#LUMA – Trees are Life

I heard about LUMA less than a week ago – an old growth cedar tree in North Seattle destined to be cut to the ground at the orders of a Bellevue based real estate development company, and approved by City of Seattle. What? In the hottest year on the planet in the last million years? How? Why?

I’m guessing most of you reading this blog have tree stories from your childhood or later in life, about how a tree taught you something, or changed you. I have dozens. LUMA immediately pulled me into her orbit. I had to meet her, stand in her presence, listen to her story. So I went to a Gathering, along with about 300 other people. What came out of that encounter was the recognition (again) that we live in a society, whose leaders and decision makers are deeply in denial regarding the state of the planet, consumed by the short term grab for dollars, and ignoring long term planning so that our children, grandchildren, and future generations will have anything close to resembling a habitable world.

As an acupuncturist trained in the arts of Chinese medicine, I’ve been taught to look holistically at the roots of illness and disease in terms of Yin-Yang balance, 5 elements and energy flow. On a related and slightly deeper level, as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for over 40 years, it’s clear that all imbalance begins in the mind – specifically, the mental poisons of hatred/aversion, greed/attachment and ignorance of the law of interdependence.  Healing – to me – is more than just an act of poking someone with needles. I also have my fingers on the pulse of the world, with a responsibility to use my life as if it were a needle, a tool for healing the broad spectrum of nature of which we are all part.

Today I attended a non-violent direct action (NVDA) training so that if I am called upon to defend LUMA from those who would see her dead, I will stand with others and use my energy for this wider kind of healing, even if it means risking arrest by the police.  I am also prepared to take up residence in the tree for a day or two if called to do so. When you align your life with truth and justice, your chi begins to flow more powerfully. Personal sacrifice sets aside self-centered, egotistical concerns, awakening the mind to the truth of our interdependence, and that is the doorway to inner freedom and liberation.

So if I have to cancel a day of work sometime in the next month or two on short notice, I apologize in advance and hope you can understand my reasoning here. For more on the issue of urban tree protection and climate justice – see my Op-Ed published in the Urbanist here. This isn’t just about one tree, but about the forest, about the future of existence for all life.  May these words bring benefit.

If you are able to make it to Seattle City Hall on Tuesday to be part of a large group standing in defense of trees (no public speaking required), please go to the Event page here and read up on what is being asked.

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