Dear friends, today a friend send me a copy of this letter written by Arkan Lushwala, a Peruvian spiritual leader connected to the Pachamama Alliance. This is an organization that was formed 20 years ago to halt the deforestation of the Amazon. He is the author of “Deer and Thunder — Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World.”
I’ve been asked to share these wise and compassionate words. May they bring inspiration and hope to all who are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
We don’t know why the Earth took until now to find a way to protect herself from the damage caused by human activity. In a deep, primordial part of ourselves, many of us have been waiting for something like this to happen. Someone powerful and sacred had to intervene in order to stop the destruction of the sources of life. The Earth herself. Viruses are made by the Earth.
And now as humanity we are forced to make the sacrifice we couldn’t make from our own will. Unfortunately and painfully, now the sacrifice goes beyond letting go of our comfort and the habits that lead to an excessive consumption of goods — not only the basic ones but also the ones that we consume in excess for mere pleasure. Unfortunately, now there is also a sacrifice of human lives.
With deep compassion for those who are suffering the loss of a loved one, or experiencing fear while laying on a hospital bed, and for all those who are having extremely difficult life conditions due to the current crisis, I have to say that the Earth is still being kind and gentle, that her way of defending herself could be much worse. That’s how moms are with their kids. Our Mother Earth must be suffering more than anyone while she is scolding us for not having changed when we could have, when there was still time for us to do it on our own.
Is there still time to change, with the Earth’s help? Seeing the Earth do the work that we didn’t do, I say “yes.” This crisis is bringing a relief to nature. Were we are in Cusco right now, everything got quiet due to the mandatory quarantine, so Pachamama is not getting hit every single day as much as she did until four days ago, for a very long time, since the ramifications of the industrial revolution reached our sacred lands. Today it’s really quiet out here, like it was in the time of the Inkas. The air smells really good, and you can feel the presence of the mountains, the river and the singing birds much stronger than the noise of the frenetic ways that we have for making a living in the modern world.
My feeling is that Pachamama wouldn’t be doing what she is doing right now unless there is time to change. The capacity that nature has to regenerate is extraordinary, extremely powerful, and in some cases surprisingly fast. But we have to listen. The Earth is telling us that the moment is now. She waited to act until now, so the time for the big change is now. While we are quiet at home, as children of the Earth, each one of us has the opportunity to listen to the big body we belong to, and decide how to participate in the change, how to adapt to it, what sacrifices to make for good, how to be happy with less material comfort and more community, more solidarity, and a much stronger connection to the sacredness of nature. She is our biggest ally, and the one we have been stepping on carelessly, without gentleness and respect, sometimes without even seeing her, our dear Mother, the only one that can give us everything we need.
Today I want to connect my heart to the heart of the Earth and be one with her, to understand with deep compassion what she is doing in order to keep life alive, instead of falling into the illusion that an enemy is trying to destroy me.
Today I am going to remember those who are having a hard time breathing under all this cement: viruses, bacteria, worms, roots, insects and tiny pieces of living soul, and I will let them know that I am here, quiet, listening and feeling.
Arkan Lushwala, from the Arawaka community
March 20, 2020
“All shall be well; and all shall be well; and all manner of thing shall be well.” ~ Mother Julian of Norwich
You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices. ~Deepak Chopra
We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
8.The Law of Choice: There are many choices you do not have the power to make. You cannot choose when, where, or to whom you were born. You did not choose your family, genetic inheritance, race, body type, or the early blessings and traumatic experiences that shaped your mind, emotions, and fundamental personality. You cannot choose to avoid suffering, or change the natural aging processes of your life.
But you do have the power to choose what to do with what life gives you. You can choose to confront your challenges with courage, confidence, and trust. You can choose the values you want to serve, the friends you want to keep, the partner you want to spend your life with. You can set goals and act on them, or procrastinate lest you make a mistake. You can settle for a job or lifestyle that does not fulfill you, or design a path of your own. You can accept responsibility for your choices or blame someone else. You can cultivate your imagination or bury it. View yourself as separate or as connected. Integrate or fight otherness. Nurture love or hate. Trust or fear. Your choices will shape your life and influence yours and the world’s welfare.
The difficulty in life is the choice. George Moore, The Bending of the Bough, 1900, Act IV.
But the big choices that can permanently alter the course of your life are very difficult. How then do you decide? In my life I’ve found that impulsive decisions are rarely the answer. Most really big choices require a great deal of soul-searching, self-knowledge, and time before the gates open and the path becomes clear. You need to examine your motives — not the surface, idealistic ones your ego flatters itself with, but the ones deep in your unconscious that you struggle to disown, like those based on pride, hunger for power, fear, selfishness, hatred, the need to impress, or the desire for revenge.
It is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself. (The Collected Works of Carl Jung, Vol. 11, Para 391)
Unknown forces in your psyche influence you every day: instincts, archetypes, typologies, complexes, emotions, attitudes, and memories. You can choose to ignore them. You can blame them on people and circumstances. Or you can choose to be mindful of them. You can ask yourself why you just behaved the way you did; look for alternative ways to respond next time. You can pay attention to the dramas that are enacted in the dream theaters of your soul every night.
Once you understand your psychological patterns and the negative affect these patterns have on your life, you can now make better life choices. This is a breakthrough! Those patterns have kept you stuck from living the life you have imagined. Of course, your experiences and the way you coped with them will never disappear. They are part of your spiritual development. However, the coping mechanisms and false beliefs are no longer dictating who you become, your authentic self is, the self that wants purpose and meaning in life. ~www.virtuesforlife.com
You must recognize, embrace, and be honest about what is real for you today and allow that understanding to inform the choices you make. Only then will you be able to build the future of your dreams. ~Suze Orman
We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves. ~Thomas Merton
At a crossroads
Honest choices that enable you to fulfill the deepest capacities of your Self are motivated by the Law of Love. Choices made from love change your life and the lives of those around you. They bridge opposites instead of creating divides. They bring hope, trust, and freedom. They nourish compassion and healing, dispel fear and despair.
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. ~Nelson Mandela
What choices motivated by self-knowledge, truth, and love can your country make as it prepares for the mounting crisis of the coronavirus pandemic? What choices can you make?
The Wilbur Award is given by the Religion Communicators Council for excellence in communicating religious faith and values in the public arena and for encouraging understanding among faith groups on a national level.