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Earth Day: Soil, Soul And Society

On Earth Day today, 30 of us came together to share stories, do "hands" activities on the streets, and ultimately end with a group hug to the backdrop of a Michael Jackson song (it's a long story :)). The retreat was titled Soil, Soul and Society.

I was particularly touched by Harsha's story of her mom: "We grew up quite poor, but my mom was always a giver. She taught me that if you have an apple, you always cut it in slices so it can be shared. And you always give to others first, and eat whatever is left. If nothing is leftover, you take delight in knowing that you shared everything you had."

I spoke about Mark Dubois's journey. He was one of the founders of the International Earth Day, that reached 200 million people. Although I didn't share this, in my heart, I was remembering my happy encounters with him. His gentle humility has always moved me, and it made me reflect how we don't really know how to take care of our elders like him. It is quite apropos, because that same lack of sensitivity is what is separating us from our Mother Earth.

We ended with a blessing by Pierre:

For the sheer miracle of a substance as mysterious and omnipresent as water to the rugged beauty of a mountain range, for the amazing functioning of living creatures and systems of all sorts that challenge our deepest knowledge to the constantly renewed abundance of Your goodness expressed in the produce of the earth and seas, including the unbelievable variety and wisdom of the animal kingdom we have barely begun to grasp, we bless You.

In front of the utter perfection and symmetry of every single flower, seashell, plant, crystaline rock, we stand in awe and bless You. For the century-old sequoia or oak trees in their majesty which sprang from a tiny grain or acorn to the rolling of the galaxies, for the magic of microbes and all other microorganisms to the silent communication systems between plants and between animals and plants, we bless the incredible Intelligence that runs this phenomenal show called the universe and fall on our knees in utter awe.

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."