Thank you to all who have posted with your thoughts, support, prayers, affirmations and concerns for the people in Japan … and indeed for the people on our planet who are in every circumstance imaginable today. We know there are many who recently came through severe earthquakes in New Zealand (that continue), in Chili, the plight of the Haitian people, the huge Tsunami several years back that took such a loss of life in one fell swoop, entire cities under seige from weather events from Florida to New Orleans, the massive volcanic events that claim or disrupt lives around the planets, extreme heat and cold that wreak havoc everywhere, the massive flooding in Australia, those caught in the violence in war torn countries such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebananon, Palestine, others who seek liberation from oppressive control …. as well as those facing very personal loss of home, children, parents, close relatives, families and friends for any and all reasons that include accidents, illness, starvation, lack of medical care, financial failures, corporate greed, and more.
We know of amazing stories — miners caught below the earth, people who survive unbelievable air crashes only to find themselves in remote areas of snow covered mountains with no resources, to small children who have fallen into uncapped wells. More people than we can fathom take their final breaths of air each and every day on this planet everywhere, while the process of living ushers in many new lives to face the uncertainty of our future.
The loss of life on our planet is huge on any given day … the power of the internet brings so much into our homes, live and large, in real time video as it happens, and often leaves us wondering how is it that we can see these things when those in the affected area are unaware or only know just in that moment an event is underway. We live in a wired world now, where there are all manner of video cameras installed, people with cameras in their cellphones can and do serve as witness to record events we may not ever had heard about only a few short months or years ago.
Some of us are sad, distraught, or angry. We want to rail at the apparent injustice of needless tragedy. It is human nature to want to determine accountability, assign blame, and hold “those” we deem responsible to pay in some way for each and every death. Even when there is none to find or assign. Sometimes we feel so helpless in the face of incomprehensible suffering and anguish, wondering how it is that the needs are so great, and we individually feel we can do nothing that matters. This is not true.
The vast majority of us will never personally know someone in these circumstances … but enough of us do, we also know why everyone can do small things that matter so much to those in need.
Whether we come together to breathe for our planet, offer affirmations or prayers, record memories or thoughts, or put together resources — even by pennies at a time to send into stricken areas — every act matters.
Why? Because we remember, because we hold hope, because we care, because we spread news, because we draw people everywhere together in a cohesive energy that defies borders, ethnicity, race, culture, economic status, religion or spiritual practice, governments, and more — in short all the human-invented forms of divisiveness disappear as we remember and join in a form of unity consciousness. The good of any one is as important as the good of all.
It is true that people need food, water, shelter, medical help, … some will get that, many will not. In every case, a person wants to know that they mattered, that they are remembered, that they made a difference and, most of all, that somebody cares, even if their name is not known or their location undetermined.
It is about love.
This story that follows has been carried on the internet for years — in many forms. It always reminds me that the smallest act can be everything to someone else. And reminds to use conscious intention in everything I choose to do.
The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
This story has appeared all over the web in various forms, usually with no credit given to Mr. Eiseley. Sometimes it is a little girl throwing the starfish into the ocean, sometimes a young man, once even an elderly Indian. In any form it is a beautiful story and one that makes you think.
Loren Eiseley was a anthropologist who wrote extensively. He was the ‘wise man’ in the story, and he was walking along a beach after a storm and encountered the fellow throwing the starfish back.
Books by Loren Eiseley