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Earth Day celebrations this year followed the trend of so many events that have gone virtual or online over the past month or so. It has been a month where every day seems the same, and some days we are hard-pressed to remember what day of the week it actually is. In such times, one would have ample reason to forget about Earth Day, let alone celebrate it in any meaningful way. 

On the other hand, this is a year where the fiftieth Earth Day and Earth month observances could not have come at a more appropriate time. The incidence and spread of the SARS Covid-2 Virus or the Novel Coronavirus has brought large parts of the world to a virtual standstill. Some are referring to these times as “The Great Pause”. Country-wide “lockdowns” and “stay at home” orders have entered the vernacular of our awareness. 

There have been many visible and measurable effects of the pausing, the slowing-down, the stopping of everyday human activities on our planet. Early on in the pause, we saw satellite imagery of noticeable reduction of pollution over countries like China, large parts of Europe, India, and more. Residents of a city in northern India woke up to a new landscape of reduced air pollution. After almost three decades, they could now actually see the snow-capped peaks of their neighboring  Himalayas. Scientists have reported that the great pause had actually changed the level of seismic activity, the way the Earth was moving.

It is reasonable to expect that the effects of this unprecedented, large-scale pause in human activity are going to be short-term in nature. However, if seeing is indeed believing, then these changes have shown us how rapidly and dramatically we humans can effect change on our planet. One may argue that we are in extraordinary times, and that the current drastic reduction in human activity is a blip on the radar. That argument is probably correct. However, even small, incremental, persistent changes in our behavior can eventually change the energy and the vibration of our planet. It is like boiling cold water – it often seems like it is taking forever for the water to warm up. Once the water reaches 211F, it only takes a single degree of change, for it to change state and becomes steam. Massive change often comes in slow increments, from small commitments.

The newly minted weekly video gathering of #SpiritChat folks occurred on Earth Day this week. Four of us gathered briefly, and contemplated asked the question – what does Earth Day mean to us? Sharon (@awakeningtrue) offered that her hope was that more folks would take the opportunity to meditate on Gaia and her warm, golden, healing energy. Julie (@juliejordanscot) said that she was going to act on a challenge to hug a tree deeply, with a warm loving embrace, and feel its energetic, inner vibration. Quratulain (@iquarattariq) spoke about how the great pause has led her to ‘reduce her footprint’ on this One Earth, and to be grateful for her abundant life, when compared to so many others’ lives. On behalf of the community, I offered a reading of a short poem by Emily Dickinson…

Nature rarely uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets, —
Prodigal of blue;

Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover’s words.

– Nature XXXI #EmilyDickinson #CollectedPoems

 

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Sunset in the backyard (Fall 2018) 

What may Earth Day mean to you? We have a few more days left in this Earth month of April. We still have time to consider some small changes that we can make in our lives — changes that will eventually make a huge impact on all the elements of our planet. The water we drink, the earth we plant seeds in, the air we breathe — all these elements, this ecology, is looking forward to helping ensure for our healthy, long-term survival. On this Earth day, in this Earth month, we can perhaps commit to meeting the planet and its elements at least half-way, can’t we? And yet, we have something greater to do.

The greater commitment we can make on this Earth Day is to take a great pause, and examine the state of our inner Earth. What can we do to cleanse our inner Earth’s elements of the toxic pollutants of fear, anger, jealousy, prejudice, and the like? How can we create a sustainable, rare Earth that embodies the five elements of simplicity, purity, peace, amity and compassion? If it is true that the outer world reflects the state of our inner world, then let us accept the invitation to begin within.

Let us embrace the opportunity provided by the great pause with a sense of urgency. The time to act is now. We have the heart and soul of the planet to heal. 

Kumud

P.S. Please join us on Sunday, April 26 at 9amET / 1pmUTC / 630pm India for our weekly gathering of the #SpiritChat community on twitter. We will discuss our commitment to action to the Earth within and without. Thank you for reading. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Do the best you can, until you know better; Then when you know better, Do better — Maya Angelou

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