Healing What Ails Thee

DSCF6715

I haven’t written in a while.

I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The primary complication associated with this disease is that having it increases the risk of developing other autoimmune disorders. It’s a drag on the spirit, because the ways my disease might blossom into other autoimmune dysfunctions is unpredictable, and different from the ways Hashimoto’s will progress in other people.

I’ve been on hypothyroid drugs for about 20 years, but the Hashimoto’s component (which, looking back, I’ve had for most of my adult life) was just diagnosed last summer, when I was experiencing so much muscular/joint pain that I couldn’t walk well or far. And, over the years, I’ve had many “mysterious” health problems that I now understand stemmed from this and not from my “imagination,” as so many physicians like to suggest when they haven’t a clue.

DSCF6321

There’s an extremely restrictive diet, initially followed for a month or two, that can help reset the immune system. The disease isn’t cured, but it can help it be better-managed. So, I’ve been following this for a few weeks and keeping up with my regular exercise. I miss my coffee and glass of wine; I miss boiled eggs and popcorn. The diet eliminates dairy, gluten, nuts, beans, a lot of fruits, coffee, cocoa, and any foods from the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers). But families are running for their lives all over the globe. Terrorism, disease, and warfare are daily companions to many; I think I can stick with salmon and an organic salad and do just fine.

The learning curve regarding this has been steep and deep, and it’s tiring in itself, just to educate myself without becoming either tedious to others or overwhelmed by the research. Stress, of course, exacerbates any autoimmune issues, so it’s important not to feel overwhelmed.

DSCF6281

Things were going along fairly well, and then, a couple weeks ago, we learned a dairy conglomerate hopes to build an almost-CAFO (concentrated animal feed operation) in our community, near our home, the bike trail, and the river. The owner wants 9000 goats on this farm; a cozy home for 7000 does and 2000 kids. Legally, there would have to be 10k goats to qualify as a CAFO and meet stricter regulations than a mere 9000 goats will demand, although with the loosening of the environmental laws in our state under our current and disastrous state government, it’s all a bit of a sad, hollow laugh.

The farm will send goat milk to a distant Wisconsin town’s cheese factory to create goat cheese for a company owned and managed in California. But our community will deal with the air pollution, groundwater poisoning, road repairs, smells, and the fertilizer production, sending who-knows-what chemicals spewing into our endocrine systems. We have dairy and chicken CAFOs in operation here already.

DSCF6711DSCF6318

Unfortunately, the Enbridge Pipeline also runs through our state, and also close to our home. It’s the largest tar sands pipeline in the world; every day 1.2 million barrels of toxic tar sands oil flows through our county, and Enbridge hopes to increase that, with another line, to 2 million barrels a day.

DSCF6663

I don’t usually write about these kinds of things; if you’ve read The Daily Round, you know how dearly I love our home, our gardens, the land, and environment. I love the river, and birds, the foxes, and raccoons, and yes, even the mice and squirrels who are also part of our community, as are the trees, wildflowers, and the fish who manage to survive the poison already in the river. We’ve been enjoying eagles flying up and down the river this winter, and have been looking forward to fox kits in April… I worry about having to leave Full Moon Cottage and abandoning all of these companions so I can stay as healthy as I can. I worry about those 9000 goats. No one will know them or love them. They’ll be “production units” and “discontinued” when they’re no longer capable of lactation. I worry about the world we are becoming.

DSCF6575DSCF6588DSCF6540DSCF6528

No one needs to cram 9000 goats onto a bit of acreage. The universe doesn’t need that much overpriced goat cheese. I don’t understand how anyone can continue to willfully destroy the earth so rapaciously, when we’re told, over and over and over what this is doing to our atmosphere, air, resources, and quality of life. It doesn’t matter to me how “green” the technology will be; the earth is better off without it altogether. Small farms, sustainable living (within our means), community welfare, and an environment that doesn’t destroy our immune systems make so much more sense.

DSCF6720

Greed alone is driving the frightening, rapid increase of factory farms. And in our state, as in the greater world, greed is always connected to wealth and power. How to respond?

DSCF6753

Well, a merry little band of activists is creating itself and working, researching, learning, and planning to mount an opposition. Full Moon Cottage will be welcoming some of them here tomorrow…it’s not the usual way one celebrates Valentine’s Day, but if we are to heal ourselves and our world, it’s a grand way to start.

