Last night was the international Earth Hour. People all across the globe turned off all of their lights for one hour starting at 8:30pm. For one brief hour many of us lessened our electrical needs in our homes around the world. I wonder if this diminished electrical use would be the equivalent of what one nuclear plant such as the Fukushima power plant in Japan generates in a day, a week, a month?
I turned my lights off all over the hour, computer off, and went upstairs to light some candles in front of my altar. And I sat there and was still. Allowed myself to meditate and come to a deep place of quieting thoughts and heart space for the Earth. For Earth Mother… It was a beautiful time of stillness. Teyoweh in the Cherokee language. Shedding the frivolous monkey mind thoughts to settle into hearing a deeper wisdom of honoring the dark, the quiet and my commitment to serve the Earth. My cat Max joined me as he usually does when I’m meditating and sat right behind me and then in my lap. He seemed to very attuned to my energy and when I am working to create sacred space. Max is a big fan of sacred space! ;~)
Once the hour was up, I sat there and lingered in front of the candle-lit altar longer, and then opened up my journal to write about some recent connections and experiences and discoveries that I am following my calling of serving the Mother. Step by step, I’m finding my way… More on that later.
This morning, part of the ‘service’ in my house was tending for my worms in the vermicomposting system in my basement. These illustrious worms digest my veggie compost and shredded legal papers from a law firm in Baltimore (the lawyers love that their shredded paper goes to feed worms!). They (the worms, not the lawyers) live in a set of stackable shelves with a bottom rack that has a spigot on it so I can drain off the worm leachate, a most wonderful fertilizer for my plants.
So this morning in giving the worms more compost and coffee grounds and shredded paper, I noticed a hard sliver of plastic that was mixed in the paper. I pulled it out and examined it. It was a shredded credit card. I could see the raised numbers that were partially cut off. Either the lawyers shredded one of their own cards or it was one of those credit card solicitations that included a fake card that was tossed into the shredder.
As I held the sliver of shredded card up, it struck me that this remnant of our consumerist society was better off shredded and not intact. Better off removed from any circulation and use in fancy stores or air travel or high end restaurants. One less card fueling our capitalist machine of not only disregard but rampant abuse of the Earth.
I used to know people who volunteered on weekends to set up tables outside large shopping center and offer to help people cut up their credit cards as a statement of Voluntary Simplicity. I loved that they did this but all of these organized actions were on the west coast in California, Oregon and Washington State. I supported them from afar but have long preferred to be a quiet activist instead.
The organizers of Earth Hour this year are calling for people to continue beyond Earth Hour to find ways to turn off more lights, live more lightly, be more sensitive to the Earth. I’m doing my little bit, and helping in some small ways to motivate others. I think my worms are better stewards of the Earth than I am though.
What was sad was that the worms could not digest that shred of credit card. That would have really been a fitting metaphor.