Peace and War

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Collateral damage in the land of coffee, computers, and airplanes.

Seattle. Waiting for the light to change. A person is sleeping over there, on angular rocks, in the midst of a concrete wasteland. His soft heart beating life being dashed against the jagged reefs of modern civilization.

My mind races with the stop and go wheels of the mechanized existence all around me. What’s in the shopping cart? Random garbage for an improvised wind break? Or? The light changes and I am rolling, the jarring morning visual fading into my rear view mirror.

Royal Dutch Shell's Death Star
Royal Dutch Shell’s Death Star

I glance quickly out the window as I ascend the viaduct. Royal Dutch Shell’s Polar Pioneer drill rig looms, across the bay at Port of Seattle’s Pier 5, phallic monument of an empire about to end. I wonder when the Borg-blob will attempt to slink out of port and begin the final assault on the planet in the Arctic Ocean. Total insanity. The scientists who aren’t on Big Oil’s payroll speak with unequivocal certitude that Arctic seafloor oil needs to stay in the ground if we are to avert climate and ecological catastrophe. But the sociopaths monitoring the game haven’t awoken to who their true master is – the planet, and their own karmic reaping. There can be no humankind without a sustainable planet. If we destroy our mother, she will recover in a few million years. We will Lose.

I get my tooth repaired at the dentist, visit the violin shop with my daughter, stop for soup at the Co-op. The day ticks off in a ten thousand little moments as I attempt to simultaneously surf the wave of life in both the material and spiritual worlds. Which brings me to P E A C E. That elusive substance which – if we strive too hard to find, we completely miss, even though it2015-06-09 11.55.25 is immanent in every moment, every breath, every situation.

Back at the house, I pause to rest, bringing fresh perspective.  Later, I pick snow peas and kale from the garden and make dinner for my parents, my wife, and my daughter. As I wash the kale, I save as many of the spiders and tiny green worms as I can and gently deposit them in the compost bin, reciting prayers for those unseen who are inevitably harmed by my continued existence.

Polish a dirty mirror. Take the garbage out. Each act connected with sacred intention. Even scrolling through my Facebook feed. We need to look within, find the peace within us, before we can share it. There is no other way.  This does not mean it is sufficient to retreat into a narcissistic bubble of privilege which neglects the suffering of countless beings, merely practicing mindfulness while we breathe, consume, brush our teeth, and amuse ourselves with our endless hobbies. At this very moment, there are beings fleeing violence, looking for shelter, safety, food, water, security, love, family, community, connection.  Two legged beings, four legged beings, winged, finned beings  Just as I wish to be happy, so do all other beings wish to be happy. We have the choice to stand and defend life in an infinite world of time and space, or busy ourselves inside our bubble. Which path do you think leads to true peace and freedom?

Peaceful Power at the Port of Seattle offices
Peaceful power at the Port of Seattle offices, protesting the City’s aiding and abetting Royal Dutch Shell. Photo credit, Damien Conway,  shared with permission

If you live in or near Seattle and wish to join the Mosquito Fleet in defense of Mother Earth, with non-violent, peaceful opportunities to stop Shell’s “Polar Pioneer” in its tracks, sign up for updates here:

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