DSCF6634DSCF6652DSCF6671

Blessings on your Valentine’s Day. I hope that when you list your loves, your name is on the list. May you be gifted with any healing you are seeking, and may you be the healer you’ve come to be.

DSCF6658

 

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without Catherine O’Meara’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors.

Earth Day, Every Day

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 031Our goal is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human creatures and for all living creatures. . .The battle to restore a proper relationship between man and his environment, between man and other living creatures will require a long, sustained, political, moral, ethical, and financial commitment- -far beyond any effort made before.  ~ Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson , founder of Earth Day

Last Friday
Last Friday
Saturday
Saturday
River at the end of July
River at the end of July
River today
River today

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 085April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 104April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 107If we don’t have certain outer experiences, we don’t have certain inner experiences or at least we don’t have them in such a profound way. We need the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers and the mountains and the trees, the flowers, the birds, the song of the birds, the fish in the sea. All of this evokes something in our inner world, evokes a world of mystery. It evokes a world of the Sacred and gives us that sense of awe and mystery.   ~ Thomas Berry

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 118

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 133

Glacial drumlin
Glacial drumlin

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 173April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 177The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.  ~ Gaylord Nelson 

Fiona and Riley watching the sunrise this morning
Fiona and Riley watching the sunrise this morning

Sunrise, Ducks, Bridge, River 067

Sunrise, Ducks, Bridge, River 076
Double-Crested Cormorant

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 170

April 22 2013 snow, sun, early spring gardens, high water 041Practices for Earth Day to feed the spirit.

Happy Earth Day, and for tomorrow: Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!528886_4912045893034_241491468_n

 

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without Catherine O’Meara’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors.

The Tattered Web

I checked in with a local television station early this morning to hear the weather report on this first day of August, also known as Lughnasadh, a Celtic celebration of the “first fruits” from the summer’s harvest. The temperature would be in the mid-90’s again, said the meteorologist, who then summed up our recent weather saying, “We’ve experienced 31 days of temperatures 90 or above this summer, and our July was hotter than the temperatures in Tampa and Los Angeles.”

Our first fruits are weak and withered this year, dying from thirst.

I thought about the overwhelming majority of climatologists whose scientific training leads them to conclude we are in a time of dramatic climate change, and that its effects have been greatly magnified and accelerated by our dependency upon machinery that spews CO² into the atmosphere. Those who make money from this machinery and/or the products created by it, deny these facts and use their wealth to lobby (i.e., threaten, pressure, bully, and buy) politicians who might otherwise enact laws to curtail our environmental destruction.

We are often so flooded with data that it’s difficult to derive meaning and chart a path of wisdom and action. Data can be spun from so many sources, including thin air, and used so attractively to support different points of view.

Here are some other statistics I encountered today, reading through the August 3rd issue of The Week, a magazine that collects “the best of the U.S. and international media.” (www.theweek.com):

[An editorial in the Daily Mirror (U.K.), stated that] Britain …banned all handguns in the wake of the 1996 school massacre in Dunblane , Scotland…Assault rifles and automatic weapons, it should go without saying, have been banned since the 1930’s. Last year, 52 Brits were killed with guns…less than the carnage in the U.S. where 31,347 were killed in 2009.

And more data, gleaned from another article in this issue of The Week:

Over a period of two months, [James Holmes, the alleged shooter in Aurora Colorado’s recent tragedy] bought a semiautomatic variation of the military’s M-16 assault rifle, a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, and at least one Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol from local dealers. He also bought and stockpiled 6,000 rounds of ammunition from online sources. Every purchase he made was legal.

The gun lobby in our country, fueled by the NRA’s seemingly endless wealth, fights for our “right” to maintain such weaponry access as the status quo, despite international statistics supporting data (and perhaps logic) indicating that less access results in less murder.

My state recently prevented, by a very narrow margin, a mining company from rewriting our long-cherished environmental laws to suit its desire to seize greedily from the earth and her people, “buying” natural resources we cannot renew. They said their mine would create jobs, even as it poisoned the workers’ water and destroyed their land. The state legislature’s Republican majority has vowed to renew the “fight” for their friends in this mining corporation.

I fear we are a people who have lost our way. Greed and individual rights have transcended the need for us to co-create wisely with the rest of nature. We seem to be saying to each other and the rest of the world, “If I want it, I deserve it; if I desire it, it will be mine.” And we bow to those with the wealth to fulfill our wishes. Even if they kill us.

