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Sunday, September 16, 2012

save the trees

about two weeks ago, i had a very real feeling dream.  i woke up in a sweat, stressed out about a property down the street from me that sold a few months ago - a big beautiful colonial on a gorgeous double lot, sacred space here in this city-burb called winchester.  

the side yard, which can be viewed from the curb, is home to two spectacular trees, an oak and a beech.  they must be 150 years old b/c their trunks are rock solid and probably four feet wide.  i love beech trees.  they are my favorite.  i love the uniqueness of each beech.  some have super tall with trunks that stretch forever.  others are more squat with branches that are as long as the tree is high.  still others split at the base and provide the best branches for climbing and monkeying.  there are a few truly amazing beech trees in my neighborhood.  for local winchester peeps, there's an inspiring tree on foxcroft between salisbury and wedgemere.  then there's another in a neighbor's backyard on church street.  it's probably the fattest and most awe-inspring tree i've ever seen.  the owners created a gorgeous meditation garden around the tree and treat it as the treasure it is.  the other beech is the one that sits proudly on this double lot, the one that just sold.

back to my dream.  in it, my husband and i bought the property.  we were unloading moving trucks when someone came over and said we couldn't have the attached second lot.  we started flipping out b/c we love those trees and the man told us it was too late to do anything.  then a tree removal team came in and started tearing down the branches of the beech tree.  i woke up completely disturbed.  my heart raced.  i was confused.

i had hoped that the double lot was purchased by a single family who would cherish the home and the surrounding landscape.  then, the day after my dream, i drove by and saw a demo team tearing apart the structure set wide on the double lot.  

they divided the lot.  mother fucker.

i thought about the tiny seeds from which those trees grew.  i thought about the hundreds of years that passed while their branches reached higher and trunks grew in girth.  i thought about the storms they survived and the animals they sheltered and the carbon dioxide they absorbed.  and then i cried.  i started to mourn these poor trees who flourished for so many years, only to be hacked down for the love of money.

i called the realtor today, just to see what was happening, to see if there was any way those trees could be saved.  it was obvious to me that the trees meant nothing to him, meant nothing to the builder who plans to destroy them so he can erect a mcmansion for 1.9 million.

so now, though the trees still stand, the dying process has begun.  i think of them as being in hospice now, dying with dignity.  their days are numbered, as are ours.  so i paid my respects today.  i clipped an armful of white hydrangeas from my bushes and laid them at the base of the lovely beech tree.  within the pompoms of the bouquet, i nestled a little note for anyone curious enough to investigate.  "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."  -Chief Seattle

i pointed the trees out to my children and explained to them what was happening and why.  i invited them to join me as i said a prayer for the trees and pressed my palms into their sturdy trunks.  while my offering will not save their lives, i can only hope that the effort might cause someone to take pause before mindlessly destroying such gorgeous natural beauty.  

museums display paintings and sculptures worth millions of dollars, and here we are with a work of nature so bold and so inspiring, and all we want to do is demolish it.  

all of this talk makes me feel discouraged.  hopeless.  frustrated.  powerless.  and while wrapped up in those feelings, the universe has been gifting me with the exact opposite.  



yep.  hope.

hope is an extraordinary feeling.  my first sign of hope sprung forth from my children through their ordinary displays of acceptance.  ready to forgive, ready to love, ready to believe, ready to make the planet a better place.  and they will do just that, i absolutely believe that is true.

and then the second sign cropped up while i watched a documentary produced by national geographic called the great barrier reef.  i've actually been to the GBR.  learned all about it, then forgot everything i learned.  i guess back then the lesson didn't stick, even as i paddled around the reef and admired its bright colors and alien-looking creatures.  but watching this documentary, i was inspired to reconnect with hopefulness and was grateful to be in a space of mindfulness while it aired.  

did you know that 20,000 years ago, the GBR didn't exist?  it was just a mass of land, plains inhabited by wildlife and aboriginal tribes.  10,000 years ago there was a great flood.  thousands of miles of coastline disappeared under the ocean's waves and in its place, a magnificent coral reef developed, attracting and supporting a whole new world of extraordinary sea life.  most of the documentaries i've seen, specifically films about coral reefs, leave me feeling despair.  after viewing countless pictures of truly breathtaking sea life, the narrator inevitably closes by telling the audience that the reef is dying b/c human beings suck.  

but this program was different.  this program planted a seed of hope.  yes, the narrator said that coral is being destroyed by the rise in ocean temps and by the surplus of carbon monoxide being absorbed by the coral.  but.  there's a but.  (isn't that word "but" hopeful in itself?)  but.  in a certain cycle of the moon, the tides are just perfect for coral to spawn.  eggs and sperm fill the water and unite forming larva which float away on currents and nest in an entirely new location.  and then they multiply.  they survive.  they find a way!  because that's what nature does!  mother nature is a survivor!!!!

this planet has seen a lot of shit go down.  horrible things have happened, but the earth finds a way to make lemonade from lemons.  it just takes time.  

think about all the other beautiful natural events that have come about from great pain.  volcanos spew lava charring everything in sight, but results in gorgeous islands which breed new life.  quakes and rifts caused the pangaea to break up and drift apart, creating new coast lines and climates, allowing new species to evolve, to thrive.  manure fertilizes our gardens and yields brightly colored veggies to aid in our survival.  and then there's the easiest event for us mommies to relate to:  giving birth.  i've had natural childbirth three times, so i know pain.  burning, searing, excruciating pain gives way to baby love, a tiny being full of wonder and potential...  and, yes, hope. 

