that goes on within each and every one of us as we chastise ourselves for not being what we think we should be. If the chain saw is buzzing within our own thoughts, how can it not cut our loved ones much less those we do not love. And there is no doubt that this can only extend further to Earth and our non-human companions on this big blue boat home.
I now count myself a fan of Butterfly. Her blog will be added to the roll. May we all quiet the chain saws and let the trees grow within the forest of our hearts.