This path will lead us to our end, taking the innocent with us, for we are part of the web that connects every precious particle of our planet. And of all species on the web, we are among the most recent guests. But rather than humbly and gratefully taking our place as responsible and respectful members, we’re like noisome thugs who crash the party, steal all the gifts, and burn down the house as we storm away.

We’ve already destroyed much of the web in the name of sport, progress, wealth, and individual rights. We are an arrogant species, dominating the weaker and following the path of aggression when all along, we might have chosen collaboration.

Our birth has invited us to be one in community with all creation. No right exists, or ever will, that allows us to discount any of these relationships. The web is sacred, and dependent upon each of us to honor our place and respect the power and presence of every other created particle. Setting down the crazed burdens of greed and wealth, we would be better able to embrace one another and restore the earth’s health before we cannot.

Tonight’s full moon is the first of two this month. I’m sitting beneath it and pondering a planet that offers only joy to people who scorn the gift and destroy the giver.

I dread the day a last voice sighs, “Here was our heaven, now gone, forever,” but I see it coming. I have only to look at the stunted cornfield outside my window. And hear the rifles at the “game farm” beside it.

 

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Slow Life and the Spirit

When Phillip and I made a conscious decision to pursue a “slow life” together, we were led by others who have made the same decision to ground their choices and days in deliberate and focused sustainability and community connections.

 For us, a slow life is guided by a philosophical stance which believes that the spirit is deeply and truly fed only by intimate communion. To put it another way: living, relating, and buying locally allows us to be more fully present both to ourselves and to those who contribute to our well-being, as we contribute to theirs. This is not to promote an isolationist orientation or a denial of global connection and need, but to lessen the exhaustion and depletion of finite resources, to become mindful about right relationship with our neighbors, to redefine what constitutes “healthy living,” and to be earnest in clarifying the difference between desire and need.

 Far from feeling rigidly controlled, we’ve learned pursuing a slow life is exciting, creative, spacious, and fun.

 Savoring, noticing, attending, reflecting, listening, and being present are all practices that feed a slow life, and all are nourished by gratitude and balance. We commit to simplify in order to go deeper, and to more authentically value the common ground and the unique distinctions that define our days, relationships, seasons, community, and spirits. We deliberately honor the gifts that all of these create and offer for our enrichment.

Pierre Teilhard famously stated we’re spiritual beings having a physical, human experience. While we’re here on earth, this means our basic necessities of food, home, and clothing must be satisfied if our spirits are to thrive and evolve. It seems, though, that we’ve lost the connection between the pursuit of our basic needs and our spiritual health, as though spirit doesn’t enter into our choices and consciousness until not just our basic needs, but all of our (manufactured) desires, are met. Focused solely on the crazed pursuit of “more,” we have become disconnected from Source and source: we do not know where we, our food, our homes, and our clothing come from, nor at what cost to the earth and our neighbors. We do not relax and breathe unless we’re “on vacation,” when a lot of us routinely become ill from the anxiety, over-work, and imbalanced living we’ve consented to endure, often unconsciously.

 Slow living recognizes that spirit is (always) our essence, that the pursuit of basic necessities can be/is naturally spirit-fueled and intentional, and that the satisfaction of these needs can be creative, communal, and enough. A slow life is a consciously inspirited life.

 Homes can be green, energy use sustainable, clothing recycled, and food joyfully grown, locally procured, and communally shared. Our gifts and art can be recognized, encouraged, and shared in the production of the goods that meet our needs. We can “make a living” that is peace-filled and care-filled, and our businesses and interactions can be collaborative circles of collegiality rather than competitive, top-down hierarchies.

Small steps, in time, create new paths.

Grow a garden; join a CSA; shop at farmers’ markets. Seek and support restaurants like this: http://www.braiselocalfood.com and programs like this: http://wisconsinfoodie.com/

Make use of resale shops. Cull outgrown, unworn, disused, and unneeded possessions; recycle, reuse, and re-purpose creatively. Know where your material possessions are made and by whom; understand the dis-eased world you’re either perpetuating or choosing to change: http://video.pbs.org/video/1488092077/.

Live green: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes.aspx

 Heal whenever, whatever, wherever you can, starting with yourself and your choices.

 A slow life offers continual invitations and opportunities to recall and connect with who we— truly—are: shards of a holy and ongoing Creative Impulse, interdependent and aware that our only home is Love.

 

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.