the earth will give birth to an evolved version of itself, too.  and the earth isn't sad about this.  people say sometimes that the earth is crying, the planet is suffering.  i'm not sure i believe that anymore.  i think the earth remains neutral, as do the forces of the universe.  because the earth will regenerate.  the universe will continue to love.  humankind, however, is just passing through.  we will only last as long as we are able.  we have no power here on earth, just the responsibility to take care of her the best we can.  and if we continue to treat the earth callously, she'll spit us out.  that's all.  and then the next phase of evolution will come about.

it's all just a matter of time.  so why not do the right thing while we rule the school?

i'm still torn up about those trees coming down in my neighborhood, but i cannot suppress the enormous feeling of hope that is rising in my chest.  there is nothing we can do to mother nature that will keep her down.  but by sacrificing the earth's natural resources to line our pockets will certainly shorten the human era.  if we care enough, we can teach our children better.  the best way to teach them is by example.  create balance and harmony with your environment the best way you know how, and see how the wave of your mindful lifestyle washes over your family and your community.

peace, love, gratitude,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

may i have your attention, please?

there are lots of "I's" in this message.  it's all about me and my ego.  i was going to create a "we" based message, but decided to keep my ego as the main character as a reminder to accept and love myself just the way i was created.  here goes...

i have a message.  it's a good one, i think.  a loving one.

and i have a unique audience, you, who tunes into everything old b/c you connect with me or b/c you like my stories.  being the recipient of your time and attention is a funny thing.  sometimes i worry about coming across as one of those "look-at-me" types, one of those ego-driven self-promoters that, to be honest, makes my skin crawl.

yes, yes, i know the line, "what other people think of me is none of my business," and, while it's true i cannot control others' perceptions about me, my humanness prevents me from completely detaching from the desire for acceptance and (gasp) attention.

it's true.  i respond to attention.  and while i feel the urge to be embarrassed about this admission, i work to suppress that urge and just be.  i am who i am; and so many of us share this same need to be stroked, rewarded, chosen.  and you know what?  it's okay to want that.  we are supposed to want that.  for most of us, it's built into the fabric of our destinies.

i do numerology for people all the time, and most charts contain a number 3 in them somewhere.  the 3 energy attracts attention, the 3 desires attention, the 3 thrives on attention...  and the human with the 3 is designed to seek it out.  as the great and powerful lady gaga once said, "you were born this way, baby."  so true.

instead of wrestling that urge to revel in an audience, i am working hard to make the best of it, use it to do my best to make this world a better place.  (this is when i say it's ok to share, post, tweet this blog. ;-)  since my life's purpose is rooted in the service of humanity, i choose to seek attention through philanthropic efforts and creative writing.

i want to collaborate with seekers like me (or people not like me but just happen to find me while they're googling a recipe for "uncle tony's new age chicken tacos").  i have found safe harbor in the delivery of honest messages rooted in a genuine desire to communicate a loving message, set apart from my need for acceptance and blogger stardom, but attached to it nonetheless.

it's a tricky balance, though, this whole attention thing.  be humble enough that people aren't turned off; be confident enough that people are turned on.  but this is my life's work, and there's no need to be shy about it.  so in the end, i have found that when i stop orchestrating my feelings and just do what's in my heart, do what comes naturally, i find happiness and success.

so even though i occasionally worry about being that self-promoting egoiste, i'll continue to post and tweet and email and youtube all of the tiny shifts and bu-curious moments i encounter on the path to awakening.  and i'll continue to feel grateful to you for joining me on the ride.

peace, love, gratitude,

Friday, September 7, 2012

matching frequencies

have you ever had to cut off a relationship?  do your friends make you feel warm and fuzzy?  join the conversation!  and please share, like, tweet, pin and tumbl!

peace, love gratitude,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

a new contender in the race for the oval office?

who do you like?  barack or mitt?

my social views are very liberal, so i lean democrat.  but if a quality moderate republican comes along i'll swing my vote in the other direction.

my greatest concern has always been social policy.  don't take our rights away, that's all i ask.  live free or die, baby.  the issue closest to my heart is gay rights, which should be re-termed "human rights", because love is a basic human right.  who we love and how we display commitment has absolutely nothing to do with government, federal or state.  my quick story today is spun from this idea.

when we were kids, my sisters and i played house a lot.  one girl would be the mommy, one girl would be the baby and one girl would get stuck being the daddy.  you might as well tell that poor girl to go clean out the garage while the others play.  for a girl, being the daddy sucked.  so every time my daughters play house with their friends, they inevitably start squabbling, "not fair!  i want to be the mommy!"  and inevitably, my girls realize, "it's okay.  girls can marry each other.  let's both be mommies.  yay!"

it's such a simple act of imagination.  but it's also a beautiful act of acceptance.  kids today provide me with an extraordinary feeling of hope for our future and pride in this generation of parents who are rearing children to be open and accepting of others as they have been created.

with this in mind, i see clearly that the man in the oval office may wield power over current domestic  policy, but the future of this country lies in the hands of a new generation.  the tides are changing, people.  the emerging generation is aware.  they are awake.  they are innovative.  they are compassionate and sensitive.  they are already changing the world.  and i have nothing but faith and confidence in these children.

this morning while i was making chocolate chip pancakes, my son XG, my 3 year old son - 3 YEAR OLD SON, said out of the blue, "mamma, did you know giwls can mawwy giwls?"  my husband MG and i looked at each other then looked back at him.

"that's right, buddy," said MG, waiting patiently to see where the conversation would go.

after a minute i said, "you are very smart, little man."

"yup," he said.  "boys can mawwy boys, too.  and batman defeats spidewman."

well, that decides it.  XG gets my vote this november.

peace, love, gratitude,
vanessa gobes

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